Debate

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HOUSE OF COMMONS.

Friday, November 3, 1775.

Sir James Lowther moved "That the introducing the Hanoverian Troops into any part of the Dominions belonging to the Crown of Great Britain, without the consent of Parliament first had and obtained, is contrary to law."

The House was moved, that so much of his Majesty' s most gracious Speech to both Houses of Parliament, as relates to the sending a part of his Majesty' s Electoral Troops to the Garrisons of Gibraltar and Port-Mahon, might be read; and the same was read accordingly.

The House was also moved, that the Entries in the Journals of the House, of the 18th day of March, 1698; of the Message from his Majesty to the House, informing the House that preparations were made for transporting the Guards who came with him into England, unless the House was disposed to continue them in his service any longer; and, also, the Address of this House thereupon, of the 20th day of the same month, — might be read; and the same were read accordingly.

The House was also moved, that the Entries in the Journals of this House of the 23d day of March, 1756; of the Message from his Majesty to this House, informing the House that he had augmented his Sea and Land Forces, and made a requisition of a body of Hessian Troops, upon receiving advice that a design had been formed by the French Court of invading Great Britain or Ireland; and, also, the Address of this House thereupon, — might be read; and the same were read accordingly.

The House was also moved, that the Entries in the Journals of this House, of the 19th day of December, 1745; of the Message from his Majesty to this House, informing the House of his having taken a body of Hessian Troops into his service, upon receiving advice of an intended invasion; and also, the Address of this House thereupon, — might be read; and the same were read accordingly.

Sir James Lowther said, he would not take up much of the time of the House in entering into the great question of law which this resolution led to; that, doubtless, would be spoken to by more able gentlemen than himself. The measure appeared to him to be doubly improper, both as being in direct opposition to the Bill of Rights, the Act of Settlement, and the established law of the land; and, also, that it is, at the present, highly inexpedient, in the present state of the dispute with America. Why are we, he said, to have recourse to foreign mercenaries, instead of our own troops? Why place a dependance upon those who cannot feel the same call for defending the liberty of this country, as the natives of it? There is no good reason for this; and if we may judge from the uniform tenour of Administration, in all their conduct, we ought to consider it as a most dangerous weapon, in the worst hands which any weapon can be lodged. But the noble Lord on the other side of the House will tell us that he is the able pilot that is to conduct us into port. I should be glad to ask that able pilot what are the provisions he has made on the continent of America, for the employment of those numerous forces to be voted? Where are his transports and victuallers to go? Where are his magazines to be formed? What security will he give us that they are not to roll about the Atlantick, by way of a harbour? But one question ought to include a thousand others: Why have we not peace with a people, who, it is

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evident, desire peace with us, and who are ready to submit to the legislative authority of this country?

[He then read, as a part of his speech, the last Address of the Congress to the People of England.]

Governour Johnstone moved to read that part in his Majesty' s Speech which says, "and I have, in testimony of my affection for my people, who can have no cause in which I am not equally interested, sent to the garrisons of Gibraltar and Port-Mahon a part of my Electoral troops." He then acquainted the House that he rose to second the motion of his honourable friend. Nothing, Mr˙ Speaker, requires such watchful attention, in this admirable system of Government, as the due poise of the sword between the King and the people. His Majesty has the entire command of the troops after they are raised or introduced into his dominions, that military operations may be conducted with that secrecy and despatch which is necessary to give them their full effect; but the people, on the other hand, must be first consulted on the occasion of raising or introducing such troops, lest, under the pretence of defending us against our enemies, an overwhelming force may be turned against our deairest rights. This rule I take to be a corner-stone in the British Constitution, which, once removed, leaves every privilege we enjoy at the mercy of the King. The words the Clerk has just read, I consider as the most wanton violation of this principle, and the most avowed declaration that it does not exist in the law or spirit of our Government. It is to meet such dangerous doctrines, and to vindicate the wisdom of our ancestors, who have not left the rights and privileges, for which they bled, on so precarious a footing, that I now presume to trouble the House. Nor does the Bill of Indemnity, laid on your table by the Ministry so early this day, slacken my ardour on the occasion. In the preamble to this bill it is declared "that doubts have arisen" on this great constitutional question. I say, then, it is fit the Legislature should determine those doubts. If so palpable a defect remains in this Government, let us boldly declare the fact, and correct it without delay. If, as I apprehend, it is free from so glaring an absurdity as that of supposing his Majesty can introduce any number of foreign troops into his dominions without the consent of Parliament, let us, with equal willingness, assert the right of the people throughout his Majesty' s dominions, and censure or pardon those who have offended, as their conduct, when duly considered, may deserve. But, in tenderness to them, do not let this great assembly forget what we owe to our country; do not let us forget what we owe to our own dignity as legislators, by leaving so great and essential a point undecided, merely in compliance with the humours of some gentlemen, who want to balance between their former professions and their present conduct.

It was happily observed by a noble Earl, whose superior wisdom was so long revered in this House, that you might intrench yourself with parchment up to the teeth, as defences against the power of arms put into the hands of other men, but the real security consisted in never admitting of such numbers as could effect any evil purpose; for wherever such power had been entrusted, distinct from the guardians of liberty, the sword had always found a passage to the vitals of the Constitution. This principle ever directed our peace establishments till the reign of his present Majesty. This had governed the conduct of our ancestors till this hour. This jealousy is evident in every clause of the Mutiny Bill, whereby a military establishment is interwoven into our Government. But in case this prudent, generous jealousy is commendable against our own countrymen and fellow-citizens, when they become soldiers — they who have equal privileges to lose and to defend — they who have all the ties of friendship, relation, and education, to restrain them from destroying the liberties of their country — how much more watchful and attentive ought we to be, when this intoxicating power is delivered up to foreign mercenaries, who have no object but the pleasure of a Prince; who have been accustomed to consider the rights of a freeman as an insult on their profession? Shall neither argument nor experience stop this House in the madness of her American career? Must every principle of our Government be dissolved in the contest? Shall the first barriers of our freedom be levelled with the dust, to favour our Ministers in their absurd management? Shall we despise the history of all those nations, from Carthage downwards, who

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have lost their liberty by employing foreign troops, and recur to those weak, silly arguments which have always been used as the reason for first introducing them? How different is the spirit which prevails now, to that which inspired our ancestors after the Revolution? That the House may judge on this point, I desire the Message from King William, of the 18th of March, 1698, and the Answer of the Commons of England, may be read.

The same was read accordingly.

Here you find a King, to whom the very Parliament he addressed owed the freedom of their resolves, supplicating, with a degree of eagerness, humility, and affection, that might have melted a Roman father, in behalf of troops who had been active in his service; who had been the companions of all his glory, and all his toils, whose numbers could be no object of jealousy; but those real patriots knew the nature of courtly precedents, and they saw the consequences of this. They refused the common formality of appointing a day to take his Majesty' s message into consideration; they waived those trifling respects, when the Constitution of their country was at stake; they instantly named a committee to draw up an answer, and the House most solemnly and truly declared, as you have heard, "that they could not consent to his Majesty' s request, without doing violence to that Constitution his Majesty came over to preserve." While I commend this glorious spirit in our forefathers, I hope there is no person who hears me, that can believe it springs from any of those ignoble prejudices, which sometimes prevail against the inhabitants of other countries. Singly and individually, I believe a Frenchman as good as an Englishman, and a Spaniard equal to either, if they are protected by a free Government. All I maintain is, that their misfortune having placed them under despotick Governments, they are more fit to destroy, and not so fit to preserve, the privileges of freemen; that the happy predilection every man feels for his native soil is a principle established by God, and ought to be strictly attended to by statesmen in the formation of armies, and that no intelligent statesman ever despised this natural affection, or would wish to have recourse to foreigners in the wanton degree the instance before us exhibits. It is said, we have plenty of money, but are scarce of men. If money is so plenty, it were well to consider from whence this superabundance comes, before we kill the hen that lays the golden egg. It is strange, in one breath to declare our plenty, and in the next to plead our poverty, as a reason for altering our ancient system of Colony government, to get money to support us! As to the scarcity of men, I maintain, if any country wants men

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for its necessary purposes, there are some defects in the system of Government. Every country, under a good Government, will breed up to the numbers wanted, and the means of subsistence. If population falls off, there is some radical defect. I perceive some gentlemen seem to laugh at this doctrine — I laugh at their ignorance. Will any man allege there is no radical defect in our Government, where by impolitick impositions in your revenue laws, one thousand men are annually lost to the kingdom, and four thousand are tempted to work against its interest; three thousand are annually lost in jail, or as fugitives driven abroad by the severity of your laws respecting private debts; one thousand by criminal punishments; one thousand soldiers die annually out of the course of nature, by the manner of shifting our troops from station to station, to pick up the diseases of all climates; some millions are lost, to national defence, by the oppressive laws about religion in Ireland? Is it possible to consider these facts, and assert there is no defect in the Government under which they happen? The introduction of foreigners by bills of naturalization, or stretches of prerogative, to remedy such waste, can only render the disease more incurable. Administration place this war to the account of the dignity of the nation; for they acknowledge no other profit, or advantage, can be reaped from it in the end. But is there any step that can reduce the reputation of this country so low as that of depending on the Electorate of Hanover for the interior government of its own subjects? What a confession at the outset in this business, that Great Britain is unequal to the contest! How are the mighty fallen since the peace of 1763! What a spectacle for Europe! Can it be supposed that the farce of the empire is really so diminished, or must we impute it to the injustice of the cause, and the madness of our rulers, who, without exterior cause, have rent the empire asunder in so deplorable a degree? So far I have reasoned on the bad policy of this measure, supposing it had been permitted by the law of the Constitution. I shall now consider it upon the spirit, and then upon the letter of the law.

The spirit of the Constitution is fully declared by the Bill of Rights, and annually by the Mutiny Bill: "That the raising, or keeping up a standing army, within the kingdom, unless it be with the consent of Parliament, is against law." Is there any man so narrowed in his ideas of Government as to think, in a sentence declaratory of the first essential principles of the Constitution, that the words "within the kingdom," meant merely the territory of England? The Bill of Rights is not an enacting law, but declaratory of the old rights of the subject by the common law: in this case we must look for the principle that governs the rule; wherever this principle extends, the law applies. The principle is plain, that the King may never be able to assemble any military forces for unjustifiable purposes, so as to overawe the Parliament to enact, or the people to acquiesce, in measures which may be destructive of their freedom. Let us try the construction contended for by the friends of Administration by this rule: to what purpose prohibit the King from exercising this power in England, if he can raise or introduce into Ireland or Guernsey, or the Plantations, whatever number of armed men he pleases? The reasoning is so weak and absurd, that I am well informed the first law officer of the kingdom has abandoned it in another assembly; besides, if this doctrine takes place, what security have the people in the Colonies for any of their privileges, if his Majesty can order what number of forces he pleases into the different Colonies, without the consent of Parliament? How does this accord with the doctrine of virtual representation? If their members here have no vote in the most material of all other concerns in a free state, the power of the sword, the feeble protection from withholding their pay and subsistence is of little avail: the Elector of Hanover may pay them; men in arms will ever find money for themselves. Nor can there be any reason alleged for resigning this power to the Crown: foreigners never can be employed without leaving sufficient time for calling the Parliament; whenever it is necessary to employ them, the occasion must be so momentous as to demand the advice of the great council of the nation. To allege, as in the present case, that the members of this House would rather submit that the Crown should possess the power of butchering half the inhabitants of the empire, than be disturbed in their diversion of killing a partridge, is the severest satire that could be

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pronounced upon us. It may be true of the majority. But in that case I ask, if there can be so strong a proof of a declining empire? I ask, if such dispositions prevail, if the people of America have not just grounds of jealousy against submitting the protection of their dearest rights to such guardians? I maintain there was full and sufficient time, without retarding the measures, to call the Parliament; the transports, with the Hanoverians, are not even yet sailed from Stade. The manner of mentioning the fact in the King' s Speech (more as a piece of news than as a measure on which we could deliberate) sufficiently shows that the prerogative of sending foreign troops to every part of his Majesty' s dominions beyond the kingdom of Great Britain, is claimed by his Majesty' s Ministers as an undoubted power in the Crown. And though the Bill of Indemnity now introduced shows they are under much difficulty in maintaining this doctrine by argument, yet every man of sense must see this business is merely to amuse the country gentlemen, that they might retire with decency on this day; for I defy them, under all the shifts of Parliamentary doublings, to negative this motion, consistent with their former principles.

Another objection to this measure occurs very strongly to me. His Majesty has declared, that any treaty which may be made for the employment of foreign assistance, shall be laid before the House. Now I maintain, some treaty for mutual contract (which is here the same thing) must have been made with the Elector of Hanover, and registered in his council, for the employing those troops. They are corps as distinct from the troops of this country as the Russians. His Majesty and the Elector of Hanover are, in their political capacity, as distinct as the Empress and the King of Great Britain. Does any one suppose so perfect a despotism prevails in Hanover, that the Elector has ordered the troops of that State without some formal capitulation? If there has been a capitulation, we have a right to see it. The Ministers have engaged his Majesty' s word, that every treaty for that purpose shall be laid on the table, and in case it is withheld, or denied, they are responsible for the breach of so sacred a declaration. But after sporting with the Royal proclamation, under all the seals and solemnities of the State, in the Quebeck Bill; after despising charters of Government granted by his Majesty' s predecessors, and acquiesced under for hundreds of years, as the proper executive form of binding the nation, I am not surprised they mock and ridicule a speech to Parliament of their own drawing.

I come now to consider the letter of the law. The Act of Settlement, 12 William III, c˙ 2, enacts, "that no person born out of the kingdoms of England, Scotland, or Ireland, or the dominions thereto belonging, (although he be naturalized, or made a denizen,) except such as are born of English parents, shall be capable to enjoy any office or place of trust, civil or military." Now, I ask if possession of the fortress of Gibraltar or Port-Mahon is not a great military trust? I ask if the King could commit this trust to the officers of Spain or France? I desire to know where the distinction in point of law is to be found, which renders it more legal to commit those great national bulwarks to Hanoverians than Spaniards? The Ministry, under the Duke of Newcastle, by advice of the late Duke of Cumberland, had made the same mistake as to the prerogative of the Crown in a capitulation they had made with Colonel, now General Prevost, for employing foreigners in America, without the previous consent of Parliament. I heard Mr˙ Pitt, in his place, tell the then Ministers, if they should dare to employ such troops, he should consider the Act of Settlement as broken, and that he would impeach the advisers of such illegal measures; this was at the commencement of a war with France, yet no apprehension of danger could induce that great man to yield any constitutional point to the expediency of the moment, which might establish a precedent that might ruin his country. These Ministers, though in possession of full as great a majority as generally follow the voice of the noble Lord in my eye, were too wise to persevere. They brought in the Act of the 29 Geo˙ II, c˙ 5, to enable his Majesty to grant commissions to foreign Protestants in America, only with the several limitations in the bill, which every officer knows. If his Majesty had possessed the power of employing foreign troops, where was the necessity of such a bill? The distinction that is taken

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by the noble Lord in the War Department, is trifling to the last degree. He says the difference is obvious, because in the one case they hold commissions from the King; in the other from the Elector of Hanover. Are they less to be feared because they do not hold their commissions from the State? Are they not equally under the order of his Majesty, when they enter his dominions? The law does not say they shall not hold any commissions, but any office, "or place of trust," civil or military. Our ancestors did not guard against the shadow, and submit to the pressure of the substance. What further confirms me in this opinion is, the words of the Mutiny Bill. It declares, as a principle in the Constitution, "that no man can be forejudged of life or limb, or suffer any punishment, but by the judgment of his peers." It makes the exception as to the army to be employed under that bill. Gibraltar and Minorca are expressly mentioned as places within the purview of the act. Every one is now convinced, from the case of Fabrigas, after all the chicane to avoid the decision, that subjects in Gibraltar or Minorca are equally liable to the protection of the common law against oppressions, as in other parts of his Majesty' s dominions. The Mutiny Act declares, as the only authority under which Courts-Martial can be held, "That his Majesty may grant his warrant to the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, or other chief Governour or Governours there for the time being, or the Governour or Governours of Minorca, Gibraltar, and any of his Majesty' s dominions beyond the seas respectively, or the person or persons there commanding, in chief, his Majesty' s forces, from time to time, to appoint Courts-Martial in the kingdom of Ireland, and other places and dominions respectively: in which Courts-Martial, all the offences above mentioned, and all other offences hereinafter specified, shall be tried and proceeded against in such manner as by this act shall be hereafter directed." The subsequent part of the act declares, "That every member, assisting at such trial, before any proceedings can be had thereupon, shall swear that he will administer justice according to the rules and articles for the better government of his Majesty' s forces, and according to the act of Parliament now in force for the punishment of mutiny and desertion, and other crimes therein mentioned." All these regulations it is impossible for any Hanoverian officer to comply with. Men who will not carry their ideas on the spot; who will not attend to the precision of criminal proceedings by the English law, which leaves nothing to discretion, find no difficulty in anything. "Do the best you can," solves every difficulty, and forms every instruction from them. But to men of more accurate discernment, I will ask a few questions: Can any Court-Martial be held in Minorca, or Gibraltar, without warrant from the Governour? Can his warrant order any Court-Martial, otherwise than as described by the Mutiny Bill? Can German officers, without knowing our language, swear they will administer justice according to a law they do not understand? In case the sentence is death, who is to approve such sentence, or who is to sign the warrant to execute? If it is alleged the Hanoverians carry their own military law with them into our dominions, I shall put a case: Suppose a Hanoverian, punished by Hanoverian law in Minorca, should bring his action for damages against the Governour, or, in case of punishment by death, an indictment is found, would such a plea in justification, that it was done according to the law of Hanover, be allowed? I maintain that it would not. I assert the moment any man enters into the dominions of the Crown of Britain, he owes a local allegiance, and is liable to the punishments and the protection of the laws of this realm only, and that no foreign potentate hath, or can exercise, any jurisdiction, ecclesiastical, civil, or military, within the same. If these positions are true, I demand, then, under what law are the Hanoverians to be tried? If they can neither be tried by our martial law, or their own, I ask, in what state of security are those garrisons left, when entrusted to men under no regular martial discipline? All these things prove not only the necessity of the previous consent of Parliament, before foreign troops can be introduced into the King' s dominions, but the necessity of an act of Parliament to accommodate the law to their situation. Some men, from approving the measure, may think this opposition springs from captious motives: I think I have said enough, and quoted respectable authority sufficient, to vindicate the movers from such

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reproach. Numbers in this House, conceiving themselves happy under various lucrative employments and bounties from the Crown, do not perceive the progressive steps the prerogative is making. Besides the daily increase of influence by additional places and pensions, when I consider the weight thrown into that preponderating scale by the Royal Marriage Bill; the violent attempt to raise money on the subject by proclamation, in the case of the 4 1/2 per cent, which was at last condemned in the courts of law, notwithstanding every obstruction that could be devised; the great, inordinate and iniquitous power given to the Crown by a violation of all the rights of the members of the East-India Company; the further breaches in the old form of Government, by the unusual powers yielded to his Majesty by the Quebeck Act and Boston Port Bill; I say, when I consider these strides, since the short period of his Majesty' s accession; the great increase of our peace establishment in the fleet and army, I cannot help expressing the alarms I feel, that a despotick Government is actually intended; that the proceedings in America are only the forerunner of what is preparing for ourselves at home; and that nothing can ensure the success of those schemes so effectually, as establishing the principle which is now contended for, that the King may overawe us "with foreign troops, if we are not disposed to receive the chains that his Ministers are forging for us.

Before I sit down, I beg leave to say a word or two on the subject of the different addresses to the Crown, which have been so often mentioned in this House, and given to the publick with such affected parade in the Gazette, even descending to the meanest Scotch Burgh, while petitions from the first Counties in England have been denied that honour; making the Gazette, which should be a paper of authentick intelligence, a vehicle of false information, more shameless than that of Bruxelles during the last war. First, it is asserted, to inflame the nation, that the Provincials had exercised great cruelties, and had scalped our soldiers. This I assert to be a notorious falsehood; that one man who was killed was afterwards scalped at Concord, I believe to be true; but the treatment given to the King' s troops in general, who were then made prisoners, was humane and generous. Another false fact, asserted in the Gazette, was, that Mr˙ Sayer had been taken up for high treason. The story of a scheme to seize his Majesty' s person when going to the Parliament House, was circulated with the utmost industry; but when the warrant was produced before a Judge, not remarkable for leaning to the cause of liberty, it appeared the commitment was for treasonable practices; and the whole story appeared so futile and ridiculous, that this Magistrate showed his utmost contempt of the whole proceeding. Yet these truths never reach the country: men read of the cruelty of the Americans abroad, and the indignant treason of their abetters at home; what good subject, under such belief, would not offer his life and fortune in defence of his Majesty' s person? If I could have believed any design against his Majesty, I should have been among the foremost to offer my life in his service. Knowing the whole to be a wicked contrivance of the Ministers to deceive the King and delude his people, my indignation turns against the contrivers of such shameful plots. What can be said in vindication of such proceedings? Is the protection of the personal liberty of the subject no part of the business of this House? The President Montesquieu says, that the spirit of liberty sees with the eye of a jealous mother the injury that is done to every individual. What man is safe under such machinations? The Ministerial paragraphs in the newspapers had long teemed with accounts of intercepted letters. At length a contrivance is devised to search the private papers of a suspected individual. Will the advisers of those measures tell us what they have now found, or formerly possessed? Will they produce some of this intercepted correspondence, that the world may judge between us? Let us see upon what ground bail was denied to this oppressed gentleman. Why he was sent close prisoner to the Tower. Why his counsel was denied admittance. If there are no grounds for such cruel severity, mankind must perceive the motive for propagating such falsities. The tide of addressing may turn, when the people see how grossly they have been imposed on by false accounts and false intelligence from every quarter; when they find that all true information has been purposely denied at home and abroad. I say, when the people

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become sensible of those truths, their vengeance may recoil with redoubled fury. Richard Cromwell and James the Second had their coffers filled with addresses three or four months before they were dispossessed of all authority. These should be examples what little reliance can be placed on empty words. The good sense of this country is often deceived at first, but they generally return to the principles of freedom at last. The American contest is complicated in its nature; it demands much information, and a process of reasoning, on the great principles of society, to understand the subject. Every art is used to mislead and misrepresent, by men reaping the harvest of our troubles. When the nation shall feel the great loss, and the ruinous expense attending the measures of Administration; when America is lost, I am in no doubt they will investigate the subject, and call those to severe account who are leading them hoodwinked in this wild career, which cannot be justified on any of those principles of liberty, or sound policy, by which the fame of this country has been renowned among the nations of the earth; by which it has hitherto invigorated every part of its dominions throughout the globe; by which it has raised, and by which alone it can maintain this mighty empire.

Mr˙ Walter Stanhope, in support of the motion, recapitulated what he called the errors and blunders of Administration; and prophesied the worst consequences if the affairs of this country were permitted to remain much longer in the hands of the present Ministers.

Lord Barrington. Upon this question, I shall, from the attention which I have given the subject, from being in office, endeavour to show the House wherein I think the present motion is against truth; and that there is nothing illegal in the present case. The Bill of Rights declares, that to introduce foreign troops within the kingdom in time of peace, and without the consent of Parliament, is illegal; and that declaration I take to be founded upon the common law of the land; but I think it has, as the bill expresses it, reference only to the kingdom itself, and not to the dependencies of it, of which our history will give us the clearest proof. Go so far back as the case of Calais: there was a garrison kept in that fortress regularly, without any consent of Parliament, or without its ever coming before Parliament. Then there were Dunkirk and Tangier, the garrisons of which were kept up without having the least recourse to Parliament; nor was it ever dreamed of, that the sovereigns of this country were acting illegally in keeping up such garrisons. As to the expediency of the measure, it is justifiable, because foreign troops are easier and readier to be had, and, at the same time, cheaper than our own troops. I know from the experience of last year' s recruiting, that it would have been difficult to have procured new levies in that time. He declared the measure to be legal, and said he should pity and contemn the Minister who should ask for a bill of indemnity. For his part he wanted none, though he had had a principal share in advising the measure.

Mr˙ T˙ Townshend. The dangers that must arise from the introduction of foreign troops into the dependencies of the realm, if not illegal, might be very great; for it might easily be in the power of an ill-designing Prince to fill all the exterior parts of the dominions with foreign mercenaries, and take opportunities to make them the means of overturning the Constitution. No man should forget the natural tendency of standing foreign troops; they cannot esteem your laws; they know not your Constitution; they cannot respect it. Recollect the case of the Hanoverian soldier at Maidstone, where the commanding officer told the civil officer, "Release the man, or I have eight thousand men here, and I will beat down your jail, and take him by force." Sir, that will be the language of commanders of foreign troops. They know not the laws, they cannot respect them. Disputes will arise in quarters, and they must be terminated in this manner. But let us turn our eyes to the other countries of Europe, and see what miserable work the soldiery have made. Sir, they have overturned Europe from its basis. Look at Sweden, where the King, merely by the means of an army, has cut the throat of Swedish liberty, and rules by the sword; and I might here observe, that this Administration in England was accessary to the mischief, or at least attempted to prevent a reparation. I do not assert this on my own knowledge; but I have been told it on pretty good authority, that when the Empress of Russia was about to stir in favour of the old Government of Sweden, we interposed,

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and threatened her with the fleet of England, if she made any such attempt. He was zealous in vindication of the character and reputation of King William III, whom he called our immortal deliverer, which had been assassinated in print, and the work encouraged, [alluding to Sir J˙ Dalrymple' s book.]

Mr˙ Serjeant Adair supported the motion. He said he should not enter at large into the subject of American affairs, but confine himself strictly to the question before the House. He first observed on the arguments that had been used on the other side of the question, particularly by Lord Barrington. He said, the noble Lord had affirmed that there was no statute law which limited the number of forces, or the power of the Crown in that respect, before the Revolution; yet he admitted that Charles II˙' s keeping a standing army without consent of Parliament was contrary to law; it must, therefore, be contrary to the ancient principles of the Constitution, which, the Serjeant contended, equally applied to the present case.

With regard to the instances mentioned, of keeping troops in Calais, Dunkirk, and Tangier, without authority of Parliament, he said that the ill consequences of the two latter instances had already been sufficiently pointed out, (by Mr˙ Townshend,) and the noble Lord himself had, with great candour, given an answer in the very next sentence, by observing that the same King who kept troops in those two garrisons, kept them also in England, without consent of Parliament; so that no inference could be drawn as to the legality of the one, more than of the other, which the noble Lord had admitted to be illegal. As to Calais, it was the last remnant of those extensive territories formerly held in France by our Kings, who claimed also the Crown of that kingdom; and no consent of the Parliament of England could be necessary to enable the King to keep troops in his French dominions.

He then argued, from the principles of the Constitution, that the King never had a power to keep up a standing army of mercenary soldiers in any part of the dominions of the Crown of England, in time of peace, without authority of Parliament, nor to introduce foreign troops at any time, without Parliamentary consent. The ancient armies of the Crown were composed of those who served by virtue of their tenure, for a limited time, and for particular services; which the King was entitled to, in common with other inferior Lords, in right of property and tenure. That, from the abolition of those military tenures, the Crown had no constitutional military force whatever, anywhere, except what should be granted by Parliament. That the Bill of Rights, being declaratory of the ancient laws and Constitution, should be construed as extensively as the principles from whence it was derived; and not narrowed or confined to the mere words of the declaration, which had a reference to the mischief recited in the preamble, but should be applied to all mischiefs that came within the same principles. That it had been held, in another House, by the Lord Chancellor, that this clause of the Bill of Rights, by the spirit and fair construction of it, applied to all the dominions of the Crown. That this construction was confirmed by the Mutiny Act; which, after reciting the very words of the Bill of Rights, goes on to say, that it is necessary that a body of forces should be kept up for the safety of the kingdom, and for the defence of the possessions of the Crown of Great Britain, & c. From whence he inferred, that it was the opinion of the Legislature, that forces could not be kept up for any of these purposes without consent of Parliament. That it was no answer to say, that, in fact, the number of troops mentioned in that act are only those kept up in Great Britain, exclusive of those employed in the garrisons abroad; because estimates were every year laid before Parliament, and supplies granted, for the express purpose of supporting the troops kept in those garrisons, as well as in Great Britain, and therefore the one had the consent of Parliament as well as the other.

He argued further, that the employing foreign officers was unlawful, from the Act of Settlement, by which no person born out of the dominions of Great Britain, though naturalized, could enjoy any office or place of trust, civil or military; and that the command of a body of troops at Gibraltar or Minorca was certainly an office or place of military trust. That this extended not only to the Kingdom of Great Britain, but to all its dominions, (he said,)

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was still further confirmed by the Act of 29 George II˙, chapter 5, by which the King was enabled to grant military commissions to foreign Protestants in America, which would have been altogether unnecessary if the King, by his own authority, could have employed foreigners in any part of his dominions. And he pointed out to the attention of the House, the precautions taken in that act, by limiting the number of such foreign officers, obliging them to take the oaths, and declaring that the Colonel should be a natural born subject; none of which were or could be taken in the present instance of the Hanoverian troops, without the authority of Parliament. After enlarging upon these topicks, he stated to the House the doubts and difficulties that must arise, by what law those foreign troops should be governed, or their discipline maintained. For, notwithstanding all that had been said of their own martial law, he insisted that no man could be put to death in the dominions of this country by any other authority than the Mutiny Act or the law of the land. He put it to the Crown lawyers to say, by what law disputes arising between the British troops, or inhabitants, and the Hanoverians, were to be decided.

He contended that the proposition contained in the motion was not only strictly warranted by the principles; of law and the Constitution, but that it was highly necessary that the House should come to such a declaration, to avert the danger arising from the precedent; more especially after the approbation expressed in their address. It had, indeed, been alleged that the approbation Went no further than the gracious motives which had induced his Majesty to the measure in question. That he had always looked upon this distinction as illusory and absurd; but, at all events, the only way to demonstrate that the approbation went only to the motives, and not to the measure itself, was to come to the resolution now proposed to the House.

He concluded with saying that he thought the expediency of the measure would come more properly before the House when they proceeded on the Bill of Indemnity, which had been read. That, however, the evidence of history, and the experience of all nations, evinced the extreme danger of calling in the assistance of foreign troops; and that the Saxons, who had been called into this Island to support the British Government, had themselves most effectually conquered and overturned it. But of all foreign troops, (said he,) the most dangerous are those who are the subjects of the King and not of the Crown and Parliament. Should any future Prince of the illustrious House that now sits upon the throne, perfectly unlike his present Majesty, assisted by Ministers not very unlike the advisers of this measure; should, I say, such a Prince, deluded by such advisers, entertain the mad and nefarious design of overturning the Contitution of this country, of destroying that liberty which was the glory and strength of his Government, and reducing his kingdom to the same abject state with those of most of his neighbours, what means could be so proper to effectuate so wicked a purpose as filling all parts of our dominions beyond sea with foreign mercenaries, and putting our strongest garrisons, and half our empire, into the hands of officers and soldiers the devoted subjects of the King, but totally independent on the Crown or Parliament of the kingdom?

Mr˙ Hans Stanley explained, that foreign soldiers serving in England were under the laws of England; and, in respect of the expediency of the measure relative to the want of men, he observed, that we had more men than the King of Prussia, who kept two hundred thousand men on foot, and as many as the House of Austria; but, as our men were employed in arts and manufactures, it was more expedient to take foreign troops into our pay, which had been the uniform practice of the kingdom from the battle of New-castle-upon-Tyne to this day, of which very many instances were to be met with in Rymer and Froisard.

Mr˙ Gordon asserted, that the measure was certainly illegal; that a recruiting Sergeant could not inlist a single foreigner, much less could you march five battalions to Gibraltar; but condemned the motion, for, being an abstract poposition without any connected question, it might carry too severe a censure upon an act which, he was convinced, was well meant, and very expedient. He trusted that its illegality might be established by an alteration in the preamble of the Bill of Indemnity; and therefore moved the previous question.

The Solicitor-General [Mr˙ Wedderburn] entered very

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fully into the subject, and stated to the House the different periods of time when, and the occasions for which, foreign troops had been introduced into this kingdom without the consent of Parliament; observing that there were so many precedents for such a practice that he wondered any objections should now be so seriously started against it. He embraced a great variety of circumstances and arguments against the motion, and in favour of the previous question. Having established, in his own opinion, (he said,) the legality of the measure, he went to the propriety of it, and took occasion to remark, that if the Militia laws were duly enforced, enlarged, and extended, there would never more be any occasion for them to debate on questions concerning foreign troops, as such would be totally unnecessary.

Mr˙ Burke observed, that one honourable gentleman was against the motion, because it was not an abstract proposition; another was against it, because it was an abstract proposition. He said it was not kind of Mr˙ Gordon to fight Opposition with a weapon which he knew they could not make use of. He observed that the honourable member knew the measure was illegal, yet he would vote in favour of it. Now, (said Mr˙ Burke,) if I, or any of the gentlemen on this side of the House, were to argue in this manner, it would cause a horse-laugh in the House. This is not an argument à fortiori, but à majori: it is the argument of a majority. He said the learned gentleman who spoke last had ransacked history, statutes, and journals, and had taken a very large journey, (as was usual with him,) through which he did not wish to follow him, but he was always glad to meet him at his return home. Let us (said he) strip off all this learned foliage from his argument; let us unswathe this Egyptian corpse, and strip it of its salt, gum, and mummy, and see what sort of a dry skeleton is underneath — nothing but a single point of law! The gentleman asserts that nothing but a bill can declare the consent of Parliament; not an address, not a resolution of the House; yet he thinks a resolution of the House would, in this case, he better than a bill of indemnity: so that we find a bill is nothing, an address is nothing, a resolution is nothing, nay, I fear, our liberty is nothing, and that, ere long, our rights, freedom, and spirit, nay, the House itself, will vanish in a previous question.

Lord North desired to know whence the proofs and authorities of a point of law could be better drawn than from history, statutes, and journals. He did not think it was from wit, or flowers of eloquence, that they should be deduced. He admired the honourable gentleman' s method of proving a resolution to be nothing; an address nothing; a bill nothing; and, by the same mode of reasoning, he was inclined (he said) to conclude that a long, witty speech was — nothing.

General Conway was very sorry to see such learned gentlemen as Mr˙ Serjeant Adair and the Solicitor-General differ so widely on so important a point. He said that, for his part, he did not understand the laws to a practical nicety; but his experience in that House had given him so much knowledge of the Constitution, that he felt the measure illegal and dangerous. He could not conceive with what propriety a bill of indemnity could be proposed for a measure that was legal; the ideas of criminality and indemnity were (he asserted) inseparable. He condemned the conduct of those who advised his Majesty to bring foreigners into this kingdom without the previous consent of Parliament, but said he would vote for the previous question, because the motion was too general, and passed a censure on a measure which, so far as his Majesty was concerned, he was sure proceeded from the best motives.

Sir William Lemon approved of the American measures; but such was his high disapprobation of the paragraph in his Majesty' s speech which informed his Parliament that he had sent his Hanoverian troops to garrison Gibraltar and Minorca, that he was compelled to withhold his approbation of measures which, in every other instance, he approved, and consequently, on that account alone, voted against the Address.

The previous question being put, that the main question be now put, the House divided. The noes went forth:

Tellers for the yeas,
Lord John Cavendish,
Sir James Lowther,
81

Tellers for the noes,
Sir George Howard,
Mr˙ Onslow,
203

So it passed in the negative.