The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons: Volume 8, 1733-1734. Originally published by Chandler, London, 1742.
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A Bill against Stock-jobbing read the first Time.
February 5. Sir John Rushout presented to the House, according to Order, a Bill to prevent the infamous Practice of Stock-jobbing, which was receiv'd, and read the first Time, and order'd to be read a second Time.
Feb. 6. The House resolv'd itself into a Committee of the whole House, to consider of the Supply, and the proper Estimates being referr'd to that Committee, Mr Andrews, (fn. 1)stood up and spoke as follows:
Debate concerning the Land-Forces. ; Mr Andrews.
'By the Employment I have the Houour to be in, it naturally falls within my Province, to take Notice of the Estimates which have been laid before us, relating to the Charge of the Guards, Garrisons, and other his Majesty's Land-Forces in Great Britain, in the Plantations, and in Minorca and Gibraltar, for the Year ensuing: By these Estimates Gentlemen will find, that the Charge for next Year does but very little exceed that for last Year; and therefore, considering the present State of Affairs in Europe, which must be known to every Gentleman in this House, I think it would be but mispending the Time of the Committee, to say any Thing with relation to the Question I have now in my Hand to move to you.
'The Difference between the Situation this Nation is in now, and the Situation it was in last Year, sufficiently justifies the small Addition that is proposed to be made to our Land-Forces; the Addition proposed is no more than 1800 Men, and even this Addition is proposed to be made in the easiest and least expensive Way: We have now three Regiments at Gibraltar, which have always hitherto been placed on the British Establishment, because, tho' they were sent there upon an Emergency, it was never before thought necessary to continue them there; but since a War is broke out in Europe, it cannot be thought safe to recall them, and therefore in their Place it is proposed to add 1800 Men to the Regiments we have now at home, and to place them for the future on the Establishment for Minorca and Gibraltar. This, in my Opinion, is so reasonable and so necessary a Demand, that I shall give the Committee no farther Trouble, but beg Leave to move, That the Number of effective Men to be provided for Guards and Garrisons in Great Britain, and for Guernsey and Jersey, for the Year 1734, be, including 1815 Invalids, and 555, which the six independent Companies consist of for the Service of the Highlands, 17,704 Men, Commission and Non-Commission Officers included.'
Sir W. Wyndham.
'I do not stand up to oppose the Motion made by the honourable Gentleman over the Way; for as the Motion stands, the Number of Forces proposed to be kept up for next Year is, I find, no greater than that which was kept up for last Year, and, according to our present Situation, I do believe the keeping up the same Number of Forces will not be thought very extravagant; but by what the Gentleman was pleased to say, there seems to be an Augmentation design'd; I shall therefore beg Leave to propose an Amendment to this Question, because, as to our own particular Situation, we are still left in the Dark.
'There is no Gentleman in this House, who can agree to any Demand that comes from the Crown more chearfully than I shall, when I see any Reason or Necessity for such a Demand: But when any Augmentation of our Forces, either by Sea or Land, is demanded, when any additional Load is desired to be laid upon the People, while I have the Honour to be one of the Representatives of the People, I shall always expect to have sufficient Reasons shewn me, before I give my Consent for complying with any such Demand; and therefore, upon every such Occasion, I think a full Information ought to be given touching the Situation of our Affairs, that we may from thence judge, whether we ought to consent to what is proposed: Nay, though no Augmentation had been asked, if nothing more were to be asked, but to keep up for next Year the same Number that was kept up last Year; yet, as it is a heavy Charge upon the People, and cannot surely be always necessary, the Consent of Parliament ought not to be expected, without giving us some good Reasons for it.
'For this Reason, I hope, that some Gentlemen who can inform us, will rise up and let us know something of our present Circumstances: It is high Time we should know, not only our present Situation but likewise, what Share we are to take, or if we are to take any, in the War now begun in Europe: It is chiefly with this View, that I am to offer an Amendment to the Question: My principal Design in it is, that some Gentleman may rise up, and give me some Argument, afford me some Excuse, for my consenting to lay a new Load upon a People whom I know to be already most heavily loaded. I know, Sir, we are in a Committee, and therefore I may be indulged in speaking more than once, for which Reason I shall now add no more, but only move, that the Words, And including the three Regiments of Tyrawley, Grove, and Kirk, may be added by way of Amendment to the Question.'
Mr H. Pelham.
'My Opinion is the same with that of the honourable Gentleman who made you this Motion; the Augmentation proposed is, I think, so very small, the Manner of doing it so easy, and so little expensive, and the Necssity of doing it so evident and apparent, that I did not expect that either I or any Gentleman else should have been under a Necessity of standing up to say any Thing in Support of the Motion. The honourable Gentleman, who spoke last, has proposed an Amendment, and wants much, it seems, to be inform'd of our present Situation, and hopes that some Gentlemen will stand up and satisfy him: I do not take upon me to speak as a Person any way concern'd in the Administration, I speak only as a Member of this House, and, as such, I want no farther Information; the Lights I have, and which every Gentleman in this House must know, are sufficient to enable me to give my Vote in the present Question: If other Gentlemen, whose Curiosity may be greater than mine, want to know more than they yet know, I am afraid they will return from the House no wiser in that Respect, than when they come to it; for Gentlemen are not obliged to say more than what is necessary for their present Argument; nor are they bound, upon every Occasion, to satisfy the private Curiosity of other Men.
'Every Gentleman must know the present Circumstances of Affairs in Europe, and from that Consideration alone must see the Necessity of the Augmentation proposed; The three Regiments, which are at Gibraltar have been, 'till now, kept upon the British Establishment, because it was not expected, that we should have been obliged to continue them there: But since a War is broke out in Europe, since our Neighbours have all great Armies in the Field and great Fleets at Sea, would any Man think it wise or prudent in us, to diminish the Strength of that Place by recalling those three Regiments? Or can any Gentleman in this House think, that a less Number of regular Troops at home is nocessary now in the Time of War, than what was last Year, in the Time of Peace, thought necessary for the Defence of his Majesty's Person and Government? Surely no Member of this House can possibly think so, and therefore I cannot see how any Gentleman can disagree with the Question now before you; since all that is thereby proposed is but a small additional Expence of 34 or 35,000 l. to the Nation. It is only an Augmentation of our Forces at home, equal to, and in the room of those three Regiments, which it is now become necessary to put upon a foreign Establishment; for after they are once put upon that Establishment, it is certain they cannot be called home, whatever Necessity we may have for them here; and, for all that has been formerly said by Gentlemen about numerous Standing Armies, I know very well, that while I served in another Office, we never were able to make such a Disposition of Quarters, as to have it in our Power to call above three or four thousand Men together upon any Emergency. For these Reasons, Sir, I cannot agree to the Amendment proposed; on the contrary, I never was, I think, clearer in any one Question I moved in this House, than I am in that which you have in your Hand.'
Mr G. Heathcote.
'As the Situation of Affairs in Europe is very much altered since last Year, so my Opinion, with respect to the Army, is greatly changed. I was, 'tis true, last Session against keeping up such a Number of regular Troops, as the Majority of this House were pleased to agree to; but the Reasons which then made me vote against the Number proposed, seem to be good Reasons for agreeing to what is now proposed. We were then in a State of perfect Tranquility, both at home and abroad; but now the Scene is changed, and we are in great Danger of being involved inthat War, which is already broke out: Do not we see the King of France, who for some Years has been in a State of Inaction and seeming to mind nothing but Diversions, now settling with great Application to publick Business, and following the Footsteps of his ambitious Predecessor? Do not we see, that he by his Armies, in Conjunction with those of Spain and Sardinia, has in a very short Time, over-run a great Part of Italy? This has given the Alarm to all the Princes of Europe, and certainly ought to give us some likewise. We are perhaps amongst the most remote from Danger, but it may reach us at last; and in such Circumstances, I should think it very unwise not to be upon our Guard; for which Reason I cannot but agree to a Demand, which in itself I think so modest and so reasonable; and I wish that the present Question had been agreed to without any Opposition or Debate, in order to convince the whole World there is a good Harmony subsisting between his Majesty and his Parliament.'
Sir T. Saunderson.
'Notwithstanding what has been said by the two honourable Gentlemen who spoke last, I am of the same Opinion with my honourable Friend who moved for an Amendment to the Question; for unless we are to engage, unless we are to have some Share in the present War, I can see no Necessity, nor indeed any Reason, for the Augmentation proposed; because I am very well assured, none of the Powers engaged in War will attack us, if we have a mind to stand neutral; and if his Majesty were resolved to take any Share in the War, or even to give the least Assistance to either of the Parties engaged, he would certainly have communicated his Resolutions to his Parliament: Surely those Gentlemen who have always thought, at least of late Years, that an Army of 18,000 Men is necessary in Times of Peace, to support his Majesty's Government, can never think, that the Addition of 1800 will enable him to take any Share in the War, or to give Assistance to any of his Allies; from hence I must conclude, that his Majesty is not to take any Share in the War, so that the Smallness of the Augmentation demanded, which they make use of as an Argument for prevailing with us to agree to it, is with me a very strong Argument for refusing to give my Consent.
'But, Sir, the chief Argument with me for being against the present Question is, that I am afraid left the Number of Forces kept up last Year should come to be thought always necessary to be kept, even in Times of the most profound Peace and Tranquility; and indeed the Gentleman who spoke last but one seemed to infinuate as much, so that from henceforth we may reckon an Army of 18,000 Men as a Part of our Constitution; and even this Army it seems is always to be augmented, whenever any little Quarrel happens between any two of our Neighbours, and that whether we are to have any Share in the Quarrel or not: This is the principal Reason, Sir, why I cannot agree to the Question, as it now stands, and therefore I shall be for the Amendment proposed.'
Mr W. Pulteney.
'The honourable Gentleman who moved the Question did extreamly well in opening and explaining it to the Committee, for it is in itself so dark and intricate, that without the Explanation he was pleased to give us, I believe there are very few Gentlemen in the House who would have understood it, or could have imagined, that a large Augmentation was thereby meant to be made to our LandForces in Great Britain: By the Words of the Question, no greater Number of Land-Forces than what was voted last Year appears to be demanded, yet when it comes to be explained, we find that there is a Demand for an Augmentation of about 2000 Men: Here is an Army in Disguise; it really puts me in mind of Bayes's Army in the Play, for it would have been an Army incog. if the Gentleman had not been pleased to discover it.
'An honourable Gentleman told us, that those three Regiments now at Gibraltar, if they should once be put upon that Establishment, could not be called home, let the Occasion for them here be never so pressing; this I cannot admit, I can see no Impossibility of calling them home, tho' they should be put upon that Establishment; but, granting they were, have we not 12,000 Men in Ireland, from whence we may call home as many as we please, upon any Emergency: Has not this been done in former Times? And did not the Parliament of Great Britain willingly make up the Difference of the Pay, and all the other Charges that attended the Transporting of them: Besides this, cannot we call for Troops from Holland, whenever we have Occasion for any such? Has not this likewise been formerly done? We know that the Dutch are by Treaties obliged to furnish us with 10,000 Men, if we should be attacked by any Power in Europe, and that at their own Expence too; tho' I believe, indeed, that we never had as yet any such Assistance from them, but what the Parliament of Great Britain was obliged to pay for.
'The Gentleman spoke likewise of the Disposition of Quarters, and the Difficulty of getting a Number of Men together, on any Emergency. Sir, I have had the Honour to serve in that Office, as well as the honourable Gentleman, and I never knew a Disposition of Quarters so made, but that almost all the Troops in Great Britain could be got together by regular Marches, time enough to oppose any Enemy that could come against us, unless they should drop from the Clouds; I cannot comprehend, from whence Gentlemen imagine that such Troops should be sent against us: Must they not march, from their several Quarters, to the Sea-Coast of that Country from whence they are to come? Must they not have a Fleet of Ships to transport them, and a fair Wind to bring them to this Island? Will not all this take up Time, and that enough to give us an Opportunity of assembling our Forces? This, really, Sir, to me seems to be raising Fantasms in the Air, in order to find Pretences for loading the People of England with Taxes.
'The Amendment proposed was not, I believe, meant by the honourable Gentleman who mov'd it, so much to be insisted on, as to oblige those Gentlemen, who desired us to consent to this Augmentation, to shew us some Reason for so doing; and with this View I must join with him, and will be for the Amendment, 'till I hear some Reason given for the Augmentation: If those Gentlemen will vouchsafe to shew us any Reasons for what they ask, and those Reasons shall appear to be sufficient, I make no Doubt but that my worthy Friend will be ready to drop the Amendment he has proposed; and, 'till some Reason is offered to us, I think I have no Occasion to say any thing more upon this Subject. When they have shewn us their Reasons for making the Augmentation, I shall either agree with them, or I shall endeavour to shew why I do not think the Reasons they have offered sufficient.'
Mr H. Pelham.
Mr W. Plumer.
'I cannot but think that it is highly reasonable, for Gentlemen to expect a little more Satisfaction than what they have yet got, as to the Necessity for this Augmentation before they agree to it: This House has always been said to hold the Purse of the People; but if we should agree to any Tax or Measure, which may oblige us to load the People with Taxes, without the least Reason assigned, we could not justly be said to be Masters of the Purse of the People; we could be only the Slaves who carry it, in order to open it as often, and as wide as our Masters shall please to demand. From all that has been said, I cannot see, that we are in any immediate Danger either at Home or Abroad; and I am afraid, that the putting of those three Regiments upon the Establishment of Gibraltar, may be done with a View to make the People of this Nation feel the Expence of that Place, in order to make them sick of it, and so to induce them the more easily to agree to the delivering it up.'
Mr E. Digby.
'The Number of Land-Forces now proposed to be added to the Number voted last Year, I must own to be but very inconsiderable: But as the Number voted last Year was by many thousands more than I thought necessary, I must now look upon all those thousands, as an Addition made this Year to the Number of our Land-Forces; and as that Addition is much larger than I can judge to be necessary, from all that I have heard from those Gentlemen who are so sond of increasing our Army, I cannot but be against any new Levies.
Gentlemen tell us, 'That the Expence of the Augmentation proposed will be no more than 34 or 35,000 l.' But to this I must add the Expence of those many thousands, which last Year I thought very unnecessary to be kept up, and in this Light the additional Expence of our Army for this Year will amount almost to hundreds of thousands: Besides, those Gentlemen seem to forget, that every Man added to the Army is a Man taken from the Labour and Industry of their Country; and with this View the real Loss to the Nation will amount to double that Sum. Do they think that the Labour of a working Man is to be valued at nothing? I believe at the most modest Computation, the Labour of every working Man in the Kingdom, one with another, brings in 20 l. to his Country: It is by the Labour and Industry of such Men, that the Trade, and consequently the Riches and the Power of this Nation is supported; therefore the taking any such Man from his Labour, must be doing a real Injury to his Country.
'What was mentioned by an honourable Gentleman affords me a most melancholy Consideration: He was afraid left an Army of at least 18,000 Men should come to be made a Part of our Constitution; I am of Opinion, that the Gentleman's Fears are by much too well founded; for there are so many Gentlemen, who seem to look upon an Army of 18,000 Men as always necessary for the Support of our Government; that tho' we have for some Years past been in a State of the most profound Peace, we have never been able to reduce our Army below that Number; but, as that Number is not necessary in Time of Peace; as I think it is sufficient, even tho' we were in some little Danger of a War, I cannot agree to any Augmentation, unless I see some greater Necessary for it than has been yet shewn.'
Sir W. Wyndham.
'My honourable Friend has done me Justice, in saying, the Amendment, I moved for, was principally with a View of having a little Information from some Gentleman in the Administration, as to our present Situation, in order that I may from thence be able to judge of the Necessity of complying with the Demand made by the Crown: This is, I think, no more than what the Parliament ought to desire, and certainly has a Right to expect; and therefore I cannot even yet think, but that some Gentleman, who is qualified for that Purpose, will give us at least as much Information about our present Circumstances, as may enable us to give some Reason for our consenting to the Augmentation now demanded.'
Sir R. Walpole.
'Tho' I had resolved to sit still and say nothing in the present Debate, yet, as I believe myself pointed at by the honourable Gentleman who spoke last, when I find myself so often called upon, I cannot forbear giving some Answer to what Gentlemen have been pleased to say against the small Augmentation of our Forces, which has been proposed. As to the Information which Gentlemen are so fond of having, I do not really know what they mean by it, or what they want to be informed about: It is publickly known, that there is a War now broke out in Europe, even his Majesty in his Speech has taken Notice of it, and in the same Speech his Majesty has been pleased to declare to us, that he is yet no Way engaged in the War, nor would determine himself 'till he had examined the several Facts alledged by both Parties: This, Sir, is a Deliberation consistent with the Wisdom of his Majesty's Councils, and from thence we may be assured, that we are not as yet any Way concerned in the present War; we may, 'tis true, he concerned relatively and consequentially; but, from what his Majesty himself has told us, we must conclude that we are under no present Engagements; and therefore I must think it strange in Gentlemen to expect or desire any Declaration from his Majesty, or those who have the Honour to serve him, before any Resolution has been taken, nay, even before his Majesty could possibly have an Opportunity to inquire into those Facts, which, he has told us, he will thoroughly examine before he determines what to do.
'But as it is a Matter of the utmost Consequence to all the Powers engaged in the War, to know what Part Great Britain is to take, or whether or no we are to take any Part in the present War; we may conclude, that they are all extremely anxious about knowing what we are to do. And surely, if there is any Power in Europe, who may in the Event become the Enemy of Great Britain, particularly interested in, and therefore anxious to know the Result of our Deliberations, it would be a very good Reason, if there were no other, why Gentlemen ought not to expect the Satisfaction they seem so earnestly to desire, especially before so full and so publick an Audience: This, I say, would be a good Reason for his Majesty not to declare his Resolution here, even supposing he had come to a Resolution; and 'till his Majesty thinks fit to publish his Resolutions, Gentlemen may believe, that neither I, nor any Member of this House, who has the Honour to serve the Crown, will be ready to make any Declarations in this Place, 'till we do it ex Officio, and by his Majesty's Orders.
'Now, Sir, without any farther Information, let us consider the present Circumstances of Europe; we all know, and his Majesty has told us, that a War is broke out in Europe; we are not immediately concerned in this War; but as the too great Success of either Side may endanger the Liberties of Europe, we are certainly concern'd in the Event; and as we are concerned in the Event, those Powers, who may now, or hereafter come to think, that we are, in Interest of Self-Preservation, obliged to declare against them, will not they, as soon as they begin to think so, endeavour to take us at a Disadvantage, and before we are prepared for our Defence, in order to prevent our attempting to put a Stop to those ambitious Views, which Success may inspire them with? Is it not therefore necessary for us to be upon our Guard, and to provide in Time for our own Defence? Upon this Consideration, the Necessity for the Augmentation proposed, which some Gentlemen pretend they cannot discover, is to me so apparent, that it speaks itself; and the Demand is in itself so modest, and so evidently shews, that his Majesty's Inclinations are to lay as few and as easy Burdens on his People as possible, that I must say, the making of any Difficulty to comply with it, does not testify any great Respect towards his Majesty, nor a warm Affection or Zeal for his Government; and therefore I hope the Question will be agreed to without any Amendment.
'As to the Insinuations made by a worthy Gentleman over the way, that there was a Design to make Gibraltar appear expensive, in order to make People sick of it, and induce them to consent to the giving it up, the repeating this Insinuation is, I think, a sufficient Answer to it; for to say that the Ministry, by adding three Regiments to the Defence of Gibraltar, are in a Plot to deliver it up, has something so ridiculous in it, that I am surprized it should drop from that honourable Gentleman; but I am persuaded he did not mean to be serious when he made that Insinuation, and therefore I shall take no farther Notice of it.'
Mr W. Pulteney.
'I believe most Gentlemen, as well as myself, whose Expectations were raised when the honourable Gentleman stood up, have met with a very great Disappointment: That Gentleman, from whom we had Reason to expect something that would have been of Weight in the present Debate, has not only told us, that we are to have no Reason for what we are desired this Day to agree to; but has given us very little Hopes of having, at any other Time, that Information, which one would think a British Parliament might expect. Are we to vote powerful Fleets, and numerous Armies; are we to lay new and great Burthens on the People, and all this without being told any Reasons for what we are desired to do? What Satisfaction can we give our Constituents, if they should ask us, why we have augmented our Standing Army, which must always be dangerous to the Liberties of our Country? Why we have consented to the increasing the publick Charge, which is already heavier than the People can bear? Really, to this most material and reasonable Question, I know as yet of no other Answer we can give, but only that his Majesty has told us in his Speech, that there is a War broke out in Europe, in which we have no manner of Concern; and his Ministers have told us, that we ought to be afraid of the Armies and Fleets raised and fitted out by our Neighbours, because they are under an absolute Necessity of employing all the Armies they can raise and all the Fleets they can fit out, in those Parts of Europe which are most remote from us. We have Zeal, Sir, I hope we have all a great deal of Affection and Zeal for his Majesty's Person and Government; but do not let us allow his Majesty's Ministers, or even his Majesty himself, to expect such a blind Zeal from his Parliament: It is inconsistent with the Dignity of Parliament, and I am sure that Parliaments, thirty or forty Years ago, would hardly have been persuaded to have shewn so much Complaisance to the Ministers of the Crown.
'What has been observed by some Gentlemen, I own, Sir, weighs greatly with me: From the Demand now before us we have Reason to conclude, that 18,000 Men may be the Number intended to be always kept up within this Island, even in the Times of the greatest Peace and Tranquility; and that the Augmentation now required is done with a View only, that when such Times shall again come, those in the Administration may have an Opportunity to pretend great Merit, in reducing the 1800 Men now proposed to be added: We all know what Jealousies and Fears the People have entertained at the continuing of this Army, during the last Years of perfect Peace and Tranquility both at Home and Abroad; and if that Measure should be again attempted when those Days of Peace return, every Man must then conclude, that that Army is kept up, not for desending us against our foreign Enemies; but for the Safety of those who have rendered themselves odious among the People, and for desending them against the Resentment of an injured and a plundered Nation: If this should ever happen to be our unfortunate Condition, the People will certainly make a Struggle for the Preservation of their ancient Constitution: This will certainly be the Case; I know it must be the Case, and when it is, I hope those who shall bring us under such hard Circumstances will find, that even this Army of 18,000 Men will not be able to stand against the whole People of England. I have a great Opinion of many Gentlemen who have now Commands in the Army, and if such a Case should happen, while they have any Command, I make no Doubt but they would behave as their Predecessors did at the Revolution; I dare say, that most of them would soon be found of the People's Side of the Question.
'If we are, Sir, to have any Share in the War, the Addition of 1800 Men is but a Bauble; and if we are to have no Share, why should we bring any additional Expence upon the People? The honourable Gentleman would not say positively, that we were engaged or were not engaged, or that we were or were not to be engaged, but that we might be engaged relatively and consequentially; and this refined Quibbling, Sir, is, it seems, all the Satisfaction, all the Reasons he will vouchsafe to give Gentlemen, for agreeing to the Demand now made upon them. Is an English House of Commons to take this as a Reason for breaking in upon their Constitution, and for loading their Constituents with Taxes? Surely, Sir, let our Condition be never so bad, and I believe it is bad enough, if the Advice of Parliament is wanted on that Occasion, if their Assistance be desired, they ought to have a full Information of the present Circumstances of the Nation, and they ought to have sufficient Reasons given for the Demand that is made. But it seems we are for the future to have no other Reason given us for complying with any Demand that comes from the Crown, but only because it is asked; and if any Gentleman scruples to take that as a sufficient Reason, he is, it seems, always to be told, that his not agreeing readily to the Demand will be looked upon as a Want of Respect to the Crown: Let us, Sir, have all due Respect to the Crown, but for God's Sake let us have likewise some Regard to ourselves and to our Fellow-Subjects, without which I am sure we have no Business here, nor can the Nation ever reap any Benefit from our Meeting in this Place.
'The extraordinary Expence of the Augmentation now asked for, is said to be but 34 or 35,000 l. It is, at least, 35,000 l. which is a Sum that may, perhaps, found but little in those Ears which are accustomed to Millions, yet it is a great Sum, and will be thought so by the People of England, who are already over-burdened with Taxes and Impositions: It is an additional Expence, which no Man ought to consent to, unless he sees an absolute Necessity for so doing: The honourable Gentleman, 'tis true, says that the Necessity is apparent, and that it speaks for itself; it is well it does so, for no Gentleman has as yet thought fit to say any Thing for it; but as I neither can see this apparent Necessity, nor hear it speak for itself, I must therefore as yet be for the Amendment which has been proposed.'
Sir W. Yonge.
'The Question now before us is, in my Opinion, so reasonable, and the additional Expence, which the honourable Gentleman, who spoke last, was pleased to call a great Sum, is, I think, so far otherwise, that I believe every Gentleman in this House, when he heard this Motion made, was surprized at the Modesty of the Demand, and could not but admire his Majesty's Wisdom, and the great Care he had of doing nothing that might be burdensome to his People.
'Gentlemen may, if they will, shut their Eyes, and not see that Object which stands before them in the clearest Light; but the Necessity of what is now proposed is to me as apparent as the Sun at Noon-Day. Tho' we be not as yet any way engaged in the War now carried on in Europe, yet no Man can answer for future Events, nor can we know what Resolutions foreign Courts may hereafter come to: It is for this Reason, that we ought to be always well provided for our Defence against any sudden Attempts, that may be resolved on or made against us; and we certainly ought to be better provided for our Defence, when our Neighbours are at War, than when they are in a State of profound Tranquility. When they are at War, they always have Armies in the Field, and Fleets at Sea; they have many Pretences for marching their Armies wherever they have a mind, and for fitting out what Fleets, and at what Places they think proper; with some of these they may come upon us unawares, and when we think that their warlike Preparations are designed against those they are actually at War with. Whereas, in time of Peace, though they have Standing Armies, yet those Armies are dispersed and in Quarters; and if any Number of them should be gathered together, and prepared for an Expedition, we should have a Right to demand the Reason for such Preparations; and we could easily judge, whether or no they were, or could be designed against us; as to their Fleet it is the same, though in Time of Peace they have Ships of War, as well as other Ships, yet their Men of War are mostly laid up in their Docks, and their other Ships employed in their proper Business; and if they should begin to fit out a Fleet, and prepare for a Naval Expedition, we should have a Right to demand whither they were designed; and could easily judge, whether or no they could be intended for an Invasion upon us; in either of which Cases, we should have Time to prepare for giving them a proper Reception: From this Consideration it appears evident to me, that it is necessary for us to have both a great Fleet at Sea, and a more numerous Army at Land, when our Neighbours are engaged in War, than we have Occasion for when they are all in a profound Peace; and I cannot but think that the Augmentation now proposed is the least that can be judged necessary.
As to the Conjectures, Sir, which Gentlemen have been pleased to throw out, of what may be intended when Peace shall be again restored to Europe, I think no Gentleman now in this House is any way concerned in them, or obliged to give any Answer to what has been said upon that Subject: If what ought to be then done be not done, let those who shall then have the Honour to advise the King answer for it; but a Supposition that they will not do their Duty, can be no Reason for us to neglect or to refuse doing our Duty upon the present Emergency. The honourable Gentleman was pleased to say, that he had heard no Body speak, or give any Reason for the Necessity of the Augmentation proposed; if it be so, I am sure I have heard no Gentleman say any Thing against it, and therefore, since nothing has been said of either Side of the Question, let every Gentleman give his Vote, according to what his Thoughts may suggest to him.'
Sir J. Jekyll.
'As I shall always shew a ready Compliance with any Demands, which his Majesty shall please to make, when I see they are requisite for supporting or defending the Honour and Interest of this Nation; so I shall always be extremely cautious of agreeing to any thing, that may bring new Loads upon the People, by increasing the publick Expence, unless when I plainly see an absolute Necessity for it; and therefore, Sir, I cannot, for all I have yet seen or heard, agree to the present Motion. I am not ignorant of the present State of Affairs abroad, but as we are not as yet any way engaged in the Quarrel, I can see no Danger we are in from any Power abroad, and therefore can find no Reason for our making any additional Provision for our Defence; for tho' we were really in some Danger, we have, in my Opinion, sufficiently provided against it, by the large Armaments we have already voted for the Sea-Service, which, as it is our natural Defence, was chearfully, and, I may say, unanimously agreed to: Nay, if we were to give some Assistance to some of the Powers engaged in the War, which no Gentleman has yet said we are, it is certain that we may assist them as effectually by our Fleet as by our Land-Forces, and in such Case I should be for augmenting our Naval Force rather than our Land-Army.
'The honourable Gentleman, who spoke last, endeavoured to shew, that we ought to be better provided for our Defence, when our Neighbours are engaged in War, than when they are in a profound Peace; but in my Opinion, if we are no way engaged in the Quarrel, we have then less Occasion to provide for our Defence; because when our Neighbours are engaged against one another, they will certainly be so far from doing any thing that may disoblige us, that we must then be courted by both Parties, if not for our Assistance, at least for this, that we observe an exact Neutrality; and to me it really seems a Paradox to say, that any Nation in Europe will be the more ready to attack us, because they are already deeply engaged against another Enemy. For this Reason I must conclude, that we are in no Danger of being attacked, 'till we come to a Resolution to join one Side or other; when we have once come to such a Resolution, we ought to provide for Offence, as well as Defence, and 'till then we ought to save as much as possible, that we may be able to execute our Resolution, when taken, with the more Vigour.
'Gentlemen talk of France, and of the great Armies they have in the Field, and the great Fleets they have at Sea; but I am sure we can be at present under no Apprehensions from them: That Nation has now Work enough upon their Hands, in sending two great Armies to different Parts of the World, and providing at the same time for their own Security at home; and whatever Fleets they may have at Sea, it is certain, that they will have Occasion for them elsewhere; nay, even tho' they had not, I doubt much if it be in their Power to send any such Fleets to Sea, as could give us just Cause of Fear. When Gentlemen talk of Invasions, I hope they do not think that this Nation is to be conquered by ten or twelve thousand Men; and unless they could send at once such an Army, as would be able to conquer the Nation, any lesser Number would be just so many Men thrown away; for our Fleet would not only prevent Succours from coming to them, but would likewise prevent its being in the Power of those who landed, to make their Escape out of the Island.
'But besides, its not being in the Power of France to attempt any thing at present against us, I believe it is not in their Inclination: They certainly look upon us as their Allies, and have, I believe, good Reason for so doing; I shall not enter into a Disquisition of the many Engagements we are at present under to foreign Powers, but I am afraid they are such, that whatever Measures we may pursue with respect to the present War, it will not be easy to reconcile the Honour and the Interest of this Nation. If our Interest should call upon us to assist the Emperor and his Allies, I am afraid we must forfeit our Honour to France and her Allies; and if our Interest call upon us to assist France and Spain, we must equally forfeit our Honour to the Emperor; nay, if we should observe an exact Neutrality, I am afraid both Parties would have some Grounds for accusing us of a Breach of Faith; I shall not pretend to give Names or Epithets to any Measure, or to any Minister; but a Management, which has brought the Honour and Interest of the Nation thus to clash, I cannot applaud.
'As the Design of proposing the Amendment, which has been offered, seems to be only in order to procure some Information, or some Reasons for the Augmentation demanded, I must say, that if the Demand on one Side be thought so very modest, it must be granted that what is asked on the other Side is full as modest; and if nothing has been said for or against the Augmentation, it certainly ought not to be comply'd with; for there is an eternal Reason against it, which every Member of this House must know: The People of England are not to be loaded with unnecessary Charges; if this new Charge be unnecessary, it ought not to be comply'd with; and if there be a Necessity for it, that Necessity ought to be shewn to this House; the Parliament has as good a Right to have the Reasons for any Demand from the Crown laid before them, nay, a better, in my Opinion, than the Crown has to expect a Compliance, without shewing them any Reasons for their so doing; and therefore, 'till some Reasons be offered for our complying with the Demand, I shall be for the Amendment.'
'I am heartily sorry I should differ from the honourable and learned Gentleman over the Way, with whom I have always, 'till now, concurred in Questions of this Nature; and for whom I have the greatest Respect and Esteem. As I have always been one of those Gentlemen, who have appear'd against keeping up numerous Standing Armies in time of Peace, I think myself obliged to give my Reasons before I give my Vote for the Augmentation proposed: For though I never thought, that we ought to keep up a large StandingArmy in time of a profound Peace, yet when there is a War actually kindled in Europe; when our Neighbours are all making vast military Preparations, I must think that we ought then to add a little to our Forces both by Sea and Land, not only for our own Security at home, but likewise to add to the Influence which we may have, and ought to aspire to, with all the Parties engaged in the War.
'It is certain, Sir, that if there were no Parties nor Divisions among us, this Nation would have no Occasion to be afraid of ten or twelve thousand Men poured in by Surprize upon us; in such Case I do not believe any Power in Europe would attempt to invade us with double the Number; but as there are Parties and Divisions among us, and always will be, as long as we are a free People, ten or twelve thousand Foreigners, joined by all the Power of the Disaffected amongst ourselves, might do us a great deal of Mischief, if not overturn our present happy Establishment, especially if we had but a small Number of regular Forces at home.
'It is likewise certain, Sir, that none of the Powers engaged in the War will attack us, or do any thing to disoblige us as long as we remain quiet, and they are under no Apprehensions of our going to join with their Enemies. But when such a general War is broke forth in Europe, when the united Forces of France, Spain, and Sardinia, are tearing the Emperor's Dominions in Italy asunder, are we to be altogether unattentive? Are we to sit intirely regardless of a War, which may end in the total Overthrow of the Balance of Power in Europe? Surely, Sir, we are not; and if we should resolve to join either Party engaged in the War, or if either of them should but suspect such a Thing, would not the Party against whom we should resolve to join, or who suspected that we were to come to such a Resolution; would not that Party, I say, attempt to make a sudden Invasion upon us? For tho' they could not perhaps expect immediate Success, yet it might give such a Diversion to the Arms of this Nation, as might prevent its being in our Power to put a Stop to their ambitious Views, or to preserve the Balance of Power in Europe.
'In this Case, Sir, it is of no Weight to say, that, after we have come to such a Resolution, it will be Time enough to provide for our Defence; for, as I have said, the Apprehensions of our Neighbours may be sufficient Cause for them to invade us, and those Apprehensions we can know nothing of 'till we feel the Effects of them; but even as to our own Resolutions, they may happen to be discovered, as soon as taken; and as it requires a long time to raise any Land-Forces, and to discipline the Men, so as to make them fit for Service, it will be too late then to begin only to provide for our Security at home; we ought, before we agree to any such Resolutions, at least to be secure at home; and then, after it is taken, we may with Ease provide for acting an offensive Part.
'Upon the whole, Sir, if any very large Augmentation had been now demanded, I should not perhaps have given my Vote for complying with that Demand, without having been a little better informed as to the Necessity for making such an Augmentation; but the Augmentation now asked is so small, that I look upon it as done chiefly with a View of shewing the World, that there is a good Harmony subsisting between his Majesty and his Parliament, which, perhaps, some Powers abroad have been made to doubt of: And therefore I shall not only heartily comply with the Demand made by his Majesty, but I wish that no Sort of Unwillingness had been shewn by any Gentleman in this House; for as nothing can give so great a Weight to the Counsels of this Nation among foreign Princes, as a strict Union between the King and his Parliament; so nothing can give such a Stab to our Influence abroad, as an Attempt to destroy that Union; and if Great Britain should lose all the Weight it has in the Scale of Europe, to what a Pass it might bring the Affairs of Europe I shall leave to Gentlemen to judge.
'In short, Sir, those who oppose an Army, as well when it is become necessary as when it was unnecessary, I must suspect of having some other Reasons for their so doing, than those they publickly avow. To me the Necessity of the Augmentation asked appears to be sufficiently evident, therefore I am ready to give my Vote against the Amend ment proposed.'
Sir J St Aubin.
'I cannot persuade myself to agree to the Motion as it now stands, because I have as yet heard no Reason given for convincing me, that the Augmentation now demanded is necessary; for tho' it be called but a small Number, yet to me and to all those Gentlemen, who were last Year of Opinion, that the Number of Land-Forces then voted was by much too large, the Augmentation must appear to be very considerable, as has been already observed. By the Arguments I had formerly heard for continuing the Army, and the Arguments I now hear for augmenting the Army, it appears plain to me, that some Gentlemen are of Opinion that an Army, of at least 18,000 Men, will always be necessary for the Support of our Government, and consequently must become a Part of our Constitution; for when our Neighbours are all at Peace, we are told that we must keep up at least that Number of regular Troops, because our Neighbours have nothing to do with their Troops elsewhere, and may therefore make sudden and unexpected Invasions upon us; and when any two of our Neighbours are at War with one another, which is the present Case, we are told we must keep up a numerous Standing-Army, because our Neighbours have large Armies in the Field, and great Fleets at Sea, which they may turn suddenly against us.
'I have, Sir, a very good Opinion of the English Soldiery, and when they have been properly employed, and kept in Action, they have always done great Honour to their Country; but an Army kept here at Home, in a State of Inaction, and wantoning in Lewdness and Luxury till they have quite lost the true Spirit of Englishmen, and are become fit to be made Slaves themselves, may easily be persuaded to make Slaves of their Fellow-Subjects; and therefore I shall always be against keeping up a numerous regular Army within this Island, let the Pretences for it be never so plausible: Our Government has been supported for many Ages without any such Army, and even during the whole Course of the last two great Wars, there never was a greater Number of Forces kept at Home for the Defence of this Nation, than the additional Number now proposed, above what I, as well as a great many other Gentlemen, thought necessary last Year to be kept up.
'Gentlemen talk of Parties and Divisions among us, and of its being necessary for us to prepare for our Defence before we come to any Resolution; there may be little Divisions among us. but as long as his Majesty enjoys the Affections of his People, those Divisions would immediately cease upon the Approach of a foreign Enemy; we would all then unite in the Defence of our King and Country; and as to preparing for our Defence, it is certain, that half the Number of the Troops we now have, would be sufficlent to repel any such Invasion that could be suddenly brought upon us; and if any Design should be formed to invade us with a great Number of Troops, would not they require a great Number of Transport-Ships? Could such a naval Armament be prepared without-our hearing of it? And have not we already voted a great naval Force, with which we might easily block up our Enemies in their own Harbour?
'While the true Maxims of English Policy are pursued, neither his Majesty, nor any of his Successors, will ever have an Occasion for Standing Armies; the King will always find a Security for his Person and Government in the Hearts and Purses of his People; but if ever a vicious Minister shall begin to act upon other Maxims, Armies may then become necessary to skreen the Minister, or even to support his Master; and such a Minister may perhaps find a corrupt Parliament, servilely and slavishly complying with his most unreasonable Demands: This may support him for a while, but the Spirit of the People will be rouzed at last, and even that Army, in which he puts his sole Trust, may probably join with the rest of their Countrymen, in taking Vengeance on the Man who attempted to enslave his Country.
'This, I say, may probably be the Case; but as Standing Armies may be so modell'd and manag'd, as to become proper Tools for tyrannical Power, therefore there is nothing a free People ought to be more cautious of; and as I can see no Necessity for the Augmentation proposed, I cannot give my Consent to the Proposition. I do not, indeed, know our present Situation; but whatever it may be, I must say, that if, by the Ignorance of him at the Helm, if by his shifting the Sails at every Turn of the Wind, our Ship be brought into great Distress, and our Reckoning quite lost, he ought in Justice and Modesty to resign the Helm. A General Council ought to be called, and every particular Circumstance laid fully before them, that they may from thence learn how Affairs stand, so as to be able to judge how to put the Ship in a right Course.'
Col. Cholmondeley, Member for Bossiney, spoke next for the Augmentation; and then the Question was put upon the Amendment propos'd by Sir William Wyndham which was carried in the Negative by 262 against 162. After this, the Question was put upon the first Motion, which was agreed to without a Division; and then the following Resolutions was likewise agreed to, That 647,429 l. 11 s. 3 d½. be granted to his Majesty, for defraying the Charge of 17,704 Men for Guards, Garrisons, and other his Majesty's Land-Forces in Great Britain, Guernsey, and Jersey, for the Year 1734.