Imatges de pÓgina

under the well-founded hope that the people of Holland would return to their loyalty. We took the fleet to restore it to their legitimate prince; we promifed our exertions to re-inftate him in his poffeffions; and could we now, with either dignity or juftice, recede? If adminiftration, after the late capture, fhould ftop fhort, it would be a fpecies of political fwindling, of which he believed his majesty's minifters were incapable.

Mr. Tierney remarked, that this language was fomething alarming; if at all events we were to perfift in the restoration of Holland, and be called fwindlers if we did not, our cafe was pitiable: he fhould like to understand the terms on which we had taken that fleet, and whether it was a condition in its furrender that we were to restore the ancient go wernment of Holland?

On the third reading of the bill, Mr. Tierney arged the propriety of minifters taking upon themfelves the whole refponfibility of the act, for which he propofed an amendment, which was, to leave out of the preamble every thing relative to Holland. He objected to taking any notice, in any act of parliament, of any measure which his majefty, under the advice of minifters, was carrying on. This was one, indeed, which could not come under the infpection of the houfe, becaufe it belonged exclufively to the king's prerogative. It stated, that his majefty was endeavouring to reftore the lawful government of Holland; but what this lawful government was the fovereign alone could decide.

The chancellor of the exchequer replied, that if there were any ftate reasons attending the furrender, it was obvious that in that houfe no anfwer could be given to the queftion; but the truth was, no agreement of any fort had ever been made, nor did we mean at all events to procure the emancipation of Holland. To have taken the fleet with the promise of delivering it up to its fovereign, and to use no endeavours after we had attained our own ends, in the restoration of his provinces, would well deferve the name of political fwindling; not that he would have it fuppofed adminiftration intended to run all risks to effect its object: No; without the co-operation of the Dutch people it would be impracticable. But this there was reafon to expect; for, in a fhort time after the approach of our arms, the inhabitants of one town received our men with joy, as their deliverers.

Mr. fecretary Dundas answered, we had guarantied to Holland that government by treaty; and he knew of no doubts which could be enter tained by parliament, whether a government which we were bound by treaty to fupport was, or was not, lawful.

The amendment was negatived. Mr. Martin doubted of the policy of the measures which the bill enabled minifters to purfue; the expence of men and money was not likely to be compenfated by any advantages. Still less did he think the prefent profpect of these advantages was adequate to the rifk. He concluded with observing, that the reprefentatives of the people were artfully drawn in by minifters into great and expenfive undertakings, and afterwards told that they had advanced too far to recede with prudence or fafety.

The bill then paffed the house, and was fent up to the lords. In that houfe, lord Grenville, on the 4th of October, moved the fecond reading of the bill; the principle,


he faid, had, upon a former occafion, been amply difcuffed and recognised by parliament: it was to enable his majefty to accept the voluntary fervice of thofe perfons in the militia who might still wish to ferve in the regiments of the line. The measure (as it appeared from recent experience) had been productive of the most beneficial effects, and was likely to promote the most happy confequences.

Earl Fitzwilliam rofe:-he thought the bill objectionable, not only as being unjust in its nature, but as introducing into the militia a degree of infubordination of the most perilous nature. When it was brought into parliament the last year, he had foreseen that what was then grounded upon a particular emergency would be reforted to on every occafion as a general principle.

the defence of their country; but when they found the corps which had been raised and maintained at a great expence for their defence were directed to other purposes, they had reafon to complain: it was an act of injuftice, as it deftroyed the fyftem under which they had engaged to contribute their perfonal fervice or pecuniary aid. This was not the only ground on which he oppofed the measure; all forts of mutinies were engendered by it; riot and diforders took place on the recruiting from the militia forces; the officers were placed in the moft mortifying fituations; they were obliged to confine themselves to their barracks, durft not face the foldiers, or appear on the parades. Such was the overthrow of difcipline which had hitherto refulted from the measure.

The fame reasons which induced him to oppose it at that time were ftrengthened by this propofed extenfion: the plan was a breach of the engagement which fubfifted with men who were raised for a peculiar purpose, under a peculiar fyftem: by changing the nature of their fervice, government acted in a manner which they had not anticipated. It was alfo to be co fidered, that the burden of railing the militia was not diftributed over the community; it devolved chiefly on the owners of land; it had been a confiderable weight upon the poor's rates: to the poor's rates thofe who had fixed and oftenfible property contributed in the greatest meafure. Landholders indeed had a fuperior intereft in defending their property, because it could not be transferred like other kinds into other countries: for this reafon the la ded intereft might acquiefce in the fupport of a body of men for

Lord Holland obferved, that the avowed object of the bill was, to reduce the number of the militia, in order to obtain a disposable force. It was not (he hoped) necessary to demonftrate what was fo obvious, i. e. that no man could give his vote for the measure, unless he alfo could give his fa&tion to the manner in which the force fhould be applied: it was no lefs effential to approve of the final object than of the mode to attain it. As to this mode, their lordships had heard from different members of the houfe well qualified t judge, that it was confidered as a violation of engagement between government and the militia; that it was odious to the officers, and regarded as an infult both to their spirit and their rank-two things which, in the militia, ought to be held most facred. Upon this part of the fubje&t much had been already faid; but there was another branch, of no mean confideration, which had not come under

under examination. He was well aware that he was expofing himself to cenfure by difcuffing it: the exercife of one of the great duties of a lord in parliament had of late years become obnoxious; and to arraign the object or conduct of an expedition pending its fuccefs, was ftigmatifed as factious, unfeafonable, and hoftile to the interefts of the public. Confcioufnefs of rectitude, however, rendered him regardless of all these imputations.

He was ready to admit, that in the execution of an enterprise some mif. chiefs might arife from public difcuffion, but thefe were compenfated by the benefits arifing from that free inveftigation fo peculiarly connected with the genius of our conftitution. His lordship proceeded to examine the object of the prefent expedition, and whether in our ac. tual circumstances it was prudent to be attempted, or fafe to be purfued: that it would be happy for the United States to be again placed under their old government he moft readily acknowledged-but what were the fentiments of the people of Holland upon this fubject? Unlefs they co-operated with our efforts, it would be extreme folly and inraftice to attempt the restoration of the fladtholder's power; and this was the avowed object of adminitration. That the Dutch abhorred, the ufurpation of the French, and languished for independence, there was little doubt; but it did not therefore follow that they would coincide with the views of Great Britain and Ruffia: they were too well acquainted, both by experience and obfervation, with the full meaning of that protection and relief which the weak receive from the powerful: it implied, in fact, that a fmall fate fhould be conquered and plundered by a great one. They


had feen what was the protection of the Netherlands, of Poland, of Venice, and of Switzerland, and could not but entertain fufpicions, even of the moft flattering proteftations held out to themfelves. But it would beanfwered, How could they fufpect the magnanimity of the emperor of Ruffia, and the generofity of the British nation? Our proclamations indeed breathed nothing but liberal and friendly aid; but our conduct fpoke a different language, when, in our negotiations at Paris, it was evident that we were determined to retain the fettlements which had fallen into our own hands, and the reftoration of the Cape, and of Ceylon, was never intended, even foukl we again become their allies. Would they infer our generofity by our readiness to procure troops to fight their battles in Holland, when we had no defign to put them in poffeffion of thofe colonies effential to their commerce and profperity?

But there was another confideration to be weighed: Might not the object which we were now fo doubtfully purfuing by arms, be more probably achieved by negotiation? There was reafon to believe that the king of Pruffia must be defirous to fee the government of the ftadtholder reftored; and perhaps France, upon certain con. fiderations, would acquiefce in fuch a change.

To attempt it by force, with the affiftance of Ruffia fo actively interpofed, might rifque the total failure of the expedition. It was the wife maxim of Mr. Burke upon another occafion, that if negotiation failed, an appeal might be made to arms, but if force proved ineffectual, it was impoffible to recur to negotiation: our failure, therefore, in our prefent plan, left no place for amicable arrangement. But,


But, admitting that it was eligible to restore the old government of Holland by force of arms, ought we to employ our own forces, or thofe of of rabies, in the enterprife? To rely upon our own, was attended with many advantages, but ftill they might be counter-bel.nced by the facrifices requifite. If we were obliged to train every nerve, and compelled to violate our engage ment with the militia, the question was doubtful. To depend folely on or allies was attended with certain inconveniences; the expence of maintaining a large army abroad was enormous; the em lo men of fo many velels in tranfport fervice had already produced an uncommon fcarcity of coals in the metropolis; the price of grain was rfing to an unufual height; and when the demand of veffels for government would probably continue, there appeared but little of found policy in employing foreign allies to accomplifh our defign. There were other expeditions which strongly deterred us from fending fo great a part of our men out of the kingdom: the French fleet had returned to Breft in great force; there was caufe for apprehenfion in Ireland, fhould foreign aid be joined to domestic difcontent; the union held out by minifters had not yet tranquillifed the fifter kingdom. Surely, then, it was questionable, whether the propofed reduction of our defenfive force in the country, and the emplovment of fo great an army on a foreign expedition, were meafures of wisdom.

the militia fubfervient to the recruiting of the army-a meafure calculate to difguit the officers in that fervice. The nature of its objects was different from those of a regular army; the views and the qualifica tions were different: and his lordthip concluded with expreffing his difpprobation of the bill, both with refpect to the obje♬ and the means.

The earl of Westmoreland faid, he could not fee that the militia fyftem was violated; it was indeed difficult to define what it was: there were various kinds, from the Swifs militia to the London trained bands: it never could be meant that they fhould be useless to this country in any emergency of are: their whole conduct difclaimed f. ch a suppofition. They had contributed to fave the nation from the defigns of jacobinifm; they had cheerfully volunteered the fervice for the defence of the fifter kingdon; and was it probable that they would even brook the idea of remaining inactive, when England could be benefited by their fervices? But it had been objected, that in going to Ireland they had left their own home defencelefs Nothing could be fo ill founded as fuch a remark: by defending Ireland they placed their own country out of the reach of an attack: it was by guarding againft the attempts of the enemy there W'e had been moft effectually protected from invafion here.

It had been faid, that men would be deterred from entering into the militia by this mode of proceeding; but he conceived it would rather be a recommendation to the service to find, that when tired of one fituation they might place themfelves in another, with a confiderable bounty! Neither were the officers thrown into a more irkfome state than if the reduction of the militia had been by

The practice which had been in troduced of facrificing the militia to the regular army, tended to deftroy that confti utional fyftem of defence, and he fuffeted that from the beginning it had been in the contemplation of minifters to render

ment of Holland. Nothing could excufe the difhonourable condu& of appropriating large fums beftowed for one declared end to another quite different, without the confent of the fubfcribers, who in fuch a cafe would be defrauded of their money under falfe pretences. Norad the legiflature been guilty of fo flagrant an outrage to juftice and probity: it had been effected by the fineffe of government in mifconftruing the act for this very purpose. The bill had been brought forward late in the laft feffion, when only feventeen members were prefent, and was now refumed at an early period, in an unusual way, when only thofe whom public employments detained near town could poffibly attend.

But it was affirmed, that the men willingly had entered the fervice. There was no doubt of it: foldiers were always to be obtained by money, and the tricks of ale house feduction. But the meafure was not to be estimated by the approbation of these men, which did not render it lefs a breach of faith with the land owners, who ftill continued loaded with the expence of their internal defence, when deprived of the purchafed fecurity: that management and addrefs was not very creditable which had fucceeded in corrupting, with public money, men who were encumbered with another fervice.

The fyftem of an unalienable home defence, under the command of gentlemen of independent fortune, was an object of conftitutional Go-value: the militia was a force by which the combined zeal and patriotifm of the whole country was called forth and interested in its defence, if attacked within. It was vain to allege that there would be left a fufficient number to preferve the old establishment entire; the militia

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by a difcharge regulated by lot: the power in the prefent inftance was greater; and as to its being difagreeable to the commanding officers, there was no real grievance in the cafe. The only circumftance that could be regarded, fuch as was, that the colonel of a militia regiment would now find himself at the head of a smaller body of men than he did fome time ago; and furely this perfonal confideration could not be balanced for a moment against the fubstantial interests of the nation.

Another objection had been, that, a precedent being established, the executive government would always have recourse to this mode of recruiting the army. It fhould, however, be recollected, that the fanction of parliament must previously be obtained; and as the employment of this refource would be regulated by the emergency of the occafion, there was no danger of its being abused. On these reasons he fupported the


Theearl of Carnarvon, in a speech of confiderable length, pointed out the obvious fenfe of the act. He faid the original militia was calculated and raised for all circumstances whatever, either of peace or war, and not liable to be affected by any changes in the fituation of public affairs. The fupplementary was raised as a war-addition to the permanent militia, and augmented to accommodate the defenfive force to peculiar exigencies. It would neceffarily admit of reduction, though not of its perverfion from a militia to a force of another nature. vernment could not caft a greater odium on the legislature than by fuppofing it intended to divert the money given by private fubfcription for domestic defence, to purpofes diametrically oppofite, namely, to, re-establish the fubverted govern

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