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not maintain that the exercise of that to which he was now to move for certain right ought to subject an individual to re- papers, did he think the conduct of the moval from an office purely ministerial. noble lord at the head of the admiralty not He was inclined to think that that great the most judicious: in the appointment of statesman, the late Mr. Fox, considered the an hon. captain to so eminent a command conduct of the Irish government to Mr. G. as he lately held in the Baltic expedition, as arbitrary.
he did think that that noble lord had not Mr. Ponsonby had never had any politi- exercised a sound discretion. This, howcal connection with lord Hardwicke, but ever, he only touched upon, and would had enjoyed the honour of his acquaint- pass to the business immediately before the ance, and from what he knew of his dis house. In the first place then, he took it position, he believed him incapable of act- upon him to assert, that sir Richard ing in an arbitrary manner.
But if no
Strachan had been compelled to abandon parliamentary ground had been laid before, the blockade of the Rochfort Squadron by the statement of the hon. gent. was suffici. the want of a seasonable supply of provient, when he asserted that the conduct sions ; and this assertion he did not wish of lord H. was arbitrary, and in this he the house to take upon his own bare stateseemed to have ade a bull, for his argu- ment: so far from it, that he now moved ment went against his vote. The indivi- for the documents, which, when upon the dual alluded to had uniformly taken a line table of that house, would either confirm of conduct, and uttered sentiments offen or falsify that statement. The circum. sive and injurious to the Catholic body, stances, he had reason to believe, were and as he was an officer employed under simply these: sir Rd. Strachan had been the government, it was thought right to compelled, by the want of provisions, to disiniss him, in order to guard the govern- abandon the blockade; and so very urment from being considered as approving gent was the necessity, that he was comof such conduct. As to the question, whe- pelled to cruize in the offing for whatever ther the dismissal under such circum- he could meet; whether the long and stances ought to give rise to a perpetual vainly expected victuallers, or whatever exclusion of the individual, the Irish and chance might throw in his way.
When British public would decide, whether the that gallant officer met the Superb, the conduct of the present government, or of supply with which he was furnished from lord Hardwicke, was the more meritorious. that vessel was not sufficient to enable him He had been frequently consulted by that to follow in pursuit of the enemy; but great statesman, Mr. Fox, whose loss upon there could not be a stronger proof of the every account is so much to be lamented, extreme pressure and extent of his neceson the subject of the Catholics. He had sity than the fact he was about to state to enjoyed a considerable portion of his con- the house : that after the gallant admiral fidence, but had never heard him say a had come up with the Superb and Colosword upon this subject.
sus, and after he had taken from them all Mr. Fitzgerald, Dr. Laurence, Mr. they could possibly spare, he was obliged Grattan, lord H. Petty, Mr. W. Smith, and to apply to the Ferrol squadron, and get sir John Newport, in reply, argued in fa- from them all they could give. Here it vour of the motion; and Dr. Duigenan appeared to him as if the common routine and Mr. Perceval against it, when the had been lost sight of, which had prescribhouse divided, For the motion 57; Against ed the utmost vigilance and attention toit 103 ; Majority against the motion 46. wards all blockading squadrons; not to
[Sie Richard STRACHAN's SQUADRON.] — mention what an extraordinary claim the Mr. Calcraft rose to call the attention of peculiar situation of sir Rå. Strachan the house to a subject of as serious a na- should have had upon their attentiou'; and ture as any that could be submitted to par- yet during the period that that squadron liament : nothing connected with so lead was suffering so much, ships were daily ing a feature in the defence of our coun- sailing from Portsmouth and Plymouth try as the British navy could possibly be with fair winds. He' was, therefore, at deemed unimportant; nor could that present, totally at a loss to conjecture how house, or the country, exercise too strict a ministers could satisfactorily account for jealousy over that public board, to which such unpardonable negligence; for if the conduct and interests of the navy there was a situation more distressing in were at any time entrusted. "He confessed, the service than another, of severer duty that not only in the instance with respect and more incessant fatigue, for a set of
þrave men to be placed in, it was that of a wrong in his statement, the documents he blockade ; and accordingly, it had been called for would correct him; if he was hitherto the uniform practice of all former right, parliament would insist upon inboards of admiralty to pay to all blockad- quiry. He could not readily anticipate a ing squadrons, the strictest and most active single objection to the production of these attention; to anticipate their wants, and papers; they would make no improper not to abandon them to the chance of ca- disclosure, reveal no secret information, sual relief, while tossing in the bay of Bis- betray no private confidence, endanger cay. The blockade service was a service no foreign communications; and yet, he of patient suffering to brave men, who was sorry to state, that he had learned could not have the hopes of lionourable that a part only of the papers he asked for victory to animate their zeal; it was the would be granted. The list of the ships barren discharge of a fatiguing duty; but under the command of sir Rd. Strachan, how was that hardship aggravated by such ascertaining the time for which each was cruel neglect as he had too much reason victualled, would be granted. There was to fear had occurred in the present instance? no objection either to the weekly accounts; Who could
say of what this neglect might but the letters from sir Rd. Strachan to not have deprived the country? When the lord Gardner, and the admiralty, comwant of provisions had driven sir R.Strachan plaining of the destitute state in which he from his blockade, he was cruizing in had been left upon so important and haBasque roads, at three miles distance from rassing a duty, as well as the accounts the enemy's squadron, and if he had not given in those letters of the then state of been sadly destitute of provisions he would the squadron under that officer's combave pursued them; and what the result mand; these, he was sorry to say, had would have been it needed no extraordi- been refused him, and reasons for that renary spirit of prophecy to divine.—He did fusal he was yet to learn. The hon. gent. not think there could be a more important then concluded with moving for the folground for parliamentary investigation; lowing papers. “ 1. A List of the ships an officer of high professional character which were under the orders of rear-adhad been obliged to abandon a most im- miral sir Rd. Strachan, on the 1st Dec. portant service; and in consequence, the 1st Jan. and 1st Feb. last, stating against very effect, which it was the sole object each ship the day when she last sailed of that service to prevent, had occurred; from port, and the time for which she was the enemy had taken advantage of the op- then victualled. 2. Copies of all the seportunity afforded them, and had escaped. veral Accounts (commonly called Weekly There was no obstruction, no difficulty in accounts) which have been received at the way of provisioning the squadron ap- the admiralty, or by admiral lord Gardpointed to watch them, and the house and ner, shewing the state and conditions of the country were yet to be satisfied why the ships under the orders of rear-admiral the lords commissioners had not done their sir Rd. Strachan, between the 1st Nov. duty. He, for his part, was at a loss to and 31st Jan. last. 3. Copies, or extracts, conceive upon what ground such neglect of all Letters received by the admiralty, would be attempted to be justified. For or by admiral lord Gardner, from rear-adthe satisfaction of the house, the fullest in- miral sir Rd. Strachan, dated in Nov. Dec. formation was desirable. He did not rest and Jan. last, which relate to the state of upon mere assertion, nor did he ask that the water and provisions on board the house to be guided in their decision upon squadron under his orders, or which may. the question by any other evidence than have described the actual or probåble nethat which would appear in the documents cessity of his putting the crews of the he should now move for; and he was sa- ships upon short allowance thereof, and of tisfied that, unless he had laboured under the replies thereto. 4. An Account shewgross mistake, he should be able from ing the time that the squadron under the those papers to make out a case sufficiently orders of rear-admiral sir Rd. Strachan, or strong to justify him in the part he had any of the ships belonging to it, was at felt it his duty to take. In the resolutions short allowance of water and provisions, in he should have the honour of moving, it Nov. Dec. and Jan. last; and to what pro
that his object was to com portions, and in what articles, the usual prehend every information that could be allowance to the crews had been reduced; thought necessary to a right understand and copies of any orders which had been ing of the present question. If he was given by the rear-admiral for that pur Vol. X.
pose. 5. Copies, or extracts, of all Let-, fresh ships. On the 23d, a transport ters received by the admiralty, or by ada gun-brig joined, with every species miral lord Gardner, from rear-admiral sir of provisions ; but the admiral sent them Rd. Strachan, stating any reason which back to Plymouth, not being in such want made it necessary for him to quit his sta as to induce him to delay his pursuit of tion before the port of Rochfort, prior to the enemy, of whose course he had got the sailing of the French squadron from information. It was not true that sir that port, in Jan. last; and likewise the Richard Strachan had been obliged to get copies, or extracts, of all letters stating supplies from the squadron off Ferrol, or any reasons which have made it necessary that he had gone off that port. It was on for him, subsequent thereto, to take pro- the 23d that sir Richard Strachan had visions and water out of the ships cruizing intelligence of the sailing of the enemy, off Ferrol.”
and it was not till the 29th that he had Mr. Wellesley Pole professed an inclina- reason to be certain of the fact. From tion to grant every paper that could with the 23d it blew a gale of wind, and it was propriety be given. The whole of the impossible to clear the bay. In the atletters of sir R. Strachan to lord Gardner tempt to clear Oleron light-house, he carand admiral Young, could not with pro- ried away his main-yard, which was known priety be given, as they detailed the course to be no light mischief at sea. which the commander of the blockading ped three days to distribute the provisions squadron thought it best, under such cir- equally among the ships, but not to take cumstances, to pursue. He had not seen any other supplies ; and so far was he from the motions till he had entered the house. f being unable to pursue the enemy, that he They had not been sent to the admiralty was now probably far up the Mediterranor any where else, for the information of nean, having received intelligence of their the persons entrusted with the particular having taken that course. Having said department, to consider how far it would thus much as to the state of the squadron be proper to comply with them. By the under sir Rd. Strachan, he would now latest accounts received from sir Richard come to the wanton, indecent, and unStrachan, which were dated Jan. 18, it founded attack which the hon. gent. had would be found that, on dividing the sup- gone out of his way to make on the noble plies, each line-of-battle ship had ten lord at the head of the admiralty. It was weeks bread, and 13 or 14 weeks meat, certainly to be lamented if supplies could with a like quantity of every other neces not be sent in so regular and copious a sary, and six weeks and five days water. manner as not to leave a wish or a want The frigates were still better supplied than ungratified. But let gentlemen consider the ships of the line. The Mediator was all that the admiralty had to do in addition not a transport, but a large man of war; to former duties. The fleet from the Balthe order for fitting her out was issued on tic arrived at Spithead on the 6th Nov. Dec. 4, but it was impossible, from the having 16 sail of the line, 10 frigates, and tempestuous weather, to prepare her till 15 sloops, under its convoy, with a part the 21st of that month. The same cause of the British crews. This fleet had enprevented her sailing till the 8th of Jan. countered much bad weather, and some They joined on the 12th of that month, of the ships were lost coming to the Downs but it was not till the 18th that the clear from Yarmouth. Some time was required ing of the Mediator commenced, and it to put the ships and crews to rights, so as was not finished till the 19th. The Me to be efficient for service; and he should diator, in addition to the other supplies, surprize the hon. gent. by telling him how contained a large quantity of vegetables, soon that was done. In the course of and 40 bullocks. The hon. gent. was Nov. there were 12 sail of the line at St. compelled to admit, that two line-of-bat- Helen's waiting for the Russian fleet. Sir tle ships juined sir Rd. Strachan's squa- Sidney Smith was sent with six sail to dron on the 16th of January, the Colos- Lisbon, and five sail were sent after him; sus and the Superb, with the Lavinia fri- a force by means of which he was enabled gate, one of the finest in the navy, victu to rescue the Prince Regent and royal alled for five months. On the 23d the family of Portugal, and to send them to the Cumberland joined; and there was then Brazils with a convoy of four sail, and to an average supply of ten weeks bread, continue the blockade of the Tagus in the 13 weeks of oiber articles, six weeks and most effectual manner. Four sail of the five days water, 40 bullocks, and three line were besides sent with sir S. Hood to
secure Madeira. . With all these occasions, Calcraft, and expressing his willingness to added to that of the blockade of Brest, grant any information which could, withother difficulties arose in sending supplies out danger to the public interest, be given. of provisions to sir Rd. Strachan's squa Earl Temple observed, that certainly the dron, particularly from the tempestuous resolutions read by the hon, gent. could state of the weather. The best mode of not answer the purpose of his hon. friend, relieving blockading squadrons was to as there was omitted in them the letter of send fresh ships; the men had thus an sir Rd. Strachan to lord Gardner, applying opportunity of being refreshed, and the for relief. He said that the weather could wear and tear of ships was much dimi- not have been so tempestuous at that time, nished. He could not here omit paying as he knew that from the 6th of Nov. to a just tribute to the patience and zeal of the 25th of Dec. ships sailed daily westthe officers of the squadron under sir Rd. ward from Portsmouth. The charge Strachan, who bore every hardship with brought against the board was sufficiently cheerfulness for the good of their country. plain, arising out of the fact that sir Rd. Every attention and relief was due to such Strachan was obliged to leave his cruizing men; but the admiralty could only ap- ground to meet victuallers; but by repropriate such means of relief as they had. maining at Rochfort he would be obliged Was it consistent with the public service to capitulate for want of provisions. to allow sir S. Smith to rest idle from want Lord Castlereagh stated, that the Adrian of sufficient force? Was it desirable to cutter had sailed with victuallers on the keep back the expedition under sir S. 14th of Nov. and had arrived on the 30th. Hood, and to suffer the Russian fleet, if Mr. W. Pole rose to supply an omisit had come out, to proceed home unmo
sion in his statement. The Colossus lested? Certainly no Englishman would joined on the 12th, and the enemy did not say so. Every relief competent with cir come out till the 18th of Jan. Our squacumstances had been afforded to the dron and the Collossus did not communiblockading squadrons. The ships ordered cate till the 18th, and on account of foul to the relief of sir Rd. Strachan's squadron weather, the Mediator was not cleared till were the Bellerophon, which, when partly the 19th. fitted out, was found to be so bad that it Mr. Calcraft, in reply, observed that he was necessary to take her into dock at
was not aware that any observations he Plymouth to be repaired. The Superb, had felt it his duty to make, deserved so Colossus, and Cumberland joined: the harsh a character as the hon. gent. had Spencer was prepared, but prevented from been pleased to bestow upon them. In joining by an epidemic disorder breaking the little he had to offer at any time to out among her crew. He would leave it the house, he was not much in the habit to naval authorities whether a relief of of indulging in charges, or making use of five ships upon seven was not ample and terms that could justly be stigmatized as adequate. Sir Rd. Strachan was driven indecent. He had questioned the conduct from his anchorage in Basque roads by of the noble lord at the head of the admibad weather. He met the relief ships in ralty upon two grounds; one was the apthe rendezvous appointed in his last gene- pointment of sir Home Popham to an emiral letter. Sir Rd. was now up the Me- nent command under circumstances that diterranean; Brest was blockaded; Ma- had excited a considerable irritation; an deira was looked to; the West Indies were appointment which he had thought, and safe; and we had a tolerable force to look did still think, extremely ill judged: it was the American gentlemen in the face if an appointment that had given rise to a they should prove refractory. The admi- very general sensation of well-grounded ralty, so long as it was directed by the jealousy among the officers of the British noble lord now at the head of it, would navy. The public prints had recorded not shrink from any attack that might be their dissatisfaction; it was a circumstance made by the hon. gent. opposite. Let known throughout the country, nor did the the charges be brought forward upon the country think those officers had been well papers; but let not a premature and un treated. His other ground of objection candid aspersion be cast upon a man who was the reprehensible neglect of our squastood as high as any other in the country. dron off Rochfort. The hon. gent. had The hon. gent. concluded with reading a ingeniously steered clear of both these resolution which was nearly the same in topics and thought the house would supsubstance as what had been moved by Mr. pose he was answering them when he was
giving his very accurate details of what he / give his negative to the motion of the and his colleagues had done; and with noble lord, upon the following grounds: what? the British navy! There was, no in the first place, the observations of the doubt, great reason for boasting what a noble lord were applicable to the article' man could do with such an instrument' as of cotton only: and, in the next place, he the British fleet. He had told them that informed the house, that there was no disBrest was now blockaded; but did he for- inclination whatever on the part of his get that the abandoning of that very majesty's allies to concur in the system blockade was one of the consequences of which government had found it expedient the neglect of the Rochfort squadron ? to adopt in the present period of the war; that sir John Duckworth, on hearing of and that assurances had been received the escape of the enemy from Rochfort, from Sweden, in particular, of the willing. set out in pursuit of them, and that Brest ness of that government to give every fawas left open for 7 or 8 days ? As to what cility for carrying that system into full had fallen from the hon. gent. as to the effect. A general assurance of this napropriety of sending him a previous com ture had been received, but it could not munication of what resolutions he had to be supposed, that any distinct and decisive submit to the house, he reminded the hon. expression of approbation of the whole degent. that the moment he got a copy of tails of the measure had been received, the resolutions he shewed it to him; and because those details were not yet finally that he had yesterday a personal commu- arranged, and were still subject to the denication with him on the substance of cision of parliament. what he meant to move for; therefore the Sir A. Piggott asked if it was not prohon. gent. could not be taken by surprize. posed to levy a tax upon the exportation But, as to the propriety of sending a copy of sugar? he understood this to be the to the board of admiralty, or any other intention; and, if so, it might be carried board whatever, he conceived himself un- direct from America to Sweden: and as der no such obligation. He made that Sweden had no sugar colonies except the motion in his place, as a member of par- / small island of Saint Bartholomew, and liament; and he would not descend from consequently had no sugar monopoly to that character, or compromise its dignity, protect, he did not think it probable that by assenting to such a position. He con the government of that country would cluded by pledging himself to the house concur in imposing a duty upon this arto make good his statements, when the ticle merely to secure the British monopapers moved for were laid upon the table. poly. He wished to know, therefore, what 2-The question was then put and carried. assurances ministers had received that
[Orders in COUNCIL.] Lord H. Petty Gottenburgh would not be converted into rose, pursuant to notice, to move for in a depôt for supplying the continent with formation, tending to shew what mea- colonial produce. sures had been taken to insure the col The Chancellor of the Exchequer replied, lateral execution of the Orders in Council that government had received general asby the powers in alliance with his majesty. surances of the readiness of Sweden to conUnless Sweden imposed similar restric. cur in giving effect to the measure. tions, the restraints imposed by us were Mr. Ponsonby said, that if the king of nugatory. Gottenburgh might be made Sardinia co-operated in the measure, the a depot from which American produce and result of this co-operation, as to him, would the produce of the French colonies might be to deprive him of the only part of his be sent to all the southern shores of the dominions of which he was still in possesBaltic, and thence circulated through Ger- sion; and if Sweden refused to co-operate, many and Russia. Sicily also might be which he thought not at all improbable, made an entrepot for a similar transaction; the right hon. gent. had told the house so might Sardinia. In order to ascertain that she was to be compelled to concur in what ministers had done on this point, he it. And this was the reward which was moved, “ That an humble address be pre- to be conferred upon our only remaining sented to his majesty, praying that there ally! this the encouragement which we be laid before the house the substance of held out to other nations, to attach themall communications with powers in amity selves to our cause ! this the motive which with his majesty, touching the Orders in we presented to those powers by whom Council of the 11th November."
we had been deserted, to return to their The Chancellor of the Exchequer rose to old connection with us!