Page images
PDF
EPUB

ing so widely, especially when that right had been given to lord Lake in his lifehon. gent. needed not to look beyond his time had been distributed among many own family to know what sort of sinecures other gallant officers, whose merits had and reversions the crown had to bestow-as been unrewarded, the army would have the reward of eminent services. If ministers been much better contented. It was the had come down and told the house, that opinion of many persons that his rewards it was parliament alone which ought to far exceeded his services. As to the great assign the reward to eminent services, and victory that was spoken of at Delhi, he that therefore all those useless sinecures, must ask, who ever went to India that did reversions, and incumbrances should be not win battles ? When the brilliant vicdone away, the question should be entire- tories of lord Lake were mentioned, he ly altered, and he should then have no might, if he pleased, mention also some objection to vote a liberal remuneration remarkable failures. He did not wish, for any eminent services performed to the however, to go into this discussion, becountry: the right hon. gent. best knew cause he rested his argument not upon the what kind of services it was, which was circumstances of this peculiar case, but rewarded by such sinecures as his family upon the general constitutional ground. and many others possessed. Their emi- He would not be prevailed upon by any nent services might be well known by the false colouring of the services of this man, servants of the crown, but the people of or of that man, to depart from the general the country, knew nothing about them. ground of objection which he had consiWhenever the slightest service was rendered it his duty to make. He should, dered which could bear the light, or which therefore, persevere in taking the sense of could be stated to parliament, there was the house; he should use this common immediately an application for a reward, expression, although in fact the sense of which was not to come from what was in the house was known as well before a di. the patronage of the crown, but from an vision as after it. Another right hon. additional burden imposed on the people. gent. (Mr. Tierney) had appeared very An hon. gen. (Mr. Bankes) had thought it anxious to guard himself from any suspinecessary to disclaim his political opini- cion that, by his vote to-night, he was ons, and all participation in them. This departing from those political opinions disclaiming of the hon. gent. should not, which he professed himself to have been however, make him hesitate to state those so constantly attached to. The right hon. opinions to the house, whenever he was gent. might make himself quite easy upconvinced that he was prompted by no on that head. He might be sure that he indirect view, that he was labouring from would not be suspected of acting from no party motives, or any wish to bring in any other sort of principles than those one set of ministers or turn out another; which had hitherto guided his political but exercising that duty of a member of conduct. After the explanation which parliament which he conceived himself had been made of the sentiments he had most peculiarly called upon to discharge. before delivered by an hon. gent. he did -Standing, as he did, on a great constitu- not feel it necessary for him to make any tional ground, he did not feel that he was further explanations; but as he conceived called upon to enter into a discussion on that the present motion went to lay an the personal merit of lord Lake. Discus- additional and unnecessary incumbrance sions of this sort were always most disa on the burthened and exhausted people of greeable; and there could be nothing this country, he must persevere in his inmore painful to a gentleman than to be tention of resisting it to the utmost, and obliged to say any thing which would ap- dividing the house upon it. pear to derogate from the merit of a gal Mr. Biddulph stated his sentiments shortlant officer who was no more, and who ly against the motion, as he thought there appears to have been beloved, and per- was sufficient ability in the crown to grant haps very deservedly, by his brother of the necessary reward.—The gallery was .ficers. He should, however, say, that the then cleared for a division. While stran-services of lord Lake were not of the most gers were excluded, the house divided distinguished rank; they were nothing twice. The first was upon the grant of the like the services of lord Nelson. He did pension generally : Ayes 210; Noes 26. not know that the country owed any par

-The second division was upon

the

penticular gratitude to him, and he thought, sion being granted from the date of the that if one tenth part of the rewards which battle at Delhi; Ayes 202; Noes 15.

HOUSE OF COMMONS.

799)
PARL DEBATES, FEB. 29, 1508-asrity to Lord Lake's Family

. 150
ing so widely, especially when that right had been giren to lord Lake in his life.
hon. gent. needed not to look beyond his time had been distributed among many
own family to know what sort of sinecures other gallant officers, whose merits hai
and reversions the crown had to bestow-as been unrewarded, the army would have
the reward of eminent services. If ministers · been much better contented. It was the
had come down and told the house, that opinion of many persons that his rewards
it was parliament alone which ought to far exceeded his services. As to the great
assign the reward to eminent services

, and ; victory that was spoken of at Delhi

, be that therefore all those useless sinecures, must ask, who ever went to India that did reversions, and incumbrances should be not win battles? When the brilliant riedone away, the question should be entire tories of lord Lake were mentioned, he ly altered, and he should then have no might, if he pleased, mention also some objection to vote a liberal remuneration remarkable failures. He did not wish, for any eminent services performed to the however, to go into this discussion, becountry: the right hon. gent. best knew cause he rested his argument not upon the what kind of services it was, which was circumstances of this peculiar case, but rewarded by such sinecures as his family upon the general constitutional ground. and many others possessed. Their emi- He would not be prevailed upon by any nent services might be well known by the false colouring of the services of this man, servants of the crown, but the people of or of that man, to depart from the general che country knew nothing about them. ground of objection which he had conse Whenever the slightest service was ren- dered it his duty to make. He should. dered which could bear the light, or which therefore

, persevere in taking the sense of could be stated to parliament, there was the house; he should use this commen immediately an application for a reward, expression, although in fact the seme al which was not to come from what was in the house was known as well before a di. the patronage of the crown, but from an vision as after it. Another right han buitional burden imposed on the people. gent. (Mr. Tierney) had appeared very An hon. gen. (Mr. Bankes) had thought it anxious to guard himself from any susp': necessary to disclaim his political opini- cion that, by his vote to-night

, he was ons, and all participation in them. This departing from those political opinions

801] PARL. DEBATES, FEB. 29, 1808.-Mediation of Russia and Austria.

appears to be, in an alarning deo

too willing slave of its own prejudice Monday, February 29.

object is to dispel these clouds, lo! MEDIATION OF RUSSIA AND AUS- bouse, and the country to the true TRIA.]-Mr. Whitbread rose and spoke ledge of the circumsiances in it nearly as follows:-Mr. Speaker; It has stand, to ascertain whether our rui been announced, in the Speech delivered vitable, and our salvation impossi by the Lords Commissioners at the opening induce you to act wiih justice both of the present session of parliament, that selves and others ; that, if it shore this is the crisis of the fate of the country; God that this great nation should and I believe the assertion to be true. At be overcome, we may meet our fa various epochs of the war, persons speaking, the resolution of men who have dhe in this and the other house of parliament, which depended upon them to avert have used the epithets alarming, disastrous, that if we do perish, ive at leasi was tremendous; and each has appeared to be in the light of day.--Sir, I do not in appropriate to the period at which it was bring before, the house the distresses spoken, till at length an accumulation of of our countrymen arising from 1 events has brought us to the crisis of our and indeed I have refrained from fate. It still remains to be decided, whether nute enquiry into the particular en that crisis shall lead to the destruction or ments felt in various of our most inn the salvation of the empire. I profess my- branches of commerce, lest i so self to be of a disposition rather sanguine tempted to dwell on the details under the pressure of political difficulties ; grievances, and appear to contine ti and I am so, not only from constitution of ter now before me to narrow, or to mind, but also upon the principle, that no grounds.; or to induce the house i man ought to enter into the business of a plan of action founded upor' that public life, without a determination never of itself would uot afford its justis to despair of the public welfare. Such is But there are many sympionis con the power of true wisdom, when once ap- the statement mase in the speech plied to the conduct of hunian affairs; such Lords Commissioners, whicli it is i is what may be termed its vis medicatrix ble totally to overlook. The most that no situation can be imagined so despe- nent of them are the petitions, nor rate as voi to admit of remedy. It is ab- upon your table, praying you io act solutely necessary, however, to use the majesty to enter into a negotiation time which yet remains, with discretion, first convenient opportunits, and w! and we are in a situation in which no fresh are told, have alieady been signed error can be committed with impunity. less than from thirty io foriy the I have felt it therefore to be my duty at persons. These petiiioos larë iliis this particular moment, to bring to the re liar character about then, thai in collection of the house the transactions of the spontaneous expressions of those the last few months, to propose , the ex have signed them. Tu iliis viei, in pression of an opinion upon the conduct mand our peculiar aitention. Fog of ministers with regard to our foreign re ever strong our party divisions m lations during the time they bave been in bowever contentionis our debutes, 1 power, and a mode of proceeding for the that no one will presne to say, the future. I am not presumptuous enough to party influence has been used for t! imagine, that what I shall submit to your pose of procuring ilien. At foren cousideration will prove an infallible reme- it is well known that ihe whole lii dy; but at the same time I have a right to persons of cousideration in the count hope that my advice, if adopted, may pro- been exerted to induce par icular es bably, or possibly at least, lead to political districts, or towns, to come forward salvation ; for the experiment which I have press their opinions, either wilt reg in view, lias been bitherto absolutely un wars that might be then dhe peculi tried. We are at present, in my view and upon any other subject of poftical estinate of things, grovelling in error:

The tance. Such bas tot been the case

sent. country is in a state of delusion, which was llere give me leave to obsery at the tirst artificially created, and has been such pelilions have at diferent lime kept up froin time to time for interested duced the most beneficial effects. purposes, till at last the wbole community put an end to the American walls

Vol. X,

disclaiming of the hon. gent. should not, which he professed himself to have been
Powerer, make him hesitate to state those so constantly attached to. The right han
pinions to the house, whenever he was gent. might make himself quite easy up-
ünvinced that he was prompted by no
ndirect view, that he was labouring from / would not be suspected of acting from

on that head. He might be sure that he
o party motives, or any wish to bring in any other sort of principles than those
ne set of ministers or turn out another; which had hitherto guided his political
ut exercising that duty of a member of conduct. After the explanation which
urliament which he conceived himself had been made of the sentiments he had
Bost peculiarly called upon to discharge. before delivered by an hon. gent

. he di - Standing, as he did, on a great constitu- not feel it necessary for him to make any onal ground, he did not feel that he was further explanations; but as he conceived aalled upon to enter into a discussion on that the present motion went to lay ar ne personal merit of lord Lake. Discus- additional and unnecessary incumbrance uns of this sort were always most disa- on the burthened and exhausted people of ceable; and there could be nothing this country, he must persevere in his un ore painful to a gentleman than to be tention of resisting it to the utmost, and viged to say any thing which would ap- dividing the house upon it

. ar to derogate tiom the merit of a gal Mr.Biddulph stated his sentiments shartat other who was no more, and who ly against the motion, as he thought there pears to have been beloved, and per- was sufficient ability in the crown to grant

deservedly, by his brother of the necessary reward.The gallery ers. He should, however, say, that the then cleared for a division. While stranrvices of lord Lake were not of the most gers were excluded, the house divided

the gram tinguished rank; they were nothing twice. The first was upon e the services of lord Nelson. He did pension generally: Ayes 210; Nas 20

- The second division was upon the peri know that the country owed any par

of the

ps very

ular gratitude to him; and he thought, sion being granted from the date of the tot cue teach part of the rewards nhich battle at Delhi: Ayes 202; Noes 15.

petitions of the people? What produced two things :-first, that the distress actually those petitious, but the ruinous couse-exists, and, secondly, that you are afraid of quenees of that war, u bich was at its com- its being known. By the very attempt to anencement, and during a great part of its conceal you reveal the fact. Therefore, progress, a popular war? It was liot till the sir, I trust that these petitions will multiply, stagnation of conimerce, which at length and that they will adhere to the same temtook place as one of its deplorable effects, perale, firm, and respectful language which that the people were roused to a sense of has hitherto been used. If I were to detheir situation ; when roused, their efforts vise a form in which petitioners should adforexluced the peace of 1783, which no one dress this house, most meritorious for feelwill now say was not a blessing to the coun- ing, for manly fortitude, and for respect to try. But ihe petitions in those instances the body before whom they appear, I vere excited and supported by sir George should with perfect satisfaction exemplify Saville, and other men of high character | my ideas in the words of the Bolton petiand emineure in their day: these now be- tion. [Here the hon. gent. read the said fore you are the unsoliciicd expressions of Petition, which will be found at Feb. 22.] the feelings of the people. Observe their Sir, it is necessary, however, for me to character, their tone, and their temper. observe, that these petitions have had no They relate the distresses of the petitioners influence upon my conduct on this day; without exaggeration, they propose, most I have noi corresponded, or had any comrespectfully, their wish that an attempt may munication with any of the petitioners. be inade to put an end to the war, by tbe I have neither impelled them, nor am routinuance of which they declare that I'impelled by them. I act upon a delibetheir ruin will be produced ; but at the rate view of the circunstances of the same time they manfully assert, that if the country. I certainly take upon myself demands of the enemy should be found a great weight of responsibility, both as to unreasonable, or inconsistent with the ho- the act itself, and as to the time of performnour of the country, they will perisha rathering it; but as I can have no hesitation as than submit. Their noderation calls for to the expediency of submitting my propoour applause, their sufferings must excite sition to parliament, so it appears to me, our attention, and in their final resolution that this, of all others, is the moment in we must be all prepared to join.-Many which the step ought to be taken. I have gentlemen lave delivered their sentiments waited for some time after the production in this house upon the propriety and policy of the papers, which by the King's comof these petitions. I am afraid the majo- mand were laid upon the table of the rity of opinious is against them; and cer- bouse, for the purpose of obtaining further tainly whatever influence has been exerted, informatior, sone of which has been afbas been adverse to their adoption. But fordled by ministers, but no rational lope such ailempts bave been, and must be in can now be entertained that they will their mature vain. I also think them un concere further on this point. ronstitutional and impohtic.--I am glad to one conld bare flattered bimself, that from see the petitions upon the table of the France would have come any additional house. First, because I know that wlen overtures, I think that expectation must people feel acutely, they will express their now be at an end. The period of the year feelings, and that if driven from what is is advancing, in which the armies will begin their ordinary course, they must resort to to march. We are in a most critical situaa channel which would be neither so desira- tion with regard to America, and every ble nor so constitutional. Secondly, be- thing seems to portend, that if the present cause I believe that the present ministers moment be lost, none other so favourable are extremely unwilling to negociate, and can occur.—The circumstances in which I am desirous in the actual circumstances we sland are rendered more alarming, of the country, that they should be forced from the spirit and conduct of administrato make an experiment, which (I repeat) tion. Putting aside, for the present, all Jas nerer yet been tried. It is absurd to consideration of the means by which they suppose that the petitions can give en obtained their power, I look only to their couragentent to the enemy. He must be character, while in power; and if I conacquainted with the state of the country, template the repulsive arrogance of their and if lie were not, the very attempt to communications, their destructive activity Tut down petitions, would prove to him of enterprize, their perplexed and crude

And if any

efforts at commercial regulation, mixed never can be executed, but will only remain with the symptoms of narrow-minded and a monument of their political weakness. cruel policy, which I see in this house, if For the situation of Deninark, Russia and the fate of the country be really doomed, America towards us the ministers are resit appears to me that they are expressly ponsible.—Sir, the war has been describesi designated for its consummation. What hy them, in the same speech from the has happened upon the continent within throne, as a war purely defensive. There the period of their official life ? After the can exist no reason, therefore, against ils dissipation of the delusion so widely dif- termination, arising o. of any expectations fused, respecting the eventual success of of positive advantage which can be formed the allies in the last campaign, and of the from its continuance,-it nust be a question error under which we laboured, as to the purely of terms. Our means of detence, triumph of the Russians in the battle of in the strict sense of the term, are great, Eylau ; after the Prussian monarch had although not perhaps adequaie to the twice refused the overtures of France to greatness of our external possessions. Our conclude peace, and rejected the armistice means of defence, by the way of offence which was signed in his name, some affairs of upon the enemy, are little or none.

for, I lesser importance were succeeded by the would ask, where is it possible to make any battle of Heilsbron, which was immediately impression upon France? Where can you followed up by the fatal battle of Fried-, come in contact with her? By.wliat means : land, in which the remnant of the Prussian or in what direction can you use your monarchy was consumed, the remaining armies for the purpose of making her deforces of the Russian empire completely sirous of peace? For my own part I see defeated and put to flight, and the assertion no possibility of making any effective attack which I made in this house, in the latter upon the French empire, for I put entirely end of the last session of parliament, was out of my cousideration the preposterous verified, the Emperor of Russia was pros- contest of commercial privation, which the trate at the feet of France. I will not ministers have undertaken, and wbich it is now enter into any detail of the complaints too probable that parliamenť is about to which have been þrought by Russia against sanction. What hope can there be that a this country, for neglecting to assist hier in great commercial nation like this should the moment of her need. I will not be able to carry on such a warfare with a enquire whether the predecessors of the country, which, from nature and situation, present administration were or were not to is almost, if not altogether, independent of blame, whether they did or did not deceive commerce? The suspension of our comthe Emperor of Russia. I will grant it merce cannot be borne beyond a certain either way, for the purpose of avoiding period: the annihilation of the commerce controversy upon that point to-night; and of France would be comparatively usimin the view of my argument, it is unimportant to her, and would leave her with portant which of these statements be true; her physical strength unimpaired. It then but this is certain, that for the events, which the war be purely defensive, and if the, I have just mentioned, the present ministers termination of it depends only upon the are not responsible. No, their responsibi- terms to be obtained from the enemy, it lity arises from far different causes. Den- becomes us, in the first place, to consider mark in the course of the last summer has whether opportunities of entering into negobeen attacked, insulted and calumniated: tiation for the purpose of ascertaining what but she has been left witli her strength terms might have been obtained, have not . unimpaired, and from a reutral forced been lost; and I think I shall be able to into the situation of an enemy --Russia, shew to the house, that there have been from an ally, is now in arms against you. moments in the course of the last few America is on the eve of war, and the months, which, if wisely improved, might opportunity of obtaining a decision in our at least have been used for the purpose of favor, when decision had become necessary, putting the sincerity of the enemy to the absolutely and entirely lost. In the place test, and even if he had been found insinof that political wisdom which is expert atcere, it would have been of the utmost iniseizing those moments which folly over- portance in my opinion, to have placeri liis looks and indiscretion neglects, the whole insincerity beyond all question or contromind of the administration is employed in versy.--I do not imagine that the house absurd custom-house regulations, which will suppose itself to be precluded, from the

consideration of the papers now upon the , on the 22d of June; the battle of Friedland table, by any part of their address to the having been fought upon the 14til. Here hing at ihe beginning of the session: because I think it necessary to express my opinion the papers were not then before us, and on the subject of the peace of Tilsit. Micertainly they must have been put there nisters lave described it in their declaration, with a view to their examination, and for as a peace injurious to the interest of the the formation of an opinion upon thein, or Russian empire; as Iraving been concluded the placing then upon the table of this in a moment of despondency and alarm ; house, would be mere mockery and insult.as disgraceful to the emperor, and as detriFromanexamiiation of those papers I think mental to the interests of his empire.— I I shall be able to prove, that it was owing am totally of a different opinion. In one to mismanagement, and not to the impossi- word, I conceive it to have been the salvabili!! of the thing, that negociation did not tion of the emperor, and of his empire. commence after ihe peace of Tilsit; that it Ministers must know that after the battle of was owing to petulance, and if possible, Friedland, there was nothing like a Russian still

more flagrant mismanagement, that army in existence; that the corps of troops the otier made by Austria to mediate which remained were flying in every direcbetween this country and France, in the tion, without order, and without a possibimonilis of Nov. and Jan. last, was not lity of their being rallied; and that their turred in such an account as might have numbers were so reduced, that they would opened the door to negociation.—Sir, 1 have been unable, if they could have been bes the house to do me the justice to dis- again brought together, to have afforded criminate, and to do the petitioners also any resistance whaiever to the enemy. The the justice to discriminale, between negocia- peace of Tilsit was not only justifiable, but tion and peace. They do not desire you, indispensibly necessary to the emperor of and I am not endeavouring to persuade Russia. I cannot help adding, that to me you, to force ministers into the making of it appears to have been a mark of the most a busty and dishonourable peace; no dis- consummate political wisdom in the French laster to this country could be so great as emperor to make that peace : that he dishonour; and we liad rather perish than stopped, at the very moment when he ought incur il--all I wish is to undeceive you to have stopped ; aud that what has been upon the examples of failure in the late considered as a military blunder, (the not and former attempts to negociate, and by pursuing and exterminating, as he certainly shewing you, that in no one instance bas could have done, up on all military calculanegociation with France been so conducted tion, the remainder of the Russian force,) as to bring the matier to this decisive point, was not only an act of forbearance on his that peace cannot now be obtained, apply- part, but all act of great prudence and saing the word now to the period in which gacily.-- Buit, Sir, to return to the corressuch negociation was going on, or might ponvence. On the 28th of June, lord have been entered into, aod thence to prove, Granville Leveson wrote another letter to that it would be expedient to enter into gen. Budberg, in which he expresses his negociation, and inat such negociation might alarm at the silence of gen. Budberg upon be commenced with the liope of a favour the subject of negociation in concert, and able issue, Sir, soon after the battle of declares the readiness of the court of LonFriedland, and before the peace of Tilsit don to enter into suich negociation, ending had been concluded, lord G. L, Gower ar the sentence with this expression, “ since it rived at Memel, as ambassador extraordi- har made war (meaning England), for the vary from the court of London to that of sole purpose of obtaining a secure and per5. Petersburgh, and he appears immediately manent peace." (r. 110.)--Sir, that express to have addressed a letter to Gen. Budberg, sioa from ihe pen of the neble lord whom I minister for foreign affairs of the emperor am glad to see present at our deliberations, Alexander, requiring some information as is most remarkable; for I think that noble to the transactions then going forward; for lord might lave said, and could not but say the first letter we have is an answer from consistently with his former declarations, gen, Budberg to lord Granville Leveson, [p. which are also upon the table of this house, 110] informing him that the report he had that England would never make peace unheard of the conclusion of the armistice til she had completely destroyed the power was firie: and that it had received its ra- of Buonaparte. Sir, I beg to read to you ification, In fact the armistice was ratified au article of the treaty of confederatiou be,

« PreviousContinue »