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protectings of 43ariiament.
HOUSE OF LORDS. Thursday, jan. 19. This day the House of Lords met, pursuant to prorogation, when the Lord Chancellor, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Camden, and the Duke of Montrose, took their seats in their robes upon the woolsack, as his Majesty's Commissioners; and the Speaker and Members of the House of Commons being in attendance, the Lord Chancellor delivered the following speech from his Majesty :
“My Lord, and Gentlemen, “We have it in command from his Majesty, to state to you, that his Majesty has called you together, in perfect confidence that you are prepared cordially to support his Majesty in the prosecution of a war, which there is no hope of terminating, safely and honourably, except through vigorous and persevering exertion. “We are to acquaint you, that his Majesty has directed to be laid before you copies of the proposals for opening a negotiation which were transmitted to his Majesty from Erfurth; and of the correspondence which thereupon took place with the Governments of Russia and of France; toYether with the declaration issued by his Majesty's command on the termination of that correspondence. “His Majesty is persuaded that you will participate in the feelings which were expressed by his Majesty, when it was required that his Majesty should consent to tommence the negotiation by abandoning the cause of Spain, which he had so recently and solemnly espoused. “ We are commanded to inform you, that his Majesty continues to receive from the Spanish Government the strongest assurances of their determined perseverance in the cause of the legitimate Monarchy, and of the national independence of Spain; and to assure you, that so long as the people of Spain shall remain true to themselves, his Majesty will continue to them his most strenuous assistance and support. “His Majesty has renewed to the Spanish nation, in the moment of its difficulties and reverses, the engagements which he voluntarily contracted at the outset of its
struggle against the usurpation and tyranny:
et France; and we are commanded to acquaint you, that these engagements have Feb. 1809.
... of his affairs,
been reduced into the form of a treaty of alliance; which treaty, so soon as the ratifications shall have been exchanged, his Majesty will cause to be laid before you.
“His Majesty commands us to state to you, that while his Majesty contemplated, with the liveliest satisfaction, the , atchievments of his forces in the commencement of the campaign in Portugal, and the deliverance of the kingdom of his ally from the presence and oppressions of the French army, his Majesty most deeply regretted the termination of that campaign by an armistice and convention, of some of the articles of which his Majesty has felt himself obliged formally to declare his disapprobation. -->
“We are to express to you his Majesty's reliance on your disposition to enable his Majesty to continue the aid afforded by his Majesty to the King of Sweden. That Monarch derives a peculiar claim to his Majesty's support, in the present exigency
}. having concurred with
his Majesty in the propriety of rejecting any proposal for negotiation to which the Government of Spain was not to be admitted as a party.
“Gentlemen of the House of Commons, “We are commanded by his Majesty to inform you, that he has directed the estimates of the current year to be laid before you. His Majesty relies upon your zeal and affection to make such further provision of supply as the vigorous prosecution of the war may render necessary; and he trusts that you may be enabled to find the means of providing such supply without any great or immediate increase of the existing burdens upon his people. “His Majesty feels assured, that, it will be highly satisfactory to you to learn, that notwithstanding the measures resorted to by the enemy, for the purpose of destroying the commerce and resources of his kingdom, the public revenue has continued in a course of progressive improvement.
“My Lords and Gentlemen,
“We are directed to inform you, that the measure adopted by Parliament in the last session, for establishing a Local Militia, has been already attended with the happiest success, and promises to be extensively and
permanently beneficial to the country. “We have received his Majesty's commade mands most specially to recommend to you, that, duly weighing the immense interests which are at stake in the war now carrying on, you should proceed, with as little delay as possible, to consider of the most effectual measures for the augmentation of the regular army, in order that his Majesty may be the better enabled, without impairing the means of defence at home, to avail himself of the military power of his dominions in the great contest in which he is engaged; and to conduct that contest, under the blessing of Divine Providence, to a conclusion compatible with the honour of his Majesty's crown, and with the interests of his allies, of Europe, and of the world.” After the Commons withdrew, the House was cleared for a short time, when the Earl of Liverpool took the oaths and his seat on succeeding to his father. Lord Moira also took the oaths and his seat as Baron Hungerford, which he succeeds to on the death of his mother. Dr Mansell, as Bishop of Bristol, and the translated Bishops, also took the oaths and their seats. The House then adjourned till five o’. clock, when the Chancellor resumed the woolsack, and his Majesty's speech was again read. The Farl of Bridgewater rose to move the address, but spoke so inaudibly that scarcely a sentence could be heard. We understood his Lordship to approve generally of the sentiments contained in his Majesty's speech, and to approve of his reso, lution to persevere in his assistance to the Spanish nation as long as that nation should be true to itself. With respect to the convention of Ciutra, his Lordship said there might be a difference in opinion, but there could be but one opinion respecting the bravery of our troops. His Lordship concluded by moving the address, which, as usual, was an echo of the speech. Lord Sheffield rose to second the address, and dwelt with strong emphasis on the persevering exertions of his Majesty in defence of Spanish patriotism. That country, he said, had done much to preserve their liberties from the grasp of usurpation and tyranny; and, considering the completely disorganised state into which the treachery of France had hurled the nation, their efforts had been highly meritorious. Bad men, however, would be found in every country, and Spain was not without its betrayers. Still he applauded the persevering spirit of his Majesty to follow up the assistance already afforded with energy and vigour. It was consistent with the principles the Sovereign had at all times shewn towards suffering humafity. His Lordship next adverted to the flourishing state of
our commerce, which, in spite of every artifice of Bonaparte, was still in a progres. sive state of improvement. His Lordship, after observing that the country felt the greatest confidence in the talents of the British General commanding in Spain, said, that whether he advanced or retreated, he was sure that he would not compromise the honour of the country, or sully the glory of the British arms. Lord St Vincent next rose, and made a short but animated speech. He confessed there was little to find fault with in his Majesty's speech, especially as he had expressed his disapprobation of some of the articles of the Cintra convention; but looking to the whole of that affair, he could pronounce that, in his opinion, it was a most disgraceful act. The Portuguese, he said, as a nation, were a brave people (he did not mean the rascally inhabitants of Lisbon,) and if led on by British officers, were excellent troops. He would have lost his head, had the French crossed the Tagus, if they had ever got into Spain. The armistice proposed by Kellerman, he said, was nothing more than a French artifice to squeeze the British General ; and the inquiry that had taken place was nothing more than a medium through which it was suspected the public dissatisfaction would evaporate. It had been said that his Majesty's Ministers had displayed great vigour; he could see no traces of it, unless it was in sending transports at an increased tonnage to Portugal. But how were they employed 2 Why, in conveying Junot and his rascally troops back again to France, to fight us at greater odds. In short, looking to the present state of the country, in his mind we were lost as a nation, unless a change took place in his Majesty's Councils; he therefore thought that an address should be carried to the foot of the throne, praying his Majesty, if he wished to preserve his kingdom entire, and his people from ruin, that he would remove his Ministers. Nothing short of such a measure could save the country. His Lordship concluded by saying, that, considering his infirmities, it might be possible that he should. not come again to the House, but he had spoken his sentiments, and he wished their Lordships good night. Lord Grosvenor disapproved of the conduct of Ministers, though he did not mean to oppose the address. He said, they should imitate Bonaparte's conduct at Madrid, and do away useless places and unmerited penSions. Viscount Sidmouth observed, that there was one point upon which there could not, he was persuaded, be any difference of opinion among their Lordships, namely, the
propriety of assuring his Majesty of the gratitude with which they received his speech. In expressing that assurance, a language was employed, which to him appeared to commit the House to certain points upon which they were not adequately informed. For himself, he would approve of continuing to support Spain so long as any hope remained; but he was not prepared to thank his Majesty for a treaty, of the conditions and engagements of which he was wholly ignorant. It was not impossible, when the treaty came to be discussed, that he might approve it; but until the documents were before him, he must suspend his opinion, and, above all things, decline to pledge himself to an unreserved approbation of the measure. Before he could come to a proper decision on this subject, he must also obtain some information respecting the state of Spain. At no period within his memory was there so much spirit, so much loyalty and zeal in the country, and yet, at the same time, so much dissatisfaction. It was a dissatisfaction not arising from a turbulent disposition in the people of this country, or from any marked reverses, or from the pressure of the public burdens, but a dissatisfaction produced by a feeling most honourable to the nation. The dissatisfaction was proportioned to the zeal and expectation of the country. It was not content either with the extent of the exertions that had been made to aid the Spaniards, or with the manner in which they were employed. Some statement, he trusted, would be made to allay this very laudable feeling of the public mind.—His Lordship here declared, that he rose chiefly for the purpose of qualifying the assent he should give the greatest part of the address. With the reservation he had made, and that the means which would be liberally given would not be misemployed; that the sacrifices of blood and treasure that the people of this country were disposed, beyond all example, to make, would be spent for the glory of the nation, and the honour of his Majesty's crown, he would give his assent to the address. He wished, however, not to be considered as committing himself to its full extent, but merely as concurring in that part which recommends a vigorous prosecution of the war, and expresses a determination to assist Spain, so long as Spain shall prove true to herself. He also concurred in the expediency of increasing our military means in proportion to those of the enemy with whom we have to contend. Lord Grenville complained of Ministers Pledging the country and the House to the extent of calling out the force of the couns
try, for a war in the interior of Spain. He had no hesitation in thus declaring it would be fatal in the extreme. They should reflect that they are about to send 40,000 to contend with 500,000. Scandalous delays had taken place, both here and in Portu. gal; two months elapsed after the battle of Vimiera, before a single soldier leaves Portugal for Spain; and two months more before a single musket is fired at the enemy. By that time the armies of Spain are overthrown, her provinces over-run, and the tyrant triumphs. As to the armistice and convention in Portugal, the sense of the country was so roundly expressed upon these, that all he could say respecting them, would be but echoing the indignant sentiments of the whole nation, so well, and so deeply, and universally expressed. All he would add to these expressions were, that if Ministers intended to meet the enemy in the plains of Portugal, they should have sent out cavalry, and if they intended that we should attack them in their fortifications, they should have sent out artillery in a greater proportion. The conclusion to be drawn from the report of the Board of Inquiry was, that it was not the Generals but the Ministers that were to be blamed. His Lordship then adverted to America. He signified in strong terms his astonishment that Ministers pursued such crooked policy towards that country; so far from thinking that the embargo was beneficial to this nation, he considered it as one of the most unfortunate events attendant upon the war. His Lordship noticed a difference between the language of Ministers in the declaration, and that used in the speech, respecting the proposals from Erfurth; and concluded with observing, that if we sent our best officers and our . troops to Spain, the country would be OSt. Lord Liverpool said, that the address, as it was worded, pledged the House only to that general support of the Spanish cause which was consonant to the sentiments entertained by all ranks of people in this country, whatever their opinions might be as to the system of operations that had been adopted, as contrasted with any other which they might think more eligible. With regard to the question of where the British troops should first act, he could truly assert, that Sir Arthur Wellesley had proceeded on to Portugal, in consequence of the decision of the Junta at Corunna; that the expulsion of the French from that country was the most essential service which he
could do to the cause of Spain. They look-,
ed to the embarrassment that must have
while a numerous French force was at the same time ready to fall on their rear from Portugal. The Noble Lord had recommended coast expeditions, instead of penetrating into the heart of Spain, and yet the only coast expedition which was practicable, and which had been successful in a degree almost unprecedented, was the subject of his censure. Was it not by the coast expedition of General Spencer, who landed at Ayamonte, that the French in Portugal were prevented from effecting a junction with Dupont?—As to the other objection of the Noble Lord, that of sending a large force into the heart of Spain, he would say, that great risks must be run, where great objects were to be obtained —But was there not, in what the Spaniards had done, —was there not, in the moral and physical state of the country, every thing that could form an inducement to the most vigorous and extensive assistance. There were provinces in Spain which had singly resisted a powerful enemy in the country for centuries. If the hearts of the people were resolutely bent on continued opposition to the invaders, history afforded examples of such a spirit proving finally triumphant, after a struggle of many years duration. The expedition to .." was not dispatched in an unprovided state. On the contrary, when that came to be particularly discussed, he would be ready to prove that its equipment was in every respect as complete as any expedition that had ever sailed from the British ports. It was not only sufficiently provided with artillery, but in that particular department our military character had acquired fresh lustre, and extorted even the praise of our adversaries, two-thirds of whose artillery were in our hands in the course of a few days from the opening of the campaign, entirely owing to our superiority in that particular department of the army. He would not now enter into an examination of the merits or demerits of the convention of Cintra ; but was surprised how the Noble Lord could construe the censure expressed in the speech against some of the articles into an unqualified disapprobation of the whole.—He could assure the Noble Lord and the House, that nothing was more remote from the intention of Ministers than to involve the country in a war with America. He should think that the admission made by the Noble Lord, that the Government of that country evinced a partiality for France, would furnish a solution of the circumstances which led to the present state of things between the two countries. The embargo could not have been, nor was it at first alledged to have been laid on in consequence of the orders in Council, because
the American Government could not then have known that such a meature was actually in agitation. But in a subsequent communication to Mr Erskine, Mr Madison stated that the probability of such orders being issued, was one of the causes of the embargo. If this was true, the probability could only have arisen from their reasoning upon the threat held out in the order of January 7, 1807, and the principles laid down in the order of May 1806, both of which could be justified on no other ground than that of a right in this country to retaliate. But while this probability was of sufficient weight to impose the embargo as a measure of precaution against this country, not one word was said of the original injustice of the enemy, which had led to the issuing of our orders.—Even the proposal of July last to this Government, and that of France, shewed a bias in favour of the latter. To France the inducement to revoke the decree of Berlin was war with England; to us the advantage held out was only the continuance of the embargo with respect to France. His Lordship concluded with a few remarks on the flourishing state of our commerce and fiIlances. Lord Moira decidedly differed both from his Noble Friend and Ministers, as to the conduct which should have been adopted with respect to Spain. There was a period in the war when the force which we now had there would have been sufficient
would have been to place that country in a state of war with France, if the latter persisted in her decrees of blockade. The Lord Chancellor and Lord Mulgrave asserted that Ministers had no design to inflame the misunderstanding with America; but that they would not deprecate her hostility, at the expence of our own dearest and most important rights. With regard to the other topics that had been adverted to, both the Noble Lords professed their readiness to enter into them in detail on a future day, in vindication of the conduct of themselves and their colleagues.— The question on the address was then put and carried nem. diff.
HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Thursday, 3anuary 19.
After the House had gone up to the House of Lords, and returned, the Clerk presented a bill for preventing clandestine outlawries, which was read a first time.
After the Speaker had read the speech, delivered in the Upper House by the Lords Commissioners, Mr Robinson rose, and, in his maiden speech, took a view of the circumstances in which this country stood in the present arduous contest with France. He alluded to that part of the speech where his Majesty calls upon the country for a vigorous prosecution of the war as the best and only means of obtaining a permanent and lasting peace. In his opinion there could be no doubt but that the people of this empire, who had so zealously supported the Spanish cause against the tyranny and rapacity of Bonaparte, would readily come forward in support of Ministers in the prosecution of this great cause. He thought a vigorous war preferable to temporizing measures. We were intimately allied to Spain, and we were pledged to her to resist the tyranny and infamy of the ruler of France, who had stolen away the King and his son Ferdinand. The despot of France was forging chains for Spain, which he trusted would be burst asunder by the energies of the Spaniards, aided by our Ministers, who had distinguished themselves for the promptitude they had evinced since the struggle began. After some further remarks, the Hon. Gentleman concluded by moving an address, which, as usudi, was an echo of the speech.
Mr S. Lushington seconded the motion. He stated that he felt deeply the evils that would result from France subjecting Spain,
and he relied on the generous principles of .
the Spaniards, for their complete emancipation from French degradation. The feelings of this country, he was happy to think, were congenial with those of Spain, and
there could be no question but that Spain would ever entertain high sentiments of gratitude for the interference of this country. Under these impressions, he felt Ministers were entitled to the gratitude and thanks of their country, for the fortitude they exhibited in sending assistance to Spain in the bold and independent manner they had done. The address proposed by his Hon. Friend met his most cordial approbation. He concluded by stating it as his opinion, that the best way of obtaining peace was by an offensive war against France, and by augmenting our military strength. The question was then put, when Mr. Ponsonby rose, and in a speech of some length took a review of the conduct of Administration. He said he must feel for the conduct of those men who had unfortunately been appointed to the Government of the country. In the course of the last year these men of vigour had entered into a treaty with the King of Sweden, by which they were to pay, as a subsidy to that Prince, 100,000l. a-month. In that treaty there was a private stipulation, specifying military aid by England. How far that military aid was supplied, might be known from Sir John Moore's expedition, which went to Gottenburgh, and returned without doing any thing. Ministers had since then very properly conferred on that gallant and meritorious officer the command of the army in Spain. Mr Ponsonby, as a fresh instance of the activity and superior intelligence of these men of vigour, said, that in the expedition against Denmark they had brought away no sailors; and that the Danes were at this very moment most actively employed in hostility to our mercantile trade in the Baltic; nay, more, the Danish navy was more active against our trade than the navy of any other power in Europe. The expedition to Sweden returned in a way disgraceful to the country that had sent it out. The attempt of Bonaparte at the snbjugation of Spain, he would readily allow, had excited a most laudable spirit of enthusiasm in this country, highly honourable to its character. But he complained that the mode of warfare carried on by Ministers was not the proper mode, but . was just the reverse. Instead of sending armies to Spain, Ministers ought to have supported the Spaniards with arms, and left
them to themselves for a season, until they
should ascertain the progress they had made in resisting the encroachments of Bonaparte. A vast quantity of blood and treasure had been sacrificed, and Spain was still liable to danger. They had sent Sir Arthur Wellesley to Portugal, with a sort of roving commission; they wished to deliver Portugal, the smaller kingdom, from the