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feeling, and the dangers of the country, at a time when no unnecessary distrust should be created, Mr Sheridan concluded with moving," that the standing order be referred to a committee of privileges, to meet tomorrow morning."
Mr Windham entered into a long, vehement, and general attack upon the press of London, as conducted within the last thirty years, and concluded with expressing his determination to oppose the motion.
Lord Folkstone said, that he agreed with the animadversions made by his Rt. Hon. friend (Mr Windham) on the venal state of the London press. He thought that venality very general and very gross. He further agreed with the same gentleman in thinking, that the state of the country thirty or forty years ago was preferable to that in which it at present is.
Mr Yorke entered his protest against the principle, that any honourable member was bound to give his reasons for enforcing the standing order in the exclusion of strangers. He should state the reason that induced him to enforce that order in the present instance. It was to prevent the mistakes and gross misconceptions that had, in a former instance, taken place in the representations of the evidence given by the witnesses at the bar of the house, in the different Lon don papers.
Sir F. Burdett animadverted upon the total forbearance of ministers on the present question. A Right Honourable Gentleman had spoken of the reputation of the house being on its last legs; he did not think the reputation of the house, in the eye of the public, had a leg to stand on.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer rose to order.
Sir Francis Burdett continued. He had not made the assertion positively, as stated by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but stated it as his apprehension. Jhe house might recollect what passed in May last, relative to a minister negociating for the purpose of bringing in a member of parlia ment, in the most corrupt manner; and it was impossible for them to shut their eyes against the opinion of the public upon that transaction. He felt it his duty, while a member of parliament, to speak the truth, and the whole truth, in that house; but at the same time, he knew he must speak it in a manner agreeable to the order of the house, and conformable to those principles of common decency which ge⚫tlemen must observe in every assembly. It was idle to talk of secresy.-Was it a secret that so many thousands of our brave soldiers, and so many millions of our treasure, had been squandered? If secresy was the principle, if would be better to appoint a secret com
mittee at once, than insult the public by such a proceeding. The house was sick in its reputation, (order) it could not be too anxious to restore it to health.
For Mr Sheridan's motion 80-Against it 166-Majority against the motion-86.
The papers laid before parliament rela. tive to the Walcheren expedition, are wo luminous almost beyond example. The history of the expedition itself does not differ much from what was previously known on the subject of the sick and wounded, The dispatches from General Sir E. Coote to Lord Castlereagh are peculiarly interesting. The number sent home from Waicheren at different times amounted to 12,862. The first dispatch, dated from Middleburgh, August 31. urges very strongly the necessity of having additional medical assistance.—Another dispatch of September 14. states that up to that day only one staff surgeon and three hospital mates had arrived, and that no additional supply had been sent of medicines, hospital bedding, or comfort of any kind, so imperiously called for by the afflicting number of the sick.-Another, dated September 17, states, that out of 16,000 men, 8200 were then sick. No additional medical assistance had then arrived. The sick so crowded as to lie two in a bed in several places, and that they had no circulation of air.-The 23d September, Sir E. Coote again states, that no additional medical assistance had reached him (except two hospital mates,) and that no comforts or wine for the sick had arrived; that they were in great distress for port wine, and would soon be in want of bark-On the 28th September, the quantity of bark in store amounted to 300lbs.; a quantity not more than sufficient for the consumption of four or five days.— Sir Eyre Coote, on the 3d October, requested that 300 of the royal yeteran battalions should be sent out to be employed as orderlies in the hospitals; but the commander in chief objecting to this measure, it was not adopted.-A dispatch, dated 6th October, states, that the troops laboured under a great privation, from the want of their heavy baggage and warn cloathing, which were left in England agreeable to order. The same date, Sir Eyre speaks of the unexampled and increasing sickness of the troops, which rendered it almost impossible to provide a sufficient number of healthy men (exclusive of other duties) to act as orderlies in the hospitals. A return of Dr M'Gregor, inspector of hospitals, dated 16th October, specifies, that of 15 regiments of the line, whose establishment of medical officers was 54, there were only
Es efficient and fit for duty. The ordnance department had four; two regiments of the German Legion had only four efficient officers. At that time no corps in the island had less than four hundred sick. The 236 October Sir Eyre Coote speaks of the increasing sickness of the troops, that the convalescents did not gain ground, and that from them no service could be expected for two or three months after their discharge from the hospital. The last letter is dated the 27th October, when Sir Eyre Coote left Walcheren to the command of Lieut.-general Don. The former states, that after all the embarkations of sick, upwards of 4000 then remained in the hospitais, and that, in the event of the enemy's landing in the island, our hospitals (except those at Veere and Flushing) must be abandoned to him. The letters of Sir Eyre Coote breathe the spirit of a most benevolent soldier, feeling for the sufferings of his army like a parent, and do him infinite ho
Dr Webb, inspector of hospitals, in his report, says, " Independent of the existing records of the unhealthiness of Zealand, every object around us depicts it in the most forcible manner; the bottom of every canal that has communication with the sea is thickly covered with an ooze, which, when the tide is out, emits a most offensive and noisome effluvia; every ditch is filled with water, which is loaded with animal and vegetable substances in a state of putrefaction; and the whole island is so fat, and so near the level of the sea, that a large proportion of it is little better than a swamp; and there is scarcely a place where water of a tolerably good quality can be procured.-The effect of all these causes of disease is strongly marked in the appearance of the inhabitants, the greater part of whom are pale and listless. Scrophula is a very general complaint among thea. The children are sickly, and many of the grown persons are deformed. The endemic diseases of this country, remittent and intermittent fevers, begin to appear about the middle of August, and continue to prevail until the commencement of frosty weather checks the exhalations from the earth, gives tone to the debilitated frames of the people, and stops thereby the further progress of the complaints. It is computed that nearly a third of the inhabitants are attacked with fever every sickly season-If individuals who have lived in this island from their infancy, who observe a degree of cleanliness that can scarcely be surpassed, and who live in ecial apartments, cannot obviate the effects of the climate, it may naturally be concluded what a foreign army must suffer by being ex
posed, in the first instance, to excessive fa tigue, and to the inclemency of the wea her, and afterwards by being crowded in to barracks, where, under the most favourable circumstances, the sudden transition must have produced a severe and extended disease."
EXPEDITION TO THE SCHELDT. The first witness examined at the bar of the house of commons, was General Sir David Dundas, the commander in chief. Upon the propriety or impropriety of an expedition against Antwerp, his testimony affords nothing decisive. He seems to have been very little informed upon the subject, and his opinion, when consulted, was, that the reduction of Antwerp might be undertaken either by a march by land from Ostend, or by the combined operations of a naval and military force up the 3cheldt. He states the impracticability of assembling a large military force for the purpose sooner than it was collected. It appears, that about the end of March last, government entertained the idea of making an attack upon Walcheren, and upon the nine or ten sail of the line that were at that time in, Flushing, not in a state to proceed to sea. Fifteen or sixteen thousand men were deemed necessary for the attack, and the commander in chief was directed to inform government, whether such a force could at that time be provided. His answer was, that it could not. But war ensuing between Austria and France, and Bonaparte and the French troops being engaged on the Danube, his majesty's ministers adopted a plan upon a more enlarged scale, and resolved upon an expedition, not only against Walcheren, but against Antwerp. Sir Da vid Dundas's testimony goes to establish the fact, that an army of 35,000 could not have been assembled earlier than the 224 of June; that the whole force was embarked between the 24th of June and the 6th of July, and that such great exertions to prepare, equip, and embark the army, were never made before. The commander in chief's evidence is curious, relative to Lord Chatham's appointment. He says he had no share in the choice of the general who' was to take the command; that he does not recollect the extent of Lord Chatham's services, but that he knew his lordship to be a field officer in the American war, and a major-general in, Holland. Sir David did not know that Lord Chatham had at any time under his command 5000 men, yet he always considered him a very excellent officer.
The next witness was Sir Lucas Pepys, physician-general to the army. He states, that he was not consulted respecting the nature and the period of the Walche
ren fever, previous to the sailing of the es. pedition; and that he was perfectly ac quainted, both by writing from and conversation with Sir John Pringle, with the nature of the disorder to which soldiers were subject in Walcheren; that no particular preparation was made to guard against the disease, which he knew to be most prevalent in July, August, September, and until the middle of October, and that he was taught to believe the expedition was only to be of a few weeks duration. He was convinced the marsh fever was greater in Walcheren than any other place, except Batavia in the east.
Return, shewing the effective strength of the army which embarked for service in the Scheldt, in the month of July 1809; the casualties which occurred; the number of officers and men who returned to England; and the number reported sick, according to the latest returns (with the exception of the 59th regiment, from which corps a proper return has not yet been received.)
Adjutant-General's office, February 1. Embarked for service, 1738 Off. 37,481 men. Officers. Rank & file. Killed, ................... 7 99 Died on service ........40 2,041 Died since sent home..20 1,859 Deserted........ Discharged.........................
Total who returned, now borne on the strength of their respective corps, 1671 Officers, 33,379 rank and file.
Of which number are reported sick, 217 Officers, 11,296 rank and file.
HARRY CALVERT, Adj. Gen. The minutes of the examinations which took place on the fourth, fifth and sixth days, are less important than those by which they were preceded.
Sir Thomas Trigge, lieutenant general of the ordnance, was the first witness examined on the fourth day. The main points of his evidence, as bearing upon the lead. ing question, were, that the ordnance preparations were completed about the end of June; and that they might have been completed at any previous time, kad orders to that effect been given.
Sir Rupert George, the chairman of the transport board, was the next witness; from whose evidence it appears, that, on the 20th of May, he received instructions to prepare transports for the expedition to the Scheldt. They were to be prepared as soon as possible; but neither the amount of the tonnage, nor the number of men required, was at that time mentioned. Great difficulties presented themselves in obtaining
transports; as previously to the Scheltd expedition, it had been found necessary to raise the price from a guinea to five-andtwenty shillings per ton, for the service of Spain and Portugal; but, ultimately, upwards of 100,000 tons were taken up.The chief difficulty was in obtaining such transports as were fit for cavalry. It fur ther appeared, from the examination of Sir Rupert George, that, during the equip. ment of the armament, and its subsequent progress, the whole country would not have furnished hospital-ships in sufficient time for the accommodation of the sick The hospital and convalescent ships were to the same extent that had been usual in other expeditions, to Copenhagen, to the Texel, and even to distant parts of the world; and the transports were occasions ally employed to bring back the sick.They were then ordered to be cleansed, fu migated, and provided with a double allowance of medical comforts, and again dispatched to Walcheren, to bring home more of the sick; but so greatly did the numbers of the sick increase, all these precautions proved inadequate. An hospital-ship, it appears, cannot be equipped in less than a month; and, early in September, when there were considerably more than 11,000 sick, the only two hospital-ships in the expedition were the Asia and Aurora, capable of accommodating about 60 men in each ship. An hospital-ship for each division had been required; but it was found impracticable to furnish them in time.
Major-general Calvert, adjutant-general of the army, was next examined. His evidence, as to the preparations for the expedition, varied but little from that of the preceding witnesses. He was consulted by the commander in chief as to the mode of conducting an attack upon Antwerp; and, on the 3d of June, he delivered a written opinion, in substance as follows:-The difficul ties attending a debarkation at, or in the vincinity of Ostend, and a movement thence to the point of attack, would be insuperable: it was therefore only necessary to consider the attempt as a conjunct operation of the navy and army; in which case, the Hondt or West Scheldt presented itself as the channel through which it might he conducted. On a general view, it appear ed indispensably necessary to possess ourselves of the islands of Walcheren and South Beveland; whence, with the aid of the navy, and an extensive command of small craft, a body of troops might be landed at Sandvliet, competent to march to Antwerp, and to reduce the respective force on the right bank of the Scheldt. The citadel of Antwerp, however, was formidable; and the works of the town would demand regulas
gular approaches, and a train of artillery, which could not be transported without much time and labour, unless the navigation of the Scheldt were previously secured, which could be effected only by obtaining possession of the forts on the left, as well as on the right bank of the river. It might be presumed that the enemy, having ascertained our force and object, would concentrate his troops, drawing them from the fortresses in Holland, the Netherlands, and French Flanders. The service of the English would be arduous, and the troops must unavoidably be exposed to great risk,
General Calvert, it should be remarked, as well as Sir David Dundas, was practically acquainted with the country, having been at Antwerp in 1794; but his opinion also totally discountenances the expectation of carrying Antwerp by a coup de-main.General Calvert, however, was never consalted after the delivery of this opinion.
Lieutenant-colonel Gordon, secretary to the commander in chief, was next examined. According to a written opinion, which he had delivered on the 31st of May, the only practicable mode for destroying the 'enemy's naval force in the Scheldt, and at Antwerp, was by a conjunct operation of the navy and army; the former acting in the river, and the latter landing on the coast, and moving direct upon Antwerp; er by a maritime operation exclusively, from our ships and vessels in the Scheldt, and acting from them with our land-forces against such places, on either bank of the river, as might be necessary to facilitate the attack upon Antwerp. According to the first of these plans (reckoning on the force agreed upon,) none of the military force could be spared to co-operate with the seamen, by partial descents from the fleet, upon the shores of the Scheldt; but it must be wholly and solely appropriated for the attainment of its object, by a march through the enemy's country. The points of debarkation should be Østerd and Blankenberg: to render success possible, Ostend must open its gates without opposition, and be secured as a place d'armes for stores, &c. There are then two great roads to Antwerp: the one by Bruges, Ghent, and Lotteren, about 60 miles; the other thro' Thoroux, Oudenarde, Alost, or Brussels, and Malines, about 100 or 1 10 miles. The former could not be attempted; as, besides the country through which it leads being low, and intersected by canals, it terminates only on the banks of the Scheldt, opposite to Antwerp, where, probably, the means of passing the river would have been removed. In the latter route, which the army must take, Lisle, Tournay, Valenciennes, Mons, and Ghent, all førtified towns,
would be within three days forced march of any part of our line of operations; consequently, admitting the utmost possible success to attend our advance, a retreat by the same route would be, if at all practicaable, one continued battle, throughout the whole march, against the collective force of that whole country. "If this reason is correct," says Colonel Gordon," it follows, that against the destruction of the enemy's fleet at Antwerp, must be put the risk of the loss of the WHOLE disposable force of the empire, and with this addition to the comparison, that the risk MUST be suffer ed-and the object MAY NOT be obtained and that, unless the army could be embarked at Antwerp, the loss of the greater part of it would be almost certain."`
Colonel Gordon considers the second plan, that of a maritime operation, by acsing with a land force from our ships on the banks of the Scheldt, though an enterprize of less risk than the former, as a most desperate attempt; and that, whether successful or otherwise, a very large proportion of our naval and military means would be put to imminent hazard. Should it be adopted, the first operations would be to obtain possession of Walcheren and South Beveland, or of Cadsand and South Beve land, the latter being indispensable. The disembarkation of the troops might be protected as high as Sandvliet, within 20 miles of Antwerp; and if a landing could be effected there, it might be possible to march directly upon Antwerp; at the same time, a corps endeavouring to take possession of the forts and batteries on the river, and the boats of the fleet well manned, armed, and towing launches with troops, proceeding with the tide direct to the city.
Captain Sir Home Popham was next examined. He was first applied to for his opi nion by Lord Mulgrave, on the 4th of June; and, on the 11th, he had an interview with the Lords Chatham and Castlereagh. He had been at Antwerp in 1794, and he thought that a landing might be effected at Sandvliet. He was well acquainted with the island of Walcheren; always knew that it was subject to agues in the autumn; had had an ague there himself in 1794; but did not think that many of the inhabitants were then so afflicted, nor did he think our troops were so much affected as in the last year. He considered, that such parts of the force as were not employed in Walcheren, were sufficient to proceed to the ulterior objects; but he always thought it possible, on Flushing being closed, that reinforcements from them might be spared. On the presumption, that there were no regular troops in Antwerp, and the whole of the Low Countries were particularly bare of soldiers, he the C
thought it would be quite safe for an army of 20,000 men to march to Antwerp; as, in the event of a hostile army approaching, the army would have sufficient time to escape to the fleet. From the conversations which he had had with his Majesty's ministers, the general impression on his mind was, that Antwerp was in a defenceless state, and that there were very few troops in the Low Countries. The destruction of the French fleet, and of the basin and arsenals at Antwerp, could not have been effected without the troops having previous ly obtained possession of the fortifications at Antwerp; unless it should have appeared, on opening the river, that it was possible to storm the town on the sea-face, during the night. If the fleet were lying at the lower part of the town, and the English in possession of the river, he had thought it possible to destroy the fleet without first securing the citadel; but if the fleet lay above the citadel, it could not have been destroyed, without the general commanding the troops conceiving that the force in Antwerp was so small as to justify his masking it, or passing it, and going round with his army to erect batteries to destroy the fleet. He did not think that the fleet could run much above Antwerp; but it now appeared to the contrary.
On the fifth sitting of the committee, General Brownrigg's opinion, addressed to the commander in chief, on the 2d of June, was read. On the supposition that Ostend isthe point of debarkation, he calculates that, after obtaining possession of that town, five days would elapse before the army could move forward; that, if (as might be expected) the people of the country were hostile, the army would be fifteen days more before it could reach Antwerp; that the attainment of its object was then not certain; in which event, according to the reasons assigned by Colonel Gordon, the safety of the whole force was risked. The destruction of the arsenal at Antwerp, in General Brownrigg's opinion, could only be effected by our fleet being able to sail up the Scheldt, with 10,000 troops on board, to land occasionally, to possess batteries placed to obstruct the navigation.Fifteen thousand men might capture Walcheren; 10,000 might retain it, with the assistance of the navy; and a part of the disposable force passing over to South Beveland, and taking possession of Sandvliet, might succeed in taking Antwerp by a coup-de-main; or, being masters of the western Scheldt, the force by this enter prise might proceed by sea to Sandvliet.
The evidence of Rear admiral Sir Richard Strachan, as commander in chief of the naval part of the expedition, is interesting;
He was examined at the seventh sitting He had been sent for to the admiralty, ahout the 19th of June, when he had some conversation about the expedition—particularly about the landing at Sandvliet, as suggested by Sir Home Popham-with Lord Mulgrave, Sir Richard Bickerton, Lord Castlereagh, Mr Pole, and Sir H. Popham. It was Sir R. Strachan's opinion, that, to enable the navy to reach Antwerp, it would previously be necessary to take the forts of Lillo and Liefkenshoek; and though it might be true, that there were very few troops in Flanders, or in Holland, he could hardly conceive it possible that our army could penetrate so far as Antwerp, without being exposed to have its retreat cut off by the force which the enemy would employ every exertion to accumulate. The French ships, he thought, would run above Antwerp for safety. Lord Mulgrave, and some of the other lords of he admiralty, thought differently. might have been possible for the whole force to pass both Walcheren and Cadsand, without occupying either of those places; but, in that case, the loss must have been great, and many accidents must have happened. Sir Richard thought, from the first, that all we should do would be to take Walcheren. The possession of Flushing would greatly lessen the danger of keeping an English fleet upon the enemy's coast, with respect to ships; but the expence of retaining that port, and the loss of men which it would occasion, rendered it more adviseable to relinquish Walcheren. No part of the fleet was in a situation to proceed up the Scheldt on its first arrival off that river. It was intended that Lord Gardner should go up, after the batteries of Cadsand should have been taken, under the idea that the enemy's ships were in a situation to be attacked; but that movement was deemed unnecessary, when it was found that the French ships har gone up the Scheldt; and Lord Gardner remained at anchor in the West Putt, with the view of assisting Commodore Owen with his boats, in case it should have been found necessary to land upon Cadsand, or to push in through the Duerloo, or Weilen passage. A considerable part of the flotilla got into the West Scheldt on the 2d or 3d of August; and it might have been there sooner, had not the enemy's fleet got above the boom at Lillo, or had there been any force in the Scheldt, which the gun-boats could not have intercepted.
Our readers will recollect the letter, or rather the extract of a letter, from Sir Richard Strachan, written on the 27th of August, (vol. 71. p. 697.) after the writer, accompanied by Sir R. Keats, had withdrawn