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commended to them the maintenance of our naval ftrength on the moft refpectable footing, and above all the establishment of a fixed plan for the reduction of the national debt. The flourishing ftate of the revenue would, he trufted, enable them to effect this important meafure with little addition to the public burthens. The vigour and refources of the country fo fully manifefted in its prefent fituation, would animate parliament to the conideration of fuch measures as fhould be neceffary, in order to give farther fecurity to the revenue, and to promote and extend to the utmolt the trade and general industry of the nation.

The addrefs in reply to the fpeech from the throne was moved in the houfe of lords by the earl of Morton and lord Fortefeue, and it was propofed as an amendment by earl Fitzwilliam, that the paragraph, relating to the late negoci ation with Ireland, fhould be omitted, as containing fentiments which could not receive the approbation of himself, and other lords, who had conftantly exerted themfelves for its defeat. The different circumftances relative to the prefent condition of Great Britain and Europe, were animadverted upon at fome length by earl Fitzwilliam and lord vifcount Stormont, and the debate was conducted with fpirit on both fides of the houfe. Similar ground was taken in the debate in the houfe of cominons. The addrefs was moved by Mr. Smyth, member for Pomfret, and Mr. Addington, member for the town of the Devizes; and the amendment was propofed by the earl of Surrey, Lord Surrey entered into fome expoftulation with administration upon the fubject, and enquired, what neceffity there exifled for mention

ing the refolutions, after the decla ration from the throne, that no farther progrefs could be made refpecting them.

Mr. Fox, among a great variety of fubjects, upon which he defcanted, enlarged particularly upon the political fituation of this country in relation to foreign powers. He obferved, that, although all public treaties were avowedly of a defenfive nature, yet this was a pretence which could not deceive an enlight ened politician. The treaty, thereforc, into which the house of Bourbon had perfuaded the states of the United Provinces to enter, and which effectually fecured Holland in their hands, was to be confider. ed as a treaty hoftile to this country. That it had been unadvifabie and impolitic for the states general to enter into this treaty he verily believed; but, as the treaty was made and executed, it behoved adminiftration to be vigilant in en. gaging in alliance with other European powers. The laft war had fufficiently fhown the il confequences that arofe from the neglect of this policy. What was the cafe at prefent? France was fate, by her family compact as to any fear from Spain; and fhe had now quieted all poflibility of dread from Holland. Her only cause of alarm therefore was the court of Vienna, and that, notwithstanding all former affurances of good fellowship, and the fill more endearing bonds of fami ly connection, was a conftant and ferious fource of alarm. But this caufe of terror we had put to rest, having, by our late conduct in re lation to the Germanic league, given his imperial majelly great difguft, and rendered his feelings hoftile to Great Britain. This was the only cincumftance France had left to defire; and this circumstance

we had provided gratis, at a moment when the would have paid any price to obtain it. The most fan guine dreamer of national good for tune in that country could not have pictured to himself the poffibility of fuch a profperous event. Mr. Fox fpoke with equal warmth of the degree, in which we ought to value the alliance of Ruflia. We had paffed over the most favourable opportunity that could have arifen, when the emprefs had fettled her differences with the Porte on the fubject of the Crimea; but he was happy to understand from good authority, that a negociation had now been opened for this defirable purpose.

Mr. Fox ridiculed the peculiar time that had been chofen by adminiftration for feveral important proceedings. Last year, after the propofitions had come over from Ireland, and just as the British parlament was called upon to vote them, the new board of trade proceeded to enquire, whether they were fuch as it was fit for either country to adopt. In the fame manner fir James Harris had prefented a memorial to the lates general, in oppofition to the treaty with France, but unfortunately not till a fortnight after that treaty had been concluded. In the cafe of the commercial treaty, for the negociation of which we had juft appointed an envoy, the time chofen for fending him out was equally fingular. By the treaties of 1782, a treaty of commerce was to be negociated between this country and France, on or before the first of January 1786. Mr. Fox declared that he had no opinion of any advantage refulting to this country, from a commercial treaty between Great Britain and France. The moment in which we had quitted every con1786.

nection of this fort with that country, was the very era he would chufe to affign, in which England had grown great, profperous and flourishing.

Mr. Pitt declared in reply to Mr. Fox, that he fhould by no means take upon him to enter into the defence of the Germanic league, as he was ready to confefs, that, whatever might prove either the merit or demerit of that measure, he and his colleagues in office, were by no means entitled to plume themselves on the former, or to take fhame to themselves in confequence of the latter. As to the connection with Hanover, it was accident alone which had placed the fovereignty of that country and of this in the fame hands; and he defired to have it understood, that Great Britain was by no means committed by any league entered into by the elector of Hanover; nor did he think it incumbent upon the minifler of this country, to lay before parliament, except in fome fingular cafes, the arrangements that might have been made by the advice of the minifters of that electorate. The only way for Great Britain to avoid embroiling herself in the quarrels of Hanover, was, for our administration to ftand as much as poffible uncons nected with Hanoverian politics.

Mr. Fox ridiculed the diftinction of Mr. Pitt, and put a variety of cafes to illuftrate his affertion. It might hereafter happen, that circumftances would make it an effential act of policy in Great Britain, to join the court of Vienna, and to proceed in oppofition to the league of the Germanic princes. In the fuppofition of fuch an event, could the British troops act against those of Hanover? Or to make the cafe ftronger, and yet to affume what was very pollible; fuppofe the elec



tor of Hanover was to head his troops in perfon, and this would be by no means a new event, who would fay, that the British army could be directed to act hoftilely against troops led by their fovereign, in the character of elector of Hanover. Mr. Fox appealed to hiftorical example to prove the abfurdity of the doctrine advanced by Mr. Pitt. King George the First had entered into a treaty with Denmark for the purchase of Bremen and Verden, and of confequence had drawn down upon him the vengeance of Sweden, and the threat of an invafion, the most alarming and the most dangerous to the liberties of Englishmen of any they had ever had occafion to expect. General Stanhope, at that time the minister of the crown, had, when the treaty was first heard of, come down to that house, and ufed precifely the fame fort of language as that uttered by Mr. Pitt. He had talked of the feparate interefts of GreatBritain and Hanover, and had faid, that the British parliament had nothing to do with the conduct of his majefty refpecting his electoral dominions. But what was the confequence? The very next year general Stanhope was obliged to alter his tone, and urged the expences, to which the king was expofed in confequence of his purchafe, as a plea for the demand of additional fupplies. The amendment was rejected in both houfes, and the addrefs carried in the affirmative without a divifion.

One of the fubjects which early engaged the attention of parlia ment was relative to the mutiny bill, which it has been ufual to renew annually, but which, on account of the regularity of its form, and the notoriety of its claufes, was ufually paffed over without any

particular notice. In the prefent feffion a variation was introduced into this bill, the tendency of which was to include, as the fubjects of military law, not only officers in actual fervice, as had formerly been done, but officers upon half pay, and officers who were conftituted fuch by brevet, without receivingany emolument as the appendage of their rank. This alteration excited little notice in the house of communs; and was objected to in a very curfory way, on the report of the committee upon the mutiny bill on the fixteenth of March, by colonel Fitzpatrick and general Burgoyne, who, having called for a divilion upon the queftion, the numbers appeared, ayes, for the intended claufe, 79, noes 17.

In the house of lords the matter was taken up in a more ferious way, and was the subject of confiderable animadvertion. An amendment upon the propofed clause was first moved by lord Stormont, by which the operation of military law fhould be extended beyond what it had formerly ftood, at least according to the exprefs words of the mutiny bill, to include officers who might: be called into action by letter of fervice, by an order from the waroffice, or otherwife, but reftricting it to fuch as were in actual employment. In fupport of this amendment, lord Stormont had recourfe to the history of martial law in the preceding centuries. In ancient times every man bore arms, and was liable to be called forth in the fervice of his country; and of confequence military law was exercifed upon every man, while he was in actual fervice, and no lon ger. Thus thofe princes, who had little power in refpect of civil government, enjoyed an almost unlimited authority, when at the head

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of their fubjects embodied as an army; and thus magistrates, whofe authority was circumfcribed at home, affumed a right of punifhing with great feverity, when acting as commanders of troops. For two years during the reign of George the Second, half pay officers had been exprefly included in the mutiny bill; a circumftance which occafioned great uncafines in the public at large, and was much refifted and debated by both houfes of parliament. Accordingly when men had grown more moderate upon the fubject, that provifion had been withdrawn from the bill, and it had been omitted ever fince. Lord Stormont faid, that he felt no particular difpofition to compliment the prefent miniftry, when he declared, that he did not believe they had any finifter intention in making the alteration in quetion. But they had negligently or carelessly adopted a claufe, of the ferious and alarming confequences of which they were not fufficiently aware.

Lord Sydney obferved in reply, that feveral inftances had lately occurred, which fuggefted the propriety of the alteration of the mutiny bill, that was now fubmitted to the decifion of the houfe. He alluded to the cafe of general Stuart, who, having been a major-general by brevet only, and having demanded a court martial to enquire into his conduct, had not been deemed by administration to be liable to be tried by military law. The cafe of general Rofs, who was charged with the publication of a libel against general fir Robert Boyd, lieutenant-governor of Gibraltar, and who on that ac count had been referred by the fovereign to a trial by a court martial, but whose intended trial had been fuperfeded by an unanimous

opinion of the twelve judges, was fuppofed to have been more intimately concerned in occafioning the alteration of the mutiny bill, and was accordingly stated by Mr. Pitt in the houfe of commons. Lord Sydney added that there were many military officers who were not "muffered," the term by which thofe liable to military law were defcribed in mutiny bills, fuch as governors, lieut nant-governors and others: and furely it could not but be thought perfectly reafonable, that officers, likely to exercife command, fhould, for their conduct during fuch exercife, become amenable to the trial of a court-martial.

Thefe inftances were not admitted to be cafes in point by the lords in oppofition. General Stuart was indeed a major-general by brevet only; but he had a captain's commiffion in the army, and received pay as fuch, and was of confequence a fubject perfectly compe-tent to military trial. The cafe of general Rofs was a cafe of that defeription of perfons, who neither were, nor ought to be, capable of a' trial by court-martial. It was obferved by lord Loughborough, that, according to the conftation of this country, a ftanding was illegal. The neceffities of the ftate' had indeed rendered the maintenance of fuch an army a matter of expediency; but it had always been the fubject of extreme parliamentary jealoufy. The mutiny bill was a bill which it behoved their lordfhips to watch; and every, even the flightest alteration, in an act of this nature, ought to be well weighed, and attentively confidered, before it was adopted The arguments of lord Sydney were too futile to be confidered as the foundation of fo im. portant a meafure; and lord Loughborough must therefore ftill remain incapable

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incapable of divining, upon what rational ground administration refted their proceedings, or could juftify the innovation. People without doors, he feared, would conftrue it into a fecret, but determined defign, in the prefent government, to fap the conflitution; and would appehend that they were proceeding by rapid ftrides to effect their purpose. They one day, none knew upon what pretence, took away the trial by jury from a large defcription of fubjects at home; and another day they did the fame with refpect to a fet of gentlemen who were ferving their country in India. Severe was the hardship of fubjecting men in civil life to be tried by courts-martial, not only for offences at this time known and defined in the articles of war, but for offences as yet unknown, and which the fovereign had hereafter the power to create. Too manifeft was the injuftice of fuch treatment towards perfons, who defired no emolument from the rank which they held in the army. On this occafion he confidered it as his indifpenfible duty, to advife government, unless they had determined upon a mere wanton exercise of power, upon an action to fhow that all law was to originate in their pleasure, nor precipitately to embrace a proceeding pregnant with the most fatal conSequences.

The earl of Sandwich expreffed his furprife that an innovation of fuch an alarming magnitude fhould be received with indifference. Formerly any extenfion of the mutiny bill would have fet the people in a flame. It was no uncommon thing for noblemen and people of family to take out a brevet commiffion for various purposes, as a matter of convenience, or for a temporary object. He had himself done to in the year

1745, when feveral other peers as well as he, raifed regiments and went against the rebels. Was it fair, that upon this account he fhould be deprived of his birthright and be refufed a trial by his peers? Was it the intention of adminiitration to make ufe of this odious provision, as a threat in terrorem over the members of that houfe, and as a means of moulding parliament to their purposes? The amendment of lord Stormont being rejected, upon a divifion, ayes 42, noes 18, it was renewed in a different form, first by lord Loughborough, and then by viscount Townfhend. It was fupported by the duke of Manchefter, the earl of Carlile, lord Rawdon, and lord Portchefter; and was opposed by lord Thurlow and the earl of Effingham.

An object, which engroffed much of the attention of parliament and the public, during the period of which we are treating, related to the plan of fortifications, which had originally been fuggefted by the duke of Richmond. As a matter of revenue it had been the design to vote for this purpose 50, ocl. per annum, till the whole fhould be completed, or fhould be brought into a condition of confiderable forwardness. But this defign was interrupted in confequence of a difpofition, difplayed by a confiderable party in the houfe of commons, and by the country gentlemen, to difapprove of the meafure. In the, preceding feffion, in confequence of the immediate fuggettion of colonel Barré, a board of land and fea officers was propofed to be ap pointed to investigate the merits of the fyftem; and, in the mean time, not only no additional fum was voted for the purpofe in the committee of fupply, but it was agreed


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