Gambar halaman


were going to combat for the honour and interests of their country. The only question, therefore, which could properly be taken into consideration by the house was, whether they had well performed the duty assigned to them. If that duty was well performed, it would not become the house to refuse their thanks. His lordship was satisfied in his own mind, that every person engaged in that expedition had done his duty, and therefore he would give his cordial support to the motion.

Lord Auckland, although no man more deprecated the deviation of this country from the sanctioned principles of moral and national justice, was still willing to give his vote of approbation for the energy, promptitude, zeal, and humanity, with which the officers who commanded, had executed that sad and melancholy service.

name and character more respected and memorable? In better times, many of the important victories gained by the duke of Marlborough, during the wars of the succession, were passed over without such a distinction, which was only bestowed upon the more splendid achievements of that great general; and latterly, the taking of the litttle town of Bastia procured for lord Hood the thanks of that house,although the same honour was not paid him for the capture of Toulon, and of the French fleet in that port. It was not, therefore, the magnitude and importance of the service that always justified the granting of this honour, but rather the circumstances of difficulty and danger through which it was accomplished. It was in this point of view that he objected to a vote of thanks in the present instance. Had it been proposed only to thank the army, he might, although The Earl of Mulgrave contended, that in some measure objecting to it on the the manner in which the service was exegrounds before stated, have been induced cuted amply deserved the thanks of parto give it no opposition; but when it was liament. With respect to thanks not beproposed also to thank the navy employed ing voted to lord Hood, for obtaining posin this expedition, he felt himself compelled session of Toulon and the French fleet in to oppose it, because there was no oppor- that harbour, there was in that instance tunity for the display of naval skill. He no opportunity for the display of naval or could not sufficiently impress upon the military skill, the town having been dehouse the great importance of not render-livered up to that noble lord whilst he ing the high and peculiar honour of the thanks of parliament too common in order to preserve its value it ought to be reserved for great occasions, for brilliant exploits and splended victories, as in the Roman republic triumphs were never granted but for the most splendid achievements. In the present instance, he thought there were not opportunities given for the display of those qualities, the exercise of which ought to entitle officers to the thanks of parliament; and therefore, viewing the question as he did, entirely upon public principles, he felt himself painfully and reluctantly compelled to oppose the mo


The Earl of Moira said, that it was with great regret he felt himself under the necessity of differing from his noble friend. He approved of the manner in which the noble secretary had introduced the motion. Nothing could have been more improper than to have connected it with the political expediency of the attack upon Copenhagen. It would have been highly improper, if the troops employed on any occasion should exercise their judgment as to the propriety of the object. The troops which were sent to Copenhagen went there, under the impression that they

was blockading the port, by one of the
contending factions in that place which
had obtained the ascendancy. He could
not admit that valour alone was a ground
for voting the thanks of parliament; were
that the case, not a week would pass over
his head in the situation which he had
the honour to hold, but he should have
to call for the thanks of parliament for
exploits of the greatest bravery. It was,
he contended, the eminent display of skill
and science, combined with the magni-
tude and importance of the object, that
more peculiarly deserved that high ho-
nour. In the attack upon Copenhagen
skill and science had eminently been dis-
played in the dispositions made for the
attainment of the desired object. The
noble lord (Holland) seemed to think it
possible, that he might have been induced
to consent to a vote of thanks to the army,
but objected to one to the navy.
could not, however, see upon what ground
any such distinction could be made. The
most skilful dispositions were made by
lord Gambier in the distribution of the
fleet under his command; that part of it
entrusted to rear-admiral Keats, was ex-
tended for 200 miles, and had for its ob-
ject to cut off the communication between


Zealand and the continent. By this means the Danish army in Holstein were prevented from passing into Zealand, which, had they been enabled to do, the great object of the expedition might have been of doubtful attainment; at all events, it must have been rendered a service of difficulty and danger. The skill, therefore, he contended, of admiral lord Gambier, had been conspicuously manifested; but in any case, when the army and navy were conjointly employed, to vote thanks to one and not to the other, could tend to no possible good; on the contrary, it must tend to excite a jealousy between the two branches of our forces. It had, besides, always been the practice to unite them in votes of thanks, where they were jointly employed.

ment because he had so disposed the men of war under his command, as to prevent the enemy from getting out, and consequently surrendering? This no man would say was an occasion worthy of such a high honour. When the two cases united; when magnitude of object was combined with difficulty of enterprise-these, indeed, were fit subjects for parliamentary honours. It was far from his intention to detract in the smallest degree from the merits of the officers engaged in the expedition to Copenhagen. They had nothing to do with the justice or injustice of the service in which they were employed. The only question was, whether they had done their duty, and whether that duty was a fit object for the thanks of that house. But, would it be said, that Earl Grey (late lord Howick) rose and the services performed, and particularly addressed the house for the first time. by the navy, were of that character? He observed, that no one felt more There were frequent instances of large strongly than he did the propriety of fleets undergoing great privations for abstaining from any discussion of the ge- weeks, nay for months, and yet he never neral measure on this occasion. Nothing heard that such services obtained the could be more unbecoming a man than to thanks of parliament. As to any difficulty mix any party feelings with the question. in the enterprize, the house had the auThe manner in which the debate had thority of ministers that there was none. been conducted afforded an example, that Had they not said, in one of their declait was possible to discuss a subject arising rations, or proclamations, that they sent out of a great political question, without such a force into the Baltic as rendered introducing invidious or personal obser- any resistance impossible? It was most vation. He rose for the purpose rather painful for him, rising as he did for the of expressing his approbation of the prin- first time in that house, to oppose the ciples laid down by his noble friend motion. He did it, however, on public (lord Holland), than in the hope of add-grounds. He would again repeat, that ing any thing to the arguments by which they were supported. They, as his arguments in general were, were unanswerable. To the conduct of the expedition, or to the merits of the officers employed, he had nothing to object. They had done all that was expected or required of them, and they would have done more if more had been required. What he, as well as his noble friend, contended for was, that the object of the expedition to the Baltic was neither of sufficient magnitude, nor attended with sufficient difficulty, to entitle those engaged in it to the thanks of that house. He could by no means accede to the principle laid down by the noble secretary of state, that the magnitude of an object was of itself sufficient grounds for the approbation of parliament. Suppose a Russian fleet, greater than that of Denmark, in a British port, and that orders were sent down to the port admiral to take possession of it, was he to receive the thanks of parliaVOL. X.

he had no fault to find with the conduct of the expedition; but he did not think that it was of that importance, or that it was attended with that danger or difficulty, which entitled those who were employed in it to the thanks of that house.

The Resolution was then put and carried. After which, a discussion took place on that part of the Resolution, which thanked adm. Gambier for fitting out the Danish navy. It was opposed by the duke of Norfolk, earls Grey and Lauderdale, and lord Holland; and supported by lords Mulgrave and Hawkesbury; and carried in the affirmative. Resolutions to the subordinate officers, and to the troops and sailors employed, similar to those passed this day in the house of commons, were also agreed to.


Thursday, January 28. [AMERICAN TREATY BILL.] Mr. Rose moved the order of the day, for going


into a committee on the Act of last session | sure he proposed to renew, was to continue regulating the Trade between this country and the United States of America.

the provisions of the act of 1794, in consequence of the failure or omission of Mr. Eden regarded this motion with making an arrangement under the 12th pleasure, so far as it went to prove a dis- article of the treaty of 1797, in the time position to conciliate and maintain good stipulated. In consequence of that omiswill and amity with the American States; sión, it became necessary to pass the Inand it gave him still farther satisfaction, tercourse act of last session, to prevent the inasmuch as it seemed to indicate a hope trade with the United States from falling on the part of his majesty's ministers, that to the ground. That act would expire in the existing differences would be recon- about four weeks. It would take three ciled and done away. He was however, weeks to pass a bill to renew it, and theresurprised, under the circumstances now ex- fore no time was to be lost. If America isting in America, to find the provisions had precipitately taken measures hostile of the act of 1797, made to carry into ef- to this country, it became us to show an fect the Treaty of commerce and amity example of the dignity and moderation, with the United States, now proposed for that became a great and upright nation. renewal, without any reserve or modifi- He hoped America would profit by so incation. If the right hon. gent. would structive an example, and if she should not, look to the preamble of the act, he would he should still find a satisfaction in thinkfind that it was framed on the principle of ing, that this country had erred rather on a reciprocal freedom of commerce between the side of forbearance and deliberation the two countries. But now, when the than of anger and precipitancy. His hon. non-importation act was renewed by the friend should be aware, that under the American legislature in all its strictness, provisions of the Navigation act no Ameand when an embargo was laid in the rican vessel could enter the ports of this American ports, was it a time for Great country, unless special provision were Britain to renew without reserve, all the made by act of parliament to that effect. indulgences of the periods of most amica- To make that provision was one of the ble relation. The act now in existence objects of the measure now proposed. had five weeks of its period still to run; There was no reason why American ships was it not proper to pause, at least for a should be excluded from bringing the propart of that time, in order to ascertain duce of their country to our ports, any whether the arrival of our envoy extraor more than the ships of any other nation. dinary in America, and the arrival of the As to giving a power to the king and intelligence, that must have nearly at the council, why should that be done by the same time been received, of the unjust king and council, which could be done by proceedings of France, might not, on more the legislature, particularly at a time when mature consideration, have taught the parliament was sitting? He proposed to American government to adopt a more limit the duration of the bill to the period wise and moderate system of conduct? If of the present session of parliament, with the embargo should be taken off, and the a power to repeal or alter it at any time Non-importation act repealed, his objec-that it might be thought necessary. Some tions would no longer exist. But if the American government should be so unreasonable as to overlook the outrages of France, and to require from us concessions beyond all reason, a very different course would become us. Another reason why he was averse to the renewal of the act, was the refusal of the American government to ratify the treaty concluded last year. Many of the provisions of the act were incorporated in that treaty, and when the American government refused to accept them in the shape of a national covenant, why should we grant them, without any reciprocal consideration, in the shape of an act of parliament?

Mr. Rose said, the object of the mea

regulation was indispensably necessary, and this measure was the most reasonable that he could think of.-The house then went into the committee. After which, leave was given to bring in a bill to continue the acts passed for carrying into effect the Treaty of Commerce and Amity between his majesty and the United States of America.

[VOTE OF THANKS.-EXPEDITION TO COPENHAGEN.] Lord Castlereagh rose, pursuant to notice, to call the attention of the house to the late services of his maty's army and navy in the Baltic. Whatever difference of opinion there might be as to the political character of the Expedition in this house, he flattered himself that

no difference would exist on the proposi- | extent of the means employed, or the retion he was about to submit. It had al-sult of the enterprise was considered, ways been the custom to consider the there would hardly be found in the history services rendered by his majesty's army of this country, an enterprise in which the and navy in carrying into effect the orders exertion of naval and military skill and with which they were entrusted, distinctly power had been put forth with so much and separately from the merits of the energy and effect. He allowed the expolicy by which his majesty's ministers ceptions which the hon. gentlemen opwere actuated in issuing those orders. This posite had to the expedition, in a moral being the established custom, he should and political point of view, might in certainly not be the first to deviate from their eyes take from the value of the so wise and proper a practice. It was a service rendered to the country. But, so justice due to the army and the navy, who large a naval force not only rescued from were never called upon to decide as to the hands of the enemy, but added to our the propriety or impropriety, nor to mix own naval power, could not surely be their conduct with that of those by whose considered in any other light than as an impulse they acted, and who alone were accession of strength that called for a responsible for the prudence, justice, wis- just tribute of approbation and acknowdom, and policy of the plans they directed ledgment to those by whom it was obto be carried into execution. It was, tained. It was a more natural question therefore, due to the army and navy to to examine whether the difficulties opposed look only to the execution, which was to our force were of such a nature and the distinct service that fell to their charge. amount as to constitute a claim to a very But it was not to the army and navy alone high degree of credit for having overthat this distinct consideration now was come them, and on this head he conceived a point of justice, but also to the gentlemen that he observed a sort of scepticism on in the house who might differ from his the other side, and to some, though not majesty's ministers as to the propriety of any considerable extent, out of doors. the plans that might be carried into effect. It was argued by those persons, that the Those gentlemen would naturally wish to operation had been so easy, so simple, so bear testimony, as warmly as any others. little attended with opposition or difficulto the meritorious conduct of his majesty's ty, that the army and navy were not army and navy; but they would find dif- entitled for its accomplishment, to that ficulty in doing so with satisfaction, if the mode of thanks which, on other occasions, merits of the army and the navy were it was usual to bestow on them. He, not submitted in a shape wholly distinct however, knew well, that there had been from the conduct of ministers. The only difficulties of very serious magnitude to question that could be entertained on the overcome. It was certain, that his majesparticular service for which he proposed ty's ministers, when they had been deto ask the thanks of the house was, whe- termined on the painful duty of underther, taking the whole character of the taking this expedition, at a very critical achievement, the difficulties that were conjuncture, had at the same time, felt it overcome, and the manner of surmounting incumbent on them to prepare such a them, the conduct of the army and navy force, as, by taking away all hope of in the whole of the proceedings was such, effectual resistance, would force Denmark as to call for the greatest reward a grateful to a quiet submission to the demands nation could bestow-the thanks of the made in his majesty's name, or enforce country by the organ of its representative compliance, with the least possible loss body. He submitted this motion, with a to his majesty's forces and to the Danes, full consideration of the jealousy with whose blood it was equally a matter of which parliament ought always to guard desire and of feeling to spare. On this against giving the distinguished sanction principle, the force that was already in of its approbation to services, not of an the Baltic for the purpose of co-operating amount sufficient to entitle them to this with the king of Sweden, was ordered high reward. With respect to the nature to meet the force that was sent directly and amount of the service performed at from this country, and never, certainly, Copenhagen, there could be but one opi- did a more efficient army appear in any nion as to its being of the highest impor- part of the world to assert the cause tance. Whether the magnitude of the of this country. Now, as to the opposiobject that called forth the exertion, the tion this army had to encounter, it was

[ocr errors]

had taken place before the grand attack. The most favourable conditions were offered, and it was not till the Danes refused to come to any terms, that a single gun was fired. No one lamented more than he did the fatal effects of the attack; but if the place was to be reduced at all, the mode of effecting that object that had been resorted to was certainly the best. A regular siege would have been attended with more loss on the part of the British, as well as of the Danes. Nothing but the smallness of the loss sustained by the British could be pleaded in diminution of the success obtained by the British. This arose, not from any want of means on the part of the enemy to do injury. The killed and wounded on our part were no more than 300 men. But the small loss sustained was a circumstance to add to, rather than to take from, the merit of our commanders. When the whole character of the transaction, the number of men the enemy had in arms, their facilities of receiving reinforcements, the difficulty of reducing so large a place at so late a period of the year, and the impossibility of effecting the reduction by any other sort of attack than that described; when all these things were considered, he had no hesitation to say, that the army and

a false notion that Denmark was wholly unprepared to resist on the side of Zealand. It was not the fact, that the whole military force of Denmark was collected in Holstein. From the best inquiry, it had been ascertained, that exclusive of the citizens and peasants who formed irregular corps, there were not less than 35,000 men who had been trained and accustomed to bear arms in the service of the king of Denmark, including regular and militia forces, seamen and marines. The garrison of Copenhagen was 15,000, that of Cronenburg 4,000, and the force in the country, attacked and dispersed by sir Arthur Wellesley, was 16,000, making altogether 35,000. This force was always open to increase by reinforcements from the other islands. The Belt could not be always sufficiently guarded to prevent such reinforcements from being thrown in, and they had, in fact, been thrown in to some amount. The town of Copenhagen, so far as its extent admitted, was equal to any fortress, and from the nature of the works by which it was surrounded was incapable of surprise. The works towards the sea were, in fact, invulnerable; and on the land side, the nature of the ditch rendered it extremely difficult and dan-navy had atchieved a service as great as gerous, if not impossible to approach. These difficulties were not to be estimated at nought, though they ultimately gave way to a bombardment, against which it was impossible to hold out. With respect to the time in which the service was accomplished, it was of the utmost importance that every expedition should be used; and when gentlemen considered the difficulty of landing and bringing up heavy ordnance to the extremity of a line which extended four miles from the landing place, and when it was considered, that the whole of this difficult and arduous, and important preparation was completed between the 18th of August and the 2d of Sept. when the town was summoned to surrender, the zeal and diligence with which this part of the service had been executed would be found deserv-pedition was sent out, and the effectual ing of the highest commendation. The disposition on which the British commanders had acted, was evinced in the summons sent when they were ready to commence the bombardment. It was certainly right, that no desultory attacks should be allowed, till the great operations, which could not be resisted,were arranged: except mere engagements of defence, no other actions

any that had ever been performed by a British force; they had atchieved that service in the most effectual manner, and the humanity and generosity which distinguished the whole of their conduct, both in hostility and in victory, shed a fresh lustre over their glory. On this last point certainly there could be but one opinion, both within doors and without. Having thus far endeavoured to do justice to the merits of the army, he should not satisfy his feelings if he did not do a similar justice to the other departments. It was not usual for parliament to take notice of the merits of the departments that were' concerned in the outfit of expeditions; and the persons employed in those departments were as little disposed to take merit to themselves. The time at which the ex

manner in which every part of the preparation, naval and military, was brought in aid of the object, called for a share of acknowledgment to all the co-operators. If it was wise to undertake the expedition at all, it was doubly incumbent to lose no time. Delay would have increased the difficulty and the eventual loss to this country and to the Danes. There was not only the

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »