Imatges de pÓgina
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mately connected with the avowed and implacable enemies of the country attempts which the unremitting vigilance of Government had detected and fruftrated. He had heard gentlemen fpeak in terms of the highest congratulation at the fortunate escape of this empire from the united efforts of foreign hoftility and domeftic treafon; but he recollected, that when His Majefty's Ministers were looking at thofe dangers in prospect, which were acknowledged now that they were paffed-when they were calling upon Parliament to adopt measures to avert them, they heard from the fame quarter not only a bold denial of their existence, but repeated and inflammatory statements of every topic which ingenuity could fuggeft, as calculated to awaken public jealoufy, and to prevent Parliament from invefting Government with thofe powers, which it was now admitted had been fo beneficially and fo moderately exercised.

If the fituation of the country was fo changed, it was a proof of the mistaken opinions of thofe gentlemen, a proof in addition to thofe arifing from circumftances ftill fresh in their memories, and to which it was not neceffary for him more particularly to allude. If the measures which had been adopted by the wifdom and firmness of Parliament had answered the ends for which they were defigned; if they had refcued the country from thofe dangers which were now no longer reprefented as imaginary, furely it was a most fingular argument to fay, that at the moment in which they were mutually congratulating each other upon the advantageous change which had taken place in our affairs, they ought to felect that moment to throw away thofe very means by which that advantage had been obtained. Did the honourable gentlemen think, that because hitherto we had, by the wife and vigorous meafures we had adopted, fo fortunately efcaped the perils with which we were menaced, that they might now with fafety abandon their efforts, and relax their precaution? Did they fuppofe, that if exulting in the idea of conscious fecurity, they were to fink into inattention and fupineness, that these dangers might not again occur? Had thefe gentlemen read fo little of human nature-had they feen fo little of it in its moft perverted and deformed ftate, in the fhape of modern Jacobinifm? or had they collected fo little from their observation, as not to know, that though Jacobinifm might be curbed and repreffed, yet while the principle remained unextinguished, its efforts would not ceafe? Jacobinism, to all that was detestable and abhorrent to every moral and religious idea, added one quality which increafed its malignity, and that was an incorrigible obftinacy, a wicked determination to be influenced by no arguments, to be convinced by no facts, which led its profeffors to perfift, if not openly, at least unremittingly, in their profe

cution of their atrocious defigns. But that prefeverance which in a bad caufe was wicked obftinacy, in a good one was highly commendable. He therefore hoped, that the Parliament of England would not fhew lefs perfeverance in the defence of the innumerable bleffings we enjoyed, than the Jacobins did in their efforts to deftroy

them.

The People of England had learnt enough of the nature of Jacobinism not to know, that while the principle of it exifted, the moft unremitting vigilance and the greatest firmness were neceffary to oppose it. They had learned, that they ought never to be for a moment off their guard, while they had among them men whose activity was unceafing, who never walked, who never flept without a dagger by their fide; they were convinced that until the weapon which threatened their existence was annihilated, the fhield which protected them could not be laid afide.

This was the answer he should give to thofe gentlemen who thought present fecurity a ground for future negligence. He trufted that the fuccefs that had hitherto attended these measures would be an argument for their continuance. The only other point on which he withed to say a word, lay in a very narrow compafs. An honourable gentleman (Mr. Taylor) had fuggefted the propriety of appointing a Secret Committee, to inquire into the neceffity of continuing the fufpenfion of the Habeas Corpus, That honourable gentleman feemed to him to have difplayed more candour in his speech than he had in the conclufion which he had come to, which he could only account for by fuppofing that the honourable gentleman spoke from his own feelings, but voted with his company. But the honourable gentleman feemed to have no doubt, that if a Secret Committee had been appointed, their report would leave no doubt of the propriety of adopting this measure if then the honourable gentleman was fure that their report would have justified the suspenfion, it was a fair inference to fay, that they had that honourable gentleman's authority for faying, that the fituation of the country required the measure. It was upon this very principle that he moved for leave to bring in this bill without making any preface. It was because the propriety of the measure was too obvious to render proof neceffary. What farther proof could be neceffary after they had feen what paffed in Ireland, when they knew the defigns of the enemy, and that their hopes of fuccefs against us were founded upon the chance of finding fome fortunate moment to affift our domestic traitors, when they knew that it was through the fufpenfion of the Habeas Corpus, that the plans of those traitors had been detected, whofe confeffions feemed to have made fuch a change in gentlemen's

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opinions-when they knew all those circumstances, they must feel that there was no neceffity for a Secret Committee to examine evidence to prove the expediency of the measure. A time might, and he hoped would come, during the prefent feffion, when, through the medium of a Secret Committee, the public might be put in poffeffion (as far as was confiftent with fafety) of many circumstances, of which they now could have no conception-Circumftances, which would more fully difplay that fyftem of treason which had been carried on, and which would display thofe links by which Irish traitors were connected with traitorous focieties in this country. But at prefent he should be ashamed to think that they fhould have recourfe to a Secret Committee, to justify them in adopting a measure, of the expediency of which they were at this moment fo perfectly convinced. Thofe inquiries to which he had alluded might, at another time, and for another purpose, take place; but in the mean time, gentlemen were not to fuppofe that those facts did not exift, because they were not now brought forward.

Mr. M. A. TAYLOR explained, as did Mr. Alderman COMBE.

Mr. TIERNEY faid, that the right honourable gentleman had now let the House into his intentions: it now appeared that this fufpenfion was to be made into a fyftem. He faid, the right honourable gentleman had unjustly charged him with having always represented that no danger exifted, whereas he had last year voted for the fufpenfion of this bill, on the ground of his apprehenfion of danger.

Mr. Chancellor PITT faid, he did not allude to the honourable gentleman in particular, but to other gentlemen with whom he ufed to act, and who had uniformly held the language he had defcribed.

The Houfe then divided-For the bill, 96; Against it, 6. Majority, 90.

Mr. Secretary DUNDAS rose to move for a bill for granting benefits to volunteer corps, which were embodied not merely for the defence of one spot, but whose services extended to the district in which they were. He faid there was one duty which he had been anxious to perform, and no time feemed more fit for it than the prefent, and that was, to make the acknowledgements of the country to the country, for the unequalled zeal and energy which it had manifefted. The Houfe could not but recollect, that about twelve months ago the country was, he would not fay in a panic, but certainly in expectation that the enemy would make an attempt to invade this country. The period he alluded to was just after the rup

ture of the negotiations at Lifle. The whole of the force which at that time exifted in this country, amounted in infantry, in regular militia, volunteers, &c. to 84,000 men; the cavalry, regulars, volunteers and yeomanry amounted to about 20,000, making the whole number of armed men in this country at that time 104,000. But in confequence of the threats of the enemy, the people of England felt that they ought to teach the enemy, that any attempt to invade this country would be followed by the total deftruction of the invaders, and the mode which Englishmen took to teach that leffon to the enemy, was to put themselves in a pofture of the most complete defence. Since that period, out of the force which he had mentioned, about 2,000 men had been captured at Oftend, who, having effected the purposes of the expedition, had been prevented by the weather from re-embarking. Besides these, a body of 5,000 men had been fent to India. It had been judged right to fend 3500 upon a fecret expedition into the Mediterranean. In addition to all these, this country had fpared no fewer than 25,000 men to the affiftance of Ireland, making together a body of above 35,000 men out of the 104,000 he had mentioned. He had now, however, the happiness to state, notwithstanding so large a body had been fent out of the kingdom, that this country was, by the most unparalleled exertions, protected by the zeal and courage of 240,000 men in arms. If the country remained true to itself -if it kept up that zeal which it had hitherto difplayed, he would announce with confidence, that it would remain in a state of impregnable fecurity. He stated this with the fincereft fatisfaction, and he confidered it as a proud day for England that he was able to fate it. That we were in this proud fituation was due to the Peoplo themselves-to them alone the merit belonged. They had fhewn by their conduct that they were determined to protect their Constitution and those laws under which they had enjoyed fo much happiness. He had faid, we were in a state of impregnable fecurity; he would not have used fuch strong words, if he had not confidered the nature of the force by which we were defended. Protected as we now were, he certainly looked upon the idea of invafion with derifion. But he wished no man to infer from his present security, that the continuance of his zeal and of his exertions were not neceffary.

At prefent every part of the country was amply supplied with forces to refift any attempt which the enemy might venture to make. This was the state of the remoter parts of the country-In the Southern district there were above 32,000 men, under the command of that able veteran, Sir Charles Grey. In the Eaftern

diftrict there were no lefs than 80,000 men, under the command of another moft able General. Befides thefe, the forces were arranged in fuch a manner, that in two or three days time, the forces in these districts might be augmented by above 20,000 men. This was the fituation of the country with refpect to its defence. The country was determined to remain free, and it refted for defence upon its own spirit and determination. When upon former occafions he had moved for fome of the bills for arming the people, fome gentlemen expreffed a little alarm at putting arms into their hands. He faid then, what he was convinced was true, that by far, very far the greater body of the people were found and befides, he knew that the best way to make men feel a love for their country was to put them in a way to defend it. He was fure that at the time this fyftem of arming began, many men had not the fame feelings which they had now; but by having the means of defending the country put into their hands, they had learnt to value it. This had contributed much to that fortunate and happy change upon which they congratulated each other. He concluded with moving, That leave be given to bring in a bill for exempting perfons ferving in volunteer corps from being balloted for the fupplementary militia under conditions.

Honourable E. BOUVERIE expreffed a wish that care should be taken that this bill did not interfere with the supplementary militia.

Sir WILLIAM YOUNG thanked the right honourable gentleman for the compliment he had paid the country. He then defcribed a corps to which he belonged, and which he thought entitled to the exemptions which the right honourable gentleman had propofed.

Mr. Secretary DUNDAS faid, that from the defcription which the honourable Baronet had given of the corps, he fuppofed it would fall within the exemptions.

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Leave was then given to bring in the bill, and Mr. Secretary Dundas and the Secretary at War, were ordered to prepare bring in the fame.

The Houfe then refolved itself into a Committee of the whole House, to confider farther of the bill for taxing income in an equal manner, Mr. J. Smith in the chair.

The 10th, 11th, and 12th claufes were read and agreed to, after fome amendments in different rules, in the difcuffion of which Mr. Chancellor Pitt, Mr. Wilberforce, Mr. Attorney General, Mr. Simeon, and Sir W. Geary, took part.

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