Sivut kuvina

West-Indies; and more particu- Our forces, instead of defending Tarly on the unfortunate attempt our possessions, assisting our allies, made on St. Domingo-an attempt and annoying our enemies, had *which had cosť millions of money, been cooped up in transports, and Send proved destructive to the flow- conveyed from place to place er of the British army. Forbearing without any rational object. Such

to enter into these details, ke a cloud hung over Ferrol, and so * meant to confine himself to the much doubt yet remained respecttwo or three last years. The pe. ing that expedition, that he was riod most proper to commence the surprised the general himself had inquiry appeared to be when we not insisted on an inquiry. Part "were told it was necessary to break of our army were intended to have down the old established constitue been sent into - Italy, where they tional force of the kingdom. By a ' might have been of the most essenmeasure thus violent and unprece- tial service; but they were too dented, a large disposable army late in being dispatched out, and was created; and it was supposed - had 'nearly been taken by the some great achievement would be enemy. Thus all our measures had performed. The first thing at "wanted promptitude, and all our "tempted” was 'the expedition to schemes were ill concerted, or ill 'Holland; the fate of which was executed. The two armies met

too well known to need discussion. afterwards, and ours met the suc''It probably mīģht' be remembered cess' we deserved.

Much grief that he then had opposed an inquiry; and disappointment he felt at the and his present conduct might result at Ferrol; but he had no not be thought consistent: he words to express his indignation "wished to explain his reasons. At at our disgraceful attempt on that time he conceived it would Cadiz. It affixed an indelible have been discreditable to the stain on our national character, 'troops, who had behaved in the and rendered us at once the demost gallant manner; and that the testation and derision of Europe, inquiry at such a period "would Yet the men who occasioned it recast a slur upon them. He like- mained unpunished and unknown ! Wise gave credence to the protes- " Here his lordship referred to some tations of ministers; they objected, accounts of this expedition given that a disclosure then would frus- by a French general : he contessed trate other grand enterprises in it was most paintul to him to read contemplation, and which other them; but, if they were true, their wise would certainly succecd. He contents ought to be made known ; had also hoped that our troops in and, if false, to be disproved.--It fitare would be better appointed. was said, that our forces were enand better equipped, and ainple deavouring to wrest Lgypt from amends be made for our former "the French : this would be an in"mischances. When he inénitored portant conquest; but, alas!. it these hopes, hé' need not add his á might-now have been in our posgreat disappointment at their frus- session, had we not infringed a tration. A train of disasters and solemn convention. To the imdisgraces had followed; 'exceeding“: mortal honour of our commander in all that the most diffident and de- "those seas, he was the only man spondent could have apprehended. that had been able, even for an in




stant, to check the victories of Bo- distracted, and the state of the naparte; but perhaps he deserved Austrian monarchy exhausted, it less praise for the defence of Acre was absolutely nothing less than than for the treaty of El-Arish. madness in the emperor to try By the latter, without further blood- again the fate of war.

Yet we shed or expense, the French would were told that he received this ad. bave been deprived of Egypt, and vice from the British ministers, and our eastern possessions placed in we know he was encouraged to security.

the attempt by British gold. Lord Darnley next lamented the Their lordships were bound, he conduct of government in the late thought, to go into a committee, overtures for peace.

That they were it only to investigate this were not at first accepted, he said, matter. was not strange; Bonaparte was The next important point which not then established in his seat; and ought to be the subject of it was, it was highly probable he might the conduct of government towards soon meet the fate of his predeces- the powers of the north. He did

But those overtures ought not mean to discuss the matter of not to have been rejected with right, whether it were divine and gross and unmannerly abuse. Mi- inherent, or conferred by positive nisters manifested' littleness of institution : admitting all mind, and total want of foresight, to claims to be well founded, and that commence a pitiful war of words the privileges in dispute certainly against a man who had raised him- belonged to us, had those rights self to the most elevated situation, been exercised leniently or rigoundermined all their schemes, and rously, with mildness or with opjoined the sagacity of a statesman pression. We had treated the goto the valour of the hero; and a vernments of the north according to superior mind, as well as talents, their respective power. The inmust he possess, if, when he had it sults of Russia we endured with in his power, he did not resent tameness: she dismissed our amthese insults.

bassador, she seized on our ships, The manner in which our re- confiscated our property, and insosources had been exhausted was a Jently refused to make satisfaction subject of very serious inquiry. for these aggravated injuries ; but Our subsidies had been ruinous to our behaviour was mean and dasthe emperor; yes, he would assert tardly. Had we acted in a spirited it, they had reduced him to a more tone, and sent a squadron to the deplorable situation than he would Baltic, we not only should have have been in without them. The saved our reputation, but might folly of making him recommence have prevented all the calamities hostilities it was not easy to deo which were ready to burst upon scribe in terms sufficiently strong. us. He firmly hoped that the Computing the superior numbers of bravery of our sailors, and the skill the French, taking into considera- of our adinirals, would enable us to tion, that they were flushed with defcat the efforts of all our enemies, victory, were guided by the coun- and to maintain our empire on the cils of Bonaparte ; that the Au- seas. But why were we precipistrian army was broken and dis- tated into these dangers ? Why heartened,' the Austrian cabinet did ministers put such language


into the mouth of the sovereign ? change in the cabinet; disapproved · They must then have known the the conduct of the ex-ministers, hosule dispositions of Prussia : from whatever might be the causes or the notes of count Bernstorff and nature of that change: it was count Haugwitz, it was long before most probably nothing but a jugnotorious that the king of Prussia gle; and, if it were not, they had was a party to the northern con- criminally relinquished their posts federacy. But Prussia, like Russia, in a time of danger. His lordship was a powerful state, and capable concluded with an energetic adof doing us much mischief: it dress to the bishops and nobles. would not have been quite conve. He called upon the right reverend nient to go to war with him, who bench to support him, when, year was the real sovereign of Hamburg; atier year, they saw the human and, therefore, to him also ministers race wasted by the ravages of war, had meanly truckled. Upon their and no prospect held out of a termiown principles they ought to have nation of those horrors: he endeclared war against him long ago. treated them to take pity upon their But Denmark and Sweden, particu- brethren, and to show theinselves larly the former, were the objects animated by the benevolent spirit of their resentment. To these of the religion they professed. He powers their language was bold appealed to those who had taken and menacing, because they consi- their seats in the house from the dered them as weak and defenceless. sister kingdom: those who, in a He was far from desponding; still peculiar manner, had witnessed the he gloried in his country, and effects of a blind confidence, let thought of its resources with pride them be the foremost on this occan and exultation. If they were pro- sion to vote for inquiry. But his perly applied, we had nothing to great reliance was upon the ancient fear; but he doubted the safety of nobles of England, whose ancescontiding longer in a government tors had for ages supported the which had brought us into this situ- cause of liberty in the senate, and ation.--His lordship then alluded bled for it in the field. He would to the scarcity; censured the mea- not doubt their contending for the sures which had been taken to rights of parliament, and evincing alleviate it, and maintained that a jealousy of the executive govern. they had rendered the sufferings of ment. They knew that, though the people more

Parlia- ministers must be trusted, they ment ought never to have inter- were called to give an account of fered: the committees had trusted their trust, and to be punished if to ignorant self-sufficient men, who they had abused it. He implored had coinpletely misled them. He them to agree to this motion, as next adverted to the catholic quese they valued their property, their tion, and seemed to think it had happiness, and their glory. been prematurely agitated. He The duke of Montrosc said, that condemned the Irish government he did not question the right of any in the severest terins; and main- lord to move an inquiry, such as tained, that from their measures the present; but that right was had sprung all the sedition and restrained in its nature bý discretreason which had appeared in that tion, and the utility of its object : country. He touched upon the before the house subjected itself to the inconvenience of an inquiry, teously of the committee employed it ought first to ascertain the ne- on this occasion, for which be


cessity of the measure, and to esti- thanked him, in the name of them imate the magnitude of the under- all; perlaps lord Darnley could

taking : it would require the at- have given much information had tendance of many officers to go into he been a member of it: the comcan investigation which embraced mittee, however, were diligent, such a variety of topics, and en- , had dedicated a great part of their ploy ministers in idle speculations, time, and he hoped their labours when the most important national would not be useless, though they atlairs so peculiarly demanded their . were not so fortunate as to hit labours. But there was another ob- , upon plans which might rival the jection-an objection of the great- celebrity of those his lordship est weight-it would alarm the coun- might have laid down. The sya try. Failures in the conduct of the stem of alliance, and the system war were no reason for an inquiry of the war, were recommended to to that extent: the Ferrol expe- consideration : he would merely

dition might require it, but not the suggest the difficulty of the prostate of the nation. There might ceeding so strenuously enforced. be reason to agitate the question Their lordships could not summon . for Ireland; but a specific motion genera! Bellegarde to their bar: i would be the proper inode to an- he should be glad himself to ask the swer any good purpose. The sub- generals of the allies a few.quesject of the neutral powers had been tions to satisfy his curiosity, but discussed on a former day; and so the house must be contented with.ably discussed by lord Elgin, that out possessing that power; nor s. he should not touch upon that point were their lordships made ac; any further than to remark that quainted with those better schemes the difference seemed to be for which resided in the mind of the fgotten when we complained that noble lord. The money expended : ministers - went to war with Den- was to be another object of inquiry; : mark, and did not attack Russia : and he ever would maintain, that 4 We could not come at Russia for it had been wisely expended in · the ice, but Denmark we could drawing the enemy from an attenTeach. It might be more sounding tion to their marine and colonial

and magnanimous to say, “We : interests, to oppose the allies which will not take you, Danes, for you had subsidised.

It was a are weak, till we have attacked policy adopted by all former mini: Russia; whom it is difficult to at- sters, even by persons who decried -tempt.” Ministers, in his humble. the practice when they came into

opinion, had taken a wiser me- office. The danger of invasion · thod : "they had seized upon those . would have been great, had there

of our enemies whom it was in been no allies to divert the im9 their power to seize, and main.. mense force of the enemy. With

tained the country in its rights as the resources of that prodigious :long as it could be maintained. · state, and 300,000 men in arms,

The scarcity of provisions, and and no enemy on the continent, their high price, were mentioned what might not France have at

also as objects of inquiry: his tempted and it was too well slerd-lip had not spokou very couro known how much it could accom

[ocr errors]



plish. There was reason rather to merce, though weakest in resource. lament our too great economy both of Doctrines had been held in that blood and treasure. His grace house by a noble loid, fortua maintained that the last campaign nately no longer in office, the len. was a plan of the greatest wisdom dency of which was to show to and policy: the object of England Europe that, during every war bewas to divert the attention of the tween England and France, there enemy; in that the success had could be no neutral nation at all. been complete ; nor did the troops Was it just, was it wise, to hold remain in the manner stated at forth such doctrines ? Let the poFerrol. They were disembarked licy of maintaining what is consiat the various garrisons by which dered as our naval rights be what it they were relieved. He would may, there was ample ground for and no more than his decided ne- inquiry, were it only to ascergative to such a perplexing motion. tain, at this critical moment, by

Lord Holland rose-not, he said, what means we had been drawn with an intention to follow the no- into the present hostile discussion. ble duke through his vein of plea- The duke had indulged himself rantry, lest he should mistake it for in a strain of mirth, on the idea of argument: indeed he feared com- bringing the Austrian generals to mon minds now might mistake the bar of the house, to give an what had been meant as joke, as account of their defeats: this rail'what was intended in earnest. lery, however, did not disprove

The right of the house to inquire, the fact, that we had instigated is acknowledged ; but it would be the emperor to maintain a hope. unwise to inquire in a time of dan- less contest; that our subsidies had ger: it was necessary to defend been large in their amount, unsucthe country, but improper to take cess'ul in their application, and counsel on the occasion, or devise had ever been attended with cameasures by which impending lamity. evils might be averted; interference The various expeditions which was only needed when no difficul- ministers had undertaken, we were ties embarrassed, and no emergen- strangely told, had been advantacies arose. The noble duke seem- geous to the country: one advaned to insinuate that lord Darnley tage was very clear; it was this, had fallen into a contradiction, and the constitutional defence of Engblamed ministers for going to war

land was broken down to form with some nations, and not for armies for these enterprises. Fergoing to war with all; but his rol was adduced as a singular inlord ship had complained, not that stance of the benetits of our ministers did not go to war with diversion : we went there, we other nations, but that they directed were told, to make a descent, and all their vengeance against the found an army ready to receive us. weak. It was indeed maiter of This afiorded a curious illustration reproach, that, while all Europe of the wisdom with which the exwas against us, on the pretence pedition was planned ;--but it had a that our policy was so narrow, and further destmation : wasthis Egypt? confined the commerce of other and hadourtroops been kept on shipnations, we should have justified board for almost sixteen months, these accusations, and fallen upon and carried round so many parts of those only who had most com- Europe, in order to be prepared for 1801.



« EdellinenJatka »