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but this they have not attempted to do, tended, that acts, long since buried in obliand have given up the assertion in the vion, are now to be raised up again to speech. I am well aware, that there might prove the hostility of Denmark? Is it bebe circumstances which would impera- cause she was hostile in 1301, that she tively justify an expedition like that to must be hostile in 1807 ? But, it is said, Copenhagen : it is laid down by the most that Denmark was not disposed to resist approved writers on the law of nations, the demands of France, and yet it was that where you have certain evidence of owing to her sending her troops into Holthe intention of an enemy to seize upon a stein to resist the encroachments of France, neutral territory, neutral vessels, or pro- that our expedition conquered Zealand, perty, such neutral being incapable of and seized the Danish fleet. It is said, resisting, and thereby to place you in im- however, that, had Denmark been disposed minent danger, you have a right to seize to resist France, she was unable; and an such neutral territory, vessels, or property, inference of this nature has been drawn in order to insure your own safety. The same from an allegation, stated to have been writers, however, state the dreadful conse
power in 1801, that she quences which would result from the ap- joined the coalition against this country, plication of such a doctrine, unless the im- because she was unable to resist the power perative circumstances are clearly proved of Russia. This statement, I am inclined and accurately defined; the danger ought to think, is incorrect. In those transactions to be clearly established, and the incapa- in 1801, I bore a part, until about February bility of the neutral to defend itself. We or March in that year; and I am positive are told in the speech, that his majesty that no such Declaration was then made by had information that France intended to Denmark, nor do I think, from the facts of collect a large force to bear against this the case, that it could be made afterwards; country. My lords, can any one of us because Denmark was not incidentally doubt this, or that this country would be drawn into the coalition, but was the main equally desirous to bring a large force to instrument in forming the league; but, bear against France ? Bút how does this although she might make such an assertion, bear upon the point ? Even if Denmark for the purpose of softening her conduct had become a party to a treaty against this towards England, yet it does not at all country, could that be a justification for bear upon the present case.
It is conseizing her fleet or her territories? We tended, however, that if the French troops know how France has acted upon this occupied Holstein, Zealand must fall of principle on the case of Naples which be- course; but this is not at all proved. On came a party to the coalition against the contrary, there are between Holstein France, which I fear is lost to its sovereign and Zealand two passages of the sea, the for ever ; and in the case of Hesse, one six and the other sixteen miles wide, where there was only a suspicion that which a French army must cross to invade the sovereign was , favourable to the Zealand, and where they might be met with cause of the coalition against France. effect by British or Danish ships. If it is It is said, however, that the hostility to be contended that Zealand must fall, if of Denmark is clearly proved; and in Holstein were occupied by French troops, what manner? because her fleet was in a it might as well be said, that England must state of preparation, and because she had, be conquered by the French, because they at different times, evinced a hostile feeling occupy the continent of France, there being towards this country. With respect to only a channel 21 miles broad between her fleet, was it not natural, when all the Dover and Calais, only five miles wider powers around her were at war, that she than the passage between Holstein and should be in a state of preparation ? But, Zealand. "I am aware that the latter pasmy lords, if I am not grossly misinformed, sage is sometimes frozen over ; but still the so far from that being the case, the greater difficulties of transporting a large army over part of the Danish ships were laid up in such a breadth of ice, and with all the artiordinary. Upon this part of the subject, cles necessary for such a force, would be a however, I trust that parliament will call most insuperable obstacle.- Thus, the case for information, as in this respect infor- with respect to Denmark rests entirely mation may be easily obtained, and may upon assumptions in the first instance, certainly be imparted without the slightest which are afterwards magnified into asserdanger. As to the acts evincing the hos- tions, and at length introduced, by ministile feeling of Denmark, is it to be con- ters, as fácts into the speech delivered this
day to parliament; a conduct highly re-every energy of the country, whilst at the
states, that when he was at Rio de Janeiro, be unanimously answered in the affirmathe shops were glutied with English goods. tive. But Ameriea has not asserted any What then are we to obtain in addition by such claim. It has, indeed, been-stated the presence of the prince of Brazils in that that she has, and we have been told by settlement? How, I would ask ministers, are some noble lords on the other side, that the Brazils to be made more productive for too much concession has been already this country, than they have been, by any made to that power. What do noble lords other means than those which would tend to
mean by concession? I wish when such the consummate ruin of our own colonies ? assertions are made, those who make I do not mean to revive the question of the them would state some particulars. If Slave Trade with this or any other topic. they refer to the late Treaty with AmeBut, I contend, that the increased culture rica, which the American government reof the Brazils, far from being of service, fused to ratify, I contend, that so far from would be injurious to you; and I cannot too much concession being made in that conceive how the emigration of the court treaty, it absolutely went to impose reof Portugal to that territory, can extend the strictions upon American commerce far market for your goods, which it had al- greater than those mentioned in the Deready afforded you. Indeed, I am rather claration of the Secretary of State. But, of opinion, with a late demi-official decla- yet, the late ministers felt the force, and ration of the enemy, that the transfer of were alive to the importance of all the the Portuguese government to the Brazils reasons which should
country to will turn out more advantageous for avoid a war with America. The identity France, than for this country. In so far of language, the similarity of habits, the as this emigration shews any friendship old, the commercial, the family connecfor us, or as it presents a contrast to the tions, had all their just weight in our conconduct of other powers, it certainly forms sideration of the jubject. We, therefore, a grateful subject for the contemplation determined to preserve the old laws which of mankind. But, as to the commercial or regulated our intercourse; and I entertain political advantages to be derived from it not the smallest doubt, that had the course to this country, I cannot consent to delude. we commenced been consistently pursued, my countrymen by holding out such an it would have answered the end in view, idea. - In all that I have said, my lords, I by preserving the amicable relations and have carefully abstained from any per- just interests of both countries. The sonal reference to the conduct of those by speech, I observe, studiously separates the whom his majesty's government is at pre- two questions involved in our controversy sent directed. My object is to consider with America; namely, that of the affair their measures, and by those measures to of the Chesapeake, and that relating to appreciate their merits. I must, however, our Orders of Council. But, does any take notice of some at least apparent con man suppose, that those questions will be tradictions in the language and conduct separated in Åmerica ? No: nor can they of the noble lords on the other side. In be separated in discussion here. In exreviewing the dreadful catalogue of evils amining the Orders of Council, they must which menace this country, I do believe be considered in three points of view; first, that I speak the universal sentiment when as they affect our commerce; secondly, I say, that the greatest additional cala- as they affect the constitution, and lastly, mity for us, and the greatest advantage for as-they affect our negociations with AmeFrance that can well be imagined, would rica. When all the papers relative to this be a war with America. Such, indeed, is important question are laid before the the language of ministers 'themselves; and house, it will be for us particularly to inyet what has been their conduct? Why, quire, whether his majesty's government at the very time when it is most material can constitutionally enact such prohibito avoid such a war, they, as I am ready tions, as these Orders of Council contain ;. to maintain, absolutely alter the law of the next, whether the time chosen for issuing land to promote it. Ministers state, and those orders was not peculiarly excep-. in that I agree with them, that no difficulty tionable, as they must serve so much to or danger can betal the country equal to inflame the minds of the Americans, althat of acquiescing in the surrender of our ready so strongly excited against us; and maritime rights. If America were to put also, whether we had any right thus to forth such a claim, then a call upon par- annihilate the whole trade of America-liament and the country to resist it would thus to say to that power, as our Orders
distinctly expressed, “ Not a ship of yourstionable. 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 işles 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
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 attributaðle 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 at any time interfere with her could not, I contend, upon the king's au- jurisdiction. The French decrees could in thority, constitutionally decree such ex- fact avail nothing, if you had acted prutraordinary prohibitions. But, their mode dently. But, in aggravation of the other of proceeding has been altogether excep- mischiefs resulting from your conduct, you.
have placed this country in that state, for, compared to the question of Ireland, with respect to America, in which France every other subject which called for their would have been, had your course been attention-every topic that had been aldifferent. For, although France, by its luded to in the course of the debate, was decree, originated the system of restriction, trifling-was, in fact, little else than yet all the odium of the system will attach driving nails into the sheathing of a ship, to you in America, in consequence of your while her main timbers were on the point inconsiderate haste. Your conduct must of starting. be viewed with reference to this, as well as Lord Hawkesbury said, he should not the other topics I have referred to, when have considered the conduct of his majesty's we come to consider those Orders of Coun- ministers justified, if they had not taken cil. I hope I shall always be found to the first opportunity at the meeting of parstand up, and, I trust, firmly, for the rights liament, to ask for the support and unaniand privileges of my country; but, yet, I mity of parliament. It had been demanded would ask, does any privilege belong to us, by a nohle lord (Grenville), on what prinis any principle to be found that can war-ciples had ministers undertaken the attack rant the restrictions which ministers have on Copenhagen ? Unless there were cirimposed upon American commerce? And cumstances to make the noble lord disbeI would also ask, upon what grounds the lieve what his majesty's speech contained paragraph in the speech, which refers to on that subject, the noble lord ought to bethese restrictions, can be justified? I allude lieve it; but there were facts and proofs to that paragraph which implies a censure before the world to justify the conduct of upon the conduct of his majesty's go- his majesty's ministers. "The noble lord vernment for a series of years, by regretting had misunderstood the facts, when he his adherence to justice and moderation. asserted that this country did not acquire Such, I am certain, are not the personal its information by legitimate means.
If sentiments of his majesty: no, they are the government had acquired it by illegicontrary to every principle of his life ; timate means, they had done an act which they are, indeed, in that proportion, unfit merited reprehension in the eyes of the to be put into such a declaration. The plain world. No sooner had Austria and Russia interpretation, in fact, of this paragraph fallen, than France became ruler of the is this, o that we have been too long car continent of Europe. Our enemy had the rying on a most unequal contest of justice power and the will to injure us, and the against injustice." But, if so, I maintain, situation of Europe justified ministers in that all the advantages of the contest have adopting any offensive or defensive meabeen on our side. Is this the day, then, in sures, necessary for the protection of this which we are to be told, that for the last country against the power of France. 15 years we have suffered by following When France declared our ports in a the principles of justice? Could that great state of blockade, the interests of neutral man, (Mr. Pitt) whose opinion has had states were reciprocal ; but neutral states such influence on our councils during that were bound to protect themselves; and if period, could he, my lords, look down upon they did not do so, England was entitled, this declaration, how much would he de- by the law of nations, to adopt principles precate the sentiment, that we ought to necessary to support her commerce, and terminate the “ unequal contest in which for her preservation. He would ask the we have been engaged, of justice against noble lord, whether there was any state on injustice !”—The noble baron here shortly the continent of Europe where justice was recapitulated the topics upon which he had to be had on the established law of natouched, and concluded with an impressive tions ? The law was the will of the French, appeal to the house, as to the necessity of and consequently the law of Great Britain an immediate inquiry into the state of must be to provide for her preservation. Ireland, with a view to the adoption of He had no hesitation in saying, his mameasures, calculated to conciliate the po- jesty's government did receive information pulation of that country. The principal that there were secret engagements in the points to which he would direct the atten- treaty of Tilsit to employ the navies of tion of the house upon this subject were Denmark and Portugal against this country. familiar to their lordships, and he con The evidence required by the noble lord to jured his majesty's ministers to use their prove this fact, was of a description which utmost: endeavours to remove every ob- could not possibly be produced. If gostruction to the attainment of those objects; vernment were to communicate private in