Page images

present reign, to the support of every measure of the court and ministers, however dangerous in their natirre, desperate in their design, or ruinous in their tendency. Could any thing then be more alarming to' the people of this country, than to fee the sword placed almost exclusively in the hands of men, who were avowedly so inimical to their constitu tional rights, ond public liberties? It was likewise, in a narrower view of the question, the more unreasonable in the practice, and the more pernicious in the effect, as it was peculiarly cha racteristic, they said, of the natives of that part of the united kingdom, to be more subjected to local attachments, and to violent national, and other prejudices, than perhaps any other peojJe upon the face of the earth; insomuch, that it was a fact known to all military men, that no English officer could live in any regiment the majority of which was Scotch; whereas, on the other hand, no Scotch gentleman ever found any difficulty, or felt the smallest uneasiness, in living in a regiment, mostly, or almost wholly Englilh.

They entered into a recital of facts, to support the charge of an unjust partiality in point of military promotion. However invidious this task might appear, they felt it their duty, they said, without the smallest degree of personal prejudice, to state the facts to the house. Our first nobility, English gentlemen of the most ancient and illustrious families; families particularly attached to the constitution, and to revolution principles; and whose own possessions rendered them deeply in»

[t] terested

■ew raised corps, and with no common degree of animation and spirit, by the principal men in opposition. Disclaiming in strong terms all national prejudices, they readily , acknowledged, that Scotland produced as, brave and as able officers as any in the world; but whilst this was freely and chearfully admitted, they sbsoiutely denied, and said it did not admit of a question, that either that, or any other country in the universe, had ever exceeded Engind in the production of such men. . But they abhorred all odious comparative discussions of the merits jof the brave. Their object, they said, was strongly to condemn that illiberal, unconstitutional, and dangerous partiality, shewn by the present ministers to one part of the united kingdom, in prejudice to the other. This, they asserted, was carried to a pitch of enormity, unparalleled in the history of any oiher country, excepting that of a conquered and suspected people. It was uKcwiie the more particularly dangerous, they said, as the natives of that county, being debarred by 'heir own peculiar constitution of many of those rights and immunities at home, which were inherent to Englishman, were not only disposed to make light of privileges of which they knew not the value, but were likewise apt, and naturally enough, to regard them with rather a jealous and malignant eye. And it was besides, a matter of such public nbtority as could not escape the notice of the most heedles; observer, that

fthe natives of that country had, »ith very few exceptions indeed, been violently attached during the Vol. XXHI.

terefted in the security and prosperity of their country; were refused the favour of raising regiments for its defence, upon the fame terms which were accepted from unknown men; from clerks in office, and commit. Among other names brought forward as instances upon this charge, were those of the Earl of Derby, and of his brother the late M jor Stanley. What rewards, they asked, had such distinguished officers as the Colonels Meadowes and Musgrave received, for their eminent services > None other, than wounds, and constitutions broken and ruined, in climates unfavourable to the human species? Was either of them offered a new regiment? Or would either of them have declined the offer? The Earl of Harrington, who had dedicated his life and fortune to the service of his country, and who had painfully earned in the field every step of his rank, was now sent to the West Indies, and destined to obey the commands of a man, who was the other day a half-pay subaltern. Would that nobleman, or would his brother, Major Stanhope, have refused to raise regiments, on the conditions which were annexed with them to men who had never seen any service? On the contrary, Major'Stanhope had made the propolal, and was rejected; he also had a particular natural interest in the county of Derby, which now affords the head quarters for the enlisting and forming of a regiment, by a man whose name was never before heard of in the county. For, they said,

"'to render the farce more truly ri• *' diculous on the side of ministers,

* or as if they meant ro burlesque 4

every rule of military order atid decorum, as well as every idea of general propriety, these new men were allowed, to the ruin of the recruiting seivice, to raise their regiments in the heart of England; instead of their being sent on that business, as was naturally to be expected, to the part of the united kingdom, where their interests and connections might be supposed to lie. So that, by this new nil J unparalleled management, they were, in fact, English regiments totally commanded by Scotch officers; as if this country had not produced men, who were qualified for the conduct of its own forces.

They did not wish, they said, to restrain the gentlemen of ths; country from their full (hare of military rank and command; they even threw no personal blame on those who were gratified with more. Their object of reprobation was, the undue preference given by ministers, to one part of the united kingdom in prejudice to the other. They detested all partiality. They would equally oppose and condemn, a southern as a northern, an English or Irish, as a Scotch partiality. The thing was in itself odious, wherever it was found, or however applied. In the present state of public affairs, it was highly dangerous, and might be fatal. They wished, and our situation most urgently demanded, that the three kingdoms should be actuated by one heart, and their force concentrated in one common arm. But this could never be obtained or hoped for, whiill government itself was the sower- of discord and dissension, by the partial and unjust

dillridistribution of those savours, with the disposal of which, for purposes widely different, it had been entrusted by the constitution.

The nature of the subject confined the debate on the other side* in a great degree, to a' general denial of the alledged partiality, and to a qualification or justification of the particular articles of charge. The secretary at war contended, that various noblemen and others, who had never been in service before, had raised regiments in the last war, and had been appointed to their command. Being called upon to specify, he particularly mentioned General Frazer, and Gen. Morris^ He produced a long list of promotions in order to sliew, that the charge of partiality in favour of Scotch officers was unfounded, la regard to Colonel Fullarton, (whose corps formed the great object of contention) after passing the highest encomiums on the private character, and public spirit of that gentleman, and particularly applauding the liberality of his offer to. government, he contended, that when gentlemen of active minds, and of enterprizing spirits, made a tender of their abilities, and directed them to particular services of the first importance, it would be indefensible in government to have refused their offers; and more especially so, when the conditions on which they tendered their regiments, were much cheaper to the. public than thos'- of others.

The noble American Secretary took the fame ground, and spoke in the highest terms of Colonel Fuliarton's conduct and character. He laid, that he had been actuat

ed merely by pure spirit and zeal on this occasion; as, to his knowledge, he had given up a much more lucrative employment, in order to serve his country in this arduous and Critical moment. No insult or injury had been offered to the service by accepting of his offer to raise a regiment. It was wanted for a special purpose on a sudden; a very gallant and advantageous offer was made, and at that time there were no other offers, so that other men could not be preferred. Hints were also thrown out, that some particulars had come to his knowledge, which ought to give him a preference in the service, to which he was particularly destined.

A general officer, on the other side, observed, that the appointment of Lieut. Gen. Frazer to a high command in the last war, was not a military, but a political measure. That the idea was a very wife one; and the effect of the measure equalled the wisdom of the design. It was intended to wear away the inveterate prejudices, which several of the northern clans of Scotland had entertained against government; and it not only effectually rooted out those ancient animosities, but it converted the most disaffected and dangerous of those people, into excellent regiments of hardy soldiers, who, instead of being internal enemies, fought bravely in our service abroad.

Another general officer, of high military rank and reputation, who has not been engaged in any active service during the present war, and who once silled a very high civil department of the state, declared, that he should not oppose

[/.] 2 the die estimate in the gross, as he had no objection to some of the new corps: but he mull oppose that particular corps, the command of which was given to a gentleman, who had no military {kill, and no military rank. For though he highly esteemed the private character of Mr. Fullarton, he must think it an injury to the army that he mould have the command of a Tegular regiment, when there were {b many veteran majors, who had the joint pretensions, of wounds, experience, and service, to plead for preference. The military gentlemen on that side, (who were those only that spoke at all upon the subject) observed in general, that it must be a strange object of enterprize, which a regiment of raw recruits, headed by a leader -totally inexperienced in martial matters, were deemed the fittest instruments for carrying through with effect.


The reason given by the secretary at war for the appointment of the new colonel, viz. his active and enterprizing spirit, was reprobated on the other side in ra- ther severe terms. It was said to 'be a direct libel on the whole British army; it was no less than saying, that the men, who at present composed the army, were deficient in those qualities of enterprize and spirit; and were accordingly incapable through that dc1 sect, notwithstanding their military skill and experience, of undertaking the particular' service for which that gentleman was destined and qualified.—It was- likewise replied to the American secretary, that it was singular he should rife in vindication of a gentleman who had not been at

tacked, and fay nothing in defence of ministers, -against whom the 'whole strength of the debate had gone.' The reason, indeed, he gave for the appointment was, they said, curious. No other offers, he (aid, were then made— was that a reason for accepting this? No other offers for that particular provision could be -made, as the nature of the service was only known to the gentleman in question.

The question before the committed, was, whether the sums allotted in the estimates for the raising and support of the new corps should be agreed to. The question being respectively put on Col. Holroyd's dragroons, and Col. Humberstone's corps1, was agreed to without a division. Bat with respect to Col. Fallarton's corps, the committee divided, when the question was carried for granting the sum proposed in the estimate, by a majority of 102 to 66.

But the succeeding . .. ,, day, was to distinguish APnl ttbthe present session from every other since the revolution; and was likewise to lay the ground for those subsequent events, which brought out so much immediate bitterness of reproach, relative to the fluctuation of conduct or principle in no small number of members of the House of Commons, and which have finally affixed a charge, at least, of inconsistency, which will not soon be worn off, upon the character of that parliament. That day was destined, by a previous order, to the taking into consideration the petitions of the people of England; amounting to about forty in number;


« PreviousContinue »