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remain without officers, while other gentlemen were to be found who would accept commissions and do the duty 2 Lord Folkstone repeated his former opposition to the bill; complained of the mal-treatment of the militia officers, in having their men drafted from them by stealth, and their regiments sent to Ireland, contrary to the express principle of the militia, which engaged them not to leave the country; and harshly reprobated the bill, which went to repeat the insults of former trCatsherit. General Tarleton thought that the language of the noble lord and his friends, on this occasion, would grate rather harshly on the ears of , the half-pay officers who had served their country with honour, to be told that giving them commissions in the militia service was forcing them into company for which they were unfit. He had always understood that officers who had seen seven years of service were men whose manners and conversation were sufficiently polished, and whose rank and profession fitted them for any company. He was sure the noble lord would find them pleasant companions at table, and pleasant neighbours in the field. The bill was gone through, and ordered to be reported the next day. It was reported accordingly, when Mr. Windham said, it was not his intention to oppose the bill, although it was, in his mind, highly objectionable; but he would consent to it, because of two evils it was the lesser. . It certainly would be a greater evil that the militia should be without any officers at all, than have the unqualified persons recommended in the bill. The word militia was now a mere term,

which had init nothing of its original signification. The officers were to be without qualification in point of property, the men were to be raised without ballot. The idea of excluding from it all property, and putting military experience in its stead, took away from it every thing like a constitutional force. This only served to confirm the opinion he gave on a former evening, that it would be better to have an effective standing army at once, than a force which could not be considered as a constitutional militia, and which wanted the benefit of experience; but, instead of that, the country was now over-militiaed. While he protested against the principle of bringing the militia to a similarity with the army, he should be glad if in some respects the army could be brought to a similarity with the militia. The grand objection to the present constitution of the army was, that it could not be raised with the same facility as the militia, which even robbed the army of men. The plan he would recommend in respect of the army was, that men should be enlisted for a term of years, which was done in every other country but this; and that the practice of drafting should be wholly abolished. Every military man he ever conversed with agreed with him in this. The very regulations in the present bill, for suffering unqualified persons to come into the militia, in case others did not offer, would make the evil still greater, and more officers from the army would be still wanted. Thus, would the army be robbed of its

officers, as well as its men. The secretary at war replied that this was not the time for considering the question whether there - - ought

ought to be a militia, or no militia at all; or for proposing changes in the mode of recruiting the army: the only question at this time was, how were we to make the best of the force we had He admitted that in all the armies on the contiment the men were enlisted for a term of years; but there was a material difference between those countries and Great Britain : there the troops hardly ever went beyond the frontiers of the state they belonged to ; but a great part of the British army was sent on colonial

service; so that great inconveni

ence would arise if the men were enlisted only for a term of years: as to drafting, it was totally abolished. The honourable gentleman had argued as if the present bill laid aside every qualification. It did no such thing. It only gave the lord lieutenant a power, in case of his not being able to procure qualified officers, to fill up the places with officers from the army, &c. In order to do away every kind of jealousy on this subject, he should move a clause, by which the lordslieutenants should not have power to appoint unqualified persons to any rank higher than that of captaill. This clause was adopted; but it was not to extend to Scotland. On the 3d reading of the bill, on the 28th of March, Mr. Kinnaird suggested that the omission of Scotland, in the clause which related to field-officers, might with propriety be avoided—several respectable gentlemen from Scotland having expressed a wish to that effect. he secretary at war agreed, and the bill was amended accordingly, and passed. This bill yoas discussed at considerable length, and underwent much opposition, in the lords, en

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the ground of admitting unqualified persons to make up the complement of officers; but it was at length passed on the 6th of April. . ôn the 25th of November Mr. Corry moved for leave to bring in a bill for the more speedy and ef. fectual enrolling of the militia of Ireland. In a committee upon the bill, on the 1st of December, Mr. Corry rose, and observed, that the situation of Ireland had been such, under the subsisting laws respecting the militia, that it was deemed necessary to alter them at different times, in order to conform to the pressure of existing circumstances. But now it was judged expedient, for the more easy enrolment of them, to authorise the lord-lieutenant of Ireland to make advances, out of the treasury of Ireland, of such a sum as might be necessary for the above purpose; that sum to be raised by an assessment on the different counties, and to be rated by the grand juries of each county respectively. It was his intention that the bill he meant to bring in, pursuant to the above intention, should be printed, and that full notice, and every facility should be afforded for its complete and satisfactory discussion. He wished the bill to be in force only six months. The right honourable gentleman concluded by moving—That the lords-commissioners of his majesty’s exchequer of Ireland be empowered to issue the sum of 40,000l. towards the enrolment of the militia of Ireland, to be at the disposal of the lord-lieutenant, and to be reimbursed by the assessments made by the grand juries in the different counties of that country. - The Themotion wasagreed to, and the report of the committee ordered to be received the next day. It was received accordingly, and the several resolutions agreed to.


On the 16th of March the measure was again brought forward, when

Mr. Windham rose and opposed it. At this moment of imminent danger, he said, we wanted an effective force, that was dispose

able, well-disciplined, and capable

of acting offensively as well as defensively. He looked upon the militia as an army without experience of actual service; and he said that it was, and must be, in a very great degree defective in discipline and subordination to its of. ficers. In an army we expected to find a perfect knowledge of the art of war, in order to make it effectual ; but he never had heard it asserted that there could be any idea that the discipline of the mili. tia could be equal to that of the regular troops of the line. At a time so truly eventful, and so pregnant with danger, as the present, it was peculiarly incumbent upon the government of this country to have a large force ready at command; and that force, he insisted, should be of such a nature that it might be called out to act at a moment’s notice, offensively as well as defensively : that, by the constitutional formation of it, the militia could not be made to act offensively against an enemy, by being sent out of the country. If, therefore, we had a large disposeable force, in case of the enemy’s attacking us it would be impossible for him to tell whether it might not be used offensively as well as defensively ; but if a very great part of it was militia, and therefore only defensive in its nature, he knew what he : I SO3.

had to contend with here, and that none could be sent to annoy him in his own possessions. After several interruptions on the ground of irrelevancy, Mr. Windham proceeded, and insisted that we should have an effective force capable of acting with promptitude and vigour both on the offensive and defensive. It was not right to consider it as a question only of economy, whether the militia were to be called out on an emergency at less expense than an equal number of regular forces. It should, on the contrary, be considered as a mere military engine; and, as such, he thought it much less effectual than the other. The house ought to consider the difference of value weighed against that of price; and in so doing, he would rather give six guineas for a regular soldier, than two guineas for a militia-man. Besides, § mode of giving bounties to militia-men cut up the recruiting of the regular army root and branch. Similar divisions, he said, might happen in France as had heretofore taken place there; and, in such an event, a strong effective force, ready to act promptly and offensively, would be actually necessary, and would be the surest means of giving peace and permament security to this country. He wished, that, instead of militia, regular, regiments should be raised in Ireland, as he was certain these would be the safest means of defence. The secretary at war was astonished to find, that, after the militia had, during his (Mr. Windham's) administration, been increased from 18 to 27,000 men, the right hon. gentleman should now make these objections against giving four guineas instead of two, as they could have no other end or

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urpose but to change it to a mi#. by ballot; and that could not fail to raise the bounty from two guineas to six; which would prove the most disadvantageous of circumstances against the recruiting for the ...i. army that could happen, by enhancing that bounty most enormously. He allowed it was true, as stated by the right homourable gentleman, that a militia regiment was not equal to a regular one; they had always been considered as subsidiary; and he was astonished to hear the right honourable gentleman make light of it on account of its constitutional formation, which, in his mind, was its greatest recommendation. He observed, that no country in Europe could keep up such a force in time of peace, at so little expense as we did the militia. He reminded the honourable gentleman and the house of the eminent scrvices of the militia: that in 1780 they saved the capital from in minent danger;

that during the rebellion in Ireland,

with the aid of the yeomanry, they saved that country; that in one of the most important expeditions undertaken by this country in the course of the last war, the greatest part of that army consisted of volunteers from the Irish militia. It was with great pride that he assured the right honourable gentleman and the house, that a very short time indeed would prove to them, and to the world, that the militia would be brought forward with more promptitude than at any period of the administration in which the honourable gentleman formed a part; and that there would be, in that short period, a greater regular force ready to act than we had either at the commencement or conclusion of the late war. He wished the right ho

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nourable gentleman had been in his place the preceding day, to have heard the opinions of the gentlemen from Ireland; he would then have heard, that, if the house negatived this proposition,they must raise the militia by ballot, or by means of payment of substitutes by the different parishes, which would make the bounties infinitely higher. He denied that adopting the measure in question would deprive the army of recruits: it might perhaps interfere with it, but not in any great degree. Sir William Pulteney said, the honourable gentleman (Mr. Windham) seemed to consider it as absolutely necessary that we must at all events have a disposeable force; recalling to mind transactions that had passed, he seemed to imagine that expeditions to the enemy’s coast were the only means which could save this country. On this head, he entirely differed from the honourable gentleman; who had also told us, that we were at present in a most dangerous and critical situation. Granted for a moment (said the right honourable baronet), and how are we to guard against it? The first consul had told us, that he had 500,000 men with which he could attack us. Could we raise that number 2 No! Then what were we to do 2 We could raise 80,000 militia in a few weeks. Would the right honourable gentleman be able to bring forward a disciplined regular force to that amount in so short a time 2 Certainly not. Our first point was to defend ourselves. Was France ever before in a condition to threaten us with destruction at the very commencement of a war? Never. The militia was therefore of the highest importance; for it was an institution to which we owed every thing. . The system had existed, with the greatest advantage to this country, ever since 1757, and was acknowledged by lord Chatham to have been the chief cause of the glory we acquired in the seven years' war. We ought, says the honourable gentleman, to have a large disposeable force. Granted:—the militia was a body of men for defence; and when the force for defence was great, the whole of your regulars, said sir W. Pulteney, are disposeable.— The right honourable gentleman could not have forgotten what the militia of America did against us. We sent out a very great regular force; but we were beaten, and that by militia. He thought the right honourable gentleman's doctrine entirely unfounded; and was surprised he should suppose his eloquence equal to overturning a system, which had existed with so much glory and advantage to the country since 1757, by a single speech. Sir Lawrence Parsons remarked, that the question, as it should be taken, was, whether we should avail ourselves in the present crisis of the actual state of the Irish militia, such as it offered itself to the view of government? and not, whether the militia establishment was, in an abstract consideration, objectionable 2 The chancellor of the exchequer was extremely sorry to find that any opinion should be delivered, tending to make a comparison between the militia and the troops of the line; and more concerned to hear doubts expressed with respect to its adequacy. He had known several officers of great distinction, who did not desire any better support than to meet the veteran troops of France at the head of a


small force of regular troops, grafted on the foundation of the militia of the country. He hoped he should not be thought out of order, since he had mentioned the subject, in alluding to the gallant services of an honourable gentleman, whom he then saw in the uniform of his corps, and who graced the benches of that house. (Mr. Addington alluded to colonel Vereker, colonel of the Limerick militia). Among the eminent achievements of the militia, must be mentioned those of the honourable gentleman, who, at the head of a small corps on that establishment, checked and conquered in Ireland the French force, when in the full career, of success. He concluded by remarking, that such observations as those thrown out with respect to the difference between the militia and the troops of the line, could only diffuse jealousies and distrust; and that the country was in all respects prepared for every exigency. Mr. Wilberforce. strongly suported the measure then before the ouse. Perhaps, said he, the honourable gentleman (Mr. Windham) who objected so strongly to a militia, was peculiarly attached to standing armies, from his love for expeditions, and the facility with which they could be entered upon by such a force. Suppose the right honourable gentleman's wish was complied with, and a standing army should be raised in Ireland, as well as a militia, he would ask, if the one would not be just as inexperienced as the other ? erefore he could not avail himself of that part of his argument. He, for his own part, looked on the militia as one of the strongest and most honourable safeguards of the country and the constitution. When ** gentlemen of high 2

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