Page images

my counsels which the right ho. Mr. Canning then rose, and after Bourable secretary for the war de. denying that the inferences were pertinent was supposed to influence; just, which the last speaker had en. he urged that gentleman in the deaToured to deduce from the noble strongest terms, to disclose what lord's speech, expressed his surprise bis intentions were in regard to that an administration, combining, the additional force bill. 66 On as had been asserted, and as they this and other questions connected themselves had represented, all the with the military defence of the talents, all the abilities, and all the country, it was indispeasible that experience and wisdom of the an immediate determination should country, should require so much take place, and that the men of ta. time to mature and bring forward leats, of which the new administra. their measures. He acknowledged tion was said to be composed, “ that if these questions were agi. should hasten to exert those talents tated with a view to draw from the in a way calculated to be of advao. right honourable gentleman a pretage to the public. The patient mature disclosure of his plans, op. might otherwise expire before the position would ill discharge their state physicians had made up their duty to the public;" but he neverminds as to the prescriptions that theless went on, stating his reasons gaght to be adopted.”

for wishing to have an answer on Mr. Secretary Windham observed the subject of the volunteers and in reply, that the delay complained additional force bill, and expressing, of by opposition, arose from difli- in the course of his speech, his total culties which they had themselves want of confidence in the secretary created. 6 Their military system for the war department, as a war had been so bad, that it naturally, minister, in which opinion he was produced those difficulties. The sure that nine tenths of the nation noble lord had very properly com- coincided with him. pared the present military system Mr. Whitbread, after some re. ta a sick patient. But who had marks on the tone and spirit of reduced the wretched patient to Mr. Canning's and lord Castle. that languishing state? How came reagh's speeches, observed, that the the patient to be in his present sin recent efficacy of the additional taation? Was it not the poble lord force bill, was not owing to its na. and his friends who had brought tural operation, but to the activity han to death's door? And yet they of crimps and recruiting officers, in who had brought the country to turning over to the parish lovies, that state, were now loud in their men under-sized for the line and reproaches of their successors, for militia. not restoring the patient instantly Mr. Fox, in reply to Mr. Can. to health.” After some observa. ning, observed, that " that right tons on the questions put to him by honourable gentleman had stated, the noble lord, he ended by saying, that the present ministry comprised

that the subjects alluded to were all the talent in the country; and 097 ender the consideration of go. he had even stated it in such a manTernment, and would, in due time, ner as might lead to a supposition be submitted to parliament.”

that they had so represented them.

selves. selves. He should be happy that troduced; here there was a the right honourable gentleman system to be founded. Then, would state on what occasion ke had ever, no objection of delay heard them so represent themselves. started, neither were any prema It was impossible that they could enquiries made into the naturi have said so, when they saw the the plan which he had in cont right honourable gentleman on the plation to introduce.

66 What g

The r other side of the house. It would honourable secretary declared, be ridiculous in any person to insi. could figure no reason for putti Duate that ministry comprised all question like the present, bu the talent of the country, when the wish to embarrass. right honourable gentleman was out motive could the persisting in itp of office. Not only the right ho. ceed from, when his right honou nourable gentleman, but his col. ble friend had stated, that he leagues on the same bench with not quite ready to bring forw: him, had made such a representa. his measure? What advantage co tion impossible, particularly by arise from a premature declarati the display of talent which they similar to that now required ? Fr had already made in opposition. what good motive could the wish If some of the friends of the pre. procure such a declaration procee sent administration, thinking too if his right honourable friend | highly of their merits, had, from begun by moving the repeal of prejudice or partiality, so described additional force act, would not them, he thought it was hardly for right honourable gentleman h the friends of the right honourable argued, that till a substitute gentleman, Jately deceased (Mr. provided in its stead, that Pitt) and least of all for the gentle- should be allowed to take its cour man opposite (Mr. Canning) to ob- and, if his right honourable frie ject to that species of panegyric.” now said, that that act formed After pointing out the inconsistency part of his plan, did it not follo of Mr. Canning, in first declaring that this was not the time to inv that he had no confidence in the tigate or discuss its merits.” secretary for the war department, We have been more diffuse and then requiring that right ho. our account of these prelimin nourable gentleman to make a pre. skirmishes, than their importan mature disclosure to him of his perhaps, strictly merits, but plans, he proceeded to contrast were desirous of enabling the opinion now expressed of his readers, by these extracts from right honourable friend, with the parliamentary debates, to judge endeavours used to make him take themselves of the spirit of carp a part in the late administration, hostility which marked, on so ma when it was forming. He reminded occasions, the conduct of opp the gentlemen opposite, that when tion during the present session, ? Mr. Pitt came last into office, he ticularly in discussions, where did not, for four weeks after his secretary for the war departm return to power, bring in his addi. was in any manner concerned. tional force bill; though in that On the 3d of April Mr. Wil case a single act only was to be in. ham introduced the subject of

22* military arrangements, by stat. with regular battalions, yolunteers ing, that the expectations enterai with troops of the line, would ex. tained on the other side of the pose to certain destruction the ar. house, that some radical change in my where such an expedient was our military system, would be the resorted to ; and that, consequently, conseq qence of the present ministers the great object to which our at. coming into power, were reasona. tention should be directed for per. He and just, and warranted by the manent Security against invasion, language of himself and his friends was the increase and improvement when in opposition; but that the of our regular army. The supe. erpectation of some immediate riority of an army over every spe. change following, without the cies of irregular force being esta. smaltest delay, his own appointment blished, the next question was, how to office, was neither justified by his were we to recruit that army, and past declarations, nor countenanced angment it to the number necessary by the nature of the proceedings he for defence. There were only two hat uniformly recommended ; that modes by which an army could be it had never been his object to limit recruited “ force or choice." ear views to a temporary expedient Force, Mr. Windham shewed, was to meet the present exigency, but peculiarly unfitted for England, to provide a permanent security where its operation would be at against a permanent danger; that once less efficacious and more opin the measures he was about to pressive, than in countries subject recommend, “ care was of more to arbitrary government. But, importance than time, and it was force being excludcd, choice, or vobetter that whatever was done luntary enlistment, was the only sould be done rightly, than that it means left us for procuring soldiers, should be done speedily." After and we were then to consider, how some sarcastic and ludicrous observa. it might be made effectual for that tions on the conduct of the gentlemen purpose. If we inquired why, of opposite, who after having " clubbed late years, this instrument had the battalion," or, in other words, failed in England (for it used not thrown every thing into disorder, formerly to be inefficacious) we seemed to exult in the confusion should find that the military pro. mey had made, he procecded to his fession in this country was not suf. Isin argument, the parport officiently rewarded, when compared which was to shew, that the de- with the other occupations open to lence and security of civilized na. the lower orders, and was, theretions most depend entirely on the fore, considered by the body of the excellence of their regular arinies; people as less eligible than other that do species of irregular force callings. The necessity for boun. could be emploved with any chance ties to procure soldiers, shewed that of success against regular troops, the service of the army did not stand except in very peculiar circum- upon its true footing; for there stances, which were totally inappli. was no other profession to which it cable to the warfare between France was necessary to allure men by and Englaod ; that to mix irregular such means. Comparing governments to manufacturers, and the in proportion as the army becomes people to the buyers of manufac. licentious, a severity of discipline tured goods, our government was must be resorted to which deters one that carried an inferior article from enlisting. Little therefore was to market, and was, therefore, to be done by encreasing the pay of compelled to give a premium to its the army, though much might be subjects, in order to induce them to cffected by encouragement of a diffebecome parchasers of its wares, or rent sort. A better provision might it had recourse to artifice and decep- be made for those persons who were tion, in order to tempt the ignorant disabled from further service by and the thoughtless to be its custo their wounds, infirmities or age. mers. Nothing, then remained, if The severity of discipline might be we were to have an army by volun. lessened without relaxing its strict. tary enlistment, but to improve the ness. But the great change which he trade of a soldier, and to bring it proposed to introduce in the army into fair competition with a sufficient was in the terms of its engagement, portion of the trades and callings of Instead of an engagement to serve the lower orders; and, till this was for life he proposed that the soldiers done, we should be striving in vain, in future, should be enlisted to in the hopeless task of persuading serve for a term of years. Such men to embrace a profession, in op- was the system of service, he said, position to those motives which in all the states of Europe, except usually decide them in the choice in England, and in part even of our of onc. On this principle, then, army the same system was establishdid Mr. Windham mean to found ed. No inconvenience had any his plan for recruiting the army. where resulted from it, while its He would improve the article which tendency to make men enter more government had to dispose of, and he willingly into the army was obvi. trusted, when that was done, there ous and apparent. would no longer be any complaints He proposed therefore, that the heard of the want of purchasers. term of military service should be


To reduce these principles to prac- divided into three periods, of seven tice it behoved us to consider what years each for the infantry; and was the most eligible mode of im. for the cavalry and artillery tha proving the condition of the soldiery, first period to be of ten years, the so as to render the military professi. second of six years, and the third of on an object of general desire a. five years. At the end of every mong the people. The most sim. period the soldier should have a ple and obvious expedient was to right to claim his discharge. If he raise the pay of the army, and no left the army at the end of the first doubt we might carry that principle period, he should be entitled to ex. so far as to ensure an abundant sup- ercise bis trade or calling in any ply of soldiers. But besides the town of Great Britain or Ireland; objections on the score of expence, if at the end of the second period, the pay of an army cannot be in. he should be entitled, besides, to a creased to a great extent without pension for life ; and at the end of the rendering the troops licentious, and third period, after a service of twen.


ty-one years, he should be dis- ciple, that the present high bounties charged from the army, with the would always continue, and that at full allowance of Chelsea, which by the conclusion of every term of serjadicious regulations might be raised vice it would be necessary to repeat to a shilling a day. If he was them. Expence at any rate was a rounded or disabled in the service, secondary object when placed in comhe should receive the same pension petition with security : and the only as if he had served out the full term. fair question was, whether the end During the second period he should could be attained by cheaper means. also receive sixpence a week of ad. It had been erroneously stated, that čitional pay, and during the third according to the provisions of this period a shilling a week. Desertion plan, we should be liable to lose at might be punished by the loss of so once a seventh part of our whole zany years service, and though cor- army. But they who made that calporal punishments could not be culation had forgotten to take casualbanished entirely from the army, ties into the account; and, besides, it they might be diminished both in was unreasonable to suppose, that of bamber and in severity. By these those entitled to their discharge, beans a better description of men none would enlist again for another would be indaced to enter the army; period. A discretionary power, the profession of a soldier would however, might be given to governrise in the estimation of the country; ment, in time of war, to retain men desertion would become less fre. for six months in the service, after the queat ; and, though the necessity term of their engagement was ex. for bounties could not be expected pired. A more serious difficulty to cease immediately, the bounties had been started with respect to the Fould begin soon in the language of embarrassments, which this change Change Alley, to 56 be looking of system might occasion in our down ;' and if the system, now re. foreign and colonial service ; but coib mended, was steadily pursued expedients would be found to reaod faithfully adhered to, the army medy this objection, and we had would be placed in a situation, where proof at any rate, from the example its owo attractions would be the only of the East India Company, whose bounty required for recruiting its troops are enlisted for a term of ranks and procuring for it any years, that the inconvenience is less bumber of men, which the exi. in practice than it appears to be in gencies of the state might require. theory. To the question put to him,

After explaining the principles what he intended to do with our pre. and defending the expediency of sent army, Mr. Windham replied, these measures with equal force of that in strict justice the existing argument and felicity and copious. army was entitled to no other conless of illustration, Mr. Windham ditions than those on which the proceeded to anticipate some of the soldiers composing it had engaged objections, and remove some of the to serve ; but that he meant to difficulties, that stood in the way of make an increase, in their favour, of his plan. The additional expence, to the Chelsea allowance, and to exwhich it would lead, had been tend to those who had served seven greatly over rated, on the false prin. years, the addition of sixpence, and


« PreviousContinue »