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POLITICAL REGISTER.-Mr. Steele.
„Josh Diver : 1J0 9000 3:13 ment should be confined to those who of high rank which Mr. Bankes has found had fallen in victory, or died in conse t'quence of wounds received in the action that led to victory. As to Mr Bankes's differing from Sir Francis Burdett, upon many other topics as well as that of this grant of the public money, it was hard ly necessary to declare, it, for, will wento for, will venLure to say, that there are not ten men in the whole nation, who ever did, or ever will couple their names, together. If however, we may judge from the answer of the baronet, the declaration is not likely to have any very serious effect upon, either his health or his spirits; for, he is reported to have said (and he is not apt to disguise his sentiments), that he was, confident, that he should be able to console himself for the want of a participation in principle with the honourable gentleman. LMr. Bankes, might as well bave said nothing about the pension, list, until it had been forth coming for it is now nearly a year since the making of it out was ordered upon the amended, or rather, the changed, motion of Lord Cochrane.. In that list, his lordship wished to have stated only the names of members of the House of Commons, and their relations, only the names of the guardians of the public purse," who touched out of that purse. This was overruled, and all the pensioners were to be put sinto one list, This, list, however, hangs back. When it comes, any oue will be 1.Competent to move, for a division of it; for, the thing to be desired is, a list of all the members of the House of Commons, who Jeceive, by themselves or their relations, any sums 94, money out of the taxes, that is to say, out of the sugs which they annually yote away. This is the list which the na tion wants to be furnished with; and we shall have it, sooner or later perfectly agree with Me Bankes in censuring the prac tice of annexing, as a matter of course, f pensions to peerages for the mere purpose
upon the pension list, I wonder whether his
of sustaining the rank of the party;" but, I should censure equally, the peering of nien, merely because they have, no mat ter how got possession of immense sums of money, and are, thereby, enabled to bring several votes into, parliament, I know that I have the misfortune to differ, in this respect, from the Edinburgh reviewers, who think this the only mode of obtaining "a true representation of the people;" but neither that circumstance nor the silence of Mr. Bankes, upon the subject, does at all tend to convince me, that a man ought to be made a lord merely, because he has amassed a large sum of money. Amongst the
This gentleman, whe name made a great figure in the 'wranglings of last year, is now never mentioned. The public will bear the circumstances in mind. Mr. Stecle was one of the army paymasters; he was succeeded by Lord Temple; Lord Temple found that Mr. Steele had taken out a large sum of the public money without any proper authority; these facts were laid before a committee, called the finance committee; a report from this committee was upon the point of being made, when the short parlia ment was dissolved; and, as the public will hardly need to be reminded, the whig papers asserted, that, in order to avoid the publish ing of this report, the ministers resolved upon a sudden dissolution. Yet, mark the sequel, one whole session, and half, another session, have now passed, and not one word have those whigs said about Mt. Steele nd his money! No: that would not suit their purposes now. They have other game and, having taken time to cool, they have consi dered, perhaps, that it would not be liberal" to press hard upon poor Tommy Steele." As to public justice, that is quite another matter. And yet, with facts ke this before his eyes, with many Ken Yacts, there is a correspondent, in the present steet, who complains of my hostility to the wigs. I will answer him at length in another un ber; but, I will now obstive, that
not been able to discover, in any part of their conduct, one proof of their desire to promote the interests of the country, and that, as far as to the management of the public money, I think them even worse than their successors. The wery first thing that they should have set about was an inquiry into this affair of Steele. It was an affair of the utmost importance; and it was peculiarly their duty, as guardians of the people's money. This is the sort of matters relating to which they should move for papers. The power of the House of Commons is simply the power of the purse; but, for reasons which are now obvious to all the world, this is the only power, which the regularly trained opposition seem never to wish to exercise.
ARMY.-Lord Castlereagh has, I perceive, given notice of his intention to introduce into the Mutiny bill of this year a clause to give recruits the choice of enlisting for life, or for term of years. This is, in fact, to repeal the law for term of years; because there is no doubt, but by subsequent bill, or regulation, the ministers will take care that there shall be no enlistment for term of years.--If there ever was a measure, in their approbation of which all men of sober judgment might be said to be unanimous, it was that of changing the miItary service to term of years. There was only one little knot of men, under the immediate guidance of stupidity, substantial, tangible stupidity, accompanied with obstinacy proverbial, that opposed this measure, and that, too, from motives too bad and base to admit of description. Yet, is this measure now to be rendered nugatory by a side-wind clause of an act of parliament, made for the professed purpose of punishing mutiny and desertion, two crimes chiefly to be ascribed to the want of this very measure. The reasons for changing the engagement of soldiers from that of for life to that of term of years have been so often stated, and remain so completely unanswered, that it would be a waste of time to repeat the statement of them here; but, it may not be un necessary to point out some of the conse quences, which will result from the passing of the clause now proposed. The first will be a falling off in the numbers recruited for the regular army, unless a higher bounty be given; for, it never can be in the contemplation of any man in his senses to create a fair competition between the two conditions of service, it being evident that none but an ideot will enlist for life at the same bounty which is held out to him to induce him to enlist for five or seven years. Yes; it is
self-evident that none but a real ideot, a creature that is incapable of distinguishing an ounce of bread from a whole loaf, will ever be persuaded to work twelve hours for à shilling, when he can have, from the same master, and for the very same sort of work, a shilling for working only three or four hours. The clause, therefore, must be intended to produce no effect at all, unless it be attended with some regulation giving su perior inducements to the service for lif The chief of these inducements must be of a pecuniary nature; that is to say, a higher bounty must be given, and then we come back again to all the evils of high bounty, which have been so long a subject of general lamentation. We shall again have men deserting in a post chaise and four; and, after all, so many men will not be raised at once for the regular army; more frequent drafts must be made from the militia, and more frequent applications to the oppressed and affrighted parishes,Another consequence will be this: there will be a distinction made between the treatment of the men, who have enlisted for term of years, and those who have enlisted for life, unless the former choose to change the condition of their servitude. I leave any man, who knows any thing of the army, to judge of the state into which this will throw a regiment. I leave him to judge of the many acts of oppression that will herefrom arise. No term-of-years men must be left; for then their example would be fatal; mutiny and desertion would inevitably be the consequence. They must be frowned upon; the door of promotion must be shut against them with 'the hand kept upon the latch to signify, that it may be opened upon their compliance. Thus will each regiment be deprived of the best services of the best of its men, who, feeling, as they must, the injustice exercised towards them, will have nothing left them but to hang or blind or maim themselves, or to desert. I do really think, that if party malignity should so far prevail as to effect the adoption of the clause above-mentioned, it will be very likely to give rise to a general mutiny. This sudden change in the military system, in that part of it which is certainly the most important, must excite contempt for the government in the minds of the soldiërs. - It is a matter that concerns them all so closely, that they must think about it, and they will talk about it. What must they, then, think and say of this capriciousness in law-giving? Lord Castlereagh is deceived, if he supposes, that they have their eyes shut. They have the use of their eyes and their ears and their
tongues into the bargain; and, there is this circumstance attending their remarks and opinions, that they are all of a mind. What must that mind be with respect to laws and regulations, which are changed with every change in the ministry? To what sort of motives must they attribute such changes? In this case the change is so obviously against them; it has in it something so ungracious; it has such striking marks of a return to oppression, that it must be, by them, so considered. It will be in vain to disguise the real nature of the measure by calling it a permission to choose. There is not a private soldier in the army fool enough not to perceive, that the government thinks that the measure last adopted left the soldier too much at liberty; loosened its hold upon him; that it now repents of what it has done in his favour; and that it wishes to re-grasp him for life. It is quite impossible to persuade him that this is intended for his good, or, that it has not proceeded from a spirit of harshness towards him; from a disregard of his feelings joined to an opinion, that he was made merely to be food for powder.It is a well-known fact, that, at a late Quarter Sessions of the peace, an offender having had his choice, to go into the army or to Botany Bay, preferred the latter for a limited period to the former for life; expressing, at the same time, his readiness to enlist" under Mr. Windham's Plan." Nor is this at all surprizing. Hope is not only one of the the chief ingredients in the happiness of man, but man may be said to live upon hope. Hope for something or other he will. Some will have no thoughts of leaving the army, but will live upon the hope of promotion. The number of these must, however, be comparatively small. The chief hope of the far greater part must always be the termination of the servitude. Let this hope be built upon a positive engagement, and the soldier contents himself therewith; because the foundation is sure, and clear before his eyes; but, if he has no such engagement to rest upon, he seeks for some other foundation, and desertion is the first that presents itself; for he must have hope, or he cuts his throat. Not only is it, in the case contemplated, to refuse him a lawful hope wherewith to cherish his patience, but actually to take such hope away from him; and, as to the guineas for which he may be induced to sell it, they will be forgotten when he is roused from the sleep, into which he has been thrown by the expending of those guineas. Here, too, the effect will be precise. ly that which any one but an obstinate human brute, bent upon the indulgence of his
tyrannical disposition, would wish to prevent. The best of the men will be the last to be tempted to sell their liberty for the means of a debauch, and yet, in the way of these men it will be absolutely necessary to throw every sort of discouragement. It is useless to tell me about the honour and justice and humanity of the officers. The officers, generally speaking, will act agreeably to the will of those who are able, with a breath, to sink or to raise them; and, if that will be, that there should be no men remain upon term-of-years service, I would not for a trifle be, even for one week of my life, in the skin of a man.There is no just ground for the change proposed; there is no good reason that can be given for it; and I trust it will not be persevered in; for, if it be, am fully persuaded that the very exist ence of the army will be endangered. And, is this to be done from a mere motive of petulance? Merely to provoke an opponent; or to prevent it being said hereafter, that the great and salutary change, which has been lately adopted, with the general approbation of the couutry, is to be ascribed to the wis dom of that opponent? There is something so shocking in the idea that one turns from it with horror.After all, however, if it be resolved, that nothing, however good, built up by a political opponent, shall remain undemolished, the fair way would be to bring in a bill of repeal. To endeavour to sap the foundation by a side wind clause; to enact a provision that shall surely work its fall; and then to cry out, that the thing was not calculated to stand, would be a most unmanly mode of proceeding, and discover a mind made up of meanness itself.-Osce more I must obscrve, by way of concia. sion, that it is paltry in the extreme, that it is despicable hypocricy, to pretend to give the soldiers, already enlisted, their choice of volunteering for life, or remaining upon their present footing. There will be, and there can be, no choice in the case, unless the soldier were arrived at very nearly the end of his term. The soldier may indeed choose; for he may enlist for life, desert, or cut his throat; but, as to living, a termof-years man, in a regiment, almost the whole of whose men are enlisted for life, with a strong desire in all the officers to induce him to enlist for life as well as the rest, the thing would be impossible. Again, therefore, I must express my earnest wish that the ministers may abandon a scheme so evidently full of danger and of cruelty.
ORDERS IN COUNCIL BILL. A ge"neral meeting," says the Morning Chroni cle of the 8th instant," of the Merchants
"and others concerned in the American "trade is to take place on Thursday next, "for the purpose of taking measures with "regard to the Orders in Council. Several "resolutions are, we understand, to be
proposed by Mr. Mullett and Mr. Mann, " and it is said that Mr. A. Baring, the "author of the celebrated pamphlet upon ***this subject, will bring forward Petitions "to both Houses of Parliment. A very nu❝merous and respectable assembly is ex"pected, as the requisition is signed by "several of the most eminent merchants in "the city."Taking measures ! What do they mean by taking measures? And what right have these men to meet, in greater numbers than fifties, any more than other people? Mr. Baring has, possibly, half at million of money in his pocket, a circumstance which has not tended to lessen the number of puffs, which Mr. Perry has inserted in his pamphlet; but, a circumstance by no means sufficient, thank God, to authorize Mr. Baring to dictate to the ministers and to the parliament. Sir John Newport is alarmed lest Ireland should suffer for want of the primum of its linen manufactory, which it now gets from America. Instead of primum of linen manufactory, why could not the honourable Baronet have said linseed. It is shorter, more correct, much more easy to be understood, and is preferable for every purpose, except, perhaps, that of convincing his readers, that the honourable Baronet was once at school.As to the ground of alarm, however, it is purely imaginary. If, indeed, Indian corn, or water-melons, had been the " the primum “of the linen manufactory," the case would have been desperate; but," the primum
of the linen manufactory," that is to say (throwing aside this verbose manner of expression), linseed, will grow in Ireland, full as well as it will in America; and, as there is a scarcity of land only, in the former country, or rather of cultivation, I see no vharm, but a great deal of good, likely to arise from converting part of the linen weavers into husbandmen.Mr. Perceval's answer was, that such observations would tend "to show the Americans how they might
reminded him that the Americans could not prevent the sun from shining and the rain from falling upon the land in Ireland; and, that the longer the Irish would be without American linseed, the longer the Americans. would be without shirts.- -When we come to talk of distresses, we have decidedly the. advantage; and of this all the world will be convinced, if the bill now passing remain in. force for a year.
Botley, 10 March, 1808.
continue to distress us." This was a crying answer. It discovered a want of resource. As if it was not the business of the opposition to make distress, if possible, in order that the country might be tired of the ministers and drive them out of their places; and, as if Mr. Perceval and his set had not done the same thing when they were out of office. No, ino: crying will never do. The way to have answered Sir John was to have
DEFENCE OF THE WHIGS.
SIR,In common with others of your readers, I have remarked, with some surprise, the extreme hostility which you seem to cherish against the late administration. So strong is your propensity to blame them, that you not only seize with avidity every circumstance that falls in your way, which can by any possibility be made a ground of accusation, but not unfrequently "travel out of the record" in quest of materials for censure. What can be your reasons for antipathy so violent, for invectives so acrimonious? Those who, with me, are of opinion, that the late ministers deserved well of their country, and who beheld their dismissal from office with the deepest regret, regarding it as really a public calamity, cannot greatly admire the wanton and illiberal reflections on their conduct, which so frequently occur in the Political Register. If it be inquired what the late ministers did to merit approbation, I also would ask in return, who is there so unreasonable as to expect every political virtue to be brought into full exercise, every needful plan of reform completed, every long established and inveterate abuse extirpated, by any set of ministers, within the compass of twelve short months. For my part, I am inclined to give them credit for having accomplished as much as time and circumstances would well admit of: nor ought it to be forgotten that it was the urging of a most salutary measure of reform, equally just and expedient, which occasioned their dismissal. Admitting, however, that both the Ins and the Outs are alike worthless, and deserving of the reprobation. you bestow upon them, admitting that the demerits of the two factions, as you call them, if weighed against each other, would be almost equally balanced; it appears to me that the manner in which the present ministers contrived to sneak into power, and to circumvent their more manly and honourable rivals, is a circumstance in itself alone abundantly sufficient to turn, the scale against those who could stoop to such artifices. Allowing, then, that the late ministers
deserve reprehension for their delinquencies, | Jan 30, your blade to a notice, given by Mr. it seems hardly fair that the measure of chastisement dealt out to them, should so much exceed what falls to the share of their opponents Indeed, at the period of the late change of administration, I could not but wonder that the secret machinations, the back-stair cabals, the mystery of iniquity" by which that change was effected, did not draw down a few more strokes of your scorpion scourges. Before that time, notwith standing the occasional severity of your animadversions, you appeared, on the whole, inclined to think rather favourably of the late administration. At the close of your strictures on their behaviour in regard to the Hampshire petition, if I mistake not, you declared, even on that occasion, that you wished them well, and hoped for their continuance in office. And, I perfectly recollect that in giving your sentiments on Lord Henry Pefty's plan of finance, you remarked, that whatever Alferent views might be entertained of the thing itself, you were pleased to think that one good effect would certainly result from its viz. that it would have a dency to promote the P popularity of the ministry, and thereby enable them to maintain their ground against the intrigues of the secret cabinet. I confess, indeed, that, any disposition which you might discover to support the late administration, appeared to arise quite as much from a contemptuous opinion entertained of their opponents, as from any peculiar feelings of regard to themselves. For, well do I remember your being accustomed to express yourself conring the then opposition, both as a party and udividually, in the most degrading terms. You laughed them to scorn for their 'pusillanimous 'abandonment of the helm of state on the death of their leader. You treated their opposition to the executive go vernment as equally factious and feeble. You ridiculed the editor of the Morning Chronicle for dignifying so contemptible a set of would be statesmen, with the name of the Opposition. And yet, not long afterwards, you are found failing with exultation, the triumph obtained by that very junto the bane of all good governnient during the pres sent reign-the success of whose intrigues you had just before, so strongly deprecated. You are found rejoicing at the exaltation of whom
Sheridan, of a motion on the state of re: land whence you conclude that the ques tion of Catholic emancipation, as in is called, is again to be brought forwarth Now, Mr. S. expressly stated that he did not intend to include the Catholic question among the ob jects of his motion. 6 Is it possibles that you could have totally overlooked this declara, tion? If not, why was it passed over without the least notice? Why did you gratuitously assume that Mr. S. and his friends are again about to agitate the Catholic question? Why, if not because it furnished you with an opportunity of bringing a charge against the present opposition, of factions and it consistent conduct, in proposing a measure when out of offices which they abandoned when in place: because its afforded ground for accusing them of baseness in so abandoning, for the sole purpose of keeping their places, a measure which they had judged it necessary to propose. Now, I am by no › means convinced that in all cases a member of parliament ought to feel himself absolutely precluded from giving support to a measure merely because particular circumstances may have led him to deem it impru dent to forward that measure when in office. And, as to the blame which the late ministers have incurred in consequence of not having resigned their places rather than consent to arrest the progress of what was called the Catholic Bill, the charge has always ap peared to me extremely futile, It cannot surely be contended that it is the duty of minis nisters to throw up their places in sullen disgust whenever any difference of opinion may arise between themselves and the king. On the contrary, it may be asserted that such a step can but rarely become necessary, and only in extreme cases. Now, it is by no means clear to me that the case in question was one of that description. The measures which the bill was designed to carry into effect were doubtless highly expedient and propor, but I do not know that they were of such imperious necessity, as to brook no delay, bend to no circumstances whatever. The late ministers, so far from having been guilty of any dereliction of duty, appear to have judged wisely when they resolved to relinquish their object for a time, till they could introduce it under rauspices more fa
those very men when you had lately profess-vourable for its accomplishment. Abandon
the measure! What injustice in such a charge! Were they not particularly careful to have it understood that by giving up the measure then, they did not pledge them selves never to bring it forward again? And was it not in consequence of being thos
ed to despise and expressing gratitude to
at a loss