« PreviousContinue »
alluded to in the duke of York's letter, and had been in the most perfect state, which it was not, still the same army could not have been in a state for service on the 28th of February. Gentlemen were very fond of compating the a my of the French republic with that of this country, and commented on the great exertions of the army of reserve. But it should be remembered that means had been used in France to give energy to their exertions, which in this country would be severely censured. However, the army of reserve of the great hero, who was the constant object of adulation, could
arose not from their want of valour but of experience. The danger to be apprehended was, not that they would fail to act bravely in battle, but that they could not contend with the severity of the season. Their conduct in Holland was a proof of the affortion. They were found in the field fully equal to the veteran troops of France, to whom they were opposed, and superior to those with whom they were most likely to have contended. That our troops should not be ready for service, after a severe winter, at an earlier period than those in. the more southern and warmer parts of Europe, was a matter of criticism which might surprize him, if he could be surprised at any thing coming from that quarter. He wished that the statements of gentlemen on the other side, at different times, were compared together. At one period it was said that we had destroyed a whole army in Holland ; but that statement was given up when we obtained accounts of the killed and wounded : but now the losses of that army were forgotten, and it was contended that it ought to furnish a greater number of men, after a severe campaign, than it had before contained. So that the statements of these gentlemen made completely against themselves. He concluded by objecting to the grant of a paper without parliamentary ground for its production; and if the crimination of the late ministers was the object, he said that, the fact they wanted being admitted, they could
not desire further evidence. Mr. Grey said, that the right honourable gentleman stood charged with gross public misconduct, and wished to draw off the attention of the house by attacking those who had opposed him, and was now for - making
was small. He wished that this could have been proved. The force sent on that expedition amounted at least to 25,000 men, and had been declared to be one of the finest that had ever sailed from this country. Yet, three months after its return, the commander in chief stated, that two months would be requisite to get 20,000 men into a proper state of discipline for a foreign expedition. Thus, Mr. Grey contended that the criminality of ministers was fully proved on their own grounds. Why did they come to the house year after year, to ask an increase of the military force of the kingdom Was it not that a disposable force might be ready for every exigency He would contend that it was unparliamentary to read extracts from papers not before the house, to justify ministers. But Mr. Dundas repelled a charge against him, by reading part of a letter from fir Ralph Abercromby after the taking of the Helder, in which that general described the men drafted from the militia as a superior race: this proved then, that to deny there were men drafted from the militia in that embarkation was false, and that they were not so unfit for military operations as they were represented. That there was no parliamentary ground for the motion, as had been asserted, was not true. The right honourable gentleman (Mr. Pitt) contended, that it was no wonder if 20,000 men, fit for a foreign military service, could not be got ready in less than two months. But this was not a fair representation. A large force had been granted, to be always ready for the service of the country. 20,000 men returned from Holland : these were the best draughts from the supple
ment might be master of the manual exercise, and yet it might not be well disciplined. He agreed with the supporters of the motion, that if a force was not ready when it ought to be, blame belonged somewhere, and ought, in his opinion, to be fixed on the commander in chief. But in the present instance, on examination; no blame would be found imputable to the illustrious commander in chief, for not having 20,000 men ready for foreign service on the 28th of February last. The first troops sent to Holland under fir Ralph Abercromby, consisted of almost all the old regulars in this country. Whatever of the militia was among them formed but a small part. The other two embarkations were composed mostly of draughts from the militia. What was most material in the present question was the time of the return of these troops. Most of them returned in November, but they had not all arrived before Christmas. The old troops were speedily sent to Ireland; and the remainder, consisting of militia, certainly required training. Some of the draughts from the Irish militia, which composed part of the force, had not even existence at Christmas; for the bill enabling his majesty to make that draught had not then pailed. Therefore it was neither surprising, nor blamable, that this force was not ready for a distant and foreign expedition by the 20th of February. He regretted that the right honourable gentleman (Mr. Dundas) had, on a former night, quoted either the present letter, or that from fir Charles Stuart: he was, however, pleased to see that the extracts had proved the true motives of his declining the command of the expedition to the Mediterranean, and that
that his refusal had occasioned no delay to the sailing of the expedition. He hoped, however, that the practice would not obtain of quoting confidential letters from officers to government, which might often prejudice the service; and concluded with expresfing his decided opposition to the motion. Colonel Alexander Hope adverted to what Mr. Grey had said concerning fir Ralph Abercromby's letter on the taking of the Helder; observing, that the men to whom he referred formed no Part of the embarkation which failed with fir Ralph, but arrived on the 9th, and were employed on the 10th; so that the chancellor of the exchequer's statement was still correót. Mr. Bouverse thought the grounds of the motion parliamentary, and therefore supported it. Mr. Nicholls thought that two facts were universally admitted: that in February 1800 we had not 20,000 men fit for a foreign expedition, notwithstanding the great number of the army; and that the army was deplorably deficient in discipline. He knew not what were grounds of inquiry if these were not. The secretary at war said, that the small army kept here in time of peace had always caused much difficulty to collect speedily any military force for a foreign expe. dition; and that the fiate of the country, during the present war, required extraordinary force to be retained in it. He defended The Dutch expedition against Mr. *y; and said he would always "PPose the granting of a paper as a ground of charge. General Tarleton thought no *ame imputable to the duke of
York; but that a review of some fačts would shew where blame ought to rest. In the beginning of the war, the 'rith militia force was inadequate to its designed object; and the common methods of recruiting could not supply that defect. Mr. Dundas thought he could do it by draughts from the supplementary militia: the general thought this an ineffectual method, and recommended that of draughting from the present militia of the country. This, he said, was the only sure way to procure an effective force. He censured the reading of letters from officers in the house; and complained that both fir Charles Stuart and fir Charles Grey had been unworthily treated, who would have performed much more essential service to their country had ministers granted them a proper force. He concluded with calling on
all officers to vote for this motion,
a glorious war was a beneficial peace. . He thought that the whole of the letter ought to be read; and if the right honourable gentleman wished well to the illustrious commander in chief, he ought to produce it. If the letter were produced, it might appear that the commander in chief complained of not receiving sufficient notice, or proper supplies; and alleged these as reasons why a force for a foreign expedition could not be prepared in less than two months. The honourable gentleman had asserted that it might be wrong to produce documents unfit for public investigation; but surely it was more wrong to refuse those in which the conduct and charaćter of others were concerned. If the present motion was refused, it must be obvious that there was blame somewhere, or it would not have been met in so hostile a manner by gentlemen on the other fide. Colonel Porter said a few words iu support of the motion. The house then divided, when there appeared, ayes 45—noes 151. Majority against the motion, 106.
High Price of Provisions. Report of the Committee of the House of Commons
on that Subject. Debate on the Report. Further Report on the same relative to Ireland. Lord Suffoll's Motion in the House of Lords on the high.
Second Report, and Debate on Debates on
Price of 1 rovisions and the Extension of Paper Credit. Lord Hawick's on the same Subject. Mr. Horne Tooke elected Member for Old Sarum.
. . HE high price and scarcity of provisions, which had in part an is n from the failure of the crop of the preceding year, and which
Clergy Incligibility Bill.
Its Progress in the
still continued, engaged early the attention of parliament. On the 4th of February Mr. Yorke rose in the house of commons to move for