Abbildungen der Seite

generally ; but if the objection is meant to extend to regular forces, or to men who ftep forward voluntarily to co-operate with the regular forces, from a zeal to repel an enemy, I cannot admit the objection has any weight. I believe there is nothing that can add confidence to the people, and enable them to feel a security under their own Government, except being poffeiled of the means of co-operating for the general defence of the country. It is this that calls forth into action men's love for their country, and it is on this basis that the provisions of the Bill are founded; and therefore if the objection is made on the ground of any danger arising from trusting the people fo coming , forward in defence of the country with arms, it is an objection to one of the most leading principles in the Bill, for I must lay this down as an argument which cannot be refuted; if men are defirous of bearing a part in defence of the country, under whatever class or description they may fall, their exertions cannot be effectual, unless they act in unison with each other, and with regularity. It is by so doing they form all a part of that great fyftem of defence which will render this country totally invincible and impregnable.

“When I say this, I defire not to be ranked among those who assert, that country is perfectly safe from the danger of trusting arms indiscriminately. I cannot suppose that there are not men in this country whom it would be improper to trust with arms, on the appearance of the enemy, or who, on Such a day, would not be proper objects of our care and vigilance, I would not, on this occasion, say any thing that may prevent unanimity ; but I may be allowed to say there are, I will not call them large, but certainly considerable bodies of men, who are not inimical to the government of this country; but there are men, who, to forward their own vicws, are defirous of introducing reform through the medium of their connection with the enemies of this country. There are considerable bodies of men in this country, who are engaged in traitorous correspondence with the enemy, in order to aid their own views. I have no doubt of the fact. I know it with certainty. It is not my design to throw out suspicions; I know that Parliamentary Reform is captivating to the ears; but God forbid that all who entertain feelings different from the generality of the people of this country should be included among the objects of my suspicions; they are applicable only to those who wish to introduce a reform, by the aid of a French Revolution. I must say, that many persons, affociated under the name of Parliamentary Reformers, are desirous of effecting it by the very means I have just now stated, and the French have thoughi it material to their cause, to hold out in one ge


neral lump, to all Parliamentary Reformers, their offers of aslistance. I believe they are mistaken in their notions as to all who wish for Parliamentary Reform ;- but permit me to ob serve, that Gentlemen will do right to inquire well, to examine well, to inform themselves well, as to the views, characters and fentiments of those with whom they are connected in the same cause.--If they will do this, they will find that this is not a moment to disturb the country or to forward the views of the enemy, by holding out any measures of reform, however congenial to their own views. I wish to state, that under the des Julive name of Parliamentary Reformers, there are existing in this country men affociated by every tie, endeavouring by infamous and diabolical means to promote the designs of the enemy. I will not say more, but I am perfuaded the zeal of the country is such, as to render the present measure a proper one. The people know they are contending for their exiftence ; and I trust that those who think the friendship of the French a security for the peace of the country, will reflect on the fate of those countries to which they have extended their friendship. I will not refer to what has passed in Flanders and Holland, the circumstances with respect to those countries are obliterated by the more recent conduct of the French : wherever they have appeared, under the name of friendship, they have foon afa fuined the character of conquerors. Venice, Genoa, Naples, and Rome, are proofs of what is to be expected from the friendihip of France, and every country that follows fuch examples will equally fall sacrifices to their fraternal embraces But above all, there is a recent circumstance, which it is impoflible to pass over on a day such as this, when I am endeavouring to call forth the zeal, the spirit and the valour of the country. It is impossible for the House not to fee I refer to the inhumanity exercised to that ill ufed nation of he roes, of virtuous heroes, the Swiss Cantons. We all know that wich robbers hands, without any provocation, they have attacked that virtuous people, who have studiously avoided cvery way by which offence could be given, who have furuge gled to preserve a pure neutrality amidst the convulsions of Eumope; vet, becaute they were neutral, because they gave no provocation, they have provoked the hatred of the French, who now, under the walls of Berne, think themfeles at liberty to drink ruin to Great Britain, who are boasting that every bactie gained in Switzerland is an advantage over. Great Brirain; with such an enemy as we have to contend, we have no doubt left as to their object. They have told as it is the deItruction of our commerce, of our navy, of our revenue; of every thing which entitles . us to hold up ourselves as that


proud independent people whieh have so long characterized the annals of Great Britain. I do not think it necessary to add any thing further; I have said thus much in order to explain the reasons for bringing forward the measure, which is meant as an incentive to call forth the energy of the country, and to place its security beyond the reach of doubt, and therefore I move that leave be given to bring in a Bill to enable his Majesty more effectually to provide for the defence and security of the realm, and to indemnify persons who might fuffer in their property by such measures as should be thought necessary."

General Tarleton did not rise to oppose the motion, nor Mould he attempt to follow the Honourable Gentleman into a discussion of all the points agitated in his very able speech. He was still less prepared to throw out infinuations in general, and loose terms against men for holding particular sentiments of forms of Government. Whatever might be the danger apprehended by Ministers, he believed there did not exist in the country any body of men excusively attached to France. But he faw it with pain, that the country had been brought, he. would not say by whom, into a perilous, but not a calamitous fituation : he would not call it calamitous, because the coun. try abounded in military resources, which, if rightly managed, would enable it to resist any enemy. In his opinion, however, the best way of providing for our defence would be to examine the parts most vulnerable, and there put ourselves in a situation to appal the enemy. If the people wished to preserve their independence, if the House wished to be the representatives of an independent nation, such must be the plan of defence. He would not appal the spirit of the people, at a crifis big with danger, and loudly demanding the greatest una. nimity and exertion. As to the specific measure before the House, he would not oppose it, but he would state some obJervations. The enemy were making great naval preparations; but from the time requisite for their completion, Enge Jand and Ireland did not appear to him in any danger, at least, for some months. Formerly the enemy had fent an army to Ireland ; but it did not follow that they could do it again with the fame facility; we had benefited by the meditated attack; the country was put into a state of defence, and proper measures taken to prevent its repetition. Where then,', he would ask, was this country open to danger? Why, in, the neighbourhood of the metropolis, it was vulnerable in the castern coast, which was not far distant from the capital.. That was the part where they could make their attack with any chance of success. God forbid they should do so, but : If they should, their march would be as rapid as possible ;


No. 20.

[ocr errors]

4 U

they knew there were no fortified towns to be left behind them; they would not incumber themselves with heavy baggage and provisions, which, by retarding their movements, would afford time to render their efforts ineffectual. Did Buonaparte do fo when he was marching forward to Vienna? No. Should they land 160 or 170 miles from the metropolis, it would be a march of seven or eight days to reach it; but the nearest march to the metropolis would not be one of more than three or four days. He would advise, therefore, that so many troops should not be left in the southern, the northern, and western extremities of the kingdom, and that the best of our troops, both infantry and cavalry, should be drawn to the neighbourhood of London, where our force should be concentrated, leaving detachments to protect the principal commercial towns, such as Newcastle, Liveroool, and Bristol. Besides this, other precautions were neceffary. A regiment, he admitted, drawn out in St. James's Park, looked well, and seemed able to act with the utmost celerity ; but look at it marching from cantonment to cantonment, and see how flow and encumbered its motion. To enable our army then to cope with the French, it must be disembarrafied of much of its present encumbrances. Look to the constirution of the French army. A captain io the French army carried his own baggage ; he did not mean to reduce an English officer to that situation. But expedition was the foul of enterprize, and certainly alterations should be made in those particulars which rendered us unable to act with as much expedition as our enemies. These then were the observations to which he alluded.

With respect to the driving off the cattle in case of invasion, he said, he had seen as much of that service as any officer in the army ; he had been cmploved upon that service by Lord Cornwallis, in America, and if it did not succeed in so thin a country as that, it could not be expected to be more successful in so populous a country as England. Besides, the evils men must endure in such circumstances would be intolerable, Having said this, he trusted credit would be given to him when he declared he wished every thing for the good of the country. “ I cannot,” said the General, “ give military lefluns to Buonaparte, but I have hopes, after the war is ended, and I wish it may be ended honourably, I fall hear from Buonaparte himself a description of his battles, and that we shall have the pleasure of talking together over our campaigns ; but, in saying this, I cannot be misunderstood, as I mean nothing more than personal respect for a man of acknowledged valour, who has excited the admiration of every mind ; and it is in the nature of a soldier's life to wish to talk over his stories with men who have shared its toils. Every man who hears me will, I trust, not imagine that while I can admire talent, and venerate a brave man, I would court that general for a command or office. No, I am convinced he would not permit me to talk to him, if I had not done my duty to my country. And here I would beg leave to remark, that if you do not expect military merit and prowess in an enemy, you cannot fight him to advantage : thus, if you do not look on Buonaparte as the greatcft man of modern times, you cannot fight him to advantage.” He had thrown out there general observations from a sense of his duty to the House and the country, but would not oppose the measure.

General Delancey observed, that as the Honourable General who had just sat down, had called upon military men in the House to give their opinions upon the present measure, he would endeavour to shew in what way he conceived the plan suggested by that Gentleman would be improper. He had not been in the habit of addresfing himself to the House, and therefore he requested their indulgence. The Honourable General had stated that no adequate preparations had been made to defend the country against a foreign enemy, and that no proper difpofition had been made of the army, if the enemy should come. But he would point out what dispositions ougho to be made ; and he had stated his opinion. The plan of defence which the Honourable General seemed to think ought to be adopted, was to concenter all the force near the metropolis, and fo leave the extremitics of the country unprotected. This was the general tenor of his suggestion. So different, however, was his opinion, that he was perfectly satisfied every thing had been done which could be done; and that such were the dispofitions that had already been made; that if the enemy should invade the country, they would meet with a relistance which they did not expect. Of the present plan, his opinion was, that it ought to be adopted, and immediately. The Honourable General had spoken of Buonaparte. He acknowledged that he had done wonders ; but he would find that if he brought his army here, he would meet with a rețistance which could only proceed from a free people. .

General Turleton, in explanation, stated, that General Dilancey had miftaken what he had said. He did not say that all the troops should be drawn to the metropolis; he had expressly faid, that detachments should be left to guard the great towns, such as Newcastle, Briftol, &c.

General Delancey replied, that he had merely endeavoured to recollect and to state what appeared to him to be the geTieral tenor and scope of the Honourable Gentleman's arguments.

4 U 2

« ZurückWeiter »