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forebode a benefit to arise to this country my intention to dispute the accuracy of from the dereliction of Russia ; I hope, their proclamation lately issued, nor the my lords, we shall become independent of principle of respect which is due to naher for ever. If the legislature of these tional ships of war, as applicable to the kingdoms will grant a liberal bounty to governments and nations of Europe; but encourage the cultivation of hemp and as merited by America, if all the detail of flax, both at home and in the British colo- that transaction was before your lordships, nies, we may yet live to greet the day of I am inclined to think you yourselves our quarrel with Russia, and even hail with would question. However, my lords, while satisfaction the inauspicious. Treaty of the American navy is confined to a few Tilsit. With respect to the other, powers frigates, the compensation that has been of Europe, my lords, with the single ex- made may not be of material import; ception of Sweden, they are prostrate at how far it may affect 'us hereafter, time the feet of France, and until national only can shew. But, my lords, our chief energy and spirit returns, they must obey concern is with France, with whom some the mandates of their domineering master. individuals would make a peace.
· I have But the conduct and spirit of the inde- taken the liberty, my lords, to write down pendent monarch of Sweden merits every some of her sentiments upon this subject, eulogium ; may he be successful to thie as described, in what we may call her last, and may we grant him all that aid so official paper, and wherein she informs pointedly recommended by his majesty, you, conformably to her practice since the and which such constancy and courage earliest periods of her revolution, of the deserve! I trust, my lords, a British force conduct she means to pursue, and from will aid him in the Baltic, to defy his ene which she has never varied, but from nemies, and that British gratitude will com-cessity alone. She proclaims, my lords, pensate any loss that he may be obliged “ That she will not lay down her arms, to suffer, by transferring to him some of but will augment her force, until she has those colonies we can so well spare, and conquered the liberties of the seas, the must soon take from our joint foes. My first right of all nations.” In recomlords, I wish it was possible to animadvert mending to us an armed truce, which she with satisfaction upon the conduct of the calls a peace, she says, “ It shall endure United States of America; local know- until she chuses to proclaim anew the ledge, obtained by me at the early periods principles of her armed neutrality, when of the French revolution, enables me to she permits you to proclaim your prinform a very decided opinion with respect ciples of maritime law?” – Now, my to that country, and I am sorry to say, my lords, is this that which you are willing lords, I cannot form a flattering one. I
to accept as your peace? Have we already am, however, happy to learn, by the tenor forgot the peace of Amiens? Do we wish of the speech, that it is not the intention to see her seamen all restored, and the of his majesty's government to concede pendants of her ships going up, when ours one point more to that illiberal and pre- will necessarily be coming down? Never judiced people. My lords, we must make will I believe that the good sense of this a stand somewhere, and where can we 'do country will entertain the idea of peace, it better than in defence of our seamen until moderation marks the conduct of and our trade; which they unequivocally this enemy, for his professions are not demand? If America prefers French al worthy of reflection. I am glad to see a liance to British connection, it is not in great commercial çity think like me, and your lordships power to controul her I hope her opinions and example will be choice; nor can you prevent that war, imitated by others. My lords, although which I do not wish to see take place; the arms of Europe may appear on the but which, if it does take place, my lords, side of France, I cannot believe their I am confident, if pursued by us with judg- hearts are against this country. If we ment and reference to the American cha- remain firm and unappalled, as recomracter and situation, no man need fear. mended by his majesty
, and exemplified With respect to the affair of the Chesa- by himself, some balance may yet be prepeake frigate, my lords, as a naval officer served in Europe ; if we yield, no man I may be permitted to be a little preju- can foresee the consequences.' Having diced, and to hold an opinion in some now, my lords, though in a very inadesmall degree differing, perhaps, from his quate manner, animadverted upon the majesty's government. It is not, however, prominent features of the speech, I shall
my address to your lordships, in any noble lord in the house the vast imwhat may be termed a trite and common portance of their coming to an unanimous manner; but it is neither, on that ac
the present occasion, and therecount, the less appropriate nor required. fore he was sorry that not the least tittle I allude, my lords, to my hopes, that I of information had been given to one of may receive the unanimous concurrence the most material points in his majesty's of your lordships to the Address I am about speech, as the want of that information to propose. Parliament was never assem- might render the unanimity extremely bled, my 'lords, at a period when the ex- doubtful. The point he alluded to was ample of unanimity would be so benefi- the expedition to Copenhagen, and he cial: I therefore solicit it. To mark to could not enforce its importance in stronger the enemy we are unanimous in our oppo- terms that those which his majesty had sition to him; to manifest to the people been advised to make use of in his speech; of this country we are unanimous, when for it was therein stated, that it was with their first and most essential interests are the utmost reluctance that the orders had concerned; and to shew to his majesty been given; but of the nature of the that undiminished respect and attachment cause for surmounting that reluctance, and so much his due; to do our duty, my attacking even the capital of, he might lords, in imitation of him, who through a say, an ally, their lordships were left in long, arduous, but a glorious reign, has so perfect ignorance, and to all appearance conspicuously done his. The noble earl were so to remain ; for although it was concluded by moving an Address to his noticed that orders had been given for Majesty, which Address was, as usual, an laying various other papers before parliaecho of his majesty's speech, and nearly ment, not a single document relative to the same as that which we insert in this Denmark was alluded to. The noble lord day's proceedings of the house of com- who moved the address had said, he should
listen with curiosity to any arguments Lord Kenyon rose, and in a speech of which might be attempted against that some length supported the address. We transaction ; for that noble lord he had have to express our regret that the tone of the highest respect, and consequently could voice was so low in which the noble lord entertain no doubt but he sincerely apdelivered himself, as to render it inaudible proved of an action which he so much exbelow the bar. We understood him to tolled; but then, he must suppose that applaud decisively the Expedition to Den- noble lord had been made acquainted with mark, as a measure of wise and vigorous those particulars, and that information, policy, and one productive of the most which he thought the whole house was salutary consequences ; sentiments which entitled to have, nay, ought to have, behe thought must be felt by every indi-fore they came to a resolution for the vidual in the kingdom. He also adverted to approval of such a measure. The noble the unprincipled and ambitious projects of duke said, he did not wish it to be underthe enemy, among which he included the stood that he meant to condemn the expeimminent danger of Turkey, a consider- dition ; for, perhaps, if he was as well ation which he seemed to think worthy informed as he presumed the noble lord of the serious attention of the British must be, he might be as great an advocate government. He thought the address, for it as the noble lord himself; but until when he recollected the language held out he had sufficient reason, he could not bring by certain noble lords at successive periods, his mind to approve of attacking, a power could not consistently meet with oppo- with whom we had been so long in amity, sition from any quarter. He also adverted and who had given so many instances of atto our dispute with America, and applauded tachment to this country; and therefore, as the spirit with which his majesty's minis- no information was either offered or promisters had conducted themselves in not sur- ed, he should move as an Amendment to the rendering the naval rights of the country Address, “ That the whole paragraph apto the claims of those people ; and con- proving the late expedition to Denmark cluded by hoping that all trifling diffe- should be omitted.” There were other rences of opinion would, on this occasion, parts that he did not entirely approve,
but give way to the public good, and that all he would not detain their lordships by ani, their lordships would be unanimous in madverting upon them at present, and voting for the address.
therefore concluded by moving the above The Duke of Norfolk felt as much as amendment.
Lord Sidmouth began with expressing his by any other means ; for, certainly, the regret, that the speech had not been so con calamity inflicted was not proportioned to structed as to ensure the unanimity of all the calamity apprehended. He hoped, parties. He lamented that ministers had for the honour of the nation, it would be not abstained from introducing topics upon made evident that the danger was great. which a difference of opinion was likely to He could not give his assent to the opi-, prevail. He fully agreed with the noble nion, that if Holstein were occupied by baron, who seconded the motion, that it the French, Zealand would be at their was desirable in the highest degree, that mercy. Nothing but such a frost as all minor contests should be absorbed in would render the Great Belt passable by the great contest in which we were en an army, could have endangered the safety gaged. He lamented exceedingly, that of that island. He had conversed with he found it impossible to concur in the many naval and military persons of great expressions of approbation which were experience, and they fully acquiesced in unfortunately introduced in the address ; this opinion. His lordship used many but he could not, consistently with his other arguments to prove the impracticaduty to his sovereign, or his respect for bility of the French getting to Zealand, his own character, concur in approving and thereby obtaining possession of the what had taken place at Copenhagen, Danish fleet; but, supposing they had, he without further information. On that mo would not so derogate from the valour, mentous measure, he trusted ministers the activity, and the exalted character of would yet be able to lay such documents the British navy, as to admit for one mobefore the house as would justify an enter- ment, that any well-grounded apprehenprize deeply involving the honour and cha ons was to be entertained from the addi. racter of the nation. The noble earl had tion of 16 sail of the line to the maritime set out with stating, that Denmark, for strength of the enemy; The ships were several years past, had indicated an hostile much inferior to British, French, or Spadisposition towards this country. In what nish : but it was not ships, but men, that were these indications manifested? Were this country wanted. If our dangers were they indicated in the conduct of that power not increased by the attack upon Copenwhen the British fleet entered the Baltic ? hagen, those of our ally certainly were. At that time the Danish army was in Did ministers never contemplate the posHolstein, prepared to resist the French, or sibility of that measure being retorted any other
power that should attempt to upon powers for which they must feel inteviolate their neutrality. Was the Danish rested? had they no apprehension that navy prepared either to make or repel an Russia, France and Denmark might be attack? He should be told, that the quan- brought to coalesce against Sweden ?tity of naval stores collected in the arsenal Having briefly touched upon them in the of Copenhagen was a proof of the hostile commencement of his speech, he would not intentions of that court. These, it was lay any further stress upon the contradicsaid, were collected on account of France, tory statements respecting the measures and for French purposes. But these could which were adopted in consequence of not have been the motives of the expe- the result of the negotiations of Tilsit. He dition to the Baltic. When did this per- should have been more disposed to apfect understanding between Denmark and prove what they had done in the Baltic, France take place? Was it before or after if they had acted consistently. If they the peace of Tilsit? The Definitive Treaty had attacked Cronstadt, taken possession between France and Russia was signed on of the Russian navy, and by such an enthe 8th of July, and lord Gambier entered terprize made us the undisputed masters the Baltic on the 3d of August. This cir- of that sea, such an act would have been cumstance was sufficient to prove that consistent with the magnanimity of justice, ministers did not act upon any information and it was much more practicable than they had obtained of the secret engage- might be conceived. All the wars, from ments entered into between France and the accession of king William to the preRussia, and in which they would have it sent hour, in which this country was ento be understood Denmark concurred. To gaged, had been founded upon the princijustify, therefore, the attack upon Copen-ple of upholding the law of nations; and hagen, it ought to have been proved that this was particularly the case with respect the danger was a danger of great magni- to the war which commenced in 1793, and bude, and such as could not be warded off which had continued with little interrup
tion ever since. From that great princi- | France, and the determination of the latte ple, he could admit no deviation. On these power to compel it to join in hostility grounds, therefore, he could not, with the against this country, than their joining th present means of information which he had Northern confederacy, in 1801, and al on the subject,vote for an unqualified appro- leging as a reason for it, their inability t bation of the expedition to Copenhagen. resist the power of Russia. It was in vain There was one part of the address, however, therefore, to urge, that Denmark migh from which he could not withhold his un have resisted the power of France, an qualified approbation. Ile could not speak thus draw an inference against the expe in terms of adequate applause of the emi. dition, as it was evident she could not gration of the court of Lisbon. It was a added to which, she had repeatedly evince measure which reflected immortal honour hostility against this country. Much ha upon the sovereign of that country, and been said against the extraordinary an which promised the greatest advantages to unprecedented nature of this expedition England, not immediately indeed, but ulti- but there was a precedent of a very recen mately. That measure, in every view which date, in the conduct of the late adminis he had been able to take of it, opened the tration, with respect to Turkey; and h most cheering prospect to this ' nation. did not conceive it more probable that th With regard to the dispute with America, Turkish fleet should sail into the Englis on the question of our maritime rights, he channel than the Danish. thought the government had acted wisely Lord Grenville rose and spoke as fol in the late Order issued by them, in which lows:--There are so many points, my lords they did not insist on the right to search in the speech which has been this day de ships of war. We should not be carried | livered to the house, that appear to m away with an idea of our power; and our necessary to be adverted to, that I shoul restrictive policy should be commensurate do injustice to my feelings if I did not en to the exigency of the case. He wished deavour to state them to your lordships it had been long before made known that it No noble lord could come into this hous was not right to search ships of war on the with a more anxious wish and expectatior high seas. He earnestly recommended to with a more sincere desire than I did thi ministers to inquire into the state of the night, that' at a period like the present West India colonies; and to afford them every petty contest and private differenc some relief in their distressed situation. should be sacrificed to the greater objec The noble viscount, adverting to the sub- of'unanimity, in an address to the throne ject of peace, took occasion to applaud At a period which, as the speech expresse the conduct, of a noble lord (Milton) in it, may be called the crisis of our fate Yorkshire, who had exalted his character, when it becomes now a question, whethe by dissuading the people there from peti- the British empire, the growth of so many tioning for peace. There was no ground ages; whether the British constitution for calling in question the disposition of which has for so long a period promote ministers to make peace, when it could be and extended the interests and happines done with security and honour to the of the empire, whether these shall now b country. The way to restore peace was, overthrown and crumbled into ruins. A to adopt a plan of expenditure that should such a period, I was led anxiously to ex enable us to carry on the war, and to con- pect, it was my most earnest wish and de vince the enemy of the hopelessness of his sire, that every petty triumph, that every pursuing it with a view of ruining our little feeling, would have been given u finances. It was in vain to look for a se and merged in the great cause of the coun cure peace, unless a military system should try; that the house would not have bee be adopted, that would be available in called upon to pledge itself upon dispute peace as well as in war. The noble lord points, or to approve
of measures withou again declared, that he could not concur any evidence of their necessity or utility in the address, unless the part alluded to It was to have been expected, particularl was omitted.
from those who were the friends of our il The Earl of Aberdeen defended the ex lustrious statesman, now no more (Mi pedition to Copenhagen; and maintained, Pitt), whose name can never be mentione that self-protection was a leading prin- without that tribute which is due to h ciple of the law of nations. There wanted great and exalted merits, that they woul no greater proof of the inability of the have followed his example, in abstainin Danish government to resist the power of from those points which so immediatel
tend to prevent that ynanimity so desirable | duced, enabling your lordships to judge of at the present crisis. From the commence the necessity of that measure.
It is truly ment of the war in the year 1793, down said, my lords, in the speech, that the eyes to the termination of the administration of of Europe and of the world are fixed upon that illustrious statesman, in ño speech de- the British parliament. There is on the livered to parliament at the commencement continent of Europe a great reliance in the of a session were parliament called upon integrity and in the justice of the British to pledge themselves in support of mea- parliament; they look with anxiety for its sures, without evidence before them of the decision upon the motives and the policy propriety or utility of such measures ; in of that expedition. It has already made no case were they called upon to approve an impression throughout the continent of measures, before the papers relating to unfavourable to this country. How much them were produced, whereon a judgment greater will that impression be, if parliamight be formed, according to the evidence ment gives its decision, approving of that of the case. Yet, in this instance have expedition; and still more, if it does so, ministers, departing from so salutary a
evidence or information upon rule, and in violation of every principle the subject. What must then be the opithat ought to actuate their conduct upon nion on the continent of Europe, when such an occasion, not only called upon they find the British parliament not only parliament to approve of measures which approving of such an expedition, but givnothing but absolute necessity could jus- ing their approbation without an iota of tify, and respecting the necessity of which evidence before them, without the slightest not a tittle of evidence is produced, but information that could tend to establish have even called upon parliament to ap- its justification ? When I first heard of the plaud other measures now, respecting which expedition, I conceived that there might papers are hereafter to be produced, upon exist circumstances to justify it, although which alone the propriety of such mea none but those of the most urgent nature sures can be justified. Thus have they could. I received, at a considerable discalled upon this house to approve of the tance from town, his majesty's Declaration expedition to Copenhagen, although not respecting that expedition, and found that the slightest evidence is before your lord - secret articles were stated to exist in the ships, to enable you to judge of its neces- Treaty of Tilsit, which proved the detersity, and to congratulate his majesty on mination to form a hostile confederacy the refusal of the Russian mediation, res- against this country, of which Denmark pecting which the documents, proving the was to form a part. Then came the Degrounds of that refusal, and upon which claration respecting Russia, in which we alone we can form our judgment, are pro
were told not of secret articles, but of armised to be laid before the house. Even rangements made at Tilsit ; and now the were we to give our approbation of the speech, which we have this day heard, says former measure without any evidence not one word about either. When the before us, it would be no sanction ; it grounds upon which the expedition to would be no testimony of its necessity, or Copenhagen is justified, are thus shifted, is its policy; for even a righteous judginent it not of the uimost importance, that we would be an unrighteous one, if given should have some information as to the without evidence; nor can I conceive any real state of the case ?, We find ministers thing more incongruous, than to call upon making a strong assertion in the outset; your lordships already to approve of a that assertion is afterwards weakened, and measure, before the documents respecting now, is not at all mentioned in the speech this it, which are promised, are laid before the day; namely, respecting the secret artihouse. With respect to Denmark, my cles or arrangements at Tilsit, which lords, I have hitherto refrained, as was my formed the ground-work of the justification duty, from expressing an opinion ; I have of the Copenhagen expedition, and yet no refrained from even forming an opinion, information upon the subject is laid before willing to believe that there were circum
the house. Ministers have asserted, that stances which justified the expedition to there were secret articles in the Treaty of Copenhagen, and anxiously expecting, that Tilsit, affecting the interests of this country, at the meeting of parliament, evidence and the French government have asserted respecting those circumstances would be that there were none. Here, then, was a laid before your lordships' house; or, at challenge ; and it was incumbent upon least, that some information would be pro- ministers to prove their former assertion ; Vol. X.