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than once a-day, drink tea, coffee, chocolate, or some other cooling and diluting infusion; delicacies which the soldier cannot purchase; to which he is entirely a stranger, and of which the place must be supplied by some other cheap and wholesome liquors.
If, sir, those gentlemen whose close attention to the interest of the innholder has, perhaps, abstracted them, in some degree, from any regard to the necessities of a soldier, will consent to allow him five pints a-day, I shall contend no longer; for though I cannot agree that it is a sufficient provision, yet, as other gentlemen, equally able to judge in this subject with myself, are of a different opinion, I shall show my regard for their sentiments by desisting from opposition.
Lord BALTIMORE spoke in substance as follows:-Sir, I am not able to discover any necessity of compromising this debate, by taking the mean between the two different opipions, or for denying to the soldiers what every labourer or serving-man would murmur to be refused for a single day.
I believe, sir, every gentleman, who examines the expense of his family, will find that each of his servants consumes daily at least three quarts of small beer, and surely it is not to be required that a soldier should live in a perpetual state of war with his constitution, and a constant inability to comply with the calls of nature.
General HANDASYD spoke to the following purpose Sir, the inclination shown by several gentlemen for a penurious and scanty provision for the soldiers, must, in my opinion, proceed from an inattentive consideration of their pay, and will, therefore, be removed, by laying before them an account of his condition, and comparing his daily pay with his daily expenses.
The whole pay of a foot soldier, sir, is sixpence a-day, of which he is to pay fourpence to his landlord for his diet, or, what is very nearly the same, to carry fourpence daily to the market, for which how small a supply of provisions he can bring to his quarters, especially in time of scarcity, I need not mention.
There remain then only twopence, sir, to be disbursed
for things not immediately necessary for the preservation of life, but which no man can want without being despicable to others and burdensome to himself. Twopence aday is all that a soldier has to lay out upon cleanliness and decency, and with which he is likewise to keep his arms in order, and to supply himself with some part of his clothing. If, sir, after these deductions, he can, from twopence a-day, procure himself the means of enjoying a few happy moments in the year with his companions over a cup of ale, is not his economy much more to be envied than his luxury? Or can it be charged upon him that he enjoys more than his share of the felicities of life? Is he to be burdened with new expenses lest he should hoard up the publick money, stop the circulation of coin, and turn broker or usurer with twopence a-day?
I have been so long acquainted, sir, with the soldier's character, that I will adventure to secure him from the charge of avarice, and to promise that whatever he shall possess not necessary to life, he will enjoy to the advantage of his landlord.
Then the advocate CAMPBELL spoke in substance as follows :-Sir, I am far from intending to oppose this proposal of five pints, though, upon a rigorous examination, it might appear more than the mere wants of nature require ; for I cannot but declare that this question has too long engaged the attention of the house, and that the representatives of a mighty nation beset with enemies, and encumbered with difficulties, seem to forget their importance and their dignity, by wrangling from day to day upon a pint of small beer.
I conceive the bill, which we are now considering, sir, not as a perpetual and standing law, to be interwoven with our constitution, or added to the principles of our government, but as a temporary establishment for the present year; an expedient to be laid aside when our affairs cease to require it; an experimental essay of a new practice, which may be changed or continued according to its
To allow, sir, five pints of small beer a-day to our sol
diers, for a single year, can produce no formidable inconveniency, and may, though it should not be entirely approved, be of less disadvantage to the publick, than the waste of another day.
[An alteration was made to five pints, instead of three quarts; and the bill, thus amended, was ordered to be engrossed, and a few days afterwards, being read a third time, was passed, and ordered to the lords, where it occasioned no debate.]
HOUSE OF COMMONS, APRIL 12, 1741.
A copy of his majesty's speech being read, Mr. CLUTTER
BUCK rose, and spoke as follows: Sir, the present confusion in Europe, the known designs of the French, the numerous claims to the Austrian dominions, the armies which are levied to support them, and the present inability of the queen of Hungary to maintain those rights which descend to her from her ancestors, and have been confirmed by all the solemnities of treaties, evidently require an uncommon degree of attentiou in our consultations, and of vigour in our proceedings.
Whatever may be the professions of the French, their real designs are easily discovered, designs which they have carried on, either openly, or in private, for near a century, and which it cannot be expected that they will lay aside, when they are so near to success. Their view, sir, in all their wars and treaties, alliances and intrigues, has been the attainment of universal dominion, the destruction of the rights of nature, and the subjection of all the rest of mankind; nor have we any reason to imagine that they are not equally zealous for the promotion of this pernicious scheme, while they pour troops into Germany, for the assistance of their ally, as when they wasted kingdoms, laid cities in ashes, and plunged millions into misery and want, without any other motive than the glory of their king.
But the French are not the only nation at this time labouring for the subversion of our common liberties. Our
liberties, sir, are endangered by those equally interested with ourselves in their preservation; for in what degree soever any of the princes who are now endeavouring to divide among themselves the dominions of Austria, may be pleased with the acquisition of new territories, and an imaginary increase of influence and power, it must be evident to all who are not dazzled by immediate interest, that they are only fighting for France, and that by the destruction of the Austrian family, they must in a short time fall themselves.
It is well known, sir, though it is not always remembered, that political as well as natural greatness is merely comparative, and that he only is a powerful prince, who is more powerful than those with whom he can have any cause of contention. That prince, therefore, who imagines his power enlarged by a partition of territories, which gives him some additional provinces, may be at last disappointed in his expectations : for, if this partition gives to another prince already greater than himself, an opportunity of increasing his strength in a degree proportionate to his present superiority, the former will soon find, that he has been labouring for nothing, and that his danger is still the same.
Such, sir, is the case of the king of Prussia, who, when he has overrun that part of Germany, to which he now lays claim, will only have weakened the house of Austria, without strengthening himself.
He is at present secure in the possession of his dominions, because neither the Austrians would suffer the French, nor the French permit the Austrians to increase their power by subduing him. Thus, while the present equipoise of power is maintained, jealousy and caution would always procure him an ally whenever he should be attacked ; but when, by his assistance, the Austrian family shall be ruined, who shall defend him against the ambition of France ?
While the liberties of mankind are thus equally endangered by folly and ambition, attacked on one side, and neglected on the other, it is necessary for those who foresee the calamity that threatens them, to exert themselves
in endeavours to avert it, and to retard the fatal blow, till those who are now lulled by the contemplation of private advantage, can be awakened into a just concern for the general happiness of Europe, and be convinced that they themselves can only be secure by uniting in the cause of liberty and justice.
For this reason, sir, our sovereign has asserted the Pragmatick sanction, and promised to assist the queen of Hungary with the forces which former treaties bave entitled her to demand from him; for this reason he has endeavoured to rouse the Dutch from their supineness, and excite them to arm once more for the common safety, to intimidate, by new augmentations, those powers whose ardour, perhaps, only subsists upon the confidence that they shall not be resisted, and to animate, by open declarations in favour of the house of Austria, those who probably are only hindered from offering their assistance, by the fear of standing alone against the armies of France.
That by this conduct he may expose his dominions on the continent to invasions, ravages, and the other miseries of war, every one who knows their situation must readily allow; nor can it be doubted by any man who has heard of the power of the Prussians and French, that they may commit great devastations with very little opposition, the forces of the electorate not being sufficient to give them battle; for though the fortified towns might hold out against them, that consideration will very little alleviate the concern of those who consider the miseries of a nation, whose enemies are in possession of all the open country, and who from their ramparts see their harvest laid waste, and their villages in flames. The fortifications contain the strength, but the field and the trading towns comprise the riches of a people, and the country may be ruined which is not subdued.
As, therefore, sir, the electoral dominions of his majesty are now endangered, not by any private dispute with the neighbouring princes, but by his firmness in asserting the general rights of Europe ; as the consequences of his conduct, on this occasion, will be chietly beneficial to Britain,