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of that kingdom, those men who but a few weeks before were his most humble slaves, those men who would have deified him if the christian religion had not stood in their way, they had a mind to shew a superior de gree of zeal--they petitioned in a body that his corpse might be buried under the gallows.
By the king's death the slavish dependence of the army was at an end ; there was then no one man who could pretend to any absolute sway over the army; and as it was generally commanded by the nobles of the kingdom, they had it fresh in their memories what inconveniences both they and the whole nation had been subjected to by the absolute and uncontrolable will of their former king; as there was no one of them that could have any hopes of succeeding to his arbitrary power, therefore they all resolved to put both the government of the kingdom, and the command of the army, upon a new and very different footing. As to the government of the kingdom, they established a limited monarchy, and finding that they must necessarily keep up a standing army to defend their large frontiers, they therefore resolved, in order that the army might not be entirely dependent on the crown, that the of. ficers thereof should have their several commissions quamdit se bene gesserit. This regulation, a nobleman of the country told me, they took from the regulation we haye in England with respect to our judges. It is, my lords, a wise and a necessary regulation; it
a is a regulation that ought in every country to prevail, wherever a standing army makes a part of their constitution. In all such countries the officers' commissions ought certainly to be quumdiu se bene gesscrit, and preferments ought to go in course according to seniority, some few cases excepted : for it is hard that a gentleman who has nothing but his commission to depend on for his daily bread, should be obliged either to forfeit his commission or his hopes of preferment in the army, or otherwise to do what he knows to be inconsistent with the law and liberties of his country.
I hope, my lords, that a standing army will never come to be a part of our constitution ; but if ever it does, I will say that without such a regulation as I have mentioned, we shall then have nothing to depend on for the preservation of our liberties, but the honour of the army, the integrity of the clergy, and the vigilance of the lords.
From what I have said, my lords, it is apparent that a numerous standing army must always be of dangerous consequence to the constitution of this country; and I leave it to every man to judge, whether we ought to expose our constitution to such
a danger, for the pretended apprehensions of any insurrection at home, or of any invasion from abroad? As to insurrections at home, we are in no danger of any such as long as his majesty reigns in the hearts and affections of the gene. rality of his subjects; and as to invasions from abroad, I think the little success the many designed invasions, mentioned by the noble duke, have met with, is an unanswerable argument for shewing us that we ought not to be under great apprehensions of any such in time to come; and that we ought not to subject ourselves to any thing that may be in the least dangerous to our constitu- . tion, for the sake of a danger which experience has shewn to be so very inconsiderable.
If we should ever be threatened with a formidable invasion, we should have time to increase our army to any number we pleased; we should even have time to dis. cipline that army before we could be attacked by any great force, and thereby we should be in a condition to defend ourselves at land, if our enemies should have the good luck to escape our fleets at sea : and as to any small and unforeseen invasions, if ever any such should be intended against us, they may probably meet with the same fate that the former have done ; but if they should meet with better luck, if they should come safe to land, they could not bring above five or six thousand men; our fleets would prevent their being reinforced ; and surely, an army of twelve thousand men in
i Great Britain, and another of equal number in Ireland, would be sufficient to give a good account of any such contemptible invaders.
It is not now, my lords, proposed to disband our army entirely ; it is not proposed to throw out the bill now before us; we are for keeping up as great a number as may be necessary for preserving the peace and quiet of the kingdom ; but we are against keeping up such a number
as may be dangerous to our constitution. Though the lords who were last year for a reduction, voted against the passing of the then mutiny bill, 'tis not from thence to be concluded, that they were against any mutiny bill, or any number of regular forces; they were against the whole bill as it then stood; but if that bill had been thrown out, another might have been brought in according to their liking, and that new bill would then have been unanimously agreed to.
EARL OF ILAY.
His Speech on the same.
WHATEVER some lords may be pleased to say about an army continued from year to year by parliament, there is certainly a very great difference, my lords, between such an army, and an army continued at the sole pleasure of the crown, It has, I think, been granted on all hands, that while our army is commanded by such officers as it is at present; while men of fortune and fi. gure have the command of the army, our liberties are secure ; but it is said, that these officers may be turned out ; this army may be so modelled and garbled, as to
be made 'fit for any bad purpose. This, my lords, I shall easily grant might be done, if our army were to be established for any number of years. If it were to be continued at the sole pleasure of the crown, an ambitious prince might be able to model it so as to make it subservient to his arbitrary views; but while it is continued only from year to year by parliament, this is impossible to be done. It is no easy matter to model an army so as to make it fit for such purposes; we know how dif. ficult it is to know the private sentiments of men's hearts ; in such cases men often conceal their real inclinations under the cloak of a feigned zeal for the direct contrary opinion ; which would make it very difficult
; for a government that had any designs against the liber.. ties of the people, to know what officers were to be turned out, or who were proper to be continued, or to, be put in the room of those turned out. It would be impossible to accomplish this in a year's time, and if any such practices were begun, if any steps should be made towards modelling the army for a bad purpose, the parliament at their next meeting, would most certainly take notice of it, and would apply a proper remedy before it. could be possible for any prince or administration to make the wound incurable ; and therefore, my lords, I must still be of opinion, that our army, while it is continued from year to year by parliament, cannot be of the least ill consequence to our constitution, were it much more numerous than what is now proposed.
On the other hand, my lords, the danger of reducing any part of our army is very great.
very great. We know that such reductions have often been attended with designed invasions or insurreciions against the government; this is a danger we know y experience, and therefore, in common prudence, we ought not to come into any measure by which our country may be again exposed to such a danger. It is probable that none of those invasions lately intended against us would have been successful, though they had got safe ashore; I hope no such ever
will; but every one of them, if they had landed, would have thrown the nation into terrible convulsions. Is then, iny lords, the peace and quiet of our country of no consideration? Shall we expose our country to frequent alarms and confusions, for the sake of avoiding an ima. ginary danger-a fear which can have no foundation, as long as our
army is continued only from year to year by parliament?
We know, my lords, that there is a party in the nation disaffected to the government ; there always will, I
i am afraid, be such a party ; and they, or at least a great many of them, will always join any invasion that can be made upon us. Even out of charity to them, we ought not to afford them any hopes of success by disbanding a part of our army; while they have no hopes of success, they may grumble a little in private, but they will never venture to rebel openly against the government; and while they continue in a peaceable state, they may live casily as subjects ; they will at least preserve their lives and estates from being forfeited by the law : whereas, if we reduce our army, it will encourage foreigners to invade us; it will encourage the disaffected to rebel against the government; the nation will never be free from alarms; and we must be every now and then executing, or at least forfeiting some of our countrymen, perhaps some of our relations.
EARL OF BRISTOL,
His Speech on the same. My Lords, I HAVE often heard the present argument debated in parliament ; I was one of those who were the cause of the army's being reduced so low after the peace of Rys