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(1358 from him in a debate of a former evening, as it had over any private letter which both by the hon. gent. who had just sat might be in the hands of any other indown, and in the public prints. He was dividual in the country. If the hon. gent. most anxious to convince the house that was of opinion that he had been deficient he never had, in his official situation, done in his duty in transmitting such a comany thing to countenance the imputation munication in the shape of a private letof his having assented to any proposition, ter, it would be better at once to move a which had for its' object to attack, either vote of censure upon him for having done directly or indirectly, those principles of so. He begged the house, however, to remaritime law upon which this country had collect, that he had mentioned neither letalways acted, and upon which, he trusted, ter nor dispatch in the former debate, that it would ever continue to act. With He had simply mentioned the circumstance this impression, he felt himself extremely of a certain expression having been used by obliged to the for having brought a person high in authority in Russia, leaving forward the motion which he had on this the house to give. what credit they might evening submitted to the house ; and in think fit to this assertion, and to deduce that motion he should most heartily con- whatever inference from it they might be cur, as far as it related to the production of opinion that it warranted. Neither did of the Declaration which accompanied the it follow, that, because he had communitreaty of 1805. He hoped also, that cated this expression to his government at his right honourable friend the secre- home, he had mentioned the name of the tary of state would agree to this part person who used it. It so happened in of the motion, not only in justice to the present instance, that his right hon, him, but in justice also to the character of friend was in possession of the name an illustrious statesman, now no more of the person who had made use of the (Mr. Pitt). It would be but an act of expression, but it was for his right hon. justice to the memory of that great man, friend to judge of the prudence and exwho had spent his life in upholding the pediency of disclosing who that person character and maintaining the rights of was. He must observe, however, that if the country, to shew that in his latter days every communication made by a foreign he did not desert that cause which it had minister to his government were to be been the great object of his life to support. made public, as a matter of course, the With this view, he trusted that his right inevitable effect of such a system would hon. friend would consent, not only to the be, to destroy all confidence betwen diploproduction of the Declaration, but that the matic agents and the courts to which they whole correspondence relative to this De- were accredited. He should therefore claration would be produced; from which give his decided negative to the last moit would appear, how little foundation tion of the hon. gent.; and the first part there was for the accusation which had of the address he should propose to amend, been brought against him, of having left by moving for the production, not only of any question relative to the maritime the Declaration accompanying the treaty rights of the country open either to cavil of 1805, but of the correspondence which or to discussion. His lordship did not passed relative to that Declaration. wish now to enter into a discussion of all Mr. Whitbread most willingly concurred the questions connected with the treaty in the amendment proposed by the noble of 1805, and if this was the wish of the lord in the first part of the motion, for it hon. gent. he thought that he had not dealt was his wish, that all the correspondence fairly with the house in not giving a no relative to the Russian Declaration in questice to that effect. With the other part tion, should be made public. But he of the hon: gent's motion, he could not could not assent to the amendment so far concur, because the communication to as it went to negative the production of which he referred was contained in a the private letter, or an extract from it. private letter; and even supposing that What would be the consequence of refusthe house were to agree to an address ing to communicate such letters, when prefor the production of this paper, he viously made public in order to influence really did not know what answer the the vote of the house, and serve the pur. erown could make to it; because the pose of ministers ? Because the noble lord crown had as little power to compel the was the ambassador, and the right hon. production of a private letter which was gent. secretary of state, the correspondence in the hands of the secretary of state, was to be carried 'on by private letters, 80*

as to avoid the cognizance of parliament ! The noble lord had said, that he had never stated that he communicated this informa, tion to ministers. Perhaps, he had not : but the right hon. secretary had publicly stated the fact, and yet the house was to be precluded from information about a communication under the impression of which they had been called upon to vote. He did not know upon what authority the expressions adverted to by the noble lord rested; whether they were directly mentioned to him by any person upon whom much reliance could be placed, or whether he had the information from a third person. For his part, he rather thought that the expressions did not come from any quarter upon which much dependance could be placed. But this was the point respecting which it was most important for the house to be well informed. He could not understand the doctrine, that private letters between ambassadors and secretaries of state, were, under all circumstances, to be suppressed. The information contained in the letter had been voluntarily offered on the part of ministers, with a view to influence the vote of the house. This naturally laid a ground for calling for the information in an explicit and tangible shape, that it might be seen whether it was of a kind to bear out the arguments which have been founded upon it. But immediately, when it was called for, he answered, · No, it is a private letter, and cannot be produced. If they meant to stand upon this objection, why did they communicate the information at all? They themselves had urged that lord Hutchinson’s information was private, when they had not only connived at his conferences with the emperor of Russia, but had desired him to communicate his sentiments, and asserted, that he had been bamboozled, for that had been the expression; and that the information which had been obtained, was not such as to deserve much consideration. Yet these very men stated expressions, of nobody knew whom, to influence the vote of the house, and refused all explicit information on the subject, on the ground of the intelligence having been conveyed in a private letter! The majority of the house might perhaps be against him on this occasion, but he trusted that he should be supported by a minority of ao little weight and importance. The communication in question, though origiRally private, had been made public from the manner in which it had been used, and

ther the letter ought to be produced ? If Mr. Sturges Bourne denied that his noble the letter had been kept altogether private, friend had used this letter for the purpose then there could be no call for its produc- of influencing the decision of the house. tion, for there could have been no know. He had been present when his noble ledge of its existence. But the case was friend made the speech which caused so not, whether a letter, said to be private, considerable an impression, and he well should be permitted to remain so; but recollected, that his noble friend stated the whether one publicly brought forward, general fact of which he was in possession; and made use of to influence the vote of and that it was not until in reply to a questhe house, by one of the parties, should tion put to him by the hon. gent. opposite, be produced in a tangible and authenti- that he added that he had communicated cated state. . A letter, though private, that fact in a private letter to the right might relate to public affairs, and a minis- hon. secretary of state. If he abstained ter might, to a certain degree, act upon it from going any further into this subject, without thinking proper to produce it, but at present, he begged to be understood, resting upon his general responsibility: that he was not deterred from doing so by But, when a letter of this kind was quoted the high and dictatorial tone which the by the writer, with a view to make an im- hon. mover, on this as well as on many: pression on parliament, the question was, other occasions, chose to assume. The whether that did not become evidence house and the public, would judge of the which before was not so; and whether it consistency of the hon. gentlemen oppoought not therefore to be produced, sub- site, who, when they were in office, had ject, of course, to that sort of discretion refused to produce, on the only two occawhich ministers must exercise, even with sions on which they were required to prorespect to public dispatches. As this was, duce them, papers moved for by his hon. in some measure, a new case, attention friends, but who now, after having exmust be given to its nature, not only with hausted their motions for public documents, a view to the present question, but in or were driven to the necessity of moving - der to settle a rule for the future. Con- for the unwarrantable production of prisidering the matter in this light, the first vaté correspondence. thing ihat occurred was, that the public Dr. Laurence observed, that the dictabusiness might be managed by a private torial tone and manner of the last speaker correspondence of this sort, 'in way did not suit well with his complaint against which would place the whole out of the a dictatorial tone and manner in another reach of parliament. Some might remem- person.

It would have come better from ber how this principle was made use of the right hon. secretary opposite, who was in the trial of Mr. Hastings, where it ap- so remarkable for levity and jesting, that peared that, under the pretence of private no one could pretend to equal him, unless correspondence, the salutary order of the he had a jest-book in his hand. As the Company, that all correspondence should expressions alluded to had been put in be in writing, was evaded. The public writing, every one must desire to see the trust was liable to be abused in the same whole of the paper, or at least as much as manner; and the wholesome rule was, could be produced without detriment to that when letters had forfeited their the public service ; for though they might character of privacy, by being brought have been very fairly stated by the noble forward to influence the vote of the house, lord, as far as he went, yet in the letter they should then only be protected by the they might be so qualified as to make a same discretion to which even public dis- different impression. He allowed that patches were subject. What had we to stronger ground ought to be laid for the justify the expedition to Denmark ? Secret production of a private letter, than for the articles and private letters; the most con- production of a public dispatch ; but, if it venient things for a bad minister that was said that a private letter ought not to could possibly be imagined. This might be produced at all, the doctrine was conmark the evil that would result from a trary to the principles of the British conprinciple of this kind, and, upon the whole, stitution; which held publicity, though there was no comparison between the ba- attended with some disadvantages, to be, lance of danger from concealment and pub- on the whole, preferable to secrecy. Inlicity. The ministers having then quoted formation of the most secret nature had the letter in question for their own purposes, often, upon this ground, been produced, the house had a right to its production. with only a concealment of names. The


Vol. X.

his noble friend forfeit the favour of his in the course of the debate, observed, that sovereign by this conduct? Were his ma if there was any thing dictatorial in his jesty's ministers lukewarm on the occa manner, he was sure that such manner sion? On the contrary, as would appear could less become any man in that house by the papers when produced, on the re than himself, who had so few pretensions ception of the treaty, lord Mulgrave wrote to assume it. As a member of parliament to his noble friend, expressing his majesty's however, he did not arrogate great priviapprobation of his proceedings, and de- leges, and he never would allow those priviclared his majesty's determination not to leges to be derogated from by those, who submit his rights of maritime war 10 any in the most dictatorial manner charged mediation whatever. This was during Mr. him with being dictatorial; and who in Pitt's administration. Nor was this de- the most arrogant manner accused hinn of termination concealed from the foreign arrogance. To the right hon. secretary ministers; for the copy of a letter of the who had treated him with so much freesame date from lord Mulgrave to the dom, he would say, that the vices of his Russian ambassador would be produced, manner were levity and misrepresentation. in which his lordship expressed similar The first was manifested in the mode in sentiments; declared that no statesman which that right hon. gent. jeered his hon. would ever be found in this country, who and learned friend near him (Dr. Lauwould venture to unsettle that on which rence), one ounce of whose sterling worth the power and prosperity of the country he would not exchange for all the gilt rested; and stated, that his noble friend gingerbread on the other side of the house. had discharged a decided duty in the re Of the second vice of his manner, misrejection of the proposition that had been presentation, he had given a striking inmade to him. Where was here the sacri- stance, by introducing a debate on papers, fice of honour and of rights? Whatever before the papers were laid on the table, the hon. gent. might think of other parts and by pronouncing a panegyric on the of his noble friend's character, they must noble lord, before the house was in posknow his candour too well to suppose that session of the means of ascertaining whehis observations on a former evening were ther that panegyric was well or ill-foundintended for the purpose of producing, 1 ed. As to the inutility of presenting not an exculpation, but a panegyric on the letter with the names suppressed, it the conduct by which he evinced, that he would be advantageous to have it even in was determined not to compromise that that shape. The mere declaration of the which was the solid foundation of the power noble lord was fugitive, and could not be of this country. He congratulated the made the ground of any subsequent parhouse and the public, that such a deter- liamentary proceeding. He could not see mination had been evinced. He trusted the necessity under which the right hon. that similar principles to those which secretary would labour of resigning, were pervaded this negotiation, would pervade his motion agreed to. That dreadful any other negotiation in any other hands. calamity to the country surely need not He trusted that the great example which take place; but, dreadful as it would be, he the administration of that day had set, owned he would rather see the right hon. by refusing to purchase an object, how- gent. quit office in that manner, than that ever desirable and important, by the sa he should be turned out by the dark junto crifice of that which was not the peculiar which lurked about the throne. He restrength of Britain alone, but which was peated his former assertions as to the unfair the source and support of the general manner in which Mr. Garlike and lord strength, by which that object appeared Hutchinson had been treated, and after to be attainable,-he trusted that that ex some other observations, concluded by ample would be followed to the end of calling upon the house to take this opportime. He trusted that what we had not tunity of asserting their rights to have given to acquire a great good, we should formally before them, that which was used never give even to avert a great evil. He in debate for the purpose of influencing trusted that what we had refused to grant to their judgınent. the request of friendship, would never be A division then took place, when the extorted from us by the menaces of hos- numbers were: For the amendment, 114; tility.

For the original motion, 50. MajoriMr. Whitbread, adverting to the personal ty, 64. imputations that had been cast upon him

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he would not pretend to arrogate to him- , interested. and in which it must now feel self the right of 'demanding from every more deeply interested than ever-che mamember in that house an ansiver to any ritime rights of England. The reverse of question that he might think 'proper to this was the fact. If the hon. gent. had propose to him. If the hon. gent. did 90 attended accurately to his noble friend, he arrogate, he would

say, that to him exclu- must have been convinced, that the form sively he would deny that cour esy. The of the declaration was of itself a proof, hon. and learned doctor (Laurence) had that it was not a matter of concession. taken very angry notice of the manner in Had it been so, it would have made part

which the dictatorial tone of the hon. of the price of that concession: it would vir 2 CH3 mover had been reprehended. For him- have made part of the treaty. What was Ce self, he could not say that the tone of the it, that at that time, under the appellation

of the hon. mover had been much higher to- of the law of nations, attracted the atadvice night than he usually chose to pitch it; tention of Enrope? So far was this term

and he hoped it would not make greater from applying to our maritime right, that

impression on the house than it usually it never happened that in any public docudia had made. With respect to the arguments ment the maritime code was meant or men

of the hon. and learned doctor on the tioned. What were the cases to which question before the house, he had himself that expression referred ? The recent anticipated the answer to them, by ad seizure of the duke D'Enghien on neutral mitting that, prima facie, strong ground territory, and dragging hiin to slaughter; must be laid for the production of a pri- the recent seizure of a British minister vate letter, and if any names which it (sir - T. Rumbold), on neutral territory,

contained ought in discretion to be sup- and carrying him prisoner to France. Did at det er pressed, they should be so suppressed. the hon. gent. see nothing in this seizure

llow did this apply to the present case, of a British minister, and this murder of a in which the naine was identically the French prince, but that which must attract matter of consequence? If the learned the attention of the continent to the maridoctor discredited the statements of his time code of Great Britain ? On that manoble friend, let him say so. Such a pro- ritime code, a separate provision had been ceeding, though not very civit, would at proposed, in an article to which bis noble least he intelligible; but it was most ex friend on the part of G. Britain had retraordinary, by way of patting his noble fused to be a party. By the first of the friend's truth to the test, to move for the papers which would be produced, in conproduction of a letter, the only part of sequence of the motion before the house, which by which his veracity could be as being a dispatch dated the 7th of April, it eertained, must be suppressed !--The right would be found, that his noble friend had hon. secretary proceeded to state on what declared, that no consideration whatever, grounds he supported the other part of the not even the certainty of a total rupture arendinent proposed by his noble friend. with the confederating powers, would inSince the speech of his noble friend on a duce him to consent to the proposition former night, an attempt had been revived made by the Russian minister, to submit to prejudice in the minds of the public that the maritime code of G. Britain to a conadministration in the year 1805, which gress of the great powers of Europe ; and had endeavoured to establish a continental that he was fully authorised to declare, that coalition against France. He would not the British government would never consent now enter fully on this subject, not con- to such a reference or interference. Was this ceiving that it was comprised in the hon. the language, were these the symptoms, of gent.'s notice, although he should always concession? Unquestionably, after the rebe prepared to meet any attack on the jection of the article proposed, after the sigmerits of the great individual, now no nature of the treaty, his noble friend had more, who had so principal a share in that received and transmitted home the Detransaction. It had been thought by the claration alluded to; bat be had it not in hon, gentlenen opposite, that in the his discretion to refuse to do this; and he speech of his noble friend they had found accompanied the reception of the Declasomething derogating from the policy of ration with a strong expression of his rethat confederacy; on the ground that the gret, that his imperial majesty bad thought administration of that day were content to it necessary to make it, and with a firm sacrifice to its accomplishment a question repetition of what he knew to be the sen. in which the country had ever felt deeply timents of his court on the subject. Did

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