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serving officer on half-pay might be distinguished from the undeserving. It was well known, when a war was nearly at nn end, his Grace said, that men who, so far from being officers, were not entitled to be considered as gentlemen; many of them had been waiters at taverns, and persons, who having one way or another got money enough in low stations to enable themselves to purchase ensigncies merely for the fake of the half-pay, bought subaltern commissions. Whenever peace was known to be likely to take place, this practice obtained it had clone so, particularly just before the end of the last war. He wished therefore that the clause should contain some restrictions, so as to confine the exemption to those who really deserved the strong arguments which the Noble Lord had with lo much energy and feeling advanced in their savour. One mode of discrimination struck him as easy and practicable, viz. that the exemption, if agreed to, should extend to no halfpay subalterns, but those who had tendered their services to the War-office within a given time, the last twelve months, for instance. His Grace enlarged on this idea, and declared himself disposed to support the clause, if modelled in conformity to it.
Lord Mulgrave spoke with great eloquence in reply, and began with noticing that part of the Duke's speech, in which -his Grace censured any Noble Lord's speaking professionally. His Lordship said, he hoped he never should forget that profession, in which he had the honour to be bred, nor let slip the opportunity of speaking professionally, whenever a fit occasion offered, for shewing the sincere regard he felt for those, whose merit he knew, whose services he had witnessed, and whose claims to consideration on every occasion he should ever hold it his duty to support and maintain. Not speak professionally, not argue from professional feelings !—he knew not that thing on earth that could induce him to part with those feelings, or forego acting upon their impulse. In the discharge of his duty as a Lord of Parliament, he trusted that he ever should conduct himself unexceptionably; but gratefully as he felt the honour conferred on him by his M.ijesty, which entitled him to a feat in thafHouse, he would sooner give up his situation as a Lord in Parliament than abandon his feelings for those whose services he had seen, and for whose interests he felt it his duty to be alive at every point. His Lordship painted in glowing colours the honest triumph felt by subaltern officers after a victory, though they themselves had bled, and sometimes been severely wounded in their laudably zealous efforts to assist in obtaining it. The honour they felt they had done themselves on such occasions superseded every feeling of personal inconvenience, and swelled their hearts so high, that they looked I down Aorta even on their Lordships not with invidious or insolent contempt, but with a sort of conscious superiority; and ought such men, he would ask their Lordships, to have their innocent vanity hurt, and their pride unnecessarily humbled and mortified? Having most warmly pleaded the cause of the half-pay officers, Lord Mulgrave said, with regard to what the Noble Duke had observed, if such abuses had crept into the service, those who were at the head os the army at the time deserved severe censure for their negligence and inattention; but the censure ought to rest with them, and not operate to the disadvantage of a worthy set of men, who, generally considered, were men of a most meritorious description. But his Lordship said, many officers on the half-pay list were disabled by their wounds, and rendered incapable of future service; they therefore could not have tendered, or be expected to tender their services to the War-office, r.s the Noble Duke had suggested; and he could not help thinking that the Noble Duke was mistaken as to the fact of waiters at taverns, &c. purchasing enfigneies for the fake of half-pay, because surely it was not very likely, that men who knew the value of their money would give 400I. to buy such a paltry life income as 34I. a year. His Lordship ridiculed the arguments of those Noble Lords, who had maintained that there was no moral necessity for halfpay officers to wear hair-powder, and shewed that the argument of moral necessity might be pushed to a most absurd extent, and applied to almost every rank and description of men. He declared, he wiffied exceedingly to obtain the Noble Duke's support, and would agree to any modification of his chuse to render it palatable, nay, he would readily forego it altogether, if his Majesty's ministers would 'fay that any thing should be done for half-pay officers by the medium of a distinct Bill; but he hoped something would be done in their behalf, and that after all their services they would not in effect receive the fame answer that he recollected to have been given by the Cardinal Du Bois to a poor Abbe, who having written a book brought it to the Cardinal for his protection, when the Cardinal sternly asked him, why he employed his time in that manner. The Abbe replied with great humility, Helm! Manfeigneur, Us nut que je vive; on which the Cardinal without moving a muscle said, Monsieur, je rt'en voispas la necejfde—a sentiment which he flattered himself their Lordships would not adopt on the present occasion.
The Duke of Richmond rose to explain, and assured the Noble Lord that he had not advanced an idle story relative to waiters at taverns, and men of a low description in life having purchased enfigneies, towards the conclusion of a war, when it was known that a peace was near at hand; but that he spoke of a well-known fact, and that he believed the purchases werd generally fora much smaller sum than 400I., which was the price generally given for an enfigncy on full pay. His Grace repeated what he had before said, of the practicability of distinguishing the proper objects of exemption among the halfpay officers from those who might be considered as improper ones, by extending the benefit of it only to those who had made a tender of their services within a twelvemonth to the Waroffice, or those who were actually disabled from further service by wounds, loss of limbs, Sec. and he said, he was well aware that in the list of half-pay officers many deserving men of the latter description were to be found.
The Bishop of Rochester rose to justify himself from the possibility of falling within the scope of the observation of the Noble Secretary of State, who had said, that if their Lordships gave way on the present occasion, because a combination might have been formed between Noble Lords of different professions, in order to exempt their brethren from the operation of particular taxes, such combinations might be carried to an unlimited extent, and have their influence in all tax Bills. His Lordship declared, that he had delivered his own impartial sentiments on the clause in savour of half-pay officers; and by those sentiments lie would, so far from entering into a combination with the Noble Lord, endeavour to save the half-pay officers from the operation of the tax, because the clergy os a certain description had obtained an erx- emption in their favour; he had not even exchanged a word with the Noble Lord on the subject of his intended clause, previous to his moving it. He had listened to his argument, and as it was obvious that the fame principle, which warranted the exemption of the subaltern clergy (if he might so describe many very deserving gentlemen of hia own profession) from the operation of the tax, applied with equal force to the subaltern half-pay officers; he had fairly avowed his opinion on that point. With regard to what the Noble Duke had stated of there being persons on the half-pay lift, who did not deserve favour or consideration from their Lordships; -it was to be remembered on that and evety occasion, that in every numerous body of men, there were always some undeserving individuals; but surely the worthy lhould not suffer for the unworthy.
The Lord Chancellor declared, he had been astonished at the debate from the moment of it%commencement, and the more astonished every moment that it had proceeded, because the majority of the Public clearly approved of the principle of the tax; and that being known to be the fact, it appeared
extraordinary to him, that Noble Lords mould attempt to impede the progress of the Bill. The arguments that had been urged in the course of the debate, though meant, no doubt, to support the clause, a clause undoubtedly brought forward by the Noble Lord on noble, generous, and humane grounds, rather fell in with the course of reasoning pursued by the Noble Earl, who began the debate by a general and fairly avowed opposition to the principle of the Bill, than applied immediately to the clause in question. That there certainly was no physical necessity for ornamenting the head with powder, if it was an ornament, was a matter admitted, nor could it be pretended, nor was there even a moral necessity for it. Why then was it contended for with as much pertinacity and ardour, as if it were not an absolute luxury, a mere sacrifice to personal pride and vanity? It had been said, that wearing powder in the hair marked, the distinction between a gentleman and a person os inferior rank. He peremptorily denied it, and most especially he must assert, that it was unnecessary to be worn by a subaltern half-pay officer, because the amount os his income was not a secret, nor a circumstance known only to himself. As far as regarded his half-pay, his flender income stood exposed publicly, and every man who knew his rank as an officer, knew the amount of his half-pay. It certainly therefore could be no disgrace, no distionour, no longer to appear with powder in his hair, when the reason was obvious to an honest man, of which no honourable mind ought to be ashamed—he could not afford the expence of it. Would any man who had the smallest pretensions to liberality, (hut his doors ng.iinst a deserving man, because his hair was not powdered? Least of all would a general officer, who, from his professional knowledge, would best know why the subaltern who came to solicit for better bread, as it had been termed, refuse to admit him to his levee on that account? It would be the extremist injustice to military men of high rank in the service, to suppose it possible that they could act towards men of merit of their own profession, but of humbler station, in a manner so dishonourable to themselves. Could there be a stronger proof that the going without powder did not diministi the degree of respect due to an individual, than the appearance which a Noble Earl near him had thought proper to make that day? (Lord Guildford, who being defla£///f>, was unpowdered.) Would any one of their Lordships give up an iota of that universal regard and esteem which the Noble Earl's eminent talents had not been more instrumental in acquiring him, than his many amiable virtues, on that account? He was persuaded they would not> and therefore
the the noble illustration of his argument, which chance had pre^ sented to his eye, he hoped would convince their Lordships that it was substantial and solid.
Having raised a general smile by this enpajsant illustration in allusion to Lord Guildford, one circumstance that induced him to rife, he said, was, in order to rescue Cardinal Du Bs'u from a charge of brutality, that neither belonged to his character, nor with which, indeed, he had any fort of concern. The Noble Lord who had related the story, had accidentally forgotten not only the ground of the conversation that he had stated, but the persons concerned in it. The real fact was this :—A gross and scandalous libeller was brought before Monsieur tTArgenfon, a magistrate of police, to answer for a most m*. famous and indecent publication, the name of which, his Lordship said, he well recollected; but it was too offensive and scandalous to be mentioned. The author, when questioned by the magistrate as to what excuse he had to offer for Laving written such an unwarrantable libel, answered, Helast Monseigneur, ilsaut que je vive; when Monsieur d'Argenson answered wittily, but to such a man justly, Mensttur, je n'm veis pas la necejsite.
His Noble Friend, the Secretary of State, had well said, ho should have liked the Bill better if it had been sent from tha Commons without any exemption. So, he confessed, should he have done himself. He saw no necessity for a clergyman's •wearing hair-powder more than an half-pay officer; it certainly* as the Noble Lord who moved the clause had observed, would not add to his eloquence in delivery from the pulpit, nor lend) an energy to the,style of hia discourse, when composing it in, his closet., Had the-Bill come before their Lordships without a clause of exemption, its principle would have stood ono and inviolate, supported by its own" grounds; and the Bill would have been perfectly unexceptionable: His Lord Chip faid»! with regard to the popularity of the taatf he had not the smallest doubt, and he had as little doubt that it would; prffve .pro* ductive. The circumstance so. ingeniously'called into lii&iajM gument by a Noble Earl, that a poor kitchen»wench ,'roight, out of sport, on a Christmas evening, snatch up a dredging*! box and throw flour into her hair, and thence from that single act of holiday frolic, incur the penalty, and be pursued, fiotf. it, till it ended in imprisonment for life, was rather, in his mind, calculated :to jexcite a smile than any seridts rippre*, hension. No person informed against on such grounds would: ever be convicted, or have the:penalty levied against tbcw>|.L much less be sent to jail for life, for want of the power of'pay*ing it. The Noble Earl appeared to hare reflected jdflfc-ever;)': Vol. III. * P possible