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and the cheapest mode of attaining establishment was by no means inthis object, was that of raising a considerable, and that the yeomanry supplementary levy of militia, to cavalry, which, from their numbe grafted upon the old establish- bers, were sufficiently respectable, ment. He proposed, that this sup- had been proved to be highly useful plement should consist of sixty in securing the quiet and maintainthousand men, not to be immedi- ing the internal tranquillity of the ately called out, but to be enrolled, country. But with a view to reofficered, and gradually trained, so pelling an invasion, the farther this as to be fit for service at a moment species of force was extended, the of danger. It would be expedient greater advantage was likely to acto regulate the future levy, not by crue from it. Besides, it was a the proportions then existing, but species of force which might be by a general estimate of the inha- provided in a mode that would be bitants who were able to bear arms. attended with little expence to the The next consideration was the public, and with small inconvemanner in which the troops were nience to individuals He estimatto be furnished, which he thought ed the extent of the irregular cavalought to be generally from all parts ry by the number of horses which of the kingdom, and that an obli- were kept for pleasure throughout gation should be imposed upon the kingdom. By pursuing this those who should be balloted either mode, the burden would fall upon to serve in person, or to find a those only who had a considerable substitute; and the better to pre- ' stake in the country to defend. By serve the general proportion, that the produce of the horse tax, the this substitute should be provided number of horses kept for pleasure either from the parish in which the in England, Scotland, and Wales, person balloted should reside, or appeared to be about two hundred from a parish imniediately adjoin thousand. He therefore proposed, ing. He proposed to train only that every person who kept ten one-sixth part of the whole at one horses should be obliged to provide time, by which only ten thousand one horse and one horseman, to at a time would be drawn from serve in a corps of cavalry; that their usual occupations ; conse- those who kept more than ten quently, it would not much in- should provide in the same proporfringe upon the general order of tion; and that those who kept fewer the community. Of course they than ten should form themselves were to be provided with some sort into classes, in which it should be of uniform, but it might be of the decided by ballot who, at the comcoarsest kind, and such as night mon expence, should provide the be purchased at a small expence. horse and the horseman. These A sufficient number of arms were troops to be provided with a unialso to be in readiness, for supply. form and accoutrements, formed ing each man in the moment of into corps, and put under proper danger.
officers. The next measure which Mr. The next class of men which Pitt suggested to the committee, the minister regarded as proper subwas to provide a considerable forcejects for defending the country in of irregular cavalry. He observed, case of invasion, was the gamethat the regular cavalry on the keepers. He therefore, proposed,
that those persons who had taken bare assertions, instead of examinout licences to shoot game, or de- ing the measures of the executive putations for gamekeepers, should, government with extreme jealousy, within a certain period, be at li- a jealousy warranted and sanctionberty to return the same if they ed by the constitution, they would thought proper ; but if after that demand some further satisfaction period they should continue their before they gave their unqualities licenses or deputations for game- assent to a project so new and unkeepers, then they should be oblig- precedented. He contended, that ed to find substitutes. He observed the house ought to know that the that gentlemen might smile at the belief of ministers of the danger of idea of raising a force by such an invasion was well founded; and means: but that smile would be that the members who had been in converted into surprize when they the last parliament must remember heard that the number of persons how often ministers had in other who had taken out those licenses cases, and under different pretendes, was 7000. The whole number of created alarms merely to increase cavalry which he proposed to raise their own power; alarms which had by the means he had mentioned, been proved to have been groundwas 20,000.
less. If ministers considered the idle “Thus," said the Chancellor of rant and rhodomontade speeches of the Exchequer, “have I pointed any member of the legislature of out the means by which I propose France, as a sufficient manifestationi to raise 15,000 men, to be divided of the project of an invasion, such between the land and the sea ser- grounds were too light and unsubvice; to raise a supplementary levystantial to found upon them meaof 60,000 for the militia, and sures of such importance, and re20,000 cavalry." He concluded plete with such inconveniences as with moving, " that a bill be the present. The idea of invasion brought in for raising a certain was by no means new in that Dumber of men in the several coun- house ; all had heard of invading ties of Great Britain for the ser France, and marching to Paris ; a vice of his majesty.”
design expressed by a gentleman of Mr. Sheridan said, that he ex- great weight, and intimately conpected some explanation would nected with his majesty's minishave been given to the house by ters, and not contradicted by any his majesty's ministers, of the ac- member of administration, but even tual necessity of adopting the mea- received with applause. Though sure just proposed by the chancel- this was openly asserted, yet the lor of the excbequer. The house government of France did not rewas called upon to impose heavy gard ihe assertion as a manifestation burdens upon the people, and to of an intention to invade France, suspend the labour of a large part or adopt any measures in conse. of the community, without being quence of it. Mr. Sheridan thought convinced of the necessity of either. it extraordinary, that, while reports If tbiz parliament, he said, were prevailed out of doors that the not disposed to imitate the conduct French had experienced defeats in of the last, to vote the money of Germany, that they were likely to the people, and to invest minister's experience the same in Italy, and with unbounded powers upon their that their resources were nearly ex
B 2 hausted, hausted, that at such a period mi- into a posture of defence. He gave nisters should come forward to it as his private opinion, that upon propose means for augmenting the these means of defence it depended internal force of the nation as pre- whether the projected invasion paratory to repel an invasion from would be carried into execution or France while in such a state of not. By shewing that every thing weakness. He would not oppose had been done to secure our inthe mode which the minister had ternal safety, we demonstrated to proposed of raising 20,000 cavalry; the enemy the ruin with which he had no objection to see the gene their enterprize would be attended, tlemen who amuse themselves in and might induce them to abandon Hyde-Park, take an active part in a design which presented no hopes the war; not that he was blind to of success." the inconveniences that would at Mr. Fox said, that in this stage tend the execution of the plan of the business it was not the duty There was another part of the mea. of any man to make opposition to sure to which he had a greater ob- the measure proposed ; but from jection-he alluded to that part the sense he had of the general which related to game-keepers. - plan, there were many parts of it Why these men should be singled to the adoption of which no eloout, he knew not; they were dis- quence was likely to reconcile him. persed through the country, and it He contended, that if this measure would not be easy to collect them was necessary to be adopted under together. "Why," said he,“ be- our present circumstances, it was cause they may be expert in killing also necessary to have been adopted a partridge, are we to suppose that in 1756, in 1778, in 1794, and they are better calculated than others had been fit in every period in to kill a Frenchman ?" He saw which this country had been enmany difficulties, but in this choice gaged in a war. But for the necesof difficulties he for the present gave sity of this step the house had only his assent to the proposition. the authority of the king's minis
Mr. Dundas, after observing (in ters, on whom he did not choose contradiction to some hints thrown to rely. With respect to the paout by Mr. Sheridan) that the last negyric pronounced upon the last parliament would ever be held in parliament by the ministerial side of the highest estimation for its glori- the house, Mr. Fox openly declared, ous exertions in rescuing this coun- that it had done more mischief to try and all Europe from destruction, the interests of this country than spoke to the explanation which any other that had ever sitten that gentleman had demanded of in it. He considered it as a curse his majesty's ministers respecting to this nation. The leading printhe propositions then before the ciple upon which it acted was that house. He contended, that, whe. which led directly to complete desther the preparations then making potism. If the measure then be. in France would end in a descent fore the house was necessary to our upon this country or not, was im- safety, it was the conduct of minispossible to determine ; still the ap- ters and of a confiding parliament, pearances of a disposition to make which had rendered it so. the attempt were sufficient to justi- That part of the plan which refy ministers in putting the nation ferred to game-keepers, appeared to him to be a violent and unjust should at a given day give up their measure, acting upon a class of per. deputations; but they should not be sons who contributed considerably called upon unless the militia should towards the support of the state. be embodied. He then brought up He concluded with observing, that a clause respecting game-keepers. be should oppose some parts of the He said it was meant to affect only plan when it came before the house game-keepers who were really and in detail.
actually serving as such ; for that The chancellor of the exchequer · gentlemen taking out their licence replied to the arguments made use to sport, should have power to find of by Mr. Sheridan and Mr, Fox. à substitute, to be approved of by He was supported in his proposition the lord lieutenant. The clause by Sir William Pulteney, Mr. El. proposed by Mr. Rose was then ford, and by Mr. Serjeant Adair: read, and made part of the bill, he was opposed by Mr Sheridan, which then passed the committee. Mr. Fox, and by Mr. Curwen. On the 31st of October, upon a
The first resolution was agreed motion for re-committing the mito: the second resolution respect- litia bill, a debate of considerable ing the augmentation of the militia length took place, when Mr. Curwas also agreed to, and a bill order. wen opposed it with great strength ed to be prepared and brought in of argument and elegance of exfor that purpose. The third reso. pression He regarded the measure lution for raising a provisional force then before the house as a scheme of cavalry was also ordered to be to perpetuate that system of delu. thrown into the form of a bill and sion which administration liad so introduced into the house.
successfully practised for their own This measure came again before purposes of innovation and oppres. the commons on the 25th of sion. It seemed strange that such October, when the bill for raising steps should be proposed at the a certain number of men in the moment a negociation was on foot, several counties of the kingdom for the favourable termination of which the service of the army and navy, he hoped nothing would occur on passed a committee of the whole the part of this country to obstruct. house, and was ordered to be print. He was convinced that the exered.
tions which the country was then The bill for increasing the mic called upon to make, were designed litia, &c. for the defence of the by ministers for other purposes than kingdom, was read a second time, those they had avowed. The state and ordered to be committed to of the continent was certainly not a committee of the whole house so alarming as it had been at some immediately. Mr. Rose moved, former periods, and our navy was that it be an instruction to the com- represented in his majesty's speech mittee that they mighı have power as having blocked up the enemy's to make provision in the bill for fleets in their own ports for a conenrolling in the militia all persons siderable part of the year. Upon who were game-keepers. He ob- what then did our fears of invasion served also, that it was proposed, rest? that all persons who had deputations The chancellor of the exchequer for keeping game should be enrolled contended, that every member of in case of necessity, unless they that house must fcel a disposition
o set upon that pledge which they bill several amendments were pro. hd so solemnly given on 'a former posed and adopted. The chancel. night in the address, to neglect no lor of the exchequer, upon this oc. reasure to repel the danger to casion, introduced a clau se to exwhich the country was exposed empt persons belonging to the arfrom the threatened invasion. The tiilery company and the cinque. members had been told by those in port corps from the operation of a responsible situation, that minis- the bill, together with several other ters knew enough from intelligence associated corps. to which they gave credit, to ren- On the clause proposing that the
der it necessary for them to apprize operation of the bill should conti; the country of its danger, and to nue during the war, and three
call upon it to exert its means of months after, Mr. Sheridan obdefence
served, that it was probable that Mr. Fox and Sir James Pulteney the war might still be protracted spoke against the bill. The former long after any alarm of invasion gentleman observed, that there was had ceased. This bill was only inroom to doubt the assertions of tended to secure the country from ministers upon that occasion, be- the dangers of invasion. He there.. cause there had been no ground for fore proposed, that the bill should the original aların which they had continue only two months in force raised in 1792. The chancellor of after the meeting of the next session the exchequer rose again and ob of parliament. To this Mr. Hitt served, that if the house agreed to replied, that when once the men the measure by adopting the pre- had been trained for twenty days. sent bill, he thought not a moment the hardships with respect to them should be lost, but that this and the ceased ; it could therefore be no inother bills should be passed as speed. convenience to retain them on the ily as possible. For this purpose footing proposed by the bills. To he proposed to pass them merely in keep them, when once balloted, in the outline, with a clause in each, readiness to be called out in case of empowering the house to amend : emergency during the war. might any part or parts of them at any be a source of additional strength o time during the present session. He and confidence to the country The
said a few words at the same time amendment of one month after the on the bill for embodying game war was adopted. keepers, wbich had been much Mr. Sheridan proposed an amend. misunderstood. It had been sup- ment to the bill, for the pure posed that they were to be embo- pose of doing away a distinction in died and called out to be trained consequence of a difference of reli. as the other parts of the militia gion. In the oath taken by those were ; but the case was otherwise, who served in the militia, they were for, as they were already very ex- required to swear that they were pert at the use of the firelock, protestants. This was an exclusion There would be no occasion to call of Romancatholics, inconsistent with them out till an invasion should ac- the liberty of the age. We ought tually take place, when they would to recollect how many of that de be found a very useful body of men. scription were in Ireland, whom it
On the 'st of November, on the was policy in ministers to conci· report of the supplementary militia liate. He then moved an amend