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ation; they are on a plan likely to prove great, but it is less than that of last year more efficacious than the former, which by 2,270,0001. and less than that of the rendered this force by no means adequate last year of the war by 10,130,0001. A in service to the expense with which it difficulty aruse, from the army proposed to bore upon the country. It has been be kept uplast year, but to which in fact, we thought expedient to abolish the name of could never arrive. There is an increase of “ invalids,” to which contemptuous ideas 8,525 men this year, and an additional were attached, as if of a man walking on expense of 65,000h ; there has been, at a crutch, and unable to manage a musket the same time, a saving in several items. or a bayonet. It is intended that they shall The expense of barracks is less by be effective men, and they are to have a 300,0001.; and in the half-pay and other board of officers, by whom redress of all items there has been a proportionate complaints is to be made. The difference diminution. In mentioning the increase of expense between these and the invalids of force since last year, I must notice is about 5,0001., the difference between a charge made on bis majesty's ministers them and troops of the line is between 35 of having hastily, improvidently, and and 40,0001.. The clothing for these unwisely reduced the armed force of the corps is this year to be issued out of the country, when, as those persons them king's stores, and consequently there are selves admitted, the increase now demandto be no charges incurred this year for ed was not too considerable. I will now clothing them. These battalions are able proceed to show that these charges were to occupy garrisons, and to do service in without foundation. On the 1st of Octoseveral posts which would otherwise be ber 1801, there were under arms maintained by regiments of the line, con- 250,000 men of all descriptions; of these, sequently these regiments will be at liberty 123,343 men of all descriptions have been for other services.I am now to notice to reduced. 1st, The cavalry amounted at the committee the mode by which this plan that time to 25,000 men ; a force not is more economical than keeping up a thought necessary, and for that reason, smaller proportion of officers. First, the as well as because it was the most expenbattalions and squadrons are really capable sive, the reduction commenced with it, of service, without waiting to recruit, and and 10,493 men were reduced. The miadmit of increase, without breaking the litia of Great Britain and Ireland were dishearts of officers in the beginning of a charged to the amount of 71,000 men. It is war, by raising new corps, and bringing understood that the militia is alwaysto be men into the field who had seen no service. called out at the commencement of a war, The addition of 1 lieutenant and 25 men and discharged on the conclusion of peace, to each company in the cavalry, gives an but the fencible regiments come more addition of 5,000 in the infantry; 1 lieu- strictly under this description, and were tenant and 25 men for each company give therefore immediately disbanded, to an increase of 250 rank and file in each the number of 20,679 men. The invalids, to battalion, and a total addition of 25,000 the number of 5,172 were reduced, because rank and file, with 1080 lieutenants. The it had been resolved to form the out-pension. whole addition thus made is 30,000 men, ersinto a more effectual force. The foreign with the expense of only a few additional corps were reduced to the number of 8,945 officers. By the addition of one company men; a force which we were glad to spare, to euch regiment of cavalry, and two to and which, when any reduction was neeach regiment of infantry, there is a far- cessary, we thought it most politic to ther increase of 20,000 men. All the reduce ; for when British troops were disservices in the army department will bandet, who would think of maintaining amount to 5,270,000l. and all those an- foreigners, unless they were in situations nexed expenses not in the paper, including where we could not dismiss them? All the half-pay to reduced officers, and the other descriptions of men dismissed, out-pensioners of Chelsea and Kilmainham, amounted to 7,025 men, which number will not exceed the similar expenses in alone constitutes the strict and regular 1801. The expense of the military col. difference between the British infantry, lege is 7,000!.; and it is for the pleasure then and now. And if it be considered, of parliament to grant a sum for the sup- that of these 7,000, some had enlisted to port of the Military Asylum. The total serve for a limited time, and though they of the military expense will be about were not strictly entitled to their discharge, 5,500,000). This expense is certainly yet as the act is so drawn as to give them reason to think they were entitled to it, | 25th of Dec. 1802, to the 24th of Dec. and many of them were induced to enlist, 1803." by having it so explained ; it seemed in- Mr. Bankes said, that if he disapproved consistent with that good faith which the of a high peace establishment, it was not government should always maintain with because he thought less highly than others the people, to refuse to discharge them ; of the formidable power of France, but but I can assure the gentleman who because he thought more highly of the brought those charges, that no exertion natural means and resources of this counwas omitted to induce them to enlist re. try ; and he did not like to waste those gularly in other corps, and so many did resources in guarding against a danger enlist, that 19 or 20 battalions were filled which did not exist. In former times it up, while the reduction did not take away had been found that small peace establishmore than 6 or 7. Of these 7,000, many ments were sufficient to keep the country were discharged from the hospitals, and secure at home, and preserve its respecmany were discharged for infirmities, ontability abroad ; but if we were now to their return from long foreign service. make the military establishment of France This is the only foundation on which the the measure of our own, that could not charge of improvident reduction rests. be done without ruining the resources But look at the force kept_up, and the of the country. If this country was quiet picture now afforded by the British army. and contented at home, he did not This army was never more respectable, think it need to be panic-struck on hearnever in better subordination, never ing of balf a million of men drawn up in better order than now, it was never upon the shores of France. Our insular composed of more able and efficient men, situation was to be estimated as a power. never actuated by a noble military spirit, ful defence, but, above all, we were to with a number of able, experienced, and rely on the resources of the nation, when brave general officers, many of them in satisfied with its government. It was by the flower of their age, uniting the vigour public credit and confidence, and not and enterprise of youth with the temper from our population, that Great Britain and wisdom of more advanced years ; re- had carried on so many wars with advanigulated by a prince possessed of an un- tage and glory. He relied also on the common understanding in military affairs, great number of men trained and disciindefatigable in his attention to business, plined to arms, who are now in the counand eminently justin discharging the duties iry; he wished, instead of increasing, to of his office. For this respectable army, diminish as much as possible, the exand the facility of augmenting its mili. penses of the army, by allowing the tary force, the country is partly indebted soldiers leave of absence for a considerato the hon. gentleman on the other side, ble part of the year, as had always been who is entitled to the praise of having done upon the contineni. given us the command of such a force, Sir Eyre Coote approved of the prowith the facility of making an addition of posed increase of the military establish20,000 men ; besides an easy resource in ment, which in times like the present was, tbe militia of Ireland of 20,000 men he conceived, necessary, to support the more, exclusive of the yeomanry and honour and dignity of the empire. volunteer corps, who have agreed to con- Earl Temple said, that consistently with tinue their services. Of these last, the principles he had ever acted upon in 8,000 rank and file have been already en- that House, he could by no means op. rolled in Great Britain, chiefly cavalry. pose the increase which was now proIn Ireland the enrolment has been above posed, nor should he by any vote of his, double that number, amounting to either damp the spirits of the country, or 10,000 cavalry, and a still greater num. check that spark of spirit which had, ber of infantry. Putting all together, we however tardily, been exhibited by his have a total force of 200,000 men, exclu- majesty's government. He gave full sive of the army in India ; a force of such credit to the able speech which had been a magnitude, and of such a description, made by the secretary at war ; but in that as to present no very alluring prospect to statement there was nothing which could any foreign power that may be disposed enable the House to judge whether this to attack us. I conclude, Sir, with move was an estimate for a peace establishment, ing, “ That 66,574 men be voted for or for a war establishment. There was guards and garrisons in Ireland, from the no language of the noble secretary which
appeared like telling France, as it was should ; now he saw no policy in describe the duty of this country to do, “ Thus ing our situation to the enemy, so as that far shalt thou go, and no further.” We they should despise both general and were voting a large establishment, with soldier : if what was said in the House out any information on the subject. passed no further, there would be no harm His lordship then condemned the general perhaps, in gentlemen speaking one way, conduct of administration, and particu- and voting another : but as those things larly tlieir conduct with respect to the travelled far, it was very dangerous. affairs of Switzerland ; and on the whole The strength of France was also magnihe considered, that his majesty's minis. fied; it was supposed by many, that her ters were not persons fit to be entrusted resources were founded on pillage, and with the government of the country in its alliances on compulsion : if so, he times like the present.
saw no great reason for us to dread her General Maitland highly approved of power. If with our great resources, our the speech of the secretary at war ; and loyalty firm, our honour untouched, our thought that there was no occasion for glorious navy,our army and people in a mass any other argument to justify the vote, attached to our Constitution, we should except the present situation of Europe. yet be doomed to fall and be destroyed; Besides the enormous power of France, he must say, there was something in it the ruling passion of that people is now beyond human foresight, and therefore entirely for military enterprise ; and their we must not be ashamed of our destrucgovernment is in the hands of a general, tion. who if not the first and greatest now alive, Mr. Cartwright said, it was because he is certainly the most ambitious and enter- felt anxious for the preservation of peace prising. He never gave a vote in parlia- that he should give his vote in favour of the ment with greater pleasure than the pre: estimate proposed ; but he could not help sent. It was for an establishment which thinking it extraordinary that his majeswould have all the effect of real economy, ty's ministers should withhold all informand a mode of securing to us peace, ation as to the actual situation of this far better than could be effected by country with respect to France, and the any seal that was ever put to the treaty. stipulations of the treaty of peace.
General Tarleton stated, that he had Mr. Whitbread lamented ihal ministers uniformly voted against the late war, and had about them so much indecision ; for had done so most conscientiously : but he at one time the minister told the House, should vote with pleasure for the increase that from the situation of affairs, he was now proposed, as he consided it abso- convinced that 30,000 seamen would be Jutely necessary for the honour and se sufficient; then, without any alteration in curity of the country-however great those affairs, 50,000 were proposed; and were the horrors of war, yet the horrors having given it as his opinion, that it of seeing Buonaparté's fag on the Tower would only be necessary to vote this force of London, or his political principles for a few months, then, without the least current in this country, were still more allegation of increased danger, the same terrifying to him.
minister, in a few hours afterwards, Mr. Archdall hoped the vote of that thought it. proper to propose this force night, would be understood both at home for the year. He condemned the lanand abroad as the cool decision of the guage that had been so often repeated, of representatives of a great nation, who a determination to defend our honour, and wished to act in the spirit of the answer not to bear insult : he thought that might given to his majesty. It was not the be very well inferred, from what this Park manifesto of a perpetual dictator, country had formerly done; and that put the voice of a great and free nation, consequently such language was unnecesadequately represented. He had often sary, and not in the tone of true spirit. heard the situation of the country He did not seriously believe, that France poken of in the most desponding terms, meditated an attack upon this country, by those very gentlemen who were for the and thought the French government nost vigorous measures. They seemed might as well pretend to be alarmed with o wish to vote the country to vigor, but the fears of an attack from this. Nations, o debate it to despair. He had heard as well as individuals, often retained ridi. hat a general should not think lightly of culous apprehensions of danger; we had bis enemy, but that a common soldier once entertained strong apprehensions from Dunkirk being fortified, and now we cared ing neighbours. Into what situation things very little about its harbour. We were might yet subside, must be left to time very much afraid of Jamaica too, when and circumstances to develope, and no the French fleet sailed for St. Domingo; reliance could be placed upon pledges or but those sort of fears cannot last a very previous dispositions exhibited by that long time: he did not see how the vote House. In the reign of Queen Anne, now proposed, could at all tend to dimi- parliament had passed a resolution, that nish the power of France. He concluded no peace should be made with France by declaring, that it was with pleasure while she retained an inch of the Spanish that he had seen the government of the territory; yet that object was wholly country taken out of those bands, who abandoned at the peace of Utrecht. So had so misused it: and he dreaded the also, in 1741, the parliament voted, that consequences of such men returning to no peace should be made until the Spanipower.
ards renounced the right of search on the Mr. Ryder said, that if the proposed coast of America ; but the treaty of Aixincrease in our establishments did not | la-Chapelle was made without ever men. take place, this country might bid a long tioning the subject. It was true, that adieu to all its greatness. But some gen. heretofore we had always peace establishtlemen seemed inclined to think that na- ments comparatively small; but at no forvies were useless, armies something worse, mer period were we ever totally destitute and even all continental alliances abso- of all continental alliances and connexions. lutely detrimental. When we beheld the The House was not, however, now called subjugation of the Swiss, and the progres- upon for a pledge of any kind; but as our sive aggrandizement of France, were we resources were but little impaired, he conto sit still, and suffer her to devour the ceived it to be the duty of every man to rest of Europe, contented at her forbear- bear his share in the expenses of an inance in making us the last whom she was creased establishment, lest the burthen to snap at ? According to the observa- should afterwards fall with accumulated tions of an hon. gentleman, we should re- weight upon us. main quiet, in hopes that the first consul Mr. Sheridan rose and said :-Şir, being would in time remit his anger against us, in the situation alluded to by the right and be satisfied with the punishment we hon. gentleman who has just sat down, of had already'suffered; but the same hon.gen- not being able to agree precisely with any tleman (Mr. Fox) in this afforded us but of those who have preceded me, yet of little consolation, for, in his opinion we being, at the same time, unwilling to give deserved that punishment, and the war a silent vote on the present occasion, I ought to have terminated gloriously to rise with some sentiments of reluctance. France, and ingloriously for this country. There is one thing, however, in which we The pacific sentiments of some gentlemen all coincide ; it is, that the crisis in which argued no small degree of inconsistency. we are are placed, is so big with tremend. At the time when a commercial treaty was ous importance, so pregnant with mighty negotiating between the two countries, the difficulties, so full of apprehensions and same gentleman opposed it, not so much dangers, that the House and the country on account of the terms, as the fear that have a right to know what are the inten. the benefit we might derive from it might, tions and the views of those by whose on any future occasion, render us unwil. exertions we may expect to be extricated ing to to go to war, even though we from the complication of embarrassments, should have provocation : yet they as- and snatched from the very brink of desumed a different tone now, when the struction. Sir, one of the circumstances question was respecting a war for our own I most regret in this debate is, the reimmediate defence, and at a time when we ferences that have been made to the chawere every where surrounded by France racters and abilities of persons supposed or its auxiliaries. The demand was for a to be fit to fill particular offices. I feel military establishment, ready for any this as a subject of regret, and feeling so, emergency that might arise, and not per- I am sorry that my hon. friend near me haps so much called for by any subsisting made any allusion even to one man, whom differences, but such as would place us in of all men upon earth, I most love and a situation to assist others, and perhaps, respect, because I do view the crisis to in some not very far distant day, oppose a be one of such moment and peril, and barrier to the encroachments of our aspir- because, if ever there was a time in which we should prove to the people of England simple narrative may be construed into that we are above all party feelings, that invective. With regard to the general we are above all party distinctions, that question of a disposition to peace or war, we are superior to any petty scramble 1, for one, declare, that I am as strongly for places and power, that time is the and as sincerelyfor thepreservation of peace present. - Sir, in speaking upon these as any man, and that I do not consider topics, I do find a disposition in some war as any remedy for the evils complaingentlemen to rebuke any man who shall ed of. If a war spirit be springing up in deliver any opinion with respect to the this country, if a chivalrous disposition be first consul of France. One hon. gentle- observable, if a sentiment of indignation man, who rebuked an hon. general that be rising upon the subject of the treatspoke before him, declared that he would ment of Switzerland, I, for one, shall connot give his opinion with respect to the tend that the treatment of Switzerland is conduct of France to Switzerland ; and no cause of war. I would therefore what does his rebuke amount to ? He say, preserve peace if possible: peace if confesses that upon that subjcct there can possible, because the effects of war, albe but one opinion. Why then, Sir, he ways calamitous, may be calamitous ineither adopts the opinion of the hon. deed, buckling, as we should be forced general or not. If he does adopt it, he to do, all our sinews and strength to gives as strong an opinion against the that power in a contest with her upon conduct of France as can possibly be such grounds. I repeat, therefore, peace given. If he does not adopt it, why then if possible; but I add, resistance, prompt, all we can say is, that there are two opi- resolute, determined resistance to the nions. But what, he asks, has Switzer first aggression, be the consequences land to do with the question? It has this what they may. Influenced by these to do with it. The hon. general intro sentiments, I shall vote cordially and duced the subject in this way; he contends cheerfully for this large peace establishthat a power which is capable of such ment; and it is because I shall vote for unprovoked aggression, and such perfidy, it, that I think myself bound to state my is the power that ought to be watched. reasons. Sir, some gentlemen seem to But the hon. gentleman goes on to assert, consider what they advance as so many that we have nothing to do with the case axioms too clear to need explanation or to of Switzerland, nothing to do with France, require defence. But when I vote so nothing but with her power :- nothing large an establishment, I think myself but her power !-as if that were little. not at liberty to bind such a burthen He asks too where is the great difference upon my constituents, without stating between France under the Bourbons and the grounds upon which I act, and the under her present ruler ? Why, Sir, the principles by which I am prompted. Sir, hon. general inferred, from the conduct I have listened with all the attention I am of France, that with her growing power master of to the different arguments that she had a growing disposition to mischief. have been advanced in the present deBut is that power, demands the hon. gen. bate. One hon. gentleman who spoke tleman, greater now than it was last June? second, appears to be a decided enemy to Perhaps it is not, Sir. But her mis- a great establishment, and the reasons he chievous disposition is greater ; and if I gave for his opposition, I confess, peram asked to bring a proof of the truth fectly astonished me. Luckily he has no of my assertion, I must bring the case of rapid dippancy in his manner; his sentiSwitzerland. Sir, if I see a purposed ments are delivered too soberly and secontempt of the independence of a nation; dately to be mistaken. I am sure I mean if I see a perfidious disregard of the faith nothing disrespectful to that gentleman, of treaties; if I see a power withdraw her who amply repays the attention that is assistance, only to return and entrap a paid to him. "But he says, if ministers country of freemen with greater certainty, had only said to him that 'danger existed, why then I say there has been a change, he would, for one, have voted for the force and a great change too, and that such a proposed. Does he doubt the danger ? power we have a right to watch. But, He complains that his majesty's ministers says the hon. gentlemen, we have no right do not state it precisely. But does he to make use of invectives against the first pretend that he does not see and feel it? consul of France. I will abstain if I can | Can any one look at the map of Europe I say if I can, because I feel that even a and be blind to it? Can any one have a [VOL. XXXVI.]