Short Stories
All Titles

In Association with Amazon.com

Home > Authors Index > Browse all available works of Samuel Johnson > Text of Debate On Incorporating The New-Raised Men Into The Standing Regiments

A non-fiction by Samuel Johnson

Debate On Incorporating The New-Raised Men Into The Standing Regiments

Title:     Debate On Incorporating The New-Raised Men Into The Standing Regiments
Author: Samuel Johnson [More Titles by Johnson]

HOUSE OF COMMONS, DEC. 4-11, 1740.

On the 4th of December, sir William YONGE, secretary at war, having presented to the house of commons an estimate of the expense of raising ten thousand men, the same was taken into consideration in a committee on the supply, and after debate agreed to. At the report of this proceeding, on the 11th, another debate happened on a motion that the new-raised men should be incorporated into the standing regiments, etc.

As in these two debates the arguments were the same, they are thrown into one, to prevent unnecessary repetitions.

Sir William YONGE opened the debate with respect to what he had delivered in the estimate, after the manner following:--Sir, as this estimate has been drawn up after very accurate calculations and careful inquiries, I hope that no objections will be raised against it, and that the sum necessary for raising the new regiments will be very readily granted by that house, which voted the war necessary for which they are designed.

I hope it will be admitted as some proof of frugality, that this estimate requires less money than one that was laid before the senate in the reign of king William; for if it be considered, that since that time, the necessaries of life are become dearer, and that, therefore, all expenses are increased, it will appear to be the effect of the exactest economy, that the sum required for the same service is less.

I have heard, indeed, sir, that in conversation, the method of raising troops on this occasion has been censured as improper, and that in the opinion of some, whose judgment cannot be entirely disregarded, it would be more reasonable to add more men to our regiments already established, than to raise new regiments with new officers.

The chief argument, sir, produced in support of their method of augmentation, is drawn from the necessity of publick frugality, a very popular topick, which never fails to produce favour and attention; for every man is naturally inclined to hear his friend, and to consider that man as performing the office of friendship, who proposes methods of alleviating his taxes.

Frugality is undoubtedly a virtue very necessary to the happiness of the nation, and such as there occur frequent occasions of inculcating to those who are intrusted with the superintendence of publick disbursements, but I am far from thinking that this estimate affords any opportunity for declamations of this kind, and am of opinion that the addition of new soldiers to each regiment, would, in reality, be more expensive.

It cannot be denied, sir, that by augmenting the regiments, there would be immediately saved to the publick the expense of the officers which are necessary in the method now proposed; but it is to be considered how much the number of officers contributes to the regularity and discipline of the troops, and how much discipline and order promote their success. It is to be considered, sir, that the most successful method of making war is undoubtedly the cheapest, and that nothing is more expensive than defeats.

If by raising the same number of men under fewer officers, we should give our enemies any advantage, if a single party should be cut off, a garrison forced, an expedition rendered fruitless, or the war protracted but a few months, where will be the advantage of this admired frugality? What would be the consequence, but the same or a greater expense, not to gain advantages, but to repair losses, and obviate the effects of our former parsimony?

In private life, sir, it is common for men to involve themselves in expense, only by avoiding it; to repair houses at greater charges than new ones might be built, and to pay interest, rather than the debt. Weak minds are frighted at the mention of extraordinary efforts, and decline large expenses, though security and future affluence may be purchased by them; as tender bodies shrink from severe operations, though they are the certain methods of restoring health and vigour. The effects of this timidity are the same in both cases, the estate is impaired insensibly, and the body languishes by degrees, till no remedy can be applied.

Such examples, sir, are frequent, and the folly of imitating them is therefore greater, for who would pursue that track by which he has seen others led to destruction? Nor need we search for remote illustrations to discover the destructive tendency of unseasonable tenderness for the publick, for I believe the whole history of the wars of king William will prove, that too close an attention to parsimony is inconsistent with great achievements.

It may be expected that I, who cannot claim any regard in this disquisition, from my own experience, should produce some decisive evidence in favour of the method which I have taken upon me to defend; this expectation I shall endeavour to satisfy, by alleging the authority of the greatest commander of later ages, whom neither his friends nor his enemies will deny to have been well versed in these subjects, and whose success is a sufficient proof of the soundness of his principles.

The illustrious duke of MARLBOROUGH was of opinion, that the whole force of the French armies consisted in the number of the officers, and that to be always equal to them in the field, it was necessary to form our troops nearly upon the same plan; to this scheme he conformed in his practice of war, and how much his practice confirmed his opinion, let Blenheim and Ramillies attest.

As I pretend not to have determined myself on this question, otherwise than by authority, and, as I know not any authority equal to that of the duke of MARLBOROUGH, I cannot discharge the trust reposed in me by my country, any otherwise, than by proposing, that, on this occasion, we agree to grant his majesty the sum calculated for raising the new regiments, as I believe that method of augmentation most likely to produce success in our undertakings, and consequently to procure a speedy conclusion of the war.

Mr. PULTENEY spoke next, to the following effect:--Sir, I have been so long accustomed to the debates of this house, and have so often attended to the eloquence of the right honourable gentleman, that I am never startled at paradoxes, nor shocked at absurdities; I can now hear with great tranquillity an harangue upon the necessity of placemen in this house, upon the usefulness of standing armies, and the happiness of a general excise.

I am no longer offended with facts quoted in opposition to history, nor with calculations drawn up without regard to the rules of arithmetick; I know that there are persons in this house, who think themselves obliged to speak, even when in their own opinion nothing can be said with weight or with propriety; who come hither prepared against the shame of confutation, and determined not to be convinced.

To reason with such men, sir, is, indeed, no pleasing task; it is to fight with enchanted heroes, upon whom the common weapons of argument have no effect, and who must be softened by a countercharm, before they can be attacked with any prospect of success.

There are some, however, of whom I am willing to believe that they dispute only for truth, and inquire with the view of attaining a solution of their doubts. For the sake of these, sir, I think it necessary to declare my sentiments, as I shall be desirous, in my turn, to hear their sentiments; but with regard to those whose opinion I know already by their posts, I should think it of great advantage to the despatch of publick affairs, if they would content themselves with voting for their pay, without any ambition of other service, or adding the praise of volubility to that of steadiness.

Having this opportunity, sir, of declaring my opinion of the measures pursued in regulating our military preparations, I shall not confine myself entirely to the present question, but lay before the house my thoughts upon some parts of the establishment, which may, perhaps, require a reform, and which are at least proper objects of consideration, though not absolutely necessary to the determination of our opinion upon the present motion.

I have long ago, sir, declared, what, therefore, it is scarcely of any use to repeat, that I know not any advantage to be hoped from a standing army, nor can discover why the ablest and most vigorous of the inhabitants of this kingdom should be seduced from the loom, the anvil and the plough, only to live at ease upon the labour of industry, only to insult their landlords, and rob the farmers. I never could find why any body of men should be exempt from the common labour of social duties, or why they should be supported by a community, who contribute neither to its honour nor its defence.

I doubt not, sir, but I shall hear, on this occasion, of the service of our troops in the suppression of riots; we shall be told, by the next pompous orator who shall rise up in defence of the army, that they have often dispersed the smugglers; that the colliers have been driven down by the terrour of their appearance to their subterraneous fortifications; that the weavers, in the midst of that rage which hunger and oppression excited, fled at their approach; that they have at our markets bravely regulated the price of butter, and, sometimes, in the utmost exertion of heroick fury, broken those eggs which they were not suffered to purchase on their own terms.

Some one, perhaps, of more penetration, may inform us of the use which has been made of them at elections, where the surly burgesses have been sometimes blind to the merit of those worthy gentlemen, whom the soldiers have known how to esteem according to their desert; nor, indeed, do I see how those can refuse their votes in favour of our troops, who are indebted for the power of giving them, to their kind interposition.

To these arguments, sir, I shall content myself with answering, that those who are versed in the history of Britain, know that we have had colliers and weavers for many years before a standing army was heard of among us, and that it is, nevertheless, nowhere recorded that any of our kings were deposed by those formidable bodies of men, or that any remarkable changes were made by them in the form of our government; and, therefore, till some reason shall be alleged, why such insurrections are now more dangerous, and our civil magistrates more impotent than in former ages, I humbly conceive, that even without the protection of a standing army, we might yet sleep in security, notwithstanding the plots of the colliers, and the combinations of the weavers.

But I must own, sir, these are not our only enemies, for there is somewhere, yet in existence, a person that lays claim to the dominion of these kingdoms, and pleads an hereditary title to dispose of our wealth, to subvert our liberties, and destroy our religion.

If any foreigner, sir, unacquainted with our affairs, were to be present at our debates, and to hear with what ardour we animate each other to an obstinate resistance of this pretender to the throne, how often he is represented as hovering over us, and how often we have caught a general panick, and imagined ourselves upon the verge of destruction, how often our most zealous patriots take opportunities of declaring their resolution to die in defence of their liberties; and how pathetically our most elegant declaimers have expatiated on the misery of that unhappy race, whom they should leave behind to groan under the oppression of absolute power, what would be his opinion of this pretender, whom he saw so perpetually dreaded, against whom so many alliances were formed, so many armies were levied, and so many navies equipped?

Would he not believe him to be some formidable tyrant in a neighbouring country, the lord of wide dominions, and the master of numerous armies and powerful fleets? Would he not imagine that he could assemble half the continent at his call, that he was supported by powerful alliances, and that nothing but a fair wind was required to land him on our coasts at the head of millions? And would he not, even on that supposition, be inclined to censure us as timorous, as somewhat regardless of the honour of our nation, and condemn us for giving way to such suspicions and exclamations, as have a natural tendency to heighten the apprehension of danger, and depress the spirits of the people?

But what would be his conclusion, sir, when he should be told, what in reality is true, that this dreadful pretender is an unhappy fugitive, driven in his infancy from this country, and by consequence without any personal interest; that he is supported by the charity of a prince whose name is hated almost by every inhabitant of the kingdom; that he has neither sovereignty, nor money, nor alliances, nor reputation in war, nor skill in policy; that all his actions are watched by British spies; and that the few friends that remain to support the farce of a court, are such only as dare not return to their native country, and are, therefore, without fortune, and without dependants?

What could a wise man conceive of a nation held in continual alarms by an enemy like this; of a nation always watchful against an invasion from a man who has neither dominions to supply, nor money to hire a single regiment; from a man whose title all the neighbouring princes disown, and who is at such a distance from them, that he cannot be assisted by them without open preparations, of which we cannot fail of having intelligence, and which may be defeated, without danger, by the vessels regularly stationed on our coasts?

Would not any stranger imagine, sir, that we were a nation infected with a general phrensy, that cowardice had perverted our imaginations, filled us with apprehensions of impossible invasions, raised phantoms before our eyes, and distracted us with wild ideas of slavery and tyranny, oppression and persecution?

I have dwelt thus long on this point, because I know the pretender is the last refuge of those who defend a standing army; not that I propose to convince any man of the folly of such apprehensions, or to fortify him against such terrours for the time to come; for if any man, in reality, now dreads the pretender, fear must be his distemper; he is doomed to live in terrours, and it is of no importance whether he dreads an invasion or a goblin, whether he is afraid to disband the army, or to put out his candle in the night; his imagination is tainted, and he must be cured, not by argument, but by physick.

But the greatest part of those who disturb our consultations with the mention of the pretender, are men of a very different character, men equally unconcerned about his designs, or his motions, with those who are most desirous of setting the nation free from the burden of an army, and very often such as we may discover, from their conduct, to be determined to comply with every government; and such as have, therefore, nothing to fear from a change of masters.

The men, for whose sake I am now speaking, sir, laugh equally with myself at the apprehensions of those whom they contribute to terrify; they know too well the impotence of the pretender to dread an invasion from him, and affect only to continue their outcries, that they may not be deprived of a topick, on which, by long practice, they have attained an uncommon facility of haranguing, which they know how to diversify with various combinations of circumstances, and how to accommodate to any emergent occasion, without the pain of torturing their inventions.

It may be useful, sir, to inform these men, that their disguise ought at last to be thrown off, because it deceives no longer, and that the nation cannot be cheated but at the expense of more cunning than they are willing, or perhaps able, to display. A mask must necessarily be thrown aside, when, instead of concealing, it discovers him by whom it is used.

Those who are attempting, sir, to deceive others, and whose character is exalted, in their own opinion, in proportion to the success of their endeavours, have surely a sense of shame, though they have none of virtue, and cannot, without pain, find their artifices detected, and themselves made the objects of ridicule, by those stratagems which they employ for the deception of others.

I hope, therefore, sir, that, for their own sakes, these declaimers on the exploded story of the pretender, will change their bugbear, that if it be necessary to frighten those whom they want art or eloquence to persuade, they will find out some other object of terrour, which, after a little practice in private meetings, they may first produce in the court, and then turn loose in the senate.

The world, methinks, allows them a sufficient choice of tyrants more formidable than the pretender. Suppose they should revive the history of the Mohocks. The Mohocks are a dreadful race, not to be mentioned without horrour, by a true lover of his country, and a steady adherent to the house of Hanover; they might then very easily increase our army, or enhance our taxes; for who would not be urged by his wife and daughter to agree to any measures that might secure them from the Mohocks?

But as an army is, at present, likely to be kept up for our defence, against an enemy less formidable, it may be more seasonable to propose the regulation than the dismission of our troops, and to mention those evils which arise from the present establishment, rather than those which are inseparable from the expense of a standing force.

If it be necessary, sir, to support soldiers, I suppose that it will not be denied by the advocates for an army, that we ought to levy such troops as may be of use; yet in their practice they seem to have paid very little regard to this principle. Our troopers are mounted upon horses which can serve no purpose but that of show, which may, indeed, wheel about in the park with a formidable air, but can neither advance upon an enemy with impetuosity, nor retreat from him with expedition; and which, therefore, though purchased by the nation at a very high price, and supported at a large expense, can only grace a review, but are of very little use in an enemy's country, and must perish in the march, or stand unactive in the battle.

Nor is much more service to be expected, sir, from their riders, than from the horses, for there are very few of them acquainted with the first elements of their profession, or who have ever learned more than a few postures of exercise, and the meaning of a few words of command, but have a number of officers with large appointments.

The French troops, sir, if they are doubly officered, are officered and maintained at a less expense, and to greater effect; for the soldiers are better instructed, and the same number of men cost not, perhaps, much more than half the charge of a British regiment.

The guards, sir, that are maintained about this metropolis, for no other purpose than to keep up the splendour of a modern court, cost the nation, yearly, such a sum as would be sufficient to support an army of Frenchmen, for the protection of their frontier towns, or the invasion of neighbouring countries.

For my part, I cannot see what injury would be done to the nation by abolishing an establishment, at the same time useless and expensive, and employing that money which is at present squandered upon idlers without effect, upon levies of useful soldiers for marching regiments, who might be employed, when occasion should require them, in the service of their country.

It will, doubtless, be objected, that the officers of this body of men, many of whom are persons of the highest merit, and who have, generally, purchased their commissions, might very justly complain of being deprived, without a crime, of that which they have bought at its full value, and to which, therefore, they imagine themselves entitled, till they shall forfeit their right by some offence against the laws, or some neglect of their duty.

I shall not, sir, at present, inquire into the justness of this plea, nor examine, whether he who purchases an employment, which he knows to be useless, and therefore burdensome to the publick, deserves that the publick should be solicitous to support him in the enjoyment of it; but I shall declare, on this occasion, with confidence, that I know many of the officers of the guards to be men of honour, who would gladly exchange their posts, so chargeable to the nation, for an opportunity of serving it, and who are not very anxious for the increase of their pay, so they may not be degraded from their present rank.

If these gentlemen, sir, might, in the regiments that should be raised by disbanding the guards, be advanced to higher commissions, though with some diminution of their pay, they would imagine themselves abundantly compensated by the happiness of becoming useful subjects, and serving that nation by which they have been, hitherto, supported only to fill up the pomp of levees, and add to the magnificence of drawing-rooms, to loiter in antechambers, and to quarrel at gaming tables.

If this scheme should not be approved, the method eligible, in the next degree, seems to be that of incorporating our new levies into the regiments already raised, that being associated with men already acquainted with discipline, they may learn their duty much more expeditiously than in separate bodies, where one officer will be obliged to attend to the instruction of great numbers, and where no man will be excited to application, because no man will see any degree of excellence which he may be ambitious of attaining.

I have, indeed, heard no reason alleged for the necessity of new levies, which appeared likely to convince even those by whom it was produced. It appears to me that our present army is more than sufficient for the publick service, without an augmentation, and that some of our regiments might immediately embark, not only without danger to the nation, but with far greater hopes of success, as our enemies would have less time to strengthen their fortifications, and collect their troops, and as disciplined forces are more formidable than troops newly levied; for discipline must be of great efficacy to the success of military undertakings, or all arguments which have been used in the defence of a standing army fall to the ground.

In answer to this proposal, we shall probably be once again intimidated with an invasion, whether from the pretender, the Spaniards, the French, or any other power, it is of no great importance. An invasion is a formidable sound; the sack of towns, the destruction of villages, the captivity of our children, the ruin of our fortunes, and the desolation of our country, are frightful images, and may, therefore, be successfully produced, on this occasion, to perplex our thoughts, and embarrass our inquiries.

To remove, therefore, this panick, and to dissipate, for ever, the phantoms of invasion, I will lay before the house the opinion of the great commander whose name has already been introduced in this debate. In the late reign, on a day when the great officers of the crown, and many of the council, were at a publick feast in the city, a report was suddenly spread that the duke of Ormond had landed in the west, with two thousand men. This account was, in appearance, well attested, and universally believed; all jollity was, therefore, at an end, the company departed, the council was summoned, and every man offered such expedients as his present thoughts, confused and oppressed with the proximity of the danger, suggested to him. One proposed, that a body of troops should be sent to a distant part of the kingdom, to restrain the seditions of the populace; another apprehended more danger from a different quarter, and advised that the inhabitants should be awed by another detachment sent thither; the most experienced easily saw the unprofitableness of the measures proposed, but could not so easily strike out more efficacious expedients, and therefore sat in great perplexity. Lord Somers, particularly, shook his head, and seemed to consider the kingdom as in the hands of the invaders, and the dreadful pretender as seated on the throne.

At last, the duke of MARLBOROUGH, who had hitherto sat silent, asked calmly, whether they were certain that any forces were really landed, and was answered, that though it might not be absolutely certain, yet they were to consult and send orders upon that supposition. Then, says he, I will lay down this great rule to be observed invariably, whenever you are invaded. Attend only to one point, nor have any other purpose in view than that of destroying the regular forces that shall be landed in the kingdom, without any regard to petty insurrections, which may be always easily quelled, and which will probably cease of themselves, when the army by which they were excited is cut off. For this end, let it be your rule, to keep your army undivided, and to make no motion but towards the enemies; fight them with the utmost expedition before they can fortify themselves, or receive reinforcements from the continent. By the observation of this plain method of operation, continued he, I will engage, without any other force than the regiments generally stationed about the capital, to put a stop to any troops that shall be landed on the coast of Britain.

So far was this great officer, who was acquainted with the whole art of war, from sinking into astonishment at the sound of an invasion, and so far from thinking it necessary that the nation should be harassed by standing troops, to preserve it from being plundered by a foreign army.

But though our troops, sir, should not be necessary to prevent an invasion, they may be useful in services of equal importance; the ministry may think the suffrages of the officers more serviceable than their swords, and may be more afraid of exposing themselves than the nation by any detachment of their forces.

Such is, at present, sir, the state of this unhappy country, that neither in peace nor war are any measures taken, but with a view of increasing or confirming the power of the ministry; for this purpose those troops whose officers have seats here, are to be retained at home, and the fate of our American settlements to be committed to new-levied forces, without military skill.

For this reason is an army to be raised without necessity, and raised in a manner that may furnish the court with an opportunity of extending its influence, by the disposal of great numbers of new commissions. By this plan every family that is burdened with a relation whose vices have ruined his fortune, or whose stupidity disqualifies him for employment, will have an opportunity of selling, for a commission, its interest at the approaching election; dependence will be propagated, and the troublesome spirit of liberty be depressed.

To little purpose will it be objected, that soldiers and officers will be equally ignorant, that discipline is not infused instantaneously, that a military dress will not make a soldier, that men can only know their duty by instruction, and that nothing is to be hoped from ploughmen and manufacturers, commanded by schoolboys. The success of the expedition is not so much considered by those who have the direction of the levies, as that of the election, and while they keep their posts, they are very little concerned about the affairs of America.

In defence of this method, it has, indeed, been affirmed, that it was preferred by the duke of MARLBOROUGH; but we are not informed to whom, or upon what occasion he declared his opinion, and, therefore, are left at liberty to doubt, whether his authority is not produced for a method which he did not approve, or approved only at some particular time for some extraordinary service.

It is urged, that he recommended it by his practice, and that his success is a sufficient proof that his practice was founded upon right maxims. But if it be remembered what was, in that time, the method of obtaining commissions, and who it was that had the disposal of them, it will appear not absolutely certain, that his practice ought to be produced as a decisive proof of his opinion.

If the success of troops be properly urged as an argument for the form of their establishment, may not the victories of prince Eugene afford a proof, equally convincing, that a few officers are sufficient? And if the arguments which arise from success are equal on both sides, ought not the necessity of saving the publick money to turn the balance?

War, sir, is in its own nature a calamity very grievous to the most powerful and flourishing people, and to a trading nation is particularly destructive, as it at once exhausts our wealth, and interrupts our commerce, at once drinks up the stream and chokes up the fountain. In those countries whose affairs are wholly transacted within their own frontiers, where there is either very little money, or where their wealth is dug out of their own mines, they are only weakened by the loss of men, or by the diminution of their dominions, and, in general, can only suffer by being overcome.

But the state of Britain is far different; it is not necessary to our ruin that an enemy should be stronger than ourselves, that he should be able to pour armies into our country, to cover the sea with fleets, to burn our villages by incursions, or destroy our fortresses with bombs; for he that can secure his own dominions from our attacks, to which nothing but distance and some advantages of situation are necessary, may support a war against us, and he that can fit out privateers to interrupt our trade, may, without obtaining a victory, reduce us to distress.

Our situation, sir, as it preserves us from the danger of an invasion, except from that powerful monarch, the pretender, who is, indeed, always to be dreaded, has, likewise, the effect of securing other nations from being invaded by us; for it is very difficult to transport in one fleet, and to land at one time, a number sufficient to force their way into a country where the ports are fortified, and the inhabitants in arms.

Our wars, sir, are, therefore, to be determined by naval battles, and those nations have very little to fear from us who have no trade to be disturbed, and no navies to be destroyed; if they can only fit out cruisers, which may always be done by granting commissions to foreign adventurers, they may ruin our merchants by captures, exhaust the nation by the necessity of convoys, and give neutral traders an opportunity of establishing their credit at those markets which have been, hitherto, supplied by our manufactures.

This is, indeed, far from being at present an exact account of the state of Spain, whose wide-extended dominions are liable to insults, and from whom many of her most wealthy provinces may be torn without great hazard or difficulty. The particular state of her commerce, which, being only carried on from one part of her dominions to another, can only be for a time interrupted, but is in no danger of being invaded by any rival, or lost by disuse, at least requires our consideration, and we ought to make war with the utmost frugality, against a people whom no hostilities can really impoverish, whose commerce may be said to lie at rest rather than to be shackled, as it will rise into greater vigour at the end of the war, and whose treasures, though the want of them is a present inconvenience, are only piled up for a time of security.

As the only method, sir, of reducing this nation, must be that of invading its colonies, and dismembering its provinces, by which the chief persons will be deprived of their revenues, and a general discontent be spread over the people, the forces which are levied for this expedition, an expedition on which so much of the honour of our arms and the prosperity of our trade must necessarily depend, ought to be selected with the greatest care, and disciplined with the exactest regularity.

On this occasion, therefore, it is surely improper to employ troops newly collected from shops and villages, and yet more irrational to trust them to the direction of boys called on this occasion from the frolicks of a school, or forced from the bosoms of their mothers, and the softness of the nursery. It is not without compassion, compassion very far extended, that I consider the unhappy striplings doomed to a camp, from whom the sun has hitherto been screened, and the wind excluded, who have been taught, by many tender lectures, the unwholesomeness of the evening mists and the morning dews, who have been wrapt in furs in winter, and cooled with fans in summer, who have lived without any fatigue but that of dress, or any care but that of their complexion.

Who can forbear, sir, some degree of sympathy, when he sees animals like these taking their last farewell of the maid that has fed them with sweetmeats, and defended them from insects; when he sees them drest up in the habiliments of soldiers, loaded with a sword, and invested with a command, not to mount the guard at the palace, nor to display their lace at a review; not to protect ladies at the door of an assembly room, nor to show their intrepidity at a country fair, but to enter into a kind of fellowship with the rugged sailor, to hear the tumult of a storm, to sustain the change of climates, and to be set on shore in an enemy's dominions?

Surely, he that can see such spectacles without sorrow, must have hardened his heart beyond the common degrees of cruelty, and it may reasonably be expected, that he who can propose any method by which such hardships may be escaped, will be thought entitled to gratitude and praise.

For my part, I should imagine, sir, that an easy method might be discovered of obviating such misery, without lessening that number of officers, which, perhaps, in opposition to reason and experience, some gentlemen will continue to think necessary, and hope that this may be no improper time to declare my opinion.

I have observed, that for some time no private centinel has ever risen to any rank above that of a serjeant, and that commissions have been reserved as rewards for other services than those of the camp. This procedure I cannot but think at once impolitick and unjust.

It is impolitick, sir, as it has a natural tendency to extinguish in the soldiery all emulation and all industry. Soldiers have an equal genius with other men, and undoubtedly there might be found among them great numbers capable of learning and of improving the military sciences; but they have, likewise, the same love of ease, and the desire of honour and of profit, and will not condemn themselves to labour without the prospect of reward, nor sacrifice their time to the attainment of that knowledge, which can have no other effect than to make them discover the stupidity of their commanders, and render their obedience more difficult, as it will destroy that reverence which is necessary to subordination.

It is unjust, sir, because it is not to be doubted, that some soldiers, by the natural force of their faculties, or by a laudable activity of mind, have extended their knowledge beyond the duties of a private station; and he that excels in his profession, has an equitable claim to distinction and preferment. To advance any man in the army, because his father is an orator in the senate, or the chief inhabitant of a borough, seems not more rational, than to make another man a judge, because some of his ancestors were skilled in gunnery; nor would the lawyers have juster reasons for complaint in one case, than the soldiers in the other.

It is, therefore, sir, in my opinion, necessary to the advancement of military knowledge, that, as a centinel is, for excelling in his profession, advanced to the degree of a serjeant, the serjeant, who continues his application, and performs his duty, should, in time, be honoured with a commission.

It may be objected, indeed, that serjeants, though they are skilful commanders in war, can very seldom arrive at any remarkable skill in politicks, and though they should be so fortunate as to gain estates, could never be of any use as the representatives of a borough; and to what purpose should those men be advanced, who can only serve their country, but can contribute very little to the support of the court?

This is, I own, sir, an objection, which I despair of answering to the satisfaction of those by whom it will be raised. The hardy serjeant would never cringe gracefully at a levee, would never attain to any successful degree of address in soliciting votes; and if he should by mere bribery be deputed hither, would be unable to defend the conduct of his directors.

In vindication of the present scheme, I believe few of those rugged warriours would find many arguments; they would not recommend to the nation a troop of boys, under the command of boys, as the most proper forces to be sent to make conquests in distant countries, nor would imagine, that unskilful soldiers could, under the direction of officers equally ignorant with themselves, attain the knowledge of their duty in the same time as if they were incorporated with regular troops, in which every man might receive instructions, and learn his business from his comrade.

I had lately, sir, the opportunity of hearing the opinion of one of the greatest generals in the world, on this subject, who declared, with the utmost confidence of certainty, that raw troops could be disciplined in a short time, only by being incorporated with those that had been already taught their duty, and asserted, that with an army so mixed, he should think himself sufficiently enabled to meet any forces of the same number, and should not fear to acquit himself successfully, either in attacking or defending.

Such are the sentiments of this great man, to whom I know not whether any name can be opposed that deserves equally to be reverenced. He has had the honour of defending the rights of his country in the senate as well as in the field, has signalized himself equally in the debate and in the battle, and, perhaps, deserves less regard for having hazarded his life, than for having been divested of his employments.

Since, therefore, it is apparent that great numbers of officers are by no means necessary to success in war, since they are dangerous to our liberty in time of peace, since they are certainly expensive, and at best not certainly useful; and since the greatest general of the present age has declared, that our new levies ought to be mingled with our standing forces, I shall think it my duty to vote against the present scheme of raising new regiments, and shall agree to no other supplies than such as may be sufficient for adding the same numbers to the present army.

General WADE then spoke as follows:--Sir, though I cannot pretend to pursue the honourable gentleman through the whole compass of his argument, nor shall attempt to stand up as his rival, either in extent of knowledge, or elegance of language, yet as my course of life has necessarily furnished me with some observations relating to the question before us, and my present station in the army may, in some measure, be said to make it my duty to declare my opinion, I shall lay before the house a few considerations, with the artless simplicity of a plain soldier, without engaging in a formal debate, or attempting to overthrow the arguments of others.

It is observed, sir, that for the greatest part, the farther any man has advanced in life, the less confidence he places in speculation, and the more he learns to rest upon experience, as the only sure guide in human affairs; and as the transactions in which he is engaged are more important, with the greater anxiety does he inquire after precedents, and the more timorously does he proceed, when he is obliged to regulate his conduct by conjecture or by deliberation.

This remark, sir, though it may be just with regard to all states of life, is yet more constantly and certainly applicable to that of the soldier; because, as his profession is more hazardous than any other, he must with more caution guard against miscarriages and errours. The old soldier, therefore, very rarely ventures beyond the verge of experience, unless in compliance with particular accidents, which does not make any change in his general scheme, or in situations where nothing can preserve him but some new stratagem or unprecedented effort, which are not to be mentioned as part of his original plan of operation, because they are produced always by unforeseen emergencies, and are to be imputed, not to choice, but to necessity; for, in consequence of my first principle, an old soldier never willingly involves himself in difficulties, or proceeds in such a manner as that he may not expect success by the regular operations of war.

It will not, therefore, be strange, if I, who, having served in the army, in the wars of king William, may justly claim the title of an old soldier, should not easily depart from the methods established in my youth; methods of which their effects have shown me, that they at least answer the intention for which they were contrived, and which, therefore, I shall be afraid of rejecting, lest those which it is proposed to substitute in their place, however probable in speculation, should be found defective in practice, and the reasonings, which, indeed, I cannot answer, should be confuted in the field, where eloquence has very little power.

The troops of Britain, formed according to the present establishment, have been found successful; they have preserved the liberties of Europe, and driven the armies of France before them; they have appeared equally formidable in sieges and in battles, and with strength equally irresistible have pressed forward in the field, and mounted the breach. It may be urged, that this vigour, alacrity, and success, cannot be proved to have been produced by the number of officers by whom they were commanded; but since, on the contrary, it cannot be shown that the number of officers did not contribute to their victories, I think it not prudent to try the experiment, which, if it should succeed, as it possibly may, would produce no great advantage; and if it should fail, and that it may fail no man will deny, must bring upon us, not only the expense which we are so solicitous to avoid, but disgrace and losses, a long interruption of our trade, and the slaughter of great numbers of our fellow-subjects.

Thus far, sir, I have proceeded upon a supposition that the balance of argument is equal on both sides, and that nothing could be alleged on one part but experience, or objected to the other but the want of it; but as I am now called to declare my opinion in a question relating to my profession, a question of great importance to the publick, I should think that I had not discharged my duty to my country with that fidelity which may justly be exacted from me, if I should omit any observation that my memory may suggest, by which the house may be better enabled to proceed in this inquiry.

I think it, therefore, proper to declare, that we not only, in the last great war, experienced the usefulness of numerous officers, but that we have likewise felt the want of them on a signal occasion, and that the only great advantage which our enemies obtained, was gained over an army rendered weak by the want of the usual number of officers. Such were the forces that were defeated at the fatal battle of Almanza, by which almost all Spain was recovered from us. And it is, sir, the opinion of very skilful commanders, that the Germans, only by having fewer officers than the French, did not succeed in those long and obstinate battles of Parma and Guastalla.

It is, indeed, natural to imagine, that a greater number of officers must promote success, because courage is kindled by example, and it is, therefore, of use to every man to have his leader in his view. Shame, at one time, and affection at another, may produce the effects of courage where it is wanted, and those may follow their commander, who are inclined to desert their duty; for it is seldom known that, while the officers appear confident, the soldiers despair, or that they think of retreating but after the example of their leaders.

Where there are only few officers, it is apparent that more is left to chance, in which it becomes not a wise man to place any confidence; for if the officers are killed at the beginning of the action, the soldiers must become an useless, defenceless herd, without order, without unanimity, and without design; but by the present method, if an officer happens to fall, his place is immediately supplied by another, the action goes forward, and the enemy receives no advantage from confusion or delay.

I am, therefore of opinion, that in raising troops for the expedition now intended, the established method ought to be followed, and that we ought not to hazard the success of our attempt by new regulations, of which no human sagacity can fortell the event.

Though it cannot be denied, that some addition might be made to our companies without any visible or certain inconvenience, yet the augmentation now intended is too numerous to be so incorporated without some neglect of discipline, as the officers would be charged with more men than they could properly superintend.

There is, indeed, sir, another method of incorporation, by adding new companies to each regiment; but of this method the advantage would be small, because the number of captains and inferiour officers must be the same, and the pay of only the field officers would be saved, and this trifling gain would be far over-balanced by the inconveniencies which experience has shown to arise from it. There have been regiments formed of thirteen companies, instead of ten; but it was found, that as the officers of a company may be over-charged with soldiers, a colonel may likewise have more companies than he can conveniently inspect, and the ancient regulation was restored, as the least liable to difficulties and objections.

Having thus endeavoured to vindicate the manner in which our new troops are proposed to be levied, it may be expected that I should now make some observations on the service in which they are to be employed, which I cannot think liable to any unanswerable objection. It is now, sir, in our choice whether we will send the new regiments abroad or keep them at home; and our choice may easily be determined by comparing the value of our colonies with that of their mother country. If it be not necessary to have any army here to defend us against insults and invasions, the question about the manner of raising or employing new regiments is superfluous, because none ought to be raised, as our old troops are sufficiently numerous for foreign service. But if the security of the nation requires an army, would it not be madness to send those troops to a distant part of the world, in which we can confide most! Would not those, who speak with such contempt of an expedition undertaken by boys, have a better reason for their censure, if only boys were stationed on our coasts to repel the veterans of France? Would not such measures animate our enemies, and invite an invasion?

It may, perhaps, be urged farther, that the troops which are sent into America, are more likely to succeed in their design, than any regiment of ancient establishment. The chief danger to be feared in that part of the world, is not from the enemy but the climate, with which young men are most able to contend, though they may not be equally qualified for attempts in which skill is equally necessary with vigour.

I am convinced, sir, that this war has hitherto been prosecuted with ardour and fidelity, and that no measures have been taken but such as experience and reason have supported, and therefore affirm, without scruple, that if we are not successful, our miscarriages must be imputed to the chance of war, from which no prudence can exempt us.

Lord QUARENDON spoke next, in the following manner, being his first speech:--Sir, having-but very lately had the honour of a seat in this assembly, I am conscious how little I am acquainted with either the subjects or forms of debate, and should, therefore, continue to listen to the sentiments of persons more experienced, with silent veneration, did I not observe with how much indulgence they are heard who mean well, however deficient in knowledge, or in eloquence.

As the honourable gentleman who spoke last, sir, professes to have formed his opinion rather from facts than arguments, I hope I shall be indulged by the house, in an attempt to examine those facts which he has produced, because I think them not sufficient to support his positions, which must, therefore, be established by some other proofs, before a decision of this question can be fixed by them.

With regard to his experience, to which undoubtedly no small degree of veneration is due, he confesses that we have tried only one of the two forms of establishment now in competition, and that, therefore, though he has had reason to approve that with which he is most acquainted, he has no certain proofs of the inefficacy or imperfection of the other.

But experience, sir, may be extended much farther than our own personal transactions, and may very justly comprehend those observations which we have had opportunities of making upon the conduct and success of others. This gentleman, though he has only commanded in the armies of Britain, has seen the forces of other nations, has remarked their regulations, and heard of their actions with our confederates in the last war; he has probably acted in conjunction, and though it is known that they differ from us in the proportion of soldiers and officers, he has mentioned no disadvantage which might be supposed to arise from their establishment, and therefore, I suppose, he cannot deny that their behaviour and success was the same with that of our own troops.

The battles of Almanza, Parma, and Guastalla, which he has particularly mentioned, were lost, as he informs us, by armies not officered according to the establishment which he recommends to us: but it is observable that his argument is defective in an essential part; for though he affirms that the armies which were defeated had fewer officers than the enemy, he has neither shown, nor attempted to show, that the want of officers occasioned the defeat, or that the loss would have been prevented by a greater number.

These instances, therefore, can be of no effect on the determination of the present question; for though it is certain that at Germany, and at other places, armies with few officers have lost the battle, it is not less common for those troops that are more liberally supplied, to be overthrown by others which are differently modelled.

With regard, sir, to the troops of Germany, I have heard them praised, in many parts of Europe, as not inferiour either to those of France, or of any other nation, and have been informed, that their ill success, both at Parma and Guastalla, may be justly imputed to other causes than the want of officers.

There has, perhaps, sir, seldom been an example of firmness, discipline, and resolution, beyond that which was shown by the Germans at the action of Parma, where they attacked the trenches of the French, sustained the fire of the ramparts of the city, and though they lost their commander-in-chief and two others, towards the beginning of the action, they continued the fight for eleven hours, and at last retired only at the approach of night.

At Guastalla, sir, they attacked the French in their trenches, even with forces inferiour in number, so far were they from any diffidence in the form of their establishment; and after a fight of seven hours, in which their loss was, under all their disadvantages, not greater than that of their enemies, they retreated to their former camp unmolested and unpursued. The French, sir, were preserved in both these battles, not by the number of their officers, but by their situation, by woods, cassines, ditches, and intrenchments.

Nor do I discover, sir, what can be inferred from his observation of the influence of example in time of action, but that officers should be selected with great care, and not be promoted by favour, or interest, or caprice; for an example of cowardice in a leader must be pernicious, in proportion as that of bravery is beneficial; and as, where more officers are supposed necessary, there is less room for choice, it must be allowed that the troops, which have more officers than other forces, are in more danger of being infected with cowardice.

It appears, therefore, to me that the expense of the present establishment is a certain evil, and that the advantages are very doubtful: it appears that the present state of the nation requires frugality, and, therefore, I shall vote for the incorporation of our new levies with the old regiments.

By this incorporation, sir, our new-levied troops will be no longer distinguished from our veterans; they will be equally acquainted with discipline, and will learn, from the conversation of their associates, a spirit of enterprise, and a contempt of danger; we may then employ forces equally formidable in all parts of the publick service, and invade the dominions of our enemies, without leaving our own country desolate.

The arguments which the honourable gentleman has offered in defence of sending our younger troops to America, which may likewise be used against an incorporation, is, in my opinion, sir, far from being conclusive; for it supposes, what will not be granted, that a cold climate may be changed for a hotter with more safety by a young than an old man. I have been told, on the contrary, that superabundant heat is the great disease of youth, and that the want of it produces most of the infirmities of age; and every one has known the lives of persons languishing with age, prolonged by a removal into warm countries. I am, therefore, of opinion, that the honourable gentleman's argument is defective in all its parts, and hope that I shall not be charged with obstinacy or perverseness for dissenting from him.

Mr. HOWE spoke next, in substance as follows:--Sir, before I engage in a discussion of the question, I cannot but think it necessary to observe, that the honourable gentleman who spoke the second in this debate, has been very far from consulting either policy or justice in his declamation, and that he deviated from the subject only to ridicule his country, to exalt our enemies, and depress our efforts.

He has described, sir, the British youth, the sons of noble families, and the hopes of the nation, in terms too contemptuous to be heard without indignation; he has amused himself with displaying their ignorance and their effeminacy, and has indulged his imagination in a malignant kind of gaiety, which, however it may divert himself, is very far from contributing either to the reformation or prevention of those practices which he censures.

I believe, sir, it will be granted, that nothing ought to please but in proportion to its propriety and truth; and, if we try the satire that we have lately heard, by this test, it will be found to have very little claim to applause; for our armies must be composed of the youth of the nation; and, for my part, I cannot discover what advantage we shall gain over the Spaniards, by informing them how little our troops are accustomed to danger, how short a time they have been acquainted with fatigue, how tenderly they have been nursed, how easily they may be frighted, and how certainly they will be conquered, if they but meet with opposition.

Nor, sir, is such an account of the youth of Britain more true, in my opinion, than it is prudent. I am far from discovering any such remarkable degeneracy in the age, or any great prevalence of cowardice and unmanly delicacy; nor do I doubt of hearing that our youth, if they are sent upon any expedition, have shown that the British courage is not yet extinguished, and that, if they are ranged on the plains of America, they will discover themselves the sons of those that forced those passes, and those trenches, that other troops would have failed in attempting.

That the degeneracy of the British youth, is, at least, not universal, we have just now sir, received an incontestable proof from the gentleman who spoke last, and spoke with so much elegance of language, and justness of reasoning, as shows, that there are to be found, among the youth of Britain, persons very well qualified for the senate; and I have never heard that a post in the army required greater abilities.

The pleasure, however, with which I have attended to his remarks, has not so far prejudiced me in favour of his opinion, as that I shall easily consent to change that method of discipline, to which our troops have been accustomed, and of which we know by experience, that it is, at least, not less efficacious than that of any other nation. Customs, if they are not bad, are not to be changed, because it is an argument in favour of a practice that the people have experienced it, and approved it, and every change is disagreeable to those who judge only by prejudice, of whom I need not say how great is the number.

Many arguments may, sir, in my opinion, be added to our experience in favour of the present establishment. The number of officers--but I find myself unable to pursue my design, because I can no longer read my notes, which, being written by another hand, somewhat embarrass me in this decline of the light. I shall, therefore, only make some observations upon the speech of the gentleman who spoke the second in this debate, and hope that I shall be allowed to deviate from the principal question, since I do it only in pursuit of another.

He has observed, that our troopers are mounted upon horses that are of no use; a remark, sir, which I never heard from any other person, and for which, I believe, no authority can be produced: they are mounted, indeed, upon horses very different from those which are used by other nations, because scarcely any other country breeds horses of equal size and strength, and, therefore, I am informed that the French have purchased horses from this island, and believe that all the cavalry of Europe would be mounted upon our horses if they could procure them. I have been informed, that their pressure in the shock of battle is such, as no forces in the world are able to sustain; and that it was not less by the strength of our horses than the spirit of our soldiers, that the squadrons of France were, in the battle of Blenheim, pushed into the Danube.

Nor do I less disapprove his censure of the choice which has been made of the troops intended for the American service, which, though I ardently desire its success, I cannot think of equal importance with the defence of our own country; for though we may be disgraced by a defeat, we can be endangered only by an invasion; and, therefore, I think it necessary to retain those troops on which we may best rely for the security of this island, lest our enemies should take the advantage of their absence, and set the pretender on the throne.

Sir William YONGE next rose, and spoke to the effect following:--Sir, it is a standing maxim, both in private life and public transactions, that no man can obtain great advantages who is afraid of petty inconveniencies; and that he that will hope to obtain his end without expense, will languish for ever in fruitless wishes, and have the mortification of seeing the adventurous and the liberal enjoy that felicity, which, though it is within his reach, he is afraid of seizing.

When the depredations of the Spaniards became first the subject of our debates, nothing was heard amongst us but threats of vengeance, demands of reparation, assertions of sovereignty, and resolutions to obtain security: the importance of our commerce, the necessity of rigorous measures, the danger of pusillanimity, the meanness of negotiation, and the disadvantages of delay, were thundered from every part of the house. Every man seemed to imagine that there was no mean between victory and ruin, and that not to humble Spain was to betray our country to insults, ignominy, and slavery.

Far was I then, sir, from suspecting, that when the war, thus vehemently urged, should be declared, that the prosecution of it would produce any debates. I doubted not but that every man would be desirous of signalizing his zeal for the prosperity of commerce, by expediting the supplies, and forwarding the preparations; and that the only contention among us would be, who should appear the most ardent enemy of Spain.

But no sooner are hostilities begun against this insolent and oppressive nation, than those who expressed most resentment at the prudence and moderation by which they were delayed, those that accused every attempt for an accommodation, of cowardice, and charged the ministry with conniving at the rapine of pirates, begin to inquire into the necessity of the expenses occasioned by the war, to harangue on the advantages of parsimony, and to think it of more importance to ease our taxes than to subdue our enemies.

In pursuance of this new doctrine they are now endeavouring to embarrass the measures of his majesty, that they may save, according to their own computation, only thirty thousand pounds, which, in reality, I can easily show to be no more than fifteen thousand.

For the sake of this important sum, our army is to be modelled by a new regulation, and the success of the war is to be impeded, the security of our commerce to be hazarded, and our colonies are to be endangered.

Frugality is, undoubtedly, a virtue, but is, like others, to be practised on proper occasions: to compute expenses with a scrupulous nicety, in time of war, is to prefer money to safety, and, by a very perverse kind of policy, to hazard the whole for the preservation of a part.

The gentlemen, sir, who have most endeavoured to distinguish themselves as the constant opponents of the administration, have charged it, on all occasions, with giving encouragement to the Spaniards, but can charge it with nothing so likely to raise the confidence and confirm the obstinacy of the enemy, as the objections which they themselves have made to the present scheme of levying forces; for to how great a degree of poverty must they believe that nation reduced, of which the warmest patriots struggle to save a sum so inconsiderable, by an experiment of so much uncertainty? And how easily will the Spaniards promise themselves, that they shall gain the victory only by obliging us to continue in a state of war, a state which, by our own confession, we are not able to support?

Had any other argument, sir, been produced than the necessity of parsimony, it had been less dangerous to have agreed to this new scheme; but to adopt it only for the sake of sparing fifteen thousand pounds, would be to make ourselves contemptible, to intimidate our allies, and to unite all those against us, who are inclined to trample on misery, and to plunder weakness.

I am inclined to judge so favourably, sir, of the intentions of those whom I am now opposing, that I believe they have only used this argument, because they were able to produce no other, and that if either reason or experience had been on their side, the poverty of the nation had not been mentioned.

But the honourable gentleman, who has been so long engaged in military employments, has shown that all our success has been obtained by the present establishment, and that the battle in which we suffered most, was lost by our unfortunate deficiency of officers.

Nor do his reasons, sir, however modestly offered, deserve less regard than his experience, for he has shown that a greater number of officers naturally contribute to preserve discipline, and excite courage; and it is not necessary that a man should be much a soldier to discover, that discipline and courage united, must generally prevail. To the examples which he has produced in favour of his opinion, it has been objected, that victories equally wonderful have been gained with fewer officers, and, by the honourable gentleman that spoke the second on this occasion, the actions of Eugene were opposed to those of the duke of MARLBOROUGH.

That victories have been gained by troops differently regulated, I cannot deny; victories have likewise been gained, sir, under every circumstance of disadvantage; victories have been gained by inferiour numbers, and by raw troops, over veteran armies, yet no prudent general ever produced these instances as arguments against the usefulness of discipline, or as proofs that superiority of numbers was no advantage.

The success of prince Eugene, in the late war, was far from convincing the British general, that the German establishment was preferable to our own; for he required that the Hessian troops, which were paid by Britain, should be officered like our national troops. In this he could be influenced only by his own opinion; for he neither nominated their officers, nor could advance his interest at home by creating new posts to which he did not recommend; he could, therefore, only regard the success of the war, and changed their model only because he thought it defective.

The Germans themselves, sir, are far from imagining that their armies might not be made more formidable by approaching nearer to the British methods; for one of their officers, a man of great reputation and experience, has informed me, that they were convinced of their defect, and that nothing hindered them from adding more officers, but the fear of expenses; that they imputed all their defeats to the necessity of parsimony, that their men wanted not courage but leaders, and that their enemies gained advantages merely by the superiority of their opulence.

In the late war, it was common for the auxiliary troops, when they were sent upon any expedition of importance, to be supplied with officers either from their other regiments, or by the British forces; so necessary did the duke of MARLBOROUGH think a larger number of officers in time of action, that where he could not alter the establishment, he deviated from the common methods of war, and transferred his officers occasionally into troops over which they had no settled authority.

It is, therefore, most evident, sir, that the model on which our troops are formed, was, by this great commander, preferred to that which is now so warmly recommended, and I know not why we should recede from his practice, if we are desirous of his success.

Nor can I discover, sir, any better method of selecting officers than that which has of late been followed, however some may censure or ridicule it. To advance gentlemen to command, seems to be the most likely way to unite authority with rank, for no man willingly obeys those to whom he has lately seen himself equal, or whose conduct in lower stations he has, perhaps, had opportunities of examining too nearly.

The distinction of birth, however chimerical in itself, has been so long admitted, and so universally received, that it is generally imagined to confer on one man an indelible and evident superiority over another, a superiority, which those who would easily imagine themselves equal in merit cannot deny, and which they allow more willingly, because, though it be an advantage to possess it, to want it cannot be justly considered as a reproach.

For this reason, sir, men cheerfully obey those to whom their birth seems to have subjected them, without any scrupulous inquiries into their virtue or abilities; they have been taught from their childhood to consider them as placed in a higher rank than themselves, and are, therefore, not disgusted at any transient bursts of impatience, or sudden starts of caprice, which would produce, at least, resentment, and, perhaps, mutiny, in men newly exalted from a low station. The more attentively, sir, we look upon the world, the more strongly shall we be convinced of the truth of these assertions, and the more evidently shall we discover the influence which operates, in a degree scarcely credible, even to those who have experienced its power, and which is, indeed, one of the chief means of subordination, by which society is held together.

Nor are officers of birth, sir, to be preferred to men who are recommended by nothing but military service, only because they are more cheerfully obeyed, but for another reason of equal importance. It has been observed, that, in reality, they discharge the duty of commanders in a manner more likely to preserve dignity and increase reverence; that they discover, on all occasions, a sense of honour, and dread of disgrace, which are not easily to be found in a mind contracted by a mean education, and depressed by long habits of subjection.

It is not, indeed, sir, universally and unvariably certain, that a man, raised from meanness and poverty, will be insolent and oppressive; nor do I doubt but there are many now languishing in obscurity, whose abilities might add new lustre to the highest honours, and whose integrity would very faithfully discharge the most important trust, and in their favour, wherever they can be discovered, some exceptions ought to be made; but as general rules are generally to be followed, as well in military regulations as other transactions, it will be found, upon the exactest inquiry, by no means improper to advance gentlemen to posts of command rather than private sentinels, however skilful or courageous.

It is to be considered, sir, that the present state of the continent, has for many years made it necessary to support an army, even when we are not engaged in an actual war; that this army, though of late it has, for the ease of the people, been sometimes encamped during the summer, is, for the greatest part, quartered in towns, and mingled with the rest of the community, but governed, at the same time, by the officers, and subject to the martial law. It has often been observed by those who have argued against standing forces, that this difference of government makes different societies, which do not combine in the same interest, nor much favour one another; and it is, indeed, certain, that feuds are sometimes produced, that when any private quarrel happens, either by drunkenness or accident, or claims really disputable, between a soldier and any other, person, each applies for support and assistance to those in the same condition with himself, the cause becomes general, and the soldiers and townsmen are not easily restrained from blows and bloodshed.

It is true, likewise, that the rhetorick of the patriots has been so efficacious, that their arguments have been so clamorously echoed, and their weekly productions so diligently dispersed, that a great part of the nation, as men always willingly admit what will produce immediate ease or advantage, believes the army to be an useless burden imposed upon the people for the support of the ministry; that the landlord, therefore, looks upon the soldier as an intruder forced into his house, and rioting in sloth at his expense; and the farmer and manufacturer have learned to call the army the vermin of the land, the caterpillars of the nation, the devourers of other men's industry, the enemies of liberty, and the slaves of the court.

It is not to be supposed, sir, that the soldiers entertain the same ideas of their profession, or that they do not conceive themselves injured by such representations: they undoubtedly consider themselves as the bulwark of their country, as men selected for the defence of the rest of the community, as those who have engaged, at the hazard of their lives, to repel invasion, and repress rebellion, and who contribute more than their part to the general felicity, by securing property, and preventing danger.

It is not to be doubted, sir, but sentiments so widely different, must produce an equal contrariety of claims, and diversity of conduct: the trader imagines, that the man who subsists upon the taxes which are raised only from his labour, ought to consider himself as his inferiour, at least, if not as his hireling and his servant; the soldier wonders how he can ever conceive himself sufficiently grateful to him that has devoted his life to his defence, and to whom he must fly for protection whenever danger shall approach him, and concludes, that he has an incontestable right to the better part of that, of which the preservation of the whole depends upon him.

Thus does self-love magnify every man in his own eyes, and so differently will men determine when each is to judge in his own cause. Which of these competitors thinks most justly of his own station and character, or whether both are not mistaken in their opinion, I think it by no means necessary to decide. This, at least, is evident, that to preserve peace and harmony between two bodies of men obliged to live together with sentiments so opposite, there is required an uncommon degree of prudence, moderation, and knowledge of mankind, which is chiefly to be exerted on the part of the soldiers, because they are subject to more rigorous command, and are more easily governed by the authority of their superiours.

Let us suppose any dispute of this kind, sir, to happen where the soldiers were commanded only by private sentinels, disguised in the dress of officers, but retaining, what it cannot be expected that they should suddenly be able to lay aside, the prejudices which they had imbibed in the ranks, and all the ardour of trifling competition in which their station had once engaged them. What could be expected from their councils and direction? Can it be imagined that they would inquire impartially into the original cause of the dispute, that they would attend equally to the parties, endeavour, by mildness and candour, to soften the malevolence of each, and terminate the dispute by some addressful expedient, or decent accommodation? He, surely, must be very little acquainted with the vulgar notions of bravery and honour, that could form any hopes of such conduct.

The plain soldier, sir, has not accustomed himself to regulate his motions by reason, nor has learned any more of honour, than that it consists in adhering invariably to his pretensions, even though he should discover that they are false; and in resenting affronts with the utmost rigour, even when they were provoked by himself, he is taught, that it is his business to conquer in whatever cause, and that to desist from any of his attempts, or retract any of his assertions, is unworthy of a man of honour.

Warm with such notions as these, sir, would such officers, as have been recommended by the honourable gentleman, apply themselves to the termination of differences? Without any knowledge of the laws of society, without any settled ideas of the different rights of different persons, they would have nothing in view but the honour of their profession, nor endeavour to support it by any other method than that of violence. If a soldier was affronted by a farmer, they would probably lay his territories waste, and ravage his plantations like an enemy's country; if another disagreed with his landlord, they would advise him to make good his quarters, to invade the magazines of provision without restraint, to force the barricadoes of the cellar, and to forage in the stables without controul.

But gentlemen, sir, are proper judges of debates between the army and the rest of the community, because they are equally related to both parties, as men who possess or expect estates, or who are allied to those whose influence arises from their property. As men bred in affluence and freedom, and acquainted with the blessings of our constitution, and the necessity of civil government, they cannot willingly contribute to the increase of the military power, and as members of the army they cannot but be desirous to support their own rank, and to hinder their profession from sinking into contempt; it is, therefore, their care to repress insolence on one part, and to prevent oppression on the other, to stop dissensions in their beginning, and reconcile all the different pretensions of Britons and soldiers.

I am, indeed, surprised, sir, to hear the promotion of serjeants recommended by the honourable gentleman who has so often strained his lungs, and exhausted his invention, to explain how much our constitution is endangered by the army, how readily those men will concur in the abolition of property who have nothing to lose, and how easily they may be persuaded to destroy the liberties of their country, who are already cut off from the enjoyment of them, who, therefore, can only behold with envy and malevolence those advantages which they cannot hope to possess, and which produce in them no other effects than a quicker sense of their own misery.

Upon what principles, sir, any gentleman can form those notions, or with what view he can so long and so studiously disperse them, it is his province to explain; for the only reason that can be offered by any other person for his incessant declamations, the desire of securing his country from the oppression of a standing army, is now for ever overthrown by this new proposal; which, if it were to be received, would in a very few years produce an army proper to be employed in the execution of the most detestable designs, an army that could be of no other use than to gratify an ambitious prince, or a wicked ministry, as it would be commanded, not by men who had lost their liberty, but by men who never enjoyed it, by men who would abolish our constitution without knowing that they were engaged in any criminal undertaking, who have no other sense of the enjoyment of authority than that it is the power of acting without controul, who have no knowledge of any other laws than the commands of their superiours.

To men like these, sir, to men raised up from poverty and servility to rank and power, to ignorance invested with command, and to meanness elated with preferment, would any real patriot, any zealous assertor of liberty, any inflexible enemy to the corruptions of the ministry, consign the protection of his country, and intrust to these our happiness, properties, and our lives?

Whether the honourable gentleman has changed any of the sentiments which he has hitherto appeared to admit with regard to the army, whether this new determination is only an instance of that inconsistency which is scarcely to be avoided in the vindication of a bad cause, or whether he was betrayed to it only by his hatred of the administration, which would prompt him to recant his own advice, if it should happen to be approved, I will not pretend to determine, but I must lament, on this occasion, the entertainment which the house will lose, by the eternal cessation of any harangues on the army, since he cannot now declaim on either part without contradicting his former declarations.

Nor will the honourable gentleman find less difficulty in proving, that justice, rather than policy, requires the promotion of Serjeants to commissions. Military preferments are always at the disposal of the crown, nor can any right be pretended to them, but such as arises from the custom which has been generally followed in conferring them, which is not only variable at pleasure, but has never been, at any time, regularly observed. The order of rotation has been suffered sometimes to proceed, because of two persons, otherwise equal, he that has served longest may plead the most merit; but the plea of service has been always overruled by birth or powerful recommendation. And though, sir, it is natural for men disappointed to complain, yet as those officers, whose preferment has been delayed, were not thought, in reality, to have received any injury, their murmurs have been the less regarded.

It might be expected, sir, from a patriot, a lamenter of the degeneracy of mankind, and an inflexible opponent of corruption, that he should consider rather facts than persons, that he should regulate his decision by the unvariable principles of reason and justice, and that, therefore, he should not applaud at one time what he condemns at another.

But this gentleman seems to have established some new maxims of conduct, and, perhaps, upon new notions of morality; for he seems to imagine, that his friends may seize, as their right, what his adversaries cannot touch without robbery, though the claim of both be the same.

It is well known, sir, to the whole army, that a noble person, whose abilities are so loudly celebrated, whose virtues are so liberally praised, and whose removal from his military employments is so solemnly lamented as a publick calamity, obtained his first preferments by pretensions very different from military merit, and that at the age only of seventeen, a time of life in which, whatever might be his abilities, very little prudence or experience could be expected, he was advanced to the command of a regiment, and exalted above many officers whose known bravery and frequent hazards entitled them to favour.

I do not assert that he was undeservedly promoted, or condemn those who either solicited or granted his commission; I maintain only, that what was then reasonable and just, is not now either iniquitous or ridiculous, and different persons in the same circumstances have a right to the same treatment.

In the reign of queen Anne, a reign, sir, which every Briton recollects with so much satisfaction, and which will for ever afford examples of the wisest councils, and most successful wars, when new regiments were to be raised, it was far from being thought necessary to observe this gentleman's favourite method of rotation; posts were filled, not with the officers of other regiments, that room might be left for the promotion of serjeants, but with gentlemen who had never seen a battle, or learned any part of the military discipline.

But though, sir, the regulation of our army be thus violently attacked, the greatest crime of the ministry is, in this gentleman's opinion, that of levying new troops, when we have no employment for our standing forces, of laying unnecessary impositions upon the nation, and alarming with the fears of an invasion, only that the army might be increased.

On this head, sir, a declaration of the duke of MARLBOROUGH has been produced, with a great pomp of circumstances, and such a seeming accuracy of narration, that the attention of the house was engaged, and the account was received with all the solemnity of universal silence, and with the veneration due to so high an authority in a question of so much importance.

The subject is, indeed, so worthy of regard, that I think, sir, every man ought to contribute to its elucidation, and, therefore, I take the liberty of adding to the honourable gentleman's relation, what I hope will be heard with equal curiosity, the method by which that great commander proposed to put a stop to an invasion with so small a number.

He was very far, sir, from imagining that he should be able to repel them by open force, he was far from being so confident of his superiority in military skill, as to imagine that he should defeat them by stratagem, and, therefore, he designed, by burning the villages, and destroying the country, to deprive them of the means of subsistence, and harass them with famine; to hover at a distance, and cut off those parties which necessity should force out to forage, till a body of troops could be assembled sufficient to overthrow them in a battle, or to drive them back to their ships.

Such was the scheme, sir, as I have been informed, of this great man, nor, perhaps, can any other be struck out by human abilities, where greater numbers are to be opposed by smaller. But this scheme, though preferable, in the last extremities, to slavery, is such as cannot be mentioned without horrour, and of which the execution ought to be avoided by every expedient that can be practised without the danger of our liberties. We ought, certainly, not to reject a nauseous medicine, by which that health is preserved, which, if lost, can only be restored by the amputation of a limb.

As it was, therefore, necessary, sir, to secure our coasts from an invasion, it was necessary to raise new troops for the American expedition; nor did this method produce any delay, for the regiments were completed a long time before the ships of war and the transports were ready to convoy and receive them, nor could the utmost ardour and diligence despatch them sooner from our coasts.

The ships, sir, were, by the violence of a frost, scarcely exampled, retained, for a long time, in the harbours, without a possibility of being put to sea; when they were all assembled at the place appointed for their conjunction, they waited for a wind; all the delay that can be objected, was produced by the seasons, of which the regulation was in no man's power.

But the time, sir, which was unwillingly spent in the camp, was not, however, lost or misemployed, for the troops were, by the order of the general, every day exercised, and instructed in the art of war, so that what was lost in time, was more than recompensed by the advantage of better discipline.

Nor did these troops appear an herd so ignorant and contemptible, as they have been represented by malicious invectives and ludicrous descriptions; there were not, indeed, among them many grey-headed warriours, nor were their former campaigns and past exploits the subjects of their conversation; but there was not one amongst them who did not appear ready to suffer, in the cause of his country, all that the most hardened veteran could undergo, or whose alacrity and eagerness did not promise perseverance in the march, and intrepidity in the battle.

Their general, sir, who saw them pursue their exercises, declared how much he was satisfied with their proficiency, applauded their appearance, and expressed his confidence in their courage; nor do I doubt, but our enemies will find, that it is not necessary to send out our most formidable forces to humble them, and that the youth of Britain will compensate their want of experience by their courage.

If I, sir, have been drawn aside from the present question, it is by following, perhaps, with an exactness too scrupulous, the honourable gentleman, whose propositions I have now shown to be erroneous, and whose reproaches will, I believe, now appear rather the effects of disappointment than of zeal, and, therefore, I think it now necessary to return to the business before us, the consideration of the present establishment, from which, as it was approved by the duke of MARLBOROUGH, and has been defended with very strong arguments, by one of the most experienced officers of this time, I cannot think it safe or prudent to depart.

Mr. GRENVILLE spoke next, to the following effect:--Sir, as a noble person has been frequently hinted at in this debate, to whom my relation is well known, and whom, as I know him well, I have the strongest motives to reverence and honour, I cannot forbear to give, on this occasion, an attestation which he will be allowed to deserve by all those whom interest has not blinded, and corruption depraved.

It will be allowed, sir, that he is one of those who are indebted for their honours only to merit, one whom the malice of a court cannot debase, as its favour cannot exalt; he is one of those whose loss of employments can be a reproach only to those who take them from him, as he cannot forfeit them but by performing his duty, and can only give offence by steady integrity, and a resolution to speak as he thinks, and to act as his conscience dictates.

There are, sir, men, I know, to whom this panegyrick will seem romantick and chimerical, men, to whom integrity and conscience are idle sounds, men, who are content to catch the word of their leader, who have no sense of the obligation of any law but the supreme will of him that pays them, and who know not any virtue but diligence in attendance, and readiness in obedience.

It is surely, sir, no loss to the noble person to be debarred from any fellowship with men like these. Nothing can be more unpleasing to virtue than such a situation as lays it under a necessity of beholding wickedness that cannot be reformed; as the sight of a pesthouse must raise horrour, though we should suppose the spectator secure from the contagion.

Mr. ORD spoke next, in substance as follows:--Sir, as I cannot approve the scheme now proposed, for augmenting our forces, I shall endeavour to show why the arguments, by which it has hitherto been supported, have failed to convince me, and shall lay before the house some reasons against it, to which I shall expect an answer, before I shall think that I can agree to it, without squandering the money of which my constituents have intrusted me with the disposal.

The argument, sir, with which this motion was introduced, which is, indeed, the strongest that has yet been offered, was, that this estimate is less expensive than one that was laid before the house in a late reign, and that, therefore, it could not reasonably be charged with extravagance.

Let us now consider this argument with that care which is required by the importance of the question, let us inquire what consequences will follow from it, and to what previous suppositions it must owe its force.

The argument, sir, evidently supposes that the estimate in king William's reign was drawn up without any intention to deceive the house, or to raise money for purposes different from those for which it was really expended. But if we suppose that estimate to be fraudulently calculated, this may contain the same fallacies in a lower degree, and the only merit that can be claimed by the authors of it, will be, that they are not the most rapacious plunderers of their country, that, however they may be charged with profusion of publick money, they are yet more modest than some of their predecessors.

But it is known, sir, that in king William's reign, very few estimates were honestly computed; it is known that the rotation of parties, and fluctuation of measures, reduced the ministry to subsist upon artifices, to amuse the senate with exorbitant demands, only that they might obtain the necessary grants, and to pretend expenses which never were incurred, that the supplies which the publick affairs really required, might not be withheld; as fraudulent tradesmen fix immoderate prices, that the buyer may make offers proportionate to their demands.

The estimates, therefore, of that reign are of very little authority, though they might sometimes pass the house without censure; for it is to be considered, that by the frequency of new elections, the greatest part of the members were often unacquainted with the state of publick accounts, and that an army was so little known to this kingdom, that the true expense of it might easily be concealed.

Nor is this, sir, the only fallacy of this argument; for it supposes, likewise, that the nation is no less wealthy than in the time when that computation was offered, with which this is so triumphantly compared. For every man knows that publick as well as private expenses are to be proportioned to the revenue by which they are supplied, and that the charges which are easily supported at one time, may threaten ruin at another.

But unhappily, sir, it is evident, that, since the days of that sovereign, the nation has been exhausted by a long and wasteful war, and since, by a peace equally destructive, it is embarrassed with an enormous debt, and entangled in treaties, of which the support may call every day for new expenses; it has suffered since that time a thousand losses, but gained no advantage, and yet the expenses of that time are mentioned as an example to be compared with those which are proposed in this.

The difference of the condition of the British nation at those two periods of time, sir, is not less than that of the strength of the same man in the vigour of youth and the frigidity of old age, in the flush of health and the languor of disease, of the same man newly risen from rest and plenty, and debilitated with hunger and fatigue.

To make such a comparison, sir, betrays, at least, a very criminal insensibility, of the publick misery, if it may not be charged with greater malignity. I know not whether those who shall hear of this debate, may not impute such reflections rather to cruelty than negligence, and imagine that those who squander the treasure of the nation take pleasure in reproaching that poverty which their counsels produce, and indulge their own vanity by contemplating the calamities from which they are themselves secure, and to which they are indebted for opportunities of increasing their own fortunes, and gratifying their ambition. It is evident, that an estimate which requires less than that which has been mentioned, may yet exact more than the nation can now raise, without feeling too great inconveniencies to be compensated by the advantages which can be expected from our new forces. Nor is it sufficient that it is lower than those of former times; for, as it ought to be the care of the government to preserve the ease and happiness of the people, it should be reduced in proportion to the diminution of the national wealth.

The right honourable gentleman confesses, sir, that frugality is a virtue, and his argument supposes that to contract expenses is an argument of prudent measures; why then is he afraid of carrying virtue to a greater height, of making the burden still more light, and preferring the cheapest estimate that can be proposed, when it is asserted by those whose authority is most worthy of regard, that it will produce no weakness in our troops, nor give our enemies any superiority?

I do not pretend any other skill in military affairs, than may be gained by casual conversation with soldiers, and by a cursory observation of daily occurrences; but I speak with greater confidence on this occasion, because I do not think any other qualifications necessary for the determination of this question, than a habit of just reasoning, and freedom from the prejudices of interest.

Every man knows, sir, without a military education, that it is imprudent to purchase any thing at a greater price which may be procured at a less, and that when the same sum will buy two things, of which one is evidently preferable to the other, the best ought to be chosen.

If the application of either of these two positions will decide this controversy, there will be no need of recurring to experience, of citing the authority of foreign commanders, of comparing the actions of the German and British generals, or of inquiring how battles have been lost, or to what victories are to be ascribed.

It is evident, sir, that the scheme now proposed, is twice as costly as that which is recommended in opposition to it, and therefore, unless it will produce twice the advantage, it must be acknowledged to be imprudently chosen. The advantage in war, is to be rated by comparing the strength of different numbers in different circumstances, and inquiring what degree of superiority will be found.

If we suppose, sir, two bodies of men, equally armed and disciplined, opposed to each other without any advantage of situation, we must conceive that neither party could be conquered, that the balance of the day must remain equal, and that the contest would continue undecided.

It cannot be objected to this supposition, sir, that no such event is recorded in history, because in war many causes really act which cannot be estimated; one army may consist of soldiers more courageous, and more confident in the justice of their cause; unforeseen accidents may operate, orders may be mistaken, or leaders may be misinformed; but all these considerations are to be set aside in speculation, because they may equally be alleged on either part.

Two bodies of men, sir, equally numerous, being, therefore, supposed equal, it is to be inquired how either may be superiour to the other. It is proposed, on one part, to produce this effect by doubling the number of officers rather than increasing that of the soldiers; on the other, to double the soldiers under the same officers, the expense being the same of both methods.

When two armies, modelled according to these different schemes, enter the field, what event can be expected? Either five thousand men, with a double number of officers, must be equal to ten thousand, differently regulated, or the publick has paid more for assistance of the officers than its real value, and has chosen, of two methods equally expensive, that which is least efficacious.

This, sir, is the state of the question now before us; our present deficiency is not of men but money, and we may procure ten thousand men regulated like the foreign troops, at the same expense as five thousand in the form proposed; but I am afraid that no man will be found to assert, that the addition of officers will be equivalent to a double number of soldiers.

Thus it is evident, sir, evident to demonstration, that the most expensive method is, at the same time, the least advantageous, and that the proposal of new regiments is intended to augment the strength of the ministry rather than of the army.

If we suppose, sir, what is more than any foreigner will grant, that the additional officers raise a body of five thousand men to an equality with six thousand, is not the pay of four thousand men apparently thrown away? And do not the officers receive a reward which their service cannot deserve? Would it not be far more rational to raise seven thousand, by which our army would be stronger by a seventh part, and as the pay of three thousand would be saved, the publick would be richer by almost a third.

Surely, sir, numerical arguments cannot but deserve some consideration, even from those who have learned by long practice to explain away mere probability at pleasure, to select the circumstances of complicated questions, and only to show those which may be produced in favour of their own opinions.

In the present question, sir, there is very little room for fallacy; nor do I see what remains to the decision of it, but that those gentlemen who have been acquainted with military operations, inform us, what degree of superiority is conferred by any assignable number of officers; that we may compare their service with the price, and discover whether the same money will not purchase greater advantages.

The experience of the late war may evince, sir, that those troops which have the greatest number of officers are not always victorious; for our establishment never admitted the same, or nearly the same number with that of the French, our enemies; nevertheless, we still boast of our victories; nor is it certain that we might not have been equally successful, though the number of our officers had been yet less.

Foreigners, sir, are very far from discovering the defect of their own establishment, or imagining that they should become more formidable by imitating our methods. When I travelled, I took opportunities of conversing with the generals of those nations which are most famous for the valour of their troops, and was informed by them, that they thought a multitude of officers by no means useful, and that they were so far from desiring to see their own regulation changed, that they should make no scruple of recommending it to other nations, who, in their opinion, squandered their treasure upon useless commissions, and increased the calamities of war by unnecessary burdens.

I hope no man will think it sufficient to reply to these arguments with general assertions, or will deny the necessity of frugality, and extol the opulence of the nation, the extent of our commerce, and the happiness of our condition. Such indeed, sir, is the method of argumentation made use of by the hireling scribblers of the court, who, because they feel none of the publick calamities, represent all complaints as criminal murmurs, and charge those with sedition who petition only for relief. Wretches like these would celebrate our victories, though our country should be overrun by an invader, would praise the lenity of any government by which themselves should be spared, and would boast of the happiness of plenty, when half the people should be languishing with famine.

I do not suppose, sir, that the despicable sophistry of prostitutes like these has any effect here, nor should I have thought them worthy of the least notice, had it not been proper to inquire, whether those may not be justly suspected of some inclination to deceive, even in this assembly, by whom the most profligate of mankind are openly paid for the promulgation of falsehood, and the patronage of corruption.

It is indeed, sir, artful, in those who are daily impairing our honour and influence, to endeavour to conceal from the people their own weakness, that weakness which is so well known in foreign countries, that every nation is encouraged to insult us, and by which it may reasonably be imagined that new enemies will, in a short time, be raised.

The late changes in our military regulations have, indeed, taken away all the terrour of our arms; those troops are now no longer dreaded, by which the liberties of Europe were recovered, and the French reduced to abandon their schemes of universal empire, for the defence of their own country, because the officers by whom they were formerly conducted to glory and to victory, are now dismissed, and men advanced to their posts, who are neither feared nor known.

When the duke of ARGYLE was lately deprived of his command, the Spaniards could not conceal their satisfaction; they bestowed, however unwillingly, the highest panegyrick upon his bravery and conduct, by showing that he was the only Briton of whom they were afraid. Nor did their allies, the French, discover less exultation; for by them it was declared, that the nation was now disarmed, that either no war was intended, or that none could be successfully prosecuted, since, as they made no scruple to assert, though I know not whether I ought to repeat it, we have no other man capable of commanding armies, or conducting any great design.

I am informed that this illustrious warriour, whose abilities are sufficiently attested by these enemies, that have felt their prevalence, is of opinion, that the number of officers now required is not necessary, and has declared that he should with equal confidence undertake either invasion or defence, with forces modelled after the German custom; and since I have shown, that, unless the troops so regulated, are equivalent to a double number, added to the standing regiments, part of the expense of the officers is evidently squandered, I shall vote against the motion, unless it be proved, which I believe will not be attempted, that the force of a regiment is doubled by doubling the officers.

General WADE then spoke, to the purpose following:--Sir, the learned gentleman who spoke last, must be acknowledged to have discovered a very specious method of reasoning, and to have carried his inquiry as far as speculation without experience can hope to proceed, but has, in my opinion, admitted a false principle, by which all his argument has been perplexed.

He supposes, that the advantages must be always in proportion to the money expended in procuring them, and that, therefore, if five thousand men, raised at any given cost, will be equal to five thousand, they ought, if they are regulated according to an establishment of double the charge, to be able to encounter ten thousand.

But in this supposition, sir, he forgets that the possibility of loss is to be thrown into the balance against the advantage of the expense saved, and that though the strength of the troops be not increased in proportion to the increase of the cost, yet the additional security against a great loss may justly entitle the most expensive regulation to the preference.

Suppose five thousand men to be brought into the field against six thousand; if they can, by multiplying their officers at a double expense, be enabled to engage successfully a body superiour in number by only a sixth part, the nation may be justly said to gain all that would have been lost by suffering a defeat.

That we ought not to choose a worse method when we can discover a better, is indisputably true, but which method is worse or better, can be discovered only by experience. The last war has taught us, that our troops in their present establishment are superiour to the forces of France, but how much they might suffer by any alteration it is not possible to foresee.

Success is gained by courage, and courage is produced by an opinion of superiority; and it may easily be imagined, that our soldiers, who judge of their own strength only by experience, imagine their own establishment and discipline advanced to the highest perfection; nor would they expect any other consequences from an alteration of it, but weakness and defeats. It is, therefore, dangerous to change the model of our forces, because it is dangerous to depress the spirit of our soldiers.

Though it is confessed, sir, that the French, whose officers are still more numerous, have been conquered by our troops, it must be likewise alleged, that they had yielded us far easier victories had their officers been wanting; for to them are they indebted for their conquests wherever they have been successful, and for their resistance wherever they have been with difficulty defeated; their soldiers are a spiritless herd, and were they not invigorated by the example of their leaders, and restrained by the fear of instant punishment, would fly at the approach of any enemy, without waiting for the attack.

I cannot, therefore, sir, but be of opinion, that the necessity of a large number of officers, may be learned even from the behaviour of those troops which have been unsuccessful, since it is certain, that though they have been often overcome, they have generally resisted with great steadiness, and retired with great order.

If those, who are only speculative warriours, shall imagine that their arguments are not confuted, I can only repeat what I declared when I first attempted to deliver my sentiments in this debate, that I do not pretend to be very skilful in the arts of disputation. I, who claim no other title than that of an old soldier, cannot hope to prevail much by my oratory; it is enough for me that I am confident of confuting those arguments in the field, which I oppose in the senate.

Mr. FOX spoke next, in this manner:--Sir, I am far from thinking that this question has been hitherto fully explained by those who have either considered it only as a dispute about money, or a question merely speculative concerning the proportions between different degrees of expense, and probability of success. In a war of this kind, expense is the last and lowest consideration, and where experience may be consulted, the conjectures of speculation ought to have no weight.

The method, sir, by which our troops have hitherto been regulated, is well known to have produced success beyond our expectations, to have exalted us to the arbitration of the world, to have reduced the French to change their threats of forcing a monarch upon us, into petitions for peace, and to have established the liberties of almost every nation of the world that can call itself free.

Whether this method, sir, so successful, so easy, and so formidable, shall be changed, whether it shall be changed at a time when the whole continent is in commotion, and every nation calling soldiers to its standard; when the French, recovered from their defeats, seem to have forgotten the force of that hand that crushed them in the pride of victory; when they seem to be reviving their former designs, and rekindling their extinguished ambition; whether, at such a time, the regulations of our army shall be changed to save, upon the highest computation, only thirty thousand pounds, is the present question.

On such a question, sir, I cannot observe, without astonishment, any man deliberating for a single moment. To suspend our opinion in this case, would be to balance our lives, our liberties, our patrimonies, and our posterity, against thirty thousand pounds.

The effects of our present method, sir, are well known to ourselves, our confederates, our enemies, to every man that has heard the name of Blenheim and Ramillies; the consequences of the establishment, now contended for, our most experienced commanders own themselves unable to foresee, and I am far from believing that theoretical disquisitions can enable any man to make great discoveries in military affairs.

Our own inexperience of the method which is so warmly recommended, is not the strongest objection to it, though even this ought, in my opinion, to restrain us from trying it at this hazardous conjuncture. But since arguments, merely negative, may be thought over-balanced by the prospect of saving money, I shall lay before the house, what effects the want of officers has produced, with regard to those nations whose poverty has laid them under a necessity of parsimonious establishments.

When the Germans were defeated by the French, in the late war, I was at the Sardinian court, where the battle was, as it may easily be supposed, the reigning subject of conversation, and where they did not want opportunities of informing themselves minutely of all the circumstances which contributed to the event; it was there, sir, universally determined, that the Germans lost the day merely for want of officers.

It was observed also, sir, that some troops, which were once courted and feared by all the neighbouring potentates, had lost their reputation in later times, of which no reason could be alleged, but that they had lessened the number of their officers; such is the change in the model of the Walloons, and such is the consequence produced by it.

I am very far, sir, from thinking, that reason is not to be consulted in military operations, as in other affairs, and have no less satisfaction than the learned gentleman who spoke last but one, in clear and demonstrative deductions; but in this question, reason itself informs me, that regard ought only to be had to experience, and that authority unsupported by practice, ought to have no prevalence.

I shall, therefore, sir, make no inquiry into the abilities of the generals, by whom these contrary opinions are defended, nor draw any parallel between their actions or their knowledge. It is sufficient for me that the one is proposing a new scheme, and that the opinion of the other can plead the practice of king William, and the duke of MARLBOROUGH, and the success of the last war.

Yet, sir, if parsimony be a virtue at this time so eminently necessary, it may be urged in favour of this estimate, that it will be less expensive than those that have been formerly offered, and that as all changes ought to be gradual, this may be considered as the first step towards a general reduction of the publick charge.

Mr. HEATHCOTE spoke to the following purpose:--Sir, it is not without astonishment, that I heard the honourable gentleman who spoke lately, conclude his remarks with an attempt to renew our apprehensions of the pretender, a chimerical invader, an enemy in the clouds, without spirit, and without forces, without dominions, without money, and without allies; a miserable fugitive, that has not a friend in this kingdom, or none but such as are exasperated by those whom the men that mention him with so much terrour are attempting to vindicate.

The vanity, sir, of such fears, the folly of admitting them, if they are real, and of counterfeiting them, if they are false, has been sufficiently exposed in this debate, by my honourable friend; but as he thought it unnecessary to employ arguments in proof of what cannot be denied, and believed it sufficient to ridicule a panick which he supposed merely political, I, who judge, perhaps, more favourably of the sincerity of some, and more tenderly of the cowardice of others, shall endeavour to show, that the frequent revolutions which have happened in this nation, afford us no reason for fearing another, equally sudden and unforeseen in favour of the pretender.

The government, sir, is always stronger, as it is complicated with the private interest of more individuals; because, though there are few that have comprehension sufficient to discern the general advantage of the community, almost every man is capable of attending to his own; and though not many have virtue to stand up in opposition to the approach of general calamities, of which every one may hope to exempt himself from his particular share, yet the most sanguine are alarmed, and the most indolent awakened at any danger which threatens themselves, and will exert their utmost power to obviate or escape it.

For this reason, sir, I have long considered the publick funds established in this nation, as a barrier to the government, which cannot easily be broken: a foreign prince cannot now be placed upon the throne, but in opposition almost to every wealthy man, who, having trusted the government with his money, has reposited a pledge of his own fidelity.

But to this gentleman, sir, whom I am now answering, arguments can be of very little importance, because, by his own confession, he is retained as a mere machine, to speak at the direction of another, and to utter sentiments which he never conceived, and which his hesitation and abrupt conclusion shows him to admit with very little examination. He had not even allowed himself time to know the opinion which he was to assert, or to imprint upon his memory those arguments to which he was to add the sanction of his authority. He seems to have boldly promised to speak, and then to have inquired what he was to say. Yet has this gentleman often declaimed here with all the apparent ardour of integrity, and been heard with that regard which is only due to virtue and independence.

Some of his assertions are such, however, as require confutation, which is, perhaps, more necessary since he has produced an authority for them, which many of those who heard him may think of much greater weight than his own. He affirms, that we can suffer only by an invasion, and infers from this position, that we need only to guard our own coasts. I am of an opinion very different, and having not yet prevailed upon myself to receive notes from any other person, cannot forbear to speak what I think, and what the publick prosperity requires to be generally known. We may surely suffer by many other causes, by the ignorance, or treachery, or cowardice of the ministry, by the negligence of that person to whom this gentleman was probably indebted for his notes. We may suffer by the loss of our sugar colonies, which may be justly valued at ten millions.

These plantations, which afford us almost all the profitable trade that is now left us, have been exposed to the insults of the enemy, without any other guard than two ships, almost unfit for service. They have been left to the protection of chance, with no other security, at a time when the Spaniards had fitted out a squadron, to infest and ravage our American dominions.

The admiral, who was sent into America, was confined for almost a year in the ports, without forces, ships, or ammunition, which yet might have been sent in a few months, had not pretences of delay been studiously invented, had not the preparations been obstructed by clandestine expedients, and had not every man been tacitly assured, that he should recommend himself to his superiours, by raising difficulties, rather than by removing them.

Such was the conduct of those who now stand up in the face of their country, and, without diffidence or shame, boast of their zeal, their assiduity, and their despatch; who proclaim, with an air of triumphant innocence, that no art or diligence could have been more expeditious, and that the embarkation was only impeded by the seasons and the winds.

With assertions equally intrepid, and arguments equally contemptible, has the same person, who boasted his expedition, endeavoured to defend the establishment of new regiments, in opposition to the practice of foreign nations, and to the opinion of the greatest general among us; and, to show how little he fears confutation, has recommended his scheme on account of its frugality.

It is not to be wondered, sir, that such an orator should undertake to defend the model of the troops sent to America, that he should prefer boys to veterans, and assert the propriety of intrusting new levies to unexperienced commanders; for he has given us in this debate such proofs of controversial courage, that nothing can be now imagined too arduous for him to attempt.

His strength, sir, is, indeed, not equal to his spirit, and he is frequently unsuccessful in his most vigorous efforts, but it must be confessed that he is generally overborne only by the force of truth, by a power which few can resist so resolutely as himself, and which, therefore, though it makes no impression upon him, prevails upon others to leave him sometimes alone in the vindication of his positions.

The examples, sir, of those noble persons who were advanced early to commissions, will be produced by him without effect, because the cases are by no means parallel. They were not invested with command till they had spent some time in the service, and exhibited proofs of their courage and their capacity; and it cannot be doubted, but some men may discover at seventeen, more merit than others in the full strength of manhood.

But, sir, there is another consideration of more importance, which will annihilate the parallel, and destroy the argument founded upon it. At the time in which these persons were preferred, the nation had but newly seen an army, and had, therefore, very few old officers whose experience could be trusted, or whose services required to be rewarded: the ministers were obliged to select those, who, though they did not understand the military sciences, were likely to attain them in a short time, and the event has sufficiently proved, that in the choice no greater regard was paid to interest than to judgment.

It was prudent, likewise, sir, to choose young persons, supposing their abilities equal with those of others, because the nation was likely to possess them longer, and would not be reduced, by an interval of peace, to make war again with raw forces, under the direction of ignorant commanders.

But this provision, however reasonable, the wisdom of this ministry has found means to defeat, by detaining at home the disciplined troops, and depriving the most experienced generals of their commands, at a time when they are most necessary, at a time when the whole world is in arms, when the ambition of France is reviving its claims, and the Spaniards are preparing to invade our colonies.

But, sir, though our generals are discarded, we are sufficiently informed, that it is not because we are imagined to be in a state of safety; for the increase of our army betrays our fear, of which, whether it will be dispelled or increased by such measures, it is not difficult to determine.

An army thus numerous, sir, is, in the opinion of every honest Briton, of every man that reveres the constitution, or loves his liberty, an evil more to be dreaded, than any from which we can be defended by it. The most unpopular act of the most unpopular of our monarchs, was the establishment of a standing-army; nor do I know any thing to be feared from the exaltation of the dreadful pretender to the throne, but that he will govern the nation with an armed force.

If our troops continue to be increased, which we may reasonably suspect, since, if arguments like these be admitted, pretences for augmentations can never be wanting, the consequences are easily foreseen; they will grow too numerous to be quartered in the towns, and, with an affectation of easing them of such unwelcome guests, it will be proposed, that after having spent the summer in a camp, they shall retire in winter to barracks. Then will the burden of a standing army be imposed for ever on the nation; then may our liberties be openly invaded, and those who now oppress us by the power only of money, will then throw aside the mask, and deliver themselves from the constraint of hypocrisy; those who now sooth us with promises and protestations, will then intimidate us with threatenings, and, perhaps, revenge the opposition of their schemes by persecution and sequestrations.

Mr. GAGE spoke next, to the following effect:--Sir, if the weakness of arguments proved the insincerity of those who produce them, I should be inclined to suspect the advocates for the establishment of new regiments, of designs very different from the defence of their country; but as their intentions cannot be known, they cannot be censured, and I shall, therefore, confine myself to an examination of the reasons which they have offered, and the authorities which they have cited.

The German general, who has been mentioned on this occasion with so much regard, is not less known to me than to the honourable gentleman, nor have I been less diligent to improve the hours in which I enjoyed his friendship and conversation. Among other questions, which my familiarity with him entitled me to propose, I have asked him to what causes he imputed the ill success of the last war, and he frankly ascribed the miscarriages of it to the unhappy divisions by which the German councils were at that time embarrassed.

Faction produces nearly the same consequence in all countries, and had then influenced the imperial court, as of late the court of Great Britain, to dismiss the most able and experienced commanders, and to intrust the conduct of the war to men unequal to the undertaking; who, when they were defeated for want of skill, endeavoured to persuade their patrons and their countrymen, that they lost the victory for want of officers.

They might, perhaps, think of their countrymen, what our ministers seem to imagine of us, that to gain belief among them, it was sufficient to assert boldly, that they had not any memory of past transactions, and that, therefore, they could not observe, that the same troops were victorious under Eugene, which were defeated under the direction of his successours; nor could discover that the regulation was the same, where the effects were different.

Thus, in every place, it is the practice of men in power, to blind the people by false representations, and to impute the publick calamities rather to any other cause than their own misconduct. It is every where equally their practice to oppress and obscure those who owe their greatness to their virtue or abilities, because they can never be reduced to blind obedience, or taught to be creatures of the ministry, because men who can discover truth, will sometimes speak it, and because those are best qualified to deceive others, who can be persuaded that they are contending for the right.

But it is surely time for this nation to rouse from indolence, and to resolve to put an end to frauds that have been so long known. It is time to watch with more vigilance the distribution of the publick treasure, and to consider rather how to contract the national expenses, than upon what pretences new offices may be erected, and new dependencies created. It is time to consider how our debts may be lessened, and by what expedients our taxes may be diminished.

Our taxes, sir, are such, at present, as perhaps no nation was ever loaded with before, such as never were paid to raise forces against an invader, or imposed by the insolence of victory upon a conquered people. Every gentleman pays to the government more than two thirds of his estate, by various exactions.--This assertion is received, I see, with surprise, by some, whose ample patrimonies have exempted them from the necessity of nice computations, and with an affected appearance of contempt by others, who, instead of paying taxes, may be said to receive them, and whose interest it is to keep the nation ignorant of the causes of its misery, and to extenuate those calamities by which themselves are enriched.

But, sir, to endeavour to confute demonstration by a grin, or to laugh away the deductions of arithmetick, is, surely, such a degree of effrontery, as nothing but a post of profit can produce; nor is it for the sake of these men, that I shall endeavour to elucidate my assertion; for they cannot but be well informed of the state of our taxes, whose chief employment is to receive and to squander the money which arises from them.

It is frequent, sir, among gentlemen, to mistake the amount of the taxes which are laid upon the nation, by passing over, in their estimates, all those which are not paid immediately out of the visible rents of their lands, and imagining that they are in no degree interested in the imposts upon manufactures or other commodities. They do not consider that whenever they purchase any thing of which the price is enhanced by duties, those duties are levied upon them, and that there is no difference between paying ten shillings a year in land taxes, and paying five shillings in land taxes, and five shillings to manufacturers to be paid by them to the government.

It would be, in reality, equally rational for a man to please himself with his frugality, by directing half his expenses to be paid by his steward, and the event is such as might be expected from such a method of economy; for, as the steward might probably bring in false accounts, the tradesman commonly adds twopence to the price of his goods for every penny which is laid on them by the government; as it is easy to show, particularly in the prices of those two great necessaries of life, candles and leather.

Now, sir, let any gentleman add to the land tax the duties raised from the malt, candles, salt, soap, leather, distilled liquors, and other commodities used in his house; let him add the expenses of travelling so far as they are increased by the burden laid upon innkeepers, and the extortions of the tradesmen which the excises have occasioned, and he will easily agree with me that he pays more than two-thirds of his estate for the support of the government.

It cannot, therefore, be doubted that it is now necessary to stop in our career of expenses, and to inquire how much longer this weight of imposts can possibly be supported. It has already, sir, depressed our commerce, and overborne our manufactures, and if it be yet increased, if there be no hope of seeing it alleviated, every wise man will seek a milder government and enlist himself amongst slaves that have masters more wise or more compassionate.

We ought to consider, sir, whether some of our present expenses are not superfluous or detrimental, whether many of our offices are not merely pensions without employment, and whether multitudes do not receive salaries, who serve the government only by their interest and their votes. Such offices, if they are found, ought immediately to be abolished, and such salaries withdrawn, by which a fund might be now established for maintaining the war, and afterwards for the payment of our debts.

It is not now, sir, in my opinion, a question whether we shall choose the dearest or the cheapest method of increasing our forces, for it seems to me not possible to supply any new expenses. New troops will require more money to raise and to pay them, and more money can only be obtained by new taxes; but what now remains to be taxed, or what tax can be increased? The only resource left us is a lottery, and whether that will succeed is likewise a lottery; but though folly and credulity should once more operate according to our wishes, the nation is, in the meantime, impoverished, and at last lotteries must certainly fail, like other expedients. When the publick wealth is entirely exhausted, artifice and violence will be equally vain. And though the troops may possibly be raised, according to the estimate, I know not how we shall pay them, or from what fund, yet unmortgaged, the officers who will be entailed upon us, can hope to receive their half-pay.

For my part, sir, I think the question so easy to be decided, that I am astonished to see it the subject of a debate, and imagine that the controversy might be ended only by asking the gentleman, on whose opinion all his party appear to rely, without any knowledge or conviction of their own, whether, if he were to defend a nation from its enemies, and could procure only a small sum for the war, he would not model his forces by the cheapest method.

Mr. SLOPER then spoke thus:--Sir, I cannot, without the highest satisfaction, observe any advances made in useful knowledge, by my fellow-subjects, as the glory of such attainments must add to the reputation of the kingdom which gives rise to such elevated abilities.

This satisfaction I have received from the observations of the right honourable member, whose accurate computations cannot but promise great improvements of the doctrine of arithmetick; nor can I forbear to solicit him, for the sake of the publick, to take into his consideration the present methods of traffick used by our merchants, and to strike out some more commodious method of stating the accoinpts between those two contending parties, debtor and creditor. This he would, doubtless, execute with great reputation, who has proved, from the state of our taxes, that new forces require new funds, and that new funds cannot be established without a lottery.

I am, indeed, inclined to differ from him in the last of his positions, and believe the nation not yet so much exhausted but that it may easily bear the expense of the war, and shall, therefore, vote for that establishment of our troops which will be most likely to procure success, without the least apprehension of being censured either by the present age, or by posterity, as a machine of the ministry, or an oppressor of my country.

General WADE spoke again, thus:--Sir, since the right honourable member has been pleased to insinuate, that by answering a plain question I may put an end to the debate, I am willing to give a proof of my desire to promote unanimity in our councils, and despatch in our affairs, by complying with his proposal.

If I were obliged with a small sum to raise an army for the defence of a kingdom, I should, undoubtedly, proceed with the utmost frugality; but this noble person's ideas of frugality would, perhaps, be very different from mine; he would think those expenses superfluous, which to me would seem indispensably necessary, and though we should both intend the preservation of the country, we should provide for its security by different methods.

He would employ the money in such a manner as might procure the greatest numbers; I should make my first inquiry after the most skilful officers, and should imagine myself obliged, by my fidelity to the nation that intrusted me with its defence, to procure their assistance, though at a high price.

It is not easy for persons who have never seen a battle or a siege, whatever may be their natural abilities, or however cultivated by reading and contemplation, to conceive the advantage of discipline and regularity, which is such, that a small body of veteran troops will drive before them multitudes of men, perhaps equally bold and resolute with themselves, if they are unacquainted with the rules of war, and unprovided with leaders to direct their motions.

I should, therefore, in the case which he has mentioned, prefer discipline to numbers, and rather enter the field with a few troops, well governed and well instructed, than with a confused multitude, unacquainted with their duty, unable to conduct themselves, and without officers to conduct them.

Mr. VINER spoke next, to the following effect:--Sir, I am not very solicitous what may be the determination of the house upon this question, because I think it more necessary to resolve against an augmentation of the army, than to inquire, whether it shall be made by one method or another.

Every addition to our troops, I consider as some approach towards the establishment of arbitrary power, as it is an alienation of part of the British people, by which they are deprived of the benefits of the constitution, and subjected to rigorous laws, from which every other individual is exempt.

The principal of these laws, which all the rest are intended to enforce, requires from every soldier an unlimited and absolute obedience to the commands of his officers, who hold their commission, and expect advancement, by the same compliance with the orders of the ministry.

The danger of adding to the number of men, thus separated from their fellow-subjects, and directed by the arbitrary determinations of their officers, has been often explained with great strength and perspicuity; nor should I have taken this occasion of recalling it to the attention of the house, but that I think it a consideration, to which, in all debates on the army, the first regard ought to be paid.

Colonel MORDAUNT spoke to the purpose following:--Sir, the objection which the honourable gentleman has raised, will be most easily removed, by considering the words of the act by which the military authority is established, where it is by no means declared, that either officers or soldiers are obliged indiscriminately to obey all the orders which they shall receive, but that they shall, on pain of the punishments there enacted, obey all the lawful orders of their commanders.

The obedience, therefore, sir, required from a soldier, is an obedience according to law, like that of any other Briton, unless it can be imagined that the word lawful is, in that place, without a meaning. Nor does his condition differ from that of his fellow-subjects by an exemption from any law, but by a greater number of duties, and stricter obligations to the performance of them; and I am not able to conceive how our constitution can be endangered by augmenting an army, which, as it can only act in conformity to it, can act only in defence of it.

[The question at last was put, that the new-raised troops be incorporated into the standing corps, but it passed in the negative, 232 to 166.]

[The end]
Samuel Johnson's non-fiction: Debate On Incorporating The New-Raised Men Into The Standing Regiments