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State of the Coalition.-Molion in the House of Commons for augmenting the Number of Seamen and Marines.—Army Eftimates.-The Conduct and the Refult of the prefent War.-Loan of Four Millions to the Emperor.-Difcuffions on Continental Alliances.-Statement of the Force, requifite for the Service of 1795.—New Taxes.

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N the mean time, daily intelligence was arriving of the rapid and irrefiftible progrefs of the French in Holland, which might now be confidered as totally loft to the confederacy. The inhabitants of the Seven United Provinces were never, indeed, fincerely cordial in the caufe of the coalition, looking upon them felves as facrificed to the interefts of the houfe of Orange, by whofe influence and authority, the people complained, they had been forced into the prefent war.

In order to fupply, if poffible, the place of fo confiderable a member of the coalition, no other method appeared than that of increafing the force to be employed againft the French, by numbers proportionable to thofe which were furnished by the Dutch, previously to their reduction by France. To this purpole, minifters found it neceffary to prepare, by times, the funds that would be requifite to keep the coalition together; and to prevent the whole weight of the victorious enemy from falling on Britain, without alliances to civert it.

The opinion of the British pubat this juncture, was, that, being involved in a ruinous war, it was

indifpenfible to exert the full ftrength of the national refources, in order to extricate the kingdom from the dangers that threatened it. Difcuffions on its juftice and neceffity, as well as on its judicious or imprudent management, fhould be referred to a future opportunity; and all the vigour and abilities of the different parties, that had divided the nation, ought to unite, on this preffing occafion, for its defence, against the formidable enemy that now threatened it with a deftruction which would become unavoidable, without a fincere and fpirited union at home. This alone could fave the country; no dependence ought, in prudence, to be placed upon foreign affiftance; our allies wanted either power or inclination to make fufficient efforts to refift France. The truth was, that they relied upon Britain much more than Britain could rely upon them; nor was even their good will to this country unquestionable. Its fuperior ftate of profperity, and the perpetual obligation to have recourfe to its finances, were circumfiances highly offenfive to their pride, and excited their envy much more than they conciliated their gratitude and attachment. The in[M3] tended

tended desertion of Pruffia and of Spain was well known, and the apprehenfion of their changing fides not lefs fufpected. In this complication of difficulties flood the only remaining members of the coalition, Auftria and England, when the minifters of this latter were fummoned to call forth their refources for the joint fupport of both.

The houfe of commons met on the fecond of January, in a committee of fupply. Mr. Fox, who forefaw the large demands that would be made, required notice when the loan would be propofed, that the houfe might have a due attendance. The imperial loan was an object of dilagreeable fpeculation to all parties, and they felt with difguft the neceffity of fupporting a power that had drawn this country into his own quarrel, and whofe readiness to abandon it, the moment he could procure tolerable terms, no intelligent perfon doubted. This neceffarily created a reluctance to anfwer his calls for fresh fupplies, which, as foon as granted, might be converted to quite other purposes than thofe for which he fhould obtain them. The cafe of Pruffia was exactly in point: twelve hundred thousand pounds were acknowledged, by the minifter in the houfe, to have been advanced to the Pruffian monarch; who employed that immenfe fum in executing his defigns on Poland.

On the feventh of January, a motion was made, by admiral Gardner, for an augmentation in the number of feamen and marines. The fervice of the navy would this year require a proportion of eighty-five thoufand of the former, and fifteen thousand of the latter. A remark

able difcuffion took place, on this occafion, upon the conftruction of the Englifh fhips of war. Mr. Robinfon afferted their inferiority to the French, in the circumstance of quick failing. Captain Berkley admitted they were better built, but denied their failing fafter; the French models he acknowledged to be fuperior to the English; but thefe had the fuperiority in workmanship. Admiral Gardner, however, allowed the quicker failing of the French; and afcribed their fuperior conftruction to the premiums given, by their government, for the beft models, which were regularly fubmitted to the examination and decifion of the academy of fciences. But the veffels taken from them had lately been the means of confiderable improvements in the building of

our own.

In confequence of this difcuffion, it was observed, by Mr. Fox, that the knowledge and experience of the people of this country in naval affairs ought, long ago, to have enabled them to furpals their French rivals, in a point of fuch importance to the honour and fecurity of the nation. It was neither creditable to the miniftry, nor the admiralty, to have fo long fuffered this degrading inferiority. The fooner it was remedied the better, at this critical period, which required uncommon exertions of fkill and va lour in every active department, but principally in the naval, on which the fafety and glory of the nation fo vifibly depended. He complained that, confidering the decided fuperiority of the British navy, its atchievements had not been adequate to the expectations which the nation had a right to form. Our ex crtions at fea had, he noticed, been


greatly impeded, by the extenfive efforts lately made to ftrengthen the fervice at land. The bounties given to recruit the army took off numbers of able men from the navy; on which, however, every judicious man placed more reliance against an invafion of this country, than upon its land-forces. The inceffant threats of the enemy ought to render government peculiarly folicitous to provide, in time, the means to fruftrate them. The navy was the bulwark of the realm, and it were criminal, at the prefent juncture, not to pay it a much higher degree of attention than military operations on the continent; which the experience of three campaigns had fhewn to be ineffectual for the main object of the contest, the reducing France to fubmit to our own terms.

Mr. Dundas, in vindication of miniftry, ftated, that no efforts had ever been made fuperior, if equal, to those which had taken place in the naval department of the kingdom, fince the commencement of the prefent war. The number of feamen, at that period, amounted only to fixteen thoufand, but was, at this day, no lefs than ninety-five thoufand. He was convinced, from good information, that our acting force at fea was double to that of the enemy: much, he obferved, had been faid in favour of the fuperior fkill of the enemy in naval architecture; but we were confefledly the fuperior in action, and while we retained this fuperiority, the collateral advantages of construction and expeditious failing would be of little avail to the enemy.

Mr. Sheridan made feveral obfervations on the affertions of Mr. Dundas; he particularly noticed the difficulty of overtaking veflels

fo much more advantageously conftructed for quick failing than ours, as the French feemed to be generally acknowleged; and reprobated with much severity the neglect of government in not accelerating the improvements, neceflary to remedy fo effential a defect.

Mr. Pitt confeft that extraordinary efforts had been made by the French to increase and strengthen their navy; but, like their exertions at land, they would not be of a durable nature: they were too hurried and precipitate to laft. He proceeded from this topic to the general state of that country; the vigour and refources of which he reprefented to be on the decline. Herein he was contradicted by general Tarleton, who defcribed both as very far from being exhausted; and their ingenuity as inceffantly on the stretch to profit by every opportunity that occurred. Their fyftem of acting had, fince the fall of Robespierre, undergone material alterations: convinced that severity and terror were not fo effectual as lenity and conciliation, they had wifely adopted thefe where ever they could be applicable. Hence the averfion formerly excited, by the merciless proceedings of their late government, had given way to fentiments lefs hoftile and repugnant to the principles they were labouring to establish. The treatment of their prifoners, in particular, fince that time, had been much more humane, and they feemed, upon the whole, ftudious to acquire a character of mildness and moderation: all these circumstances fhould be taken into confideration. When we animadverted on the prefent ftate of that nation, as they had been lately defcribed with juf



tice, as ferocious and fanguinary, they ought, by the fame rule, to be reprefented, at prefent, in more favourable colours. It was, by treating each other with equity, that nations at varience drew nearer to reconciliation, and not by indulging in reciprocal defamation, which only tended eternize enmity.

In answer to fome ftrictures, on the conduct of the admiralty, that were thrown out in the fequel of this debate, it was obferved, by admiral Gardner, that, in the courfe of the last year, applications were made for one hundred and eight convoys, which had been accordingly granted. This fervice had employed one hundred and forty fhips, exclufively of fixteen conftantly cruizing on the coaft, to protect its trade.

Mr. Lambton took this opportunity to notice the efforts of the French, to put their navy on a formidable footing. Models of the various parts and timbers, proper for the conftruction of fhips of the line, were fent to the feveral provinces, where wood for fuch purpofes was procurable. Here the labouring people were directed in what manner to cut down and prepare the trees felected for fhip-building, which were conveyed, in the rough, to the dock-yards, there to be completed by the hip-wrights, and put together with all pollible difpatch. By this expeditions method of proceeding, they would be able, according to their calculation, to add fixty new fhips to their fleet in a very fhort time. Such a procefs, in their conftruction, would not certainly admit of much folidity and duration; but these were not wanted: the quan

tity, not the quality of the fhips, for immediate fervice, was the only object in requeft. Such being the plans and intention of the enemy, government could not be too anxious in preparing to meet the numerous marine that might fo fhortly be created, through thefe extraordinary exertions. In confequence of thefe various difcuffions, one hundred thousand feamen were unanimoufly voted for the fervice of the present year.

On the 21ft of January, Mr. Windham prefented to the houfe the estimates of the army. These amounted, including the regulars, the militia, and the new levies, to one hundred and fifty thousand men; a force that was deemed amply fufficient for the prefervation of internal tranquillity, and the protection of the kingdom against all enterprizes from abroad. The expence of maintaining it was computed at fix millions fix hundred and fifty-two thousand pounds. He moved, that the army-eftablishment, for the prefent year, fhould confift of the number ftated.

General Tarleton severely reprehended the methods ufed for the ordering and recruiting of the army. my. Veteran officers thereby were loaded with heavy expences, to which, if inadequate, they were liable to have raw young men set over them. He cited fome precedents of promotions of this nature, equally offentive to officers of long ftanding, and detrimental to the service. Hence, he faid, the recruiting business had fallen into the hands of crimps and fchool-boys: The avarice of the former and the inaptitude of the latter, was accordingly vi

fible in the individuals whom they enlifted. He next adverted to the expence of maintaining the army; the ftatement of which he cenfurs ed, as not fufficiently explicit. To the enormous fum already mentioned, were fill to be added, thofe wanted for the fupport of the ordnance, and for the extraordinaries, to fay nothing, of the immenfe fubfidies to foreign powers. Thefe, he obferved, neceffarily abforbed a fatal proportion of the money that ought to be referved for the various expeditions that employed our own people, whofe numbers, from that caufe, had proved inadequate to the fervices en which they were fent. Hence, it was, that inftead of ten thoufand men, fir Charles Gray was placed at the head of only half that number, to reduce the French Weft Indies, that were provided with a larger force to defend, than be to attack them. He then reviewed the events of the campaign upon the continent, where he af cribed many of the difafters that had befallen the coalition, to the perfidious conduct of our allies, as well as to the avarice with which they economised, for their own purposes, the vaft fums of money which they received from our profufion and credulity. What ever fuccefles might attend the arms of the coalition, in the next campaign, they would never compenfate the misfortunes of the laft, In answer to general Tarleton, and to Mr. Huffey, who feconded him with arguments of much the fame import, it was replied by Mr. Pitt, that, in order to enable the navy to make a proper impreffion on our foes abroad, we ought to place ourselves in a ftate

of complete fecurity at home, which could be done only by keeping a formidable army on foot. The expences arifing from this neceflary measure were, doubtlefs, great, but the dangers thereby averted were much greater. True it was that the confederacy had fuffered feverely; but this country not only maintained its fuperiority on the feas, but had, in the midft of every preffure occafioned by the war, encreased both its commerce and its refources, in a manner that opened the most promifling profpect of being able to carry it on with the utmost vigour, and that afforded the firongeft prefumption of terminating it finally to our honour.

To thefe affertions, Mr. Fox oppofed the continual failure of every attempt of the coalition, and the perpetual fuccefs attending the arms of the French, in all their undertakings. To speak in a ftyle of exultation, after experiencing fuch a feries of calamities, was, he faid, to infult the understanding of those who heard him. But what was now the object, he propofed, by perfifting in this unfortunate contest? it could not furely be the reduction of the French, who were now in a fituation that intitled them, without vanity, to affume that style of fuperiority which it fo ill became the minifter to affect. A counter-revolution was no longer to be expected; the powers which the coalition confifted had been fo completely humbled by their defeats, that they did not feem to harbour the leaft idea of that tendency. It would, therefore, be temerity, not fortitude, in us to continue a quarrel on our fingle ftrength,


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