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CHA P. VIII.
MR. PULTENEY's SPEECH ON THE MOTION FOR
E have heard a great deal about parliamentary armies, and about an army continued from year to year; I have always been, Sir, and always fhall be against a standing army of any kind: to me it is a terrible thing, whether under that of parliamentary or any other defignation; a standing army is ftill a standing army, whatever name it be called by; they are a body of men distinct from the body of the people; they are governed by different laws, and blind obedience and an entire fubmiffion to the orders of their commanding officer is their only principle. The nations around us, Sir, are already enflaved, and have been enflaved by thofe very means; by means of their standing armies they have every one loft their liberties; it is indeed impoffible that the liberties of the people can be preserved in any country where a numerous standing army is kept up. Shall we then take any of our measures from the examples of our neighbours? No, Sir, on the contrary, from their misfortunes we ought to learn to avoid those rocks upon which we have split.
Ir fignifies nothing to tell me, that our army is commanded by fuch gentlemen as cannot be supposed to join in any measures for enflaving their country; it may be fo; I hope it is fo; I have a very good opinion of many gentlemen now in the army; I believe they would not join in any fuch measures; but their lives are uncertain, nor can we be fure
how long they may be continued in command; they may be all difmiffed in a moment, and proper tools of power put in their room. Besides, Sir, we know the paffions of men, we know how dangerous it is to truft the beft of men with too much power. Where was there a braver army than that under Julius Cæfar? Where was there ever an army that had ferved their country more faithfully? That army was commanded generally by the best citizens of Rome, by men of great fortune and figure in their country; yet that army enflaved their country. The affections of the foldiers towards their country, the honour and integrity of the under officers, are not to be depended on; by the military law, the administration of juftice is fo quick, and the punishments fo fevere, that neither officer nor foldier dares offer to dif pute the orders of his fupreme commander; he must not confult his own inclinations: if an officer were commanded to pull his own father out of this houfe, he must do it; he dares not difobey; immediate death would be the fure confequence of the leaft grumbling. And if an officer were fent into the court of requests, accompanied by a body of mufketeers with screwed bayonets, and with orders to tell us what we ought to do, and how we were to vote, I know what would be the duty of this house; I know it would be our duty to order the officer to be taken and hanged up at the door of the lobby: but, Sir, I doubt much if such a fpirit.could be found in the houfe, or in any houfe of Commons that will ever be in England.
SIR, I talk not of imaginary things; I talk of what has happened to an English houfe of Commons, and from an English army; no only from an English army, but an army that was raised by that very houfe of Commons, an army that was paid by them, and an army that was commanded
by generals appointed by them. Therefore do not let us vainly imagine, that an army raised and maintained by authority of Parliament, will always be fubmiffive to them: if an army be so numerous as to have it in their power to over-awe the Parliament, they will be fubmiffive as long as the Parliament does nothing to difoblige their favourite general; but when that cafe happens, I am afraid that in place of the Parliament's difmiffing the army, the army will difmifs the Parliament, as they have done heretofore. Nor does the legality or illegality of that Parliament, or of that army, alter the cafe; for with refpect to that army, and according to their way of thinking, the Parliament difmiffed by them was a legal Parliament; they were an army raised and maintained according to law, and at firft they were raised, as they imagined, for the preservation of those liberties which they afterwards deftroyed..
Ir has been urged, Sir, that whoever is for the Proteftant fucceffion must be for continuing the army: for that very reafon, Sir, I am againft continuing the army. I know that neither the Proteftant fucceffion in his Majesty's, moft illuftrious house, nor any fucceffion, can ever be safe as long as there is a standing army in the country. Armies, Sir, have no regard to hereditary fucceffions. The first two Cæfars at Rome did pretty well, and found means to keep their armies in tolerable fubjection, because the generals and officers were all their own creatures. But how did it fare with their fucceffors! Was not every one of them named by the army without any regard to hereditary right, or to any right? A cobler, a gardener, or any man who happened to raife himself in the army, and could gain their affections, was made emperor of the world: was not every succeeding emperor raised to the throne, or tumbled headlong into the
du, according to the mere whim or mad frenzy of the foldiers?
We are told this army is defired to be continued but for one year longer, or for a limited term of years. How abfurd is this diftinction? Is there any army in the world continued for any term of years? Does the moft abfolute monarch tell his army, that he is to continue them for any number of years, or any number of months? How long have we already continued our army from year to year? And if it thus continues, wherein will it differ from the standing armies of those countries which have already submitted their necks to the yoke? We are now come to the Rubicon; our army is now to be reduced, or it never will; from his Majesty's own mouth we are affured of a profound tranquillity abroad, we know there is one at home; if this is not a proper time, if thefe circumstances do not afford us a fafe opportunity for reducing at least a part of our regular forces, we never can expect to fee any reduction; and this nation, already overburdened with debts and taxes, muft be loaded with the heavy charge of perpetually fupporting a numerous ftanding army; and remain for ever expofed to the danger of having its liberties and privileges trampled upon by any future King or Miniftry, who shall take it in their heads to do fo, and shall take a proper care to model the army for that purpose.
CHA P. IX.
SIR JOHN ST. AUBIN's SPEECH FOR REPEALING THE SEPTENNIAL ACT.
“HE subject matter of this debate is of fuch importance, that I fhould be ashamed to return to my electors, with
`out endeavouring, in the best manner I am able, to declare publicly the reasons which induced me to give my most ready affent to this question.
THE people have an unquestionable right to frequent new Parliaments by ancient ufage; and this ufage has been confirmed by feveral laws, which have been progreffively made by our ancestors, as often as they found it necessary to infift on this effential privilege.
PARLIAMENTS were generally annual, but never continued longer than three years, till the remarkable reign of Henry VIII. He, Sir, was a prince of unruly appetites, and of an arbitrary will; he was impatient of every reftraint; the laws of God and man fell equally a facrifice, as they flood in the way of his avarice, or difappointed his ambition: he therefore introduced long Parliaments, because he very well knew, that they would become the proper inftruments of both; and what a flavish obedience they paid to all his measures is fufficiently known.
IF we come to the reign of King Charles the First, we muft acknowledge him to be a prince of a contrary temper; he had certainly an innate love for religion and virtue. But here lay the misfortune-he was led from his natural difpofition by fycophants and flatterers; they advised him to neglect the calling of frequent new parliaments, and therefore by not taking the constant sense of his people in what he did, he was worked up into fo high a notion of prerogative, that the Commons (in order to reftrain it) obtained that independent fatal power, which at last unhappily brought him to his most tragical end, and at the fame time fubverted the whole constitution. And I hope we shall learn this lesson from it, never to compliment the crown with any new or extravagant powers, nor to deny the people thofe rights,