Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

propriety of assuring his Majesty of the try, for a war in the interior of Spain. He gratitude with which they received his had no hesitation in thus declaring it would speech. In expressing that assurance, a be fatal in the extreme. They should relanguage was employed, which to him ap flect that they are about to send 40,000 to peared to commit the House to certain contend with 500,000. Scandalous delays points upon which they were not adequate had taken place, both here and in Portuly informed. For himself, he would ap- gal; two months elapsed after the battle of prove of continuing to support Spain so Vimiera, before a single soldier leaves Porlong as any hope remained; but he was tugal for Spain; and ewo months more benoe prepared to thank his Majesty for a fore a single musket is fired at the enemy. treaty, of the conditions and engagements By that time the armies of Spain are overof which he was wholly ignorant. It was thrown, her provinces over-run, and the not impossible, when the treaty came to Tyrant triumphs. As to the armistice be discussed, that he might approve it; but and convention in Portugal, the sense of until the documents were before him, he the country was so roundly expressed upon must suspend his opinion, and, above all these, that all he could say respecting things, decline to pledge himself to an un them, would be but echoing the indignant reserved approbation of the measure. Be. sentiments of the whole nation, so well, and fore he could come to a proper decision on so deeply, and universally expressed. All this subject, he must also obtain some ir- he would add to these expressions were, formation respecting the state of Spain. that if Ministers intended to meet the eneAt no period within his memory was chere my in the plains of Portugal, they should so much spirit, so much loyalty and zeal have sent out cavalry, and if they intended in the country, and yet, at the same time, that we should attack them in their forti. so much dissatisfaction. It was a dissaris. fications, they should have sent out artillery faction not arising from a turbulent dispo. ip a greater proportion. The conclusion sition in the people of this country, or from to be drawn from the report of the Board any marked reverses, or from the pressure of Inquiry was, that it was not the Geneof the public burdens, but a dissatisfaction rals but the Ministers that were to be blam. produced by a feeling most honourable to ed. His Lordship then adverted to Amethe nation. The dissatisfaction was pro- rica. He signified in strong terms his asportioned to the zeal and expectation of tonishment that Ministers pursued such the country. It was not content either crooked policy towards that country; so with the extent of the exertions that had far from thinking that the embargo was been made to aid the Spaniards, or with beneficial to this nation, he considered it as the manner in which they were employed. one of the most unfortunate events attendSome statement, he trusted, would be made ant upon the war. His Lordship noticed to allay this very laudable feeling of the pub- a difference between the language of Milic mind.-His Lordship here declared, nisters in the declaration, and that used in that he rose chiefly for the purpose of qua- the speech, respecting the proposals from lifying the assent he should give the great- Erfurth; and concluded with observing, est part of the address. With the reserva that if we sent our best officers and our tion he had made, and that the means best troops to Spain, the country would be which would be liberally given would not

lost. bé misemployed; that the sacrifices of blood Lord Liverpool said, that the address, as and treasure that the people of this coun it was worded, pledged the House only to try were disposed, beyond all example, to that general support of the Spanish cause make, would be spent for the glory of the which was consonant to the sentiments ennation, and the honour of his Majesty's tertained by all ranks of people in this crown, he would give his assent to the ad. country, whatever their opinions might be dress. He wished, however, not to be as to the system of operations that had been considered as committing himself to its full adopted, as contrasted with any other which extent, but merely as concurring in that they might think more eligible. With repart which recommends a vigorous prose- gard to the question of where the British cucion of the war, and expresses a deter troops should first act, he could truly asmination to assist Spain, so long as Spain sert, that Sir Arthur Wellesley had proshall prove true to herself. He also con ceeded on to Portugal, in consequence of curred in the expediency of increasing our

the decision of the Junta at Corunna ; that military means in proportion to those of the expulsion of the French from that coun. the enemy with whom we have to con try was the most essential service which he tend.

could do to the cause of Spain. They lookLord Grenville complained of Ministers' ed to the embarrassment that must have pledging the country and the House to the risen from having to combat the hostile arextent of calling out the force of the counmies entering on the side of the Pyrennees,

[merged small][ocr errors]

nances.

while a numerous French force was at the the American Government could no: chen same time ready to fall on their rear from have known that such a meacure was actuPortugal The Noble Lord had recom ally in agitation. But in a subsequent commended coast expeditions, instead of pene munication to Mr Erskine, Mr Madison trating into the heart of Spain, and yet the stated that the probability of such orders only coast expedition which was practicable, being issued, was one of the causes of the and which had been successful in a degree embargo. If this was true, the probability almost unprecedented, was the subject of could only have arisen from their reasonhis censure. Was it not by the coast ex ing upon the threat held out in the order pedition of General Spencer, who landed of January 7, 1807, and the principles laid at Ayamonte, that the French in Portugal down in the order of May 1806, both of were prevented from effecting a junction which could be justified on no other ground. with Dupont !-As to the other objection than that of a right in this country to retaof the Noble Lord, that of sending a large liate. But while this probability was of force into the heart of Spain, he would say, sufficient weight to impose the embargo that great risks must be run, where great as a measure of precaution against this

. objects were to be obtained.-But was country, not one word was said of the orithere not, in what the Spaniards had done, ginal injustice of the enemy, which had led. --was there not, in the moral and physical to the issuing of our orders.-Even the state of the country, every thing that could proposal of July last to this Government, form an inducement to the most vigorous and that of France, shewed a bias in favour and extensive assistance. There were pro of the latter. To France the inducement vinces in Spain which had singly resisted a to revoke the decree of Berlin was war

werful enemy in the country for centu with England; to us the advantage held ries. If the hearts of the people were re out was only the continuance of the emsolutely bent on continued opposition to bargo with respect to France. His Lordthe invaders, history afforded examples of ship concluded with a few remarks on the such a spirit proving finally triumphant, flourishing state of our commerce and fiafter a struggle of many years duration. The expedition to Portugal was not dis Lord Moira decidedly differed both from patched in an unprovided state. On the his Noble Friend and Ministers, as to the contrary, when that come to be particular. conduct which should have been adopted ly discussed, he would be ready to prove with respect to Spain. There was a pe-, that its equipment was in every respect as

riod in the war when the force which we complete as any expedition that had ever now had there would have been sufficient sailed from the British ports. It was not . to have stopped the passes of the Pyrennees, : only sufficiently provided with artillery, and led to the capture of every Frenchman but in that particular department our mili in that country. This was the only plan tary character had acquired fresh lustre, which presented any chance of a successful and extorted even the praise of our adver issue. It was the rock split in the desert, saries, two thirds of whose artillery were but we had neglected to drink of the founa in our hands in the course of a few days tain. The consultation with the people of from the opening of the campaign, entire. Corunna, in the then state of things, was ly owing to our superiority in that parti as ridiculous as if a Commander were to go cular department of the army. He would to consult the inhabitants of Penzance what not now enter into an examination of the should be done if the enemy were to land merits or demerits of the convention of in Scotland. His Lordship entered, at some Cintra ; but was surprised how the Noble length, into the question of the convention Lord could construe the censure expressed of Cintra, and declared, that his opinion, in the speech against some of the articles as a Member of the Board of Inquiry, was, into an unqualified disapprobation of the that no blame attached to the Commanders whole. He could assure the Noble Lord in a military point of view. The only erand the House, that nothing was more re. ror of that transaction being of a political mote from the intention of Ministers than nature, and therefore not within the cona , to involve the country in a war with Ame stitutional scope of the powers vested in rica. He should think that the admission the Board. The result of their decision made by the Noble Lord, that the Govern was to render an inquiry into the conduct ment of that country evinced a partiality of Ministers indispensably necessary, as they for France, would furnish a solution of the alone were responsible for the political concircumstances which led to the present state duct of the expedition. of things between the two countries. The Lord Erskine generally censured the con embargo could not have been, nor was it at duct of Ministers, and more especially their first alledged to have been laid on in con- rejection of the conciliating overture from Bequence of the orders in Council, because America ; the effect of which, he conceived,

would

would have been to place that country in there could be no question but that Spain a state of war with France, if the latter per- would ever entertain high sentiments of sisted in her decrees of blockade.

gratitude for the interference of this counThe Lord Chancellor and Lord Mulgrave try. Under these impressions, he felt Mi. asserted that Ministers had no design to nisters were entitled to the gratitude and iniame the misunderstanding with Ameri. chanks of their country, for the fortitude ca; but that they would not deprecate her they exhibited in sending assistance to Spain hostility, at the expence of our own dear- in che bold and independent manner they est and most important rights. With re had done. The address proposed by his gard to the other topics that had been ad- Hon. Friend met his most cordial approbaverted to, both the Noble Lords professed tion. He concluded by stating it as his otheir readiness to enter into them in detail pinion, that the best way of obtaining peace on a future day, in vindication of the con was by an offensive war against France, duct of themselves and their colleagues.- and by augmenting our military strength. The question on the address was then put The question was then put, when and carried nem. diss.

Mr Ponsonby rose, and in a speech of some length took a review of the conduct

of Administration. He said he must feel HOUSE OF COMMONS.

for the conduct of those men who had unThursday, January 19.

fortunately been appointed to the Governa After the House had gone up to the ment of the country. In the course of the House of Lords, and returned, the Clerk last year these men of vigour had entered presented a bill for preventing clandestine into a treaty with the King of Sweden, by outlawries, which was read a first time. which they were to pay, as a subsidy to

After the Speaker had read the speech, that Prince, 100,000s. a-month. In that delivered in the Upper House by the Lords treaty there was a private stipulation, speCommissioners, Mr Robinson rose, and, in cifying military aid by England. How far his maiden speech, took a view of the cir that military aid was supplied, might be cumstances in which this country stood in known from Sir John Moore's expedition, the present arduous contest with France. which went to Gortenburgh, and returned He alluded to that part of the speech without doing any thing. Ministers had where his Majesty calls upon the country since then very properly conferred on that for a vigorous prosecution of the war ás gallant and meritorious officer the command the best and only means of obtaining a per- of the army in Spain. Mr Ponsonby, as a manent and lasting peace. In his opinion fresh instance of the activity and superior there could be no doubt but that the peo- intelligence of these men of vigour, said, ple of this empire, who had so zealously that in the expedition against Denmark supported the Spanish cause against the ty. they had brought away no sailors; and that raony and rapacity of Bonaparte, would the Danes were at this very moment most readily come forward in support of Minis- actively employed in hoscility to our mera ters in the prosecution of this great cause.

cantile trade in the Baltic ; nay, more, the He thought a vigorous war preferable to Danish navy was more active against our temporizing measures. We were intimate trade than the navy of any other power in ly allied to Spain, and we were pledged to Europe. The expedition to Sweden returnher to resist the tyranny and infamy of the ed in a way disgraceful to the country that ruler of France, who had scolen away the

had sent it out. The attempt of Bonaparte King and his son Ferdinand. The despot at the snbjugation of Spain, he would reaof France was forging chains for Spain, dily allow, had excited a most laudable spi- .. which he trusted would be burst asunder rit of enthusiasm in this country, highly by the energies of the Spaniards, aided by honourable to its character. But he comoar Ministers, who had distinguished them- plained that the mode af warfare carried on selves for the promptitude they had evin- by Ministers was not the proper mode, but ced since the struggle began. After some was just the reverse. Instead of sending further remarks, the Hon. Gentleman con armies to Spain, Ministers ought to have cluded by moving an address, which, as u. supported the Spaniards with arms, and left sual, was an echo of the speech.

them to themselves for a season, until they Mr S. Lushington seconded the motion. should ascertain the progress they had made He stated that he felt deeply the evils that in resisting the encroachments of Bonawould result from France subjecting Spain, parte. A vast quantity of blood and trea. and he relied on the generons principles of sure had been sacrificed, and Spain was still the Spaniards, for their complete emancipa- liable to danger. They had eent Sir Artion from French degradation. The feels thur Wellesley to Portugal, with a sort of ings of this country, he was happy to think, roving commissión ; they wished to deliver were congenial with those of Spain, and Portugal, the smaller kingdom, from the

French

French yoke; but Sir Arthur Wellesley's treat in case of calamity. For his part, he force was not large enough completely to knew of no town of that sort which could produce that effect, or to keep the field a. be surrendered, except Cadiz ; for as ta gainst the French. General Wellesley had Ferrol, it was not a town capable of an. been ordered by Ministers to expel the swering the object proposed, nor of proteció French from Portugal, which he did, after ing the embarkation of the army. Now, consulting with the Junta of Gallicia. But as it was evident that if we were to make what, he would ask, had been the conduct any operations at all, they must be in the of ministers? Spain was safe ; and ought, North of Spain, he could not conceive that as being the greater country, to have been a proposal would be well received in that protected by Ministers: But no such thing country for surrendering a town quite withwas done. Portugal, the smaller country, out the line of our military operations. If was succoured, while Spain was left wholly we had made such a proposal to that geneunprotected by this country, and only de rous and high-spirited nation, he could not fended by the zeal of her own inhabitants. conceive that we could have thrown a He was happy to understand, from the greater apple of discord. As to another speech delivered, that his Majesty disap- disposition of the forces which had been proved of certain stipulations in the con mentioned, that of sending Sir Arthur Welvention of Cintra; and if he was not greatly lesley's force of 9000 men to the Pyrenees, mistaken, that fact had been industriously to cut off the communication between the concealed by Ministers till this very night. 60,000 French troops who were in Spain, He confessed he knew little of the matters and the rest of the 500,000 disposable troops in Spain, Ministers being so very taciturn of which the Right Honourable Gentleman that they had kept all the intelligence they stated their army to consist, the bare stategot to themselves, and doled it out in petty ment of such a plan must convince the hints aniong their friends. This was not House of its absurdity. He would venture the way in which the people of England to say, from the melancholy experience of ought to be treated. They had generously the fate of General Blake's army, that if a come forward, and it was a bad return for British army had landed at St Andero, and the spontaneous effusion which burst forth scrambled as far as General Blake advanthroughout the whole empire. He then ced, none of them would ever have come repeated that the expedition had failed from back. He was convinced that there was the want of cavalry and artillery, there be not a single military man who would sup-. ing only 200 cavalry, The Noble Lord port the idea of a campaign in the Pyren(Castlereagh,) he said, had, last year, with nees for a British army. The noble Lord tears in his eyes, made many attacks on Mr spoke briefly to most of Mr Ponsonby's obWindham, and his military system. (A servations, and concluded, by remarking, cry of Hear! from the Opposition.) Com that if the Right Honourable Gentleman manders in Chief succeeded each other like had really no other advice to offer to the relays of post horses on a road. (A laugh.) House and the Country, than what he had The Hon. Gentleman concluded by saying stated, he rejoiced that his Majesty's Gothat he did not mean to propose any amend vernment had adopted other measures. ment to the address; he should, however, Mr Whitbread made an animated speech, give notice, that on an early day he should and arraigned Ministers for having propacall the attention of the Honse to the con- gated the joyful news of the termination of vention of Cintra, and to the conduct of the campaign in Portugal, and it was some Ministers, in regard to the army they had weeks thereafter that the victory of Vimi. sent to Spain. After some allusiops to the era was gained by Sir Arthur. He trusted reproof the corporation of London had re this session would be one of retrenchment ceived from Ministers, but not from the and economy, and that a correction of all King, the Hon. Gentleman concluded by public abuses would take place. He wish. giving his support to the address.

ed to know why no mention was made of Lord Castlerengh said, the speech of the America in the King's Speech. Was ARt. Hon. Gentleman (Mr Ponsonby) was

merica considered of too little consequence, rather of a prudent cast, and not in that ani or were there persons in this country who mated style in which another Right Hon. wished for an American war? He heard 4 Gentleman (Mr Sheridan) had, in the last the same irritating language held out now sessions, represented the aiding Spain as pa- respecting America, as there existed preramount to all other duties. The Right vious to the last war, which ended so disHon. Gentleman who spoke this night, astrously. As to the orders in council, he seemed to think it was very improper and wished to ask Ministers how their mighty imprudent for a British arniy to enter Spain, predictions respecting the injury which without having some cautionary towns and those orders were to inflict on the enemy, forts surrendered to us, to secure our re.. had been fulfilled ? The enemy were not

starved

starved, nor did their soldiers die for want ving the French out of Portugal, which on. of medicines. Bonaparte had an immense ly formed a part of the whole peninsula. army beyond the Pyrenneės, and not one in Portugal we were received without jeaman in the army was hungry. Yet after lousy, and still lived in harmony. As to all these facts, Ministers would not give up America not being mentioned in the speech, their orders in council. The speech was

he did not conceive it usual to make menequally silent respecting another country tion of any country, unless some individual which was in a site of great conmotion. act was done. Bui ministers had no objecIt did not say one word as to what our re tion to give every information on the sublations were with Turkey. It was fit that jece of America that might be requiredo the House should know whether it was America was wrong, in always so far sidlikely that that country should fall into the ing with France as to hold out the blockjaws of France, and therefore he regretted ade as the aggression of England; whereas no mention had been made of it in the it was the aggression of France, and the reSpeech.

taliation of England. Independent of any Mr Secretary Canning said he felt that a idea of advantage, the honour of the counresponsibility rested upon him as well as try was concerned; and he would put it to upon the other Ministers of his Majesty ; the House, if this country could, consistentbut he did not consider himself in the situ. ly with its hononr, submit to have her ships ation of a person accused.--His object was of war excluded from neutral ports, into to shew, that if any failure had occurred, which our enemy's ships were admitted. such failure was not to be imputed as a fault With respect to Turkey, he had just to to Ministers, but that they, on the contrary,

state, that last autumn overtures of a friendhad done their best for the interest of the ly nature were received by our government nation at large. The principle on which from the Ottoman Porte ; that Mr Adair the Government had acted was this:--The was sept out to enter into anticable arrangewhole of the Spaniards had risen with a ments, and no accounts were yet received spontaneous enthusiasm, to resist an inya. from him; and until such were received no der and a tyrant. The consequence of this mention could be made of the country. was, the creation of local authorities in the He assured the House that no engagement provinces, as it were by mere chance. with the King of Sweden would ever preThese authorities had been watching each clude the adoption of any measure which other by a kind of suspicion, lest one should might tend to the advantage of that Sove gain the ascendancy. The deputations to reign. this country had only come from two or Mr Tierney deprecated the idea of any three provinces at first. Looking there, intention in his friends, to address ministers fore at the state those provinces were in, as if they were on their trial; if they were he asked, if it would be wise for govern so, it must be a jury of their own packing; ment to have given an exclusive confidence for nothing else could lead the Right Hon. to one in preference to another. It was Secretary into the vein of pleasantry which impossible to have subsidised each province, run through his speech." Whenever the por could this country stir, in a military Right Hon. Gentleman opened his mouth, point of view, until a general government the muscles of the House relaxed. He was established. All, therefore, which the thought this country had a right to expect British Government could do, was to pre from the Spanish government an account sent pecuniary aid to each, but a British of the application of the aids granted to army could not have been hazarded, till a them. He lamented the cold reception of central government was formed.

our troops by the Spaniards, which appearour troops having arrived at Corunna ten ed, he thought clearly, in General Baird's days before the order for their landing had not being permitted to land at Corunna come from the Central Junta, he asked if with his ten thousand men, till an order it was proper to lose a fair wind when it of was sent for that purpose from the Supreme fered? Every thing that could be done, was Junta. He asked how Lisbon was to be done by Government, and if the cause ul.' considered as a cautionary place, when it timately failed, it was imputable only to was well ascertained that our army, now the dispensations of the Great Disposer of on their retreat, could not reach it ? he conevents. It could not, however, be said demned in severe terms the liberty Minis that the Spanish Government had shut their ters had taken, in sending so much money eyes against ideas of improvement; but out of the country, without the consent of they must have disliked those laws that Parliament. should be dictated at the point of the sword. After some observations from Lord Hen(Hear! Hear') As to the proper place of ry Petty, Mr Ros", juu and some other landing troops, he was convinced that the Members, the address was agreed to withbest mude, as a first operation, was by mo qut a division,

As to

« ZurückWeiter »