Abbildungen der Seite

man who have established their character on the highest posfible grounds in this country, and who are looked up to with respect in every Cabinet of Europe. Upon the subject of the attacks that have been made against the conduct of the First Lord of the Admirally, I have very little to offer.' It has, indeed, been said, that fifty thips of the line would be ready for actual service in the course of a very thurt time, and that and many other things were 10 be found in papers suppoled to be connected with Ministers. An hon. Gentleman under the gallery has, on a former occasion, alluded to the immense preparations carrying on in the ports of the French Republic, but I cannot bring myself to believe, whatever these preparations have been, that they were designed against this country. Upon this head, which has been the source of much comment and speculation, I have some information to state, d-rived, I have reason to think, from undoubted authority. It has been the cause of considerable alarm to the country, to hear that formidable naval armaments were carrying on in the poris of France; yet I have heard, from a quarter which leaves no doubt upon the subject, that when Lord Whitworth received his Majesty's melsage to Parliament, communicating that intelligence, he himself did nor know of any such armaments. That this was the fact is confirmed by the statement of the First Consul, and by the positive assurances of Monsieur Talleyrand. I am also informed of the sentiments of an officer of great eminence in the civil line in France, who declared that the naval force preparing in the ports of the Republic, was not sufficient for ihe wants and exigencies of the colonial service. I now come to a view of the papers and documents which are upon your table, relative to the lare negotiation, and the immediate causes vf the present rupture. I cannot conceive that there is a single man in this House, or in the country, with a fpark of English spirit in his breast, or a drop of English blood in his veins, who is not satisfied that the First Consul ultimately aimed a fatal blow at the ruin of our power and independence. But although this is a proposition which cannot be controveried, it does not go io extenuate the measures pursued by his Majesty's Ministers, in their discussions with the Govern. ment of France. We are called upon to take into consideration the conduct of the King's Miniters, as it arises out of the papers on the table; and the result is, that they have been kepi in a continual tale of aggression, insult, and de. gradation, by the First Consul. I contend, Sir, that the first act of aggression ought not to have been fuffered, that a firm and determined stand should have been made to it, and that such an opportunity to contest and invalidate the preten. fions of France, and to enforce our own just claims, ought not to have been passed by unnoticed and neglected, as I lament to say it was. But his Majesty's Ministers not only did not think proper to resist a firit and single act of aggrelfion, but they openly admit, from the evidence of the papers upon your table, that they have suffered patiently and ignominioully a long series of aggression, injuries, and degradalions. It is to so strange, so unaccountable a lire of condnct, that i feel it my duty this day to object. Have they, or have they not complained of the unjust views, the unbounded ambition, the extravagant spirit of aggrandisement and encroachment manilelled by the Government of France? We know from their own admillion, that they have not done fo when they ought to have been most active in their remonstrances and complaints. But at the same time I readily grant, that all these injuries and causes of complaint, when taken in the aggregare, form an irresistable ground for the vigorous prosecution of hoftilities. We have indeed fomething like a new subject of the hostile views of the French Governmeni in the appointinent of commercial comınillioners; but in that case, I moft decidedly conteud, that no remonitrance on our part was necessary. A remonstrance was, in my humble opinion, on the contrary, a proof of our weakness and fears. What was the conduct which his Majeity's Ministers were in that instance bound to pursue? They ought to have sent thein away at once, as unworthy of credit, and then they thould have followed it up by a demand of Satisfaction. In adverting to the melancholy situation of Switzerland and Holland, I feel myself actuated by confiderarions which affect iny own country very nearly. I cannot be ignorant that they have contended for their independence and liberties, and cannot but lament that their struggle has prrived ineffectual. They have even, in the wretched and zbjet condition to which they are reduced, less ro hope for than the more fervile province dependant upon France. The petty States of Italy may exiit, and even possess fume gratification under the power of France; because that gratification necessarily arises from a comparison between their present and their former fiivation, but neither Switzerland nor Hol. land can be conicnied under the controul of the French Republic. Fralice can never forgive the impotence, the buld. ness, and the desire to rescue themselves from the yoke, manifefied by Swiizerland and Holland. In the feelings and wrongs of these countries we are deeply implicated, because we have the same tyranny to oppose which enslaved them. Ai the time, when orders were issued for the surrender of the Cape of Good Hope, were not Ministers as fully acquainted with every act of aggrellion and injury offered by France as they are now, when I have the honour of addreira ing you, with the single exception of Colonel Seb ftiani's million to Egypt? There are, Sir, many other thong grounds, on ihe justice of which I could rest my charges against his Majeity's Ministers, but I thall content myself with accusing them of withholding all communication from Parliament; of suspending the functions of this House ; of having itsued fuch orders as they were nor warranted 10 do froin their own knowledge and conviction : of compromising The honour and dignity of his Majesty's crown; and of effen-, rially injuring the interests of his people. I beg, Sir, I may be clearly understood when I ftate, that at this in ment GenHemen are called upon to direct their altention solely 10 extinal objecis; thai ihis is not a tiine for them to enter into disputes and contests with respect to internal regulations ; and that questions of a more important nature, involving as they do the very existence of the country, demand their con.. fideration and decision. We are now in a crisis which calls for all the talent, all the mental ability, the country can afford; and as we require of the people every aid which their resources and properly can supply, we should, in our corn, · contribute to their security, by the exertion and combination of those mental powers that are best calculated to ensure their safety, and promote their dearest interefts. I thall not trouble the House any longer, more particularly when I reflect that I have trespalted more upon their indulgence ihan I originally intended. . I thall therefore, Sir, read ihe resolucions which I intend to submit to their consideration.



“1. Resolved, That it appears to this House, from the declaration of his Majesty, which has been laid before the House by his Majesty's command, that the conduct of the French Republic, since the conclufion of the definitive treary, has been fuch as to be considered by his Majesty's î linisters as inconfiltent with good faith, moderation, and juilice, and as forming a series of aggression, pursued by France for the purpose of degrading, vilifying, and infulting his Maj. Ity's Government.



[ocr errors]

“ 2. That his Majesty's Ministers have not since the treaty of peace to the time of itsuing his Majesty's declaration, neither communicated to Parliament the real sense which they entertained of the system of conduct pursued by France, nos the fteps taken by his Majesty's Government thereupon; and that they have thereby prevented this House from having ihe opportunity of properly discharging its real functions; and that by their having thus improperly with held such communications, they have materially embarrassed the commerce of the country, deceived the expectations, and depressed the spirit of the people.

6. 3. That it was the duty of his Majesty's Ministers 10 embrace some more early opportunity of obtaining, reparation for this country for the insulis which had been offered to it by the continued aggressions on the part of France, and that such reparation was to be procured by dignified and temperate remonftrances; and that if such conduct had been pursued more feafonably, this country might have avoided the necesfily of going to war, even before his Majesty, by the reduction of his forces, had in a manner put out of his hands the most essential ineans of procuring reparation after the failure of all others; and that such a conduct, on the part of Ministers, was a manifest neglect and omillion highly injurious to the public intereft."

“ I beg leave, Sir, to state here, that I shall move the two first refotutions, and then wait the pleasure of the House, which, if favourable, I shall follow by iwo more, and conclude with a fifih,

“ 4. That it appears to this House, that upon the 4th day of October last, counter orders were issued by his Majelly's Government for the evacuation of the Cape of Good Hope, and that on the 16th of November, the spirit of France had been manifested by aggression, violence, and insults, for which no redress had been attempted to be obtained; that the Spanish and other priories had been withdrawn from the Order of Malia, and that Parma and Placentia had been added to the dominion of the French Republic ; Swira zerland had been attached, and the territory of the Batavian Republic occupied by armies of the French Government; that the First Conful of France at the same time entertained all his plans relative to the Turkish empire, which appear from the papers before the House: and from all these ciscumstances it is evident, that by the evacuation of the Cape, during such transactions, his Majesty's Ministers have acted


contrary to their duty, and have imprudently exposed to dan ger his Majesty's Government.

“ 5. That by all these instances of misconduct in the present Ministers of his Majesty's Government, they have proved themselves unworthy of the confidence seposed in them, in such an important crisis as the prefent undoubtedly is.”

The first resolution was seconded by Mr. T. Grenville, and read from the chair.

When the first resolution was put, Colonel Graham wished to be allowed to say a few words, which he thould have done before the hon. Genileman had made his motion, but he was not in the House; he thould have no other opportunity, as this was the last time he hould be in the House. The circumstance which he had to disclose was such as he was convinced would induce the House to give it attention; and as it related 10 Malia, of course, in some manner, it came within the view of this debate. About two hours before he came down, General Pigot called upon him with Cobbert's paper, which purported to contain the same papers moved for by an hon. Gentleman ihe preceding day ; but when he had read it to the House, he rather supposed they would noc consider it as an official document, and he was particularly sequested to say, from General Pigos, that the paper contained the most gross misrepresentations and charges against his character. The hon. Gentleman then read an extract from the paper, which afferied, that General Pigot had allowed the French garrison to capitulare, and take away all their effects, to the injury of his Majesty's service ; and that this capitulation had been acceded to by the Britith General, on their offer to relurn all the money, under the name of forced taxes. This assertion Colonel Grahaın denied in the most pofilive terms, nor a fyallable of it was true, no sucha offer had been made or acceded to; all the transactions took place when Bonaparte was at Malia. He had received orders from General Pigot, to agree with Captain Martin of the navy, in making the most liberal terms for the evacuation.

General Gascoyne here called the hon. Gentleman to order, not being entitled to argue from newspaper reports. The House, however, defired the hon. Gentleman to proceed.

Colonel Graham again threw himself upon the indulgence of the House, and there being a loud cry of “Go on," he proceeded. It was stated; he said, in the publication to which he had alluded, that the British General, though very


« ZurückWeiter »