Page images
PDF
EPUB

troy serenth n»u become a deserter, when they merely car

ntdoothe recruiting service for praise; whereas those who,
cak the other head of recruiting, stood forward with their
femes to obtain preferment on procuring a certain num-r
'xo( men, it was worth their while to run all riiques, or
n&*r, by the large bounties they gave, to prevent any
r.Sjce. Much hud been observed concerning those officers
who offered their services, on the plea that their fathers and
relates had distinguished themselves in the aimy; such men;:
osgbt, in his mind, ever to be considered as the children of
fe Public; sure lie was, for he had known several instances;
sit, that they "were always cherished, assisted, and encou-
ngedby rhe other officers, who gave them the best advice
so ill occasions. Upon the whole, the Colonel said, lie
a.% in so many words, give it as his opinion, that the
nr^eofrecruiting by raising independent companies, was, in
cfti of pressing emergency, extremely desirable, since the
wag by those means enabled to raise ten thousand men on a
sodden, when not a fourth of the number could be procured
: the regular way of regimental recruiting, must have a
biking effect upon our enemies, and give them a strong
roprtflion of the activity, vigour, and spirit of the country.
T"'? usual mode of accepting, offers to raise men, by those
'^Jid not expect to rife higher than the rank of Captain*
-«3ipanies, he believed, was, to enquire if the parties
tresure of any fortune or allowance over their pay; be-
CSSseit must, fie mould imagine, be obvious to. the whole
ftwfe, thru regimental pay was not adequate to the support
subaltern officer; and if officers of approved merit had
^tochmeans of *king out their military income, an aug-
^atation of their pay most certainly must deserve the serious
^benevolent consideration of the House.

Colonel Hartley contended that it was striking at the very Colonel "et of .in army, to adopt, at the commencement of a war, Hartley.

a mode of recruiting as raising new corps. He had t-'2*n a man who would, at one time, have been glad to ^e three guineas levy money in the regular course of re°>iting, who had refused to take eight of a recruiting serafter he discovered that independent companies were 13 W raised.

wrdf elding urged the mischievous consequences of giv- Lord '{fish targe bounties at the commencement of a war, as Fielding. *« known to be offered by the agents of those who had ^•for railing a certain number of men.

_ Mr. Thompson remarked, that at the opening of the investi- Mr Pan of the present subject, he had declared his satisfaction Thoa y' it was to be considered more deliberately at a future day; *°B* *dtbe reason why he had so expressed himself, arose from a W. XXIX. • F hop*

hope that the right honourable gentleman would, in the 11 terim. have seen his error, and abandoned a system ot recrui ing so injurious to the military service, so palpably calculate to increase the patronage of the Crown, and so wide of ec< nomy. 1 o the right honourable the Secretary at War f was to impute all the blame, not only of the measure but < the bad consequences which had followed it. It would, ' I should imagine, be generally admitted, that it was the ir variable rule for all contracts to be solid and binding on bot parties, and most especially such contracts as did not he.about them the shackles and trammels which the law ha provided foi the security of the contractor in ordinary cases hut which depended solely upon honour and good frith The new corps had been raised upon a pretence of asset-tin: and maintaining the national honour abroad, and yet, in th mode of raising them, the right honourable the secretary a War had contrived to stab the honour of the British army a home, by violating the conditions on which the contracts so raising the independent companies had been expressly made The letter of instructions to those whose offers of rrisin^ the new corps were accepted, contained the conditions 01 which they were to be raised Let the House, ihere'bre, sei how the right honourable Secretary at War had abided bj those instructions! Mr. Thompson declared, that in th? instructions it was conditioned, that the officers' commission; should be made out from the day that their corps were declared to be complete, and yet, to his knowledge, those whose corps were declared to be complete in 1790, had their commissions dated in 1791, and had actually received only the pay of Lieutenants While they were serving as Captains. This had occasioned loud clamours and complaints without doors, and certainlv with great justice. In conclusion, Mr. Thompson observed, that the recollection of the inviolable duty which he owed to his constituents, had impelled him to a statement of these facts; nor could he drop the subject, without expressing his surprise and indignation at the circumstance of the War Office being converted into an auctioneer's room, and the Secretary at War acting as a broker of commissions.

{Secretary The Secretary at Tsar answered, that he was much obliged at War. to the honourable gentleman for the notice he had been plejsed to take of him, hut he did assure the honourable gentleman, and the Committee, that he had never heard of such complaints as the honourable gentleman had alluded to, nor did he believe they had any foundation. Mr. Fox, Mr. Fox expressed his conviction that the adopted mode of raising troops was expensive and inconvenient, and tending to damp the spirit of the army. He wished only to speak tatto points which had received no sort of answer; he did nctœean to argue them, but merely to give his opinion, tax he conceived they needed only to be mentioned, to make Jie impression on the Committee. The first of these was ^egiving rank to those who got men, without regard to air standing in the army'. That appeared to him to be a Faiciple adverse to all military spirit, and tending to ma1* the officers of the British army worse, and less anxious for the success. The other part was th* constitutional point, of wb:ch, notwithstanding its importance, no notice had been lien. He meant the novel practice of selling commissions, ssvd applying the money raised by their sale in diminution of At half-pay list expence. He declared he did not see how thapractice could be reconciled to any other principle than liat most unconstitutional one, the raising money on the sshjefi, without either the sanction or consent of Parliaaait. It had been said that, on the present occasion, it *w!d reduce the half-pay list expence ten thousand pounds; tat Mr. Fox declared that* rather than countenance a practtefo likely to damp the spirit of the British army in future, ««i k incompatible with the principles of the constitution of ^country, he would vote for the payment of forty thoupounds out of the public purse. The question was now put and carried, and after the other ^stations were voted, the report was ordered to be received '?* the morrow. The House adjourned.

Tuesday^ 2tyb March.

The order of the day for taking the King's message into "deration being readj Mr. Chancellor Pitt rose, and observed, that he was well •Sted that the House would coincide with him in the idea, ^ it could not be considered but as a matter of great regret, His Majesty's representations, in conjunction with his ^for the purposes of re-establishing the peace of Europe, "■i permanent basis, had hitherto proved ineffectual; yet, *cJ8 they felt the advantage of that system of defensive alwhich had been so geherally countenanced* he trusted •^tney would admit that a temporary expence might be •jkty and judiciously incurred, to prevent ariy alteration place in the relative condition of the powers of Euv*i that tended materially to weaken the security which H^pected to derive from that system. On this ground, 'Ntewion of His Majesty's Ministers had been directed J* general state of affairs in Europe; an additional force , k") kept up, with the approbation of the House, after '*lxc armament, because the situation of affairs seemed to F ^ call tall for it; and farther addition was now judged cxpedier because a change in that situation rendered it necessary. T House, he was persuaded, would see the propriety of per; vering in the defensive system, and whatever opinions mig be entertained respecting the general policy of continental: liances, or our immediate interest in interfering in the di putes of continental Powers, there could be no difficulty deciding, that if defensive alliances Were to be maintained, Was our duty to adhere to those alliances, and our interest prevent any changes in the general state of affair?, whit might render them nugatory and insufficient. It had on< been a prevailing opinion in this country, that Great Britaii from the peculiar advantages of local situation, might mair tain her rank and her consequence, unconnected with foreig powers; but from the moment that this opinion was aban dorted, and we had connected ourselves with other power: there could be no doubt but that we were under the neceflit of watching the progress of events in Europe, and takin measures to prevent the intent and purpose of those connec tions from being defeated. As little would it be doubted tha the influence of the Turkish empire was of great effect ii the general scale of European Powers, and that the presen situation of it was such as to afford just cause of apprehensioi to all the other Powers whose interest were in any degre liable to be affectetl by a diminution of that influence. It particular, the power and ability of our ally, the King o Prussia, to give vigour and efficacy to the defensive system into which we had entered with him, must le greatly affect ed by a diminution of the influence which the Turkish empire has hitherto maintained. Any point tending to rendei the power of that empire in Europe precarious, must necessarily affect Prussia, and be highly detrimental to our interests, as far as they were connected by a common object with his, the object of mutual defence. Whatever might prove the result of the war in which that empire was unhappily engaged, if it went to increase the power of Russia, tht effect of it would not be confined to the two Powers alone; it must be felt by the rest of Europe, and felt more immediately in that quarter, with which, in pointof interest, we were most intimately connected. From these reasons, it was evident that we had a direct and important interest in the event of the war, and were not led to interfere by any remote or «ontingent hope of advantage. The House was informed that His Majesty had made use of representations to fec\iTe tire interests of his1 subjects, and his allies. They wsrtr afpriftd that, hi order to give greater weight to his reprerVntat .ons, he had judged it requisite to make an addition to tH force; and it remained for the House to decide

whether %'aether it was not more consistent, both with honour and with policy, to act with prudent foresight, and avert an imfo&ig evil by precaution, than to delay the remedy till the miiitf was actually felt. In conclusion, Mr. Chancellor Act moved,

■ That an humble address be presented to His Majesty, "lo return His Majesty the thanks of this House, for his

* most gracious message.

"To express our regret that the endeavours which His u Majesty has used, in conjunction with his allies, to effect K 1 pacification between Russia and the Porte, have hitherto "been unsuccessful.

tt That nothing can more evince His Majesty's constant "Jttention to the welfare of his subjects, and his concern

for the general tranquillity, than his anxiety to contribute "to the speedy termination of a war, from the farther pro8 pets of which His Majesty apprehends that consequences *• may arise highly important to the interests of His Majesty "and his ajlies, and to those of Europe in general.

"That as, under these circumstances, His Majesty judges "it requisite, in order to add weight to his representations, '• to make some farther additions to his naval force, his faithful Commons think it their duty to assure His Majesty, '' that they shall be ready to make good the expences which ,; may be incurred by these preparations, for the purpose of • c supporting the interests of these kingdoms, and of con"triboting to the great and important object of restoring the

* tranquillity of Europe on a secure and lasting foun•ition."

Mr. Dundas seconded the motion.

Lord H'ycombe observed, that on the first hearing of this Lord *<port, he had met it with a positive disbelief. He could Wycombe •"■ot think that Ministers would rashly adopt a measure which sm* recommended neither in a commercial nor a political point of view. As a commercial measure, he would alk of •J mercantile man in that House, whether benefits could be ■•oped for in any degree, equivalent to the mischief attending «1 hostilities. In a political point of view, he could not ^k that a dispute concerning the frontiers of Turkey, was 1 sufficient motive to engage this country in a war. At all 'Wits, he should resist the measure, until the House was Passed of a more adequate share of information on a subject ot lo much importance.

Mr. Coke (Member for Norfolk) expressed himself not Mr. Coke Jfpofcd to enter into the views of the Minister in this in**t* as he by no means entertained that confidence in his pities or his integrity which seemed to actuate other gen!«Dien. 'she great and loyal county which he represented»

« PreviousContinue »