Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

which are to be in some degree co-existent with the other branches of our constitutional law. The advantages derived from an institution when once established, are great in proportion as the plan is persevered in. It assimilates with the spirit and character of a nation, its operation is steady and uniform, and the benefits obtained from it lasting and durable. Measures of expediency, without any reference to their ultimate effects, are always hurtful in as far as relates to internal government. They have a tendency to throw a country into an unnatural state, which time reduces to its true level; they render the constitution sickly and feeble ; give it an artificial strength during their operation; and when that ceases the state falls below the common standard of health and security. The operation of great and permanent principles should alone be permitted in legislation: it is never well administered when left to the uncertain effects of transitory causes. The many military plans and regulations we have had in this country for some years back, have for these reasons appeared to me prejudicial and improper. Excepting Mr. Windham's late measure with megard to the levée en masse, which has not yet been acted upon, none of them seem to possess the character of what may be called, a general and comprehensive plan.—There is something peculiarly absurd in the idea, of our supporting a regular land force, sufficient to repel an enemy determined to invade us; and, at the same time, to protect our numerous colonies. Our limited population, our manufactures, the state of our finances, and the extent of coast to be guarded; all conspire against such an opinion. France is a military nation, has existed for many years by conquest, and has on foot a larger army than the aggregate force of many of the European states put together. We have to support a large marine, which me. cessarily gives employment to many who would otherwise become soldiers. Our attention is divided betwixt the army and navy, which makes the institution of both more imperfect than they would otherwise be.— France, on the contrary, deprived of a navy, devotes her whole attention to the perfection of her military force ; and the wars she has been engaged in since the revolution, has brought it to as high a pitch of excellence, as perhaps it will admit of. It is also worthy of remark, that the conscripts which she has successively drawn from her population, to increase and fill up the deficiency of her armies, have in the course of a very short pe. riod of time (from the capacity and diligence of her officers) fought by the side of

[blocks in formation]

are still, and will be, in all probability, continually exposed to them, while France is our rival and a military nation. What I would propose, therefore, in order to counterpoise in some degree her large army, is a permanent plan of defence capable of producing such a force, as to render us secure against external threats and attacks. This force, from circumstances arising from the peculiarity of our situation, cannot be regular; it must not be composed of men whose services are voluntary; it must be a force, embracing a great part of those capable of bearing arms, supported by law, and subject to the military code while in the field. A large force is indispensable, in order that we may be enabled to draw to one point, as great a number of men as possible in the least possible time, We do not know on which side we may be attacked; it is, therefore, necessary that we should be well defended on all sides. If an invading enemy once obtains an advantage, it will be found difficult to deprive him of the benefits arising from it. The consternation it causes insures his future success. If we cannot opposs him at first with a force equally efficient with his own, we must supply this defect by the superiority of our numbers... The force I allude to, as one to be adopted, is a numerous militia. To consist of at least six hundred thousand men, to be constantly maintained both during peace and war. To be ballotted for aunually, or every two years. Those who have served for one period, to be subject also to the ballot for the next; and all deficiencies to be supplied in the same manner. This force should be mustered and exercised, at least once every two weeks during war, and once every month' during peace. Half-pay officers, and military men, incapacitated from engaging in actual service, would easily be induced to undertake the discipline of it for a small compensation. While in the field the strictest order ought to be observed, and all offences punished without respect to persons. Military exercises should also form a part of the education of our youth at all public schools. It is uunecessary to enter further into detail, as it would be only repeating what has already been adopted with regard to similar measures. Many arguments arising from our situation, I am aware may be offered against a plan such as I have above hinted at. But, all will readily acknowledge, that security. ought to be the first object of a nation, as it

[ocr errors]

is the first principle of the social union. What signifies our laws, liberties, and a constitution the envy of the world, if we cannot preserve them 2 It will be said, that such a force could not be very efficient. It must be admitted, that it would not be equal to a regular force; it would, however, be better than a volunteer one. But, are we to have no military force at all, because we cannot have one so perfect as we would wish I am convinced, that were some such plan to be adopted, and to become as permanently established and observed, as any other part of our constitution, that the happiest effects would result from it, both to our security and prosperity. In the ancient republics, a citizen was also a soldier, when the necessities of the state required his services; and although, I will allow, that there is a great difference, betwixt their situations and those of the nations of modern times; yet, it is not so great as to render what was practised by the former, incompatible with the circumstances of the latter. "We all know what commotion it made in the country, when France after the breaking out of the present war, threatened us with invasion. All who witnessed the effects of that threat, must be astonished that no step has yet been taken to render us permanently secure.—R. M. Oct. 7, 1807. ~ / - + DOMESTIC OFFICIAL PAPER. Right of Se Aach.-By the King, a Proclamation, for recalling and prohibiting seamen from serving foreign princes and states. George R.—Whereas it hath been represented unto us, that great numbers of mariners and seafaring men, our natural-born subjects, have been enticed to enter into the service of foreign States, and are now actually serving as well on board the ships of war belonging to the said Foreign States, as on board the merchant vessels belonging to their subjects, notwithstanding our former Proclamation, recalling them, contrary to the duty and allegiance which our said subjects owe unto us, and to the great disservice of their native country; we have, therefore, thought it necessary at the present moment, when our kingdom is menaced and endangered, and when the maritime rights, on

which its power and greatness do mainly

depend, are disputed and called in question, to publish, by and with the advice of our

ivy Council, this our Royal Proclamation —We do hereby strictly charge and command all masters of ships, pilots, mariners, shipwrights, and other seafaring men, being our natural-born subjects, who

may have been enticed into the pay or service of any foreign State, or do serve in any. foreign ship or vessel, that, forthwith they and every of them do (according to their bounden duty and allegiance, and in consideration that their native country hath need of all their services), withdraw themselves, and depart from and quit such foreign services, and do return home to their native country; or do enter on board such of our ships of war as they may chance to fall in with, either on the high seas, or in any rivers, waters, havens, roads, ports, or places whatsoever or wheresoever.—And, for the better execution of the purposes of this our Royal Proclamation, we do authorize

and command all Captains, Masters, and

others, commanding our ships and vessels of war, to stop and make stay of all and every such person or persons (being our natural born subjects), as shallendeavour to transport or enter themselves into the service of any Foreign State, contrary to the intent and command of our Royal Proclamation, and to seize upon, take and bring away, all such persons as aforesaid, who shall be found to be employed or serving in any foreign merchant ship or vessel as aforesaid : but we do strictly enjoin all such our Captains, Masters, and others, that they do permit no man to go on board such ships and vessels belonging to States at amity with us, for the purpose of so seizing upon, taking, and bringing away such persons as aforesaid, for whose discreet and orderly demeanour the said Captains cannot answer, and that they do take special care that no unnecesary violence be done or offered to the vessel, or to the remainder of the crew, from out of which such persons shall be taken —And in case of their receiving information of any such person or persons being employed, or serving on board of any ship of war belonging to such Foreign State, being a State at amity with us, we do authorize and command our Captains, Masters and others commanding our ships of war, to require of the Captain or Commander of such foreign ship of war, that he do forthwith release and discharge such person or persons, being our natural-born subject or subjects ; and if such release and discharge shall be refused, thento transmit information of such refusal to the Commaryler in Chief of the squadron under whose-orders such Captain or Commander shall be then serving, which information the said Commander in Chief is hereby strictly directed and enjoined to transmit, with the least possible delay, to our Minister residing at the seat of Government of that State to which the said foreign ships of war shall belong, to our Lord High Admiral, or Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty for the time being, in order that we, being apprized of such proceeding, may forthwith direct the necessary steps to be taken for obtaining redress from the Government to which such foreign ship of war shall belong, for the injury done to us by the unwarranted detention of our natural-born subjects in the service of a foreign State :And whereas it has further been represented unto us, that divers mariners and seafaring men, our natural born subjects, have been induced to accept letters of naturalization, or certificates of citizenship, from foreign states, and have been taught to believe that, by such letters or certificates, they are discharged from that duty of , allegiance which, as our natural-born subjects, they owe to us; now we do hereby warn all such mariners, seafaring men, and others, our natural-born subjects, that no such letters of naturalization, or certificates of citizenship, do, or can, in any manner, divest our natural-born subjects of the allegiance, or in any degree alter the duty which they owe to us, their lawful Sovereign. But, in consideration of the error into which such mariners and seafaring men as aforesaid may have been led, we do hereby publish and declare our free pardon to all such our subjects, who, repenting of the delusion under which they have acted, shall immediately, upon knowledge of this our Royal Proclamation, withdraw themselves from foreign services, and return to their allegiance to us ; and we do declare that all such our subjects, who shall continue in the service of the foreign states, in disregard and contempt of this our Royal Proclamation, will not only incur our just displeasure, but are liable to be proceeded against for such contempt, and shall be proceeded against accordingly ; and we do hereby declare, that if any such masters of ships, pilots, mariners, seamen, shipwrights, or other seafaring men, being our naturalborn subjects, shall be taken in any foreign service by the Algerines, or other Barbary powers, and carried into slavery, they shall not be reclaimed by us as subjects of Great Britain.—And we do further motify, that all such our subjects as aforesaid, who have voluntarily entered, or shall enter, or voluntarily continue to serve on board of any ships of war belonging to any foreign State at enmity with us, are, and will be guilty of high treason; and we do by this our Royal Proclamation declare, that they shall be punished with the utmost severity of the jaw.—Given at our Court at the Queen's

- Frinted by Cox and Baylis, No.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

The Ninth Volume of the Parliamentary Debates, comprising the period from the 5th of March to the close of the First Session of the Fourth Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on the 14th of August, 1807, is ready for delivery. In the Appendix to this Volume will be found the First and Second Reports of the Committee of Finance, the Report on the Commercial State of the West Indies, and the Annual Accounts relative to the Finance and Commerce of Great Britain and of Ireland—-documents which are not to be met with in any other work extant. Complete sets from the commencement in 1803, may be had of the Publishers, and also of Mr. Archer, Bookseller, Dublin.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

covent. Gardco, where former Numbers may be had sold also by J. Budd, Crown and Mitro, Pals Mall

[merged small][ocr errors]

... *, amidst this exultation, I must confess, that I am continually haunted with fears, that, by-and-by, - - - - “all of a sudden, we shall find that this vigour is a momentary flash, and that, at bottom, these mini-

-Page 4-6. 073] SUMMARY OF POLITICS. AMERICAN STATEs. As the King's Proclamation, lately issued, relates, as to its object, solely to the American States, it will be best to continue this title to the articles, wherein that famous document is treated of. Some remarks were, in the preceding number, offered upon the proclamation; but, after those remarks were written the demi-official defence of it has appeared in the Courier news-paper, which defence I shall, long as it is, first insert; because, not only is it fair to communicate to my readers what has been said on the side opposite to that which I take, but, it is useful to have such papers upon record, without which they could not, at any future period, be referred to. “As a difference “ of opinion seems to prevail with respect “to the late Proclamation issued by Go“vernment, it appears to be necessary to “submit to the public the following observations. In the first place, however, it may not be improper to bestow a word “ or two upon those who have stopped to criticise particular expressions in the Pro“clamation, and to whom the detection of an inelegance of expression seems to have “afforded peculiar satisfaction. The words ““make to stay," which have shocked the " ears of those delicate critics, will be found “ in all the Proclamations which have been “ published for the last century. They “are the words of our fathers, and the “ children have not forgotten them.” It " may serve too to abate the anger of these * critics to shew that the paragraph relative “ to the Algerines has been invariably used . in all proclamations for recalling seamen o for the last 100 years. And surely it is not now so absurd a clause as it was dur** ing the greater part of that period, now -- when the Americans are a separate na... on, trading largely with the Mediterro- . and being often the objects of the -- o: . Corsair Powers? If we “menaco y our ancestors held out this * * can only reply that they

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

British

“tets, like all the former, for unany years past, will be ready to give up the rights of their country, if they should find it necessary to the preservation of their places.”—Pointical Registen, Sept 19, 1897,

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

crease of their wealth, and that they have

indeed been ignorant of the character of merchants, who characterized them as preferring their interest to the honor of the country, and ready to sacrifice the grand principles upon which the glory and greatness of the nation rest to the sordid principle of gain The Americans have so few ships of war that they can'care less about our searching them than our searching their merchant ships —aad if they have felt, or affected to feel a great sensibility and sense of wounded honour at the affair of the Chesapeake, it is less, we suspect, because they supposed we were exercising a principle we had never exercised before, than because they hoped by the display of their passion and their regret to surprise us into concessions upon the question of the search of their merchant ships. That is their sore and tender point—thev would, we have no doubt, abandon their objections to our searching their ships of war, or indeed give us up their ships of war, if we would consent to let their merchantmen pass unvisited and unsearched. But let us see how the ques

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

tion would have stood had we maintained the right of searching ships of war. Some there are, we know, who are for searching all ships, because we are masters of the seas, and for not suffering any other power to exercise the same right against ourselves—there is something imposing in the idea. But could we always prevent Americans searching our ships of war : True we could, if our immense naval superiority could always be brought to bear at every point. But might it not happen that an American frigate might meet with an English sloop, and insist

upon exercising the same right which a

superior British force would have exercised against the American No British sloop would we are sure, permit a foreign Power to search her. No. She would nail the flag to the mast and go down rather than permit it. Here then, fresh disputes would arise, and the principle would be the fruitful source of acrimony, vexation, and probably of War. We

[blocks in formation]

frigates, the whole of the American Na-,

vy; and to accomplish that desire, we are to allow the Americans to search our nine hundred sail, a sixth of which are ships of the line ! Are we to suffer an Armerican frigate to overhaul a British ship of the line We see the indignant countenances of our readers, at the bare suggestion of such an idea. How were ministers to act then : if they claimed the right for us, without allowing it to be reciprocal, they could not have in all places, at all times, a force that should be so superior as to prevent the Americans from enforcing the search against us. Hence disputes and hostile proceedings would certainly and perhaps not unfrequently arise. If they claimed the right and allowed it to be reciprocal, they would, for the sake of searching six or eight frigates, yield up the whole British navy to an American search. But it is represented as a concession to America—as a new system upon which we are to act. During and before the 17th century, the instructions to our officers were

to search all ships, without making any | co \

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

distinction between merchantmen and ships of war. During the last century, may, from the commencement of the reign of King William, the instructions to search ships of war were omitted. Which of the two modes of proceeding were to be followed—the former or the latter —the latter it may be said being nearer our own times, was more likely to be congenial to the present state of the world—(We beg here that we may not be supposed to have abandoned our opinion with respect to the search of the Chesapeake—it was a case sui generis– it stands by itself: there was great previous provocation on the part of the Americans—a daring defiance of our poweran overbearing insolence, accompanied with declarations which we know to be false; the men had been paraded under our very noses and carried off in triumph on board the American). There are some, who, in representing the proclamation as a concession, seem to wish to have it understood that ministers had ordered Admiral Berkeley to enforce the search of American ships of war, but that, finding the effect it had produced, they had since revoked the order. The fact is, that it formed no part of Admiral Berkeley's orders or instructions—that it was his own act.—But why, it may be asked, did ministers bring forward the prohibition to search neutral ships of war so prominently now In the first place let it be recollected that they accompanied that prohibition, with as prominent an expres: sion of their determination to search mer. chant ships. They wished, no doubt, to give notice to the American government, that they should make all questions relative to the enticing or receiving British seamen on board American ships of war, questions as between government and government—that, according to the degree in which that system was adopted, they would make it either the cause of re. monstrance, perhaps even of reprisal if necessary, or even should the system be pertinaceously persisted in, of warEvery one must see that however governments may be ignorant of what passes on board merchant ships, they cannot be go norant, and are therefore responsible so: the conduct adopted by their ships of war, the names of the officers in which, and the quality and description of their crews, cannot be unknown to them.T Ministers no doubt wished also to separate the two points of searching ships of W* and merchantmen, and to mark in *

« ZurückWeiter »