Hanoverian Troops


On this subject of the Hanoverian troops, the arguments were chiefly directed against that paragraph in the Address which thanks his Majesty for his gracious consideration in sending part of his Electoral troops to garrison the fortresses of Gibraltar and Minorca. Those who condemned the paragraph argued against its illegality, its being expressly repugnant to the Bill of Rights; and, above all, its being a precedent of a most alarming and dangerous tendency, as it recognized a power in the King to introduce foreigners into his British dominions, and to raise armies without the previous consent of Parliament. It was defended on a variety of grounds: First, on the idea that the paragraph expressed nor implied no approbation of the measure; that the Bill of Rights passed at the Revolution was a declaratory law; and that law, to use Mr˙ Attorney-General' s own words, embraced no part of the British dominions beyond the limits of this island; that the necessity of the measure justified it, because of the delay it might occasion, and the consequent embarrassment it might bring on in the future progress of this business; that it was nothing new, for six thousand Dutch had come over in the year 1745 to our assistance, without any such previous consent. The gentlemen in Opposition considered the paragraph as a full approbation of the measure; whilst the friends of Administration insisted that it was no more than a compliment to his Majesty' s good intentions, and left the measure itself a matter of future deliberation. Mr˙ Wedderburn and Mr˙ Dunning had a long conversation upon the different interpretations of the clause. Very few of the speakers confined themselves to this single point, but successively beat over the wide ground of the general dispute with America. The Minister, however, quitting his ground, left his supporters by themselves, and fairly owned he was the adviser of the paragraph, and that he was firmly persuaded of its legality, wisdom, and expediency. This explanation was occasioned by his being pressed, in case the Opposition agreed to the Report, that his Lordship would agree to review the proposition, and give it a full and fair discussion, on some future day, to be appointed for that purpose. — Par˙ Hist.