Mr. Secretary Windham
moved the order of the day for the third reading of the Additional Force Repeal bill. On the question being put,
Sir J. Pulteney rose
and said, he did not mean to detain the house, but wished to offer a few observations on the mode of proceeding that had been followed, and the line of argument that had been pursued through 124 the whole of this question. When on that side of the house they had adverted in the course of argument to the plans proposed by the rt. hon. gent. (Mr. Windham) they had been told that they ought to confine themselves to the merits of the Additional Force bill alone. This he thought, however, was by no means a just way of reasoning, because it was not possible they could fairly estimate the merits of that bill, without taking into their calculation at the same time the measure that was intended to succeed it. Could the measures intended to come in the room of this bill be pointed out to the house as in any respect superior to it, either in its immediate effects or permanent consequences, the best mode of convincing them of the propriety of abolishing the bill, was to point out this superiority. On the contrary, if they were convinced of the Superiority of this mode of raising men, to any of the new measures proposed by the gentlemen over the way, it was most natural for them to compare it in its effects and bearings with those new measures in contemplation. Though those measures had not been specifically and individually before the house, yet it could not be supposed they should yet be ignorant of them after they had been so ably developed in a speech of four hours by the rt. hon. secretary; else, to what purpose a speech of such length and minuteness? He thought if fair, therefore, to view those projects as already before the house, and therefore justifiable to compare their probable effects with the effects already produced, and those still likely to be derived from the Additional Force bill. The hon. bart. then recapitulated most of the arguments he had used on a former day against the repeal of the bill, though he readily concurred with any measure that would render the life of the old soldier more comfortable; approving, for this reason, of an additional Chelsea allowance to the soldier who retired from service, either from the length of time he had been in the army, or from any particular suffering he had experienced in the execution of his duty. While he approved of this, however, he was decidedly hostile to any thing like affluence being connected with the soldier, while engaged in the service, convinced as he was of the remarkable tendency of any such advantages to destroy discipline, to enfeeble the ardour, and diminish the spirit of enterprise in the soldier. The gentlemen opposite acknowledged, he said, that no immediate effect was to be expected from their new measure, and if no beneficial result was to 125 be expected this year, what right had they to expect such effects next year? Were we to look then forward, he added, through a period of eight years years before we could receive any benefit from their arrangement? This he thought a very capital objection to the repeal of the Additional Force bill, the good effects of which they had already felt. This plan had nothing immediate in it. The object was to enlist men for a shorter time, in the opinion that they would engage in greater numbers, and that on the expiration of the term, they would engage again, or others would more easily be found in their room. This was a speculation in which he was not so sanguine as the rt. hon. gent. but at all events he was averse to the diminution of the army during war. Of the fourteen general officers whose opinions had been taken on this point, eleven were decidedly against discharging the men in time of war; the other three were not so decided, because that part of the question had not come under their consideration. It was not the practice of any country in Europe to discharge men in time of war, though their term of service may have expired. The Ordonnance of the French Monarchy in 1788, contained an express exception to discharging the men in time of war, though their service of eight years may have expired; they had only an additional allowance per month till the end of the war, when they were discharged. He thought the second batallions under the Army of Reserve act, and the Additional Force act, the best system for keeping up the army of this country; and he could not consent to the repeal of the Additional Force act, until a better system was offered, than that proposed by the rt. hon. gent. He had no objection to see the experiment tried: but it should be without risking the diminution of the existing army. It was contended, that unless the practice was general, it would give rise to inconvenient and invidious distinctions. But he maintained, that there would be a vast expence and inconvenience in re-engaging the men, if it was general.
§ General Loftus
had voted for the Additional Force act, in the hope that it would have been effectual. If the parishes had raised the men, he was sure the act would have been highly beneficial, for local knowledge and personal connection would have prevented desertion. But the parish officers, instead of raising the men themselves, raised them by the; intervention of 126 recruiting serjeants and crimps, and thus the benefit was lost. A certain district which had to furnish sixteen men, had obtained them from London, by the aid of a recruiting serjeant; they were taken down and passed, and the next morning fourteen of the sixteen deserted. Thus it was the ordinary recruiting, and the high bounties, that found the men; and however willing he was to vote for the repeal of this bill, which now proved inefficient; and convinced, as he was, of the honourable, patriotic, and zealous motives which induced his rt. hon. friend (Mr. Windham), to propose the new plan he had suggested, yet he could venture to assure his rt. Hon. friend. that in many of the sanguine hopes he had expressed for the success of that measure, he would find himself egregiously mistaken, more especially in that part where he expected to do away large bounties, without any disadvantage to the recruiting service; for he really feared, that the system of large bounties had prevailed too much of late years, and was too deeply impressed upon the minds of the common people, to be abandoned during the continuance of the present war, without totally destroying the recruiting service. With respect to enlistment for short periods, he was convinced it would be rapidly productive of recruits. He had himself been employed on the recruiting service, during the American war; and when a limited period of enlistment for five years was proposed, the effects were immediately and rapidly felt, in an extraordinary accession of men. But, as to the idea of discharging men during a war, he could by no means agree to it, convinced, as he was, that it might be ruinous to the service, and especially the colonial part. With the insertion of the word "five, or seven years, or during the war," he was ready to vote for the plan of his rt. hon. friend, convinced, as he was, that it could not injure the service, and that the very young men, so discharged, after being a short time with their friends, would be anxious to re-enlist; but there was no principle that would be more truly advantageous to the recruiting service, than that of ascertaining to the veteran soldier, that, after a service of twenty-one years, he should enjoy his pension for the remainder of his life, without being again liable to be dragged from his family, to eke out, at a distant place, the remainder of twenty-five years, as had been the case, and had excited sensations of disgust, extreme- 127 ly detrimental to the service, and particularly to that of recruiting.
said, he rose once more to oppose the repeal of this bill, and to express some degree of astonishment at that sort of dignified and determined silence with which the rt. hon. gent. had treated every endeavour to elicit from him some further, and more detailed explanation, of the measure which he proposed to substitute in place of this bill, which he now called upon the house to repeal, without condescending to shew them, by any explanation or argument, that in such terrible times as the present could justify them in abandoning a bill, which, though not so productive as it was expected to be by the rt. hon. gent. Who introduced it, was yet productive to a degree far beyond what he (Mr. Yorke) could have supposed. It was surely but reasonable, before the independent members of that house could be expected by any set of ministers to abandon a bill, by the operation of which, 10,000 recruits a year were superadded to the production of the ordinary recruiting service, which was 12,000 men per annum, that some candid explanation should be given of the plan to the substituted in its place, and the merits of that plan fairly submitted to some discussion, in order that the house might be enabled to form an estimate of the value of that which they were to offer in lieu of that which they abandoned, and of which they already knew the value from experience. But the rt. hon. gent. notwithstanding all the questions put to him, all the solicitation by which he was repeatedly urged to come to some discussion on his plan, preserved the most inexorable taciturnity, and would not deign to enter into any further explanation of a measure, which went to involve the very existence of the country, the discussion of which should of absolute necessity precede any repeal of the present measure. The rt. hon. gent. then proceeded, at considerable length, to recapitulate many of his former objections against the plan proposed by the rt. hon. secretary, which, so far from being digressive or irregular, he considered as intimately connected with, and perfectly relevant to, the subject now before the house. It was obvious already, from returns before the house, that the annual decrease of the army by casualties was 15,000 men, and that the supply by recruits, under the ordinary system, was 12,000 men, and by the bill now in question 128 10,000; which made a surplus of 7000 per annum to the force of the country. Would not the rt. hon. gent. then vouchsafe to shew how his measure was likely to produce such a supply of men, before he ventured to call upon that house to abandon, and set loose all the old and established systems of recruiting the army, which had raised the public force of this country to a pitch unparalleled in any former period of its history, and greatly beyond the proportion of its population, upon any scale ever witnessed in any country of Europe. In fact, the only rational principle in the rt. hon. gent.'s plan, was copied from the Army of Reserve bill, which gave men the option of enlisting for a limited, or long service; and that bill would be abolished by the present, as well as every other mode of recruiting hitherto adopted with advantage. The system of balloting, which had been so peculiarly advantageous in raising the force of the country to its present pitch, was also to be abandoned for a system of voluntary enlistment with low bounties, which every man must be convinced, from the experience of the last ten years, was totally inadequate to keep up the army to its ordinary force, even under the present annual diminution of casualties. But what would become of such a system, when the probable losses in battle were to be added to the computation? Hitherto, this country had been in the habit of making war upon easy terms, and rarely lost a great number of men in the field since the affair of Fontenoy, when she lost about 2000 men: but, supposing that the seat of war with the enemy should be in England or Ireland, it was clear that if ever the enemy were able to effect such an invasion, it must be with an immense force, and we must be prepared to reckon upon a probable loss of even 30,000 men in the first few battles. How then was the system of the rt. hon. gent. to provide for such a contingency, and supply such a loss, when the salvation of the empire might depend upon a critical moment? It was impossible to excuse the pertinacity of the rt. hon. gent. and those who supported him, in continuing to advise his majesty to the adoption of a system which they knew in their hearts was precarious, uncertain, and therefore dangerous, and to abandon one which had been found adequate to every good purpose. He could only account for it by supposing them infatuated with a foolish persuasion, that now, when they were his majesty's sworn servants and counsellors, they were bound by some former pledge to carry into operation those 129 wild theories they had suggested while out of office, to embarrass those ministers whose places they now filled. But, upon themselves would fall the heavy responsibility for any ill consequences resulting to the country from those philosophical theories and sentimental speculations, with which they had amused their fancies, upon the feelings and opinions of common soldiers. For his own part, he would not agree to surrender the present bill without something obviously better to put in its place. He never would consent to abandon the system which had upheld the force of this country since the revolution, in complaisance to any system adopted in France, Germany, or elsewhere; he never would consent to relinquish the balloting system in times like these, which had proved so certain and efficient in strengthening our armies. And as to raising a militia without it, if he could suppose it possible that any minister would advise his majesty to such a measure, without the sanction of an act of parliament, and that any failure of the public safety should be the consequence, he did not hesitate to say, that such ministers would deserve to lose their heads.
§ Colonel Eyre
considered the bill for the repeal of the Additional Force act not as part of the right hon. gent's. plan, but as making way for it. When this impediment was removed the plan would come after. The Additional Force act was a bad measure, and therefore, it was right to get rid of it. This he said, considering it without reference to any thing else. If it had not produced the men by the exertions of the parish officers, but by a competition which checked the ordinary recruiting, the mischief was evident. The act is was said, had become operative from the time that it had been explained by the inspecting field officers. He disliked this explanation. These were not the constitutional explainers but the deputy lieutenants. They were better explainers to the crimps than to the parish officers, and therefore the men were not had for less than 26 guineas. If a reduction was not made in this, the country would not have less than 5 million to expend in bounties. It was not only a more efficient system that was necessary, but a more economical one. The improvement of the condition of the soldier would afford great inducements to enter into the service. The limitation of the term would also attract greater numbers, and better men. These things would tend to im- 130 prove the character of the soldier, which was also a most essential point.
Mr. Secretary Windham
did not feel himself called upon to enter at length into the arguments which were now brought forward: but as a right hon. gent. (Mr. Yorke) had seemed to consider his silence as in some degree contumelious to the house, he must say that there could be no contumely in not replying to arguments which did not properly belong to the subject of debate. He did not mean to say, that there was any impropriety in the right hon. gentlemen's introducing those topics, or that they ought not to have been introduced, but he must complain that they dwelt exclusively upon topics that had a very distant connexion with the subject, and hardly said a word upon the subject itself. Surely the nature of the bill that was to be repealed, was a consideration as material as any topic that could be connected with it. He had expected a different line of argument when the noble lord (Castlereagh) moved for such an immense mass of papers; but instead of that, he was much astonished at hearing that noble lord himself afterwards say, "that he gave little weight to arguments that were drawn from papers." The argument from the papers must have been much against the noble lord before he could make such a declaration. It reminded him of the very bad symptom in the case of Sir Roger de Coverly, when he "lost his roast beef appetite;" and when the noble lord could speak with contempt of papers and details, it was pretty evident the arguments they afforded were much against him. Not being willing, however, to imitate the example of the gentlemen opposite on this subject, he would confine himself to the consideration of the act, the repeal of which was now before the house. For a year after it had passed, nothing was heard of it; not only in the town but in the country. Every body was asking what had become of it. At last it was considered dead. Then came the famous letter from lord Hawkesbury, and, as appeared by the first volume of papers on the table, a kind of coroner's inquest sat on the act. As a it seemed to be the fashion in modern novels, to begin instead of ending with a marriage, by way of giving a new turn and astonishing their readers, so in the details in these papers, they commenced with the death of the hero of them. He should be very unwilling to disobey the admonition "de mortu's nil, nisi "bonum," but the fact was that he was not 131 really dead. This was soon suspected. A looking glass was applied to his mouth, and it was with joy found that he stained it with his breath. Immediately the whole apparatus of the Humane Society was set to work. Bellows, flannels, hot water, and friction, were used with persevering industry, and by slow degrees resuscitation began to take place. The act, it seemed, was like those aromatic plants which would not yield their scent, until they had been chafed and rubbed a little. The title of the bill was "a bill to provide a permanent force for the defence of the country;" but in its operation it was any thing else. There was a mortal principle in the very stamina of it, which went to destroy it. If it succeeded, it would have been but a temporary measure. He must, indeed, allow that there never was any great danger of that, or any likelihood of its becoming felo-de-se on account of its success. If the quota it was to raise was 9,000 men, after a certain time, no more could be expected from it than to supply the casualties of that quota; it could not be expected that it should repair the casualties of the whole army. The bill was as dangerous in the case of success as in the case of failure; for there was no other way in which it could succeed, but by cutting up the sources of the general recruiting of the army. Instead, then, of allowing that any men had been raised in addition to the general recruiting, he should say, that whatever men were raised under the bill, were raised in derogation of the recruiting service. He did not know that a single man had been gained in all England from this bill. Those who were said to have been raised by it, could, as he believed, have been as well got, if no such bill had ever been passed. He thought nothing but mischief had resulted from employing parish officers to recruit. The men were only to be raised by the operation of money, acting, in such cases, through the medium of oppression. How very incompatible was the character of churchwarden and recruiting serjeant! The churchwarden or overseer, was generally looked upon to be a grave and solemn man, whose conduct and behaviour were expected to set a good example to his fellow parishioners; a kind of custos morum in the parish. Would you have such a character go skipping about the parish, from alehouse to alehouse, diverting and seducing the lads of the village; and like Serjeant Kite, with his jovial recruits, Thomas Appletree and Costar Pearmain, singing— 132We shall lead more happy lives,By getting rid of brats and wives,That scold and brawl, both night and day,Over the [...] and far away.When such language, however, should come from a churchwarden, it would not exactly produce the same effect. There was a story of two French officers, who, in addressing their men, differed in this point: the one said "go;" the other, "let us go;" and the men liked the one who said, "let us go," much better than the other. In the same way, if a constable were to come up to a young lad, and tell him, "It is a pity such a fine young fellow as you should wait behind your master's chair, or clean your mistress's clogs; you ought to be a soldiers, there is no life like a soldier's;" the fellow would very naturally reply, Mr Constable, if a soldier's life is so very pleasant, why are not you a soldier? It really appeared to him, that parish officers could not entice young men to enter the army without destroying the morals of their parishioners, which it was their duty to protect. He was aware, however, that some gentlemen would call it merely philosophical and sentimental to speak of morality or justice in the manner of raising men for the army. He hoped, however, that the house would not be of that opinion, but would consider it a most serious objection to any military plan, if it could not be executed without a havock of the morals of the country, and without injustice and oppression. There were gentlemen who appeared entirely indifferent about the means, provided men could be got. Their sentiment was like that rant, "Ye gods! Annihilate both space and time, and make two lovers happy." But whatever confidence they professed in their schemes for raising men, experience had shewn that they were inefficient. Although the parish officers were so stupid and incapable of understanding the bill, there was one who, it seemed, most perfectly understood it. This parish officer lived in Leicestershire, and by his knowledge of the bill had made pretty pickings for himself, probably about fifty guineas a month, for a considerable time. In short, this famous recruiting parish officer was one of the most experienced crimps in the whole county. Thus men were raised by the most immortal means, and to the perversion of all the decorum of society, besides the tyrannical power which every overseer was enabled to exercise over the miserable wretches of his parish. He recollected to have heard the supporters of that 133 bill protesting, till they were black in the face, that they wanted the men only, not the money which they proposed to levy by way of fines on the parishes; but the people of the parishes did not believe them: they said, "we know better; it is money you want, and money you shall have." They [...] very clearly that the avowed object of the bill could never be attained; and they never could persuade themselves that such was the intention of the legislature. The vestries seemed to be better judges of these matters than the politicians of Downing-street; they therefore agreed to pay the money at once. He would only say one word more, which was in answer to the objection started by an hon. friend of his on a former night, against the clause for returning the bounties. He thought the evil of refunding was the least of the two. If those who had already paid the fines, were to be held to it, and obliged to lose the money, injustice and oppression would take place; they had been compelled to pay for not raising men, which it was not in their power to raise, and the house should not lose sight of that excellent adage—"Nemo tenetur ad impossibilitatem." This was not a tax, but a penalty; and there was no proportion between the inconveniencies that would result from the exaction of the fines, and the expense to the public of repaying them back. Under all these considerations, he must press the third reading of the present bill.
§ Mr. Perceval
said, he could not let this subject pass without making some farther observations upon it, in addition to those which fell from him on a former night. And first, with respect to the clause in the bill which the right hon. gent. had just alluded to, it was an at that would be a disgrace to the parliament, and weaken the legislative authority. Whether this clause was looked at retrospectively or prospectively, it was most glaringly unjust. It was neither more nor less than telling the subjects of the country that they had always a means of retreat, by which they could escape in case of disobedience to the laws. His majesty's ministers, however, blinded by their own success, and infatuated by the sweets of their situation, persisted in hurrying this measure through the house. And here he could not help observing on the triumphant manner in which the present ministers acted, with respect to this bill: they thought it a high honour to triumph over the measure of that great man, now no more, being well aware that they never could have done it in his 134 life time. But he would advise the right hon gentlemen not to be so much intoxicated with the sweets of office, as to prevent them from paying that attention to the affairs of the nation, which the circumstances of the time required. The more he considered the effect that this clause would have, the more he was convinced of its impropriety; it would create a sort of appellant jurisdiction over the legislature of the country, and would give the great mass of the people the power of judging of the propriety or the utility of any act of parliament. Henceforth, instead of the different branches of the legislature receiving petitions against any bill, they should, collectively, when about to pass an act, petition the people for leave to do it; and, instead of the act running, "May it please Your Majesty, be it enacted, &c." it should be worded, "Be it submitted to the good sense of the people." This would be the situation we should be brought to by this clause; and he should have thought the right hon. gent. would be the last person who would have legislated in this manner; and, indeed, he did think that if the bill passed, as it now stood, the right hon. gent., after he had the triumph of carrying it through the house, would see the absurdity of this clause. The right hon. gent. said it would be an act of great injustice to force men to impossibilities. But the very same principle prevailed under the militia laws. First, the men must be balloted for, and those who were drawn, and could not find a man, were forced to pay a penalty; and this very ballot, which the right hon. gent. so unwisely rejected, must perhaps be resorted to in less than six months. There might have existed in some parishes a greater difficulty than in others of finding men; but he never could believe that there was a total impossibility of finding them. As to that act, which was so much condemned, he believed in his conscience that the right hon. gent. had never read it through, and that he had read one clause which he misunderstood. He said that the object of the bill went to raise 9,000 men a year, and after that number it would raise no more. Now the provision in the bill was to keep up a force of 58,000 men; and the 9,000 men in question were to be raised to supply the vacancies occasioned by those men who entered into the line. The parish officers understood the bill no more than the right hon. gent. They had never read it, but here was a bill brought in to repeal that, and according to the new species of modern 135 philosophy that treated of the perfectability of human reason, probably this measure would be suffered to act by the force of its own merits. He had heard of persons attempting to make a plough on such an admirable construction that it would work of itself in any field. In the same manner, perhaps, he was to be told that this act would execute itself. Happily for the country, however, it was not yet turned loose upon it. It appeared that the framers of it had some distrust of its effect, for they had introduced a clause to enable parliament to alter or amend it during the session. This was certainly, in his opinion, the best clause in it. He believed the bill abounded with imperfections and blunders; and with all the great talents which the right hon. gent. possessed, he could not descend to all the minutiæ of that detail or examination, which would enable him to detect them. He hoped this would shew the right hon. gent. that he ought to be a little more merciful in treating the errors of others. He understood that a gent. of most approved knowledge in the framing of bills, was still retained by the present ministers (Mr. Abbott), but still faults would be found in every such performance. The bill sought to be repealed, was prepared under the eye of that great man now no more, who, though of a most capacious mind, was observed to be particularly versant even in this inferior department; and who had, as the right hon. gent. himself had happily expressed it, "a mind like the proboscis of an elephant, equal to the pulling up of a tree, or the picking up of a pin." The right hon. gent. had talked a great deal on a former night of the blind Cyclops, that after a good deal of puffing and hammering, had produced a most defective measure. He would tell that right hon. gent., however, that with all his accuracy, it would be found necessary to insert a clause in the bill before the house, to remedy an omission to provide for the wives and children of those who volunteered from the Army of Reserve for general service. He did not suppose the right hon. gent. meant to repeal that part of the act. He therefore hoped, that in his triumphal chariot he would suffer a clause to accompany him as a rider.
§ Mr. Windham,
in explanation said, he never had expressed a wish totally to abolish the ballot. He did state, that in the uncertainty of human affairs, the country might again be driven to the necessity of resorting 136 to it. If any error should exist in the bill it might be corrected.
§ Mr. Sheridan
said, he did not consider these constant insinuations of gentlemen on the opposite side of the house, wishing to triumph over the measures or memory of a great man, who was now no more, as being at all justified by any part of their conduct. He said, he had listened with great attention to the entertaining speech of the hon. and learned gentleman opposite him, who had never once attempted to defend the Additional Force act, which was now about to be repealed; on the contrary, the whole of his pleasantry went against that very measure. He could not help admiring the military spirit that seemed to prevail among gentlemen on the other side of the house. This was now the fourth debate which the house had had upon this bill. In the first, it seemed as if there had been a council held among the opposers of it, and that it had been resolved, "Let us attack all the measures that have been proposed or suggested, but let no man say a word about the bill." In that debate they therefore cautiously abstained from meddling with the bill itself. The second debate was began by a military general, certainly of very high consideration (sir James Pulteney). That general, however, entirely abstained from the military view of the question, and confined himself to its civil operation. In the third debate, both the civil and military questions were declined, and the argument was principally about the clause of refunding, which was the chief subject of the right hon. gent's argument upon the present occasion. If the gentlemen on the other side of the house had been twenty months before they could understand their own bill, they were not to triumph much even if they should find any omission in the present. He did not think it quite decent of the hon. and learned gentleman (Mr. Perceval) to say, that his rt. Hon. friend had not read the bill that he proposed to repeal: since he had made that assertion, he thought himself warranted in saying, that the Additional Force bill had been drawn up in a manner so confused and unintelligible, that he could not but consider the learned gentleman himself as the framer of it; and from the little knowledge he discovered of that bill, he was only the more confirmed in his opinion. The hon. and learned gentleman in ridiculing another system said, that some men had such an 137 idea of the perfectibility of human art, as to suppose a plough might be constructed to do its wok by itself. Now, certainly the parish bill was not a machine of that construction, for with forty team of horses, or rather with forty team of asses (for such it seemed the parish officers might be described), it did no work at all. The rt. hon. gent. had warned his majesty's ministers not to be intoxicated by the sweets of power, nor led away by the pleasure of triumphing over the measures of their rivals: he therefore thought that he had a right, from the "bed of roses" of which they supposed his majesty's ministers to be placed, to warn the gentlemen on the other side of the house not to be too much mortified by their disappointment, nor to be so excessively soured by their change of situation, as to look on every thing in an unfavourable light. The hon. and learned gentleman had said, that if his right hon. friend (Mr. Windham) would but take time to consider, he was sure he would change his sentiments; and yet the principal accusation against his right hon. friend had been, that he had taken too much time to consider, and that he delayed his measure too long. A noble lord (Castlereagh) particularly anxious for the well being of the ministry, had said, that if his wish had been to overturn the present government, the mode he should have taken would be to hold his tongue, and let them carry their own measures in such a way as must completely disgust the country. He believed, however, that that sort of hostility was not much dreaded by his majesty's ministers, and that they would be better pleased that those gentlemen should hold their tongues, than that they should misrepresent, and endeavour to inflame the country by those misrepresentations. He believed that it would hardly be contended that there was a single parish in England that had raised its quota of men in obedience to the law, and, therefore, when the hon. and learned gentleman spoke so much of the dignity of parliament requiring that the laws should be obeyed, he should have recollected that the parishes which violated the law, were those who raised men contrary to the provisions of the act, and the parishes that did not violate the law were those who raised no men. In Leicestershire, it appeared, there was a wholesale crimp, by whose assistance that county procured its quota. There appearing to be some difference of opinion on this subject, between two representatives of that county, it had 138 been stated, in the course of the debate on a former night, that one of them did not reside in the county he represented, and that probably his constituents would remember it at the next general election. He must compliment the constituents of the rt. hon. gent. (Mr. Canning) who made the observation for his residence among them. He wished, however, to know whether he had ever seen the place he represented (Tralee in Ireland), or whether he knew the name, or had seen the face of any one of his constituents? When it was seen, that in some districts a considerable number of men had been got, and in others none at all, it was impossible to suppose, that it was because there was a great deal of loyalty and zeal in one parish or district, and none in that which immediately adjoined i[...]. The reason was very different. In some cases it was represented as necessary, in order to support the characters of the ministers who brought in the bill, that some men should be got, and for that reason exertions were made to procure them, by means that were contrary to the law. In the parish of Mary-bone, the same crimp offered his services who had raised men for other parishes, but his offer was refused, as that parishes, but his offer was refused, as that parish did not wish to violate the law. In St. Anne's parish, however, they were not so nice, and they got some men. Here the rt. hon. gent. read one of the hand-bills which had been printed in London, offering the largest bounties to recruits for the Army of Defence, and inviting all brave fellows to come forward; "Irishmen, Germans, and Boys expected". This was in the parish of St. Anne. In St. Luke's also, they raised some men, by adding 12l. to the government bounty. As to getting men at the bounties fixed by government, it was impossible. If government were to want a levy of cavalry horses, and would allow no more than 5 or 10l. to be given for them, the parishes might answer, that it would be as easy for them to raise as many elephants or rhinoceroses, or any other strange animals as to get good horses for such a price. It was the same thing in the case of the recruits. There was an utter impossibility of procuring them for the bounties stated in the act. He felt convinced that the rt. hon. framer of the bill would not (if he were now living) support the bill. When he himself moved for the repeal of it last session, that rt. hon. gent. expressly stated, that if upon trial it failed to produce the men, he should himself move for the repeal of it. The act 139 had completely failed, and in order to give the appearance of its having partially succeeded, scandalous measures were resorted by the government. He considered the letter of lord Hawkesbury, of the 31st December, as a most atrocious act, which the rt. hon. gent. (Mr. Pitt) would never have consented to. That letter of instruction allow the men to be raised contrary to law, and gave the recruiting serjeants a privilege to libel the regular army, and point out this additional force as much more eligible to enlist in. As the rt. hon. and learned gentleman (Mr. Perceval) had suggested a form for acts of parliament to run, he also should name a title which would have been more fitting for the additional force act than that which it had. It should rather have been called an act "for degrading the Magistracy of the country, for raising the bounties, preventing the public morals, destroying the regular army, and encouraging mutiny and desertion. Such an act should be immediately repealed as a great evil. If he saw a person afflicted with a wen, or any other disorder, and spoke of curing him, he did not think he could fairly be asked, what other disorder he proposed to substitute in its place? Or if he were to see a mad dog in the street, he should conceive himself justified in killing it, without providing any substitute for it, and this was precisely his feeling with respect to the present bill. The famous letter of lord Hawkesbury began by stating: "Whereas, information has been received that the Additional Force bill has generally failed, on account of the negligence and supineness of the parish officers." He had read all the correspondence on the subject, and he would venture to say, that the earl of Essex was the only person who gave such information. The letter, therefore, began with a violation of truth, (in saying violation of truth, he did not allude to the noble lord personally, but to the act of the government), and proceeded to order the violation of the law by increasing the bounties. Colonel Campbell, who acted under the directions of the secretary of state, gave notice, that there was no occasion for being very nice in the manner the men were raised, so they were got. It was also a subject worthy of serious observation, that by the law the recruit was obliged to take an oath, that he was a native of the parish or district for which he served. Now, in the manner those recruits were raised in distant 140 parts of the country, it was necessary that perjury should be added to the violation of the law before such recruits could be received. He then concluded by utterly denying that he or his hon. friends acted at all through hatred of the memory of the great and illustrious man who framed the bill. At the time that lord Hawkesbury's extraordinary circular letter of the 31st December was circulated, the late right hon. chancellor of the exchequer was on his death-bed. He should therefore be acquitted of having any share in that atrocious action. As for me, said the right hon. gent., there were many who flattered him more than I, and some who feared him more; but there was no man who had a higher respect for his transcendant talents, his matchless eloquence, and his inflexible integrity; and yet it has been often my fate to have opposed his measures. I may have considered that there was somewhat too much of loftiness in his mind which could not bend to advice, or scarcely bend to co-operation. I may have considered, that as a statesman his measures were not adequate to the situation of the country in the present times, but I always thought his purpose and his hope was for his greatness and glory of his country. Let not his friends, then, suppose they are dealing fairly with the house, in representing that we seek a triumph over the memory of that illustrious man, when we now move the repeal of a measure, which he would himself have repealed if he had lived. A right hon. gent. (Mr. Wilberforce), who had many opportunities of knowing his intentions, had told you that he intended to repeal it if it failed in getting men. It has failed. Let the failure of the measure be buried in his grave, and never remembered in his epitaph.—The question for the third reading of the bill was then put and carried without a division. Upon the question, that the same do pass.
said, he thought it was necessary that the bill should specifically renew the provision of the Additional Force act, that the men raised by it were not to be sent out of the kingdom.
§ Mr. Perceval
said, that as by this bill both the Army of Reserve and the Additional Force acts were repealed, the greatest injustice would be done, if the same provision as those acts made for the wives and families of the men, was not retained in the bill.—A short conversation then ensued, in which Mr. Windham and Mr. Fox urged, that the amendments proposed would unne- 141 cessarily delay the passing of this bill, and that they would be the subject of another bill.
Mr. W. Smith
thought there was much weight in the amendments, and that it would be preferable to delay the bill a short time, in order to make it complete, than to pass another on purpose to supply an omission.
§ Mr. Perceval
said, that the injustice which would result from the omission was so apparent, that the amendments would certainly be made in the house of lords; the consequence of which would be, as they related to the dispensation of money, that the bill would be altogether rejected on its return to this house.—After the Speaker had explained away a doubt of Mr. Fox's as to the forms permitting the bill to stand over, Mr. Secretary Windham withdrew his motion, that the bill do pass, and the bill stands over for to-morrow, in order to have the amendments added.
said, he had before put a question to the right hon. secretary (Mr. Windham) as to the time when he would bring forward the measures which the country had been for some time expecting? As neither courtesy, nor a sense of duty on the part of the rt. hon. secretary had induced him to return an answer, he (Mr. Yorke) repeated the question.
§ Mr. Windham
replied, that he did not know that he was bound to answer the interrogatories of the right hon gent., but he would say, if a day had been open which he could have fixed upon for the purpose of bringing those measures before the house, the right hon. gent's. question would have been unnecessary. He had already said, that what he had to submit was ready; and he would not add, that a day would soon be mentioned for the purpose.
replied, that he had asked the question as a matter of courtesy. He did not know whether, after the bills were ordered, it was not in the power of any member to move that they be brought in forthwith.
§ Mr. Windham
observed, that if so, the right hon. gent. might make a motion on the subject, but could not compel him to answer his question.