Page:The Hessians and the other German auxiliaries of Great Britain in the revolutionary war.djvu/47

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35
THE TREATIES BEFORE PARLIAMENT.


of your lordships,” he asked, “that does not perceive most clearly that the whole is a mere mercenary bargain for the hire of troops on one side, and for the sale of human blood on the other; and that the devoted wretches thus purchased for slaughter are mere mercenaries in the worst sense of the word?”

The Tory lords would seem to have done less than their share of the talking, perhaps, because it was unnecessary for them to speak, sure as they were of a majority. The motion was lost by thirty-two votes to one hundred.

It seems to me that their lordships were a little hard upon the German soldiers. Most of these poor fellows did not fight for pay at all, but fought because they could not help it. The people who were really “mercenaries in the worst sense of the word” were the Landgrave, the Duke, and the princes; but perhaps the noble lords could hardly be expected to say so.

As to the conduct of the British ministry in hiring the troops, it would seem that if the war were to be carried on energetically, no other course was possible. Owing to the distrust of regular soldiers that still lingered in English minds, the British army had not been maintained during peace of a strength equal to the demands now made upon it. Enlistments were made with difficulty, and could at best bring in but raw recruits. Conscription seems always to be out of the question in England. If men must be had, Lord North must seek them in Germany.

But the ministry and the empire paid a terrible price for the German auxiliaries. The answer to the treaty with the Landgrave was the Declaration of In-