Page images

739) PARL. DEBATES, FEB. 25, 1603.

PARL. DEBATES, FEB. 23, 1608. Mr. Sheridan's Motion relative to (740 to balance the advantages of the different first attempted to find the shoulder-knots, forms of government; and consider whe totidem verbis ;' but this being found ther, without those peculiar conveniences impracticable, the eldest, who was after. enjoyed by a despotic government, we wards distinguished by the appellation of had not advantages ten thousand times lord Peter, suggested the expedient of greater. On these grounds, he would looking for it totidem syllabis;' this, too, call the attention of the house to three was found, impossible, as they could not points : Ist, Such communications as had make out the first syllable. They then been made of the correspondence between tried to make out their point totidem our late government, and our minister at literis ;' but, as bad luck' would have it, Copenhagen, consisting of two parts; that they could not find out the letter k. What which had been produced entire, and the was to be done in this case Brother Peter extracts which had been read here. He got rid of the difficulty by giving it as his really wished to shelter his right hun. opinion, that the word knot ought to be friend (Mr. Canning) from the strong re- spelt without a k; the other brothers. buke which he had met with from a high agreed with him, and thus they made out authority in the other house, as having their authority for wearing shoulder-knots. lost sight of his duty. That would proba- So an acute secretary might make out a bly be overlooked here, if he did his duty charge against any country. The right in this house. 2dly, The small portion of hon. gent. might perhaps have read or information which had been laid on the heard of an ingenious essay in favour of table: and, 3dly, The information which atheism, taken out of the Epistles of St. ministers had refused. As to the first of Paul. This was another instance of the these points, his right hon. friend, in whose system of picking scraps from different public conduct he felt a sincere interest, parts of the same composition.

There was had read an extract of a letter from lord | also a most indecent and abominable poem, Howick, which called down the rebuke to written by Ausonius, which could not be which he had adverted; he then read ex- quoted in the house, which even scarcely tracts of the letters of Mr. Garlike, and could be named with propriety, all taken left the house to gather from them, that from the chaste muse of Virgil

. Perhaps the intentions of Denmark were hostile. his right hon. friend had read it, ‘monUnless the papers were produced, tliere strum horrendum ingens!' but though he never was so foul a quotation as those in believed his right hon. friend must have both instances. He did not say that his read it, yet he was sure that he would not right hon. friend absolutely read from the attempt a translation for the use of the letters, things that he knew to be con- country gentlemen ; otherwise he might tradicted in the next paragraphs; but he be as severely rebuked by his right hon. supposed some clerk in his office had put friend the chancellor of the exchequer, as these extracts in his hands, telling him he had been by the noble and learned lord that they might be of use in affording in the other house; and besides have a some shadow of ground for the Danish lecture from the Society for the Suppresexpedition: and his right hon. friend had, sion of Vice, with leave to think himself not purposely but carelessly, taken them lucky if he escaped a prosecution. From without further examination. But a se the system that had been pursued of cretary, of whom he had not so good an reading partial extracts, no credit what, opinion as he had of his right hon. friend, ever could be given to the information might possibly, upon this principle, tell that had been laid before the house, till one of his clerks to make out a justification the whole correspondence was produced; some way; advising him not to be nice, for nobody could be sure that what had but to take a scrap here and a scrap there, been brought forward was not a gross imand patch up a case of some sort. If mi- position. But, supposing that a case could nisters thought proper to make out a case be made out against Denmark, the house against any country, they had only to have was without information respecting the real recourse to this ingenious sort of picking cause of the war with Russia. He took The right hon. gent. had a model of this it for granted, that it was not simply the kind of ingenuity in Swift's Tale of a Tub, attack upon Copenhagen which had alienwhere three brothers endeavoured to find ated the emperor of Russia from his attach: the words 'shoulder-knots’in their father's ment to this country; but it was owing to will, and gave a complete specimen of soinething which occurred posterior to that this system of pickings and patches. They attack, that he had ranged himseff in the


list of our enemies. Lord G. L. Gower Swedish majesty's chargé-d'affaires at the ascribed this change of sentiment, in one of court of Kiel, to count Bernstorff, the Dahis dispatches, to the arrival of a messenger nish minister, (a man who was universally from Paris, and to the strong representa - esteemed to be the honestest minister in tions made after the event by general Europe, not meaning by this expression to Savary. But, with all due respect for the be guilty of any disrespect to the right opinion of his noble friend, he shrewdly hon. gent. opposite,) declaring, that “ had suspected that it had arisen from the com his Swedish majesty judged it necessary to munication imparted to the court of St. occupy Zealand with his troops, jointly Petersburg, of the foul, treacherous, and with those of his ally, he should have base proposals which were made after the done it; and the king wishes that he may capitulation of Copenhagen, by ministers, never find himself in the case to regret to Mr. Rist, the Danish agent in this coun

that he had acted otherwise.” He meant try, to submit to any terins which they to give every credit to the gallantry of the might think proper to dictate, on pain of king of Sweden; and indeed, considering having Norway wrested from the crown that he was now our only remaining ally, of Denmark and given to Sweden. If he it would be illiberal to withhold any praise could trust to the papers which he held in

that was due to him. This was a very his hand, purporting to be the substance stout declaration, and he sincerely “wished of a conversation which passed between that his Swedish majesty might never have Mr. Secretary Canning and Mr. Rist, and cause to regret” the counsels of those copies of a correspondence which passed who had advised him to make it. He between the courts of Copenhagen and must remark, however, that there was Stockholm, it appeared that, at the very something curious in the wording of it. He time that ministers were soliciting the confesses that he would have taken possesmediation of the emperor of Russia be- sion of Zealand had it been necessary; tween G. Britain and Denmark, they were and expresses a hope that he might never threatening to despoil Denmark of a part have cause to regret not having done it, of her territory: and, after having eva even though it was not necessary. There cuated Zealand conformably to the capitu- the house would see the influence of exlation, to co-operate with a Swedish gar- ample strikingly illustrated. The British rison in again taking possession of it. Not government had bombarded Copenhagen; only this, but there was a rumour in circu- levelled its houses, churches, and hospitals; lation, that this plan wa; only abandoned sacked its arsenals, and carried oft its in consequence of the commander in chief fleet; because it was given out it was of the forces in the island of Zealand posi- necessary so to do. The king of Sweden tively refusing to have any share in it. | declares that had it been necessary, he Flagrant and wicked as he considered the would have taken possession after it was first attack upon Denmark was, to have evacuated by our troops. And now the violated the capitulation would certainly emperor of Russia' would find it necessary have been still more base and criminal; to march an army into Finland, and to and, therefore, he hoped to hear an ex take possession of Stockholm.

A right plicit declaration from his majesty's minis- hon. friend of his (Mr. Windham) had adters, that they never at any time harbouredi vised ministers not to attempt running a an idea of committing such an act. Still, race of violence and injustice with the however, it was difficult to believe that ruler of France, because they were sure to there was no ground for the imputation ; be beat; but he really thought that their unless the supposed minute of Mr. Rist's first effort was no bad coup d'essai; and conversation with Mr. Secretary Canning, it now appeared as if Sweden had been so and the correspondence which he now held much animated by their example, as to in his hand, were impudent forgerics. shew a roving disposition to follow them The right hon. gent. here read the several in their new career.

r.-The right hon. gent. papers to which he alluded ; beginning next adverted to the promise which they with Mr. Rist's note to count Bernstorft, had made of Norway to Sweden, at least containing a communication of five dif- if he was to believe the documents which erent menaces which were thrown out by he had read. Sweden, he said, must be his majesty's foreign secretary, if the very sure of getting Norway in the end ; court of Denmark did not agree to sub- | for, it seemed, it had been promised to her scribe to certain terms, and ending with not only by the British government, but a note, addressed by baron Taube, his by the emperor Napoleon himself. Gen.

Brune, in a conference with a Swedish ge- new system of withholding all information neral who had fallen into his hands in Po- relative to the measures of ministers. If merania (he did not know whether he was it did, it would be better to decide at once, quizzing him or not), had held out precisely that the interference of that house was at the same bait to the king of Sweden that all times an impediment to the operations his right hon. friend had done; and let it of government; that parliament was a be remembered, that it had been stated nuisance in difficult times; that it would by ministers as a matter of accusation be better for the king to prorogue it during against Denmark, that she had not com- pleasure, xaise inoney, as he pleases, and municated this offer to the British govern- make war or peace when, how, or on what ment, at the same time that she informed terms, he may think proper. He implore the British government of the offer of ed ministers, however, to give up the de. Sweden to send a Swedish force to her as- testable system upon which they had latesistance. This offer, he contended, was ly been endeavouring to act; namely, sufficient of itself to have provoked the that of fighting Buonaparte with his own enmity of the emperor of Russia; who, weapons. They would do much better to above all things, was jealous of the pre- continue to fight with those weapons rogative which he assumed to himself of which the nation was better accustomed protector of the North. He was therefore to handle. Let them oppose lenity and of opinion that lord G. L. Gower was moderation to his cruelty and oppression ; mistaken, in ascribing the hostile deter- | let them oppose good faith to his treachery mination of the court of St. Petersburg and duplicity ; to his violence and desto the interference of gen. Savary; and potism let them oppose the mildness of that it could be much better accounted for the British constitution; and above all, to by the propositions which we made to his mystery let them oppose publicity. Sweden, after the capitulation of Copen- He concluded with moving, 1. “ That an hagen was signed and ratified. But, as to humble address be presented to his maour giving away Norway, or Sweden tak- jesty, that he will be graciously pleased ing Norway, it was really too ridiculous to give directions that there be laid before for ministers to talk of it. It was no longer this house, as far as the same can be done ago than in 1787, that a body of Norwe- without prejudice to the public service, gians put themselves in motion, and took Copies or Extracts of any Correspondence possession of Gottenburgh, the second city which passed between his majesty's minia of Sweden; and it was difficult to say sters and the Danish Chargé d'Affaires, or where they might have proceeded, had it his secretary, resident at the court of not been for the intervention of Mr. Elliott, London, from the date of the Capitulation at that time, the British minister at Co- of Copenhagen, to their departure, togee penhagen. It was reported that ministers ther with the minutes of any verbal comwere preparing to send a fleet to the Bal-munications between the same: 2. Copies tic; and he hoped that they would do so, or Extracts of all Correspondence which not for the purpose either of taking Hol- passed, after the Capitulation of Copen, stein from the French, or Zealand from hagen, between his majesty's ministers and the Danes, or of making good their pro- the court of Stockholm, relative to the remise to the king of Sweden by taking Nor- taining possession of the Island of Zealand way, but he hoped with the intention of by a Swedish army, or in concert with his securing the Swedish fleet. The king of majesty's forces; and also Copies of any Sweden must be the most unreasonable Correspondence which may have passed man in the world if he hesitated to de- between the courts of Copenhagen and liver it into our hands as a deposit, and it Stockholm relating to the same, and comcertainly was an object of sufficient im- municated to his majesty's minister resid, portance to engage the attention of minis- | ing at the court of Stockholm.”

It was well known that Sweden Mr. Secretary Canning was not ashamed was in possession of the best flotilla in to confess, that he at all times felt consi, the world, and did it fall into the power derable difficulty in disagreeing from his of our enemy, it was much more likely right hon. friend; and that, in this in, to be converted into an instrument of ef- stance, his difficulty was much increased, fecting an invasion of this country than not by the line of argument adopted by the Danish navy. But reverting to a ge- his right hon, friend, but by the humour neral view of the question, he put it: to with which he had treated subjects stated the house whether it would sanction the to be atrocious, and the gravity with


which he had dwelt upon things trifling , an unfortunate one for his argument; be. and unimportant. The right hon. gent. cause he had antecedently proved in his had set out with a discussion of the parti- speech that they must all have been writcular benefits of the British constitution, ten between the 30th of August and the 2d which he contrasted with the practice of of Sept. The clerical error of the copying despotic governments. But his right hon. clerk, in dating one of these dispatches the friend had pushed this contrast to a greater 2d instead of the 1st of Sept. was the ground extent than any writer or speaker with upon which the right hon. gent. built his whom he was acquainted. His right hon. argument, to prove the deception which friend had said, that his majesty's mini-he imputed to his majesty's ministers, sters were preserving the gloom of des- But, in contending that these dispatches potism upon every transaction, upon which were framed with a view to justify his mathey did not, shortly after the transaction jesty's Declaration of Dec. 19, which was took place, or wbilst the consequences issued in answer to the emperor of Russia's were yet flowing from it, give the fullest Declaration of Oct.20th which had been reinformation to the house, and through that ceived in this country on the 3d of Dec.his house to the public, and through the pub- right hon. friend gave credit to him and lic to the enemy, by which the enemy his colleagues for a portion of political samight be enabled to defeat the objects of gacity which he was not, on other occathem. He had always thought that the sions, disposed to allow them. But as the constitution had solved that problem which observation had been applied not only to his right hon. friend seemed to think in the dispatches from lord G. L. Gower, but soluble, by enabling that house to steer to bis answer to these dispatches, dated between difficulties, and by uniting the Sept. 17th, his right hon. friend cut him promptness of the executive with the sa short a fortnight of the allowance of polilutary corrective of its popular branch. tical sagacity. The view which his rt. hon. But the extremity to which his right hon. friend had taken of the statement in lord friend had pushed his proposition was not G.L. Gower's dispatch, relative to the ami. to be maintained in argument or in fact, cable tone assumed by gen. Budberg, was and the former of his motions allowed the not maintainable in argument, or by the principle which the whole tenor of his fact. Did his right hon. friend mean to say speech went to invalidate. His right hon. that general Budberg, at the time of adoptfriend had complained of the sparingness ing that tone, was not acquainted with the with which his majesty's ministers granted transactions at Copenhagen? If he did, he papers; but he was sure his right hon. was mistaken ; because these transactions friend must be convinced that papers had had been known at St. Petersburg either been laid upon the table this session in on, or shortly after, the 20th of Augusta greater masses than upon any former oc If that were so, he would ask his right hon. casion. It began to be the feeling of the friend whether, under such circumstances, house, that he and his colleagues bad he would not think it proper to take adgranted too many papers, and that the vantage of such a disposition, in order, if few which remained in the public offices possible, to preserve the relations of amity should be retained there, if not for the and alliance which h::d previously subsista guidance of future ministers, at least for ed between the two countries? The note the service of future oppositions. His demanding an explanation of the attack right hon. friend had asserted, that because upon Copenhagen, had been communicated only extracts had been laid before the under the influence of a power which had house, they were not entitled to credit ; since acquired and exerted an ascendancy and that the remainder of the documents, in the Russian councils. Though the disa if produced, would contradict the tenor of patches communicating this note had been the parts given to the public; as well as received with the other, they did not seem that, because chasms existed in the chain to his majesty's ministers sufficient to alter of papers, those which were forthcoming the view which they had of turning to adwere not to be credited. The instance vantage, if possible, the friendly disposiwhich his right hon. friend had selected to tion which had appeared on the part of prové, a deception in the case of the three Russia. If this had been the use which dispatches from lord G. L. Gower, and his right hon. friend made of the papers upon which he dwelt with so much ear- produced at the desire of his own friend, nestaess, as if they might have been writ- what credit would he have given to the ten at intervals of some weeks, was rather dispatches if they had been voluntarily

[ocr errors]

laid upon the table by his majesty's mi- | ministers to say what particular papers nisters? Would he not have said, that mi- ought to be laid before the house, and what nisters had produced them in order to would be inconvenient or dangerous so to make out their own case? But he should do, and then called on him to say whether not then enter into the general question, there would be any inconvenience in the until it should be regularly brought before production of the papers now moved for ? the house, by the motion of the learned | To this he distinctly answered, yes, there gent. on Wednesday: If his right hon. would be the highest inconvenience. His friend was prepared to contend that the right hon. friend had told them that we question ought to be answered because it had but one ally in Europe, and that he was put; or that, according to the daily was in the greatest danger. He argued practice of that house, it ought to be an- that this danger would arise to Sweden, swered without any reference whatever from having entered into a compact with to any particular course to be ground this country relative to taking possession ed upon it; he was of opinion that it of Norway, and in return asked for the would require somewhat more than the whole correspondence relating to that ingenuity of his right hon. friend to es transaction. His right hon. friend's betablish that point. If he understood his lief with respect to that was founded on a right hon. friend right, he had adverted few paragraphs in the Moniteur, which he to certain misconstructions which had brought down, threw on the table, and been put upon what had fallen from him then called on ministers for all the correson a former occasion, as if he had made pondence between them and their only statements from documents in order to ally; he thought, however, ministers knew misrepresent the general tenor of their too well how to shew their value for their contents. Upon this particular point he only ally, to comply with so unreasonable should observe, that if other reasons did a request. He did not know how it was, not interfere with the production of these but it seemed to him the Moniteur had documents, he could, for his part, have been strangely favourable to the views of no objection to producing them; and on the hon. gentlemen opposite; for they no this occasion he trusted he should meet with sooner began to be exhausted in topics of the indulgence of the house, in adding a declamation against ministers, and to shew few words upon a subject so immediately symptoms of being languid and flat, than personal to himself

. If he were to look over popt a Moniteur with some agreeable to himself alone, he should have no diffi- information to cheer their drooping spirits, culty in producing the papers, which and to give them a fresh opportunity of would take away all misconstructions upon calling for inore papers, in doing which the subject, and leave the learned gent. he thought his right hon: friend had, on when he came to bring forward his motion, the present occasion, shewn a voracious to discuss it upon the mere naked princi- curiosity. If he would limit it to any ple. His right hon. friend had mis-stated formation that could safely be laid before the view in which he had used one of the house, he would be glad to oblige him those papers which he had read. He had as far as possible, to give him an opporstated, that he (Mr. C.) from lord Howick's tunity of joining more effectually in the dispatch, had imputed that the Danish motion, which the hon. and learned gent. court was in collusion with France, but soon meant to move on the capitulation of this was a mistake; he had only stated Copenhagen. He assured the house, that that, from all the circumstances of Den- in every respect that treaty had been mark's having retreated as the French ad- complied with on our part. There had vanced towards Holstein, there was reason been a conference as to British property to apprehend, if they got possession of seized and detained prior to our taking Holstein, Denmark might dread their pro- possession of Zealand, a doubt having arisen ceeding to do the same by Zealand, and whether the capitulation meant to confine it that might be a means of drawing the to Zealand only, or to the rest of the Danishi Danish fleet into the hands of France; and territory. It was agreed to be submit he thought the noble lord had good cause to the officers on both sides, who made the for fearing that might be the case. His capitulation, and was determined against right hon. friend, in one part of his speech, the English, and implicitly complied with: admitted, and in the wording of his mo- The saine, as to hostilities, by the declara. tion, had more strongly confirmed the ad- tion of war, which were not known at the mission, that it must be left to his majesty's time of the capitulation; every thing had


« PreviousContinue »