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Mr. Horace Walpole's Speech. Sir, I am sorry to hear a parallel drawn by any member of this house between the army kept up by the late king James, and the army intended to be kept up at present. King James's army was raised against law, was maintained against the consent of the people, and was employed in overturning the liberties of the people : The present question is about an army, which is to be kept up according to law, and by and with the consent and approbation of the people. If we look into the petition of right itself, what does it say? Why that an army raised or kept up, without consent of parliament, is contrary to the constitution; but it was never said that an army kept up by consent of parliament is illegal, or any way contrary to our happy constitution. In this respect, therefore, no parallel can be drawn between the present army, which is to be kept up only by consent of the people, and maintained by them, and that army which was raised and maintained by King James him: self, and was so far from being with the concurrence or consent of the people, that it was to be employed against them; and I am persuaded, that no man here suspects that the present army is to be employed in any such
I really believe, Sir, and I hope I am right, that there is but very little dissatisfaction in the nation, and that the jacobite party is now become very inconsiderable : but still that party is not to be ridiculed and made a joke of: we are not so much to despise all attempts that may be made by them, as not to take any measures to provide ourselves against them; such a security is the best thing they can wish for; they would be glad to be despised in
; such a manner. Gentlemen may say what they will of the little consequence of any endeavours that have been, or may be used by them; but the late rebellion is a certain testimony that they are not to be too much despised. The fate of the kingdom was at that time brought even to the decision of a day; and if the rebels had but been successful at Preston, I do not know what might have been the consequences; I dread to think of them. But let them have been never so fatal, if the liberties of this nation had been overthrown by the success of those rebels, it would have been entirely owing to our having so few regular forces on foot at that time. We have escaped that danger, but do not let us expose ourselves to such dangers for the future ; which must be the necessary consequence of reducing any part of the small army now on foot, and desired to be continued.
A parliamentary army never yet did any harm to this nation, but reductions of that army have often been fatal. I have been assured by a minister of very great consequence at the court of France, the reducing of our ar. my after the peace of Ryswick, very much encouraged the court of France to take such measures, and to make such bold steps, as they afterwards did. They would have been more cautious if we had kept ourselves in a capaci. ty of pouring in a numerous army upon them; but they saw that we had put it out of our power, and therefore they despised us. The reduction of the army after the treaty of Utrecht had not, by good luck, all the ill consequences that were clesigned; but the reduction was certainly made with no good intent. I have a good opi. nion enough of the late queen. She had not perhaps, any ill intentions, but I am convinced, that her ministers had laid a scheme for overturning the Protestant succession; i and they had no other way of executing this scheme but by getting free of all those brave officers and soldiers who had served their country so faithfully in the late wars. This was what made the army be reduced at that time so low as it was: the ministers knew that those honest of. ficers would not serve them in the execution of their destructive schemes, but they took care to supply their place by a body of above 6000 men, who were privately kept in pay, and maintained under colour of Chelsea
Hospital; and the consequence shewed what sort of mer these new troops were, for almost every man of them appeared in'arms in the late rebellion against the govern
We have heard the treaty of Utrecht, upon which this reduction was made, applauded by some ; whether it deserves any such applause, I do not know; but I am certain that since that time we have been obliged to enter into separate treaties and negotiations almost with every power in Europe, for amending or explaining the blunders of that treaty; and if we are now right, whoever ascribes our being so to that treaty, may be said to be like a man, who, after breaking another's bones and seeing them set again very right, and well cured by an able surgeon, cries, You are obliged to me, sir, for this great cure that has been performed upon you.
After all, sir, I would not have the friends of the present establishment think themselves absolutely safe and secure : it is not to be supposed but that His Majesty has still some private enemies even in our own country. People may say what they will about the treatment the petition for erecting king William's statue lately met with, but I look upon it as an affront designedly put upon the revolution ; and I am sure, it never could have met with so much contempt from any thing but from a spirit of Jacobitism still subsisting in the country, which can never be destroyed but by taking away from them all hopes of success; and this can only be done by keeping up an army sufficient to defend us against their utmost efforts.
His Speech on the Army. Mr. Speaker, I see this question in the same light with those gentle men who are of opinion that the determination of it will shew the people of Great Britain, whether they are to enjoy their civil constitution with all its rights and pri
. vileges, or to endure a military government, with all its inconveniences and oppressions.
However harsh this assertion may sound, it is so well founded, that if we cannot now hope for a reduction of the arıny, we may for ever despair of it. For this is the conjuncture, this is the crisis, when the people of Great Britain may with reason and justice expect, I had almost said demand, an exemption from every unnecessary tax ; and as none is more grievous at all times, sa none seems to be more unnecessary at this time, than that which is occasioned by maintaining an extraordinary number of land forces. Such an exemption must be acceptable to his Majesty, who hath been most graciously pleased to open this session with declaring, “ That it is a pleasure to him to give ease to his subjects, whenever the welfare of the public will adinit of it."
Sir, there can be no doubt, but the welfare of the public will now admit of reducing our expences on the head of an army: for we have the same royal assur. ance that the general tranquillity of Europe is fully re. stored and established: that all the jarring and contend. ing powers are united, all the different views of interest and ambition reconciled by his Majesty's extensive in. fuence, and consummate wisdom; that the wounds which have been so long bleeding, are entirely cured by
his healing hand; that peace and good harmony are re. turned together ; that the duty and affection of his subjects are all he desires for his paternal love and concern for them; that his government has no other security but what is equally conducive to their happiness.
This is the situation which his majesty promises himself, will inspire us with such a seasonable zeal for the public good, as becomes a parliament sensible of the blessings they enjoy ; and imagination cannot form a more pleasing idea, a more perfect plan of national prosperity, than what is here described ; nor could a good and gracious prince bring better tidings, or communi. cate more welcome news from the throne, to a free people.
Since, then, his Majesty has so gloriously performed his part, let us not be wanting on ours. Let us take the earliest opportunity of convincing those we represent that they are immediately to reap the fruit of his royal labours, and that all their grievances will be gradually redressed. Let us begin with reducing the army, and making them sensible that it is not intended they should any longer bear the burthen and inconveniences of war, in a day of profound peace and universal tranquillity.
If we fail in this great point, the people, who did not resign their understandings, when they delegated their power to us, know they have a right to judge for themselves. They will not be imposed upon by appearances. They will be apt, notwithstanding all the fine words they hear, and all the fine speeches they read, to call this boasted success, these promised blessings, no more than a mere delusion, a golden dream, a chimeri. cal and visionary scene of happiness.
I wish, therefore, the honourable person who moved this question, and the other gentlemen who have been his coadjutors in the support of it, had been a little more ex. plicit. I wish, instead of amusing the committee with detail of the various reductions of our forces from the treaty of Ryswick down to this day, and assigning wrong