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lord expressed his regret, that there should / would be very far from rendering such a be so little in the speech respecting the step either prudent or advisable. Such, temporary policy as to Denmark, and no he was ready to maintain, was actually the thing at all as to the permanent policy case here. Whatever became of the quesintended to be pursued towards Ireland. tion of right, on which he would agree te
Mr. Bathurst' admitted, that if it could suspend his judgment till further informabe proved, that there were secret articles tion, he had no hesitation in pronouncing in the treaty of Tilsit hostile to this coun- at the present moment, that the measure try, and his majesty had inforipasion of was wholly unwise and impolitic. He them, the justification of ministers would would suppose that the hon. gentlemen be complete. But it would be too much could make out a case of right; he would to take all this for granted on the bare suppose further, what was a separate supassertion of ministers. It was singular, position, and still more remote from what that while the arguments were suspended, he conceived to be the truth, that they we were called upon to come to an imme- could make out a clear case of right; that diate conclusion. He contended, that all they could prove to a certainty, that if the the danger that could arise from a com fleet and stores had not been seized as they munication of the particulars of the intel- were, they would inevitably and speedily ligence, had been incurred already. He have fallen into the hands of Bonaparte: was surprized that those who had exa- still, he should say, rather let him have mined whether Portugal could be defended them in the circumstances in which against France, had not also inquired into he must have taken them, than we in the practicability of defending Zealand, the circumstances in which we have and whether the Danes were able and dis- taken them. This was his opinion, and posed to defend themselves. He certainly this, he was persuaded, notwithstandthought that ministers were bound, in their ing the flattering hopes indulged by the justification, to shew a good cause, or pro honourable seconder of the motion, would duce some document or information which soon become the opinion of the greater might lead the house to discover that part, if not of the whole, of the nation. there was good ground for the expedition They were now running riot,—those of to Copenhagen.
them to whom the question of right and Mr. Duckett spoke in favour of the ad- the effect on the national honour were obdress. If the occupation of Alexandria jects of no concern—and were indulging was justifiable, so was that of Denmark. in the contemplation of the plunder they The only difference was, not in the prin- had acquired; but this satisfaction would ciple, but in the issue. The expedition to be of short duration; the time would soon Alexandria had proved injudicious and come, when they would be called upon to disastrous, and that to Copenhagen wise pay the penalty of their misdeeds; when and successful.
the stores would be used up, the ships be Mr.Windham considered the Address, in worn out or lost, and new stores and new that part which related to the Copen- ships have been supplied in their room to hagen expedition, without evidence to the arsenals and dock-yards of Denmark; support the necessity of the measure, as and when they, the perpetrators of the one of the most outrageous proceedings acts in question, would be left only with that ever was attempted in parliament. the shame of what they had done, and the Absolute necessity might justify any thing; serious and lasting consequences, which but, as far as the evidence went, the effect that shame would bring along with it : of it was to 'shew, that no such necessity “ Then comes the reckoning, when the banquet's existed. There were two points of view o'er, in which this question was to be consi- The dreadfut reckoning, and men smile no more.” dered : first, the justice of it; and, se We had acted upon this occasion, from the condly, supposing the thing to be just, the impulse of a principle, often one of the policy of it. It might be, that the proof most improvident and short-sighted, nameof each was the same. By shewing the ly, that of fear; and had looked only to measure to be necessary, you would, at our temporary and partial, instead of to the same time, shew it to be just. But, our general and permanent interest. Nothe proofs required might be separate. thing could be more transitory than the There might be circumstances, which advantages that we had gained ; nothing would, strictly speaking, give you a right more durable than the evils at the price to do what you have done, which yet of which these advantages had been pur
chased. The objects themselves were not the authenticity of the communication, less disproportionate. We had got ships, and the conduct of government thereupon, and we had lost men : we had gained a was, to advert to the antecedent conduct navy, but we had lost a nation. Never of the present ruler of France, in seducing more were we to look to the Danes for any or forcing every other power on the conthing but the most deep-rooted ill-wili, tinent into a confederacy with him against the most inflamed and bitter enmity. this country ; and when we then consiWhat was of still more consequence than dered his means of attacking Denmark with even the friendship or enmity of any peo a powerful army in Holstein, was it not ple, however powerful, we should have lost probable that he would avail himself of the fair fame and character of the coun his power of oppressing Denmark, and try.-In all this we had been imitating possess himself of her ships, which, though that very conduct of the enemy, which, they were now in our hands, and might hitherto, it had been our constant and just decay in 20 years, would not have deobject to expose and decry; our imita- cayed in his hands before the opening of tion, too, was just of a sort to give us a the spring, when, in all probability, they full share in the disgrace without any share would have been employed in carrying in the benefit. We were increasing the troops for the invasion of Ireland. But, power of Bonaparte instead of diminishing there was another proof which had it. The course of proceeding in conduct- since occurred to support the veracity ing the present business through the house of the intelligence respecting the secret was not less to be remarked on. We were articles at Tilsit, on which the goto decide the question to night and argue vernment had acted towards Copenhagen; the merits of it afterwards.—The right namely, the attack on Portugal, and the hon. gent. ridiculed the idea, that any march of a French army for the invasion of credit was to be given to the present mi that country, and the seizure of its fortresses nisters for the step taken by the court of and its fleet. The latter, however, was Portugal, when their own narrative stated happily preserved by the measures adopted the resolution to have been taken, and the by government, founded upon one and the purpose executed, in the absence of our same communication ; and would any minister, and without his knowledge. He man venture to say, that if this commushould have thought that the right hon. nication had not been promptly acted gent. so prone to ridicule others, would upon, that both those fleets would not have seen the ridicule that must redound have been this day in the possession of upon himself, should he attempt to set up France ? any such claim.
Mr. Sheridan rose and spoke as follows: The Chancellor of the Exchequer denied -I never entered this house, sir, with so that ever his majesty's ministers had said little expectation of having occasion to tresthey were in possession of the secret arti- pass on its attention as I did this day; and cles of the Treaty of Tilsit. The expression until I heard the speech of the right hon. imputed to them was in his majesty's De- gentleman who has just sat down, I never claration, in answer to the Manifesto of felt the least disposition to obtrude upon Russia, in which it was stated that it was its notice. But, sir, I would now, while not unknown to his majesty, that secret that speech is yet tingling in our ears, and articles had been agreed on in that Treaty, fresh in our memories, call the observafor either obliging this country to accept tion of this house to the pitiful, pettyan ignominious and insecure peace, or fogging, quibbling justification set up by forming a confederacy of all the naval his majesty's minister, upon a proceeding powers of Europe against England, and in which the character and the renown of more especially those of Denmark and this country are so materially involved. Portugal. His majesty's ministers had a Have his majesty's ministers any knowcommunication of the substance of those ledge of the facts upon which they presecret articles from the most unquestion tend to justify the proceedings against able authority: and, assured as they were Copenhagen? Have they any authentic of the truth of that communication, they documents to shew to the house for their. would have incurred the deepest crimi- vindication upon a transaction so outnality and disgrace, had they waited until rageous and unprecedented ? No, says the an evil had actually occurred so perilous right hon. gentleman, we have not the to our naval superiority and very existence contents of the secret articles at Tilsit, itself. In his mind the best criterion of but we are in possession of the substance.
Sir, if they have the substance, why have the sacred lips of his majesty, that he was they not produced it? If you produce the in possession of the proofs of a secret unarticle itself, you might certainly endanger derstanding and collusion between Russia your informant; but, by giving in the and Denmark to form a confederacy with substance, you expose him to no danger France against this country. But have his whatever. Sir, the right hon. gentleman majesty's ministers attempted to shew this has assumed, this day, a tone which ill by any proof, not even approaching to becomes the cause he has to defend : he legal evidence? It was upon the relimocks our moderation; and he asks my ance that they could adduce such proof right hon. friend, "why don't you move that I was disposed to support them, bean amendment ?” and he puts this, give cause I really did not imagine, that withme leave to say, rather in an insulting out the most irrefragable proofs of the tone ; and talks to my right hon. friend necessity, they would have proceeded to (Mr. G. Ponsonby) of what he calls “ the measures which otherwise must be concommencement of his career in leading an sidered a gross outrage upon every prinopposition.” Sir, the right hon. gentle-ciple and feeling held sacred amongst man seems to have forgot the short time mankind : for had such proofs really exthat he himself has been a leader of the isted, I do not hesitate to say they would administration he now directs, or that he have been fully justified, in such a pro-, is somewhat in his novitiate in a situation, ceeding, to keep the fleet of Denmark his fitness for which may require the test out of the grasp of the French ruler. In of some probationary years. It don't be such a case self preservation is paramount come bim, sir, to assume such a deport- to all other considerations. · Fiat justitia ment towards my right hon. friend; but I ruat cælum, sir, is a principle I admire hope my right hon. friend will take a lesson as much
as any man.
But if I am from his suggestion and propose an amend to maintain this principle towards a ment, for which it is not yet too late, and power who refuses all adherence to it, the amendment I would suggest would be and if I am, in that spirit, to look tamely to leave out of the address the whole of on, while my enemy seizes from a dethe paragraph which relates to Denmark; fenceless power a fleet which I am satisas, after what I have heard this night, I fied he is determined to employ in direct have strong objections to go to a decision hostility against me; I say that to adhere upon that part of the Address until I see to the maxim on my part would be · Fiat füller information before the house. I stultitia, ruat patriam.' I say, prove such do declare, sir, that I entered the house an intention and I am satisfied. But this night with a strong disposition to sup- what is the proof offered ? His majesty's port his majesty's ministers in the specific minister says, no! you shall have no measure respecting Copenhagen, because proofs; I can give you none without beI took for granted they were ready to lay traying the confidence of my spy, and he before parliament the most irrefragable will be exposed to suffer. But, sir, in such proofs of imperious necessity to justify a case, is his majesty's minister to tell the proceeding. But, sír, from what I this house, “ though the character of the have heard, my disposition is materially country is staked upon this issue, I will altered. I heard a young and eloquent give you no proofs and you must take my member (the mover) in his speech this word.” Why, sir, is this a ground to jusnight, assert that the mind of the country tify this house in voting implicit approbawas made up on the subject. Iown my mind tion to a measure of such evidence? I was made up to a certain degree, because think not: and I say that I for one will I hoped ministers would not have suffered not now believe it; although I did not themselves to be so critically involved, if suppose it possible that his majesty's they could not prove the absolute necessity ministers would have ventured to prostiunder which they felt themselves obliged tute the sacred authority of his majesty's . to resort to this strong measure for the name to cover an assumption which they defence of their country; and therefore, could not adduce one tittle of evidence to sir, if they can prove that necessity, to substantiate. I do not want, sir, to annex justify the proceeding against Denmark, I any authority to the expressions of the shall be perfectly ready to give them on French government on this occasion. But this occasion my most cordial support. I find in his majesty's Declaration that he But how is the house to say the measure is informed there are Secret Articles in, was justifiable? We have it, indeed, from the Treaty of Tilsit for forming a confe
deracy in the North of Europe highly hos-ceeding against Copenhagen, the crown tile to this country, and to which Denmark prince was in Holstein with thirty thouis a party. Now, who made the treaty of sand Danish troops and forty thousand Tilsit with France? Not Denmark, but your militia, ready to defend Holstein against late ally the emperor of Russia. Do you Bonaparte; and determined to persevere attack Russia ? No! no! you pass by the to the last man, rather than be induced principal, and you attack the supposed to violate his neutrality. Now, sir, it is accessary : you bombard his capital, you said that if Buonaparte was in Holstein, send your bomboats and rockets to fire he must next, as a thing of course, have his city and massacre its inhabitants; you taken possession of Zealand, but if I am seize his fleets; you plunder his arsenals; rightly informed, nothing was so nearly and after you have compleated this outrage, an impossibility as that the French which nothing but the most imperious could have taken possession of Zealand, necessity could justify, what do you then if the prince was determined to fight for do? Why, you apply to the emperor of its security, sustained by the assistance we Russia, the principal in this hostile confe- might have afforded him. It is next said, deracy, only to mediate with Denmark (an that by the attack on Copenhagen we have aceessary bulled and seduced by his influ- gained an important advantage, in the pos
with you. Why did you session of a Fleet, which must otherwise not attack the principal? Why not proceed have fallen'into the possession of the French. against Cronstadt, and seize the fleet Why, sir, I am ready to excuse his maj.'s and arsenal ? Why did you not seize on ministers most completely upon this subject, the Russian fleet in the Mediterranean? if they will prove to me that Denmark was Why suffer three Russian ships of the line unable to defend Holstein. I say they to sail through your squadrons unmolested? are bound to make out their case by some How did you learn the contents of the such proof, or they have no right to call Secret Treaty at Tilsit? Was the emperor on this house to sanction their conduct.of Russia your informant? For he only But it is asked, wltat have you got? and was privy to it, as one of the confederating what have you lost ? and it has been parties; and yet it is this very emperor fairly stated in answer, that we have got
the of Russia, and no body else, to whom ships, but they have got the men ; that you send an ambassador in order to we have got the Body, and our enemy coax him to an interference with Den the Soul, of the Danish navy. Yet for mark for the restoration of peace with this, the honour of the country is taryou, after the outrage you have preci nished, and the crime aggravated, by the pitated upon that country
your in- refusal of ministers to lay any information formation was not true, your attack on Co- before parliament to justify the outrage. penhagen can never be justified, and if the But it is said, forsooth, that by this capTreaty of Tilsit was the source and origin ture of the Danish Fleet, you have
preof this hostile confederacy, I assert that vented the invasion of Ireland! By the his majesty's ministers deserve impeach- way, this is the first notice, that, in the ment for not having attacked the princi-course of this discussion, his majesty's mipal as well as the accessary.I shall next nisters have deigned to take of that counadvert to another point highly important try, which, from their professions at the to the character of this country, namely close of the last session, I should have exthe necessity for the attack of our arms on pected to find a prominent feature in the Copenhagen, which I was informed his speech from the throne. But, instead of majesty's ministers would be fully able to an act of the grossesť outrage and injustice justify, but for which they certainly as yet against Denmark, to prevent the danger have offered nothing like justification. Iyou apprehend from an invasion of Ireland, have heard from authority to which I am and for which you are so much alarmed, disposed to attach strong credit, that the why have you not taken the stronger and emperor of Russia had taken every pains more obvious mode of securing to yourto persuade the prince of Denmark' to join selves that country, by resorting to meathe confederacy against this country, but sures of conciliation and justice, rather than that he peremptorily refused, and declared by an attack on the territory of a 'suspectthat nothing should induce him to violate ed foe. In God's name, if you would sehis-neutrality. I have heard a gentleman cure the British empire, if you would make on whose veraeity I can rely, say, that at peace with Buonaparte, first make peace the very time our expedition was' pro- with Ireland, by conciliating the affec
tions of the Irish people, and you will then I had no power to injure or even resist them; have a security for your defence infi- and they have thus put it into the mouth nitely superiour to what any of this sort of every Frenchman to retort upon them can afford you. First protect and conciliate, the charge of all those enormities with and then you may firmly confide in the which we have accused France. The population of that country without any French ruler may say to his majesty's necessity for seizing on the fleets of your ministers," you may talk about my having real or supposed enemies to guard her seized the duke D'Enghien on a neutral against invasion.But, sir, beside the at- frontier and put him to death. But I antainment of ships which we did not want, swer, it was an act of violence necessary what are the other advantages we have to my own defence, surrounded on all sides reaped from this expedition : I understand as I was, at home and abroad, by nations they consist of hemp and timber taken and partisans conspiring for my destrucfrom the Danish arsenals, adequate to one tion. But you, who had nothing to fear month's supply for the British navy; and from Denmark, a distant, peaceable, unoffor which, beside the expence and the fensive, neutral nation ; you have wantonly odium of the capture, the country will still violated her neutrality; you have attacked have to pay at the highest rate of valu- her unawares ; you have bombarded her ation according to the market price of capital, you have thrown bombs, shells, those commodities. But, sir, is this all ?-- and rockets to set fire to the habitations of No: for the country, I understand, has her peaceable citizens, and you have depaid still a much dearer price; for in con- luged their public streets with the blood of sequence of the_avidity for conveying their murdered wives and children, whose those prizes to British ports, so
mutilated bodies have been left unburied, pletely has our commercial marine in the on purpose to excite new rage, horror, and Baltic been abandoned and exposed, that indignation against the British nation and the
enemy has actually captured more of name.” There is this great difference bethose very stores from you
you have tween the situation of the heads of the gotaken of him, and this on board of five or vernment in the British and French nasix and fifty British vessels in the Baltic tions: the ruler of France has been raised trade, which have fallen into his hands by his own efforts to the situation in which since the departure of the British fleet from he is placed, and was surrounded on all sides the Copenhagen expedition. Let us thereby enemies confederated for the subverfore, sir, put all the advantages we have sion of his government, and the destruction obtained in the scale against the moral jus- of his life. But will any man say the tice we have violated, and the dignity of head of the British government feels any character we have lost by this adventure, apprehensions of such atrocities; that our and ask, if it is such a proceeding as enti- gracious monarch has any thing to fear tles his majesty's ministers, who planned from conspiracy, against the safety of his the enterprize, to the approbation and sacred person, or the security of his crown? thanks of this house. In the language of The ruler of France may plead, in the his majesty's ministers and their supporters, jealousy, hatred, and assassinating spirit every hour teems with abuse of the present of his enemies, an excuse for his atrocities, ruler of France, and every day brings forth which the rulers of this country cannot some new accusation against Buonaparte, offer; our government has no charge to as an usurper, a tyrant, a murderer, a apprehend, our beloved monarch no lurking plunderer, and every thing atrocious and danger to fear. Another topic, sir, to abominable ; and I am sorry to observe, which I have to advert, is that of the late sir, this language echoed through the pub petitions for peace, brought forward in a lic prints of this country, the editors of great manufacturing country. But, sir, I which are sensible men, and would not, I cannot, as some gentlemen have donc, am sure, persevere in such abuse, if they impute those petitions to a factious spirit, were not encouraged to it. It is, however, or to any wish of urging his majesty's misomething to the character of that ruler, nisters to a premature, humiliating, or disa that towards the enemies who have honourable peace;, but merely to impress left the power of doing him injury, he them with a state of the distresses they bas acted with humanity. But British sustained under the continuance of a war rulers have lost all character for humanity which has the effect of excluding their or national honour, by the attack upon a manufactures from all the markets in peaceable and defenceless nation, which continental Evrope. I know, sir, that