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delivering back the fleet. The hon. gen- , tion, or to those to whom the execution tleman has attempted to influence the of it had been entrusted ? feelings of the House by dwelling on the Mr. Tierney said, that no part of the blood that has been shed, and the im- right hon. gentleman's most extraordinary mense treasure expended on the occasion. speech surprised him so much as that in He has stated that expense to be at six which he objected to an investigation or seven millions ; a sum equivalent to the taking place, because it might offend our Income tax; but there is no occasion to allies, the Russians. If, before this enleave this point to conjecture: the expen- terprise was begun, a measure had been diture actually amounted to 1,142,0001.; proposed which might lead to jealousies and computing by debtor and creditor, being excited between the two nations, there can be no objection to it. I have the right honourable gentleman might a right to consider the ships that were have opposed it with some show of reataken, and to state the reduction for the son. But these jealousies already exist; maintenance of a fleet in the North Seas, each party ascribes the failure of the ento check a Dutch fleet. If you take the terprise to the misconduct of the other. value of the Dutch fleet, the decrease of An enquiry into the true state of the expense in the maintenance of the North affair, is the only way to restore corSea fleet, and the saving in the pay of diality between them. Our brave army 10,000 seamen voted less than last year, have a right to insist upon an inquiry. the balance is greatly in our favour. In The Russian general casts the most foul the article of prisoners, what have we imputations upon them. An enquiry is given up? Why 8,000 French troops ; in the only method by which his aspersions lieu of which we have gained 6,000 Dutch can be wiped off, and the faultless conseamen to man our fleets, which, whether duct of our countrymen displayed to the they fought under Orange or English co world. For this glorious expedition, which lours, would be found a great addition to has neither been disastrous nor expensive, the strength of our navy. The objects which has been rather lucrative in a comgained by the expedition were, the ships, mercial point of view, and which has the reduction of expense, and the great raised our military character, the right diversion in the French forces, which faci- hon. gentleman stated that the grounds litated the victories of the combined ar- were threefold. Its first object was, to mies. It has been said that the expedi- gain possession of the Dutch fleet; but tion was attended with the loss of 10,000 this, I believe, was a very subordinate lives. To remove this impression, will be one; secondly, the deliverance of Holto state what the loss really was. I will land from the yoke of France; and, thirdstate, in detail, the returns made during ly, to make a diversion in favour of our the whole of the campaign:-Sick and allies. A diversion may often be attended wounded admitted into the hospitals with excellent effects, and perhaps this 4,088; sent home out of these 2,993; one was of service; but surely there was the whole, who died, amounted only to little merit in saving an Austrian army by 185 ; and the whole of the killed to 846. the sacrifice of a British one. What are Upon a review, therefore, of the whole the benefits which resulted to the allies affair, I must object to all public military from our landing on the coast of Holcriticism on any part of military opera. land? We are told that it operated at tions, and I feel it my duty to resist Novi. I wonder it is not said that it a motion of inquiry, which could not was the cause of the capture of Serinbe productive of any actual benefit; and gapatam. But, Sir, this battle was fought at the same time, might considerably clog on the 15th of August, and on the 10th and harass the measures of government. of September there was scarcely a French

Mr. Bouverie thought that an inquiry soldier in Holland. General Massena deshould be instituted into the causes of the feated the Austrians when our troops were failure of the expedition. After the con- on the continent; and when the supplies stitutional force of the country had been were sent him which had been assisting demolished to fit it out, it had failed, un- the Dutch, he was unable to make much der circumstances disgraceful to the Bri- greater progress. Thus, out of the three tish name. Was it not the duty of the objects proposed by the expedition, one House to investigate the business, and only had been successfully pursued. The ascertain wlietber blame was to be at- fleet we have gained we cannot employ: tached to the projectors of the expedi- it surrendered to us only in the hope of

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soon serving under the stadtholder ; and can determine, and the House is bound the sailors testified the utmost dissatis. to examine officers, that they may disfaction on being brought to this country cover the truth: 45,000 men were six in the manner in which they were. The weeks in Holland, and were unable to adright hon. gentleman does not go quite so vance above twenty-five miles. Yet there far as to say that we delivered Holland, is nobody to blame! If the duke of Marlbut he contends that ministers had suffi- borough' had commanded the army, its cient reason to believe that they would be operations would, I believe, have been able to deliver it. We ask what these equally unsuccessful. But whether the grounds were which justified the attempt; duke of York concluded the capitulation but the right hon. gentleman shrinks from from instructions he had received, or of the inquiry: it would be improper to dis- his own accord, he, in my opinion, should close them; and all that he tells us is, that have demanded an enquiry. The matter he is a follower of lord Burleigh, the rests between him and and the right hon. prime minister of queen Elizabeth. I do gentleman. Ministers refuse an enquiry; not contend that it would not be of ad- he therefore should have insisted upon vantage to this country that Holland one. This is the only way in which he should be rescued from the dominion of can shift the disgrace from himself and France; but I contend that government the gallant officers who served under him, were not justified in making so arduous to those upon whom it ought to lie. The an attempt, without being assured of the capitulation fixes an indelible stain upon good will of the natives, and that if they the national character.

A king's son, had any such assurances, they did not commanding 40,000 men capitulated to a avail themselves of them as they ought French general who had only 31,000. to have done. What objection can there We owe it to our sovereign, and we owe be to lay before us the tavourable intelli- it to our constituents to inquire strictly gence they had from Holland, if any such into the causes of this unheard of disexisted. If we were invited to the Helder, grace. we were soon shown that we have nothing Mr. Perceval said, that the material obto expect from the Dutch, and ought inject of the inquiry moved this evening, stantly to have given up the enterprise. was, to ascertain if there was any blame If we were invited to other parts of the imputable for the partial failure of the excoast, what did we do at the Helder? pedition, and to whom that blame was Let ministers justify themselves if they imputable. It had been conceded, that can, by producing the documents upon the object of the expedition was British, which their conduct was founded.- On that the conduct of our commanders and the 22nd of August, sir Ralph Abercrom- soldiers had been glorious, and that one by, with 10,000 men, got possession of great object of the expedition had been the Helder. On the 27th, he was rein- gained by the surrender of the Dutch forced by General Don's detachment, Aeet. An hon. gentleman had said, that which placed him at the head of 15,000 if the expedition had terminated with the men. Is it not strange that 15,000 men capture of the Dutch fleet, it would have headed by an able general, and going by conferred immortal honour on this coun. invitation, should think it imprudent to try. But if the expedition had terminated advance? If the Dutch were well af here, he thought that it would have fected, why did they not instantly declare brought immortal disgrace on the counthemselves? No French troops were in try. It would have been a swindling Holland to keep them in awe. Yet no trick, a shameful attempt to cheat the one testified the smallest attachment to Dutch out of their fleet. The difficulty our cause, and from that moment the en- of an inquiry had been endeavoured to be terprise was hopeless. On sir Ralph's ac- obviated, by alleging that the business count I wish for an enquiry. I am sure might be conducted in a secret comit would turn out to his honour. There mittee; but he doubted much of the are questions which he alone can answer. secrecy which would be the result of such Why did not the duke of York sail at the a plan. He allowed that capitulation, absame time with general Don? Why were stractedly considered, was not a very hoall our forces sent to one place; and nourable conclusion to a military expe43,000 men cooped up in a narrow penin. dition; but that was a mere abstract consula, where but few could act at a time? sideration. Two of the three grand obThis is a point which only military men jects of the expedition were attained; the

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Dutch fleet was captured; and a powerful reason for inquiry. It is fit that the diversion was effeeted in favour of our public should learn this consolatory fact allies. The third was found not attain-in some more authentic manner.-But it able. The consideration then was, how is said, the expedition succeeded as a dithe return of our troops to their own version of the enemy's forces, and in the country could be best effected. And the capture of the Dutch fleet. It must be expedient that had been adopted for this observed, however, that whatever policy, purpose, appeared to him to be the best whatever advantage there may be in crethat could be adopted. It was not dis ating a diversion of the enemy's forces, graceful, because it was merely an adap- this forms no justification of a partation to circumstances, which were coun- ticular expedition, and of a specific at. tenanced by the attainment of the other tempt. It is quite a different thing to objects of the expedition.

say, that it is good to distract the eneMr. M. A. Taylor hoped that parlia- my's attention, and to say that you have ment would inquire into the miscarriage done it in the best and most effectual of an enterprise, upon which so much of manner. Doubtless the expedition occathe blood and treasure of the nation bad sioned some diversion of the enemy's been expended to no effect. To a certain troops, but not so much as might have degree it had succeeded; but when an been produced had the attempt been army of above 30,000 men had entered made in some other quarter; for our Holland without being able to accomplish army was opposed, in a great measure, any thing like the object they had in view, by Batavian forces, who, in all probability, some satisfactory reason should be ad- would not have been employed in any duced for so marked a miscarriage. other operations. The capture of the

Mr. Sheridan replied. After which, Dutch feet too, we are told, is of itself a the House divided :

sufficient justification of the expedition, Tellers.

and a sufficient reward for our exertions. Mr. Whitbread

Whatever may be the value of this capYeas, { Mr. W. J. Denison

45 ture, it is not to be admitted as a set-off

for the expense and the bloodshed which Mr. Perceval Noes,

the enterprise has occasioned. If the exMr. Sargent

pedition was undertaken to rescue Holland So it passed in the negative.

from the dominion of France, and to re

store the stadtholder to bis authority, Debate in the Lords on the Failure of how can the Dutch Aleet be a compensathe Expedition to Holland.] Feb. 17. tion for the absolute failure of these Lord Holland rose and said :--My lords; objects ? But the Dutch Aeet was in our I should have rejoiced, had the task I have possession before our army was put in imposed upon myself fallen to the lot of motion to carry into effect the other another ; for I am fully aware of all the objects which ministers professed to have difficulties I have to encounter. Till principally in view: the Dutch Aleet, within these very few days, I did indeed therefore, was not the cause of prosecut. imagine, that though we might differ as to ing the attempt; it can form no justificathe propriety of an inquiry, the fact of tion for our farther attempt in that quarter. failure was one which would not be dis. We are told that the people of Holland puted. But I find that it is to be con- were favourable to our cause : be it so? tended, that the result of the expedition What is the inference? If, with the Dutch has been glorious, that it has been pro. in our favour, an army of 45,000 men fitable, that it has been satisfactory! I was obliged to purchase its escape, what ask, however, what every plain man inust stronger argument can be conceived for and does think of an army of 45,000 men inquiry? Let us then examine the wisdom buying permission to evacuate a country of the design, and the execution. Before they came to conquer, and from an infe. any man of sense engages in an underrior force ? Is this glorious ? Is this ho- taking, he considers how far the object is nourable ? Is this a failure, or is it not? desirable, how far he is likely to succeed Can any man doubt whether disgrace has in it, and what will be the consequences been incurred ? It has been stated, that of failure. To rescue Holland from French the loss of the British in this expedition dominion, to restore the Dutch to their was only 800. I am happy to hear it. ancient alliance with this country, to reThis alone, if it be true, would be a good instate the stadtholder, certainly are ob

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ljects which, provided they are practicable the manner in which we acted? The emand just, are desirable to the interest of ployment of Russian troops was not calGreat Britain. I say, provided they are culated to conciliate the people of Holjust; for even the claims of the stadt- land.-But the Dutch_are said to be holder upon this country, strong as they averse to the yoke of France. I believe are, would not justify the attempt in oppo- they are ; but it does not follow that they sition to the sense of the people of Hol- prefer the dominion of England, and the land. I come now to the unavoidable authority of the stadtholder. I believe inconveniences, which, though I allow that, of the two, the Dutch would rather they are not sufficient to deter one from be as they were in 1792, than as they are an undertaking, are of no inconsiderable now; but I suspect that the difference of weight in the balance of a doubtful pro- their situation is not, in their minds, so ject. Among these the expense should great as to warrant the risk of a war. have been considered, and the great dis. The Dutch have many and crying griev. tress of the season. Did not the situation ances against the French ; and he must of Ireland also form an objection? Was be a bad Dutchman who does not feel not the defenceless state in which these that they have : nevertheless, all that has exertions left that country, a hazardous been said about French tyranny in Holexperiment? Was not the breaking down land is not true. We call them plunderers, the militia system a great inconvenience ? murderers, atheists, and all the hard But another circumstance to be examined names we can invent; but have they exeris, whether, in case of failure, you do not cised any extraordinary severities in Holincur disadvantages greater than the ad. land ? Have there been any great political vantages you reap from success. Now, persecution ? Has there been any reliexamine it in that way, what have been gious persecution whatsoever? And even the consequences of our failure? Has it as to plunder, the Dutch have less to not thrown Holland more than ever into complain than most nations dependent on the power of France? What reason had one more powerful than themselves.-But ministers to suppose that the Dutch were I would ask, have the Dutch no grievweil disposed to our cause ? _Did they ances against us ? For many years they evince any such disposition ? But it may have been estranged from our interest and be said, that they had no opportunity. connexion. The proceedings in 1787 Take this either way: if they had an op- proved, that a great party was hostile to portunity of joining our cause, it is evi- the influence of this country, and favourdent by their backwardness that they able to that of France. They may be were not inclined to support it. If they averse to the dominion of France; but had no opportunity, how did it come to would they prefer a stadtholder, suppass, that with an army of 45,000 men, ported by Russian armies, and under the we never could hold out that hope of pro- guidance of British counsels? We ought, tection which could induce men to flock in this last attempt, to have been peculiarly to our standard ? If the place of landing careful, to say nothing, and to do nothing, was ill calculated to display our strength, that could excite the suspicions of the and to entice partişans, 'is not this a people in Holland. But were we so? In glaring proof of the misconduct of those a public 'paper of lord Duncan's, the who contrived the plan of the expedition Prince of Orange is called " legitimate From the first action at the Helder, we sovereign," an expression sufficient to had reason to despair of any co-operation excite alarm throughout Holland. I menfrom the Dutch soldiers. Then the action tion not this with any intention of imputwas sustained entirely by Batavian troops. ing blame to the gallant admiral; God On the 2nd of September, indeed, these forbid ! but I impute blame to those wh had been joined by French troops, but employed bim, for not instructing him they displayed the same obstinate resist- carefully in the language that it was neance. We ought, from that moment, to cessary to hold; for I do say, that it gave have despaired of any advantage from a plausible pretence on which to raise the prosecution of the attempt in this alarms in Holland that more was inquarter.—But if the disposition of the tended than the mere restoration of the inhabitants was really favourable, weought office of stadtholder. I come now to the to have employed such means as were military operations. Of these I speak calculated to conciliate their confidence, with the greatest diffidence. One cirand obtain their co-operation. Was this cumstance, indeed, it is pleasant for me to reflect upon, that, defective as the plan sons, &c. intervened; and to this, and this of military operations seems to have been, only, failure is to be ascribed. To which none of the fault attaches itself to the I reply, inquire. If ministers resist inillustrious commander, the gallant officers quiry, I must believe that it is because who served under him, or the brave army they know their conduct cannot bear inwhich he commanded. I hold ministers vestigation. I have enumerated some of responsible for the whole. But, my the advantages that must result from iolords, glorious as was the conduct of our quiry. You will re-establish the character soldiers, there is one person who has of your army. We know that it is natural dared, in the face of all Europe, to stig- to impute the blame of unsuccessful milimatise their behaviour. In the Peters- tary operations to the commander, or burgh Gazette, general D’Essen expressly army. In this country such blame may states, that, in the action of the 8th, we not be imputed; but in Europe the charge failed to attack at the time agreed upon; will be made, and it stands supported by that by this their countrymen were sacri- the statements of general D’Essen, in the ficed; and that the Russian army was in Petersburgh Gazette. It is necessary to want of every necessary with which we demonstrate the truth by a fair investigawere bound to furnish them. My lords, tion. By no other course can you satisfy will you not vindicate the honour of your the demands of your national honour and army from these foul aspersions? Are our your military reputation. At a moment, alliances to be purchased by a sacrifice of too, when it is decided that the war should the courage and the honour of our army? be continued to a period which we cannot Are these great objects to be meanly fix in idea; when new expeditions are, it yielded up to satisfy the whims of any is rumoured, about to be undertaken, it court?-But to return to the military becomes you to ascertain how they are operations. On the 27th of August the likely to be conducted, by inquiring what landing at the Helder was effected, after has been the ability and the wisdom disa severe action. Another engagement played in other instances by those who took place on the 2nd of September, after plan and conduct them. I 'move therethe Dutch troops, who alone had been fore, “ That this House do resolve itself engaged on the first day, had been joined into a Committee, to inquire into the by French reinforcements. Now I ask, Causes of the Failure of the late Expediwhy Sir Ralph Abercromby did not ad- tion to Holland.” vance after the advantages he had gained ? The Earl of Moira coincided with the That most excellent officer, must by that noble lord in his sentiments respecting time have ascertained the dispositions the illustrious personage who conducted of the people. The place where the the expedition. That he did not appear landing was effected, was not calculated in his seat on the present occasion, he for the operations of a large army: was convinced proceeded from delicacy, crowded in that small track of land, a lest his presence might repress the full large force, if it had arrived, could not at disclosure of opinion upon a question in once be brought into action. Reinforce- which he felt himself so deeply interested. ments were naturally arriving every day Were that illustrious personage to yield from France. I ask, therefore, to what to the impulse of his own mind, he was the delay of sir Ralph is to be attributed ? satisfied he would solicit inquiry; but the Was it for want of supplies? Was it not great objection was, that it necessarily in consequence of orders? Was it that he connected itself with the public good, and despaired of any advantage from prose- therefore he preferred to submit to illcuting the attempt? I deliver no opinion grounded calumny, rather than risk the on this subject, but I ask you to inquire. interest of the country by a personal vinPerhaps inquiry would show that the dication. As to the general question, he delay was necessary, was right, was well put it to the candour of the noble lord judged. But again, if it was so, it must not to press it against men who stood have been foreseen; and then I ask, why upon a ground where it was impossible attempt the expedition at so late a season they could make a defence. The diffic of the year? To this, and to all other culty of operations in Holland was ad. reasonings, it may be answered, all was mitted, and that such an enterprise could well arranged, all was well prepared, all not succeed without the co-operation of was well conducted; but unforeseen and its inhabitants : that ministers were aware improbable events, hurricanes, bad sea of this, and were confident of such co

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