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could then fupply; but by the increase of our commerce fince that war, we have carried our maritime ftrength to that unparalleled extent, to which we are indebted for all the unparalleled advantages and fuperiority which we now enjoy. Will the honourable Baronet tell me that 110,000 men were fufficient at the period he fpeaks of, when, inftead of blocking up the ports of all your enemies, instead of having every foreign station properly supplied, and your commerce regularly and effectually protected, instead of having every other quarter of the globe the scene of your victories and your triumphs, you had the misfortune of seeing your navy every where inferior in point of number? Will he tell me that 110,000 men were fufficient at that period, when the gallantry and fkill of your feamen could only rescue you from great calamities and dangers, instead of conducting you to that unequalled pre-eminence, fplendour, and glory, which you now poffefs? Does he with the House, from principles of economy, to renounce those advantages, to give up those bleffings, in order to throw us back to that scene of difficulty from which we were extricated only by the fuperior conduct and valour of our navy? If the honourable Baronet had any reason to think that I 10,000 men would be fufficient, he ought to have found fomething better than fuch general furmifes as, that in a former period we had a less number than we now propofe to vote, and that we have lately been bleffed with fignal advantages. Sir, inftead of leffening our exertions, and diminishing our means, a wife man, I think, would prefer following up and improving those advantages in such a manner as to enable you to wait till fuch overtures are made by the enemy as may make you feel that a compliance with them will be confiftent with your own fecurity and honour, and with your ideas of the fituation in which fuch overtures will leave other countries. This is what a wife man will advife. From a combination of circumftances, we were threatened with great and various calamities; fortunately we have turned them to the confusion and dismay of our enemies. Is that the moment when you should ftop fhort? Is it not rather the moment which should give you well-founded expectations, that if the advantages you have gained be followed up, and improved by fuitable exertions on the part of other powers, they will, to use the words of His Majesty's speech, "lead to the general deliverance of Europe?” Does it become us, from regard to our own fafety-is it confiftent with our character and honour, to renounce the chance of becoming the deliverers of other independent nations? But, Sir, I expected to hear from the honourable Baronet which of the fervices of the navy he would defare to difpenfe with. Does he with us, because
we have almost annihilated the navy of France in the Mediterranean, which she had by exertions and perfeverance revived, after the disafters experienced at Toulon, does he, I fay, with us to abdicate the Mediterranean, and renounce all the political and commercial benefits that are likely to refult from our victory? Does he wish that, with respect to ourselves, we should only retain the glory of our triumph, which no impolicy and negligence of ours can bury in oblivion ? Does he defire us to forego all its advantages, and to give up all its benefits? Does he defire us to hold out to the Porte, when it has just roufed from that apathy in which too many of the powers of Europe have been lulled, that we mean to discourage that returning vigour? Does he wish that the King of Naples, who feels that he owes his crown, his fecurity, and his life, to our naval exertions, fhould find that the most important advantages would refult from the exertions of the British navy, but that they are to be chilled by the cold economy of British counfels? Does he wish, when we have eftablished our naval pre-eminence from Conftantinople to Gibraltar, when every commercial and political advantage is awaking to us, that we should abandon that pre-eminence, and give up thofe advantages? I believe, Sir, he will not with it. Look nearer home: We find the navies of Spain, of France, of Holland, blocked up. We find fquadrons of our fhips watching the ports of Cadiz, Breft, and the Texel, and the smaller ports in the intermediate space between thofe large ones. Does he with us
to release the remnant of the navy of the enemy from the captivity in which they are held in their own harbours? It may be a magnificent idea to give them an opportunity of coming out and fighting us; and though I fhould have no doubt what would be the event, yet it will hardly be the opinion of any wife man that we should abandon the coasts of the enemy, and leave those fleets which are now pouring, from month to month, their treasures into our ports; that we should leave them, I fay, expofed to that piratical war which the enemy would carry on against them. We are not then to withdraw from the blockade of our enemy's harbours. We are not to withdraw thofe fquadrons which afford now fuch fure protection to our trade. Where then are we to look ? Is it to our diftant poffeffions? After we have feen that the conduct of Government, however active, the vigilance and valour of the navy, however great, cannot always prevent attack; after we have seen this, does he with that if any expedition fhould be able to effect its paffage o the Eaft Indies, it fhould find us there naked and unprotected? Have the events of the present year induced any one to wish that our force at the Cape of Good Hope and in the East Indies had
been less than it is? Look to the West Indies-when, by the chance of a wind, fix or eight fail of the line might fteal out of the enemy's ports, does he défire that Jamaica, or any of our other Weft-India poffeffions, fhould be left exposed to attack, instead of having a stationary force kept there? Look at home. Is it in the Channel, or off Cape Clear? Is it on the South or the North of Ireland that he wishes to curtail and reduce our force, in order, from a ftretch of generofity, to put the enemy more on an equality with us? If, running through all these stations, we fee reason to rejoice at the fufficiency of our force, where is it that he wishes for a reduction of it? Unlefs, Sir, on a deliberate view, he proves, that our fleets engaged in the blockade of France, of Spain, and of Holland, in the Mediterranean, in the Eaft Indies, and in the West, in the protection of our trade off the coaft of Ireland, and in maintaining our fuperiority in the Channel, do not furnish sufficient room for the diftribution of our navy, manned by 120,000 feamen; unlefs he proves this, I think, that neither on this day, nor on the receiving of the report, will he find one man to fecond and fupport him.
Mr. TIERNEY coincided in opinion with Mr. Pitt: warmly attached to a fyftem of economy as he was, fo warmly, that he difliked to hear it at any time. ftigmatized by the name of cold economy, yet this was a particular fervice, which he voted with pleafure, because it was most congenial to British feelings. The number proposed to be voted was that which he conceived to be neceffary. On these grounds, therefore, he should accede to the motion; he fhould accede to it with pleasure on another ground, which was, that that branch of the fervice had been conducted in a manner which deferved the confidence of the country.
Sir JOHN SINCLAIR faid, he had heard a very capital fpeech, but he had not heard any thing that made him alter his opinion upon the subject. He would confider on it farther, and fay nothing more at prefent.
The motion for 120,000 feamen, including 20,000 marines, was now put and carried.
The following fums were voted :
2,886,000l. for the pay of the feamen, at the rate of 11. 17. per man per month for thirteen months.
2,964,000l. for victualling the fame for thirteen months. 4,650,000l. for the wear and tear of ships.
390,000l. for naval ordnance.
The report was ordered to be received to-morrow.
Mr. Chancellor PITT obferved, that he had already given notice of an important financial measure which he meant to propofe on Monday next; and he now wifhed to apprife the Houfe, that on this day fortnight he would fubmit to them the Ways and Means for the enfuing year.
Mr. TIERNEY wifhed to be informed of the purport of the measure which the right honourable gentleman had to propose on this day fe'nnight.
Mr. Chancellor PITT replied, that the benefits of the measure adopted laft feffion for raising a confiderable portion of the supplies within the year, had proved themselves and been felt fo advantageous, that he could not anticipate any change in the difpofition of the House to pursue the fame plan at prefent. It had lately received the approbation and fanction of a meeting exceedingly well qualified to judge of its effects, and the measure which he meant to fubmit to them on Monday next, would follow the fame principle, but in a mode more productive and infinitely lefs objectionable. Having no reason to apprehend that the House would alter its former opinion, he conceived that the whole difficulty would rest upon the details of the plan, and the necessary alterations in what they had before adopted. His intention therefore was, immediately after opening the fubject, to bring in a bill, and fill up the blanks in a Committee, which he would propose to fit on Friday se'nnight, when the blanks would be filled up, and gentlemen would have the opportunity of difcuffing the principle on the question for the Speaker's leaving the chair, on the motion for its recommitment on Friday fe'nnight, after having it printed. As he flattered himself that the principle would not be objected to, he expected that the bill would go through all the ftages in the course of the week.
Tuesday, November 27.
The honourable Capt. BERKELEY moved the fecond reading of the bill for fettling and fecuring an annuity of two thousand pounds on Admiral Lord Nelfon, and the two next heirs in fucceffion to whom the title fhall defcend, in confideration of the eminent fervices rendered by him to His Majefty and the public; which bill was read a fecond time.
Mr. HOBART brought up the report of the Committee of Supply, in which it had been voted that 120,000 men be employed for the navy fervice for the year 1799, including 20,000
The feveral refolutions were read a first time, and on their fecond reading granting, 120,000 men for the
Sir JOHN SINCLAIR rofe, and fpoke to the following effect:-After fcrioufly deliberating on the important fubject that is now before us, whether we ought or ought not to agree to the refolution reported from the Committee, by which it is propofed to employ fo large a force as 120,000 feamen for the fervice of the enfuing year, I have no hefitation in declaring my full conviction, that the number propofed ought to be confiderably diminished, and that 110,000 is the utmost extent to which we can poffibly go, with any attention to propriety; for whether we confider the depreffed and ruined ftate of the navy of the enemy; the fkill, the fpirit, and the gallantry which have been uniformly displayed by our own seamen, and which unquestionably render a confiderable force lefs neceffary than would otherwife be the cafe; the affiftance that we are likely to receive from Ruffian, from Turkish, from Portuguese, and from Neapolitan auxiliaries, not forgetting the new maritime power that is rifing in America; the aid which it is rumoured we are to obtain from the fleets of Sweden and of Denmark; and above all, when we confider the fituation of our finances, which renders economy indifpenfably neceffary, not that cold economy, as it has been justly called, which means nothing, but a bold, an active, and a vigorous spirit of retrenchment, extending over all the departments of the state-in all these various points of view, and in other refpects which I fhall by and by take the liberty of stating, L confider the refolution of the Committee, for employing fuch a number as 120,00c feamen, as, in the highest degree, exceptionable, and I hope it will be in my power to prove it to the satisfaction of the House and of the Public.
But before I proceed to the difcuffion of the subject more immediately under our confideration, I think it neceffary to advert to a point, which was urged with much force and ability in a very able and eloquent harangue from the right honourable gentleman oppofite to me (Mr. Pitt) in the debate of yesterday, and which feemed to make a confiderable impreffion on the Houfe. The right honourable gentleman enumerated, with much diftin&tness and precifion, the various fervices to which our naval force was applicable, and demanded, with fome degree of exultation and triumph, whether I would point out any fervice where an abatement was admiffible? For my part, Sir, I had no particular knowledge, at that time, what the diftribution of our naval force was, and how far it was exceptionable or otherwife: but I took the earlieft poffible opportunity of endeavouring to procure any information I could obtain VOL. VII. Ꮮ