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tended, that acts, long since buried in oblivion, are now to be raised up again to prove the hostility of Denmark? Is it because she was hostile in 1901, that she must be hostile in 1807? But, it is said, that Denmark was not disposed to resist the demands of France, and yet it was owing to her sending her troops into Holstein to resist the encroachments of France, that our expedition conquered Zealand, and seized the Danish fleet. It is said, however, that, had Denmark been disposed to resist France, she was unable; and an inference of this nature has been drawn from an allegation, stated to have been made by that power in 1801, that she joined the coalition against this country, because she was unable to resist the power of Russia. This statement, I am inclined to think, is incorrect. In those transactions in 1801, I bore a part, until about February or March in that year; and I am positive that no such Declaration was then made by Denmark, nor do I think, from the facts of the case, that it could be made afterwards; because Denmark was not incidentally drawn into the coalition, but was the main instrument in forming the league; but, although she might make such an assertion, for the purpose of softening her conduct towards England, yet it does not at all bear upon the present case. It is contended, however, that if the French troops occupied Holstein, Zealand must fall of course; but this is not at all proved. On the contrary, there are between Holstein and Zealand two passages of the sea, the one six and the other sixteen miles wide, which a French army must cross to invade Zealand, and where they might be met with effect by British or Danish ships. If it is to be contended that Zealand must fall, if Holstein were occupied by French troops, it might as well be said, that England must be conquered by the French, because they occupy the continent of France, there being only a channel 21 miles broad between Dover and Calais, only five miles wider than the passage between Holstein and Zealand. I am aware that the latter passage is sometimes frozen over; but still the difficulties of transporting a large army over such a breadth of ice, and with all the articles necessary for such a force, would be a most insuperable obstacle.---Thus, the case with respect to Denmark rests entirely upon assumptions in the first instance, which are afterwards magnified into assertions, and at length introduced, by ministers, as facts into the speech delivered this

but this they have not attempted to do, and have given up the assertion in the speech. I am well aware, that there might be circumstances which would imperatively justify an expedition like that to Copenhagen it is laid down by the most approved writers on the law of nations, that where you have certain evidence of the intention of an enemy to seize upon a neutral territory, neutral vessels, or property, such neutral being incapable of resisting, and thereby to place you in imminent danger, you have a right to seize such neutral territory, vessels, or property, in order to insure your own safety. The same writers, however, state the dreadful consequences which would result from the application of such a doctrine, unless the imperative circumstances are clearly proved and accurately defined; the danger ought to be clearly established, and the incapability of the neutral to defend itself. We are told in the speech, that his majesty had information that France intended to collect a large force to bear against this country. My lords, can any one of us doubt this, or that this country would be equally desirous to bring a large force to bear against France ? But how does this bear upon the point? Even if Denmark had become a party to a treaty against this country, could that be a justification for seizing her fleet or her territories? We know how France has acted upon this principle on the case of Naples which became a party to the coalition against France, which I fear is lost to its sovereign for ever; and in the case of Hesse, where there was only a suspicion that the sovereign was, favourable to the cause of the coalition against France. It is said, however, that the hostility of Denmark is clearly proved; and in what manner? because her fleet was in a state of preparation, and because she had, at different times, evinced a hostile feeling towards this country. With respect to her fleet, was it not natural, when all the powers around her were at war, that she should be in a state of preparation? But, my lords, if I am not grossly misinformed, so far from that being the case, the greater part of the Danish ships were laid up in ordinary. Upon this part of the subject, however, I trust that parliament will call for information, as in this respect information may be easily obtained, and may certainly be imparted without the slightest danger. As to the acts evincing the hostile feeling of Denmark, is it to be con

day to parliament; a conduct highly re- | every energy of the country, whilst at the prehensible, and deserving the severest same time one cannot help looking forreprobation. It has been argued, how-ward with great anxiety to the future.-ever, by the noble earl who spoke last, With regard to the two propositions asthat the expedition to Copenhagen had a serted by ministers; first, that we should precedent in the expedition to Constan- not enter into a negotiation, unless the tinople. If it is meant to be contended, basis of that negotiation be previously that the expedition to Constantinople was stated; and, secondly, that we should not an instance of bad faith, how is that to avail ourselves of the mediation of any justify another instance of bad faith? If power, not perfectly impartial, or susthe late ministers were wrong in advising pected of partiality to the enemy, I canthe expedition to Turkey, let them be con- not conceive any thing more preposterous. demned; but do not let them have the The second proposition is peculiarly untenmortification of having it quoted as a jus-able, because we do not accept a mediatification of an act of bad faith. The facts, however, are, that the expedition to Turkey was chiefly in conformity with the treaty with Russia, and that its object was, not to seize the Turkish fleet, but to compel the execution of treaties.-With respect to the other points of the speech, I cannot help lamenting, that, on the subject of peace, it should be so worded as to tend to induce a belief that peace would be rejected. Upon this subject the noble viscount (Sidmouth) has nearly anticipated all the arguments which I meant to urge. When we contemplate the crisis in which we are placed, and the information derived from the speech, by which we learn, that in addition to the hostility of France, Spain, Holland and Italy, which we knew before, Russia, Austria and Denmark are also hostile, and Portugal lost, we surely may be excused for considering, whether any means exist of obtaining a just and honourable peace. I agree perfectly in the praise given by the noble viscount to the noble lord (Milton), who, in spite of clamour and delusion, manfully declared sentiments which evinced a just and magnanimous, as well as a judicious and correct mind. I would be the last man to call in question the right of the people to petition, but I do not think that peace is to be obtained by petitioning the throne. Petitions of such a nature are injurious, not because they impart to Bonaparte any new fact with respect to the situation of the country; but, because they tend to convey to the enemy an exaggerated representation of that situation, which rather tends to retard than accelerate peace. Anxiety must, however, naturally be, produced, when in addition to the enemies already enumerated, when nearly the whole coast of the continent is a hostile shore, we find that there is a probability of a war with the United States of America. Such an unexampled crisis calls for the exertion of

tor as an umpire, but merely as a medium
for facilitating our communications with
the enemy. If the mediator be partial to
the enemy, what injury can result to us?
we are not bound by his sentiments; and
we may avail ourselves of his interposi-
tion, by rejecting which we may provoke
him to declare against us.
Such, pre-
cisely, has been the case with respect to
Russia. That there might be reasons for
rejecting the mediation of Russia, and that
we had the right to make that rejection, if
adequate reasons existed, I do not mean
to deny. But let us not promulgate new
doctrines, which are equally irreconcile-
able with practice and principle. Now,
as to the first proposition, I contend, that
in the whole history of this country, or of
the negotiations of other civilized nations,
no precedents can be found to sustain it.
If ministers can produce me one instance
in which the statement of a basis has been
insisted upon, as a preliminary to negocia-
tion, I pledge myself to produce ten in-
stances of a contrary practice; and, as to
the precedent of the last negociation, I
should draw from it quite a different con-
clusion from that which ministers seem
disposed to press; for I think it must be
manifest, that the case of that negociation
proves how unimportant it is to the object of
a negociation to obtain the previous state-
ment of a basis. In fact, such a thing is
a matter of no consequence, and ought
not to be insisted' upon. As to that topic
of the speech which relates to Portugal, it
appears to me, that ministers have appre-
ciated the subject very erroneously indeed.
The simple questions are, what, have we
lost, and what have we gained by the emi-
gration of the court to the Brazils? We have
lost, as a publication of the enemy recently
stated, two of the most important ports
for us on the whole coast of the continent
of Europe (Lisbon and Oporto).
what have we gained? sir George Staunton


states, that when he was at Rio de Janeiro, the shops were glutted with English goods. What then are we to obtain in addition by the presence of the prince of Brazils in that settlement? How, I would ask ministers, are the Brazils to be made more productive for this country, than they have been, by any other means than those which would tend to the consummate ruin of our own colonies? I do not mean to revive the question of the Slave Trade with this or any other topic. But, I contend, that the increased culture of the Brazils, far from being of service, would be injurious to you; and I cannot conceive how the emigration of the court of Portugal to that territory, can extend the market for your goods, which it had already afforded you. Indeed, I am rather of opinion, with a late demi-official declaration of the enemy, that the transfer of the Portuguese government to the Brazils will turn out more advantageous for France, than for this country. In so far as this emigration shews any friendship for us, or as it presents a contrast to the conduct of other powers, it certainly forms a grateful subject for the contemplation of mankind. But, as to the commercial or political advantages to be derived from it to this country, I cannot consent to delude my countrymen by holding out such an idea. In all that I have said, my lords, I have carefully abstained from any personal reference to the conduct of those by whom his majesty's government is at present directed. My object is to consider their measures, and by those measures to appreciate their merits. I must, however, take notice of some at least apparent contradictions in the language and conduct of the noble lords on the other side. In reviewing the dreadful catalogue of evils which menace this country, I do believe that I speak the universal sentiment when I say, that the greatest additional calamity for us, and the greatest advantage for France that can well be imagined, would be a war with America. Such, indeed, is the language of ministers themselves; and yet what has been their conduct? Why, at the very time when it is most material to avoid such a war, they, as I am ready to maintain, absolutely alter the law of the land to promote it. Ministers state, and in that I agree with them, that no difficulty or danger can befal the country equal to that of acquiescing in the surrender of our maritime rights. If America were to put forth such a claim, then a call upon parliament and the country to resist it would

be unanimously answered in the affir tive. But America has not asserted such claim. It has, indeed, been st that she has, and we have been told some noble lords on the other side, too much concession has been alre made to that power. What do noble 1 mean by concession? I wish when s assertions are made, those who m them would state some particulars. they refer to the late Treaty with A rica, which the American government fused to ratify, I contend, that so far f too much concession being made in treaty, it absolutely went to impose strictions upon American commerce greater than those mentioned in the claration of the Secretary of State. yet, the late ministers felt the force, were alive to the importance of all reasons which should urge this countr avoid a war with America. The iden of language, the similarity of habits, old, the commercial, the family conn tions, had all their just weight in our o sideration of the jubject. We, theref determined to preserve the old laws wh regulated our intercourse; and I enter not the smallest doubt, that had the cou we commenced been consistently pursu it would have answered the end in vi by preserving the amicable relations just interests of both countries. speech, I observe, studiously separates two questions involved in our controve with America; namely, that of the af of the Chesapeake, and that relating our Orders of Council. But, does a man suppose, that those questions will separated in America? No: nor can th be separated in discussion here. In amining the Orders of Council, they m be considered in three points of view; fi as they affect our commerce; second as they affect the constitution; and last as they affect our negociations with An rica. When all the papers relative to t important question are laid before house, it will be for us particularly to quire, whether his majesty's governm can constitutionally enact such prohi tions, as these Orders of Council contai next, whether the time chosen for issui those orders was not peculiarly exce tionable, as they must serve so much inflame the minds of the Americans, ready so strongly excited against us; a also, whether we had any right thus annihilate the whole trade of America thus to say to that power, as our Ord

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distinctly expressed, "Not a ship of yours tionable. Our course ought to be, to ask shall sail which shall not be subject to the neutral powers whether they meant to confiscation by us, or to conditions which submit to Bonaparte's blockading decree? shall subject it to confiscation by the ene- and if so, that we must act accordingly. my?" I repeat, that this is the language Now, this course we did take; but the which the decree of ministers proclaims present ministers did not wait for any reto America, and I would ask, whether ply to this requisition, at least from Amesuch language is reconcileable with any rica, before they issued their Orders of law, or usage, or principle of equity? Let Council. Now, it turns out, as I am inme, then, intreat your lordships deeply to formed, that America received the most consider this subject; to examine its po- satisfactory assurances from the French licy; to interpose your authority and in- government, that its blockading decree fluence for the purpose of restoring moder- would not be acted upon against American ation and justice to your government. shipping. In point of fact, it appears, What the late ministers did in conse- that it never was so acted upon. Why, quence of Bonaparte's Decree of block- then, the whole foundation upon which ading of the British isles is in the recol- our Orders of Council profess to rest, is lection of the house. They retaliated, not done away, and ministers, by their indisupon America or the neutral powers, but creet precipitancy, have put unnecessary upon France. The Orders of Council, fetters upon our own commerce, and most however, commence with an assertion, unjust restrictions, or rather a total prohiwhich I find echoed in his majesty's bition, upon the commerce of America. speech. In that speech I see, for the first But, what the farther consequences of such time, a thing unparalleled in any produc- precipitancy may be, it is painful to contion of this nature upon record; namely, template. What must be their operation an imputation cast upon the conduct of in America! How much must this aid the his majesty's government for the last 15 views of the French party, if such a party years. But, when such an imputation is be there! Had you waited for the answer cast, I would call for proofs to sustain it. of the American government, before you When Bonaparte issued his blockading issued these Orders of Council, and had Decree, we expressed a hope that such a such answer implied an acquiescence in decree would not be acted upon. We the French decree, then your friends in might be thought too sanguine in that America might have maintained that any hope; and yet we were not altogether restrictions imposed through you upon disappointed. But, what have the present American trade were attributable to the ministers done by their Orders of Council? hostility of France and the connivance of Why, instead of urging Bonaparte to re- the American government. This impresvoke his decree, they have produced the sion would have been highly serviceable issue of other decrees, to strengthen and to you in America, and prejudicial to confirm that which, in fact, could never France. But, your haste has rendered that have been executed, if it were not for the hopeless. France, however, never did, as aid derived from our Orders of Council. I have already said, act under its extraWhat did we do? We adhered to the prin- vagant decree, against any American ship. ciples of the law of nations. It has al- Indeed, I do not think that it ever meant ways been a principle of that law, that the to enforce such a decree. That and alltrade between the enemy's ports should the other decrees of the same character be interdicted during war, and we extend- which have since followed, were, I firmly ed that interdict to Holland, Spain, and the believe, but mere experiments upon the other nations, which we found to be sub- wisdom and discretion of the British goservient to the commands of the enemy. vernment; and these experiments have We did not attempt to extend a system of unfortunately had but too much success. blockade for all Europe, by taking the France irritated you to come forward and course which the present ministers have execute decrees which, if it were not for done in their Orders of Council, and in your aid, must have been a mere dead letwhich I maintain they have actually vio-ter, except in her own ports, in which you lated an article of Magna Charta. They could not, I contend, upon the king's authority, constitutionally decree such extraordinary prohibitions. But, their mode of proceeding has been altogether excep

could not at any time interfere with her jurisdiction. The French decrees could in fact avail nothing, if you had acted prudently. But, in aggravation of the other mischiefs resulting from your conduct, you

for, compared to the question of Ireland, every other subject which called for their attention-every topic that had been alluded to in the course of the debate, was trifling-was, in fact, little else than driving nails into the sheathing of a ship, while her main timbers were on the point of starting.


have placed this country in that state, with respect to America, in which France would have been, had your course been different. For, although France, by its decree, originated the system of restriction, yet all the odium of the system will attach to you in America, in consequence of your inconsiderate haste. Your conduct must be viewed with reference to this, as well as the other topics I have referred to, when we come to consider those Orders of Council. I hope I shall always be found to stand up, and, I trust, firmly, for the rights and privileges of my country; but, yet, I would ask, does any privilege belong to us, is any principle to be found that can warrant the restrictions which ministers have imposed upon American commerce? And I would also ask, upon what grounds the paragraph in the speech, which refers to these restrictions, can be justified? I allude to that paragraph which implies a censure upon the conduct of his majesty's government for a series of years, by regretting his adherence to justice and moderation. Such, I am certain, are not the personal sentiments of his majesty: no, they are contrary to every principle of his life; they are, indeed, in that proportion, unfit to be put into such a declaration. The plain interpretation, in fact, of this paragraph is this, "that we have been too long carrying on a most unequal contest of justice against injustice." But, if so, I maintain, that all the advantages of the contest have been on our side. Is this the day, then, in which we are to be told, that for the last 15 years we have suffered by following the principles of justice? Could that great man, (Mr. Pitt) whose opinion has had such influence on our councils during that period, could he, my lords, look down upon this declaration, how much would he deprecate the sentiment, that we ought to terminate the "unequal contest in which we have been engaged, of justice against injustice!"-The noble baron here shortly recapitulated the topics upon which he had touched, and concluded with an impressive appeal to the house, as to the necessity of an immediate inquiry into the state of Ireland, with a view to the adoption of measures, calculated to conciliate the po-jesty's government did receive information pulation of that country. The principal points to which he would direct the attention of the house upon this subject were familiar to their lordships, and he conjured his majesty's ministers to use their utmost endeavours to remove every obstruction to the attainment of those objects;

Lord Hawkesbury said, he should not have considered the conduct of his majesty's ministers justified, if they had not taken the first opportunity at the meeting of parliament, to ask for the support and unanimity of parliament. It had been demanded by a noble lord (Grenville), on what principles had ministers undertaken the attack on Copenhagen? Unless there were circumstances to make the noble lord disbelieve what his majesty's speech contained on that subject, the noble lord ought to believe it; but there were facts and proofs before the world to justify the conduct of his majesty's ministers. The noble lord had misunderstood the facts, when he asserted that this country did not acquire its information by legitimate means. the government had acquired it by illegitimate means, they had done an act which merited reprehension in the eyes of the world. No sooner had Austria and Russia fallen, than France became ruler of the continent of Europe. Our enemy had the power and the will to injure us, and the situation of Europe justified ministers in adopting any offensive or defensive measures, necessary for the protection of this country against the power of France. When France declared our ports in a state of blockade, the interests of neutral states were reciprocal; but neutral states were bound to protect themselves; and if they did not do so, England was entitled, by the law of nations, to adopt principles necessary to support her commerce, and for her preservation. He would ask the noble lord, whether there was any state on the continent of Europe where justice was to be had on the established law of nations? The law was the will of the French, and consequently the law of Great Britain must be to provide for her preservation. He had no hesitation in saying, his ma

that there were secret engagements in the treaty of Tilsit to employ the navies of Denmark and Portugal against this country. The evidence required by the noble lord to prove this fact, was of a description which could not possibly be produced. If government were to communicate private in

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