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must state that his majesty's present ministers never disguised or concealed the desire they had to conclude a peace with France, if such a peace could be concluded on fair and honourable terms, and should extend to his majesty's allies, as well as to his own territories. If they had thought such a peace could have been obtained through the Russian mediation, they would have gladly embraced it; but it was well known that Russia had, at the treaty of Tilsit, entered into secret articles, which they could not doubt were directed against the interests of this country, or perhaps against the existence of some of the powers who were allies of his majesty. The Russian minister the baron de Budberg himself did not deny that there were secret articles prejudicial to this country. He would not, however, state what those articles were, but only said, that, upon his honour, the shutting of the Russian ports against the English trade was not one.' Under these circumstances, his majesty's ministers thought it necessary to ask what was the basis on which it was proposed to make peace, and what were these secret articles in the treaty of Tilsit? They thought that if either the basis was inadmissible, or that these secret articles went directly to the prejudice of his majesty, or his allies, in such case it would be idle and dangerous to carry on a mock negociation for peace, which could not produce any beneficial effect, but which would prove delusive to the hopes, and prejudicial to the interests of this country. If an honourable peace could be made, his majesty's ministers would be glad to conclude it, but if the thing was impossible, they thought it dangerous to hold out false hopes to the country. No peace could be honourable to this country which would surrender its allies to the enemy; and as the secret articles of the treaty must be supposed to be directed either against his majesty, or his allies, it appeared to his majesty's ministers, that it was absolutely necessary that they should have some information on that subject before they could consent to have the country lulled into the idea that they were to expect peace. As to the second point in the speech of the noble lord, the apology that he thought it necessary to make for the late ministers from the charges in the Russian Declaration, which appeared to him to be countenanced by his majesty's present ministers; he should first observe, that there was no public document or offi
cial paper to be found, in which his majesty's ministers had countenanced or supported those charges. If, however, he was called upon to pronounce an opinion, it would be hypocritical in him to deny, that he thought the late ministers acted in many points from a very different view of the subject from that which was entertained by the present ministers. There were many points in which he agreed with what had been stated by the noble lord, and some in which he differed. He agreed with him in thinking that the late ministers could not have prevented the quarrel between France and Prussia, nor that defeat which was so disastrous to the Prussian nation; but although it was out of their power to give any effectual succour to Prussia, yet in the next campaign, which ended so unfortunately, but which began so fortunately-[Here lord Grey asked across the house, when or where it was fortunate] He meant when the power of Russia had been brought into the field to support Prussia, then the cause of the continent appeared to be by no means in so desperate a state as the late ministers seemed to consider it. If it were allowed that the French succeeded principally by superiority of numbers, then it might be supposed that a great part of that superiority might have been taken off by proper co-operation, especially as it was allowed that Sweden was ready to co-operate with its whole strength. He agreed with the noble lord also in the principle he laid down, that he would not grant a larger loan to any foreign power than he would a subsidy, as it might be expected that such loan would fall ultimately upon this country, and that a larger sum would be asked in the way of loan than would be demanded as a subsidy. He thought the sum of six millions was too great to give to the emperor of Russia, either as subsidy or loan; but it did not follow that because that sum was too large, ministers should have drily refused him and not given any thing. It was natural for the power who asked assistance to name the highest sum, but it did not follow that if that was too great, no assistance at all should be given. Although he should have objected to 6 mil lions, yet, when he considered that it was a campaign upon which the last stake of Europe was depending, he should not have objected to three millions, either as a subsidy, or, if it was more gratifying to the pride of Russia, as a loan. He thought,
then, the late ministers were wrong in not giving, at least, that pecuniary assistance which the circumstances required, and which our allies had a right to expect. He thought also, that, although he did not charge them with any positive breach of promise or violation of any express assurance of co-operation, yet that they had by their expressions held out a hope, and induced a belief in the allies that it was their intention to co-operate. Those hopes and expectations had been deceived, and the continent were now taught to look upon this country as a nation that goaded others, but which avoided partaking in the dangers and losses of a continental war. He thought it would have been better to have run the risk of a loss of troops, than to lose our national honour, and be considered a country which would involve others in dangers which we ourselves would decline. He also thought that the late ministers had been wrong in talking of cooperations, when they made no preparations for that purpose. So far from having a proper number of transports ready, they actually discharged in the month of March many transports, which had before been in the service of government. After a variety of observations on the other parts of the speech of the noble lord, his lordship concluded with expressing a readiness to grant many of the papers moved for; but there were some which he thought it would be improper to produce.
| effect on the campaign. It would not have
Earl Moira conceived that his majesty's present ministers had no right to ask Russia to communicate the secret articles of the treaty she had been forced to sign at Tilsit. If the emperor of Russia signed secret articles, he had pledged his honour that they should be secret, and we could not reasonably expect him to violate that pledge. At the same moment, however, and in the same breath, that we denied the power of Russia to be a fair guarantee between us and France, and rejected that mediation, we solicited it as between us and Denmark, and thought that, in that case, her guarantee was quite sufficient. If the late ministers, however, did not send an army to the assistance of Russia, it was because no army which this country could send had the smallest chance of turning the fate of the last unfortunate campaign. The greatest force that was ever spoken of as possible to attempt a diversion with, was 30,000 British troops and 15,000 Swedes. This force, collected at Stralsund, could have had but very little
the French army from coming up time.
Lord Hutchinson hoped the house would allow him to state some matters which, from the situation he had held, were within his own personal knowledge. The Russian army never had any chance of succeeding in the campaign, or even in the battle of Eylau, where they fought so bravely. The French had certainly the victory. They remained for ten days in the field of battle, and immediately after made themselves masters of the magazines at Elbing, and returned to their cantonments, where they, effectually covered the blockade of several strong towns, which afterwards surrendered to them. At that time the king of Prussia retired from Konigsberg to Memel, and not thinking himself quite safe there, had even engaged a house at Riga. On the 23d of Feb. he wrote to ministers, mentioning that a French general had arrived at Memel to propose a separate peace; and if the count de Zastrow supported the idea off a separate peace, it was not because he was less attached than any other man to the cause of Prussia and the continent, but because he knew the situation of Russia and Prussia, and was convinced that they had no chance by continuing the contest. In the beginning of April he had had a long conversation with the emperor of Russia, who afterwards referred him to one of his ministers, who told him, that as soon as the Russian guards came up they would be superior in number to the French, and were determined to attack them. The Russians neither knew the force that opposed them, nor how much their own numbers in the field were inferior to their armies upon paper. The noble lord was then proceeding to state the nature of different dispatches between him and the present ministers, when
Earl Bathurst rose to order. He thought it was completely out of order for any noble lord to state, at his own pleasure, all the conversations between kings and emperors, which, from his official situation, he might have heard, or to divulge the confidential communications which took place between him and his government; and if it was competent for any one individual to do so, it was equally competent for any other individual in his majesty's service.
The Duke of Norfolk said, that whether the noble lord acted right or not in entering into these details, they were completely relevant to the question under dis
cussion, and therefore that he could not be said to be out of order.
Lord Grenville wished to know whether their lordships would submit to the doctrine, that it was quite regular, as had been done in another place, to read partial extracts from correspondence, where, by stopping short in the middle of a sentence, the meaning was altogether perverted, and that they should be debarred from the privilege of rectifying the false impressions to which this conduct had given rise? And he would ask, whether it was for those who had themselves set the example of publishing garbled extracts from official papers, which of all others ought to be considered as the most secret and confidential, to complain of his noble friend, particularly when it was recollected that he deemed it absolutely necessary to the justification of his own character, which had been most wantonly and falsely aspersed?
The Lord Chancellor reminded the noble lord that it was a great breach of order in that house to refer or allude to any thing which had passed in another house of parliament. And if a breach of order had been committed and permitted in another place, that was surely no reason why a similar breach of order should be tolerated by their lordships. He was clearly of opinion, that it was disorderly in any person who had been employed in a public capacity to read a part, or to disclose the contents of a public dispatch, without the leave of his majesty, to whom that dispatch was supposed to belong; and he thought that they had already gone a very dangerous length in allowing a minute of a conversation, supposed to have passed between an accredited minister and a foreign sovereign, without his majesty's permission to that effect.
Earl Grey contended that his noble friend was not reading a dispatch, and much less a partial and garbled extract from such dispatch, when he had, in his opinion, been most improperly called to order by a noble earl. He had been merely giving an account of his public conduct, in perfect consistency with his duty, and, as he conceived, within the rules of order by which discussions in that house were regulated. He was happy, however, to hear from so high an authority as the noble lord upon the woolsack, an admission of the impropriety and indecency of reading extracts from dispatches, which he asserted to be the pro
imputed to his majesty's secretary of state for foreign affairs.
Lord Mulgrave reminded the noble lord, that if the Morning Post contained any thing improper, there was an authority in another place quite competent to set it to rights.
Lord Hutchinson continued: As soon as he found that the Russians were not likely to advance, he was decidedly of opinion, that we ought not to send a sin
perty of his majesty, and he hoped that the animadversions of the noble lord upon this novel and dangerous practice, would operate as a useful lesson to those by whom it had been introduced. With all due deference, however, to the opinion of the learned and noble lord, he submitted it to the house, whether, after so foul a use (for foul he must call it) as had been made of the letters of his noble friend, he was not to be permitted to state the facts as they really stood in his own vindica-gle man to the continent. He gave every tion, and whether, after his conduct and character had been arraigned, he was not to be suffered to wipe off the aspersions which had been cast upon him by declaring the truth, and the whole truth of the case. He must suppose, however, from what had just fallen from the noble lord upon the woolsack, that had an attempt been made to do a thing so irregular, and fraught with so much danger, as to read, in his hearing, extracts from any public and official communications unauthorized and uncalled upon, he would immediately have interrupted the person by whom the attempt was made. He would not allude to any thing that had passed in another place, but it was rather surprising, that the noble lord upon the woolsack, with these rigorous sentiments respecting duty and order, did not on this very evening admonish the noble secretary of state of his irregularity, in reading a part of a public dispatch, to which their lordships' attention had been called in the course of his speech. At any rate, after the reproof which had now been administered, he hoped that the noble secretary would kiss the rod with meekness, and receive the chastisement with humble submission.
Lord Hawkesbury said, that it certainly was highly irregular to refer to any thing which had passed in another place, and he conceived it to be very improper for any noble lord, who had been employed in a public capacity, to disclose the secrets of his mission; particularly without any previous communication with those to whom his dispatches were addressed. He knew of no charge or imputation that had been brought against the noble lord, and therefore he considered such a disclosure, in the present instance, to say the least of it, altogether unnecessary.
Lord Grenville insisted that his noble friend had said nothing which was not necessary for his own vindication from a charge which was brought against him in the Morning Post, and which was there
degree of credit to the bravery of the Russian troops, but the French had every kind of advantage over them; and in no mission on which he might be sent would he ever deceive the country, by representing things in a different point of view from that in which he saw them. In the month of June, Buonaparte, a greater master of the art of military movements than any man who perhaps ever existed, had assembled a corps of 40,000 men upon the Elbe, upon which, in case of sustaining any misfortune, he could have fallen back, so that though at that time there had been 30,000 English and Swedes at Stralsund, they might have met with some disaster, but could have done no good.
Lord Grenville had looked forward with considerable anxiety to this night's discussion, to which he trusted for the vindication of his own character, and that of his colleagues, from several charges which had been brought against their conduct while in administration. anxiety had been much relieved by the candid admission of the noble secretary of state, who in the course of his speech had deserted several of the articles of charge which had been thrown out on other occasions, but which he was happy to find were now done away. If any person had ever been so silly and so little of a statesman as to suppose that any provision could have been made for the rupture between Prussia and France, their opinion would probably be corrected by the admission of the noble secretary on this evening, that no such provision was to be expected. In addition to what his noble friend (earl Grey) had said on this subject, he had only one particular to subjoin, viz. that the Prussian minister was recalled from this country, where he had been invited to stay, as an organ of amicable communication, in the middle of August, and so rapid were the decisions of the court of Berlin, that
he was apprized of the change of system on his arrival at Hamburgh. In the Russian Declaration it had been stated, that this government had not acted upon assurances which had been given of sending a military force to the continent, in order to create a diversion in favour of the allies. The noble secretary had admitted in his speech that no such assurances had ever been given; but he considered his majesty's Declaration as extremely defective, in not replying to the allegation of our not acting upon those assurances, by the assertion, the truth of which the noble secretary had admitted in debate, and which was necessary to the exculpation of the present ministers, their predecessors, and the country. He had been a good deal surprised to find no Note upon this subject in the Correspondence which had taken place between his majesty's ambassador and the ministers of the emperor of Russia. He was satisfied with the assurance of the noble secretary, that no opportunity had occurred of presenting such a note; still however, this❘ circumstance rendered it more necessary that the calumny should be refuted in the counter-declaration. But, instead of this, ministers had left the cause of the country to shift for itself, because they could not do justice to the country without likewise doing justice to their predecessors. There was another charge from which he had been relieved-not, indeed, by the admission of the noble secretary, but by something still more eloquent-his silence. His noble friend had called upon ministers when they talked of diversions, to specify the time, place, and mode, in which those diversions ought to have been made; but the noble secretary could neither name a moment for such an attempt, nor put his finger upon a point of land to which an expedition could have been sent with advantage. So that this point, like the others, when it was touched, crumbled into dust. But, said the noble secretary, if we could not make diversions we should at least have made preparations. If a case did not occur, a case might occur. To this he thought it no bad answer for a statesman to say, that in fact no such case ever had occurred. He confessed, that from the first opening of the campaign, neither he nor his colleagues were sanguine in their hopes of success, and while they were endeavouring to counteract the fatal delusion, in which the country from long habits was too prone to indulge, he had
not forgotten the pains which were taken to represent them as gloomy, spiritless, and apprehensive, because they would not condescend, by an empty shew of preparation, to court a reputation for vigour. There was only one case, in which he thought that great and ample sacrifices ought to have been made, in the event of procuring the co-operation of Austria.But the noble lord had said, that pecuniary aid might have been afforded; that the late ministers refused even to sanction a Russian loan in this country of six millions. To this he would answer, that under the state of affairs on the continent, when facilities of raising money were required of this country, the money could not be obtained here without the guarantee of government; and, taught by the experience of a former guarantee for an Austrian loan, it behoved the late government to act with some caution before she gave another guarantee for such a sum as 6 millions, which might ultimately fall as a burthen on the people of this country. But, said the noble lord, you might have granted a subsidy of 3 millions, and you would then at least have shewn your zeal to assist Russia, and secured her good opinion, by shewing her, that you felt for her distresses. He would answer, that they were ready to subsidize, if it could have been shewn that any good was to be gained by it. Noble lords said, but why did you not at least make a shew of diversion, by collecting a large fleet of transports, and a march of troops to your coasts, in order to excite alarm in the enemy and divide his attention? To this he would answer, that the enemy knew as well as we that we could not be serious in such an enterprize, which served only to delude our ally, and encourage him to continue a fruitless contest. Still, his lordship said, the country was not without resources, and could have gone very great lengths both in military and pecuniary aids, had there been a probability of such aid being in any way useful; and as to an observation made that the late ministry should have advised Russia to make peace with France, he would not transgress the point of order so recently discussed, by stating the contents of dispatches; but if the noble secretary of state would read the Russian dispatches of the last three months, he was confident he would never again come down to that house, and rebuke him on the same ground.-The noble lord next adverted to the disastrous issue of the war,