« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
been abided by, that was stipulated by the capitulation. His right hon. friend was also mistaken, as to the offer of Norway to Sweden by France. It was prince Murat, and not gen. Brune, that made the offer which Sweden communicated to Denmark, but which Denmark concealed from His right hon. friend seemed to think, that France might do as she pleased might give away Norway with impunity, whilst we should be highly criminal in any such intention, let the state of warfare between us and Denmark be what it might. His last point, however, was, that we should not follow the example of the enemy. In that respect his majesty had hitherto carried on a system of scrupulous forbearance. If his right hon. friend meant that we should not imitate his cruelties, oppressions, and unbounded aggressions, he would coincide with him; but if he meant that we should not follow him in every measure which might tend to put us on a perfect equality with him in carrying on the war, he must differ with him entirely. His right hon. friend had indulged the exuberant fancy of his classic mind, by giving garbled extracts from Latin poets, by way of quotation; such as Ridiculum acri quid vetat.'-If, he was inclined to retort a quotation on his right hon. friend, it would, he thought, be strictly allowable to him to say.- Arma virunique cano-fas est et ab hoste doceri.'Buonaparte, whatever might be his cruelties, his oppressions, or his aggressions, had on all occasions scrupulously adhered to and protected those who had entered into alliance with him: he had never sacrificed an ally to any consideration, however pressing or important. Ministers were that night called on to give up the correspondence of our only ally, which could not fail of being attended with great inconvenience; and he would, therefore, so far follow the example of the enemy as to adhere to our ally, and to refuse his assent to his right hon, friend's motion.
Mr. Windham saw very little in the speech of the right hon. gent. that had any application to the question, and even in that little could discover no force. The right hon. secretary had laid down a doctrine with regard to the communication of papers to that house, which, even supposing it were admitted, could not operate against the motion. For, according to the terms of that motion, ministers would be left the option of presenting such information only as could hot militate against public cen
venience. Of course no detriment could
Mr: Ponsonby, though sensible of the just rebuke of the right hon. secretary upon himself and his colleagues; that they
suppose that gen. Pieman, whose command did not extend beyond Zealand, could conclude for the Danish government, or that he could covenant for the restoration of British property in other parts of the Danish territory? But, the course of ministers towards Sweden, when it was proposed, in apparent conformity with the capitulation, to evacuate Zealand, and to which the motion alluded, was of a most extraordinary character. The right hon. gent. wished and hoped that ministers would acquit themselves of the imputation which attached to this part of the transaction. It was, in fact, an act of much greater turpitude than the attack upon Copenhagen. It was, indeed, so considered throughout Europe; and for the honour of the country, and of ministers themselves, it was highly desirable to contradict it.
Mr. Canning begged the indulgence of the house, merely to put a question, whe ther, if the Moniteur should make a charge against the government of this country, such He such a charge should become a ground for the opposition in that house to draw from his majesty's ministers a public disclosure of their confidential communica tions with friendly powers?
were grown dry in the debate; that they were quite exhausted in language, and required the Promethean fire of the Moniteur to rekindle them into activity; could never admit that any such imputation was ever likely to attach to the right hon. secretary himself. No; that right hon. gent.'s ideas were so numerous that they could not in a moment be put in array. The man who had few ideas could easily summon them into action, particularly when by perpetual practice they were drilled in all the evolutions of the disputant. The right hon. gent. was such an economist in thoughts, and such a prodigal in words, that he could feel no embarrassment in debate. He could upon any occasion bring forward that chain of words which jingled in the ear, but which rarely affected the understanding, and never approached the heart; and some of his partisans might call it eloquence. The right hon. gent. animadverted, in terms of peculiar pungency, upon the several parts of the right hon. secretary's speech. He particularly pointed out his disposition to quote garbled extracts to suit his object; which he illustrated by referring to the quotation of the right hon. secretary this evening, from the declaration of his ma- Mr. Laing stated, that the king of Swejesty relative to Denmark. The right hon. den indirectly confirmed the accusation secretary only quoted a line which spoke in the Moniteur, by saying he would oc of his majesty's too long forbearance and cupy Zealand with Swedish troops if he moderation: but he declined to read the thought it necessary. Another confirmawhole passage, which spoke of the exer- tion was, that it had been matter of delition of the powers of the country which beration whether Zealand could be retain were called for at this crisis, and propor-ed by British troops, and that the officers tioned to the magnitude of the danger.' consulted declared against the practicaWhat, however, he would ask, did this bility. exertion of the powers of the country,' &c. amount to? Why, to the attacking of a neutral unprepared power, bombarding its capital, and taking away its fleet! Did the right hon. secretary call this a great exertion of our power, or could he call it advantageous? No; for we had left behind us a country more hostile than it was before our theft was committed, and with means of hostility not very materially diminished. Was this, then, that signal and exemplary exertion of our power, of which ministers in their public declaration were so forward to boast? The conduct of ministers in negotiating with Sweden for the occupation of Zealand after it should be evacuated by our army according to the capitulation, excited his astonishment. But the doubts they affected to entertain as to the terms of the capitulation were still more astonishing. How could they
Earl Temple thought the matter under consideration might be brought within a very small compass, and decided by a single question. That question he should put to the ministers; and it was of such a character that the country would draw its conclusion as much from silence as from an answer. Ministers were most seriously accused of intending to break or evade a solemn capitulation. Now, he would ask, was there, or was there not, any negotia tion with Sweden, or any foreign power, to occupy Zealand after our troops were bound to evacuate it, pursuant to the terms of the capitulation?—-No answer was made.
The question being loudly called for, the gallery was cleared, and the house divided. The numbers were, Ayes 85; Noes 184; Majority 99.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Friday, Feb. 26..
ing as last year. Some trifling reduction was intended, but not sufficient to make any alteration in the estimate. The waggon train was reduced to 500 horses. It had been proposed last year, but the em
[ARMY ESTIMATES.] The house having resolved itself into a Committee of Supply, The Secretary of War rose for the pur-ployment of the number of horses and pose of moving the Army Estimates. All that he thought it necessary to do was, to state the particulars in which the present Estimates differed from those of last year. The estimates now before the committee were classed under the following heads:
Several particulars with respect to marching-money, innkeepers allowances, and some other items, it was difficult to make out in the way of exact account. But as far as that could be done it had been. The principal alteration in point of charge arose from the care that had been taken to transfer from the army extraordinaries, every thing that could be made a subject of estimate. He had the satisfaction to state, that the army which the house was now called on to provide for was, in point of discipline, equal to any army in the world, and in point of numbers superior to any this country had ever had. The amount was in regulars and militia not less than 300,000 men. There was also a greater proportion of effective men than had ever been known, and the actual amount of force was as near the establishment as was possible. The increase from last year consisted chiefly in British regular disposable infantry, that most efficient description of force. The effective force was within 13,000 of the establishment; an approximation scarcely ever known before. The cavalry was on the same footVOL. X.
waggons now kept up, was more economic than the hiring of waggons to do the necessary work. The men were trained to arms, and it was desirable to keep them in The next article his majesty's service. was the militia, which, he was happy to say, was as near its full complement as ever, after having given to the line an addition of 24,000 disciplined men. The Volunteer Estimate was the same as that of last with the addition of the charge year, for Inspecting Field Officers. With respect to Foreign Corps, a small addition had been made to the German Legion, but not such as to make any difference in the effective force, which was still the same. In the Royal Military College a Board of General Officers had thought fit to make a small increase of the salaries of the Chief Officers, and to augment the Staff. He trusted this establishment would be preserved, increased, and made permanent. In every military country there were establishments of this description, and in no country were they so much wanted as they were in this, in which there were not the same opportunities that the continent possessed of observing and comparing the merits and defects of a number of armies, and selecting whatever was good from the practice of each. After recapitulating the several items of increase, the right hon. secretary concluded with moving, "That 124,000 effective men be voted for the service of guards and garrisons, &c. for 366 days, from 1st Jan. 1808, to 1st Jan. 1809, both inclusive."
Mr. Calcraft asserted, that all his apprehensions of the disorganization of the militia, and the increase of the bounties by the volunteering were made good; of 16,000 men that had volunteered from the British militia, only 1600 had entered for life, and most of them being superannuated, entered for life to get the additional bounty, in the confidence of being discharged again before the 7 years should elapse. He allowed the militia would be filled up again by May, but no: without infinite hardship to those classes of the people that ought to be particularly spred.
Mr. Windham admitted that the estimates, from the ap, roaching expiration of the Mutiny act, inust be voted without 3 C
delay. Still he thought it hard to be called on to vote them when they had not been 24 hours printed; and when some of the most important returns were not yet printed. He blamed the precipitancy with which the most important public measures were pressed forward, without sufficient information, and without sufficient opportunities of discussion. After some further conversation, the various items of the Estimate were put and carried.
[ORDNANCE ESTIMATES.] Mr. Ashley Cooper next moved the estimate for Ordnance service, amounting to 5,300,000l. Mr. Calcraft wished for some explanation how this estimate could exceed, by nearly a million and a half, that which he himself had brought forward when in of fice, about a year since.
Mr. Cooper explained, that it arose from arrears of former years, and accumulated exceedings not provided for under the heads of debt to the navy departments for stores furnished; exceedings of former estimates for Ireland; expedition to Copenhagen; works at Chatham, Woolwich, and Dover, with various items, which he stated.
Mr. Calcraft thanked the hon. gent. for the explanation which it was his own duty to ask; but there were some other points of enormous expenditure, and particularly the Drivers' corps, in which he was not satisfied, and which he should take another opportunity of bringing forward for discussion.
Mr. Wellesley Pole vindicated the whole of the estimate, and said the artillery of this country had attained a pitch of efficiency under the auspices of lord Chatham, not only unparalleled at any former period, but superior to any other train of Ordnance now in Europe. It consisted of 6000 men, with 4000 horses attached, and all in such a state of discipline and equipment, as to enable them to oppose a force of artillery against any enemy who should land in this country, in one-third the time, and with more than triple the effect that could be done at any former period. The question upon the estimate was then put and carried.
[PAPERS RELATING TO DENMARK.] Mr. Secretary Canning, pursuant to notice, rose for the purpose of moving for copies or extracts of any dispatches that had been sent in Nov. or Dec. 1806, by Mr. Garlike, his majesty's minister to the court of Denmark, to his majesty's secretary of state for foreign affairs, relating to the ac
tual or intended invasion of Holstein by the army of France. It was also his intention to move for the several other Papers from which he had quoted passages to the house on a former occasion. His object was by producing the documents, to correct those misconstructions which had been put upon his conduct and language in that instance. As he did not feel it necessary to make any further observation on the subject of the motion, he should barely move,,that an humble Address be presented to his majesty, &c.-On the motion being put,
Lord Folkestone said, that he had been one of those who, on the former occasion, in part persuaded by the arguments of the right hon. gent. and in part from his own conviction, had resisted the production of these Papers. Nothing that had since occurred had altered his opinion. If these papers were necessary to be produced, a great many more would be necessary, in order to set the persons who were concerned right with the public. These would not be sufficient to justify Mr. Garlike, who could not be set right with the public but by the production of all his dispatches, down to the time of the expedition to Copenhagen.
Mr. Ponsonby could with difficulty object to the production of any papers that might be necessary for the justification of any hon. gent.'s conduct. But he had not so much respect for the feelings of any individual, as to think that the public service should be sacrificed to them. The right hon. gent. had made his extracts from the papers, to shew that there had been a hostile feeling in Denmark, and that this opinion of the present ministers had been fortified by the opinion of the late administration. But Mr. Garliko's dispatches dated in Nov. and Dec. 1806, would not be sufficient for his purpose, it would be necessary to produce all the dispatches that had been received down to the time of the expedition. A suspicion might have been entertained in 1806, which had afterwards been removed, and something of this description had, he believed, taken place, because in the commencement of 1807, a large fleet had been collected, intended for the Baltic, which had afterwards been sent on various other destinations, when the suspicion respecting Denmark had been removed. right. hon. gent. first endeavoured to justify the expedition, and then he came to justify himself; but he could not justify
himself, unless he produced all the papers. | He had thought the hon. gent. had intended to produce all the correspondence of Mr. Garlike, but if he should not, he gave him notice that he would again vote for the production of those papers which he had before made motions to obtain.
Mr. Tierney felt compassion for the right hon. gentlemen opposite,whom he beheld in the pitiable situation of being called upon now to vote for what they had rejected but two or three weeks since. This was the first instance in which such a proceeding had taken place in parliament. The right hon. gent. had first resisted the production of the papers on public grounds, and afterwards when called for on private grounds, for the justification of his noble friend (lord Howick); but now that the right hon. gent.'s own character was touched, he was ready to produce the papers. He was glad the right hon. gent. at length shewed such a laudable attention to character, and thought it worth preserving. But, leaving private character out of the question, he saw no reason why more attention should be paid to the character of the right hon. gent. than to that of his noble predecessor, who had served his maj. in the same office, with as much fidelity, as the right hon. gent. The effect of the proceeding of the right hon. gent. would be to shew that that house was the instrument of the secretary of state. Had any thing occurred since the former vote, to shew that there was less danger in the production of the papers now than at that period? The character of Mr. Garlike, to whom public character must be so dear, could not be justified but by the production of all the papers. If the right. hon. gent. should not consent to that, he would compromise the character of the house by the refusal. Let the house see in that the danger of raising men too high, let them see the degraded and disgraced state to which they would be reduced, and which would sink them in the estimation of their country, and perhaps of the sovereign himself. (A loud cry of order.)
The Speaker declared his disapprobation of the course pursued by the right hon. gent.; and for this reason, because he appeared to be expressing an opinion of the sovereign on the conduct of an individual in that house.
Mr. Tierney was not conscious of having any such intention, but having been interrupted in the chain of what he had to state to the house, declined proceeding, declaring that nothing had occurred in the
few last weeks to justify the alteration of the course then adopted by the house.
The Vote of the 8th of Feb. was then read, on the motion of Mr. Adam; and the Speaker decided, that if the paper now moved for was that which had been in the former instance rejected, the house could not now vote for it, but it would be for the house to judge how far the present. paper was more or less than that which had been refused in that case.-After a short conversation upon the subject of order, relative to comments upon the expressions of Mr. Tierney, which had not been taken down, but which the Speaker decided might be made the subject of comment by way of explanation, though not the ground of a decision of the house,
Mr. Windham cbserved, that the hon. gentlemen opposite shewed a disposition to laugh, though their mirth resembled the singing of children in the dark, to shew they were not afraid. He contended, with his right hon. friend, that the house would, by their proceeding, be placed in a situa tion of indignity, and he lamented that the forms of the house did not admit of