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put on permanent duty, and ranked with the field-officers of the regulars, will relax in discipline, but that he will depart, absolutely depart, march off. I will recall the volunteer, not by stating what I might, that his pay is continued, and his clothing allowed, but that his danger is increased.
France has dispersed your allies, ruined Austria, fraternized Prussia, gotten Genoa, Venice, and her ports. What! did you then watch when the danger was doubtful, and do you now relax when the danger is imminent, as if you were ordinary men and in an idle cause, and could carry off your light standard here and there, and abandon yourselves to the comfort or folly of a fretful peace, in the midst of aggravated and accumulated war?
The Irish volunteer did not do so: we had no pay; no rank; we were abused, but we were too high to be affronted : in 1779, about 3000; in 1782, about 80,000, men. from government but 18,000 stand of arms, old militia arms; but we armed, we arrayed, we trained, and we disciplined; and not only protected our country, but procured her independence. I now come to the part of the plan which consists in training the people. The gentlemen who say the volunteer will retire, cannot object to a measure which that retirement renders indispensable: it is objected that loose training will not answer ; they have answered that objection in the panegyric on the volunteers, who, by a sort of training, they say, are rendered fit to serve in the line: if 26 days are too few, multiply the days; or do they mean to say, that it is impossible to teach the people of England the use of arms? The training is such nearly as the volunteers received, -training without the articles of war: this training, they say, has made 30,000 volunteers: with your army an adequate defence: extend that training to a million, and you are impregnable; impregnable according to their own reasoning: the use of it, the simplicity of it, are obvious: the manual, the facing, the march, the firing ball, and learning to level, enough to familiarize the citizen to his firelock, instead of being afraid of it, and such as will give him a superior consciousness of existence. They will not have time for this; they cannot get officers to teach them this ; they cannot submit to the hardship of a ballot for this; such are the objections, and such objections are answered by enumeration, twenty-six hours, say fifty hours in the year cannot be spared ; it seems he has time to learn to read, — to write, - all but that part of his education, which consists in the science of defending himself; and shall we add the difficulty of obtaining instructors ? The army of the empire, including militia, is 257,000, and you cannot get sergeants from that force to discipline the people; serjeants I say: the Irish ·yeomanry may be inspected by officers, but they are trained by sergeants: the Irish volunteers were trained by sergeants : (there were only 5000 troops in Ireland in 1781, and yet we got sergeants :) you have 257,000 military; you have in this island 30,000 volunteers, and you have not, it seems, sergeants sufficient to train the people. The hardship of the ballot for such training is another objection. Hardship! to learn to defend yourself; and to learn it, not as you learn the inferior part of education, writing, and reading, at your own, but to learn it at the pub. lic expense; and this benefit, not hardship, is compared to military service for life.
These difficulties do not exist in the nature of the subject, and are only to be found in the supposed disposition of the people. If such be their disposition, if the property of the country will not learn the use of arms except paid, nor the people in general though paid, actum est de republica. In order to point out the weakness of such objections, let us suppose the navy of England defeated, or, as in 1781, balanced, would
you then listen to the objection which told you that the people could not bear the hardship of learning the use of arms? Now then, when
you can arbitrate
your own destinies, when you have resources not exhausted, a spirit not broken, a triumphant navy, and ample time for the formation and growth of your plan, take your measures so, that if the enemy should attempt a descent, he may find you prepared.
I mentioned two nations, to illustrate the practice which trains the people with a view to resist a foreign power.
America - rather than submit, she underwent the hardships of which gentlemen complain — of training; or rather, she acknowledged no hardship in those things; neither in the want of capital, nor of currency, nor of credit, nor of regular government, but adopted her non-consumption agreement, and threw away the comforts of life, bauble after bauble; and, finally, life itself she viewed as a secondary consideration, compared to her deliverance.
France — you will not like to copy from France; and yet, in this instance, I should recommend her example in that principle which arms and trains a people, with a determination not to submit to a foreign power. Under the influence of that she dispersed confederated Europe, and not only vanquished her enemies abroad, but controlled, as far as regarded external operation, her confusion at home: before it, anarchy stood arranged, and distemper disciplined ; so that her frantic legislature, or her bedlam, was here the Delphic wisdom; her
crazy courage became deliberate valour; and the infinite and incalculable resources of the spirit, so actuated by that inexorable principle, baffled all your experience and conjecture; and, at length, placed the powers of Europe (England scarce excepted) in the very position in which they had before placed her.
If, then, the destroying power could or can raise 200,000 on an occasion; train all her people to the use of arms; marshal her mercurial mind, so as, first, to repulse, and, second, beat in the veteran battalions of Europe, and now direct the whole (seconded by her ancient motive) against you and your fortunes; and if, on the other hand, the saving power, in the capacity of volunteer, cavils about a shilling; if veterans, at the limited service of their companions, murmur or mutiny actum est de republica.
I apprehend no such calamity; and, the better to mark your exigencies, let me remind you of your hopes. I have heard of your resources much; I do not wish to deprecate them : you might add, that the French empire has marched over a great part of the Continent, but is not planted; that Italy will not fight for France — indeed, will not fight at all; that the Dutch have not forgotten her two loans ; that Austria is crushed, not annihilated; that before her new acquisitions become with France one and the same people; an age must pass away, their habits and customs change, and their mind, as well as their armies, conquered, before they can amalgamate and assimilate to the conqueror; further, it may be said, that these different nations on the Continent, however plain they may talk to France, can have but one object, namely, that the globe may not become one man; and therefore they can have but one cnemy, namely, the French power. That Spain is not your enemy -- her plunder is not your cure; that Prussia is not your enemy - that deep-revolving power now finds, that in these mad times, nothing so mad as her wisdom and discretion. I say, it may be added, that this power now wears on her head the crown because you carry the trident.
Having mentioned these your hopes, as far as you have any view to the Continent, I should advise you not to rely on them, but rather to be assured, that the Continent now in general will not take your subsidies; and that you must employ your resources to subsidize yourselves, and to make you as universally as the physical powers of your island will admit seamen and soldiers — according to their habits and dispositions, or against their habits and dispositions, seamen and soldiers; so that if the French should attempt to invade you, they may find first the British fleet, then an army supplied with an eternal succession, so that it could not be conquered by a defeat, and by a course of defeats must become victorious; then the different descriptions of force— volunteers, levée en masse, the property of the country arrayed, her population disciplined, and a spirit of freedom and of arms, the growth of her constitution and her training - preceding and covering the whole, together with a determination not to survive their independency. The plan of the member goes to this, first, to establish an army of the flower of the people; a volunteer, consisting of the property of the country; and a trained body, consisting of all men capable of bearing arms, who are not to be found in the other bodies. Make 15,000,000 equal to 32,000,000 he cannot; but if his country gives him 10,000,000 of men, and food to nourish, and powder and ball to arm themselves, she has a right to call on her minister for a plan to set the whole in action : gradual -it ought to be gradual; the slowness of the growth is ever the result of the greatness of the proportions; or will you plant an oak to-day, and expostulate because you cannot sit under its shade on the morrow ? and do not put a malignant criticism on the effort, nor confound the difficulty of the subject, with the defects of the plan, recollecting that you may cry down every plan by the dilemma, which shall state it either as too weak for the exigencies of your empire, or too strong for the dispositions of your people; further, you should remember, that two efforts were made, and have failed, and that a mutual indulgence is therefore necessary for the third; and that, in order to make any plan of this sort succeed, the mind must go along with it a little more; a certain ardour, whether jenlousy of France, or love of liberty, or thirst of renown, or enthusiasm; the memory of past glory, that dominating spirit which is necessary to support you in your present exigencies, and which is to bear down little difficulties; that difficulty, for instance, which makes the veteran jealous of the recruit enlisted for limited service; that other difficulty which makes the volunteer disband, because he loses his pay; that other difficulty which supposes the people will not suffer themselves to be taught the use of arnis. In vain have you expended 300,000,000l. on your late wars,
now, when you are to defend the remainder, the understanding grows sick, and throws up what it does not find on the subject, doubts and difficulties such as these.
To such objections you have another and a better answer,your danger; and the perilous grandeur which belongs to it, and which leaves you no option, but must totally depress, or greatly elevate.
With this view of the subject, your taxes are not your grievance: how much a greater grievance would it be, to be sentenced to take off your taxes; to live unconcerned, and unexercised; and keep holyday in England, while France subjugates the continent of Europe, and threatens the island.
Infinitely better and more grand, after all your losses and loans, to add more losses and more loans; that Englishmen may not sink to the level of the prostrate kings of Europe, , and bow to the Gaul.
You have, besides, the example of the very nations whom you have brought into much greater difficulties. America, for instance, she was in great difficulty. France, she was in great difficulty, and both became great by conquering such difficulties; for to a people who have made up
their mind to die, on a principle such as the independency or glory of their country, there may be difficulty, there may be death, but there cannot be defeat.
The measure was opposed by the Master of the Rolls (Mr. Grant), by Lord Garlies, Mr. Bankes, General Norton, and General Stewart. It was supported by Sir W. Lemon, and the Solicitor-General (Sir Samuel Romilly), who, in a most able and constitutional speech, entered at length into the subject, and commented on the danger of standing armies, and of the military despotism which was spreading over Europe. This measure, he said, would be in some degree a counterpoise to the evil, as it would establish a more constitutional description of force. The House divided : for the motion, Ayes 206, Noes 105; Majority 101.
Death of Mr. Fox. - Change of Ministry. . On the death of Mr. Fox, which lamentable event occurred on the 13th of September, 1806, after a painful and afflicting illness, the following changes took place in the ministry:
Cabinet Ministers. Viscount Sidmouth
President of the Council Lord Erskine
Lord High Chancellor Lord Holland
Lord Privy Seal
First Lord of the Treasury (Prime Lord Grenville
Master-General of the Ordnance Earl Spencer
Secretary of State for the Home
Department Lord Howick
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs The Right Hon. William Windham
Secretary of State for the Depart
ment of War and the Colonies
Lord Chief Justice of the Court of Lord Ellenborough
Chancellor and Under. Treasurer of Lord Henry Petty
the Exchequer Earl Fitzwilliam
(A seat without an office)