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provident grants of information, and from | Zealand surrounded so rapidly and unex. the government being so urgently pressed expectedly with a naval and military arfor the production of papers, than from mament, from the tardiness which they any other cause. This he would assert had been accustomed to witness in our without reference to any set of men: former expeditions. At any rate, their
Nullius addictus jurare in verba magistri.' avowed inability to defend themselves He was old enough to remember the Ame- against the power of Russia some years rican war, and he could state from oppor- ago, when on that very account they went tunities which he had of personally know- to war with this country, was a satisfacing the fact, that in consequence of the tory proof that they could not do it now production of the papers relative to the against the combined powers of Russia and sailing of the Toulon fleet, on the motion France; and it would hardly be maintained, of a gentleman of very high talents, now that we ought to have sat quietly still and no more, (Mr. Fox) the French had been seen them marshalled among our enemies. enabled to cut off a source of intelligence, It was not to be forgotten too, that a newhich this country had possessed in Hol-gociation preceded hostilities, and that they land since the reign of queen Anne. Was had the option of delivering up their fleet in there not enough on the face of such deposit, or of going to war with this counpapers, to enable the enemy to trace the try. The great moral maxim of “ Do as source whence they might have been re you would be done by” was equally apceived ? He would give credit to govern- plicable to nations and to individuals, and ment for having received the intelligence. he had no hesitation in saying that, had On that fact he would rest his foot, and he been a Dane, he would not have felt give his approbation to the measure. Ad- his honour compromised in acceding to the mitting, then, the fact, that such arrange - alternative offered by the British governments were formed as had been stated, the ment. Upon the other prominent topic next question was, whether we were justifia- in the speech, he declared it as his firm ble in tollowing them up with an attack upon opinion, that there was no probability of Denmark; and this, he asserted, did not ad obtaining from the present government of mit of doubt. He shrewdly suspected, that France, any terms of peace compatible there had been a great deal of collusion for with the honour and security of this couna considerable time, between the ministers try; of this he had been convinced ever of Denmark, for of the Crown Prince he since the Treaty of Amiens, which he had wished to speak with the respect due to supported merely by way of experiment. his rank, more especially as he was nearly But after the experience we had of the disallied to our own most gracious sovereign. positions of the enemy, in the short interBut setting this presumption altogether val of hostilities, he was persuaded, that on aside, he contended, that the existence of the day on which peace should be signed, so powerful a fleet in the hands of so our real dangers would commence. At weak a power was itself a sufficient jus- the same time, he thought, that no opportification of the measures of precaution tunity ought to be bmitted of negociation, which had been adopted. Deprecating were it merely for the purpose of informthe repetition of such discussions as they ing the people, who knew but little of the had heard, of the principles of abstract political interests of the country, of what right, more worthy of schoolboys than of we were fighting for. He advised minisstatesmen and legislators, and upon which ters, however, in any negociation, to take the philosophers of the continent so much a high ground, and that of the most perfect insisted, while at the same time they shew- equality. At present, he sincerely depieed themselves so insensible to the principles cated all petitioning on the part of the peoof wrong, he declared that, as an impartial ple, because it could do no good, and would inan, sitting upon the great process of his only tend to embarrass government and country, he would bring in his verdict- embolden the enemy. not guilty
The circumstance of the Mr. Windham expressed a wish, that he Danish army being assembled in Holstein could agree with the right hon. gent. on at the time the attack was made on Zea- all the topics of his speech, as much as he land, he thought might have been con- did on that with which he concluded. He trived in order to preserve appearances, deprecated as much as the right hon. gent. and to disguise their future intentions, and all petitions for peace, and for the same he could very well account for the surprize reason, because they could do no good, of their government on seeing the island of and might be productive of much mischief.
Peace no doubt was in itself desirable, and quired such a proficiency as to make it it was not to be supposed that any govern- in vain for us to attempt now to contend ment could be insensible to the motives of with him. Whatever hopes the hon. genthose who were most desirous of it, even tlemen might entertain of themselves in though they were expressed much less that respect, he was afraid they would strongly than in the petitions that might find the country very unhandy and indocome before the house. He was prepared, cile, and too stiff in its old habits of hohowever, even to go farther than the right nesty and fair dealing to follow them with hon. gent. and to declare his opinion, that any advantage. We were past the age of honour in any peace which should now be learning. It was much better for us to concluded, might be considered as totally stick to our old principles, and to resolve out of the question. Safety now was all that if it was our fate to die, we should at that we need look for, and this was all that least die with honour. With respect to he would ask :
the refusal on the part of ministers of de“ Now give kind dullness, memory and rhyme, claring the grounds on which they formed We'll put off genius till another time."
their opinion, it had never been disputed Could peace
be made on terms that would that government might receive informaput
the country into any reasonable state tion, which it would be in the highest deof safety, he for one was willing " to put gree improper for them to publish. But off honour till another time.” He was then a question arose, whether in such sorry that on the other topics which the cases they ought or ought not to act upon right hon. gent. had introduced into his their information? This in some cases speech, he was under the necessity of might be decided in the affirmative, and widely differing with him. He had laid in others not. He suspected, however, down" certain doctrines of generality that in the case in question, instead of which he was persuaded were very different preparing troops for an expedition, they indeed from the practice of the right hon. had prepared the expedition for the troops. gentleman, and which, from the industry Finding that they had got money in their and eagerness with which they were dif- pockets, they resolved on spending it. fused, formed, in his opinion, one of the They did not know what to do with the most alarming features of the present army which they had collected, and after times. It really seemed as if we had ar some reflection, they said, “ God bless us, rived at a new epoch of the world, and as
and attack the Danish fleet.” He if we were about to adopt a system di- did not, however, mean now to enter into rectly the reverse of that which had been a discussion of the merits of the question, hitherto acted upon. The right hon. gent. and his only object in rising was to reproappeared to treat anciently received prin- bate the new system of morality, which ciples with as little ceremony as any revo was so assiduously propagated, and which, lutionary French Committee had ever if propagated with success, would
prove a done, and to take leave of them with tell- lasting injury to the world. ing us, that all these old-fashioned doctrines Mr. Matthew Montague vindicated the are changed and exploded. He would conduct of Ministers in withholding the still, however, venture to profess an attach- information of which they professed to be ment to the old maxim, of honesty being in possession, upon the constitutional prothe best policy; a maxim which was just vision, which, by granting to the king the as true when applied to the conduct of prerogative of declaring war, necessarily nations as of individuals. Nor did he think declared him the sole judge of the grounds it sufficient merely to profess it;. it was on which he ought to go to war. equally essential to act upon it. But an Mr. Wm. Smith, after touching lightly open and public renunciation of this prin- on the Copenhagen business, commended ciple was an alarming symptom indeed, the conduct of the noble lord who was and infinitely more fatal to the cause of member for Yorkshire, in discountenancing public morals than many practical devia- petitions for peace. He would have acted tions from it. It was a state of most hope in the same manner if a petition had been less depravity, when people began to adapt proposed in the city he had the honour to their theory to their practice. He advised represent, though the interests of the inhaministers to stop short in this new career; bitants of that city suffered as much as for he assured them, that they could cut the interests of any
of the combut a poor figure when compared with the munity, by the continuance of the war. enemy, who, from long practice, had ac- This he would do, in the confidence that
his majesty's ministers would omit no op- | national morality, from which he entirely portunity of restoring peace. If he should dissented, and he was sure, that had that find that any fair opportunity was neg- right hon. gent. been a Dane, he would lected, then he would encourage the peti- have shed the last drop of his blood sooner tions, with a view to compel ministers to than have surrendered the fag end of a negociate.
cotton rope to England, required in the Mr. Secretary Canning, in answer to a manner in which the late demand had question put by an hon. gent. over the been made to Denmark. As to peace, he way (Mr. Eden) admitted, that though wished that petitions would crowd from lurd Gambier had sailed from the Downs all parts of the empire, and multiply upon on the 20th of July, ministers had not re the table, unless ministers would satisfy ceived the intelligence of the signing of the country of their willingness to enter the Treaty of Tilsit before the 8th of Aug. into a negociation on secure and honourfollowing Ministers had not said that able terms; which he believed were to be they had in their possession any one se had now as readily as at any other period cret article of the Treaty of Tilsit, but that of the war. But there was one thing had the substance of such secret articles had fallen from the right hon. gent. to which been confidentially communicated to his he must advert: with regard to the tender, majesty's government, and that such com the option, as it was called, that was made munication had been made a long time to the Danes—that if they gave us their previous to the date alluded to by the fleet, we would defend them from the hon. gent.: as to the inference attempted French ; how! we defend them; who to be drawn from the advanced state of were not able, after seizing their fleet, to preparation in which the armament was keep possession of Zealand for one winter! placed prior to the Treaty of Tilsit, it was The Danes must now see, that had they notorious, that that armament was then been mean enough to have acceded to our equipping for an entirely distinct object, proposals, we could not have fulfilled our till the secret intelligence had been re- stipulations, and that, therefore, we were ceived, which made it the duty of minis- determined either to rob or to defraud ters to employ that armament in the ser- them. He did think that ministers were vice in which it had been so successfully bound, as they regarded their own hoengaged.
nour, but much more as they regarded Mr. Whitbread was sure that the words the honour of the country, till their time of the Declaration against Russia went to unstained, to give to parliament and to the rest the justification of the expedition to world, the fullest and the most complete Copenhagen on the secret articles of the information as to the pretended mystery Treaty of Tilsit, though his hon. friend that led to an attack on a neutral and inhad clearly made out a gross anachronism dependent people, unprovoked (apparently in attributing the expedition, that set out at least), and certainly unprecedented in on the 26th of July, to the effect of a treaty the annals of this country. The right hon. that was not known in this country till gent. had deprecated this call for papers and the 8th day of the subsequent month. But information, and thought it injurious to the the right hon. secretary had now confessed public service. He could only say, that that ministers had not in their possession he believed the great cause of many of the secret articles, but that they had the the evils with which this country had been substance of those articles. Here he would afflicted, was owing to the system that ask one question, why not state that sub- had prevailed too generally for the last 15 stance to the house and to the country? years, of holding back froin the public the for the argument under which ministers papers and documents which had been, tried last night to entrench themselves, upon almost every important occasion, namely, that the very fact of communica- vainly moved for in that house. He should tion would disclose the source of it, could conclude with repeating his conviction, not at all apply now; for there was no that ministers had never received, either in necessity to give this substance to the substance or in form, the secret informahouse with any reference whatever to the tion which they alleged they had received, source from whence they had derived it; and to which they had attributed that fatal they could easily state that substance ge- and disgraceful expedition. The Address nerally, without any mark of designation. was then read and agreed to, and ordered Aright hon. gent. (Mr. Yorke), had thrown to be presented to his majesty by such out a doctrine on the topic of public and members as are of the privy council.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
been carried. He understood, that in
granting such licences to some particular Monday, January 25.
individuals, and refusing them to others, [MINUTES.] Lord Stopford reported to much abuse had arisen, contrary to the the house, that his majesty, having been true meaning and intent of the legislature ; attended with their Address of Friday last, he thought, therefore, that information was pleased to receive the same very upon this subject would be necessary and graciously, and to give the following proper at any time to be laid before the Answer : « Gentlemen; I return you my
house, but more particularly at a period most cordial thanks for this dutiful Ad- when such an extensive system of blockade dress. The just sense you entertain of the had been adopted, and so many Orders of measures which the extraordinary and cri- Council issued upon this subject. tical state of affairs compelled me to adopt [OFFICES IN REVERSION Bill.) Mr. for averting from my kingdom the great Bankes having previously moved, “ That and additional dangers with which it was the entry in the Journal of the house of threatened, gives me great satisfaction, and the 10th of August, in the last session of is a fresh proof of your loyal determi- parliament, of the Address agreed to by nation to support the honour of my crown, this house to be presented to his majesty, and the rights and essential interests of my requesting that his majesty would be grapeople.”—The following Election Petitions ciously
pleased not to grant any Office, were presented, and ordered to be taken Place, Employment, or Salary, in any part into consideration on the days respectively of his majesty's dominions, in reversion, annexed : Great Grimsby, Thursday, or for joint lives, with benefit of survivorFeb. 23; Downpatrick, Feb. 25 ; New ship, until six weeks after the commencecastle under Line, March 1; Great Yar ment of the present session of parliament, mouth; March 1; Grampound, March 3; might be read, proceeded to move for Stirling, March 2t; Wexford, two peti- leave to bring in a Bill, to prevent the tions, March 8 ; New Malton, March 8 ; granting of Offices in Reversion. He said, Malmsbury, March 10.--Mr. Sheridan that towards the close of the last session, gave notice, that he should on Monday he had had the honour of proposing to the se'nnight move for a committee to inquire house a measure of this nature, which into the State of Ireland. He said, he did then received the unanimous sanction of not bring on this measure with any party the whole house; and it was therefore unviews or party feelings, nor with any
in necessary for him to take up their time in tention whatever to embarrass his majesty's making observations upon
the necessity of ministers : neither was it his object, that such a measure, as he was confident the the committee should take into their con house had no reason to depart from that sideration any thing respecting the grieve resolution ; and he trusted, that no obstaances suffered by the people of Ireland on cles would be thrown in the way of that account of religious distinctions, or, in which, in the strictest 'sense, was the bill other words, the Catholic Claims, as he of that house. Unless some unanswerableunderstood that question was in other reasons could be brought forward, he hands. The propositions he had to bring hoped the house would maintain the work forward he, therefore, hoped would meet of their own hands. It might have been the unanimous concurrence of that house. sufficient for him to put the house in posIf however, in consequence of the absence session of the subject, merely recomof several members belonging to that part mending it to them to persevere in what of the united kingdom, who might wish to they had already considered a useful meadeclare their sentiments upon the subject, sure ; but lest there should be any suspiit might be thought adviseable to postpone
cion that it was intended by this measure his notice, he should have no objection to to encroach upon the prerogative of the do so.—Mr. Horner rose to postpone his crown, he wished to show that it did not motion respecting the granting of Licences in any manner trench upon that
preroga. to persons engaged in foreign trade, until tive. What was sought, was not to restrain Thursday: Mr. Rose begged to ask the the power of the crown in the appointobject of the hon. gent.'s motion. Mr. ment of persons to lucrative offices, but Horner replied, that his object was to as- merely to suspend such appointment till a certain to what extent the practice of vacancy should occur, in order that an opgranting Licences by the privy council to portunity might be given of appointing persons engaged in foreign trade had the fittest person, as it was a well known
fact, that by granting offices in reversion, | this kind, whether the grant was direct or persons had been appointed wholly unfit reversionary. The line he took on this ocfor such situations. On these grounds, he casion might not be popular, but he would thought this a fit bill to pass at any time, do his duty. When the abolition and rebut more particularly under the present formation of offices, and the limitation of circumstances of the country. It was well | the prerogative of the crown with respect known that a committee of enquiry into to them, were talked of, he could not help certain measures of economy had been recollecting the instance of a distinguished going on during the two last sessions of character in that house, he meant the late parliament, and was still continuing, by Mr. Burke, who had been most active in whom many offices of emolument, but the early part of his political career in rewith no duty to perform, might be entirely forming and abolishing offices, and in suppressed, but the existence of offices limiting the prerogative of the crown, and in reversion would, in some cases, have the who lived to lament and condemn all those effect of putting off, to a great length of reforms, abolitions, and limitations. He time, the execution of any recommen- again insisted on the power of the house dation proceeding from that committee. over the acts of its committees, and recomThis, which had formerly been urged as mended the preservation of the prerogaan objection against the present measure, tive of the crown, which was the foundawas, with them, a ground on which he tion of the privileges of the house itself. might chiefly rely in urging its expe Mr. Whitbread could not suffer the obdiency. He did not conceive, however, servations of the right hon. gent. who had that there could be any occasion to trouble just spoken, to pass without animadverting the house further upon a motion which upon them. The single reason which the formerly passed with its unanimous con- right hon. gent. had advanced for his opcurrence. He should only express his position to this measure was, that it enhope for the same degree of unanimity in croached upon the prerogative of the regard to the bill he should now propose, crown; but he considered it one of the. and would conclude with moving, “ That peculiar privileges of that house to watch leave be given to bring in a bill to pro over the prerogative of the crown, and hibit the granting of Offices in Reversion, to curb and moderate it, where it apor for joint lives, with benefit of survi- peared to overreach that power which vorship.”
was vested in it; but the right hon. gent. Mr. W. Dundas felt himself called upon was certainly right in voting against this to state his distinct opposition to the mea bill, for if he was not very much mistaken, sure proposed. It was not the custom of that right hon. gent. was himself in posparliament to pass in a subsequent session session of an office granted to him in rewhat it had agreed to as a matter of version. It was the peculiar duty of that in a preceding session. The discretion of house, by the address which was voted in every member remained open to correct the last session of parliament, to take this itself on reflection. Much less was it to measure into their most serious considerbe regarded as a matter of course that the ation. The proposed measure did not go house was bound to agree in every res to take away from the crown the power of pect, and to coincide in every recommen- appointing persons to offices of emolument, dation of the committees it appointed. but merely to suspend the power of apEvery thing was to be considered and re- pointment to places which had been imconsidered as often as it came before the properly exercised. In many instances, house, upon the fair view of the arguments appointments were granted to persons that should appear for and against it. He while they were mere infants, and wholly opposed the present measure on the broad incapable of executing the functions of ground of its invading the inherent prero- them. This, then, was certainly an imgative of the crown, not merely by sus proper use of the prerogative. He bepending, but by taking away and destroy- lieved the right hon. chancellor of the ing its right of granting certain offices exchequer himself was an instance of this, according to established usage. He did not having been appointed to a lucrative office think there was much solidity in the argu- while a minor; nay, even while he was an ment, that grants in reversion were liable infant. The same place was now held in to be exercised in favour of improper per- reversion by the right hon. gent.'s brother, sons. The advisers of the crown were aal a member of the upper house (lord Arden); ways responsible for any impropriety of and that grant was certainly made when Vol. X.