Abbildungen der Seite

discussion-he therefore proposed the order, and the strangers withdrew accordingly.

The subject of their Lordships' deliberations was, a letter addressed by the Rev. Mr. Brydges, claimant of the Barony of Chandos, to the Duke of Norfolk and other Peers, ad verted to by his Grace on a former evening.

The Bills before the House were forwarded in their re{pective stages. · Mr. Williams, from the Commissioners of naval inquiry, presented the second report from the said Commissioners, which was ordered to be laid upon the iable.

A considerable number of bills, of a private or local description, were brought up from the Commons by different members, and were severally read a first time.

MOTION FOR CENSURING MINISTERS. The order of the day being read, that their Lordships be fummoned to attend on this day, · Lord Fitzwilliam rose, according to the order of the day, to propose his additional refolutions relative to the conduct of Ministers : he adverted to the arguments that had been used on the side of Administration, on occalion of the furmer debate, and combated them. So far from giving fatisfaction to his mind, they had only more firmly impressed it with the convicton, that the conduct of Ministry had been such as juftly merited the censure which it was the object of his resolutions to fix upon it. As his Lordship only traversed the same ground precisely which had been gone over before in the courte of the former debate, it would be needless to give his sentiments in detail on the present occafion.

His Lordship concluded his observations on the question, and the arguments which had been adduced against his propofitions, by declaring, that the effect of the whole upon his mind had been such as induced him to perlevere in his for, mer intentions of submitting the additional resolutions to the consideration of the Houle. These resolutions were in substance as follow :-" That no firm and adequate representations had been made by his Majesty's Minitiers relative, in the fiftem of aggression, in which France had constantly perk vered since the conclusion of the Treaty of Amiens. That his Majesty's Ministers had, by i ele means, neglected the opportunity of bringing France to such an explanation as would either have prevented the renewal of the war, or obliged her to disclose her real intentions before the forces of this country had been to any considerable degree diso.

I 2


banded. And that their conduct had proved of the utinoft injury and detriment to the nation. Thele were, that the tenth article of the Treaty of Amiens was constructed in

a way as rendered it incapable of being executed :that in these circumstances Ministers had neglecied to enter, till too late, into a discussion with France, relative to the best mode of applying a remedy to this defect; and the consequence had been, that the question how it was to be adjusted had, by these means, produced another rupture between the iwo countries

Resolved, “ That it was the duty of his Majera ty's Ministers to have made early and spirited remonftrances against all chofe acts which constiuted a series of aggressions, infulis, &c. on the part of France and by such reprefentations to have endeavoured to ascertain, whether their course and progress could have been arrested withont the neceflity of recurring ro forceof arms. That before the deverinination of the French Government was afcer:ained, they should not have proceeded to a reduction of our forces; and that the neglect of fuch duties on the part of his Hajelly's Ministers, was injurions to the public iniereits.”

The Duke of Clarence—“ My Lords, in whatever shape this motion has been introduced, I cannot help considering it as a motion expressly inade for the removal of his Majesty's Ministers. I rise, because I wiih, my Lords, to say, that though I differ completely from the noble Earl, yet I give him credit for his conGstency, as his motion is in the spirit, and constirutes a parı, of the system which he has uniformly pursued from the commencement of the French Revolution. There are many parts of that syilem in which I cordially agrec, and which I have highly approved but the continuation of the war is not in the number. Upon that point certainly I did differ from the noble Earl, as I always thought that no opportuniry thould be lost to put an end to the horrors of war, and that the chance which the state of things appeared to afford for the allainment of that end, Mould not have been rejected. Ministers, therefore, did right in making peace, not withstanding their expectations have been frustrated. I may be, I hope, allowed to say, that in every debate upon the subji &, I always stated, thai I law great difficulty in the Preliminary Articles at Peace, and when that difficulty was furmounted by the Definitive Treaty, though I fill considered the peace an experiment, its c mpletion excited my wonder. I muit then say, in justice too Ministers who concluded the Treaty, ibat if, in 1801, ny one could have thought

that many

[ocr errors]

1hat there was any principle of honour or jutiice on the part of the Government of France, the Preliminaries were such as ought to have been en'ered in o. conlidering the length of the war, and ine leveri y of its pielture, oughi noi obe cena fured for having agreed to the Preliminaries. How tar indeed they ought to have agreed to the Defini ive Iraty, is malier of serious contideration. Thai is a quellion which would involve the gross misconduct of the former Adminisiration, which brought the country into the state which the prelen: Miniliers found it. On that lubject i am seady to go into de tuil. Upon that ground I am ready to meci any noble Lord from ihe fuft act name y, from the embarkmenit of ihe Guards for Holland in 1793, down to the day on which the pelent Administra in came inin power. Much stress has been iad upon the dificulties in the way of ihe excution of ihe 10h aricle of he Treary of Anien , respecting Mala

Ministers did say they were anxious io lecure the indepentence of tha: illant, and 11.12. liich was the ob: ject of she ftipulationis con ainest in the article. Surely, ihen, France must have felt the same consciousnels when the inade the treaty, and thai we winicd guaran'ees of dialia, in under that we might call upon them thould the ariempi io violare its independence. The present Minillers have been accused for seducing our force. I do not admit that they did reduce it lower than was necessary for the lately and interest of the country. Suppoling, however, the charge to be founded in fact, it ihews thai Minifiers were actua ed by a pacific Spiri', and sepels the charge which the enemy liave broughi againitshem, of withing to renesv the war. I though the pe ceai any Time a manier of experiment, a:d in such a fi valion i wasiin. portible to know what the amount of the tor e thvul be. The Parliament inet, and there was one p ITage in hi Mae jety's Speech which lown gave me great ple a me.

I do pot remember theexact words, but I recollect their impor welli It said France thall no! a grandile herselt; the thall not pursue a syitein of violence and epi roachment will impunity, and without restraint. We inal! be prepared for ous detence and for ourselistance to hatlystein, thould the attemp: to perfevere in it Under these sircemitances, ibie a my eitinares were voted to an amount ihai had been held fufficien: for ihe er tablishment in any war in which the coun ry hud b en ever before engaged. Su får hen for ilie charge of a 100 great seduction in the army. With regard to the na y, there are many opinions, and I own I have not been without forming a judgment upon it. There is one circumstance, which it will be observed, is peculiar to our navy. We are a great conmercial nation, and the manning of the navy must greatly interfere with our trade. A sailor's life is a profession, and therefore it is not so easy to procure failors as marines and foldiers, who can learn their business in a short time. So early as the first week in August, the marines were reduced; but ftill there was a large establishment of them. The army was also considerably reduced ; yet still on the 8th of March, it was in as good a flate as in the time of any preceding war. Now let us see what was the conduct of Ministeis at this time. Upon the 17th October, they sent out orders to retain the Cape. This was done in consequence of the conduet of France towards Switzerland; and ihough, I confess, in the November following, another order was sent out for its cvacuation, yet what does this conduct thew? Was it not saying to France we are not afraid of you; you must conduet yourselves as you ought, or dread our reliftance? For, my Lords, we must despise the boast that England, singlehanded, is not able to contend with France. England, in fact, never bear France io so much advantage, as when she fought her single-handed.—[Cheering.]—The man who says otherwise must know himself in his heart to be a liar, or he must be grossly deficient in historical information. Now coupling his Majesty's speech with the date of the order, I think it a fair policy to say to France, as they imply, we are ready to meet you ; but at the same time, you see in us our ardent and sincere disposition for peace. On these grounds, therefore, I did feel myself disposed to negative the propofision of the noble Earl. I do not think that the present Minifters, who came into power under such difficulties, de. ferve cenfure. As far as I have had yet an opportunity of judging of their conduct it has not deserved censure. I think the noble Eari is perfectly consistent in making the motion, but it has the objection of being very like the propofition which was made a few nights since, and was supported by those very men who brought us into our present situation by their gross and shameful misconduct. God forbid they should ever come again into his Majesty's Councils! Under there circumsiances, I wish to negative the motion of the noble Earl. Lord Coventry said a few words in favour of Administration. He faid, that they had a third enemy to contend with, and that was lukewarm friends, which were excellently de. fcribed in those fine lines of Pope applied to Addison, be: ginning

“ Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike,

Just hint a fault, then hesitate diflike;
Alike, reserved to blame, or to commend,
A tim'rous foe, and a suspicious friend.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Who but must laugh if such a man there be ?

Who would not weep, if Atticus were he !" Lord Minto began an able speech with declaring, that he did not consider the peace a hollow Iruce, as some were pleased to call it, nor an armistice, but a continuation of the war. He thought, however, that the change that had taken place was placed upon too narrow a ground.

He did not, however, mean to say that Maita, the ground on which it was fo placed, was so narrow as not to admit the conclusion that was drawn from it in favour of war. He only meant to say that it was not absolutely necessary to restrict it to that ground, the principle of the stipulations of the Treaty of Amiens to secure the independence of Malta, and to prevent its reoccupation by France. These stipulations, however, became impracticable, and in that situation of things, what course we should pursue became a question. A noble Lord, actual ed by a liberal policy, had recommended the next best fecu. rity that could be devised; but the advice was irreducible to practice ; for in effect there was no approximation of terms, There was no substitute that could be adopted in lieu of the original ftipulations, except its occupation by the troops of England. The troops of no friendly power could answer the purpose ; for there was no friendly power on the continent fufficiently free from French influence, or force, or that would undertake the talk, upon whom we could rely. But this was not the only objection. France had acquired an im. menfe accession of power, which entirely changed the relalive situation of the two countries since the time of the raii. fication of the Treaty of Amiens; and, therefore, had the terms been even practicable, we would be justified in infining upon even a better security for the independence of Malia than that ftipulared by the Treary, if such could be obtained., With this accession of power on the part of France, and her hoftile designs openly avowed and confefTed, it surely would


« ZurückWeiter »