• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of majesty's ministers
 January, 1810
 February, 1810
 March, 1810
 Appendix to the parliamentary debates:...
 Index to debates
 Index of names














Group Title: Cobbett's parliamentary debates, during the ... session of the ... Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the Kingdom of
Title: Cobbett's parliamentary debates, during the ... session of the ... Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the Kingdom of Great Britain ..
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00073530/00001
 Material Information
Title: Cobbett's parliamentary debates, during the ... session of the ... Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the Kingdom of Great Britain ..
Alternate Title: Cobbett's parliamentary debates
Parliamentary debates
Parl. debates
Physical Description: 22 v. : ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Great Britain -- Parliament
Cobbett, William, 1763-1835
Publisher: R. Bagshaw
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: 1804-1812
 Subjects
Subject: Politics and government -- Periodicals -- Great Britain -- 1800-1837   ( lcsh )
 Notes
Dates or Sequential Designation: Vol. 1 (1803/1804)-v. 22 (1812) = 2nd session, 2nd Parliament-6th session, 4th Parliament.
Numbering Peculiarities: Covers Nov. 1803/Mar. 1804-Mar./May 1812.
General Note: Title varies slightly.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00073530
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 08273635
lccn - sn 85062625
 Related Items
Preceded by: Parliamentary history of England from the earliest period to the year 1803 ...
Succeeded by: Parliamentary debates from the year 1803 to the present time

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Title Page
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents 1
        Table of Contents 2
        Table of Contents 3
        Table of Contents 4
        Table of Contents 5
    List of majesty's ministers
        Unnumbered ( 7 )
    January, 1810
        Page 1-2
        House of Lords - Tuesday, January 23
            Page 1-2
            Page 3-4
            Page 5-6
            Page 7-8
            Page 9-10
            Page 11-12
            Page 13-14
            Page 15-16
            Page 17-18
            Page 19-20
            Page 21-22
            Page 23-24
            Page 25-26
            Page 27-28
            Page 29-30
            Page 31-32
            Page 33-34
            Page 35-36
        House of Commons - Tuesday, January 23
            Page 37-38
            Page 39-40
            Page 41-42
            Page 43-44
            Page 33*-34*
            Page 35*-36*
            Page 37*-38*
            Page 39*-40*
            Page 41*-42*
            Page 43*-44*
            Page 45*-46*
            Page 47*-48*
            Page 49-50
            Page 51-52
            Page 53-54
            Page 55-56
            Page 57-58
            Page 59-60
            Page 61-62
            Page 63-64
            Page 65-66
            Page 67-68
            Page 69-70
            Page 71-72
            Page 73-74
            Page 75-76
            Page 77-78
            Page 79-80
            Page 81-82
            Page 83-84
            Page 85-86
            Page 87-88
            Page 89-90
            Page 91-92
            Page 93-94
            Page 95-96
            Page 97-98
            Page 99-100
            Page 101-102
            Page 103-104
        House of Lords - Thursday, January 25
            Page 105-106
            Page 107-108
            Page 109-110
            Page 111-112
            Page 113-114
            Page 115-116
            Page 117-118
            Page 119-120
            Page 121-122
            Page 123-124
            Page 125-126
            Page 127-128
        House of Lords - Friday, January 26
            Page 129-130
            Page 131-132
            Page 133-134
            Page 135-136
            Page 137-138
            Page 139-140
            Page 141-142
            Page 143-144
            Page 145-146
            Page 147-148
            Page 149-150
            Page 151-152
            Page 153-154
            Page 155-156
            Page 157-158
            Page 159-160
            Page 161-162
            Page 163-164
            Page 165-166
            Page 167-168
            Page 169-170
            Page 171-172
            Page 173-174
            Page 175-176
            Page 177-178
            Page 179-180
            Page 181-182
            Page 183-184
            Page 185-186
            Page 187-188
            Page 189-190
            Page 191-192
            Page 193-194
            Page 195-196
            Page 197-198
            Page 199-200
            Page 201-202
            Page 203-204
            Page 205-206
            Page 207-208
        House of Lords - Monday, January 29
            Page 209-210
            Page 211-212
            Page 213-214
            Page 215-216
            Page 217-218
            Page 219-220
            Page 221-222
            Page 223-224
            Page 225-226
            Page 227-228
            Page 229-230
            Page 231-232
            Page 233-234
            Page 235-236
            Page 237-238
            Page 239-240
            Page 241-242
            Page 243-244
            Page 245-246
        House of Commons - Wednesday, January 31
            Page 247-248
            Page 249-250
            Page 251-252
            Page 253-254
            Page 255-256
            Page 257-258
            Page 259-260
            Page 261-262
            Page 263-264
    February, 1810
        Page 265-266
        House of Lords - Thursday, February 1
            Page 265-266
            Page 267-268
            Page 269-270
            Page 271-272
            Page 273-274
            Page 275-276
            Page 277-278
            Page 279-280
            Page 281-282
            Page 283-284
            Page 285-286
            Page 287-288
            Page 289-290
            Page 291-292
            Page 293-294
            Page 295-296
            Page 297-298
            Page 299-300
        House of Commons - Friday, February 2
            Page 301-302
            Page 303-304
            Page 305-306
            Page 307-308
        House of Commons - Monday, February 5
            Page 309-310
            Page 311-312
            Page 313-314
            Page 315-316
            Page 317-318
        House of Commons - Tuesday, February 6
            Page 319-320
            Page 321-322
            Page 323-324
            Page 325-326
            Page 327-328
            Page 329-330
            Page 331-332
            Page 333-334
            Page 335-336
            Page 337-338
            Page 339-340
            Page 341-342
            Page 343-344
        House of Lords - Thursday, February 8
            Page 345-346
            Page 347-348
            Page 349-350
            Page 351-352
            Page 353-354
        House of Lords - Friday, February 9
            Page 355-356
            Page 357-358
            Page 359-360
            Page 361-362
            Page 363-364
            Page 365-366
            Page 367-368
            Page 369-370
            Page 371-372
        House of Lords - Monday, February 12
            Page 373-374
            Page 375-376
            Page 377-378
            Page 379-380
            Page 381-382
            Page 383-384
            Page 385-386
            Page 387-388
        House of Commons - Tuesday, February 13
            Page 389-390
            Page 391-392
            Page 393-394
            Page 395-396
            Page 397-398
        House of Commons - Wednesday, February 14
            Page 399-400
            Page 401-402
            Page 403-404
            Page 405-406
            Page 407-408
            Page 409-410
            Page 411-412
            Page 413-414
            Page 415-416
            Page 417-418
            Page 419-420
            Page 421-422
        House of Commons - Thursday, February 15
            Page 423-424
            Page 425-426
            Page 427-428
            Page 429-430
            Page 431-432
            Page 433-434
        House of Lords - Friday, February 16
            Page 435-436
            Page 437-438
            Page 439-440
            Page 441-442
            Page 443-444
            Page 445-446
            Page 447-448
            Page 449-450
            Page 451-452
            Page 453-454
            Page 455-456
            Page 457-458
            Page 459-460
            Page 461-462
            Page 463-464
            Page 465-466
        House of Commons - Monday, February 19
            Page 467-468
            Page 469-470
            Page 471-472
            Page 473-474
            Page 475-476
            Page 477-478
            Page 479-480
            Page 481-482
            Page 483-484
            Page 485-486
            Page 487-488
            Page 489-490
            Page 491-492
        House of Lords - Tuesday, February 20
            Page 493-494
            Page 495-496
            Page 497-498
        House of Commons - Wednesday, February 21
            Page 499-500
            Page 501-502
        House of Lords - Thursday, February 22
            Page 503-504
            Page 505-506
            Page 507-508
            Page 509-510
            Page 511-512
            Page 513-514
            Page 515-516
            Page 517-518
            Page 519-520
            Page 521-522
            Page 523-524
            Page 525-526
            Page 527-528
            Page 529-530
            Page 531-532
            Page 533-534
            Page 535-536
            Page 537-538
            Page 539-540
            Page 541-542
            Page 543-544
            Page 545-546
            Page 547-548
            Page 549-550
        House of Commons - Friday, February 23
            Page 551-552
            Page 553-554
            Page 555-556
            Page 557-558
            Page 559-560
            Page 561-562
            Page 563-564
            Page 565-566
            Page 567-568
            Page 569-570
            Page 571-572
            Page 573-574
            Page 575-576
            Page 577-578
            Page 579-580
            Page 581-582
            Page 583-584
            Page 585-586
        House of Lords - Monday, February 26
            Page 587-588
            Page 589-590
            Page 591-592
            Page 593-594
            Page 595-596
            Page 597-598
            Page 599-600
            Page 601-602
            Page 603-604
            Page 605-606
            Page 607-608
            Page 609-610
            Page 611-612
            Page 613-614
            Page 615-616
            Page 617-618
            Page 619-620
            Page 621-622
            Page 623-624
            Page 625-626
            Page 627-628
            Page 629-630
            Page 631-632
        House of Lords - Tuesday, February 27
            Page 633-634
        House of Commons - Tuesday, February 27
            Page 633-634
            Page 635-636
            Page 637-638
            Page 639-640
    March, 1810
        Page 641-642
        House of Lords - Thursday, March 1
            Page 641-642
            Page 643-644
            Page 645-646
            Page 647-648
            Page 649-650
            Page 651-652
            Page 653-654
            Page 655-656
            Page 657-658
            Page 659-660
            Page 661-662
            Page 663-664
            Page 665-666
            Page 667-668
    Appendix to the parliamentary debates: Vol. XV
        Page A 1-2
        Page A 3-4
        Page A 5-6
        Page A 7-8
        Page A 9-10
        Page A 11-12
        Page A 13-14
        Page A 15-16
        Page A 17-18
        Page A 19-20
        Page A 21-22
        Page A 23-24
        Page A 25-26
        Page A 27-28
        Page A 29-30
        Page A 31-32
        Page A 33-34
        Page A 35-36
        Page A 37-38
        Page A 39-40
        Page A 41-42
        Page A 43-44
        Page A 45-46
        Page A 47-48
        Page A 49-50
        Page A 51-52
        Page A 53-54
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        Page A 67-68
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        Page A 101-102
        Page A 103-104
        Page A 105-106
        Page A 107-108
        Page A 109-110
        Page A 111-112
        Page A 113-114
        Page A 115-116
        Page A 117-118
        Page A 119-120
        Page A 121-122
        Page A 123-124
        Page A 125-126
        Page A 127-128
        Page A 129-130
        Page A 131-132
        Page A 133-134
        Page A 135-136
        Page A 137-138
        Page A 139-140
        Page A 141-142
        Page A 143-144
        Page A 145-146
        Page A 147-148
        Page A 149-150
        Page A 151-152
        Page A 153-154
        Page A 155-156
        Page A 157-158
        Page A 159-160
        Page A 161-162
        Page A 163-164
        Page A 165-166
        Page A 167-168
        Page A 169-170
        Page A 171-172
        Page A 173-174
        Page A 175-176
        Page A 177-178
        Page A 179-180
        Page A 181-182
        Page A 183-184
        Page A 185-186
        Page A 187-188
        Page A 189-190
        Page A 191-192
        Page A 193-194
        Page A 195-196
        Page A 197-198
        Page A 199-200
        Page A 201-202
        Page A 203-204
        Page A 205-206
        Page A 207-208
        Page A 209-210
        Page A 211-212
        Page A 213-214
        Page A 215-216
        Page A 217-218
        Page A 219-220
        Page A 221-222
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        Page A 225-226
        Page A 227-228
        Page A 229-230
        Page A 231-232
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        Page A 235-236
        Page A 237-238
        Page A 239-240
        Page A 241-242
        Page A 243-244
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        Page A 247-248
        Page A 249-250
        Page A 251-252
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        Page A 257-258
        Page A 259-260
        Page A 261-262
        Page A 263-264
        Page A 265-266
        Page A 267-268
        Page A 269-270
        Page A 271-272
        Page A 273-274
        Page A 275-276
        Page A 277-278
        Page A 279-280
        Page A 281-282
        Page A 283-284
        Page A 285-286
        Page A 287-288
        Page A 289-290
        Page A 291-292
        Page A 293-294
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        Page A 297-298
        Page A 299-300
        Page A 301-302
        Page A 303-304
        Page A 305-306
        Page A 307-308
        Page A 309-310
        Page A 311-312
        Page A 313-314
        Page A 315-316
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        Page A 319-320
        Page A 321-322
        Page A 323-324
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        Page A 339-340
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        Page A 349-350
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        Page A 355-356
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        Page A 361-362
        Page A 363-364
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        Page A 367-368
        Page A 369-370
        Page A 371-372
        Page A 373-374
        Page A 375-376
        Page A 377-378
        Page A 379-380
        Page A 381-382
        Page A 383-384
        Page A 385-386
        Page A 387-388
        Page A 389-390
        Page A 391-392
        Page A 393-394
        Page A 395-396
        Page A 397-398
        Page A 399-400
        Page A 401-402
        Page A 403-404
        Page A 405-406
        Page A 407-408
        Page A 409-410
        Page A 411-412
        Page A 413-414
        Page A 415-416
        Page A 417-418
        Page A 419-420
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        Page A 425-426
        Page A 427-428
        Page A 429-430
        Page A 431-432
        Page A 433-434
        Page A 435-436
        Page A 437-438
        Page A 439-440
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        Page A 451-452
        Page A 453-454
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        Page A 457-458
        Page A 459-460
        Page A 461-462
        Page A 463-464
        Page A 465-466
        Page A 467-468
        Page A 469-470
        Page A 471-472
        Page A 473-474
        Page A 475-476
        Page A 477-478
        Page A 479-480
        Page A 481-482
        Page A 483-484
        Page A 485-486
        Page A 487-488
        Page A 489-490
        Page A 491-492
        Page A 493-494
        Page A 495-496
        Page A 497-498
        Page A 499-500
        Page A 501-502
        Page A 503-504
        Page A 505-506
        Page A 507-508
        Page A 509-510
        Page A 511-512
        Page A 513-514
        Page A 515-516
        Page A 517-518
        Page A 519-520
        Page A 521-522
        Page A 523-524
        Page A 525-526
        Page A 527-528
        Page A 529-530
        Page A 531-532
        Page A 533-534
        Page A 535-536
        Page A 537-538
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    Index to debates
        Page A 641-642
    Index of names
        Page A 643-644
        Page A 645-646
Full Text

THE


Parliamentary Debates


FROM

THE YEAR

1803

TO THE PRESENT TIME:


FORMING A CONTINUATION OF THE WORK ENTITLED
THE PARLIAMENTARY HISTORY OF ENGLAND FROM THE EARLIEST
PERIOD TO THE YEAR 1803."


PUBLISHED UNDER TIE SUPERINTENDENCE OF
T. C. HANSARD.


VOL. XV.

COMPRISING THE PERIOD
FROM
THE TWENTY-THIRD DAY OF JANUARY ,
TO
THE FIRST DAY OF MARCH

1810.




LONDON: ,.
PRINTED FOR LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, AND IBRO:n N; CRADOCK AND JOY;
J. BOOKER; J. BOOTH; J. RICHARDSON; BLACK, PARRY, AND CO.; E. JEFFERY;
J. HATCHARD; J. RIDGWAY; BUDD AND CALKIN; J. ROIWELL; R. H. EVANS;
AND
T. C. HANSARD, PRINTER, PETERBOROUGH-COURT, FLEET-STREET.

1812.















TABLE OF CONTENTS

TO

VOLUME XV.





I. DEBATES IN THE HOUSE or LORDs. V. PARLIAMENTARY PAPERS.
II. DEBATES IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS. V1. PETITIONS.
III. KING s SPEECHES.
IV. KING'S MESSAGES. VII. LISTS.




I. DEBATES IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS.

I810. Page
Jan. 23. The Lords Commissioners' Speech at the Opening of the Session ...
25. Vote of Thanks to Lord Wellington-Battle of Talavera ........... 106
Vote of Thanks to Lord Gambier ........ ............................... 109
26. Vote of Th. il., to Lord Wellington-Battle of Talavera ........... 130
29. General Orders respecting the Battle of Talavera ................... 210
Expedition to the Scheldt ................................................ 211
Feb. 1. Dispute with America......................................................... 265
S8. State of the Commerce of the Country ................................... 345
Vote of Thanks to Lord Gambier ..................................... 348
9. Vote of Thanks to Lord Gambier ....................................... 355
Annuity to Lord Wellington ........................................ ...... 357
Naval Revision ............................................................... 358
12. Abolition of the Slave Trade ............................................... 374
16. Offices in Reversion Bill ................................................. 456
20. Offices in Reversion Bill ................................................ 493
22. Roman Catholics of England ............................................ 503
King's '1i ... ._ ,.., 1;o; Portugal ................................... 505
26. il:, in 1: ... l ;I! ........... ..... ................................. 587
27. Toleration of Dissenters .................. ................................. 633
March 1. Corn l, -il i ,,. Prohibition Bill ..................................... 642


II. DEBATES IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.

Jan. 23. The Lords Commissioners' Speech at the Opening of the Session ... 38
95. D dispute with America .................................................. ... 110
The Lords Commissioners' Speech ................ .... ........... 114


-- 'Tl.", *^ "


_ __I ~__e_






TABLE OF CONTENTS.
1810. P.re
Jan. 25. Foreign Troops .............................................. .......... 1'J
26. Committee of Supply ...................................................... 154
Expedition to the Scheldt ............................................ ... 161
29. Committee of Supply ......................................................... 212
Breach of Privilege-Newspaper Misrepresentation ................ 214
Breach of Privilege-Lord Cochrane ................................... 219
Minutes of Lord Gambier's Court Martial ........................... 219
Vote of'Thanks to Lord Gambier ..................................... 212
31. Ordnance Defalcation-Mr. Hunt........................................ 247
Expedition to the Scheldt ....................................... ....... 247
Navy Estimates .......................................................... 250
Otices in Reversion Bill .................................................. 251
Finance Committee ... I ............................................... 262
Feb. 1. Stamps on Bankers Checks ............................................ 267
Expedition to the Scheldt-Exclusion of .. ,i' .' .................. 269
Bullion Committee appointed ............................................ 269
Thanks to Lord Wellington and the Army at Talavera ........... 277
2. Chairman of Ways and Means ........................................... 02
Expedition to the Scheldt ............................................. 305
5. Thanks of the House to General Stewart ............................ 309
Sinecure Offices ... ...................................................... .... 311
Dispute with America ................................. ........... 313
Select Committee on the Expedition to the Scheldt ................ 314
6. Naval Courts Martial ....................... ................................. 322
Mr. Sheridan's Motion respecting the .',.III Order for the Ex-
clusion of Strangers................................. 323
9. Criminal Law ............................................................ 366
12. Expedition to the Scheldt ................................................ 376
Mr. Fuller's Motion for the Abolition of Sinecure Places ............ 378
13. Corn Distilleries ............................................................ 390
14. Marine Insurance Company ............................................ 399
15. Captain Vi. -n ltk Lake's Court Martial ................................ 424
Abuses in the Navy and Barrack Departments ..................... 426
Embezzlement Bill ...................................................... 434
16. Property Tax in Scotland ............................................... 438
King's Message respecting an Annuity to Lord Wellington ...... 440
19. State of the Prisons in Ireland .......................................... 468
Abuses in the Admiralty Court ...................................... 469
Breach of Privilege-Comnplaint against John Dean ............... 479
Expedition to the Scheldt ............................................... 481
20. Marine Insurance Company ............................................ 495
Breach of Privilege-Complaint against John Dean ............... 496
Corn Distillery Prohibition Bill ........................................ 499
21. Breach of Privilege-Complaint against Mr. John Gale Jones ...... 500
22. Expedition to the Scheldt ..................................... ...... 537
Corn Distillery Prohibition Bill ......................................... 541
23. Lincoln's Inn Benchers-Petition of Mr. Farquharson ............ 552
Mr. Whitbread's Motion respecting the Earl of Chatham's Narra-
tive ....................................................................... 558
26. King's Answer to the Address respecting Lord Chatham's Narrative 602
Military Expenditure of the Country ................................. 603
Lord Wellington's Annuity Bill ....................................... 05
Army Estimates ............................................................ 606
27. Roman Catholic Petition ................................................ 633
Proceedings respecting Mr. Fuller for disorderly Conduct ......... 641
March 1. Proceedings against Mr. Fuller ......................................... 044
Distilleries of Ireland ...................................... .......... 53
Army Estimates ....... .................................................... 57






TABLE OF CONTENTS.


III. KING'S SPEECHES.
1810. Page
SPEECH of the Lords Commissioners on opening the Session ................... 1



IV. KING'S MESSAGES.

KING'S Message respecting an Annuity to Lord Wellington ................. 355
- -- Message respecting Portuguese Troops ................................... 440



V. PARLIAMENTARY PAPERS.

PAPERS RELATING TO THE EXPEDITION TO THE SCHELDT. Presented, by his
Majesty's Command, to both Houses of Parliament, January
1810o....................................................... Appendix i
(A.)-Dispatches from Viscount Castlereagh, the Earl of Liverpool, &c. ... i
(B.)-Dispatches from the Earl of Chatham .............. ...................... xxiii
(C.)-Extracts from the Dispatches from Lieut. Gen. Sir E. Coote ............. xliv
(D.)-Dispatches from Lieut. General Don ..........................l.......... Ixvi
MINUTES OF EVIDENCE taken before the Committee of the whole House,
appointed to consider of the Policy and Conduct of the late Expe-
dition to the Scheldt ......................................... .......... lxxxiii
I. Feb. 2. Examination of Sir.David Dundas .......... ........l. xxxiii
II. 5.- -of Sir David Dundas ...................... lxxxv
- of Sir Lucas Pepys, Physician General of
the Forces ................................. cvi
III. Feb. 6. of Thomas Keate, esq. Surgeon General
of the Army ............................ cxiv
- of Francis Knight, esq. Inspector General
of Army Hospitals...................... cxxxiv
IV. Feb. 8. - of Sir Thomas Trigge, Lieutenant General
of the Ordnance ........................... cxxxviii
- of Sir Rupert George, Chairman of the
Transport Board ........................... cxli
- of Major General Calvert ................. clii
- of Lieutenant Colonel Gordon ............ clxv
- of Captain Sir Home Popham ........... clxxvi
V. Feb. 9. Memoranda by General Brownrigg...................... cxcv
- by General Hope............................. cxcvii
Examination of Captain Owen........................... cci
- of Brigadier General Montrose ........... ccxv
- of Captain Paisley ......................... ccxxiiii
VI. Feb. 12. Memoranda by Captain Sir Home Popham ...... .... ccxxvi
VII. Feb. 15. Examination of Rear Admiral Sir Richard Strachan ... ccxxix
- of Rear Admiral Lord Gardner ......... cclxvi
VIII. Feb. 19. - of Rear Admiral Sir Richard Keats ...... cclxx
IX. Feb. 20. - of the Marquis of Huntley ................. clxxxv
- of Major General Sir William Erskine ... ccxciv
X. Feb. 21. Letter from Rear Admiral Sir Richard Strachan to
Lieutenant General the Earl of Chatham ........... cccxii







TABLE OF CONTENTS.
1810. Page
Paper submitted by Lieutenant General Brownrigg to
the Lieutenant Generals of the Army assembled at
Fort Bathz................................................... cccxiii
Opinions of the Lieutenant Generals of the Army ... cccxviii
X. Feb. 21. Examination of Lieutenant General Sir John Hope ... cccxx
- of Lieutenant General the Earl of Rosslyn cccxxxix
XI. Feb. 22. - of Lieut. General the Earl of Chatham ... cccxlviii
XII. Feb. 27. Memoranda of Sir John Hope ............................. ccclxxvi
Examination of the Earl of Chatham .................... ccclxxxi
- of Lieutenant General Sir Eyre Coote ... ccccv
XIII. March 1. - of Lord Viscount Castlereagh.............. ccccxxiii
XIV. March 6. - of William Huskisson, esq................. ccccxxix
- of Captain Jones ....................... ccccxxxvil
-- of Captain Aberdour .................... ccccxxxviii
- of Brigadier General Sontag .......... ccccxxxix
- of Lieutenant Colonel Moshein .......... ccccliii
- of Robert Keate, esq. ....................... cccclv
- of Thomas Keate, esq. .................... cccclxvi
- of John Webb, esq. ...................... cccclxxi
- of James M'Gregor, M. D. .............cccclxxxi
XV. March 8. - of Sir Lucas Pepys ........................ cccclxxxiv
- of Lieutenant General Don ............ cccclxxxvii
- of Captain Owen .......................... ccccxciii
- of Captain Paget .......................... ccccxcix
- of Captain Pasley .......................... 5viii
XVI. Marcbh2, - of Richard Wharton, esq. .................. 5xii
XVII. 13. - of Viscount Castlereagh ..................... 5xiv
- of Rear Admiral Sir Richard Strachan ... 5xxix
- of Lieutenant General Don ............... 5xlviii
- of Captain Paget ...................... 5xlix
- of Major General Macleod ............... 51i
- of Colonel Fvers ......................... 51xiv
XVIII. Marchl5. --- of Captain Woodriff ....................... 51xxiv
- of the Earl of Rosslyn ................. 51xxvii
- of Lieutenant General Sir John Hope ... 51xxxiii
- of Lieutenant General Brownrigg.. ....... 5xxxiv
of Rear Admiral Sir Richard Keats ...... 6xxv
- of Captain Owen ....................... xxix
- of Lord Castlereagh ....................... 6xxxi
- of Lieutenant Colonel Offhey ............ 6xxxi
- of Lieutenant Colonel Pilkington ......... 6xxxiii
- of John Webb, esq...:....................... 6xxxiv
- of William Littledale, esq.................. 6xxxv
- of Captain Sir Home Popham ............ 6xxxvi



VI. PETITIONS.

PETITION Of the Roman Catholics of Tipperary ................................... 320
----- from the Freeholders of Middlesex for Parliamentary Reform ......... 354
-- -- from the City of Westminster for a Reform in Parliament ............... 33
- from-Mr. Farquharson-Lincoln's Inn Benchers ......................... 554
Petitions from the Roman Catholics of England ...................................... 555
Petition from the City of London against Lord Wellington's Annuity Bill ...... 600
Petitions from the Roman Catholics of Ireland ...................................... 638
Petition of the Catholics of Waterford ................................................. 651






TABLE OF CONTENTS.


VII. LISTS.
1S10. Page
LIST of the Minority, in the House of Lords, January 23, on the Address to his
Majesty at the opening of the Session ......................................... 37
- of the Minority, in the House of Commons, January 23, on the Address to
his Majesty at the opening of the Session...................................... 105
- of the Majority, and also of the Minority, in the House of Commons,
January 26, on Lord Porchester's Motion for an Inquiry into the Policy
and Conduct of the Expedition to the Scheldt ............................... 208
- of the Minority, in the House of Lords, February 22, on Marquis Wel-
lesley's Motion for an Address to his Majesty in Answer to his Message
respecting Portugal ............................................................... 536
- -of Ministry ......................................... nextpage








LIST OF HIS

MAJESTY'S MINISTERS,

FROM

JANUARY TO JUNE, 1810.


CABINET MINISTERS.


Earl Camden -
Lord Eldon -
Earl of Westmorland -
Earl Bathurst -


Right Hon. Spencer Perceval -


Right Hon. Charles Philip Yorke
Lord Mulgrave - -
Right Hon. Richard Ryder- -
Marquis Wellesley - -
Earl of Liverpool -


President of the Council.
Lord High Chancellor.
Lord Privy Seal.
President of the Board of Trade.
First Lord of the Treasury (Prime Minister)
Chancellor and Under-Treasurer of the Ex-
chequer, also Chancellor of the Duchy of
Lancaster.
First Lord of the Admiralty.
Master-general of the Ordnance.
Secretary of State for the Home Department.
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
Secretary of State for the Department of War
and the Colonies.


NOT OF THE CABINET.


Right Hon. Robert Saunders Dundas President of the Board of Cobtroul for the
Affairs of India.
Right Hon. George Rose - Vice-President of the Board of Trade and
Treasurer of the Navy.
Viscount Palmerston - Secretary at War.
Lord Charles Somerset -it Pamas enel of the Forc-
Right Hon. Charles Long -Joint Paymaster-general of the Forces.
Earl of Chichester - - .
Earl of Sandwich - Joint Postmaster-general.
Richard Wharton, esq. - S --ur
Charles Arbuthnot, esq. - Secretaries of the Treasury.
Sir William Grant - - Master of the Rolls.
Sir Vicary Gibbs- - Attorney-General.
Sir Thomas Plomer - - Solicitor-General.


PERSONS IN THE MINISTRY OF IRELAND.


Duke of Richmond - -
Lord Manners - -
W. Wellesley Pole - -
Right Hon. John Foster -


Lord Lieutenant.
Lord High Chancellor.
Chief Secretary.
Chancellor of the Exchequer,













Parliamentary Debates



During the Fourth Session of the Fourth Parliament of the
United Kingdom of Great-Britain and Ireland, and of
the Kingdom of Great Britain the Twenty-first, appointed
to meet at Westminster, the Twenty-third Day of Ja-
nuary, 1810, in the Fiftieth Year of the Reign of His
Majesty King GEORGE the Third. [Sess. 1810.


HOUSE OF LORDS.
Tuesday, January 23, 1810.
(THE LORDS COMMISSIONERS' SPEEcu.]
The Fourth Session of the Fourth Parlia-
ment of the United Kingdom was this day
opened by Commission: the Commis-
sioners were, the archbishop of Canterbury,
the Lord Chancellor, earl Camden, the
earl of Aylesford, and the earl of Dart-
mouth. At three o'clock the Lords Com-
missioners took their seats upon the wool-
sack; and the Commons, pursuant to mes-
sage, having attended, with their Speaker,
at the bar, the Lord Chancellor informed
them, that hi/Majesty had been pleased
to direct his Commission to certain lords,
therein named, to open the session ; which
Commission they should hear read, and
afterwards his Majesty's most gracious
Speech. The Commission was then read
by the clerk at the table; after which, the
Lord Chancellor read the Speech, as it here
follows:
My Lords and Gentlemen; His Ma-
jesty commands us to express to you his
deep regret that the exertions of the
emperor of Austria against the ambition
and violence of France have proved una-
vailing, and that his imperial majesty has
been compelled to abandon the contest,
and to conclude a disadvantageous peace.
Although the war was undertaken by that
monarch without encouragement on the
part of his Majesty, every effort was made
for the assistance of Austria which his
Majesty deemed consistent with the due
VoL. XV.


support of his allies, and with the welfare
and interest of his own dominions.-An
attack upon the naval armaments and
establishments in the Scheldt afforded at
once the prospect of destroying a growing
force, which was daily becoming more
formidable to the security of this country,
and of diverting the exertions of France
from the important objects of reinforcing
her armies on the Danube, and of con-
trouling the spirit of resistance in the north
of Germany. These considerations deter-
mined his Majesty to employ his forces in
an expedition to the Scheldt.-Although
the principal ends of this expedition have
not been attained, his Majesty confidently
hopes that advantages, materially affecting
the security of his Majesty's dominions
in the further prosecution of the war, will
be found to result from the demolition of
the docks and arsenals at Flushing.-This
important object his Majesty was enabled
to accomplish, in consequence of the re.,
duction of the island of Walcheren by the
valour of his fleets and armies.-His Ma,
jesty has given directions that such docu-
ments and papers should be laid before
you as he trusts will afford satisfactory
information upon the subject of this expe, /
dition.-We have it in command to state
to you that his Majesty had uniformly
notified to Sweden his Majesty's decided
wish, that in determining upon the ques-
tion of peace or war with France, and
other continental powers, she should be
guided by considerations resulting from
her own situation and interests. While hig
B













Parliamentary Debates



During the Fourth Session of the Fourth Parliament of the
United Kingdom of Great-Britain and Ireland, and of
the Kingdom of Great Britain the Twenty-first, appointed
to meet at Westminster, the Twenty-third Day of Ja-
nuary, 1810, in the Fiftieth Year of the Reign of His
Majesty King GEORGE the Third. [Sess. 1810.


HOUSE OF LORDS.
Tuesday, January 23, 1810.
(THE LORDS COMMISSIONERS' SPEEcu.]
The Fourth Session of the Fourth Parlia-
ment of the United Kingdom was this day
opened by Commission: the Commis-
sioners were, the archbishop of Canterbury,
the Lord Chancellor, earl Camden, the
earl of Aylesford, and the earl of Dart-
mouth. At three o'clock the Lords Com-
missioners took their seats upon the wool-
sack; and the Commons, pursuant to mes-
sage, having attended, with their Speaker,
at the bar, the Lord Chancellor informed
them, that hi/Majesty had been pleased
to direct his Commission to certain lords,
therein named, to open the session ; which
Commission they should hear read, and
afterwards his Majesty's most gracious
Speech. The Commission was then read
by the clerk at the table; after which, the
Lord Chancellor read the Speech, as it here
follows:
My Lords and Gentlemen; His Ma-
jesty commands us to express to you his
deep regret that the exertions of the
emperor of Austria against the ambition
and violence of France have proved una-
vailing, and that his imperial majesty has
been compelled to abandon the contest,
and to conclude a disadvantageous peace.
Although the war was undertaken by that
monarch without encouragement on the
part of his Majesty, every effort was made
for the assistance of Austria which his
Majesty deemed consistent with the due
VoL. XV.


support of his allies, and with the welfare
and interest of his own dominions.-An
attack upon the naval armaments and
establishments in the Scheldt afforded at
once the prospect of destroying a growing
force, which was daily becoming more
formidable to the security of this country,
and of diverting the exertions of France
from the important objects of reinforcing
her armies on the Danube, and of con-
trouling the spirit of resistance in the north
of Germany. These considerations deter-
mined his Majesty to employ his forces in
an expedition to the Scheldt.-Although
the principal ends of this expedition have
not been attained, his Majesty confidently
hopes that advantages, materially affecting
the security of his Majesty's dominions
in the further prosecution of the war, will
be found to result from the demolition of
the docks and arsenals at Flushing.-This
important object his Majesty was enabled
to accomplish, in consequence of the re.,
duction of the island of Walcheren by the
valour of his fleets and armies.-His Ma,
jesty has given directions that such docu-
ments and papers should be laid before
you as he trusts will afford satisfactory
information upon the subject of this expe, /
dition.-We have it in command to state
to you that his Majesty had uniformly
notified to Sweden his Majesty's decided
wish, that in determining upon the ques-
tion of peace or war with France, and
other continental powers, she should be
guided by considerations resulting from
her own situation and interests. While hig
B







s]' PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.-The Lords Commissioners' Speech.


Majesty therefore laments that Sweden
should have found it necessary to purchase
peace by considerable sacrifices, his Ma-
jesty cannot complain that she has con-
cluded it without his Majesty's participa-
tion. It is his Majesty's earnest wish that
no event may occur to occasion'the in-
terruption of those relations of amity
which it is the desire of his Majesty and
the interests of both countries to pre-
serve.-We have it further in command
to communicate to you, that the efforts
of his Majesty for the protection of Por-
tugal have been powerfully aided by
the confidence which the prince regent
has reposed in his Majesty, and by the co-
operation of the local government, and of
the people of that country. The expul-
sion of the French from Portugal, by his
Majesty's forces under lieut.-general lord
viscount Wellington, and the glorious
victory obtained by him at Talavera, con-
tributed to check the progress of the French
arms in the Peninsula during the late
campaign.-His Majesty directs us to state
that the Spanish government, in the name,
and by the authority of king Ferdinand
the seventh, has determined to assemble
the general and extraordinary Cortes of
the nation. His Majesty trusts that this
measure will give fresh animation and
vigour to the councils and the arms of
Spain, and successfully direct the energies
and spirit of the Spanish people to the
maintenance of the legitimate monarchy,
and to the ultimate deliverance of their
country.-The most important considera-
tions of policy and of good faith require,
that as long as this great cause can be
maintained with a prospect of success, it
should be supported, according to the
nature and circumstances of the contest,
by the strenuous and continued assistance
of the power and resources of his Majesty's
dominions; and his Majesty relies on the
aid of his Parliament in his anxious endea-
yours to frustrate the attempts of France
against the independence of Spain and
Portugal, and against the happiness and
freedom of those loyal and resolute nations.
-His Majesty commands us to acquaint
you, that the intercourse between his
Majesty's minister in America and the
government of the United States, has been
suddenly and unexpectedly interrupted.
His Majesty sincerely regrets this event;
he has, however, received the strongest
assurances from the American minister
resident at this court, that the United
States are desirous of maintaining friendly


relations between the two countries. This
desire will be met by a corresponding dis-
position on the part of his Majesty.
Gentlemen of the House of Commons;
His Majesty has directed us to inform you,
that he has ordered the Estimates for the
current year to be laid before you: his
Majesty has directed them to be formed
with all the attention to economy which
the support of his allies and the security
of his dominions will permit. And his
Majesty relies upon your zeal and loyalty
to afford him such supplies as may be
necessary for those essential objects.-He
commands us to express how deeply he
regrets the pressure upon his subjects,
which the protracted continuance of the
war renders inevitable.
My Lords and Gentlemen; We are
commanded by his Majesty to express his
hope that you will resume the considera-
tion of the state of the inferior clergy, and
adopt such further measures upon this
interesting subject as may appear to you
to be proper.-We have it further in com-
mand to state to you that the accounts
which will be laid before you, of the trade
and revenue of the country, will be found
highly satisfactory.-Whatever temporary
and partial inconvenience may have re-
suited from the measures which were
directed by France against those great
sources of our prosperity and strength,
those measures have wholly failed of pro.
during any permanent or general effect.
-The inveterate hostility of our enemy
continues to bedirected against this coun-
try with unabated animosity and violence.
To guard the security of his Majesty's
dominions, and to defeat the designs which
are meditated' against us and our Allies,
will require the utmost efforts of vigilance,
fortitude, and perseverance.-In every
difficulty and danger his Majesty confi-
dently trusts that he shall derive the most
effectual/support, under the continued
blessing of Divine Providence, from the
wisdom of his Parliament, the valour of
his forces, and the spirit and determination
of his people."
After the Commons had withdrawn, the
earl of Harrowby was introduced by the
earls of Dartmouth and Liverpool. His
patent of creation having been read at the
table, his lordship took the oaths and his
seat; as did also the marquis of Lans-
downe, and several other lords. The
House adjourned during pleasure, and as-
sembled again for business soon after five.
The Speech was then again read to their






5] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.-The Lords Commissioners Speech.


lordships by the Lord Chancellor, and
afterwards by the clerk; upon which,
The Earl of Glasgow rose to move an
Address to his Majestyi but spoke in so
low a tone as not to be clearly audible
below the bar. After, briefly touching
upon the leading topics in his Majesty's
most gracious Speech, his lordship ob-
served, that eventful as the present crisis
was, and gloomy as the picture presented
by the existing situation of Europe must
be allowed to be, yet the means and re-
sources of this empire were equal to the
successful prosecution of the arduous con-
test we had to sustain, unless marred by
internal divisions, paralised by the want
of that unanimity, at all times so desirable,
but in the present perilous times so indis-
pensably necessary. His lordship extolled
the magnanimity of the emperor of
Austria, and lamented the adverse fortune
of the war, during which so much valuable
blood and treasure had been sacrificed on
the continent. The noble earl then took a
brief review of the measures of his Ma-
jesty's ministers with regard to their fo-
reign policy and various expeditions, and
contended, that, whatever might have been
the result, they were not only undeserving
of censure, but entitled to the thanks of
their country. His lordship concluded,
S by moving an Address to his Majesty,
which he read, and which was, as usual,
an echo of the Speech.
The Lord Chancellor, under the influ-
ence of indisposition, now withdrew from
the House, and his seat on the woolsack
was taken,pro temporc, by the Chief Justice,
lord Ellenborough.
Viscount Grimston, in seconding the
address, solicited their Lordships attention
to the few observations which presented
themselves to his mind, when he contem-
plated the state of this country and of Eu-
rope in general. Whatever difference of
opinion might exist in regard to the dif-
ferent measures of government, their lord-
ships would generally concur in the pro-
priety of making every exertion to di-
vert the attention of the enemy, while lhe
was endeavouring to crush the power of
Austria. That Austria had been com-
pelled to make a disadvantageous peace,
was one of those disasters which we ought
to lament in common with the other cala-
mities of Europe. The expedition to
Walcheren had been projected to assist our
Follies. His :\ ".-i had graciously been
pleased to say, he would cause satisfactory
documents to be laid before the House re-


lating to that expedition; therefore the
noble lord thought it was unnecessary to
discuss the question until the documents
appeared. Although the expedition to
the Scheldt had not succeeded in its main
object, considerable advantages were de-
rived, and our own security was strength-
ened, by the demolition of the arsenal
and docks of Flushing. Amidst all the
evils with which the hand of Providence
had surrounded this country, it was satis-
factory to find, that, after the enemy.had
exerted to the utmost his hatred and his
malice against the commerce of England,
and had shut the ports under his control
against our trade, still he was unable to
make any serious impression upon our
commercial prosperity and resources. His
lordship observed, with pleasure, that
Spain and Portugal were yet able.to hold
out against the common enemy. Notwith-
standing the calamities which those coun-
tries had laboured under, the spirit which
had so gloriously animated them remained
unbroken. France might gain battles,
but the force of the conqueror could never
subjugate them, while their sole occupation
was arms, and their principles attachment
to a legitimate sovereign.-On the subject
of America, it was his lordship's wish that
the government of that country might
prove as amicable in its disposition, as the
British government. With respect to our
trade, every effort had been made by the
enemy to effect itsdestruction. Buonaparti
had done all that his power could contrive,
but he had found that British commerce,
like British valour, would make a firm
stand. We had lately witnessed a scene
of joy and exultation which could not be
equalled in the annals of the world. Could
the Ruler of the French nation have re-
ceived such gratification as the Jubilee
afforded our venerable sovereign and his
subjects? Providence had placed us above
the malice of our enemies, and he hoped
no man in the country would be so mad as
to neglect the means with which we bad
been blessed for our defence. His lord-
ship concluded by repeating, that if we
were true to ourselves, we might defy the
world.
The Earl of St. Vincent then rose and
said: My lords, when I addressed a few
observations at the commencement of the
last session of parliament to your lordships,
I thought my age and infirmities would
preclude me from ever again presenting
myself to your consideration. But, my
lords, such have been the untoward ain






7] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.-The Lords Commissioners' Speech. [8
calamitous events which have occurred in the cause of his country. And what
since that period, that I am once more tribute had his Majesty's ministers paid
induced, if my strength will, admit, to to his valued memory, what reward con-
.trouble your lordships with a few of my ferred for such eminent services? Why
sentiments on the present occasion. In- my lords, even in this place, insidious
deed, we have wonderful-extraordinary aspersions were cast upon his character.
men in these days, who have ingenuity People were employed in all partsof the
enough to blazon, with the finest colours, town to calumniate his conduct. But, in
to sound with the trumpet and the drum; spite of all the runners and dependents of
in fact, to varnish over the greatest cala- administration, the character of that gene-
mities of the country, and endeavour to ral will always be revered as one of the
prove that our greatest misfortunes ought ablest men this country ever saw. After
to be considered as our greatest blessings. this abortive enterprise, another, equally
Such was their course of proceeding after foolish, equally unsuccessful, and no less
the disastrous convention of Cintra. And ruinous, was carried into execution ; ano-
and now in his sI ij i's Speech they their general was sent with troops into the
have converted another disaster into a heart of the peninsula, under similar cir-
new triumph. They talk of the glorious cnmstaniics; and the glorious victory al-
victory of Talavera, a victory which led eluded to was purchased with the useless
to no advantage, and had all the conse- expenditure of our best blood and treasure.
quences of defeat. The enemy took pri- But what shall I say, my lords, when I
soners, the sick and the wounded, and come to mention the expedition to Wal-
our own troops were finally obliged pre- cheren, Why, I think it almost useless
cipitately to retreat. I do not mean to to say one word on the subject. It was
condemn the conduct of the officers em- ill advised; ill planned; even partial suc-
p1.\ 1 either in Spain or Walcheren; I cess in it was doubtful; and the ultimate
i. 1, I. they did their duty. There is no object of it impracticable. It is high time
occasion to wonder at the awful events that parliament should adopt strong mea-
which haveoccurred:-they are caused by sures, or else the voice of the country
the weakness, infatuation and stupidity will resound like thunder in their ears.
of ministers. I will maintain, my lords, Any body may be a minister in these days.
that we owe all our disasters and disgrace Ministers may flow from any corrupted
to the ignorance and incapacity of his source; they pop in, and they po'p out
'd -.i; -; 's present administration. But like the man and woman in a peasant's
what could the nation expect fiom men barometer; they rise up like tadpoles;
who came into .. under the mask of they may be compared to wasps, to hor-
vile hypocrisy, and have maintained their nets, to locusts; they send forth their
places by imposture and dIlusion ? Look pestilential breath over the whole country,
at the whole of their conduct. The first and nip and destroy every fair flower in
instance of the pernicious influence of their the land. The conduct of his majesty's
i 1.'. !. was their treatment of a country government has led to the most frightful
at peace with us; in a state of profound disasters, which are no were exceeded in
peace they attacked her unprepared and the annals of history. The country is in
brought her into a state of inveterate and that state which makes peace inevitable;
open i..-rli. This was a foul act; and it will be compelled to make peace, how-
the day may come when repentance will ever disadvantageous, because it will be
be too late. Their next achievement was unable to maintain a war, so hli'i f.r!.'.
to send one of the ablest men who ever misconducted and so disastrous in its
commanded an army into the centre of consequences.-The noble earl, after
Spain, unprovided with every requisite showing the injuries which musteventually
for such a dangerous march. If sir John befal the shipping interest, in case of a
Moore had not acted according to his own peace, when almost every ship in the
judgment in the perilous situation in which river would have a broom fixed on the top
he had been wantonly exposed, every of the mast, concluded by submitting a
man of that army had been lost to the question to the First Lord of theAdmiralty,
country. By his transcendent judgment, whether it was in contemplation to make a
however, that army made one of the ablest dock for the future reception of our ships
retreats recorded in the page of history; at Northfleet, which he recommended as
and, while he saved the remnant of his a judicious measure?
valiant troops, his own life was sacrificed Lord Mulgrave doubted how far it was rv.






f ] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 18 0. -The Lords Commissioners' Speech. [10


S gular to answer a question asked under the
circumstances of a pending discussion upon
another subject, but had no objection to
state that the object alluded to had not
escaped the attention of the board of
Admiralty; whether the plan would be
carried into execution he could not at
present with any certainty say, as a variety
S of considerations appertaining to the sub-
ject must necessarily come under previous
consideration and discussion.
The Earl of Aberdeen said a few words
expressive of his intention to call the
Attention of the House at some future pe-
riod to certain parts of the Reports of the.
Board of Naval Revision.
Lord Grenvile rose and said : My lords,
I readily gave way to the noble earl (St.
Vincent);. for who could be better entitled
to the attention of your lordships than one
who has so largely contributed to the
glory, and participated in the splendid
triumphs of the country. My lords, I
S would readily also have given way to any
noble lord younger and more active than
myself, who would have taken upon him
the task of pointing out the distressing and
perilous state of the country, the errors of
those, to whom the lamentable situation of
our aflhirs is to be attributed, and those
remedies which can alone be effectual for
the evils by which we arc now so sorely
oppressed. I am, however, anxious to
address your lordships thus early, for the
purpose of moving such an amendment as
I conceive necessary at the present crisis,
that I may anticipate any casual and irre-
levant observation, by which the discus-
S sion of this night might have been drawn
out of that course which I think ought to
be adhered to, upon the present occasion.
We are now imperiously called upon to
do our duty, and to institute those in-
quiries which the misconduct of ministers
have rendered absolutely necessalr-a
misconduct, from which a series of unex-
ampled disasters and calamities have re-
sulted to the country. My lords, my
heart is full, and I must give vent to my
feelings. The day must come when mi-
nisters will have to render an account to
parliament of the treasure which they
have wasted, and the lives which they
have sacrificed in useless and unprofitable
expeditions. We owe it to the country,
that the king's ministers should be called
upon to render that account, and we shall
fail in the discharge of -our duty to tlhe
country, if we do not insist upon it. The
day will come, when the mere fact of an


overflowing treasury, alluded to in the
speech of the king's commissioners, will be
utterly insufficient to satisfy this House, or
the people of these realms; when we must
inquire, not merely as to the fact, but as
to the foundation of it, and the conse-
quences which result from it. The (lay
will come when the conduct of ministers,
respecting America, must come under dis-
cussion, and be brought to the test of in-
quiry ; when it must become a subject for
deep and serious investigation, whether in
a country that yet boasts of freedom;
whether in a house of parliament that yet
keeps up the formsof discussion ; whether
it is to be endured that garbled, mutilated,
and misrepresented documents are to be
laid before parliament, not merely con-
cealing what it was not thought fit to
communicate, but actually, upon the face
of those garbled and mutilated documents,
giving an interpretation directly opposite
to the sense ot them in their entire and
original state. In the same manner, with
respect to our expeditions, it is due to
the memory of those who have fallen in
the service of their country ; it is due to
the memory of those who have bravely
but ingloriously fallen a sacrifice to the
ignorance, the incapacity, and the miscon-
duct of ministers ; it is due to a deluded
and a suffering people, who demand it at
our hands, that we should institute'a ri-
gorous and an effectual inquiry into 4he
conduct of those ministers to whom these
disasters are to be attributed. Yet in
spite of the disgraceful and calamitous
expedition to Walcheren, where the trea-
sure of the country was so lavishly wasted,
and the lives of its gallant defenders so
uselessly sacrificed, did his Majesty's mi-
nisters advise his I.j. "-y to tell the city
of London that he did not think it neces-
sary to institute an inquiry; however, we
find in the Speech of the king's commis-
sioners, that ministers, from a sense of
their guilty situation, from a consciousness
of their own glaring misconduct, and from
a fear of the consequences of that miscon-
duct, have condescended to tell us, that
they will lay before parliament, certain
documents and papers relative to tins sub-
ject. But let us not be deluded by this
shew of a readiness for, inquiry; the
Speech merely says, such papers and docu-
menis as shall be deemed satisfactory by
ministers themselves. It becomes us, my
lords, to adopt a course of proceeding
adequate to the exigency of the case and
the difficulty of the times. The .ddi,,.,






1 ] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 18 d.-The Lords Commissioners' Speecli.


moved by the noble earl does not contain
any pledge to the country of an intention
on the part of your lordships, to institute
inquiry; it does not even declare the ne-
cessity of having all the papers and docu-
ments laid before us, relative to this disas-
trous expedition; but merely consists of a
complimentary expression of thanks, that
certain papers are intended to be pro-
duced. My lords, we shall not this night
do our duty, if we do not give a decided
pledge to the country, that a rigorous and
effectual inquiry shall be instituted, and
the explicit declaration of this pledge is
the object of the Amendment which it is
my intention to move. I do not mean to
condemn the conduct of the officers em-
ployed by ministers in their ill-planned
expeditions; I am disposed to believe that
the officers have done their duty, and that
all thedisastrous results are to be attri-
buted to the want of information, the cri-
minal improvidence, and the ill-digested
plans of his Majesty's ministers. Let not
our attention be drawn of' from the mis-
conduct of ministers by any unwarrantable
attempt of theirs to throw blame from
themselves upon the officers employed.
Your lordships must all remember the
manner in which the blame of our former
failure in Spain was attempted to be thrown
upon that gallant officer, sir John Moore.
It was insinuated on that occasion, that he
had an unlimited discretion, and therefore
that whatever occurred must be attributed
to the measures which he chose to adopt.
But, my lords, how did the real state of the
case turn out? It was discovered in the
sequel that, so far from having an unlimited
discretion, sir John Moore was fettered in
the first instance by the plan of the Secre-
tary of State; that that plan was essentially
contrary to the dictates of his own better
judgment; that he was sent to the north
of Spain when in his own judgment he
ought to have been sent to the south; and
that when there he was to receive direc-
tions from a diplomatic character of whom
I wish to say nothing now; but by these
directions and instructions sir John Moore
was completely fettered, and so far from
having an unlimited discretion, he was
prevented from exercising his discretion
or his judgment under those very difficult
circumstances where they might have been
eminently useful. The work published
by a near relation of that excellent officer,
proves clearly and demonstrably the man-
per in which he was treated by ministers.
Yet these very ministers are they, who


attempted to throw all that blame upon
sir John Mobre, which, upon the fullest
investigation, was found entirely to rest
with themselves. Your lordships ought
not, therefore, to countenance any public
outcry against the officers employed in
those expeditions, of the disastrous results
of which, loud and general complaints
are so justly made ; but to point public
indignation where alone it ought to rest,
upon the heads of those ministers who
sent out expeditions, either to achieve
objects, impracticable in themselves, or
without the means of achieving any ob-
ject useful or honourable to the country.
If any circumstance should arise out of
the inquiry during its progress tending to
impeach the conduct of any officer em-
ployed, that will be a subject for future
investigation; but there are circumstances
affecting the conduct of ministers, which
are matters of publicity and notoriety, and
which no inquiry can render plainer or
clearer than they are at present. It is a
notorious fact, a fact known to every one,
to the whole country, and to ill Europe,
not that our expeditions have partially
succeeded; but, that the expeditions in
the prosecution of which so much of the
treasure of the country and so many valu-
able lives have been sacrificed, have uni-
formly failed, that they present nothing
but an unbroken series of disgraceful,
irremediable, and irretrievable failures.
Who, ,then, can doubt the necessity, the
absolute, the imperious, the indispensable
necessity of inquiry, when nothing but
disgraceful and irretrievable failures have
marked the conduct of ministers, and re-
sulted from their ill advised and ill-digest-
ed plans; when nothing in the melancholy
retrospect presents itself to our view, but
national disgrace arising from their mis-
conduct; an absurd and lamentable waste
of the public treasure entrusted to them;
and an useless and most melancholy sacri-
fice of the lives of our gallant countrymen ?
-Even admitting to them, contrary to all
experience, and in defiance of all the pre-
sages for the future, which could be drawn
from the experience of the past, that the
system of sending out expeditions under
the present circumstances of the country
and in the actual state of the war, was
right, still will their misconduct only
appear the more glaring, in so grossly
misapplying the resources of the country,
and wasting its efforts in fruitless attempts,
Where success was either impossible, or if
attained could not have altered the fate of







13] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 123, 1810.-77e Lords Commissioners' Speech.


0 the campaign. We were told, my lords,
last session, of the vast successes which
were to flow from dur efforts ; of the im-
pression we were to make upon the conti-
nent ; nay, my lords, one noble lord went
so far as to talk with an air of confidence
of the deliverance of Europe. And how
has Europe been delivered ? By a series
S of unparalleled disasters, by expeditions
which, in their conduct and results have
exhausted our means without making any
impression upon the enemy, and which
have rendered us the derision of the whole
continent. And yet, my lords, in the
speech of the king's commissioners, minis-
ters have the confidence, the unblushing
confidence, to tell us of a victory gained
to the country. Are we then arrived at
that melancholy situation of our affairs,
in which guided disasters are to be called
splendid victories, and the cypress that
droops over the tombsof our gallantdefen-
ders, whose lives have been uselessly sacri-
ficed, to be denominated bloominglaurels ?
The noble lord who seconded the Address
spoke of a system of policy, in opposition
to which the Address gives a pledge of the
continuance of the war, upon the system of
continental assistance adopted by the pre-
sent ministers. My Lords, I have often
, repeated, and must now repeat again,
that the true policy of this country, under
its present circumstances, is the principle
of husbanding our resources, and acting
upon a system of home defence. In the
early period of the last war, the system of
policy which then appeared to be the best,
was essentially diflfrent. It was undoubt-
edly then of importance, to endeavour to
raise up a determined spirit in Europe
capable of meeting and counteracting the
power of France. After, however,
France had defeated and broken the con-
federacy against her, the scene of con-
tinental co-operation closed, and our force
became no longer available to any useful
purpose upon the continent. The same
causes operated in the present war ; and
the late ministers, acting upon the system
of policy which they thought the most ad-
viseable, determined to concentrate all the
means and resources of the country for
the purpose of placing her in a position, in
which we might say to France, our
situation is such, that we are completely
defended against any domestic insult,
whilst our naval superiority will effectually
defeat the execution of your designs
against our external interests." For this
purpose aplan was devised, 1. iqpl.J! i'. our


financial system, under the operation of
which we might have gone on to the end
of time, still preserving our commanding
attitude, and ever and invariably main-
taining our ample means ofdefence. His
Majesty's present ministers came into
office, and then, my Lords, the sysetm was
immediately changed. We were then
told, in high sounding periods, in the
true spirit of an imbecile confidence, of
the disgrace sustained in the character of
the country by not assisting our allies,
and that the conduct of the preceding
administration should only be looked to
as a beacon and a land-mark to avoid the
same course. Magnificent preparations
were immediately made for expeditions
upon a great scale. Ministers had the un-
limited disposal of the treasure of the
country, and, I lament to say, the unlimit-
ed disposal of the lives of its brave de-
fenders. How they have wasted the one,
and sacrificed the other, is too painfully ap-
parent. They had, at the time of the com-
mencement of the last campaign between
France and Austria, a disposable force of
100,000 men ; but, great as this force was,
it was impossible they could, by its em-
ployment upon the continent, have alter-
ed the fate of the war, although I do not
mean to dispute that they might have
altered the fate of the campaign.-But I
will concede to them for the moment, for
the sake of argument, what I absolutely
deny upon principle, and in point of fact,
namely, that it was desirable to. adopt a
system of continental co-operation, and
endeavour to make a powerful diversion
in favour of Austria. It surely, my Lords,
is apparent, that if a diversion is to be
made at all' it ought to be made eatly,
with a sufficient force ; and,' lastly, it
ought to bear upon the scene and pressure
of the war. Now, my lords, in the late
campaign with Austria, there was one, if
not two opportunities of making a diver-
sion of this nature. With our maritime
superiority, and the means which were at
that time open to us, we might have land-
ed large force at Trieste, or in its neigh-
bourhdod, which would have borne upon
the great pressure of the war, and proved
a powerful diversion. Austria was making
a gallant struggle, and the army, by
which she was finally overwhelmed,
owed its success, in a great measure, to
the 'reinforcements it derived from the
French troops in the very neighbourhood
of Trieste. How, then, would a diversion
directed to that quarter have operated I






15 PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.-The Lords Commissionsers' Speech. [16


Our army would have kept in check the
troops under Marmont and Macdonald,
and would have effectually prevented
them from marching to join the main
French army on the Danube. I do not
believe that this would ultimately have
changed the fate of the war, but it would,
very probably, have altered the fate of the
campaign. I am aware, that it may be
objected that an enormous expence would
have been incurred; that a large number
of transports must have been employed ;
and that there would have been a great
difficulty in transporting a large army to
that distance. There was, however, my
lords, another mode of making a powerful
diversion ; the North of Germany was
open to us: how did his Majesty's ministers
encourage the risings in the North of
Germany ? What hopes did they not hold
out to the brave inhabitants of those pro-
vinces, and how cruelly did they disappoint
those hopes, abandoning to destruction
those brave men, even in the territories
of our own sovereign, whom they had de-
luded with false hopes and delusive pro-
mises. A force landed in the North of
Germany would have found ready to co-
operate with them, not an armed peasan-
try, not an undisciplined rabble, but dis-
ciplined troops, disbanded soldiers; men
who had been trained to the use of arms,
and in habits of discipline and subordina-
tion. To meet such a force the National
Guards of Paris could not have been sent,
nor the armed ut.V. -. .r of the Fron-
tiers, but regular troops must have been
detached from Saxony and Bavaria, and a
powerful diversion would thus have been
made; not that I believe, my lords, that the
fate of the war would even thus ultimately
have been changed, although the event of
the campaign very probably might.
This, my lords, is what they might have
done, and now comes like a lean and
blasted ear'' what they have done.-Of
the disposable force which they had of
100,000 men, about 15 or I(6,000 were
stationed in Sicily; for what purpose they
were kept there may be the subject of
a future enquiry, but is foreign to the pre-
sent discussion. The remainder were di-
vided into two armies, I will say for the
sake of round numbers of 40,000 each,
though I believe neither the troops sent to
Portugal, nor those sent to Walcheren
amounted to that puimber, yet they did not
fall far short of it. itth respect to the
force sent to Spain, ministers seemed re-
solutely determined not to profit by expe-


rience ; precisely the same errors and the
same faults were committed as in the ex-
pedition sent there under sir. John Moore,
The want of concert with the Spanish
government, which was so decidedly
proved in the expedition under sir John
Moore,was equally apparent in that under
lord Wellington. We find in the latter
precisely the same want of co-operation
and concert which so decidedly marked
every stage of the former. Another
instance of similitude of error is still more
glaring. One would scarcely believe it
possible, that any set of men would send
out an expedition without money to pay
the troops, and yet we find by the public
dispatches of sir David Baird, that this
was the case with respect to the expedition
under sir John Moore. So great and ma-
nifest an inconvenience would not, one
would suppose, have been repeated, but, as
if determined to persevere in i\ .. -i
of error, both the expedition to the
Peninsula under lord Wellington, and the
expedition to Walcheren under lord Chat-
ham, were deficient in this most essential
article of military supply. We find, my
lords, precisely the same errors with
respect to the expectation of an effectual
co-operation from the armed peasantry
of Spain. The dispatches of sir John
Moore point out how cruelly he was dis-
appointed in the expectation held out to
him, of receiving an active and efficient
assistance from the Spanish forces. Pre-
cisely the same errors formed a part of
the plan of the expedition under lord Wel-
lington, whose dispatches inform us that
this Spanish officer had abandoned a post
which he was expected to defend, and that
another Spanish officer, instead of remain-
ing in a position where he was expected
to make an il., iu .. stand, had suddenly
abandoned it, and was precipitately fol-
lowing our army. Nothing can more
clearly show the perseverance, in error of
his "' '.. .\'s ministers, expecting in the
first instance a co-operation from an armed
peasant y, which it was idle and absurd to
expect from men who had not yet learnt
the necessary habits of discipline and sub-
ordination, and after the fallacy of this
expectation had been proved, persevering
in the same error, and persisting in expect-
ing an effective -.si-stance, and making
that a part of the plan of a second expedi-
tion to the Peninsula, although the absur-
dity of it was manifest even before its fal-
lacy was proved, and although all idea of
that species of co-operation had been dis-






171 PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.-The Lords Commissioners' Speech. [1`


tinctly shewn by experience to be nuga-
tory and absurd. This was the miserable
delusion to which sir John Moore was
sacrificed. These were the hopes which
were held out to him ; but which, to the
moment of his expiring in the arms of vic-
tory, never were realized. Yet the Icsson
taught by that fatal catastrophe was lost
S upon ministers. Ministers ought to have
known that history i; pregnant xwith proof,
that an armed population cannot be con-
sidered as a disciplined army : that it is
not enough that men should be attached
to the cause they. are to defend, but
disciplined, steady, and obedient to com-
mand, having skilful officers ; able to exe-
cute the commands they receive, and
capable of ;.1 ;... what commands to
give, and at the same time fit to be trusted.
Why send out expeditions to meet the
same failures and sufibr the same losses,
leaving no monuments to their country
but those which are calculated to excite a
S just indignation ?-a deep and unavailing
regret ? We are told, iy lords, in the
Speech ofthe King's Commissioners, that
the expedition to Walcheren was under-
taken with the view of. ,i 1.. a diversion
in favour of Austria. i I. bsurditv of
attempting to make a diversion inWaiche.
ren instead of the North cf Germany,
0 where the great pressure of the war exist-
ed, is too manifest to admit of a doubt or
require an argument. An immense ex-
pence was incurred, no less thoan "3 ships
of the line were employed, more than
100 frigates, and an immense nuumhir of
transports. It was known to ministers, in
September 1808, that awarwaslikely to
take place between Austria and France ;
yet this immense armament to i'le
Scheldt, which was to nrnpr' the so much-
boasted diversion in : I' Austria, did
not sail till the latter jnd of July. Before
it sailed the Armistice v:as signed which
led to the fatal Treaty that prostrated the
Austrian monarchy ; not only this event
had taken place, hut intelligence of the
signature of that Armiitice hald .. .... ', r-
rived in this country. And thus, when
all prospect of operating a diversion in
favour of Austria had i ..! .1 the Expedyi-
tion sailed from our shores, and the de-
struction of a fewships, and the plunder of
the docks of the enemy, were to be sub-
stituted for the object so much boasted of
-that of making a diversion in favour of
Austria. Your ally, vanquished and sub-
dued, had accepted the law from the con-
queror, and then. tardy army left
VOL. xv.


your shores. Can this need a comment ?
Is it possible, knowing these facts, to refer
to future inquiry the merits of hlii Ma-
jesty's minii;ets ? \Why, it would be a
mockery of alljustice; you would insult
your country, you would degrade your-
selves. Shall I be told that it xwas a great
armament ; that it was delayed by neces-
sity; that, like every naval force, it de-
pended on the winds, and the transports
being in readiness ? Why all this is not
new to you, If you want to land 40,000
men in the neighbourhood of the Scheldet,
it is necessary to have transports to con-
vey them ; but if, by events which you
could not coniroul, it was impossible to
send this armament sooner, whyi send it
at all ? The Fxpedition saiied for this
reason only-because his MaijesIy's minis-
ters were afraid to avow, that after all the
expense which had been incurred, it had
not actually sailed till its object was defeat-
ed, and success was impossible. It was
once said by the D tiy of Algiers, when an
, i I.lh fleet threatened to bombard the
town, that if they would give him half
the cost of the bombs he would burn the
town himself; and Buonaparte might have
said, that if we would give him half the
stum which our expedition had cost, hl
would give the ships we wished todestroy.
But, my lords, besides incurring an itm-
mense expense to achieve an object of
comparatively trifling value, a still moro
serious objection exists to this expedition.
We have been charged upon the continent
with sacrificing the interests of our allies
to expeditions, the only objects of which
were to burn a few ships, and destroy
docks, with the mere view of some little
mterest of our own. Till the hour of the
Copenhagen expedition, nothing had oc-
curred in our conduct to give currency to
this fasehood ; now, however, a still
greater and more just currency must be
given to it from the nature and achieve-
ments of this expedition to Walcheren,
which terminated in the mighty exploit of
blowing up the basin and the docks of
_. ..',., The plan of this expedition
displayed all those errors, that egregious
want of information, and that extreme in-
capacity which have marked all the expe-
ditions of his .\! .y 's ministers. At the
first point of atlick, where, according to
the information of ministers, only 2,000
men were stationed, 1]4,000 were found ;
and the second point of attack, which,
according to the same information, was
stated to be ..... '' .I open aud access.
C






1.)J PARL. hE BATES, JAN'. 2., 18 lOY.-The Lords commissionerss Spci.


ble, was found to be strongly fortified,
beyond the reach of our attack, secure
from hostile approach, and inaccessible
to our force. I am disposed to believe
that the officers employed in this expedi-
tion have fully discharged their duty. The
reason for tle appointment of the noble
lord who commanded that expedition I
shall not now inquire. It was undoubt-
edly most unfortunate for him, the first
time he held a command, to be placed
at the head of an expedition which was
attended by nothing but difficulty and dis-
appointment. I am disposed to believe,
however, that in that situation he did all
that could be reasonably expected or
was possible to accomplish. The error
was in the plan, and the want of all
foresight or information on the part of his
! wr 's ministers. The part the noble
lord I have alluded to took in it as a mi-
nister is another question, but as a
commander I believe he did as much
as the difficulties of his situation would
allow. The failure of the expedition,
therefore, is to be attributed to the minis-
try, whose ;l.i.l .. .1 plan and whose gross
want of information form a prominent
part of their errors and misconduct.-
You have seen, my lords, that these dif-
ferent disastrous expeditions have been
attended with a die'adful waste of life;
that they were collected and dispatched
at an immense expense; that the re-
sources of the country, and the lives of
its armies, were squandered upon vaini
and impracticable objects, under circum-
stances naturally to be foreseen, and
which ought consequently to have been
,:.i. .I.. against. I know there may be
cases in which it may be necessary to
expose your armies not only to the dan-
gers of battle, but also to those of disease.
Deeply to be regretted as such cases are
undoubtedly; yet they may certainly
exist. Why our armies were exposed in
unhealthy situations in Spain-whether
it was necessary they should be so expo-
sed; will be matter for future inquiry.
II. has that happened as to Walcheren?
the place, the situation, nay, the season
of the year were chosen by his majesty's
ministers. There is a season of the year
when the air of that place is most pesti-
lential and dangerous; yet to that place,
and at that time, say his majesty's mi-
nisters, we will send the flower of the
British army. We will not send it at a
time when its operations may be advan-
tageous, but we will send it when, from


every information, it will be destroyed,
more by disease than by the sword."
What, my Lords, would Austria have
said, for whom this expedition was, it
seems, intended asadiversion? Whatwould
Austria have said had she been consulted
on this subject? She would have said, If
you do send an expedition to that place
at all, send them there when France shall
be engaged in active war against me, and
do not wait till the contest is decided;
send them thither, too, at a season when
the climate is not so pestilential as it oc-
casionally is. To that pestilential cli-
mate if you will send your troops, let it
not be when common information tells you
they must waste away by sickness, with-
out accomplishing any valuable object."
Have ministers then been ignorant, have
they not read of the nature of the climate
of Walcheren, in that book to which one
would think they would naturally resort
under their circumstances-I mean sir
John Pringle's work upon the Diseases of
the Army ? Have they not examined that
work, where they would find the pesti-
lential effects of the climate of that un-
healthy island described, and proved by
our own dearly-bought experience ? Nay,
so notorious have b)en the effects of that
climate, that the Swiss Cantons, when they
furnished mercenary troops as auxiliaries
to the Dutch, thought it necessary to
stipulate expressly that they should not be
sent to Walcheren during the noxious
season, it being vell known that if they
were sent there they must inevitably pe-
rish. This then, my lords, is not a case
of unforeseen calamity. Ministers knew,
or ought to have known, all these things
before they sent an army into Walcheren;
and they are of consequence most deeply
responsible for the lives of those brave
men, who perished there, without the
chance of being able to confer any benefit
upon their country, which might aflbrd
her some consolation under a loss so af-
flicting.-Great then, my lords, as were
the deficiencies in the formation and exe-
cution of the plan of this expedition, it is
marked by this further essential defect,
that it was directed to an object, in which
its exertions could be of no avail. Our
armies had hardly been there a month,
when the object appeared clearly imprac-
ticable to all, but to his Majesty's minis-
ters. And the commander in chief even,
though too late in comingto that resolution,
determined to return. On the 27th of
August, we were told by him, who had






]t) PARL DEBATES, JAN. 23, ISl0.-T/ie Lords Commissioners' Speech.


* advised the expedition, and who had been
appointed to command it, that the object
was not to be accomplished. If the
exertions of the troops must have been con-
fined to the blowing up of basins, and the
destruction of docks, could not these
things be accomplished without detaining
the troops in the island? But after it was
obvious, that the object of the expedition
was not to be accomplished, the troops
were suffered to remain in the island, for
two or three months, a prey to the dis-
eases of that pestilential climate To
whom then, my lords, are to be imputed
the deaths that took place in consequence ?
To whom is to be imputed this wanton
waste of the valuable lives of our brave
defenders? What excuse can these mi-
nisters offer to the parents, the relations,
the friends, of those brave men, who were
suffered to perish thus uselessly and thus
ingloriously ? What excuse, my lords,
can they offer to their country, for this
* most afflicting loss, which they who do
not most bitterly lament, must be totally
incapable of any generous or patriotic
feeling? While letters were passing and
repassing on this subject (when the mi-
nisters were attending to other things of
comparatively trifling importance), hun-
dreds of British soldiers were perishing,
S for no object whatever. What man is
there, who under such circumstances,
would not say, If I have been so unfor-
tunate as to send you to such a place, for
a purpose which cannot be accomplished,
at least I shall not suffer you to remain
there, after it is determined that your
remaining there can be of no use; this
atonement, at least, I shall make to you
and to my country ?" Such, my lords,
I should have thought, would have been
the feelings of ministers. What they
actually .were I know not.-With such a
case then already established, my lords,
do yc-u mean to wait for enquiry, before
you pronounce upon that which is now
evident? Will garbled papers be a com-
pensation for all this mass of calamity
and disgrace, to an injured and outraged
country ? Will they be a compensation
to yourselves; or will such conduct be
consistent with your own dignity and
duty ? Separate yourselves, my lords,
I beseech you, in this awful and perilous
crisis of your fate, from this misconduct
of ministers ;-declare your severe repro-
bation of the conduct of ministers on that
point, which is already completely before
you, and which from its very nature


can admit of no defence. You will find
them, my lords, I have no doubt, at-
tempting as they have done on former oc-
casions, to shift the blame from themselves
to the officers commanding this expedition.
But they will not stop there. As in the
case of Sir John Moore's expedition, they
will involve your lordships in the same
charge. You, who after the experience
you had of their mode of proceeding in
the expedition under general Moore, en-
couraged them to go on in the same
course. And how can you, my lords,
entirely exculpate yourselves:? How can
you, who saw what had taken place before
in Spain and Portugal without expressing
your disapprobation, excuse yourselves
from a share in the disasters which have
since happened in the same countries? In
the constitution of this country, obligation
does not, in these cases, rest solely with
ministers.-You, too, my lords, have a duty
to perform, which if you do not perform,
you are justly chargeable with your share
in the public calamities. In another view
it is of the last importance that your lord-
ships should diligently attend to those duties
which are incumbent upon the parliament;
for, unless you do, how can you possibly
blame others for the neglect of theirs ?
Now, my lords, we must look to the
virtuesof parliament. These are not times
forvotesof confidence and implicit reliance
upon ministers. 'Parliament must now
exert itself in this most imminent crisis of
the fate of our country. You cannot
be ignorant, my lords, of the situation,
the tremendous situation in which your
country is placed. Its dangers are no
longer to be enhanced by eloquence or ag-
gravated by description. No description
can come up to the feelings of those who
are at all capable of judging upon the
subject. If you cannot look to parliament
for its deliverance, where can you look ?
Can you look for its deliverance to the
government? See it, my lords, broken,
distracted, incompetent, incapable of exert-
ing any energy or of inspiring any con-
fidence.-It is not from the government,
then, that our deliverance is to be expected.
It must, my lords, be found, if it is to be
found at all, in your own energy and iar
your own patriotism. On these grounds
I shall move an Amendment to thisAddress,
not, indeed, such as comes up to my owtn
feelings on the subject, but one which I
trust will be satisfactory to the public, and
affbrd those who may see reason to think
their former confidence ill placed, an






23] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 18il.--TTe Lords Commissioners' Speech.


opportunity of evincing their determina-
tion to give that confidence no longer.
To the first paragraph of the Address,
expressive of the regret which is felt at
the fate of Austria, I certainly do not mean
to object. On that point we must all be.
unanimous. I therefore move, that after
the word That" in the second paragraph,
the following Amncdment be introduced,
expressing our sentiments to his Majesty
in such terms as the nature of the case
imperiously demands.--" That we have
seen, with the utmost sorrow and indig-
nation, the accumulated failures and dis-
asters of the la:t campaign, the unavail-
ing waste of our national resources, and
the loss of so many thousands of our brave
troops, whose distin uished and heroic
valour has been unprofitably sacrificed in
enterprises productive not of advantage,
but of lasting injury to tha country En-
terprizes marked only by a repetition of
former errors; tardy and uncombined;
incapable in their success of aiding our
ally, in the critical moment of his: fate,
but exposing in their failure his 'I .-
's councils to the scorn and derision
ot the enemy.-That we therefore feel
ourselves bound, with a view to the only
atonement that can now be made to an
injured people, to institute, without delay,
such rigorous and effectual inquiries and
proceedings, as duty impels us to adopt
in a case where our country has been sub-
jected to unexampled calamity and dis-
grace."
Lord IJ .... Iy could not have supposed
that his noble friend (lord Grenville) could
have moved an Anendmlint such as that
he had just proposed; it went not only to
determine, that there should be an in-
quiry, but to induce their lordships now to
come to a vote of indiscriminate censure,
of absolute condemnation, previous to any
inquiry. Such a mode of proceeding was
surely unusual and unprecedented in the
practice of parliament. It was unjust not
to allow the proper time for producing the
grounds and stating the reasons upon which
rested the decision and conduct of his ma-
jesty's government in adopting the mea-
sures which his noble friend had so loudly
arraigned and so severely condemned. His
noble friend had laid down the line of po-
licy to which he said he would himself
have adhered, and by which he thought
his majesty's ministers ought to have been
directed. That policy rested upon the
principle of abstaining from continental
expeditions; i,'.,[i d,!.;!. ourselvesparties


in a warfare which had long ceased to af-
ford any. hope of what was. so often em-
I i.i. .i called the Deliverance of Eu-
rope. He had not the honour of being any
length of time in his majesty's councils
since a contrary line of conduct had been
pursued; but he believed he might remind
his noble friend that such a principle had
not been exactly conformable to his senti-
ments on all occasions. lie imagined that
not very long since, even in the course of
the last session, his noble friend had joined
in the general enthusiasm in favour of
the Spanish cause, and in the anxiety
*..il..i .t..1 by that enthusiasm to altbrd it
every possible aid in our power. Govern-
ment did not stimulate and give birth to
these exertions on thepart oftheSpaniards;
but they felt it their duty, and conceived
it to be the interest of this country, to en-
courage and assist them. Neither had
they incited other powers upon the con-
tinent to embark anew in hostilities with
France. Austria was inclined to appeal
to the chances of war, to the decision of
the sword; but to the adoption of that
hazardous step she had not been advised
or impelled by the influence of the British
government. On the contrary, she was
warned by his I! ;,. i's ministers of the
perils of the attempt, and of the inability
of this country to lend her any effectual
support; she could not therefore have en-
tered into a new war, from the hope of
any powerful diversion to be effected in
her favour by the military operations of a
British army. But his noble friend would
insist, that such a diversion might have
been made in hsr favour by the force which
had subsequently been collected here and
employed on foreign service, had it been
brought to operate at a proper point.---His
noble friend had alluded to certain of
these points where he conceived our milita-
ry force might have operated advantageous
ly in favour of Austria. iHe had chiefly,
however, adverted to some points in the
Mediterranean, and more decidedly still
to the North of Germany. HIe had also
supposed that this country might have.
brought 100,000 men into the field: where
these 100,000 men were to be found, he
could not pretend to siy; but were it pos-
sible to provide and collect them, what
must not have been, he would ask, the ex-
pence and difficulty of transporting them
to the Mediterranean or Adriatic ? The
thing was actually impracticable. Not
less impracticable and unpromising would
have been the plan of sending them to tlh






V51 PARL. DEBATE'S, S rz. 23, 1 810.-Tlie Lords ( 2?nmiasioners' Speech. [02


a North of Germany. It was said, they
would there find a numerous band of expe-
rienced veterans ready to rise, in vindica-
tion of their independence, against the
common oppressor of mankind. It was
even more than insinuated by his noble
friend, that the British, government had
encouraged them to rise, and promised
them assistance, but that the promise had
not been performed; that these brave pa-
triotic men had been deserted by us and
abandoned to their fate. These .n i. .-
tions, he would venture to say, were
wholly unfounded; there nmglit have been
numbers of men in ... .,. districts of'
Germany who were anxious 1o rescue
themselves from the oppression and ty-
ranny of the French; but they had neither
arms nor uniforms, norwere they instigated
or encouraged by this country to take up
arms against their oppressors. Even had
they given a greater demonstration of
their power and determination to resist, it
* still would have been impossible for the
British government to send such a force,
as had been mentioned, to their assistance.
As he had already observed, where was
a force of 100,000 men to be found; and
even had they been at the disposal of
government, how could government have
provided the means of subsisting and pay-
* ing them in the north of Germany? This
would have been a thing altogether im-
practicable, and therefore it was useless to
meditate such an enterprise. It surely was
no easy matter to collect such a force as
that which had been assembled, with all
the means necessary for its equipment,
especially when so much time was neces-
sary to prepare so large an armament.
After the armament had been prepared,
i-.., i' v was received 4f the armistice
entered into between France and Au:stria:
yet it was still uncertain whether that ar-
mistice would enl in a definitive peace.
The contrary, for a time, appeared tlhe
more probable. Wherever it should be
employed, it might therefore contribute to
produce a diversion in favour of Austria,
and sustain her firmness in resisting, and
restrain the enemy in proposing the terms
of an unequal and ignominious peace.
Looking at all the points within our reach,
and where our means might have been
effectually exerted, there was no one
which promised so favourable a result as
an attack upon Flushing and Antwerp.
There the enemy had for years been ex-
pending immense labour and money in
eretting a naval arsenal and depot, and in


rearing up a navy by which he would be
enabled to menace the mo:-t vulnerable
points of these realms. He boasted of
having opened a river which had so long
been shut, and of having made it as well
the station of a naval power, as the source
of commercial wealth. It enabled the
ruler of France to cherish the fond hopes of
gratifying his animosity against this coun-
try, and it was well known with what in-
defiltigable zeal and unceasing activity he
followed up every favourite design formed
by his revenge, or dictated by his ambition.
He had often loudly boasted of having
brought his designs and his means at Ant-
werp to full maturity and perfection ; and,
indeed, when he had a nain object to gain,
he left nothing untried, and no practicable
cffobi unexertcd to accomplish it. VWa
not this, therefore, a proper object to en-
gage the attention of a British government,
and could any doubt be entertained of the
policy, nay of the necessity of frustrating
or endeavouring to frustrate so lormidabtle
a design. Accordingly, it was resolved
to make a well directed effort to destroy
the arsenal and navy, and -to deprive our
bitterest enemy of the mightiest meansby
which he was enabled to annoy us. The
design, through various unexpected and
unforeseen, because unascertainable difli-
culties, had not been wholly accomplish-
ed; though so far accomplished as to ren-
der abortive his schemes of hostility from
that quarter; that end, the complete de-
molition of the harbour and arsenal of
Flushingl had secured. Whatever disas-
trous cfeicts had arisen from the operations
necess iry to its attainment were indeed to
be lamented; but they were not in the first
instance to have been apprehended. The
design promised to be executed in a short
time, and before the season set in, whose
pestilential influence was particularly to
be dreaded and most essential to be guarded
against. The Expedition was ready to
sail about the middle of July; but was de-
tained nine or ten days by contrary winds,
and the other unftoreseen and uncontroul-
able obstacles occurred afterwards to pro-
tract the operations till tie unhealthy pe-
riod of the year; but all these obstructions
could not possibly have been foreseen or
guarded against. This the information
would show which his Majesty had or-
dered to be laid before their lordships, and
until that information was in the posses-
sion of their lordships, it would be im-
possible for them to decide upon the sub-
ject, or to institute a fair inquiry. Th'-eli






27] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.-The Lords Commnissioners' Spcich.


reasons, he conceived, would be of them-
selves sufficient to induce the justice of the
House not to accede to the Amendment
proposed by his noble friend.-The other
point so much insisted upon and repro-
bated by his noble friend, was the Expe-
dition to Spain and Portugal. Here again
his noble friend's strictures and censures
were almost in every respect without
foundation; great and important objects
had been achieved by that Expedition;
it had rescued Portugal from the French;
it had covered tie British arms and the
character of the British army with glory,
and by the position that army afterwards
occupied and maintained, it rendered in-
finite service to the Spanish armies. It
covered them in several points; it secured
the defence of Estremadura, and in a great
measure that of La Mancha. To this
Expedition was also owing the deliverance
of Gallicia, and the securing of the ships
at Ferrol.., Were not these important ob-
jects, and did not the attainment of them
afford very just grounds of triumph and
congratulation? Would it, therefore, be
fair to condemn in the gross the conduct
of his Majesty's ministers; to precipitate
an inquiry into the measures they had
pursued, or rather, to pronounce judgment
and condemnation on them without in-
stituting any inquiry at all? Such, he
thought, would be the effect of adopting
the Amendment moved by his noble friend,
and he therefore felt himself imperiously
called upon to resist it as a proceeding
unprecedented and unjust.
The Earl of Moira said, if he thought
any power of speech or language necessary
to excite the indignation of their lordships
or of the country, at the scenes which the
government had lately exhibited to the
world, he would not have addressed the
house. The noble earl who had just spoken
had asked, whether without proofs they
should go into inquiry, nay more pronounce
judgment? But would he therefore con-
tend, that without proofs the house should
go into an expression of approval? For
his part, he wanted no proofs, but those
already before the House. The proofs de-
manding not only inquiry but condemna-
tion stood confessed before them. They
were plain and manifest. The whole con-
viction of his mind, and the conviction of
every one who considered the subject,
called for judgment. It was impossible to
argue against the direful Ilie r, already
experienced, and those still more terrible
calamities which threatened us. Upon the


face of the case he would therefore go the
full length of the Amendment, although it
only pledged their lordships to inquiry at
present. The noble earl had not fairly
stated the case of Austria, as put by his
noble friend. Hle would admit, as stated
in the speech, that we had not encouraged
Austria to go to war, but what was the real
fact ? Austria, having once of her, own
accord, by her own voluntary determina-
tion, drawn the sword against France,
ministers would have neglected their duty
if they (lid not immediately employ '. i .
means to assist her exertions. We were
interested in her success, and it was their
duty to encourage not only her, hut every
other power that was disposed to fight her
battles. As no specific promise of aid
had been given, none was broken; but
if that aid, which our interests required,
was not granted, ministers had equally
neglected their duty. His noble friend
(lord Grenville) had not said that the
succour to be employed in making a diver-
sion in her iivor should amount to so large
a force as 100,000 men. He only con-
tended that ministers, having determined
to send out a certain force, it ought to have
been directed to a different point from that
to which it was actually sent. It would
have threatened most formidable conse-
quences to France, had the force sent out
been landed on the south of Germany.
Again, had it been sent to the north, what
might not have been expected from it,
acting in the rear of the French army, and
combining and sustaining the scattered
troops on that part of the continent ?
With respect to Spain, he differed entirely
from the noble earl. The case of Spain
afforded the best opportunity of termina-
ting the war with glory, and of shaking if
not overturning the power of Buonapart6.
The enthusiasm existing in that country
could not be questioned, for nothing but
enthusiasm could have kept armies still
together, after so many defeats and dis-
asters. That enthusiasm made Spain a
lever, by which the power of France might
have been removed from its foundation, an
engine that might be put in action with
the greatest force and effect against her.
It was, therefore, the interest of this coun-
try to have identified herself with Austria,
and shared with her every danger. But
although we were not pledged to Austria,
it would not be contended that we were
not pledged to Spain. The pledge to
Spain was not only given by parliament,
but it was confirmed by the universal and






29] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 2I, 1810.-The Lords Commissioners' Speech. [30
enthusiastic voice of,the country. And' Amendment. lie wished an early day
how had that pledge been fulfilled? minis- mighl be fixed for going into that inquiry,
ters sent an army to Portugal, with in- and he wished the inquiry to be full and
structions, if one may judg6 from those, rigorous; but he was not for prejudging
which transpired upon the inquiry into the conduct of his majesty's government,
the Convention of Cintra, to deliver that which would be the case if the Amend-
country, and consider Spain as merely a ment of his noble friend were adopted
secondary object. Sir Arthur Wellesley's without any alteration.
army, however, did advance into Spain, Lord lMugrave pointed out the diflbr-
and gained a victory; but although the ence of opinion which prevailed among
stronger, and victorious army, it immedi- the noble lords who were prepared to dis-
ately retreated. The instructions of that approve of the conduct of his Majesty's
gallant general were either erroneous and ministers, and was of opinion, that few of
defective, or he had not the means to their lordships would be disposed to go
carry forward his victorious army. And the full length of the noble baron who had
what was still worse, two great Spanish moved the Amendment. lie never recol-
armies, left to themselves, had been since elected any legislative measure resembling
successively cut to pieces, while a British the proposition of condemnation previous
army remained idle and inactive in their to enquiry, which had been submitted to
vicinity. After such scenes of calamity, their lordships, except an act of parlia-
their lordships would disgrace themselves ment, which had once passed, by which it
and fail in their duly, if they did not adopt was enacted, that persons found poaching
the course recommended by his noble for game under certain circumstances, were
friend who moved-the amendment. The to be -... ,i at a cart's tail.; but a clause
country at large was looking to the result was added to this merciful act, that those
of that night, and the House ought not to who found themselves aggrieved thereby,
disappoint its just expectations. After might make an appeal to the next quarter
the experience of last year, they had sessions. Inthe same manner, it wasnow
nothing to expect in the present one, but proposed first to punish by immediate
increased disasters, if the administration condemnation his Majesty's ministers, and
of affairs remained in the same hands. To then to appeal to the House, to see whe-
reject the Amendment would be only to other th. \ had deserved that punishment.
make their lordships parties to the shifts The noble lord then proceeded to vindi-
and evasions by which ministers sought to cate the operation of the campaign and
get rid of the subject. the conduct of lord Wellington in Spain.
Viscount Sidmouth could not but ac- He never was of opinion that the Spanish
knowledge, that there was much to regret, armies could stand against the veteran
and perhaps much to reprehend, both in troops of France, hut so long as Spain
the expedition to Spain, and especially in could persevere as a nation, so long the
that to Walcheren. lie could not, how- honour and the interest of this country
ever, bring himself to think, that the rendered it our duty to support her. He
Amendment proposed by his noble friend contended that a great advantage had
was altogether unobjectionable. It ap- been obtained by this country in the de-
peared to him that it would condemn struction of the docks at Flushing, and
without inquiry. There was much ofirri- that the expedition to the Scheldt was a
station, and much of despondency in the preferable diversion to one sent to the north
public mind at this moment, and the adopt- of Germany. With regard to the conduct
ing such a proceeding would not tend to of the war, he could safely declare, that
sooth the one, or to reanimate the other, no one was to blame, neither the ministers
lHe was a friend to moderation, and he who planned the measures, nor the officers
trusted his conduct had shewn him to be a chosen to execute them. The failures had
friend to justice on all occasions. In the been the consequences of circumstances
present instance, a regard to justice and which no government could foresee, and
moderation would dissuade him from ac- which no commanders could control or
ceding to the Amendment as it now stood, prevent. He hoped that before their lord-
The second paragraph of it was inadmis- ships determined to call for any enquiry,
sible at the present moment; it was for they would wait to see what information
inquiry, but he did not see the necessity the papers which were to be laid before
of coupling it with the Address to the the House would produce.
crown in the manner proposed by the Earl Grey had to ai.,]..,; for rising to






$1] -PARL. DEBATES, JAm. 23, 1810.--The Lords Conmmissioners' Speech. [5
trouble their lordships, after what had to act at tle period alluded to, was best
been so ably said by the noble lords near calculated to promote the interest and
him, and after such a defence, if defence it welfare of the country. What had it
could be called, as that made by the noble been ? It was to husband the resources of
lords on the other side. IIe never had the state; that at a time when they should
been so much surprised in lis life as he be most wanted they might be adequately
was at the tone assumed in the Speech and advantageously employed for the pub-
from the throne, in alluding to what were, lie security. Had such a discreet and
stated to be successes achieved at Flush- prudent system of policy been adopted by
ing and in Spain. When he considered the present ministers, the nation would
too, that for what was called success in not now have to deplore her treasures
Spain, similar honours had been conferred expended, the blood of her brave ar-
on lord \'r li', i .... to those bestowed on mies poured forth, and her gallant de-
the duke of t.\i i!...i... .. he could not fenders -nii ...i under the ravages of
help feeling at such unfounded assertions, pestilence and disease. Had he had the
that indignation in which he was con- honour of assisting in his i..;, 's coun.
vinced every L. ',i heart would parti- eils, it was most highly probable, that he
cipate. It was true, however, that minis- should have persevered in the plan he had
ters had not ventured to speak so boldly before judged to be prudent, and he had
themselves in their defence; and he was seen nothing within the last seventeen'
glad to find, from their humbled and months to lead his mind to a different view
chastened tone in speaking in that House, of the subject. But this was not the ques-
that they appeared to feel some remorse tion now before their lordships; it was no
for the numerous miseries they had in- inquiry into the propriety or wisdom of
flicted by their imbecility and misconduct offensive and defensive warfare: it was
on their country. Had it been otherwise, notorious, that ministers had determined
he should have supposed that Almighty on the former, and upon the propriety of
-"en"ienc wq hbinging over this nation, making a great effort upon the continent.
.I I 11, h l. i'. the hearts of its rulers The examination then was, whether, hav-
had been hardened in proportion as their ing adopted the offensive system, they
.i.h .1 ,1 were darkened.-lHe was pursued this scheme of their vigorous
afraid, in going over the arguments used policy by the best means? Were the
by his noble friends, that lie should rather objects attainable, and, if attainable, were
weaken them than add to their force.- they material to the final result of the
The noble earl (Harrowby) who spoke conflict, in which we were engaged ?
first, on the other side, was pleased to When he held the seals of the foreign
amuse himself with sarcasms upon the department, the expedition to the Scheldt,
former Administration; and, in answer which had been undertaken by the pre-
to the objection made, that no eflcltual sent ministers,had been frequently pressed
diversion was made in favour of Austria, upon him. Hie therefore turned his atten-
it was said, that no such diversion, on a tion to it; and, after making every due
prior occasion, had been resorted to in the enquiry, le was convinced that the object
case of Russia. If it were necessary, in of .'-, ,i- .'.. arsenals at Antwerp and
a discussion of this character on the con- the shipping in the Scheldt, was not atlain-
duct of the present ministers, to enter on able. With regard to the Austrian war,
such a subject, it might be sufficient to he certainly would not have pledged him-
say, that such a measure, if attempted at self against co-operation in it, though, as
all on that occasion, must have been under- lie said before, it was the duty of the go-
takep in the depth of winter, vhien the vernment of this country to ceconomise
.Baltic was frozen up, and wlen, therefore, its means, in order to meet the probable
its purpose could not have been accom- demands of a protracted war, and the
polished. Ie was not surprised, that minis- possible exigencies of home defence.-
ters resorted to such a flimsy and miserable lHe would have said to Austria, however,
expedient, indulging the hope, that by in the event of her embarking in the war,
directing the attention of the House to that, if she thought war unavoidable, she
other topics, they would render it less should have such assistance as the situa-
necessary to occupy themselves in the tion of this country would admit; hut
difficult task of their own defence. He after 17 years experience of wars, of bat-
was fully sttisfied, that the conduct of ties which had heen lost, and monarchies
those, with whom he had had the honour d. *....,. the interests of this country re-
3






33] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.--Thle Lords Cormmissioners' Speech.


* quired much caution and wise management,
in the employment of our means. lie
would not, as he had heard had in the first
instance been done by ministers, give a
flat refusal of all co-operation or inter-
course with Austria, until she should com-
mence with an humble apology for the
exclusion of the British flag from her ports
* in the Adriatic. This was a conduct so
very absurd, that he could with difficulty
believe that it had been adopted even by
the present administration. He pe fectly
coincided with the noble earl (Harrowby)
in his observations on the character of the
ruler of France. Active in the pursuit of
his main object, he would not be diverted
from it by inferior considerations. But
this practice was not only familiar to every
great mind; but it was the vulgar maxim
of early tuition, to master one difficulty
before you undertake another. Conscious
of this, ministers ought to have acted on
the expectation of the adherence of Buo-
napart6 to his invariable practice, and for
this reason, the time, the place, and the oc-
casion, ought to have been attentively exa-
mined before any expedition should have
been determined upon. Their operations
ought to have been conducted at a mo-
ment when he was most weakened; di-
rected to the situation where he was most
* vulnerable; and executed during that sea-
sonable opportunity when these advan-
tages of time and place would have so co-
operated as to have rendered success pro-
bable, if not certain. These were the
principles to which they ought to have
adhered, and it was upon these principles
that their conduct ought to be tried. How,
then, did the fact stand ? when the minis-
ters had at last determined on a conti-
nental effort, they chose the object which
was perfectly unattainable, and which, had
it been attainable, could have had no effect
whatever on the general resultof the war.
The force of the country had been frittered
into divisions, whereas to effect any great
purpose it ought to have been made to act
In a body. To borrow a phrase from the
French republic, it should be one arnd
indivisible." The noble lord contended
that an expedition to the North of Ger-
many, or to the shores of the Adriatic,
when contrary to all expectation, the fate
of the war was balanced on the Danube,
might have been undertaken with some
prospect of success. But this was not
the only theatre of success!lul warfare. All
the North of Germany was in a state of
revolt, and the people wanted only a sup-
VOL. XV.


ply of arms, and the appearance of a re-
gular force to render them formidable
to the common enemy. But to this pro-
ject of operations in the North .it was
replied, that it would have been attended
with great expenceand serious difficulties in
the transport of the troops, that would have
been required for the service. lie admired
the perfect organs of vision ministers could
employforthe discovery of objections to all
the plans of others, and their utter blindness
to those which were notorious in their own.
Was it to be endured after the prodigality
the servants of the crown had been guilty
of, that they should hesitate at the expence
of such enterprises ? Then, as to the trans-
port of our troops to Piedmont or Trieste,
and from the Thames to the Weser: could
the ruler of France send to Egypt a power-
ful army, and would Great Britain, the
mistress of the ocean, with 100 ships of
the line, 1,000 ships of war of dilterent
proportions, and an incalculable commer-
cial marine, be disappointed in such a
purpose? It had been asked, how 100,000
men could have been provided for 'such
enterprises ? Were not 40,000 employed
inWalcheren, 15,000 in Sicily, and 45,000
in Spain and Portugal; and how much
was then the deficiency of 100,000 men ?
Whether engaged in one, two, or three di-
visions, the difficulty of raising and paying
such a force was much the same. He
would, before he left this part of the sub-
ject, say a few more words on the engage-
ment of a force in the North of Germany.
He said, that so far back as the monthrof
September, 1808, ministers had received
proposals from 'the North of Germany,
which shewed that very considerable
bodies might be expected to rise in that
quarter, in support of any diversion made
there. He further believed from what
followed, that encouragement was given
to such a scheme. In that country many
important situations might have been se-
cured where the army could not have been
incommoded by the Danes, and where a
small force left on the shores of the Wcser,
would have prevented the possibility of
any molestation from that quarter. Under
the circumstances that had been explain-
ed, the acquisition of such a station would
not have merely operated as a diversion,
but if it were neglected by the enemy,
the entire destruction of his army must
have been the consequence, In the month
of May or June this enterprise might have
been undertaken; but he admitted that with,
all this appearance of advantage, it might
D






35J PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.-The Lords Commissioners' Speech.


have been unsuccessful, yet on this occa-
sion the evil was not, that adverse events
had frustrated the schemes of ministers;
but that measures had been pursued with-
out a chance in their favour, and in
which success was impossible. The noble
lord next took a review of the campaign in
Spain. He disapproved of the residence
of Mr. Frere, as minister at the Junta, so
long after it had been announced that he
was to be recalled. A great deal was to
have been done by a noble marquis (Wel-
lesley), whom he expected that night to
have seen, not only countenancing his
friends by his looks, but defending them
by his eloquence. That noble marquis,
however, whether from a negotiation with
his majesty's ministers, or some other cause,
had, after his appointment, remained for
monthsin London, instead of proceeding to
his post at Seville. He saw much to blame
in the conduct of lord Wellington, in a
military point of view. With regard to
the battle ofTalavera, he condemned that
uncandid calculation, which represented
it as a victory gained over an enemy
double our force. When the Spanish
army was taken into the account, the su-
periority was greatly on our side. The
survey of the campaign in the Peninsula
was followed by a luminous summary of
the whole argument, and a pathetic ap-
peal to the honour, wisdom, and humanity
of the house, to relieve the country, if
possible, by supporting the Amendment,
from the accumulated disgrace and misery,
which must inevitably be the consequence
of the neglect of the high duties of parlia-
ment on this most serious occasion.
The Earl of Liverpool rose in reply to
lords Grey and Grenville, and, in an able
speech, went through and answered the
topics of these noble lords. He observed,
that the Amendment was unprecedented
in parliamentary history. It first went to
condemn certain measures, and afterwards
requested an inquiry into them. It was
completelythejudgmentofRhadamantlhs,
audit castigatque; by which the House
might, if they adopted it, reduce them-
selves to this situation, that they might
first condemn administration, and, upon
investigation, it might turn out that there
was no cause of blame. He next adverted
to the operations of our army in Portugal
and Spain, and insisted that they had
been most beneficial for the interest of this
country, and whenever the details came
to be inquired into, he pledged himself to
prove, that the conduct of our general and


army had been most wise and beneficial.
He instanced as a proof, that the pro-
vinces of Estremadura, Galicia, and Astu-
rias, had been completely cleared of the
French forces, and although it was true
that they had by surprise defeated two
Spanish armies, yet they had not been
able to gather any fruit from their victo-
ries, for they had not advanced one step.
-With respect to the Expedition to
Walcheren, his lordship admitted, that
ministers knew of the Austrian armistice
before it sailed, but he was ready to con-
tend that it nevertheless operated as a fa-
vourable diversion for Austria. But it
was not merely with that view that it had
been undertaken. It had also other objects
which were wholly British. It was known
to be a favourite measure of our enemy
to form a naval arsenal and dock at the
mouth of the Scheldt, and it had been al-
ways admitted by professional men, that if
an invasion of this country were ever to be
attempted, it could never be efkfcted but
from the Scheldt. It was therefore an ob-
ject of importance to defeat the views of
our enemy, by destroying that port which
he had with so much industry and at such
great expence been preparing. And in
this object we at least had succeeded;
for, in the opinion of professional men, it
would require much less time and expense
to form a new harbour and arsenal than re-
store the one which we had destroyed at
Flushing.-Nor was this the only object
it had effected. It had been serviceable
to Austria, for it had diverted to the Banks
of the Scheldt, a large body of conscripts
which wcie intended to have acted against
her. And for that purpose he knew it
was the desire of Austria that we should
retain Walcheren until she made terms of
peace, and bad and hard as those terms
were for her, whoever compared the
threats of Buonaparte with the terms
which he afterwards granted, must admit,
that some cause had reduced him to the
necessity of relaxing from his threatened
severity. His lordship declared, that in
his opinion, it was occasioned by our
holding Walcheren, and, in fact, that was
the reason why we held it after the ulte-
rior objects of the Expedition were known
to be defeated, and expressly at the re-
quest of Austria. Some noble lords had
said, that the destruction of Flushing was
a conquest of no importance, and consi-
dered as such by the French Ruler. IHe
would ask those noble lords, whether if the
casa could be reversed, and a French







37] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.-The Lords Commissioners' Speech.


S fleet were to attack and destroy Sheernesst
and afterwards make good their retreat, t
would be considered by Buonapart6 as
a small triumph, or by us as a trifling-de-
feat ?
The question being loudly called for,
the House divided on lord Grenville's
Amendment; when the numbers were,
* Contents 55
Proxies - 37
For the Amendment -92
Non-Contents 89
Proxies -- 55
For the Address- -144
Majority 52
SList of the Minority.
PRESENT.
Dukes. Say and Sele.
Gloucester Ilchester
Norfolk De Clifford
Somerset Ponsonby
Bedford. Blesborough
Marquises. Upper Ossory
Lansdown Waldegrave.
S Stafford Lords.
Headfort Hawke
Argyle. Moira
Earls. Grenville
Spencer Cassillis
-Essex St. John
Grey Darnley
Jersey Erskine
Lauderdale Holland
Derby Breadalbane
* Rosslyn fDouglas, Marquis
Cowper Foley
Downshire Yarborough
Albemarlo Carrington
Thanet Somers
Suffolk Ellenborough
Grosvenor Lilford
Hardwicke Carysfort
St. Vincent Bolton.
Fitzwilliam Bishops.
SOxford Rochester
Bristol Oxford.


Bulkeley

Dukes.
Grafton
St. Albans
Devonshire.
Marquises.
Buckingham
Townsend
Bute.
Earls.
Carlisle
Shaftesbury
Berkeley
Scarborough
Cholmondeley
Tankerville
Guildford
Darlington
Fortescue
Ashburton
Carnarvon.
Viscounts.
lereford


PROXIES.
Duncan
Anson.
Lords.
Grey de Ruthyn
Blandford
King
Montfort
Stawell
Braybroke
Auckland
Mendip
Cawdor
Glastonbury
Dundas
Keith
Crewe
Southampton
Charlemont.
Bishops.
Lincoln
St. Asaph.


HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Tuesday, Jan. 23.
THE LORDS' COMMISSfONERS SPEECH.]
The Speaker acquainted the House, that
he had been at the House of Peers, at the
desire of the Lords Commissioners, ap-
pointed under the great seal, for holding
this present parliament; and that the
Lord Iigh Chancellor, being one of the
said Commissioners, made a Speech to both
houses of parliament; of which, to pre.
vent mistakes, he had obtained a copy ;
which he read to the House, (see p. 1.)
After the Speaker had finished the Speech,
Lord Bernard said, he rose, relying upon
that indulgence which the House usually
afforded to persons placed in his situation,
an indulgence which le hoped would not
be refused to a first effort in debate. lie
trusted that the House would give credit
to the principles by which his majesty had
been guided in his conduct towards the
fallen state of Austria; they were those
upon which he had uniformlyacted, when-
ever he had been called upon for protec-
tion and support. He was persuaded that
the House would feel the exertions in the.
Austrian cause not unworthy of the cha-
racter of the nation. Austria had entered
into the contest, hurried on by the impe-
rious pressure of the time. His majesty
had extended a generous aid to her, with-
out exposing the permanent interests of
his people. It was satisfactory, too, to
know, that, whilst his majesty regretted,
in common with all his subjects, the dis-
advantageous peace, in which the war on
the continent had terminated, his majesty
had employed no means whatever to in-
duce Austria to embark in it. The House
would learn, and he trusted with interest
and satisfaction, that the papers relative
to the Expedition to the Scheldt were to
be laid before them. On the subject of
that Expedition, he observed, that the par-
ticular merits of the armament were not
at present the subject of discussion ; but
though he lamented that the whole of its
objects had not been accomplished, thus
much he would say of it, that the advan-
tages the country would derive from what
had been effected, if not now generally
acknowledged, would soon be generally
experienced. The sentiments the king
had thought fit to express to his parliament
in this instance, were worthy of those he
had upon all occasions entertained; lie
was beloved by his allies and dreaded .,
his enemies. While empires were sink-






S9] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.-The Lords Commissioners' Speech.


ing, either by their own weight, or were
hurled down by the rude hand of power,
this country had defied the insults of am-
bition, and had remained uninjured amidst
the calamitous desolation of the continent.
His majesty's sentiments on the Spanish
war were suited to his dignity. While
that brave and martial people fought with
the spirit and perseverance of freemen, he
did not stand aloof; he offered his aid to
their first exertions. -In the day of their
difficulties, he would not withdraw that
aid which he had ofltred to their early
cause. It must be satisfactory to the
IHouse to know, that the temporary inter-
ruption of amity with America was not
likely to embroil the two countries; the
disagreement had been that of indivi-
duals ; the nations had not been com-
mitted ; and his majesty was still willing
to take all fair and honourable means of
upholding the spirit of friendship which
ought to prevail between this great coun-
try and her allies. Ile concluded by
moving an Address, which was, as usual,
an echo of the Speech.
Mr. Peel, in seconding the motion, said,
that he would not have obtruded himself
upon the attention of the House, had he
not been convinced that they would ex-
tend to him the candour, indulgence and
patience granted on former occasions. In-
the course of his majesty's Speech, where-
in he had taken a review of the events by
which the interests of this and of other
countries had been affected, his majesty
had had the painful duty to lament, that
the issue of the struggle of some of his al-
lies, for liberty and independence, had but
little corresponded with the hopes he had
indulged; but it was some consolation to
reflect, that the misfortunes could in no
degree be attributed to the line of conduct
his majesty had deemed it right to pursue.
Austria, goaded by injury, and provoked
by insult, had entered into a war without
the advice of his majesty, where she had
to fight, not merely for her national ho-
nour, but for her existence as an indepen-
dent State. When she was called upon to
acknowledge the right of a man to the
crown of Spain, whose only title was usurp-
ation, she found herself compelled to em-
ploy for her protection those troops thlt,
in mmninent expectation of hostility, she
bad collected round her throne.-No share
of the disasters which occurred was to be
imputed to her thirst of hostilities. It had
been authoritatively intimated to her by
I'rnce, that she must at once reduce her


forces; and the reduction was to be
brought to a standard that would have
made her powerless before the first enemy
'that willed to attack her. This was not
to be done, while a sword remained in
her hands, while she still retained a rem-
nant of her vigour, while she could appeal
to her people, and call on their loyalty
and their feeling to aid her in the battle
for their common security and glory. A
new crisis appeared to be approaching.
There were evidences before her eye of
the vigour which might be displayed by a
people in defence of their privileges.
Spain was immediately within her view.
She saw that great and unfortunate coun-
try rising against the treachery of France.
Site saw her suffering as she was, under
all the visitations of a desperate and sud-
den violence, nobly rise and repel its ra-
vage, prefer a glorious and uncertain
struggle to a silent and dastardly depen-
dence, and drive the invader before her
rude heroism. Was it to be imputed as
a folly to Austria, that she admired so glo-
rious an example ? Or as a crime to the
British ministers, that they were anxious
to give her strength and support to emu-
late its renown? Buonaparte had declared,
that the fate of Austria depended on a
single battle. He might have, with still
more truth, acknowledged that his own
destinies were balanced on the same
doubtful and unfixed decision. It was
then the season for giving our effectual
aid. Subsidy had been given: but the
aid of a generous people was to be more
active. It was then that the utmost exer-
tions were made by his majesty to com-
plete an armament, which would, as much
as possible, forward the general cause, by
rendering assistance to the emperoi- of
Austria. The question arose to what
point it should be directed ; some assert-
ing that, without injury to Spain, we
should concentre all our disposable force,
and land them on the coast of the Adriatic,
whilst others insisted that the north of
Germany was the point, where the scene
of action should be laid. This was not
a time for debating the merits or demerits
of that expedition, and gentlemen would
remember, that if they did enter into that
question, they were not to make compari-
sons between what had actually been ef-
fected, and chimerical ,t ,Lc'I .. n- of what
might have been performed. They were
to. compare the design with the object at-
tained, ant not to stray towards plans that
existed only in imagination, and which






41] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.-The Lords Commissioners' Speech.


never could be reduced to practice. They
must contemplate also, the connection of
events which it was not in the power of
the wisest to control. It was easy to
feel the difficulties of what had been
tried,' and to imagine the facilities of
what had been only projected: but
wise men would judge according to ano-
ther measure of reason-feel the essen-
tial difference between the solid impe-
diments of an actual practice, and the
smooth and fanciful progress of an untried
theory. While the expedition was on the
eve of sailing, intelligence arrived that
damped the ardour of the warmest, and
clouded the hopes of the most sanguine;
Sbut it still remained for his majesty to ful-
fil his part, and though one object might
be lost, there remained one of importance
to be attained. Austria suffered a defeat,
but she was not undone: she had an
armistice; she was still not unable to
struggle, and struggle successfully for em-
pire. The armament in the British ports
might still protract the evil day. Even in
the final defeat of Austria there was much
to be done : it was not unsuited to a wise
government to break a hostile force which
was growing up on the opposite shores;
there was no additional expence to be in.
curred; no further deduction from the
S strength of the British people. The force
which had been assembled for the aid of
Austria, was directed to the coasts and
arsenals of the enemy ; thus attracting the
attention of the hostile forces, and at once
operating an important diversion in favour
of Austria, and an essential service to the
security of Great Britain. After his ma-
jesty had turned his attention so unceas-
ingly, to the interests of his Allies, it was
natural that he should direct his views to
an object that immediately affected the
security of his own dominions. But the
efforts made for the accomplishment of
great objects in the north, had not with-
drawn the vigilant attention of his ma-
jesty's government from the affairs of the
Peninsula. There, too, every means had
been resorted to for arresting the progress
and defeating the objects of the enemy,
and if entire success had not attended all
the operations in Spain, it was solely at-
tributable to the physical deficiencies of
the country% He lamented the misfor-
tunes of SpaWi. He felt a deep and pain-
ful regret at the evils which even the
brave efforts of that devoted people had
not been able to avert. There were evils
in the constitution of that country which


might have made its energies feeble; but
the British name had come pure out of the
trial. The army of the empire supported
the character of superiority, which they
had always upheld in the battles of their
country. On the 22d of April, lord Wel-
lington took the command of the British
army. In May he drove marshal Soult
before him, and rescued Portugal. He
advanced into Spain. His advance was
met by the force of France, under the
immediate command of the'person who
called himself the king of Spain. In a
bloody and unequalcontest, he established,
by one more brilliant evidence, the com-
parative bravery of the British soldier,
and earned for his troops the just and
well merited praise which we had been
accustomed to give to our armies when
they meet the enemy That army re-
treated from the scene of its triumphs:
but there was no shame in a retreat like
theirs. We were still a civilized people;
we had not learnt to discard our hu-
manity; we had not yet reconciled our-
selves to throwing off the burden of hu-
man feelings, that we might go on light
and dexterous to the work of human mi-
sery. We could not adopt the summary
expedients of modern war; we could not
involve the wretched peasant in the cala-
mities from which our own privation may
spare him. We could not bring ourselves
to force its bread from the lip of poverty ;
we could not feed upon requisition, and
calculate our revenue upon plunder. Our
army will not subsist where the troops of
the enemy will riot. A British force
could not glut on the wretchedness of a
suffering people ; a British army could
not, on entering a plundered town, strip the
miserable inhabitants of the scanty rem-
nant which rapacity itself had left them.
Whatever might be said of the British
army in Spain, or of its commanders, it
had afforded to that people a glorious ex-
ample, which le hoped, in future days
would be equalled, but could never be ex-
celled.-To the affairs of America it might
be indecorous for him in their present si-
tuation to advert, nor should he, after the
observations in his majesty's Speech, enter
into any inquiry as to the conduct of the
Ministers. If the honour of the nation
were at stake, however we might regret
the revival of hostilities, or the injury to
our trade, it could not be a matter of hesi-
tation. But of the effects a war with
America might produce upon the com-
merce of this country, we might be able to






43] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810..-The Lords Commissioners' Speech. [44


form some judgment from former expe-
rience. During the embargo, the amount
of the exports to and imports from the
United States was unquestionably decreas-
ed, but this loss was amply counterba-
lanced by the direct trade carried on by
our merchants to Spain and her depen-
dencies. England desired neither peace
nor war, but she would suffer no indignity,
and make no unbecoming concessions.
With every engine of power and perfidy
against us, the situation of this country
had proved to Buonapart6, that it was in-
vulnerable in the very point to which all
his efforts were directed. The accounts
of the exports of British manufactures
would be found to exceed, by several mil-
lions, those of any former period. With
regard to our internal condition, while
France had been stripped of the flower of
her youth, England had continued flou-
rishing, and the only alteration had been
the substitution of machinery for manual
labour.-The hon. member begged to be
allowed to say a few words upon the na-
ture of the Address he rose to second. In
his opinion, it contained nothing which
could prevent its unanimous adoption.
It had been prepared to obviate all objec-
tion; it called for no pledge to approve of
what had passed, and opposed no impedi-
ment in the way of inquiry ; but he feared
that some objection would, notwithstand-
ing, be raised to it, for the aggression,
usurpation, and tyranny of Buonapart6
was the only subject upon which all par-
ties united. But to resist him in his en-
croachments effectually, unanimity was
absolutely necessary, and the nature of
the contest in which we were engaged, re-
quired that every heart and hand should
be joined to give strength to the common
cause. He hoped, we should still be able,
as we had hitherto been, to ride in safety
through the storm that had destroyed the
rest of Europe, and that we should still
stretch forth a hand to succour those who
were yet struggling for life against the
angry waves. To be successful in that
generous course he felt that they must be
unanimous; he felt that there could be
but one sentiment among the men to
whom he addressed himself, and that that
sentiment must do honour to themselves
and to their country.
Lord Gower said, that in rising to move
an Amendment to the Address which
had been just read, he should state very
shortly the reasons which prevented him
from giving that Address his concurrence.


At the close of the last session of parlia-
ment, the public mind was led to expect
that some great and well-timed efforts
would be made for supporting Austria in
the arduous but decisive struggle in which
she was then engaged. How far it was
politic in England to interfere with the
continent, was a question for future discus-
sion ; hut certainly, it could be no ques-
tion, that when we did resolve to give as-
sistance, we should give that assistance in
a manner the most likely to prove effec-
tual. At the same time, considering how
much the country was loaded with taxes,
the object to be attained should have been
manifest, and the probability of success
great. Whatever efforts were to have
been made, should have been prepared
with the most rigid attention to public
economy, which the nature of the service
would admit, or a due regard to the ob-
ject to be attained, render practicable.
Instead of such attention to economy,
however, the most extravagantly expen-
sive plans were formed, and the most ex-
tensive armaments fitted out, without one
solid reason for supposing that they were
such as could eventually tend to the relief
of our allies: or to the promotion of the
honour or the maintenance of the security
of Great Britain. The point to which bur
assistance should have been directed, was
another subject of the highest moment
and deserving of the most mature consi-
deration. Discontents had, about the
close of last session, shewn themselves in
many places, in the north of Germany and
elsewhere. But in the mean time, the
attention of ministers at home was di-
rected to very different objects, to ca-
binet cabals and official intrigues, which
brought disgrace and contempt on the
character of the government. To take
advantage of the demonstrations of a
rising spirit of resistance to France, ought
to have been our object; but, instead
of that, we delayed our expeditions till
the hopes of Austria were destroyed, and
then sent them on destinations where
our resources were squandered, our brave
troops sacrificed, and all our enterprises
attended with complete failure. Con-
tinued disgraces befel the country, and
accumulated disasters marked the mea-
sures of its government; b f all our
calamities, the unfortunate e3 editions to
Spain and Walcheren claimed a lamenta-
ble pre-eminence. The failure of the
campaign of 1808, in Spain, seemed to
have no other consequence than to induce






3S~O PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.--The Lords Commissioners' Speech. [34*


ministers to risk a repetition of its fatal
issue by a renewal of the same blind con-
fidence in the co-operation of the Spanish
government and armies, and a recurrence
to the same destructive policy. At that
period, though we had brave troops, and
good generals, still a superior force op-
posed to us, and a government aiding us
by decrees which it was too weak to en-
force, should have shewn us the impolicy
of our operations. During the whole of
the antecedent campaign, sir John Moore
was never succoured by a single Spanish
army: indeed, every day gave us more
occasion to admire the valour and regret
the fate of that lamented officer. All the
skill and perseverance which he evinced
were only sufficient to facilitate and secure
the retreat of our ill-fated army. What
was the result of this experience? Only
to confirm our ministers in their infatua-
tion; only to induce them to send fresh
forces to a country where we had failed
before, and to a government with which
no previous arrangement had been made.
We had not after that any evidence which
could fairly induce us to suppose that any
alteration had taken place in the conduct
of the Spanish government. Even the
pompous embassy of lord Wellesley
proved abortive; that embassy which
S promised so much, and performed so little,
returned, after a battle which was followed
by a retreat; a victory which was marked
with all the calamitous consequences of a
defeat! (Hear, hear !) What a plan of
campaign, he would ask, must that have
been, when even victory led to an inevita-
ble and disastrous retreat, in which our
army was obliged to leave near 2,000 of its
sick and wounded to the mercy of the foe,
over whom we were said to have obtained
a decisive victory.-He next came to the
consideration of the expedition to the
Scheldt: and certainly every thing had
been done to make it one of the most for-
midable which ever left the shores of Eng-
land. Its professed object was to create a
diversion in favour of Austria, and yet,
though for that great purpose, so much
depended on expedition of equipment, it
had not left our shores till the fate of
Austria was decided. The objects that
remained f ct to accomplish were purely
British, amended neither to promote the
common C*se of the independence of
Europe, nor to conciliate the respect and
attachment of our remaining allies. But
the inglorious result of that expedition had
proved, that without meeting with any
vOsL. Xv.


other obstacles than such as might have
been expected, it had returned crippled
and diminished to our shores, without
having effected any one object, but the
miserable advantage of destroying the
fortress and arsenals of Flushing ; a result
the most inglorious, the most inadequate
of any this country ever witnessed, the
most disgraceful when compared with
such mighty preparations. In the dis-
patches of lord Chatham, we were told in
almost as many words, that the plan was
radically erroneous. He told us, that
Antwerp, instead of being a weak de-
fenceless town, was absolutely ; .. ., .-
ble; that the ships had been moved out of
the reach of attack, and thai our force,
great as it was, was insufficient for the at-
tempt, and was daily diminishing by the
diseases of that pestilential climate. This
was the real state of' l;, :-. very different
from those notions on which the plans of
ministers were formed ; and accordingly
his lordship prudently abandoned all fur-
ther operations. Butwhen this expedition
was considered in the details of its conse-
quences, we should find matter enough to
fill every mind with horror and indigna-
tion. Its history would form one of the
blackest, and most disastrous pages in the
annals of England. When its objects,
however, were confessedly unattainable, it
was supposed by ministers that its imme-
diate return would too strongly mark to
the country the complete failure of their
plans; and therefore they determined that
our troops should remain, doomed to linger-
ing destruction, in a climate notoriously
pestilential and proverbially fatal. On
this head they could not plead ignorance.
There were two facts upon record, which
if they had attended to their duty in the
same degree that they had listened to the
dictates of a vain and foolish ambition,
must have opened their eyes to the fright-
ful consequences of sending anExpedition,
at that season of the year, to such a pesti-\
ferous climate. The late sir'J. Pringle, a
man who was remarkably eminent in the
medical profession, had long ago published
an account of the endemic diseases of
Walcheren, which were most destructive
to our arms in 1747, at which time the
proportion of sick to the healthy was as
four to one. What the proportion of sick
was in the late Expedi'ion remained yet
to be ascertained. It was quite impossi-
ble that ministers could be ignorant of the
fact, which had been thus stated, and lie
trusted that the country would hold them
1)"'





35*] PARL, DEBATES, JAN. 23, 18 0.--TIL Lords Commissioncrs' Specch. [3'6*
answerable for the lives of those brave The Hon. J. IV. Ward said that he was
men that had been thus unprofitably the more anxious to trouble the House *
wasted, after all hopes of ulterior success with a few words upon the question that
had entirely disappeared. He would only was now before them, because it appeared
mention another proof of the known un- to him that it was not only of great con-
healthiness of Walcheren,, and that was, sequence in itself, but that the fate which
that the Swiss troops formerly in the pay it should experience, would, in a great
of the States General, always made it a measure,enable tile country to judge as to
stipulation that they should not be obliged the fate of all future questions, relating to
to serve in Walcheren, at that very season the mismanagement of public affairs, and *
when his Majesty's minister determined lead to some very important conclusions
to keep British soldiers in that country. as to the temper and composition of par-
He mentioned these things to shew, that liament itself. For, if this House, agree-
had ministers possessed the most common ing in the proposition of the two gentle-
information, they must have foreseen the men, who spoke first in the debate, should
calamities which pestilence and disease determine, after all the calamities that we
would bring upon our troops, if retained have experienced, to present to the throne
at Walcheren at that season of the year.- an Address, which is the mere echo of the
The noble lord then concluded a speech words, which the authors of these calani-
of very considerable force and strength of ties have thought fit to place in the
argument, by observing that he had con- mouth of their sovereign; if we express
fined himself to those two points of the neither resentment at the past, nor anxiety
policy of ministers, not from any want of for the future fate of the country committed
other subjects of critmination, but from a to such hands ; if we omit all those things
conviction that these would fall into much that ought, to form the main topics of an *
abler hands. His only reason for occupy- Address of the House of Commons, under
ing so much of the time of the House, and circumstances of great public distress, and
for which he had now to beg their excuse, acknowledged weakness in the national
was, that he mig:it be able to assign his councils, it will be a vain and hopeless
reasons for refusing to concur in the pre- task for me, or any man even to address
sent Address, and in justification of the you upon any similar occasion hereafter.
Amendment lie had now to propose. The If we do not act now we must be consi-
noble lord then proceeded to read the dered as having determined not to act at
Amendment, and moved, That all the all; as having resigned ourselves impli-
wcvrs of the paragraph relating to the citly to the guidance of any persons that
E'.xpediion to Walcheren after the word may happen to be placed at the helm, and
" that" be left out, for the purpose of in- as having completely renounced that sa-
serting the following words : We have lutary control, which we were once ac-
seen with the utmost sorrow and indigna- customer to exercise over the servants of
tilo the accumulated failures and disasters the Crown.
of the last campaign, the unavailing waste The main point, Sir, to which the at-
of our national resources, and the loss of tention of the House will naturally be
so many thousands of our brave troops, directed, is, the conduct of the war.
whose distinguished and heroic valour has Every person that now hears me must
been unprofitably sacrificed in enter- remember with grief that during the few
prizes, productive not of advantage, but months that have elapsed since the last
of lasting injury to their country ; enter- ;-ssion of Parliament, this country has
prizes marked only by a repetition of been engaged in various military opera- m
former errors, tardy and uncombincd, in- tion upon a most extensive scale, and that
capable in thcir success of aiding our ally these operations have been attended by
in the critical moment of his fate, but failure more coumpltte, by loss more de-
exposing in their failure his '.i. 's plorable, and by disgrace more signal,
councils to the scorn and derision ot the than any that we find recorded, within an
:.i. ;: .---That we therefore feel ourselves equal space of time, in the history of this
bound to institute, without delay, such or any former war, in which thI. country
rigorous and eflectuii inquiries and pro- was ever .:... This A the plain *
ceedings as duty impels us to adopt, in statement .. i w, which gentlemen
a case where our country has been sub- may endeavour to extenuate, but which
ejected to unexampled calarnity and dis- they cannot substantially contradict; and
grace," it is therefore for us to consider how far






37*~ PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 18 IO.-The Lords Commissioners' Speech. [18*


* .these things aflect the character and pre-
tensions of those persons who then were,
and who for the greater part still are, en-
trusted with the management of affairs.
And if upon a review of these transactions,
it should appear to us, that we have reason
to impute our misfortunes to the miscon-
duct of our rulers, it will become us, not
only to institute an immediate, igilant and
severe enquiry, but at once to carry our
suspicions to the foot of the throne, and
humbly to represent to his Majesty, that
we no longer feel ourselves able to rely on
those persons, whom he has chosen to be
his advisers.
But before we proceed,as we must pro-
ceed hereafter, to look at these questions
in detail, I must in the first place remark,
that the very magnitude and number of
those failures which have disgraced their
administration, do alone form a strong
prilmafacie case against his Majesty's mi-
nisters, even independently of all consi-
S deration of the particular circumstances
by which they were attended. Forthough
it is unjust and absurd to say, that failure
necessarily implies blame, and though
enterprises the most wisely planned, and
the most skilfully executed may fail, from
causes which human wisdom can neither
foresee nor control ; yet constant re.
* -peated invariable failures do create a fair
presumption of misconduct, and if that
presumption is coupled with any thing
suspicious or unfavourable in the history
and composition of the administration
itself, it becomes almost irresistible. It
would be an insult to the understandings
whom I have the honor to address, if I
S were to spend a moment in endeavouring
to elucidate a principle which is so evi-
dently consonautto reason and experience,
and a thousand of which, must at once
present themselves to the mind of any
person who gives himself the trouble to
think at all upon the subject. How then,
does it apply to the case of his Majesty's
ministers ? Why, Sir, it appears that
during the last seven or eight months they
have failed in no less than three great and
deliberate designs; that, if we extend our
view a little further, we shall conclude the
campaign which terminated in the death
of sir John Moore, which again was pre-
Sceded at no long interval by the Conven-
tion of Cintra. So that, on the whole the
result is this; that during the time they
have conducted his government, his Ma-
jesty's ministers have attempted every
thing, every where, on the largest 'pos-


sible scale, and that in every thing they
have failed; except indeed in that instance
in which they directed his arms not against
his enemies but against his allies. En-
trusted with the largest means and with
the most unbounded confidence, thanks to
the liberality and to the folly of the people
of England, they have proceeded to en-
gage in the mightiest enterprises, and
these entlrprizes have all had either a
ludicrous, or a disastrous termination.
Now, Sir, I say tiat to maintain, that ac-
cident has been eery thing, and miscon-
duct :..1.;,.. in these transactions, is to
maintain, that a species of miracle has
been worked against us.-Accident may
account for some detached failures in the
course of a long administration ; but a
man must have a high opinion indeed of
the King's servants, and must moreover
have an understanding most singularly
constituted, who can persuade himself that
the Convention of Cintra, the miserable
expulsion of our army under sir John
Moore, the ludicrous capture of Ischia
and Procida, the second useless, expen-
sive and destructive campaign in Spain,
and to crown all, the expedition to Wal-
cheren ; that all these things following
each other with the utmost rapidity, not
a single success intervening to break the
chain of calamity, happened by pure ill
luck, and without the smallest of blame
to the wisest and best, but most unfortu-
nate of administrations.
And then, Sir, in whose favour is it that
we are required to believe this paradox ?
Is it in favour of a firm united govern-
ment, guided by some person of acknow-
ledged abilities, and directing an undi-
vided attention towards objects of great
public concern ? No, Sir, we are re-
quired to believe in favour of a govern-
ment of departments, at the head of which
till lately, stood a nobleman of no very
distinguished talents, enfeebled by age
and suffering, and labouring .: Iik.i lly
during the latter days of his life, to keep
together the discordant parts of a preca-
rious administration; we are required to
believe it in favour of a cabinet, the
members of which, entertained for each
other the most profound contempt, or the
most deadly antipathy ; we are required
to believe that an unremitting attention
was paid to the interests of the state by
ministers, whose time, (as we have since
learnt by documents which are in every
man's hands, and ought to be imprinted
on every man's recollection,) was spent






S9*] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.-- The Lords Commissioners' Spetch. [40'


in dark mnchiavelian intrigues, in personal
discussions, and in devising schemes for
I -- '1; out the great :' .L. of state,
which thl y seem to have considered as a
private inheritance to be divided for their
common benefit, not as a solemn trust to
be administered for the public good. We
are required to believe in the fitness of
th:f.e vwho had pronounced upon each
other's incapacity ; and it is from discord
at home and disgrace abroad, that we are
to infer wisdom and good conduct.
For my own part, Sir, I am content to
direct my view of the case by those plain
concurring rules, that guide men in their
judgments upon the ordinary affairs of
life, who wherever they see disunion, are
apt to suspect weakness ; who where they
observe constant failures and mistakes,
always presume ignorance, incapacity or
neglect. Therefore, when I call to mind
the ignominious history of their internal
dissensions, when I see that their whole
administration has been one uniform tissue
of calamities, a foul and detestable blot in
the annals of the country, to which Eng-
lishmen'in future days will look back with
humiliation and grief, I do not hesitate to
declare mny unalterable conviction, that
such a government was unworthy to
possess the confidence of Parliament; and
that a government which differs from it
chiefly by the loss of those talents for
business and debate, which formed its
great ornament, and which is a little more
united, at the price of being a great deal
weaker in all other respects, is unfit to
carry on the affairs of state at any time
and particularly at this, and that it is the
duty of every member of this House, and
the interest of every man who is con-
cerned in the preservation of the country,
to contribute by all lawful mcans to its
subversion.
This, Sir, is the opinion which I think
it is natural to form upon a first view of
the subject; and sure I am, that the more
closely we look into it, the more it is
sifted and examined, the more reason we
shall have to condemn the late adminis-
tration, to distrust the present, and to re-
fuse our assent to an ad ress of confidence,
such as that which was originally pro-
posed.
The first thing which presents itself for
examination, both in point of time, and
in point of importance, is the campaign
of Spain and Portugal. This subject has
the advantage of being plain in itself, and
the circumstances of it are already before


the public, so that the House is, even now,
in a situation to form a competent judg-
ment upon the merit of its authors. The
only difficulty consists in accounting for
the conduct of the government upon any
tolerable theory whatever. For, Sir, I
must fairly confess that I am not unable
to see any good reasons, but that I am
equally unable to see any reasons at all,
that could have induced his ? I j, -\'s mi-
nisters to engage in this second campaign.
It seems to have been undertaken in sin-
gular defiance of all those principles that
ought to enter into the conduct of affairs.
Before men determine upon any important
step, they commonly look to experience,
and to authority, where they have had the
benefit of experience, and where good
authority can be obtained. His...1 jr .- 's
ministers had both, and of the most per-
fect kind, and they chose to act in direct
contradiction to both. They had the com-
plete and melancholy experience of the
first campaign in Spain, in which we lost
so many thousand men, in which our
councils, though not our arms, sustained
such deep disgrace, and which afflicted
and dismayed the country beyond almost
any other event of this calamitous war.
We had seen how in the course of that
campaign, our army suffered more than
it could have ,.I.I..' in a country decid-
edly hostile, that it was received with
jealousy and unwillingness, and that its
presence, instead of rousing the Spaniards
to greater efforts by an increased prospect
of success, seemed only to chill whatever
enthusiasm might have been supposed to
exist among them before. In every stage
of the transaction we were treated, not
like zealous and sincere allies, guided by
a liberal, though perhaps mistaken policy,
but like dangerous interested intruders,
against whose designs it was as much
their duty to guard, as against the ambi-
tion of Fiance itself. Every thing seemed
to forbid a second experiment; the cha-
racteristic qualities good and bad of our
own army, the nature of the country, and
above all the disposition of the inhabi-
tants. If, indeed, that splendid but ideal
picture, which at the beginning of the
Spanish revolution, some persons in this
country had formed to themselves, of a
whole nation rising up as one man in de-
fence of its liberty, had been realized, if
in the first instance we had met with a
zealous and efficient aid, proportioned to
their utmost means ; if we had been wel-
comed by a cordial disposition towards






41*] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.-The Lords Commissioners' Speech. [42*


Sthe only people in the world that had
stretched out its arm to assist them in the
hour of their need : if we had found them
animated by an an ardent and unextin-
guishable desire of national independence
and prepared to make all those sacrifices
which were necessary, in order to afford
the slightest chance of success, in so vast
Sa(n so unequal a struggle, why then, Sir,
it would have perhaps been right, and
certainly the best feelings of our nature,
compassion and the love of freedom would
have prompted us, in spite of failures,'and
in spite of misfortunes, to make one more
effort in behalf of a generous, a grateful,
and a suffering nation. One should have
felt some consolation for the blood that
had been already spilt, and one might
without a crime to the country, have con-
sented that vet more should be shed, in
what might then fairly have been deemed
a sacred cause. But the conduct of the
Spaniards soon dissipated this illusion, and
made it our right and our duty, to guide
ourselves by the principles of a colder
and more deliberate policy. Instead of
gratitude or enthusiasm, all we met with
was a bare preference of England to
France, in a choice of evils, a mere incli-
nation to expel their invaders, if it could
be done without the expence and trouble
o f adopting the necessary means; all we
obtained from them was the gracious,
though somewhat tardy permission of the
Supreme Junta, to waste as many lives
and as much treasure as we pleased in
their defence. Sir John Moore was or-
dered to advance, and make common
cause with the Spanish nation. Hle did
advance, but the Spanish nation seemed
to dwindle away as he approached, and
on all those innumerable armies of Pa-
triots on which he was taught to rely, not
one ever appeared, except, indeed that
name is to be bestowed upon a few miser-
able bands of fugitive peasants, who
crossed his way, interrupted his march,
and encumbered him with fresh difficul-
ties. Help and co-operation were out of
the question, but we did not even com-
mand the sympathy and good will of
those whom we were sent to assist. And
this was the flattering result, and these
the encouraging circumstances which in-
* duced his Majesty's ministers to send ano-
ther army to be expelled from Spain.
So much for experience. As to authority,
that too, as far as we have the means of
knowing, was equally against them. In
the first place they had the authority of


oneof the best officers, and one of the
ablest men this country ever produced,
the Commander in that Expedition, who
in all he said, in all he did, in all he
wrote, in his life, and by his death, bore
uniform testimony against the whole
system of depending upon the Spaniards,
and of assisting Spain by means of an
army to be marched into the interior of
the country. One would have imagined
that the opinion of such a man, upon such
a question, would have been decisive,
when opposed by nothing of equal might.
But if any person is inclined to except
against his testimony, I am almost will-
ing to forego any advantage that I might
have derived in arguing this question
from the known and recorded sentiments
of Sir John Moore. Be it, that he was
over-cautious, desponding, guided by a
pedantic attachment to regular troops,
and regular warfare; be it that he ad-
mired the military genius of Buonapartd,
while he was slow to discern that of the
marquis Romana; be it that with unpar-
donable coldness and scepticism, he doubt-
ed the zeal of the inhabitants of Madrid,
and the unshaken patriotism of Don
Thomas Morla. Let all the foolish ob-
jections, let all the foul calumnies avail,
that have been invented in order to blacken
the memory of this illustrious man, who
fell a victim to the folly and impractica-
bility of the design in which he was en-
gaged. But setting him aside, what were
the opinion of all the other officers who

served upon that Expedition ? They
surely were not all incapable of forming
a judgment; they did not all labour from
beginning to end under the influence of
invincible prejudices and incurable de-
spondency. And did any one of them,
if they were consulted, advise a second
experiment? I do not speak from cer-
tain information, but I believe not one.
The opinions of some among them are
recorded along with those of Sir John
Moore, and, as far as they go, they per-
fectly coincide with the sentiments he had
expressed. Nay I am persuaded one
might go yet farther, and defy his Ma-
jesty's ministers to produce the name of
a single officer of rank or character in
his service, who either advised the second
campaign, or who would be willing to
stake any part of his reputation, upon
the merit of that advice. I know not
what there is to put into the opposite
scale. Perhaps indeed one may form
some idea of the nature of the informa.






43S] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.-The Lords Commissioners' Speech. [44*


tion upon which his Majesty's ministers
proceeded, from that of the agents whom
they spread over the face of the peninsula,
and who were understood to maintain a
correspondence with the government at
home. These missionaries were for the
most part military men, not very high in
the profession, and who were of course
delighted, with the honours they received,
and the consequence they derived, from
their situation as the agents of the British
government. It was natural enough that
persons of this description, and that too
without imputing to them any criminal
or deliberate dereliction of their duty,
should represent only the fair side of
things, that they should give a little co-
louring to whatever was good, and exte-
nuate all that was discouraging. Indeed
one could not expect, (so long as it was
possible to put a favourable construction
upon events, or to distinguish a single
ray of hope) that they should transmit
home accounts which would not only be
disagreeable to their employers, but fatal
.to their own prospects, and the effect of
which they might reasonably apprehend
would be, to put an end to all their acti-
vity and importance, and recall them at
once from the dignified occupation of
composing proclamations and dispatches,
to the humble routine of regimental duty.
I do not wish to speak harshly of persons
who acted to the best of their very mo-
derate abilities, and who ought not to
incur any share of that blame which is
exclusively due to the government that
employed them. They even deserve
praise for their activity and spirit, but I
really believe that out of the whole
number there was scarce a cool-headed
sound-judging man, scarce one whose
opinion was much better having, than that
of the famous col. Charmilly himself.
Yet it appears that the authority of these
gentlemen weighed more with his Majes-
ty's ministers (supposing them to have
paid any regard to authority at all) than
that of all those persons whose deliberate
disinterested opinion as to the chance of
success, and the nature of the aid to be
expected from the Spaniards, was formed
upon actual service, and the actual trial
of that experiment which they were
about to repeat. The opinion of col.
Carrol stood on one side, the opinion of
Sir John Moore stood on the other, and
they preferred col. Carrol.
The only way in which they could jus-
tify themselves for undertaking this second


Expedition, would be by showing, that
some such change had taken place in the
situation of Spain, or in the disposition
of its inhabitants, as might fairly entitle
them to expect a different result. If there
was any such change, it is for them to
explain it. On the contrary, every thing
that happened in the interval appears to
me to corroborate the lessons we night
ha\e learnt from the first melancholy
transaction. It was no longer possible to
mistake the character of a revolution, the
disgraceful peculiarity of'which was, that
it had not produced a single individual
eminent, either as a soldier or a states-
man. The Spanish armies were every
where defeated, and often out-numbered,
for it is worthy of remark, that the uni-
versal Spanish nation" out of a popula-
tion of twelve millions, and in a cause in
which we were told that every heart was
engaged, and every hand would be raised,
was never able to bring much above a
hundred and twenty thousand men into
the field. The flight of the Junta lo
Seville, had not cured them of the inac-
tivity they had displayed at Aranjuez.
Of all their enemies the press was the
only one they had been able to subdue;
they had done nothing for the people, and
nothing to enlighten the people; the
councils of Charles 4th, uere never dis-
graced by weakness more contemptible,
or by tyranny more odious. Was it the
healthy climate of Estremadura, then, en-
couraged them to send an army there in
the height of summer? Was it the success
of the battle of Medellin that induced
them to rely on the discipline of the
Spanish troops, and the skill of their ge-
nerals? Had it not become every day
more evident, that the Spanish govern-
ment, choked up by the lumber of its
ancient institutions and forms, had sunk
into a lethargy from which it was vain to
think of rousing it ? Had we not reason
to expect that these errors were not mere
errors of weakness and ignorance, but
that a base intriguing spirit had mixed
itself, in the councils of these self-called
patriots, and completed their incapacity
for all useful and generous exertion ?
And that our ministers were not the only
ministers in the world that were thinking
of their own interests and feelings, when
they ought to have been thinking how to
save a fallen state ? No change could be
expected in such a government, except
from some great effect of the people
itself. And what symptom was there,






45,5] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.-37ie Lords Commissioners' Speech. [ :,


that a people divided into provinces
* differing from each other so much in
manners and feelings, and unaccustomed
to communication tor a general object;
that a people bowed for whole ages under
the yoke of superstition and tyranny,
would be able to accomplish that of which
the most united and the most enlightened
nations are hardly capable ; that they
* would be able at once to perform the
double task of establishing a vigorous exe-
cutive government, and of expelling an
enemy from the heart of their country ?
And yet without such a change, how was
it possible to hope for success ? I had
almost said, how was it possible to wish
for success? What could be expected
from men, who at a moment when their
capital and their strong places were in the
hands of the French, and half their pro-
vinces overrun by the armies of Buona-
part6, were rummaging their archives
with all the curiousness of antiquarian re-
search, in order to find precedents relative
to the meeting of a representative as-
sembly, which was not to be held till
long after the time when, at their rate of
proceeding, the representatives, the places
they were to represent, the place where
they were to meet, the antiquarians, the
archives and all, would be involved in
one common destruction. Whilst Victor
* was upon his march to fight the battle of
Medellin, they were speculating at leisure
upon what form of government would
suit them best, when England, or chance,
or a miracle, or any thing but their own
exertions, should have driven the French
across the Pyrences. And this, Sir, in-
stead of instant remedies for present evils,
instead of war and finance, instead of
seeking how to draw. a revenue from the
provinces that still remained, with the least
possible pressure upon the people; how
to raise and discipline their armies, how
to support their allies; and above all, how
to give to every man what no man now
has, a direct and palpable interest in the
result of the struggle. And yet, Sir, it
was with all these circumstances full in
their view, that his Majesty's ministers
determined to send an Expedition to
Spain, the success of which, supposing
that it could succeed at all, depended
wholly upon the zealous aid, and the
* friendly disposition both of the people
and government of Spain.
Perhaps it may be said that the renewal
of the war in Germany, gave a new turn
to affairs, and called upon us to try at least,


whether, by sending another army to the
peninsula, we could not either rescue
Spain from the grasp of the conqueror,
or compel Buonapart6 to dispatch some
part of that force with which- he was pre-
paring to overwhelm Austria. If so, why
was the force we sent so small? Why.
was it upon a scale so ridiculously dispro-
portioned to that upon which the opera-
tions of war are now carried on in Eu-
rope ? If the ministers really thought
any thing was to be done in'that quarter,
why were not those armies which at the
same time we were idly wasting upon
visionary and exploded projects, concen-
tered in Spain and Portugal, in order by
one great eflbrt to drive the French across
the Ehro ? No, Sir, we preferred sending
ten thousand men to view the Italian
shore, and thirty thousand men to wage
war with the fever in Holland, while with
five and twenty thousand men, that is,
with about half the smallest number Buo-
naparte ever maintained in that country,
we undertook to reconquer Spain. If
they say that the country was not capable
of maintaining so large a number of
troops, why then, I answer that though,
that may be an excellent reason for
sending no army at all, it is no reason for
sending an army which was quite inade-
quate to any useful purpose. The choice
was not between the measure itself and
half the measure, but between the mea-
sure itself, and some other measure of a
different nature.
The fundamental error which, as I con-
ceive, pervaded the whole of our opera-
tions with respect to Spain, consisted in
supposing that the Spanish troops were
capable of acting in conjunction with
ours. Now, Sir, 1 apprehend, that if there
is any point more clearly established than.
another, both by the events of sir John
Moore's campaign, and by every other
species of evidence, it is this, that the
Spaniards neither had a regular army, nor
any thing that was capable of co-operat-
ing with a regular army, and that when-
ever the French chose to concentrate their
force, at the risque of rising in that part
of the country which such a movement
would compel them to abandon, and
which they l.;.ht easily re-occupy when
they had obliged us to retire ; they would
meet with very little opposition from our
allies, and that we should virtually have
to contend with them single-handed. In
fact the very nature of the two descrip-
tions of force rendered it impossible that,






4] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.-The Lords Co.:, ,,w,. i,' Speech. [4s8


they should act in conjunction. Their
troops newly raised and quite undisci-
plined, but acquainted with the country,
inured to the climate, and pai.ient of fa-
tigue, were best calculated to act in small
detachments, which might be frequently
defeated without affecting materially the
fortune of the war. Our troops, steady
and intrepid, but unused to scarcity, pri-
vation, excessive hardships, and the vicis-
citudes of the climate, could only act with
elect in large masses, where a great event
might be decided at once by superior
valour and skill. The object of the Spa-
niards was delay, both in order to disci-
pline their own troops, and to give the
French time to feel the effects of the cii-
mate; our object was to bring on an im-
mediate and decisive action, before we
felt the effects of it ourselves. If the
Spaniards could do any ilh;,, it was in a
war of detail, that is to say a war in which
regular troops, acting in a foreign country,
can do absolutely nothing. In a general
engagement it was utterly impossible to
depend upon our allies. And indeed it is
but just to remark, that we had no reason
to be surprised that the Spaniards had no
troops fit to co-operate with ours, and to
-meet the French in the open field. The
execrable government which had so long
prevailed, had ruined and degraded the
whole military establishment, just as it
had ruined and degraded every thing else
that was necessary for the honour and
security of the country. Now we all
know that a regular army is not a thing
to be created upon the spur of the occa-
sion. Time, labour, practice, system, and
above all a long-continued vigorous exe-
cutive government, are necessary in order
to bring this vast and complicated ma-
chine to any tolerable degree of perfec-
tion. And though the Junta was no
doubt highly culpable in not adopting vi-
gorous measures with a view of that ob-
ject, yet the fact is, that even if they had
been adopted, they would have been too
recent to produce much effect; and the
folly of the Spanish government in neg-
lecting to improve their means of defence,
is hardly greater than that of the English
ministry, who acted as if a regular army
was existing at a time, and under circum-
stances, in which reason and experience
plight have told them no regular army
could exist.
The House will observe that the few re-
marks I have taken the liberty to address
to them have been directed exclusively


to the plan of sending another army into
Spain, that is to say, to that part of the
question with which his Majesty's mi-
nisters are more immediately concerned.
I shall say nothing as to the conduct of
the campaign, though I am aware it is
liable to many and serious objections, but
1 wish to leave the discussion of a military
question in fitter hands than my own. I
shall only beg the House to recollect, that
up to the battle of Talavera the ministers
have made themselves sharers in the re-
sponsibility for every thing, by the ho-
nours they advised his Majesty to confer
on sir Arthur Wellesley. By this they
expressed in the strongest possible manner
their approbation of his advance into
Spain, and by the merits or demerits of
that step they must be content to stand or
fall along with their general.
I cannot however quit this part of tlhe
subject without also observing, that the
events of the campaign have been in a
remarkable manner calculated to shew the
erroneous views upon which the authors
of it proceeded. If sir Arthur Wellesley
had been defeated they might exco.u
themselves by saying ; this is the for-
tune of war, which it is impossible to
control. All a government can do is
to entrust the execution of wise plans to
skilful generals and brave troops. This
is what we did, and if our success in the
field had answered to our reasonable ex-
pectations, the happiest and most glorious
result would have ensued." But how
does the case actually stand ? Why that
in a very short time, we defeated the
French at Oporto, and afterwards at Tala-
vera, in those battles for which sir Arthur
Wellesley was raised to the peerage;
that the valour of Englishmen never
shone more conspicuous than upon both
those occasions, and that more was at-
chieved by our troops than would have
been achieved under similar disadvan-
tages by an equal number of any other
nation in the world. And yet such was
the original absurdity of the whole plan,
that these successes, upon which the
highest honours and the highest pane-
gyrics have been bestowed, were attended
with no permanent advantages whatever,
that they left the cause of Spain and of
Europe just as desperate as they found it,
and that in their consequences they re-
sembled not victories but defeats. For
by what more disastrous consequences
could defeat have been followed, than by
a precipitate retreat; by the loss of tw\






49] PARL. DEBA'fES, JAN. 2, 1810.--iThe Lords Commissioners' Speeck. [50


thousand men left to the mercy of the
enemy, upon that spot upon'which they
had just fought and conquered, but fought
and conquered in vain, that spot which as
it were in mockery to them we have en-
deavoured to perpetuate in the name of
their general ? By what worse could it
have been followed than by the loss of all
;.,- iin: in Spain, the ruin of another army
and the virtual renunciation of all the
.ij.i-_s of the war? As the species of
hl,..'iy increases, our real power and re-
sources diminish, and by the time we
have gained a few more battles, and ele-
vated a few more generals to the peerage,
our army will be fairly worn out, and not
a spot will be left on the continent of
Europe on which an Englishman can set
his foot. If the battles which our ances-
ters fought a century ago, and by which
they vindicated the liberties of Europe,
had been attended with consequences like
these, and if such had been the nature of
s success in their days, France, instead of
being humbled, would have become the
mistress of the world, and England instead
of dictating the terms of peace, would
have sunk under the weight of her own
victories. But they were far other men,
iand guided by far other maxims, in foreign
and in domestic affairs ; in peace and in
S wair. We are told of one of the most
eminent persons of that age, (and I
mention it because it forms a curious con-
'tast to what we have just seen) we are
told of that great general, and politician
King William III, that such was the skill
with which he planned his campaigns,
that even when he lost a battle it was not
attended by any fatal consequences to
him, and that he was soon able to appear
again upon an equal footing with his ene-
mies. Our plans are of a different kind.
We so contrive a campaign that the loss
of a battle would be attended with utter
destruction, we do not advance one single
step nearer to our object by gaining one.
Give to us success in the field, give to the
British troops all that glory which is to be
derived from the heroic valour, and un-
paralleled exertions of every individual
of whom they are composed, and still our
situation, instead of becoming better, is in-
fiini, I'.l,' m e than it was before, and with
S Ilitr li.mi',pr of a victorious, we experi-
ence the fate of a beaten army. It was
the art of the great man whom I have
mentioned, to render defeat harmless, it
.is the art of ministers and generals of these
days to make victory itself unavailing.
vOL. Xv,,


If we bIid p-os.., -. .1 a wise to'' .'rnimnt,
skilful in ,r.curi, ih.- best information,
and firm enough to act upon it, instead of
calculating its measures upon the vulgar
ignorant cry of the moment, we probably
never should have heard even of the first
campaign in Spain. But supposing that
another opinion might have been reason-
ably entertained upon that subject, andt
that it was necessary both for their own
satisfaction, and for the satisfaction of thie
country, to try at least whether a British
army might not have been employed with
effect in aid of the Spaniards; still, whea
the history and result of that campaign
were known, and when the novelty of
the case and ignorance of the real state
of the country could no longer be pleaded
as an excuse, how any man should have
advised a second is almost unintelligible.
If, indeed, the plan had proceeded firon
some of those romantic persons, for .-Ii
these were, whose imaginations heated
upon this subject had completely, extin-
guished all the other faculties of their
minds, one should not have been sur-
prised. But, that, to do them justice, was
neither the character nor the feeling of his
Majesty's ministers, least of all for in-
stance of the noble lord, who then pre-
sided over the war department; a man of
a calm mind, not liable so far as I know
to be infected with the contagion of po,
pular enthusiasm, not a person whom the
mere name of patriotism was likely to
transport into any acts of imprudent zeal,
or who might be expected to make im-
moderate sacrifices in the cause of pa-
tional independence. We must, therefore,
look for some other explanation of the
conduct of the noble lord and his col-
leagues, and theexplanation of it, I believe,
is to be found, and to be found only in that
vague determination to do something, no
matter what, and to keep the public force
employed, no matter how, which formed
one of the main principles, and let me
add, one of the most mischievous princi-
ples of their administration; that princi-
ple too upon which they were most di-
rectly and most ostentatiously committed
against their opponents. It is this which
has been to them instead of prejudice, in-
stead of enthusiasm, instead of folly, and
which has precipitated them into all those
acts which more resemble the desperation
of a losing gamester, than the deliberate
plans of a government.
To that principle we owe that. other
great event of the last year, the Expedi-
J7,






3l1 PAIL. )EBATES, JAN. 23, 1 10.-The Lords Comnmissioners' Speech. [52


tion to Walcheren. Upon that subject,
Sir, I shall not trouble the House at any
considerable length, both because I am
unwilling to take up your time, and be-
cause it is really difficult to speak upon
such a question, with that command of
temper and that moderation of language,
which become any person that has the
honour to address you. For, whether we
consider the plan, the object, the person
to whom the execution of it was entrusted,
our history does not afford an example of
any thing so disgraceful or so absurd.
The object of this memorable enterprise
is understood to have been two-fold : first,
and principally to seize the ships and de-
stroy the arsenal at Antwerp ; and in the
next place, and collaterally, to make a
diversion in favour of Austria; Austria to
which in her last struggle we have not
been able to afford the smallest aid, but
which still forms a convenient excuse for
all the blunders of the year.
Now, Sir, considering the Expedition
with a view to its primary object, the
whole argument appears to me to lie
within a very narrow compass. It failed
with every possible circumstance of dis-
grace, and therefore the question for us to
consider is, whether the failure was owing
to the plan or the execution. Now, in
the first place, we may assume that no
blame is to be imputed to the individual
upon whom the execution of it principally
depended, that is, to Lord Chatham. At
any rate, whatever opinion may be enter-
tained by others, the ministers can only
argue the case upon the supposition of
his being quite blameless. For if he is
not, why is he allowed to continue a
member of the cabinet, and in a situation
which entitles him to be considered as
the King's principal military adviser; in
which he may advise him to send out
more such Expeditions, and to give him
the command of them. We have also
pretty good reason to think, that no mis-
conduct can be imputed to any of the
other officers, who were entrusted with
the conduct of the Expedition. If they
were to blame, why has not a court
of enquiry been instituted, or why have
tly i. 1.. been brought to a court martial,
according to the usual practice upon such
occasions, and as common sense and com-
mon justice required. It is not to be sup-
posed that if government had seen a chance
of shifting the blame upon the army or
j;avy,they would have been restrained by
delicacy towards either branch of the ser-


vice, from freeing themselves of a charge
which must prove so fatal to their cha-
racter. There is no way in which their
conduct can be accounted for, except by
a consciousness that the failure of the en-
terprize was a necessary consequence of
its intrinsic absurdity, and that an enquiry
could only serve to fix the whole blame
more clearly upon themselves, and to de-
prive them of the benefit of that ambiguity
which still hangs over the transaction.
No man can be credulous enough to be-
lieve that, if, in their opinion, the result of
an enquiry would have been to shew the
reasonableness and practicability of the
original plan at the expense of Lord
Chatham or Sir Richard Strachan or any
other individual, they would have rejected
that mode of proceeding, and preferred
presenting themselves before parliament
in the situation in which they now stand.
This circumstance alone forms a strong
presumption in favour of the Army and
Navy, and against the plan, a presumption
which becomes infinitely stronger when
we come to consider the history of the
transaction.
I take for granted that the Expedition
could have been undertaken only upon
the supposition that the French were not
prepared for an attack. Now, Sir, one
has only to look at Lord Chatham's own
dispatches, to be convinced that our go-
vernment proceeded either upon no infor;
mation at all, or upon the very worst in-
formation that ever imposed upon reason-
able men. Lord Chatham had hardly set
foot on shorebefore accounts came, pouring
in upon him from all quarters, that the
French were not unprepared, but that they
had a vast force within a few days march;
and he tells you that though he was un-
willing to lend an ear to such intelligence,
yet it was soon confirmed to him by such
unquestionable authority that he was
compelled to give up all thoughts of
proceeding further with the Expedition.
Ihe only question therefore is, whether
his Majesty's ministers ought to have fore-
seen the resistance or not. Now, Sir,
I would ask, whether any body seriously
believes, that, if they had used due dili-
gence to satisfy themselves upon so im-
portant a point, they could have been so
grossly deceived ? I do not deny that it
is just possible, but how far it is probable
is a question of a very different nature.
For it must be recollected, that ministers
do not stand in the condition of persons,
who have lent too easy a faith to a state-






A3] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.-TheC Lords Commissioners' Speech.


mnent which was in itself likely, though it
turned out to be untrue; but that they
acted upon a supposition that was intrin-
sically contrary to all the rules of proba-
bility, and which it, therefore, required a
mass of the best evidence to establish;-
namely, that the French were unprepared
to defend the city of Antwerp. Therefore,
in order to make out a case in their de-
fence, it is necessary to prove, that a large
number of competent witnesses concurred
in a completely false representation of a
most material tact. If they have any
such case, it is for them to prove it bye
and bye, and that is a point to which, in
the course of that enquiry to which I con-
tend parliament ought to pledge itself, our
attention will naturally be directed. But,
I trust that, in the mean time, I shall not
be thought remarkably deficient in can-
dour, it I profess that I u.terly disbelieve
in the existence of any such ground of
justification.
Now, Sir, with respect to the relief of
Austria, which is understood to have been
one of the objects originally in view, though
it happens unluckily that the battle of
Wagram was fought, and the armistice
signed before the expedition sailed. One
could have thought that when his Ma-
jesty's ministers had decided the prelimi-
nary point, whether Austria could be ef-
fectually succoured or not, in the affirma-
tive, the first object would have been, to
occupy some part of those troops which
Buonapart& was preparing to lead against
her, and to increase her chance of success-
ful resistance by diminishing the number
of her enemies. One would have also
presumed that the most eligible point of
attack was one, as near as possible to the
seat of war; a place where we might fight
at least upon equal terms with our enemies,
and if possible, by having the population
of the country in our favour, to some ad-
vantage; above all a place where we
4 should have to deal with some of his best
troops, some of those who might other-
wise be employed in that great contest
upon which every thing else was to depend.
Instead of that we industriously secure to
ourselves every possible disadvantage.
We make choice of a place as far as pos-
sible removed from the real seat of war;
a place surrounded bysome of the strongest
fortresses in Europe; a place which could
be only taken by surprise, and which, such
was the accuracy of our intelligence, hap-
pened tobe in a state of complete prepara-
tion when we arrived; a place where the dis-


position of the inhabitants was not favour-
able, and where, if it had been favourable,
it would have been unavailing. Even if
we had succeeded, I know not what effect
that could have had on the affairs in Ger-
many. We must have retired again im-
mediately. Before the news of our success
could reach Buonapart6's ears our retreat
must have already begun. He must have
known that we couid not remain, and that
as soon as we had seized the ships and des-
troyed the arsenal, we had nothing for it
but to return home with all possible expe-
dition. But putting the case dil'erenlly:
suppose we could have remained, or that
it would have been worth our while to re-
main till he could send a large force to
drive us out. Still did they imagine that
he would detach a single man, from his
main body, in order to expel us a few
weeks the sooner from a place where our
army was perishing faster by disease, than
he could hope to destroy it by the sword.
Did his Majesty's ministers think, or did
any body think, that this consummate
warrior and statesman, engaged as he was
in a last struggle with the yet formidable
po'er of the House of Austria, and about
to do that which was to crown all his
former successes and glories, by rendering
him uncontrouled master of the continent;
that such a man, at such a moment, would
be guilty of an error which scarce a
subaltern officer in his army could not
point out, and of which, to state it as
strongly as possible, they themselves would
hardly have been capable in a similar si-
tuation ? He well knew, how great that
prize was for which he was to contend on
the banks of the Danube. He knew that
it was there, and there alone, he was to
fight, not only for Germany, but for Spain,
for Italy, for Holland, for France itself,
for all his conquests and all his glories.
He knew that it was there a final decree
was to be passed upon the fate of Europe,
a decree not to be reversed by the capture
of a few Dutch towns, or the destruction
of any logs that might be floating in the
Scheldt. And did they so far measure
his mind by their own poor and inadequate
conception of affairs, as ever to dream that
he could be arrested in his career, that he
could be prevented from striking the last
'fatal blow, through the fear of losing
Flushing, or Middleburgh, or Antwerp it-
self. Did they imagine that for the sake of
such comparatively paltryobjects he would
sacrifice the thousandth part of his chance
of gaining such battle as that of Wa-






B5 ,. PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, I 10.-The Lords Cormmissioners Speecd,


gram, which, if he lost these things, would
form but a -li,,hl aggravation to the ca-
lamity, whichal he gained, the r,--akitr;
of a few towns, and the re-building of a
few ships would be an easy task to a man
who would then wield, at pleasure, the
whole moral and physical force of Europe.
But if they really entertained any hopes
of saving Austria, did it never occur to
them that there was a point to which a
force might be sert with a greater chance
df success than'to the coast of Holland ?
Did it never occur to them, that in the
norlh of Germany, we should have been
nearer the seat of war, and that our ap-
pearance would have told more directly
upon the operations of .1,.'. t.i ? Did
they not know that we should have found
a people, (of whose dispositions, indeed,
we have since had such convincing proofs
during the singular and well conducted
retreatof the Duke of Brunswick), a people
eager in the cause, and anxious for our
aid ; and by 11.... ;, our efforts to that
.II:,1 .i ve II..l i : shewn, what it
\ ~ .... t important to shew, a disposition
to attend to the main objects of the war,
singly, and without any mixture of views
exclusively our own, and resulting from a
more contracted system of policy. One
should not have been surprised, indeed,
ifra different view of this subject had been
taken by a government differently com-
posed, but it is really singular that the
persons then in power should have acted
upon any other. We all remember, how,
upon a former occasion, when out of power,
what they termed, the neglect of admi-
nistration to send assistance to a much
more remote point, and under circum-
stances certainly far less favourable,'
formed the never failing topic of their
invectives for two whole sessions. To
that neglect they constantly attributed
the loss of the battle of Eylau, the peace of
Tilsit, the alienation of Russia and the final
submission of Europe. Those persons
who then gave credit to them have now an
opportunity to judge of their sincerity by
their conduct under somewhat similar
circumstances. Austria resolves to make
a last effort ; the people of the North of
Germaiy only 'i 11I.. our arrival as the
signal of insurrection ; and what is the
conduct of his Majesty's ministers ? They
consult some persons who actually are
smugglers, and some others who have at
one time been engaged in that honourable
profession, and guided by their advice and
authority, they send half our army and


half our navy to the swamps and sandbanks
of Holland, and in the meantime Austria
perishes, without a single Eingli.llnan
having appeared in arms on any spot
where he could render her the smallest aid.
And these are the gentlemen from whom
we heard so much about the loss of cha-
racter we sustained by our selfish conduct
upon a former occasion; and what is the
way they took to re-establish our character?
They avail themselves of the absence of
the French armies in Germany to under-
take an Expedition, which, be the merits
of it in other respects what they may, was
a plan of mere British insular policy, in
the success or failure of which no conti-
nental nation had the smallest interest.
The only c.li, I .f these I. iA';lnl-inious lld1
enlightened statesmen is, instead of making
common cause with Austria, to extract
some i tilln,, ; '. .n :;g to ourselves from
the final destruction of the only other
power in Europe that still preserved even
the shadow of independence. The con-
solation that they prepared for Ain-. i in
her fate was, that by her last efforts she
had purchased some ships for Enil.ii.]
that she had saved England the expenqq~
of a ;,..Liii., ; ,,Tadron, and perhaps
even enalal.I1 LEn.l,,d to establish an ad-
vantageous depot tor the sale of her con-
traband goods.
Let me, however, be clearly undl-t lo:,d
upon this point. I by no means agree
with the opposition of that day, in think-
in-- that an army ought to have been sent
to Prussia just before the battle of Eylau,
nor am I, by any means, persuaded that a.
*;l,,b man i..,. to have been sent tothe
i., III of Germany last spring. I am rather
inclined to believe that the case was des-
I -. i .i from the beginning, that no efbfrts
.\, could have made would have saved
Austria from destruction, and that a (.u1-
paign in Germany would have ended Ike
a campaign in Spain. But what I contend
is, that if an army was to be sent any
where, every consideration both of pru-
dence and of magnanimity pointed out
Germany and not Holland as its destina-
tion, and that his Majesty's ministers were
more particularly bound to that line of
conduct, both by their own system and
their own professions.
But suppose there existed no other
ground of complaint; suppose the expe-
dition to Walcheren had been wisely
Planned in all other respects ; suppose the
execution of it had been entrusted I.. ime
officer, whom long experience, tried abili-






57] P.A\L. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 18.-Th7 Lords Coi,:ui hsters' Speeh. [5(


Sties, and distinguished success more par-
ticularly pointed out for the situation.
Still there remains behind a completely
fatal objection, upon which I have not yet
touched, but which ought alone to draw
down upon the ministers the severest in-
dignation of the House. Gentlemen, I am
sure, have anticipated me; I mean that
singular perverseness, with which they
pitched upon the most unhealthy season
of the year, to send an Expedition to the
most unhealthy place in Europe; Badajos,
perhaps, excepted, where our other army
was stationed. I do not wish to appeal to
the feelings of the House by drawing a
picture of all that our army suffered upon
* that fatal spot. I merely wish to direct
their attention to a dry statement of the
case. Five thousand men dead, and about
as many more ruined in their health and
rendered completely incapable of service ;
and all this owing to the most profound
ignorance of the most obvious and most
material facts. It is really a thing so un-
accountable, and so unlike the conduct of
any moderately ilitelligent men, that if
it had not happened in our own time, and
within the immediate scope of our own
observation, we should hardly have thought
it credible. Did then a British Ministry,
deliberating upon an expedition, on which
forty thousand men were to be employed,
wholly omit to enquire whether the spot to
which they were to be sent was healthy or
not? Did it never occur to them that a
low marshy spot might be unfavourable to
the human frame, particularly in the sum-
mfer or autumn months? Did none of the
persons, whom they must have consulted
Supon other points, even drop a hint as to
this ? Did none of the thirteen members of
the cabinet even open the commonest
book upon the subject ? Or were they
possessed of complete information ? Did
they foresee and calculate upon the loss,
ant determine to incur it for a certain
S glory and advantage that was to ensue ?
Was this their scheme of policy ? Did they
deliberately resolve to expose a whole
British army, the finest the country ever
sent out, to the effects of a pestilential
disease, and that for the sake of seizing a
few ships and destroying an arsenal? They
are in a dilemma from which it is impos-
o sible' for them to extricate themselves,
Either they were wholly ignorant of the
nature of the country which was to be the
scene of their exploits or they were not; if
,'l.\ were, how scandalous their neglect;
.1 tli were not, how wanton their cruelty.


And this, Sir, ntunrlly leads one to con-
sider the last act ofthi, tiazeidy, that de-
plorable instance of utter intapa iiv for
the rnanagenient of affairs--the manner iu
which this expedition was abhdi,,.d,
This is an error which is not to be inpuitid
to either of those persons who have since'
retired from office. It was the act of the
government nearly as it is now composed,
and may therefore be considered as no
unfair specimen of their administration.
For two months those persons, to whose
care and wisdom England is now confided,
were utterly unable to determine whether
they should evacuate the Island of Wal-
cheren or not; two months during which
the British Army was daily perishing by
disease. Whether this interval was spent
in consulting naval and military authorities,
or in settling disputes among themselves,
I know not, nor is it material to enquire.
but this much is lear, from the orders and
counter-orders they issued, (one day send-
ing workmen to buiiJ fortifications, another
day sending transports to take away the
troops), that it was spent in a state of va-
cillation and uncertainty, which would be
ridiculous in any ordinary transaction of
life. Nor was it till the change of the
season had somewhat abated the malignity
of the climate; until we had, as it were,
taken the benefit of the fever from begin-
ning to end, until the powers of destruction
had worn themselves out, apd nature had
ceased to make war against us, that they,
at last, consented to relieve the British
Army from that charnel house to which it
had been .,-i.nimil. One would have
thought thii i ( consideration l.f .i.ihc\, even if thes haA
no r-prar'l to the. (nunir\ uiiff-ling under
the consequences iof thl ,ii aslhn,-- and
precipitation, still the common feelings ot
humanity would have compelled them to
come at once to that determination which,
every reasonable man foresaw they nius,
ultimately adopt. One would h te thoIghtL
that some compassion would have lout hed
them, for :lhuu.and, of their countrymen,
whose fate depended upon their wili; one
would have thought that the minister, who.
was also general upon that expedition,
would have instantly, and earnestly asked
for hisarmy, that release which had beenso
early granted to himself, from the fiml h r
prosecution of a desperate and fatal design;
one would have thought that some one
among them, would have been found to re-
present to a an lp>,'i.nliti and benevolent
sovereign the real magnitude of this evil.,






59] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 25, 1 s8.--The LoordsCommissioners' Speech. [60
to implore him to put an end to this period verseness has contributed towards their *
of disaster, and to remind him how un- ruin. 1 cannot forget, that the authors of
seemly and ill-omened a thing it would these calamities, are the men after their
be, if of that day, for instance, on which own heart, whom they rejoiced to see call
his people were preparing to celebrate to play their last stake, whose return to
the prolongation of his life and reign, every power, and the revival of whose foreign
moment might be told of the death of policy they hailed as the certain omens of
some of those gallant men, who might glory and success. They were tired of a
have lived to defend his empire, and to languid war, they were disgusted with a
promote the honour of his crown, system of economy which would have
Sir, we have heard much of that relent- enabled them to continue the contest, till
less disregard to human life, which the the time should arrive when it might be
Emperor Napoleon has displayed, in pro- terminated with honour and security. The
secuting the schemes of his ambition. yoke was not galling enough; their bur-
But, at least, he has something to put into thens did not increase sufficiently fast.
the opposite scale. In return for their They were anxious for new men and for
sufferings, he is enabled to tell the people new measures. They wished for an active
of France of battles won, of provinces con- stirring administration; a government that
quered, and of empires founded. As to us, would do something, that would not let the
our population is wasted upon enterprises force of the country lie unemployed, that
which fail from their own intrinsic absur- would fill the gazettes and create titles;
dity. All our sacrifices are repaid-by people who, if they could find no objects,
disgrace. A useless dear-bought victory would make some; who, if there were no
is the utmost advantage we ever obtain; points of attack, would waste whole armies
but our troops are, for the greater part, and navies upon those that were unattack-
destroyed in a way, compared with which able; who would send all over Europe
the fate of those who fall by the sword, canvassing treacherous or unwilling allies
may be considered as fortunate, and the to receive our men and money; and who
death of a British soldier is embittered by would exhaust our best means of defending
the reflection, that it can contribute neither ourselves at home, in fostering an imagi-
to the advantage nor to the honour of his nary spirit of resistance abroad. Their
country; that it is at once useless and in- desire has been fulfilled; their favourite
glorious. Sir, the Expedition to the coast system has been followed; and its effects
of Italy, which, at any other time, would are now visible. We have sown in folly,
have excited so much indignation and and we have reaped in misfortune; we
surprise, is hardly worth mentioning now, have seen all the faults and misfortunes of,
that the public mind is occupied by far a seventeen years war, copied and repeated
greater evils. Such, indeed, have been in the course of as many months, The dis-
the transactions of the last year that the grace at the Helder, the carnage at Qui- *
account of a mere failure will form one of beron, the waste by the pestilence in St.
the least melancholy chapters of its history. Domingo, the ridiculous inefficiency of the
It is the light of that picture of which Expedition to Ferrol; all these things
Spain and Holland are the shades; and happening at considerable intervals, were
we must be content to consider that en- but the types of what the last year has
terprize as a matter ofcongratulationwhich exhibited in -Spain, Italy and Holland,
was unattended, at least, by any great cala- with circumstances of more palpable mis-
mity, which has not filled our houses with management, and of aggravated distress.
mourning, nor wrung our hearts with af- Sir, I would put it to the conscience of
fection, which has only wasted the strength any gentleman whether he thinks that such
and lowered the name of England, and a government as this is worthy of confi-
which has done this great country no dence. If he does, let him vote for the
other harm than thatof making its councils original address; but if he does not, he
the laughing stock of all Europe. must, I think, support the amendment of
Sir, it is impossible to consider these the noble Lord. Let him consider its
things without feeling some compassion history and its composition ; let him re-
for the people of England, doomed to suf- collect how it arose out of the dissensions
fer under such great complicated evils of the last, how it was born, as it were, in
and yet I must fairly own, that this senti- disgrace, and a cripple from its infancy;
ment is very much weakened in my mind, let him consider how the great offices of
hlien I recollect how much their own per- state are tilled, and, above all, let him






61] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.-The Lords Commissioners' Speech. [6C


compare the government with the state of
S the country. There have been times, in-
deed, before the new order of things be-
gan, and before that system which had
prevailed in Europe for so many centuries,
yielded to the enormous influence of one
state, times of security and repose, when
even these, or any other persons of mode-
rate understanding and attainments, might
S have governed the country, though not
with credit, at least, without much danger.
But now that the whole power of Europe
is concentrated in France, and the whole
power of France concentrated in one man,
and that man the greatest general and
statesman the world ever produced, and
0 the bitterest enemy England ever knew;
it is an absolute infatuation not to have
recourse to our best means of defence
moral as well as physical, to the wisdom
and union of our councils as well as to the
strength of our fleets and armies. Sir, I
do not appear here as the blind admirer,
as the indiscriminate partizan of the gen-
tlemen on the bench below me, and their
political adherents. I am bound to them
by no ties of hope, or personal interest. It
is not for'their own sakes, but for the sake
of the country that I wish to see them re-
turn to office. Indeed I know not whether
in the present situation of things, office,
, which under more favourable circum-
stances, is no doubt, a natural object of am-
bition, is to be wished for, as a benefit, to
any set of men. This, at least, is not a bed
of roses. They might escape blame, but
they could not possibly acquire any repu-
tation. They would succeed to shattered
finances, to unsuccessful arms, to disgraced
councils, and to a war, the close or the
continuation of which it is alike impossible
to contemplate without alarm ; they would
succeed to difficulties that might confound
the wisest, and to dangers that might appal
the boldest statesman; difficulties and
dangers for which the emoluments of office,
and the pride of party victory, would but
poorly compensate to men who looked, as
I hope they look, not only to themselves
but to the country ; to future fame as well
as to present power.
Perhaps it may be already too late, and
we may shortly be destined, partly owing
to our own follies, and partly owing to
those awful events which we could not
control, and which have made our times
the beginning of a new era in the world,
to share the fate of the other nations of
Europe. Perhaps we are already in a si-
tuation which defies the efforts of the


wisest and best men among us, and which
would have defied the efforts of these wiser
and greater men whom we have lost. But
if the country, shorn of its honours, and
humbled as it must be, can still be pre-
served, sure I am, that its preservation can-
not be the work of those by whom it has
been brought into its present situation, or
of persons who proceed upon the same
system with inferior ability. It cannot be
preserved by the wreck and remnant of a
ministry, by something weaker than that
which was already supposed to have at-
tained the utmost possible point of debi-
lity; persons whose defects are notorious,
and whose very apology is shameful; who
offer us their intolerance and court favour,
as substitutes for all the qualities that,
ought to belong to an English administra-,
tion. If we are not willing to bear every
thing, this is not to be borne. It is time
to try some other remedy before the last
agony comes on. If this empire is to be
destroyed let it not be under the reign of
these Augustuli. Let its end be worthy
of a state which has achieved great actions
and produced great men. If we fall let
us fall with dignity.
Mr. Herbert objected to the Amend-
ment, as it condemned the conduct of mi-
nisters without evidence.
Sir Thomas Turton said, that he could
not sit down and give a silent vote upon
subjects which had excited so much re-
gret and indignation among all classes of
the community. As the representatives
of the people, they ought to tell their con-
stituents that they did not overlook the
conduct of ministers, and that they would.
not pass by their misconduct without pu-
nishment. He was really astonished at
the conduct of the noble lord who moved
the Address, as well as that of the gentle-
man who seconded it, in having expressed
a hope t,at it would be carried with una-
nimity, when it was a mere echo of the
speech, composed by his Majesty's minis-
ters. At present they wanted information
to enable the louse to judge whether
public affairs had been well or ill ma-
naged, and without delay they ought to
pledge themselves to the country to call
for such information, and demand a rigid
enquiry after the supposed delinquents.
If the House considered the armaments
that were still going forward, it ought not
to lose an instant in the investigation of
those which had already terminated in
disaster and disgrace. He would appeal
to any genenli a opposite him, whether






63) PA RL. DEBATT-., JAN. 23, ISo.-_Tlie Lords Commissioners' Speech.


it Was hot the sense of the people in all
qu:I tc rS that out arms had lately been dis-
gr ed.i l. and tiat they were unianimous for
the di-,civ, ry and punishment of the au-
thor ? He was astonished to hear of a fresh
army having been sent to Spain, after
the disasters which had befallen the
former, which had a much fairer prospect
of success. But the most infallible mode
df securing miscarriage had been resorted
to by ministers, when they divided their
itr.-r-h.l between Spain and Waltheren.
The circumstances of the transactions had
been so extraordinary, both in the plan
and in the execution, that in justice to
themselves, ministers ought to demand
thin most i:i1l enquiry into their own con-
tact. Tinil.rng as he did that such an
enqtiry waS necessary he should vote for
the AmenAdment.
Lord KcAI', l"..A did not mean either to
support the Address or the Amendment,
hat he wished the House to adopt some
course which Would produce unanimity.
Not being in possession of the necessary
documents, he could not know to whom
thi country ought to impute the disho-
nour and calamities which had lately at-
tacked to his Majesty's arms. He sincere-
ly lamented the unfortunate expedition to
the Scheldt, and thought it absolutely ne-
cessary that that disgraceful enterprise
should be accounted for by his majesty's
mi'ist'ers, by the noble lord whose depart-
inerit it then was to Superintend it, or by the
niaal and military commanders who con-
ducted the execution of it. Our situation
in this country was certainly a subject of
consolatioh to the people, when they com-
pared their satec with that of others; but
when he saW the present abject state of
oar a'lieis whose territories had been near-
ly swallowed up in the French empire,
hedid not see that even we had much
reRas'on for exultation. He wished the
House to present a dutiful Address to the
throne, desiring an enquiry into the con-
duet of ministers, but carefully avoiding
all expres;.i'n-, which might appear to
prejudge one, or all of them. He was
sorry to perceive one very essential sub-
jeIt had been omitted in the Speech, but
which he would wish to introduce into the
Address ; he meant the situation of the
people '6f Ireland, who were our most
faithful as Well as most useful allies. He
had opportunities of being informed,
aitd knew it to be true, that they were
row suflfering under very great hardships,
b'lutwhich he did not imipute to the noble


duke who then represented our most gra-
cious Sovereign in that country. Miinis-
ters ought to extend much more attention
to Ireland, than they had hitherto doneb,
to preserve it sure to our empire, and uni
assailable by the enemy. P,',. .1 'e
alao thought might be defended with
30,000 men against any invading army,
at least such was the opinion of the late
sir Charles Stewart, whose opinions were
much respected by the officers, and he
trusted ministers would take the proper
measures for its defence.
Mr. Brand saw no good likely to arise
to the country from an enquiry, as he was
well aware of the manner in which it
would most likely be carried on. He
therefore liked that part of the Amend-
ment, which at once condemned the ex-
peditions to Watcheren and Spain, better
than that which merely proposed an iii-
quiry into them. The measures of minis-
ters, even as mentioned by themselves,
deserved censure and condemnation. Thi
tardiness with which they executed whAt
measures they had devised, where promp-
titude was particular!'v IiNc. :- \,, i\ t Ire
the surprise and iiigi:ali,.on of every
man. For argument's sake he would sp-
pose their projects to be the best' c6W-
certed ; still would the tardiness of theit
execution be sufficient to establish the'
criminality of ministers. Buonaparte left
Spain before the end of January: it was
then plain that a war with Austria would
inevitably ensue; he left Paris on the
16th of April: fought the battle of Ratis-
bon on the 221, and in a few days after
reached Vienna. If ministers were de-
termincd to assist Austria they ought to
have done it in time, and not after her
army was defeated, and an armistice con-
ceded to the conqueror. (Hear, hear !)
Buonaparte was able to draw his forces
from Spain and bring the warwith Austria
to a termination before our expedition
could reach Walcheren. Could not the
same armament have been sent to Wal-
cheren .-i.l.re these events happened?
but ministers acted 'imil,1, 1 n. i.
Spain. The marquis uI \i' i. -"' had
been appointed ambassador from this
country to the Supreme Junta on the
29th of May last, but he did not depart
from England/ until the end of July.
Were the affairs of any country likely to
be attended with success, when planned
and executed by such ministers ? He ifi
silted upon it that it was a want ..f pili~y
to send troops to Spain, where dr.- t .
1






65] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.--The Lords Commissioners' Speech. [06


conform to new habits of living, and where
there was not the least,hope of ultimate
success. Whenever we succeeded by
land against the French, they were in an
isolated situation, where their chief had
no means of reinforcing them, but into
Spain he could at his pleasure pour his
legions, and compel us to retreat.
Mr. Lushington had no objection to an
enquiry, but he presumed that the do-
cuments which his majesty had ordered to
be laid before the House would prove sa-
tisfactory ; as all classes of people had
been once zealous for the success of Spain
against her invaders, and encouraged mi-
nisters to assist her to such an extent; he
did not like to see them abandoned, or
public confidence withdrawn from them.
Mr. Bathurst said that no one felt the
necessity of supporting his majesty or the
government more than he did. The
question now only was, what sort of in-
quiry they were to hold out to the public.
Feeling as he did, in common with many
others, that there were several subjects of
disgrace and calamity which had lately
occurred and which called much for par-
liamentary inquiry, he came down with
the hope that ministers would have put
into the Speech not only a declaration of
their readiness to alffrd every information
that could be required, but that the mover
and seconder of the Address would have
introduced into the Address a pledge on
the part of parliament to take tlhese cala-
mities and disasters into immediate con-
sideration. lie had hoped that ministers
would not have put expressions into his
majesty's mouth so coldly ali.il;, to
those disasters ; but, that being the case,
he surely thought that with such a strong
primd face ground of misconduct, parlia-
ment not only should inquire, but should
pledge itself to do so. The Amendment,
however, he thought went too far and ra-
ther-precluded inquiry, by prejudging the
case that wasto be inquired into. The term
indignation ought not to preede, but to
follow conviction. To that expression
therefore he could not agree ; neither
could he allow that the crisis hadbeen
" marked only by a repetition of former
error." The battle of Talavera had,
to his mind, placed the valour of our
troops on a height on which it never for-
merly stood. The latter part of .he
Amendment, he thought went rather far-
ther in the way of prejadgim nlt tlhanl was
necessary. It seemed to g; -it yond what,
to his conception, was necessary, and to
VOt. Xv.


infer something criminal. He also thought
that a necessary part of the Address was
omittnd, and that after thanking his ma.-
jesty for his communicatio,. of tie neces-
sary documents, it would be sufficient, as
a pledge to ihe country, to state that they
should immediately proceed to institute a
parliamentary inquiry into the failures of
the late campaign.
Mr. Ponsonby said that the hon, member
who spoke last had much misunderstood
the Amendment of his noble friend. It
was not the intention of his noble friend
by that Andmdment to criminate in the
first instance, any i.nt;. ..1 11 person in
any particular transaction. Its only ob-
ject was to tell his majesty that that House
felt deeply for the calamities of the last,
campaign, and that they were resolved to
institute such inquiries as should lead to
a discovery of the causes which had led,
to the calamity and disgrace vhich had
thus been brought on the country. Did
the hon. member now deny that the
country had been exposed to calamity and
disgrace ? Did he believe that this coun-
try had ever, a any former period, been
exposed to so great calamity and disgrace ?
Could the hon. gentleman deny that mi-
nisters had exposed our councils to scora
and derision ? Could he deny that they
hald ll .i, I an opportunity to our enemy
to scoff at our follv, and in his publications
to scorn and deride us ? And still farther,
could he deny that Europe did not; sym-
pathize in this feeling, and agree that the
observations were just ? Did the hon.
gent. then think, that all these instances
of national disgrace were to be endured
by the country, and notwithstanding that
the ministers must be hold to be men of
the most perfect wisdom and propriety of
conduct ? If so, was he also prepared to
say that the officers .-employed in the ser-
vice were not to biame? That all had
failed, but that neither they who planned,
nor they who executed had done wrong ?
To determine this, it would be well to con-
silde what wa the state of the country .,i I..*
ror',pe at the end of the last campaign.
That general who had bfeen nmch and inost
un;us,.y traduced (sir John Moore), feil
mn the month of Jalnuary in the batt e of
Corulna which at tile moment of victory
he 'sealed with his blood. A battle, not-
withst;maning, all that the hon. gent. had
said, at least as brilliant and glorious as
tht battle of Talavera. A battle fought
when the commander was carrying a re-
treating army out of tihe ii O i ; not On:
F






67] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 18I0.-The Lords Commissioners' Speech. [68
where the rashness and presumption of lition was sent to the Scheldt under the
the general induced him to risk an en- earl of Chatham, consisting of 40,000;
gagernent, which there was no call on him and sir John Stuart had gone to Calabria
to hazard, where not even one good con- with 15,000. These several bodies
sequence was to be effected by the result. amounted to about 95,000, and there
Buonapart6 then quieted Spain, and it was might have been sent from this country
known to ministers that Austria was to .5 or 6,000 more, making a total of
attempt once more to stem the torrent of 100,000 men. Austria, in the battle of
his ambition. It was for them then, Esling, in which she beat Buonapart6, *
therefore, to consider where they could had, according to her own account 75,000,
make the most, ii -tiw-.l stand, and well and according even to the French account
to weigh how they could best apply the 90,000 men. If, instead of g the
force committed to their charge. lie had British force, as was the never-ceasing
left Spain, and that must have shewn the practice of weak minds, this force had
ministers of this country that he consider- been concentred into one, at. -. 1 .1
ed Austria as the most formidable enemy, in support of Austria, we ,
for it was his rule never to trust his gene- have had a greater, and he need hardly
rals, however experienced, with the most add a better army, (for no troops were to
important service, but to undertake that be compared with our own,) than the
himself. This, therefore, was plain, when army by which the French had been de-
he quitted Spain and returned to his capi- feated at the battle of Esling. But how
tal. They had not only general means of was this great British force i,1|,1 *,:.] ?
inform ion, but they must have had what He did not say that it would have been
amounted almost to perfect knowledge on right to employ them in continental
the subject-and thus were they enabled operations ; but ministers had determined
to chuse the best point for diversion which that this was a wise measure, for they ac-
presented itself, either in favour of Spain tually were employed in such a service.
or of Austria, though the conduct of Buo- If they had been confined to any one ob-
naparte himselfimust have convinced them, ject, they might have effected some great
that the cause and support of Austria was operation; but divided as they were, and
infinitely the more important. No step, formed into separate and distant corps,
however, was taken on this important they could be, and in fact had proved,
point till the month of April, by which good for no one purpose. Did or could
time Austria had begun the war ; and on the hon. member say, that these circum-
the 20th of that month the battle of stances inferred nothing criminal against
Ebersdorff was fought. In that same the ministers or against the commanders ?
month one of the cabinet ministers de- The Amendment said nothing more.
sired the removal of lie minister, whose It charged general disgrace and cala,
peculiar province it was to prepare and mity, not attaching any particular in-
arrange any expedition to be fitted out by stance of either to any particular party.-
this country, because lie deemed himi not There was a very material difference be-
equal to the duty which he had to perform, tween anr Amendment calling for inquiry,
Instead of that concert among themselves, upon the broad ground of acknowledged
which, it must be apparent to every one, public disasters, and any proceeding pre-
was so indispensable at so critical a period judging the result of that inquiry. They
-a cabinet minister was requiring the were two very different propositions,
dismissal of the very minister whose pecu- though certainly the arguments of the
liar duty it was to direct the preparation hon. gent. (Mr. Bathurst) had a tendency
of the expedition. From the battle of to confoumn them, But did that hon.
ibersdorff to that of t i' I.. Buonaparte gent. mean to say, that any motion that
had gone on gaining victory after victory. went to pledge that house to inquiry,
Then, indeed, he received a check, and pledged them not only to inflict punish-
might be truly said to have experienced a ment upon the guilty, but even to pre-
defeat ; but the battle of Esling, in which sume those to be 'i who had not yet
lie was so unsuccessful, led to a suspension been put upon their trial ? He asked him
of hostilities. It now became a question, fairly, if he thought that Amendment to
how and in what quarter was the force of which he had objected, pledged the House
Great Britain employed all this time? to pass sentence upon ministers previous
Lord Wellington was in Portugal with to inquiry ? Did the hon. gent. mean to
bout 38,000 men. 'fterwards an expe, say, that the Amendment under coAside-






69] PAuL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 181 O.-The Lords Commissioners' Speech.


0 ration, was calculated to impede inquiry ?
or (lid not that hon. gent. believe that it
was intended soley to promote it? Did
that hon. gent. mean to say, that from the
shape of that Amendmnent it might be rea-
sonably conjectured that it was the design
of the framers of it to entrap the House
into some premature pledge against fur-
their inquiry ? It was impossible that the
lon. gent. could seriously think so. The
object of that Amendment was, to 1.1. I.
the House, and solemnly to pledge it, to
institute the most rigorous inquiry into
the causes of the disasters of the country,
and to follow up the result of that inquiry
with the most rigorous proceedings against
the authors of our national disgraces.
This was the object of the Amendment;
and if it was, it would be vain to ask upon
what shadow of pretence men could be
found, in the present perilous stale of
things, to oppose it. And first, with re-
spect to the campaign ii: Spain and Por-
* tugal. Indeed, in detailing the disasters
of this most calamitous campaign, it was
impossible to avoid recounting again and
again the same charges; for the errors of
the last campaign were but a repetition of
the errors of the first. His majesty's
ministers industriously retraced the beaten
track of their former blunders ; every sub-
sequent attempt stood in the very footsteps
of the failure that preceded it; the later
errors were only the more recent repeti-
tions of errors recently committed. Every
one knew this, at least out of doors was
convinced of it; there might be found
gentlemen in that House, however, who
would affirm otherwise, but there could
not be found outside its walls one single
man who thought otherwise.-Sir John
Moore was sent into Spain at the head of
an army to co-operate with armies that
were no where to be found to co-operate
with him: At a subsequent period, how-
ever, vt ii the Spanish armies were in
considerably less force, and all hope of
efiectual resistance to the progress of the
French arms less sanguine, ministers were
found repeating their former error in an
:i .i. ,i-..1 degree, by sending out an
army not larger than the former, to con-
tend against tenfold more arduous obsta-
S cles than those by which the valour of
that former army had been rendered
wholly unavailing. The disasters attend-
ing the blunders of his majesty's ministers
could not redeem them from a daring and
hasty repetition of those blunders; they
would not be taught by the '. -uim that


was tie fruit of ,heir own errorss ; they
were umn : derive from ail that mis-
chief of wxicii they had been .iie authors,
the little comparative good t.at other mer
could learn from misior itue; and what
could be expected ': teach those men
wisdom who pro (d themselves incapable
of being enlightened by experience ?-
It was wearisome to enter upr) i painful
and disgusting detail :i'ac promised to be
almost endless. But lie would, before he
sat down, advert in one or two words to
the more flagrant disgraces, that within
the last six months had crowned the good
works of the present administration. In the
first place, then, with respect to the great
failure of the Expedition to Walcheren.
Hie would ask the hon. gent. who spoke
last, if he had any doubt in his own mind,
that with respect to that Expedition there
had not been gross misconduct some-
where ? Did the hon. gent. mean to say,
that there wvas not ? Or if he could not
seriously entertain so monstrous an opi-
nion, and if lie did think that there had
been misconduct in some quarter, could
he say that it ouiht not to be inquired
into, and traced to its true source ? 'hey
had been told in the Speech, that it had
been the object of that Expedition to
make a diversion in favour of Austria.
But would ainy man in that House believe,
that, if we had sent a much greater force
than even the large one employed in that
Expedition, it would have had the smallest
influence upon the emperor of France
Did any man in or out of that House be-
lieve, that it would have tempted Buona-
part6 to direct any portion of his army
from the accomplishment of the great ob-
ject then before him. That it would have
induced him to have recalled a single
regiment from beyond the Pyrenees ? If
there was an individual who thought it
would, he had not acquired that opinion
of Buonapart6's military genius which
seventeen years of war might have taught
him; so that, had the Expedition even
succeeded, he was not aware of what
material advantage could be expected
from it operating as a diversion. And
did all this furnish no ground for the alle-
gations contained in the Amendment?
But still it was contended, that they should
first inquire, that all definitive judgment
should be suspended, till the result of de-
liberate inquiry was fairly before them;
what was intended by all this ? was it
meant that they were to begin by taking
these things as i .-..l i ':i;..li, which wer,






71 J PARl,. l)L- V'ES, LIM. 23, 110.-The Lords C'ommnissioners' Speech.


Universally known, established and ac-
knowledged ? Was it meant that they
were gravely to proceed, to inquire whe-
ther the climate of Walcheren was, or was
not unhealthy ? Whether the season at
which the British army made its descent
upon that island was, or was not unfavour-
able ? Was it meant that they ought
now to stop, to inquire whether ministers
were, or were not wholly ignorant of the
clinate and circumstances of an island
within twenty hours sail of England?
And was that House to pause scrupuiou dy
balancing tlie comparative extent of that
ignorance; whether they did not know
what they should have fully known, or
whether they were not as ignorant of the
nature of the place as of tlhe interior parts
of Arica, or those of China. Was that
what was meant ? And were they thus
to amuse one another, and insult an injured
country by .!lIn for inquiry into the
truth of thcts, as notorious as they are
scandalous ? Were they to inquire who
was selected to take the command of the
greatest Expedition that ever left the
shores of England ? Was that another of
the notorieties of which it is so necessary
to ascertain the truth ? But who was this
commander ? A general wise from long
experience, and II i.i... i- 1..i n the splen-
dour of many victories ? Covered with
well-earned laurels, tihe military pride of
his country ; exciting her most sanguine
hopes, and commanding her most implii it
confidence ? Was this the man appointed
to lead her armies into battle ? No ; but
the flower of her forces was committed in
an evil hour to the guidance of that inaiu-
spicious and ill-onened olficer, of whom
we know nothing more, than that he was
once at the head of the Admiralty. And
suelb was his lazy discharge of the duties
of that department, that though his near
relative was the minister, he had not the
courage to suffir the functions of the state
to sleep beneath the indolence of even his
own brother, Was there a man in Eng-
land who did not know this ? But, no
matter, we must inquire nevertheless.-
One of the avowed objects of this ill-fated
expedition was to make a diversion in fa-
vour of Austria. Was there a man in
that House who did not know that the ar-
pnistice between France and Austria had
taken place before even the first part of
our expedition sailed; ministers were
themselves aware of it; they hesitated it
is said, perhaps so ; but still the expedi-
tion was permitted to sail. All serious


hopes of any effectual diversion must, at
least, at that period, have been given up.
But how had this or any other object been
followed up? F-i,,.;, fell the 15th of
August ; on the 1ith of September lord
Chatham returned, and on the lSth, two
days after, his lordship issued a proclama-
tion; for what purpose ? requiring all
officers forthwith to join their respective
regiments in the island he himself had
quieted, and to resume their military du-
ties in that grave of British valour, that
burial ground of British soldiers. How
long afterwards was the island retained ?
and what was our army doing all the time
that it was retained ? what were the glo-
rius services in which they were en-
gaged ? in a listless resistance to the in-
glorious destruction of contagion, pesti-
ienee and disease! Is this, said Mr. Pon-
sonby, is th:s the way you have chosen to
reward the brave men who upheld the
name of England in the battle of Corun-
na ? Is this the reward for all their gallant
services? Is this the temptation you would
hold out to others, to fight as gloriously
in Spain, that they might perish as igno-
miniously in Walcheren ? Why sacri-
fice the best and bravest of our armies, ra-
ther than acknowledge you have made a
conquest that was not worth the keeping ?
(Ilear, Iear !) Is it then too much t: say,
that we will inquire ? whatever gentlemen
may think, 1 hesitate not to affirm, that
there is not a man out of this House who
does not think we ought to go at least as
far as you are now called upon to go.
The country is labouring under the irri-
tating sense of abuses, gross and long
continued : it locks to the constitutional
organ for redress and justice, and it ex-
pects that, in a crisis of such awful mo-
ment, the House of Commons will not be
wanting in its duty. We all know, that
suspicions, however unworthy, have gone
abroad, and we know too, that there are
men who are but too vigilant in seizing
every opportunity to strengthen and to
propagate a general distrust of the purity
of parliament. Let the IHluse then, weigh
well the mischievous consequences of be-
ing at such a time at variance with the
unanimous opinion of the country.-The
same fttuity that marked the conduct of
ministers with respect to Walcheren, was
equally observable in their conduct of the
operations of the campaign in Spain.
Lord Wellesley, in the month of April,
was gazetted as ambassador. Indeed, it
was remarkable that it was this month






73] PARL, DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.--The Lords Commissioners' Speech.


that had been chosen by ministers for
planning all their various operations in fa-
vour of our allies, and as well against the
enemy as against one another. Lord
Wellesley, notwithstanding his appoint-
ment in April, and all that was ex-
pected from his vigorous exertions in
Spain, did not sail till the 24th of July
* following. Whlit occasioned this delay
he left it to minisiers to explain.-With
respect to the operations of lord Welling,
ton, he knew not whether thev originated
with that noble lord himself or from the
cabinet; but it did appear that on the
5Ath of July, he being then at Placenzia,
uwas una';le to follow the enemy for want
of means of transport or conveyance; and
on the stih of Augus~t '-.'1. ' in his di,
patches. from Deleytosa, he complains of
want of provisions. Whatever was the
caule f he then position of the army
under lord Wellington, it yet, he thought,
called for inquiry. T1, had he not
* means tf transporting his troops froml
Placenzia? Why without provisions at
Deleytoa ? And why was the noble lord,
the amhb ssador, who was in England at
the time of the battle of Talavera, de-
tained s, long from rendering t!lose ser-
vices to the Spanish cause which it was
fondly expected would have resulted
S from his exertions ? These facts, taken
from their own gazette, called upon the
House to say, that culpability there wa-
some"whre; let severe inquiry. discover
where. They were not now called upon
to inquire whether there had been errors,
and disasters, and disgraces, but to whom
they were to be traced, and whose punish-
ment ought to atone (as far as it could do)
for their calamitous consequences.-Afier
enforcing with great strength of a gumcnt
and munch emphatical i., i _.. the: abso-
lute necessity of an immediate, rigorous,
and complete inquiry, the right hon. gent,
concluded with the following oiserva-
tions : The situation of the country is ex-
tremely awful; and if they, whose igno-
rance and obstinacy have placed it in th ,i
situation, are now to be exempted from
the responsibility of having done so, iis
danger will not, oi thai account, be less
alarming.-After a repetition of the same
errors have produced a repetition of the
same disasters, this House cannot content
itself with doing merely that which it has
thought sufficient in periods less critical,
and in exigencies less pressing. This is
no time for half measures. I do think that
it is a crisis that calls upon the House of


Commons to put forth its penal powers;
it is no time for civility ; it is no time for
ceremoniously waving the best interests of
the State in courteous compliance to the
feelings of those who have either betrayed
or endangered the te ;the present is not a
time for shaping Amendments to the ima-
ginary niceties of those gentlemen who re-
volt at ail idea of punishment-it is the time
to speak outand pursue wih unwearied zeal
public defaulters of every description. Had
I a choice between punishment and par-
don. I would prefer the former, because I
hJnk the circumstances of the country im-
periously demand some solemn examples.
It fell to my lot, last sessions, to call the
attention of the House to what I lthoght
I plainly proved to have amounted to gross
misconduct on the part of ministers in
tle Spanish campaign. The Hlouse
thought otherwise, but what have they
done since ? Have they since exhibited
in the Peninsula any monument of reco-
vered vigour and awakened wisdom; and
if thev have not, what will the House do
now ? I then invoked them by the manes
of the heroes who fell in tie battle of
Corunia-bv their as heroic survivors-
to dojuslice to the valour that so unavail-
;_l\ bled, and so fruitlessly triumph d.
!ih. louse have in their remembrance
what their decision was then, and should
not forget what has been the conduct of
the same ministers since. Once more
then I ask, what will the House do now ?
If they will ac gainn in the same way-
if they cin again be guilty of such indif-
'erence to lie zeal and ,,11 I1;1 of such
hr ve and gallant men- I will not venture
to predict what may be the consequence;
but I will say, that if this llou,,e can come
to !,uch a decision, they are unworthy to
he called tlie countrymen ol the heroes to
whose services they will then have award-
ed so iniquitous a recompence. It may
be said, that tie present ministers are not
answer;ble for tlhe errors of the late ad-
ministration, but I doubt if such a plea, as
t -ifling as it is false, will this night be resort.
ed to. Or the e evcn ministers in the
to',rmer cabinet, seven arc in the present,
and, of course, the same majority in both,
The Lord Privy Seal, the President of the
Council, the First Finance Ilinister, &c.
&c. are still in the cihinet. But upon a
plea so trifling he should no longer dwell,
and would conclude with entreating the
House, keeping once for all the campaign
of 1809 in their eye, to vindicate their
own character, and do an insulted coun-
try justice,






j 2.: iP, JA N. 2,3, 1810 -Who 1OdS o.


I Mr. Rath,?erst observed in explanation,
that frowmt their number it was impossible
for him to answer all the ques'.onis put to
him by the right lon. gent. He would
only say that the substance of what he
had nmeaut to state was, that in a motion
for enquiry, it was unahir to anticipate
the result, which the Amendment in the
present instance certainly did, and for that
reason and on that ground only he had
crp";,r'r1 it.
I. i Castlerea/g felt it to be his duty to
justify the line of conduct that lha been
pursued, respecting the expeditions, upon
which so much of that day's discussion
turned, and he assured the right hon. gent.
who spoke last, that there was no part of
his conduct which he should not have an
opportunity of knowing. Conscious of
the wise policy upon which these (,\pedi-
tions were framed, and confident Ahat he
could most fully and satisfactorily justify
the principles upon which they had been
undertaken, and the manner in which
they had been directed, to the attainment
of their objects, he had more reason to
court than to shrink from inquiry. But
as the share he had had in these transac-
tions, had been frequently adverted to, in
the course of the debate, he could not
bring himself to allow the present ques-
tion to come to a vote, without offir1ing
some observations to the House upon the
subjects and argumne:s that had been in-
troduced into the discussion. lie did not
think it necessary, however, to nltter very
minutely into ithe .t.l on the preseCnt
occasion, as it would come frequently
under the consideration of the House in a
more detailed form, when the necessary
documents were before .le.n. lie trust.-
ed, that he never, in any part of his poli-
tical conduct, discovered any disposition
to evade enquiry ; and though.Ili i ... as
he did, from the right lion. gent. who had
inow sat down, on many other points,
he had always agreed with him in that.
On the former occasion, to which tlhe
reght hon. member had alluded, he had
not .- ...1 the motion for enquiry ; but
the majority of the lHouse thought dififr-
ently from him, and negatived the motion
for inquiry. The same inclination he had
always discovered for enquiry, lie felt in
an, equal degree on the present occasion.
He was sensible, however, at the same time,
of the difficulties to military, as well as
public men, in attending such enquiries,
and the almost utter impracticability, in
some cases, of making their views fully


understood, when not seconded by favour-
able results ; but the coi;stitution required
that the House should be satisfied; and
: ..: s) highly as he dil, the privi-
leges ol that House, he would b e the last
mtan to attempt to deprive them o' so
salutary and constitutional a check on
public men, and public measures. lIe, for
his owvin part, would not shrink from en-
quiry, and did not fear the exercise of
that penal justice with which the right
hon. gent. had threatened him. He claim-
ed no mercy from him, but most sincerely
requested that the House would examine
into the merits or demerits of his conduct,
and do him justice. The summary mode
which the right hon. gent. had taken,
in passing judgment before he had the in-
formation and evidence, was ill suited to
the ends of justice, and the dignity of
that House. He did not, however, conm-
plain of the right hon. gent.'s severity in
this respect, but trusted that the House
would not, like him, think it necessary to
recur to the whole course of the adtminis-
tration in which hre had lately a share, to
finish the grounds of charge, or subjects
of this enquiry. The House, lie trusted,
would confine itself to the late campaign,
and (i,< ...11 ...,!h subjects as had already
come under their review. Such an en-
quiry as the right hlon. gent. had opened
would be an enquiry only of jealousy;
but they would not attempt, lie trusied, to
bestow censure, or attach disgrace beyond
the transactions of last year. It was not
his intention to make any invidious com-
parisons, but in the military and naval
i.. n. I, of the country much improve-
ment, it would be allowed, had lately
taken place. The Baltic was at this mo-
ment in our possession. The Brest fleet
had been nearly annihilated, and the fleet
of the Tagus had been brought into our
ports ; and he would ask if Spain would
have discovered that spirit of resistance
and enthusiasm against the common ene-
my, had she not been conscious of acting
in conjunction with this country ? Amid
the great political misfortunes, which pre-
sented themselves around us, was not this
country in a state not only of safety, but
of unexampled prosperity ? With all our
power and prosperity, however, this was
not, comparatively speaking,' a military
country. We could not go to the conti-
nent as we did to sea. Our military ef-
forts being directed towards the continent,
must depend in a great measure on the re-
sults of the efforts and engagements of


Ixeh. [7







,i 71 PALL. DEILATES, JAN. WI, Ils. Tire Tnr.'!; Commissioiwcvs' -, ..


other powers, to whom we could only
be auxiliary; but whatever might be
the result of the campaign in Spain, or
whatever might have been the issue of
the str u ggle mahntaiied by Austria, (he
military glory of this country, it must
be admitted, ihad been much promoted.
The principles on which the campaign in
SSpain, as the right lion. geot. called it,
but which should more properly be called
tile campaign of Portugal, had bno,, con-
ducted, were far dill,'rcnt from those
on which the antecedent Spanish cam-
paign had been undertaken. The opera-
tions of the late campaign were particu-
larly connected with the security of Por-
tugal. Lord Wellington had certainly
intrusted to him a discretionary pow er,
and that power he contended his lordship
had most judiciously exercised. lad lie
not advanced to Talavera he must have
inevitably disgraced himself and the
Britiih arms. Lord Wellington, it had
Seen said, had 38,000 men, but the truth
was that he had not more than 24,000.
In fact in the battle at Talavera lord VWel-
lington had but 20,000 British troops.
He regretted that the military character
of the country should be thus sacrificed
to party !. .i: ; and pointed ot, tlhe
pernicious tendency of such mistakIc;
statements. He contended that never
had a greater victory been achieved thnn
that at Tdlavera, though the army was af-
terwardst obliged to retire before a greatly
superior force.-The delay in fitting out
the expedition to WValcheren had been
complained of, but the means were want-
Sing to move it sooner, the transports rnot
having arrived from Portugal till the .5th
of July. It was said the expedition had
not been directed to the most favourable
object; but great as the resources of thins
country were, there was a limit abroad
beyond which we could not go. It was
imrnpossible to send it to the North of
Spain without having the means of main-
taining it there. Gentlemen had asked,
w hy the army of sir .Jolhn .Moors was not
employed immediately on its return on
that service ? It had been said, too, l.lat
the -it i I regiments were ready, and
could have been embarked immediately ;
but by the time the regiments h;ad been re-
cruited and were reporltd f'; for service,
the I ,.. !,,,. j to Porltur al had reached
its destination, as it was not till the 10th
of June that they were reported to be lit
for service. The delay complained of in
transporting the cavalry it was impossible


to avoid, as, though the transports were
ordered from Portugal in i they did
not arrive till the 12th of July, after the
infantry were embarked. Here a new
position was assumed, that the force thus
collected could be employed in continental
operations, or in a coup de lmai. But
there was a limit beyond which our means
could not be strained. It was impossible
to transport them to the North of Ger-
many, and had it been possible, still would
it have beien, in a military point of view,
improper, from the situation and disposi-
tion of the neighboring powers. Had
government even had the means of send-
ing theExpedition to the North of Europe,
with the immense expense attending such
a measure, it would not have been prudent,
he contended, to have united a military
force of 40,000 men in that quarter, with
Prussia, and the whole weight of France.
against us, while Iussia, at the same time,
was our enemy. The Scheldt appeared
the most eligible point of attack, as more
nearly coune1cled with lhe commercial
views of this country, and in the event of
success there, wounding the enemy in
that part where lie was likely to feel most
sore. Antwerp was an object of great po-
litical importance to France, and a des-
cent on it was more likely to call foith
Boonaparto's attention than at attack on
another place. It is his practice to slight
any distant diver siions that may be made,
and steadfastly pursue his main object;
but when ie should be thus attacked'in a
vital point, it was reasonable to expect
that it would operate powerfully in favour
of our allies. H{E.' was ready to state why
he thought success probable, and likely
to be attended with little risk. lie was
not ignorant of the nature of the climate
;,. that season of the year, but it was noi
intended that tie army should be locked
up there for such a length of time. It
was .i coup de main against the naval power
of the enemy that was intended, and not
the capture of \Walcheren alone; it was
therefore expected that the army would
be employed in a dry country between
Walclicren and i: i .i 1i Z*oorn.-The
melancholy accounts that had been circu-
I ated of the slate of the troops were greatly
S. and though our loss appear-
ed great to us, yet compared with the
,o-ses of Frince in all Sier wars, it was but
,. 1.. No object of I .. 1ii l. was ex-
pcted to oppose our re;tniu alcheren.
It had never been considered as an axiom,
that the risk attending the keeping pos-






79] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 25, I10.--The Lords Commissioners' Speech. [80
session of that Island, should deter us from made lord Wellington retreat from Tala-
taking it. We held it 31 years during the vera. The march to Talavera was most
Barrier Treaty, and had since had it in our imprudent. When the gallant sir John
possession. Hle was not furnished with '!... ..- was entering Spain, he was in-
matcrials at present to speak on the whole formed that a body of 1,0,000 men would
of thequestion. lie, however, if the officers completely exhaust that part of the conn-
employed should appear to have done their try of its provisions.-Hle then at consider-
duty, wo,:id ecer be ready to hold them able length stated the superior advantages
above lhat vulgar calumny by which which he conceived would have resulted *
they *;-,Luld probably be assailed. With from employing 30,000 British troops in
respect to the evacuation of the island, a diversion in Italy, under the command of
he tiad had no shaie in the measures of sir John Stuart. This might not have
government. B:fore the return of the been agreeable to the Wellesleys, but
Comman er in Chief, he found himself to might have effected a much more imi
have been in a situation that he had been portant diversion by preventing the army
unconscious of, (hear hear !) and having of Eugene Napoleon from joining Buona-
retired from office, had had no intercourse parte, which would have been, in his opi-
with the officers employed, except such union, the most important service that it was
as was absolutely necessary, and could in our power to have rendered to Austria.
not take upon himself, therefore, either to Mr. Canning said, that he perceived the
justify or condemn what had I..111 ..! House wished to come to a decision on
Hle could not, for the same reason, say the question, and it would not be-necessary
any thing 1 .p..I.;, the failure with re- fbr him to detain them long in explaining
,.1l to Antwerp. The subject divided the reasons for the vote he should give
itself into two parts ; so far as he was this night against the Amendment, and
concerned, and that part for what he w as in favour of the original Address. When
not responsible; but not being in posses- the right ion. gent. (NMr. Ponsonby) how-
sion of the necessary materials to enable everspokeofthe greatresponsibilitywhich
him to judge of the whole, lie must, for the attached to his majesty's ministers for, the
present, suspend his judgment, pledging measures which they advised, in which
himself, at the same time, that lie was responsibility he must participate, as far
anxious to have his conduct subjected to as he was concerned, it appeared to hint
the most rigid scrutiny. that the right hon. gent. should have gone
Mr. Ponsonby, in explanation, said, he a little farther, and, on the part of himself
did not mean to state, that lord Welling- and the other gentlemen in opposition to
ton had 38,000 men at the' battle of Tala- the present administration, have stated,
vera, but that 38,000 men were employed that they also laid claim to, and courted
in the peninsula. the full responsibility which was due to
General 'Twrlton.z !; enti rely from their measures while they were in the ad-
the opinion pronou'ced by a noble lord ministration. The right hon. gent. might
(Kensington) that Portugal could be de- there find ample occasion for that penal
fended. fii. ial...i tvofs rCharlesStewart justice, of which lie spoke-Hle was as
did not bear upon the poiit, as he onl,; anxious as any man for the fullest inquiry
gave his opinion of Portug al as it was in on every point, where an open inquiry
the year 1797. He thought a most pecu- could not be prejudicial to the interests of
liar degree of responsibility lay upon lord the country. But he could not agree to
Chatham, who was at the same time a mi- the Amendment, because he considered
nister, and the commander in chief of the it would go to pledge the House to an ill-
Expedition. The Expedition which he quiry, and he wihbcd to suspend this opi-
commanded was attended with greater inion whether a further inquiry wasneces-
expence of treasure, and a greater sacri- sarv or not, until the documents were laid
fice of human life, than almost any other on the table, which his majesty's Speech
in our history, and it had most conmiletely promised to lay before Parliament.-The
failed in its objects. The i' .lii;. :, precise period when his own knowledge
Spain was equally a subject I, a ....1 \- and responsibility on this subject ceased,
ed inquiry. le first heard of Soult's army was when it had been intimated to govern-
being completely defeated and dispersed, ment, that the objects of the Expedition
with the loss of all its artillery ; and yet had not been, and could not he accom-
this same army, so beaten as was describ- polished. He did not know but that suffi-
ed, appeared afterwards in the field, and cient reasons might be :,..'.,.:. 1 to ac-
0






81] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, lSIO.-The Lords Commissioners' Speech.


count for this failure ; but at the same
S time he could not agree with some of
those gentlemen who had spoken and who
seemed to consider, that the calamitous
failure of the main objects of the Expedi-
tion was in some degree all: i ;sa by the
partial success it had met with. This
was a doctrine to which he could never
, agree.-He never would have consented
to the Expedition, if he had supposed that
nothing greater would have been accom-
plished. He never supposed that the
possession of Flushing, or Walcheren,
were objects adequate to such great pre-
paration and such expence ; but he did
consider that the possession of the naval
arsenal at Antwerp would have been an
object of the first importance as a British
object, and that no other point could have
been selected in which the force which
it was in the power of the country to send,
could render more service to the common
cause. If the Expedition had succeeded
* in this object, it would have set free such
a considerable portion of our naval force,
that it would have made our resources for
the future more easily applicable to any
other assistance which could be given to
the continent. If it were true, as some gen-
tlemen stated,that Buonapart6 was never
to be diverted from the grand objects of
* his policy, by any Expedition which this
country could send out, such an objection
would not go particularly to the Expedi-
tion to the isle of Walcheren, but to any
Expedition which ministers could send out.
From that principle, it must be obvious
that it would have been equally useless to
have sent the Expedition to the north of
Germany or to Spain, and in that case it
would appear, that the best diversion it was
possible to make, was (as a great man once
observed), to keep your armies at home,
that the enemy may be in constant appre-
hension, from not knowing where the
danger was likely to approach. The only
L doctrine which could grow out of such a
principle would be, that no expedition
should be sent out, and that the dispose-
able force of the country should never be
made use of. If it were, however, true
that no expeditions of ours could in any
manner divert Buonapart6 from his other
projects, it would at least be allowed, that
* it would be a subject of consideration,
whether we could not give some material
annoyance to an enemy. If the Expedi-
tion had fully succeeded, it would have
produced a great political and moral ef-
ict. It would have shewn to Europe,
VOL, xv.


that Buonaparte could not with impu-
nity abstract the whole of his military
force to foreign objects, but that he must
keep a certain portion of it to defend his
own coasts, and protect his naval arsenals.
Some gentlemen seemed to think that at
expedition ought rather to have been sent
to the north of Germany, in which there
had been some partial symptoms of insur-
rection against France. Now, this was
not a question altogether of policy, but of
justice also. It appeared to him that the
only circumstances in which justice and
humanity would allow us to interfere in
any continental insurrections, were, first,
if the people of any country having well
weighed their peculiar circumstances,
should determine that it was better to run
the extremest dangers of war, than submit
to the degree of oppression under which
they laboured. In this case, it would cer-
tainly be just, and becoming the dignity
of this country, to assist those who were
previously determined on breakingtheir
chains.-There was another case, in which
also it would be just and allowable to in-
terfire ; if we could send large armies
which were themselves nearly a match
for the utmost strength of the enemy, and
which we were willing to commit, as filly
as the country itself was to be committed
which we came to assist. We had, how-
ever, no right, to stimulate other people to
struggle, unless we were previously de-
termined to support them with our utmost
means, whether it might suit our conveni-
ence or not. Considering how very partial
the insurrection in the north of Germany
was, it would have been most unjust to the
people of that country to stimulate them
to insurrection, without a determination to
support them to the utmost; and it would
have been most impolitic to have come to
such a determination, in the present state
of Europe. If we could send one of those
great substantive armies, such as traversed
Germany in the thirty years war, like a
nation among nations, carrying its own.
magazines with it, then perhaps the
North of Germany might have been the
proper destination. The case was, how-
ever, now widely different. But if there
was a country in which it would, be per-
fectly just to interfere, Spain was that
country. There the torch of insurrec-
tion was every where lighted and every
where burning, and therefore we ex-
posed the people of that country to no
additional danger by giving them our asl
sistance. We did not however pretend4
G





83] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.-The Lords Commissioners' Speech.


to commit ourselves to the same extent
that the Spanish nation was committed.
It was always understood that the British
army was lent to them as a trust to be re-
stored, not given as a loan to be expended.
At present there was no question about this
country raising any general confederacy
against France. That, in the present si-
tuation of things, would be an idle specu-
lation. But if any country was resolved
to make an effort to break its chains, that
country became our ally. We must not
either attempt to raise a spirit when it
was not previously to be found,.nor to
keep it alive longer than its natural term.
An hon. gent. (Mr. Ward) who had se-
conded the Amendment with so much
ability, had expressed most desponding
feelings with respect to Spain. IHe
had drawn partly from n9cal knowledge,
a sort of picture of Spain, from which
it appeared that an indisposition existed
on the part of the constituted autho-
rities in Spain, to give the people an
iriterest in the struggle. It had been said,
why not endeavour to effect a change in-
ternally ? Any condition almost might be
coupled with assistance, with less danger
than an attempt at internal amelioration.
Before you confer a benefit, you cannot
go with the Koran in one hand and a
sword in the other, to change the habits
and religion of those you would aid. Such
attempt never failed to excite a jealousy
not easily allayed. Ile was not nice in
the means he made use of to thwart the
views of Buonapart6. He would gladly
press a combination of all nations, and of
all religions, into a phalanx to oppose him.
He would unite with the Turk without re-
quiring hin to lay aside the turban, and
he would march to the field with the poor
bigotted Spaniard, without first insisting
on his divesting himself of superstition.
IHe would let every man fight in his own
way. Some were (tf',;.;.....i. that no aid
should have been ,P *-n. i Ilil the Cortes
were convoked. But lie should be very
sorry tohave to answer for such conduct, as
it would have been a sure way of creating
intestine divisions, as the clashing interests
of the several provinces might have pro-
duced the most fatal consequences. Thus,
had the Castilian Cortes been assembled,
Buoinapart6, by calling the Arragonese
against them, might have divided Spain
within herself more completely than she
was divided by the Ebro. Spain, with all
her faults, deserved assistance of England,
and it was not for us to be particular


about the weapons with which our enemy
was assailed. He could give no opinion
for or against an enquiry into the affairs
of Spain. If ministers thought it would
be proper, he had no objection. He
feared, however, that that part of the en-
quiry into the expedition to Spain, which
might throw blame upon the Spaniards
for want of co-ope-ration, would not be of
service to this country, but might injure
its interests in its future connection with
Spain. He did not mean to speak against
lord Wellington when he said that the
march to Talavera was his own act. He
approved of it, aud of the honours be-
stowed on that gallant officer. We ought
not to undervalue the hero's laurels, even
though they were barren. Had valour so
long been admired and at last lost its va-
lue ? Had we on a sudden become so en-
lightened that we could contemplate it
with philosophical apathy ? le knew the
moralist i.,;.lit shudder at the shedding of
human blood ; he knew
That reason frowns at war's unequal game,
Where thousands bleed to raise a single name."
Yet still was lord Wellington entitled to
the gratitude of his country, and the glo-
ries of Talavera he could not think pur-
chased so dearly, as to be for ever de-
plored.-Before he sat down, he had one
word to add on a subject which applied
more particularly and personally to him-
self. ie was opinion that the dignity and
the decency of the House, and the respect
that was due to the feelings of individual
members, should prevent a subject, that
had been touched on in the course of the
debate, from being discussed in that
HIouse, but for himself he would say, that
it. was his fixed determination, that no pro-
vocation whatever should induce him to
enter into any discussion on that particu-
lar topic. [Mr. C. alluded here to his dis-
pute with lord .' ,lI, gh.]
Mr. IT:''i:.. -' said, that it was rather
strange ii. 'till. right hon. the Chancellor
of the Exchequer had not 1, ;Li.l.1 to give
them his idea of the state of the country, or
to inform them upon what grounds he him-
self was the minister. He had given way
to the right hon. gent. who had spoke last,
because he conceived that he wished to
make some ( .,'.. i;..n-. on what was cer-
tainly a very delicate subject. As far as
this respected the individuals concerned,
it certainly vas not a subject which any
gentleman would wish to bring into dis-
cussion in that House. The right heon
gent. had, however, rfbw to answer, not to







S5] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, ,. ,I .-T, LordsC (.,. ..,, r:.."'


* that other individual, but to the country,
why he suffered the noble lord to remain
in office when lie was convinced that he
was not fit for the situation in which he
was placed. He did hope that this would,
on a future day, be made the subject of
substantial inquiry, and that the right hon.
gent. would be constrained to state to the
House, and to the public, the reasons for
his extraordinary conduct. The right hon.
gent. had spoken on this subject with his
accustomed fluency; but when it came to
be considered what there was of argu-
ment in his speech, it would appear, that
he meant to justify the Expedition which
S did take place, by comparing it to imagi-
nary expeditions which did not take place.
He also described the great advantages
which would have taken place, if the Ex-
pedition had succeeded. Now it appear-
ed, that so far fi'omn attracting the atten-
tion of Buonaparte to the most vital parts
of his empire, he never deigned to look at
our -. i.i lu..n, or to turn his head that
way. The mighty lion which we went
to attack, brushed us off with one sweep
of his tail. The right hon. gent. had then
proceeded to argue that if that expedition
could not have been useful, no other ex-
pedition could have been useful. His
* gallant friend (general Tarleton) had how-
ever ;...nl I ott another expedition,
which would have promised a much bet-
ter diversion to Austria. If he were to
adopt the mother tongue of the right hon.
the Chancellor of the Exchequer and of
most of his associates in office, he would
say, that although indictments had been
presented, the various counts in them could
not be proved. There was a vast variety
of subjects, all of which demanded inqui-
ry. He would wish to know, why, in a
season of unexampled calamity, the meet-
ing of Parliament was so long delayed ?
Iis Majesty had been advised to say,
S that lie would not institute any inquiry
into the conduct of his military and naval
commanders, but that he referred it to the
wisdom of Parliament to take the matter
into their serious consideration." Now
although in common circumstances, Par-
liament had frequently not met sooner,
yet, in the present extraordinary and pe-
S rilous circumstances of the country, and
whensuch a serious subject was to be sub-
mitted'to the wisdom of Parliament, it
appeared to him that they ought to have
met sooner.--With respect to America,
he also thought that there were most se-
rious grounds for inquiry. He understood


that there had been suppression of mate-
rial documents, and that the minister who
was disavowed by his Majesty's govern-
ment (Mr. Erskine), had a full justifica-
tion for his conduct in signing the Trea-
ty. He believed, that if the gentleman,
who was at that time Secretary for Fo-
reign Affairs (Mr. Canning) had displayed
common wisdom and prudence in the ne-
gociation, America would not only have
been friendly at the present moment, but
in alliance with us against France. Great
expectations were, it seems, conceived
from the resistance of Austria. It was
thought she might effectually oppose the
power of France; he confessed he was
not one of those who cherished such ex-
pectations; he had no idea that had even
the battle of Wagram, so fatal to Austria,
been directly the reverse initseffect,itcould
have been so ruinous, as some supposed, to
the power of BuonapartL. The war how-
ever once undertaken, and the two em-
perors finally committed, since England
was to become active in the contest it was
manifestly her interest to make an experi-
ment in favour of Austria. How was this
to be done ? The noble lord said by an
attack on Flushing. Was this attack even,
however unconnected it might seem with
its alledged object, made in time ? Oh no,
answered the noble lord, it was not: but
then delay was inseparable from all insular
Expeditions, and ministers should not be
punished for the casualties of nature. Did
the noble lord extend this apology beyond
himself? Was he not the very 'first to
deny its validity, when his opponents were
in power ? The delay, however proceeded
not from any natural impediment, except
that arising from the characteristic vacil-
lation of the government; for it appeared
upon the trial of general Monnet, that he
had information ol the intended descent
as far back as the 22d of April. The
noble lord, indeed, had not laid such
stress upon the execution of the project
as the King's Speech seemed to do; a
Speech, which by that one paragraph
where this Expedition was mentioned,
tended to reflect still greater ridicule on'the
country than it had already experienced.
What! could any one in his senses believe
that for the contemptible object ofblowing
up a basin at Flushing, so much money
ought to be cheerfully squandered, and so
much precious blood cruelly expended.
The King's Speech, however, perfectly ac-
corded with his Answer to the Corporation
of London-an Answer which declared






87] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810;-The Lords Commissioners' Speech.


that the Expedition had only succeeded in
part. In whatpart, was the natural ques-
tion of every man in the country ? Now,
however, the mystery was solved ; the
part in which it succeeded was, in the
blowing up of a basin This, say minis-
ters, was one of the objects, and the King
is satisfied with its accomplishment. So
little satisfied was he, however, on this
head, that this very ground he should con-
ceive sufficient as a foundation for a cri-
minatory resolution. Ministers, itseemed
were aware even of the fatality of the cli-
mate; but this was one of the casualties
of war, and therefore, in their opinion,
Sought to be cheerfully encountered. Cer-
tainly, if the object was worthy of the
hazard; but here the object was con-
temptible, the meansmighty, and the con-
sequences ruinous. Even downright in-
activity was preferable to such perilous
and causeless exertion. The noble lord,
however, reduced to his last shift, declared
the object of the expedition to have been
a coup de main !--What did he mean by a
coup de main ? Did he suppose that Ant-
werp- and Lillo, and the fortified forts,
and the well-secured fleet in the Scheldt,
were all,to be taken by this miraculous
coup de main ? The idea was surely too
preposterous even to enter into the cal-
culations of his lordship. To shew, in-
deed, the perfect folly of such a supposi-
tion, the resistance of Flushing, the con-
tinuance of which was sufficient to frus-
trate all the ulterior objects of the Expe..
edition, was, in the opinion of Buonapart6,
so ill protracted, that he condemned the
officer who conducted it to death How
did this mismanagement of the right hon.
--nt. ind his colleagues take place ? He
i, -.. -... pardon-he supposed it was at the
time when the right hon. gent. did not
know his own colleagues; when he was
hawking about the offices of the govern-
ment, with who'll take this, and who
will take that? In pity, will no one
even accept my bounty to support me ?"
He supposed it was during this interreg-
num that the mismanagement took place.
An opportunity of remedying it had, how-
ever, offered when lord Chatham made
the communication that he could not pro-
ceed ; then we should have evacuated the
island ; but instead of this we proceeded
to build barracks there, and ships were
actually arriving with stores for them,
when the army was embarked to return.
-Yet such had been the objects of the
enormous but fruitless expence which the


country was to pay. Even then upon these
grounds, as he had already stated, he
should judge his Majesty's government de-
serving of punishment, But who were
his Majesty's government ? How did the
right hon. head of it attain that elevation ?
Rumour said, it was by a successful compe-
tition with one of his own colleagues. Yet
eren this motley administration, this go-
vernment of threads and patchwork, was
to be screened; and the Amendment
which proposed an inquiry into their con-
duct was to be rejected. Why-" Be-
cause it proposed condemnation without
inquiry." It did no such thing : it pro-
posed as the only atonement to an injured
and insulted country for dreadful cala-
mities, to institute an inquiry into their
causes. No doubt, indeed, if this inquiry
terminated in conviction, that punish-
ment would follow ; unless it did, the in-
quiry would be but a mockery of justice ;
unless it did, the House might just as well
rest contented with the papers as a sub-
stitute for the inquiry. Let those who
wished for justice vote for the Amend-
ment: in his opinion they must do
it; for, in the prima face case, there
was a decisive incontrovertible con-
clusion against ministers. He was not to
be understood by this as condemning the
naval or military commanders who were
employed in its execution. No; an in-
quiry here was indeed necessary ; it re-
mained to be seen whether they had
failed from any misconduct of their own,
or whether in the very outset, all hopes
of success were blighted by the im-
becility of those who appointed them,
and by the folly of the orders they re-
ceived. How fatal were all the mea-
sures of government! how contrary to
all natural expectations did the Chan-
cellor of the Exchequer recollect-
would his bickerings with his colleagues
allow him to recollect in what a proud si-
tuation he stood at the conclusion of last
session ? Spain protracting the contest,
and Austria, after a few years peace, flou-
rishing and zealous, entering into the
war ministers at least considered this a
proud situation. He confessed he never
looked with much hope to the exertions of
Austria; he did not even think that she
entered into the war upon just grounds.
She was boundlessly increasing her force,
France, demanded its diminution, and with
this demand Austria refused to comply.
The very refusal authorised a war; for if
two powers (as France and England) were







891 PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.-The Lords Commissioners' Speech.


* at war, and a third power(Austria) natural-
ly connected with one of them, increases
her force, and refuses to diminish it atthe
desire of the other, the inference can only
be that she was preparing for hostility ;
let it be recollected also that on this very
ground,and with infinitely less reason,Eng-
land herself broke the Treaty of Amiens,
From such prospects he now turned to the
affairs of Spain. Even with all his respect
for lord Wellington, he could not approve
of the battle of Talavera-it had no good
end, and only tended to establish what
was never questioned, the superior va-
lour of our soldiers. Our victories, indeed,
were this night the particular theme of
congratulation; and Maida, Corunna,
Vimiera, and Talavera, were held up as
monuments of our eternal glory; he be-
held them only as so many gladiatorial
exhibitions. None of them were happy in
their consequences or beneficial in their
results. Maida left the inhabitants in the
same state in which ministers said, had
we made a diversion in the north of Ger-
many, we should have left the inhabitants
of that country, at the mercy of a cruel
enemy. At Corunna we lost general
Moore, to prove the valour of our soldiers.
What! was our population so redundant
that we could spare men to prove what
no one doubted ? Was the valour of Bri-
tain so questionable, that a bloody expe-
riment was necessary to prove it? Had
we so many skilful generals, that they
were' become superfluous? Alas how
shall we dry up the tears of the orphan,
or reimburse the exhausted means of the
beggared citizen The battle of Vimiera,
followed by the disgraceful Convention of
Cintra, had better neverhave taken place;
and Talavera was, at best, but an exhi-
bition of rash confidence and victorious
temerity. The right hon. gent. had said
last session, that a battle ought never to
be risked in Spain, until there was an effi-
cient government in that country; yet he
now recanted the principle, by conferring
honours upon sir Arthur Wellesley-for
whom, and for the country, it would have
have been much more honourable, had he
never changed his name. His conduct
in Spain seemed the result of infatuation.
After defeating Soult, he re-crossed the
Douro, for the purpose of forming a junc-
tion with Cuesta; and yet when that was
effected, he remained unaccountably in-
active. Soult in the mean time recovered,
recruited, and re-established his corps.
He then fought the battle of Talavera;


and in four or five days afterwards retreat-
ed to an unhealthy province, at an un-
healthy season, for the purpose, as he sin-
gularly termed it, of refreshing his
troops."-In the marshes of Estremadura,
he remained some months, and then re-
treated to Portugal, for the purpose of de-
fending it.-The excuse alleged for this
was, that we would not take supplies as the
French did. If the Spaniards were glad
of our assistance, there would be no ne-
cessity for force; we should receive vo-
luntary supplies. But the truth was,
while we were starved, the French were
fed, and this he considered as the strongest
presumption of the jealousy of Spain to-
wards us.-He could not help now allud-
ing to the very extraordinary transactions
which had taken place in our cabinet;
but before he did' so, he must notice some
expressions of the right. hon. gent. (Mr.
Canning) which had much delighted
him. He had said, that in a good cause
he would seek the assistance of men of all
religions: the Turk and the Christian;
the Jew and the Pagan, were to him, po-
litically considered, equal. No doubt,
then, now that he and the noble lord were
emancipated from the shackles of bigotry,
they would unite with the friends of to-
leration in support of unlimited religious
freedom. He wished particularly to know,
why lord Wellesley delayed so long in
this country after his appointment to the
Spanish embassy. He was particularly
anxious to know this, on account of a pa-
ragraph which had appeared in a well
known publication, stating that had it
not been for a fit of illness, the noble mar-
quis would have been long since in
Spain." Now it was well known, that
the right hon. gent. wished to incorporate
lord Welleslev in the government at
home, and he had only to hope that this
interested feeling did not occasion his
lordship's protracted delay in England,
when he should have been fulfilling the
functions of his important mission. On
this subject he should hereafter demand
an explanation from the right hon. gent.
To Spain, however, at last, the noble, mar-
quis went, and there, what were his ser-
vices ? Why, he went through the mum,
mery of dancing on the French flag! He
did more; he visited the Junta, went
through all the routine of etiquette and
politics, made a speech about reform,
took his glass after dinner, and religiously
toasted the P spe! It was surprising in-
deed, to see him so soon returning plei'






o9] PARL. I'l-.\ I l,.. JAN. 23, 1810.-The Lords C .... .. .' Speech. [.02
his flirtation with the whore of Babylon, not realize the threat; but if they did, it *
at Cadiz On his return, of course, when would only leave them ten times as bad as
the places were going, lie came in for his they were before.-Pompous language as
share, and rfiade one of the administration; to the flourishing state of our revenue was
an administration, the members of which however held out. But was it sound at
could not have been distinguished, had it bottom ? Was there a ;, ;hY iiih. trade ?
not been for the motions that day, for the Was it not a system placing (by the ie-
issuing of writs. It was made up indeed quisition !. i.. the merchants under
by a kind of political ballot-one gentle- the control of ... iii. iii ? Was it not *
man (Mr. S. Dundas) had gone the en- rather the chicane,of :I,.'!, i.and pi-
tire circumnavigation of office, from the rates, than the fair, liberal, open and ho-
Board of Controul to the Irish Secretary- nest commerce of merchants ? But our
ship On thatday a writ had been moved Treasury was full. Aye, by the rigorous
tendering his seat vacant, in consequence severity with which the taxes were col-
of his receiving a situation which he be- elected. Under the system pursued, the
lived was not yet in his possession The collection of the Property-tax would soon *
right hon. the Chancellor of the Exche- be in the hands of government collectors.
quer had, however, at length compiled an Indeed, the liberty of the subject was di-
administration ; and, indeed he had fully rectly struck at by the method in which
shewn that, supported by the favour of the taxes were collected. IIe gave it as
the court, he felt little fear in stemming his sincere advice : let an economical reF
the authority of the people. But how form be instituted before the last ounce
did the right hon. gent. proceed to form was exacted, and the country reduced to
even this administration ? Why, the very despair. Let a government be removed
first application he made was to a dear to which the people hlid refused their
friend of his, a noble lord, with whose confidence. Let our relative situation
principles he had been at war all his po- with the enemy be well considered. Let
litical life. This tender was rejected by the policy of succouring Spain be also
them in a manner worthy of their dig- weighed under the existing circumstances:
nity, and the rebuff which they gave the Austria gone--the French force concen-
right hon. gent. would have daunted any treated, and that country their only object.
man of less temerity than himself. There It was said, that we might defend Portu-
was not a man in the country, fiom the gal with 30,000 men; but would not
Orkneys to the Land's End, who did not Buonapart6 know our force even to a
pronounce him and his administration drummer, and where we had 30,000 he
weak, incapable, and inefficient. Even would have 60,000. Who would struggle
with the addition of the two colleagues against such fearful odds ? Our remaining
who had deserted them, they were feeble, some time unmolested in that country
but they then stood on a principle, or ra- should be no argument for our continu- a
their inl "r' ...i;. i to a principle; but ance there. We remained just at the will
now, rejected by all who were worthy, of the French Emperor, and at his option
the weak, and old, and infirm, were col- he could drive us out of it.-But what
elected from the hedges and high-roads, could be expected-from such a ministry,
and'consorted with for want of better. or rather from a single man, for the Chan-
The motley combination was duly appre- cellor of the Exchequer was now alone-
ciated by the people-no one respected alone, after sounding his ineffectual war-
them-they might now exclaim the whoop-alone, after fully exposing his
church is in danger," but every one would weakness, and shewing it exceeded only
know they meant my place is in by his rashness. The marquis Wellesley,
danger." Now the time was come when it of whom such account had been made,
would be manifested that the I .1. had lie considered completely insignificant.-
a voice as well as the crown, and would Who was he ? The governor of India-
not be imposed on by a set of adventurers the man who had scarcely escaped the
who had usurped the government, sup- censure of that House for his cruel tyran- *
ported by nothing but the favour of the ny !-the man who had assailed the press,
crown. Threats had been held out by the sacred palladium of the people the
the runners of the government, that, as friend of despotism-the foe to liberty.
on a former occasion, a dissolution of Good God could this man say to Buona-
parliament would be now resorted to. part, in the noble indignation of insulted
He believed in his soul government dared virtue, I have not done as you have ?"






q)3 PARL. IN, P1 .TV`. JAN. 23, l810.---Tie Lords ('omoa1ssioners' "..


Alas, if such a man had strength, he.would
* indeed be a fearful acquisition to such a go-
vernment; but lie was known, and there-
fore weak and harmless. Peace should
be the cry of the nation. Peace--parti-
cularly because the thraldom of millions
of our fellow-subjects was the tenure by
which this incapable Junta held their of-
fices. It has been said by our enemy,
(said Mr. W.) that the genius of France
guided our armies. Alas! it now pre-
sides in our cabinet; for surely, whether
we consider their ignorance, their imbeci-
lity, their bigotry, or the fate with which
Providence visits all their measures, our
enemy, had he the nomination, could not
* select men more suitable to his ends, or
more pernicious to our interests."
The (' ....',.. of the Exchequer then
rose, and said, that the hon. gent., who
had just sat down, had urged it, as a se-
rious charge against him, that he had not
taken an earlier part in the debate, and ac-
cused him of disrespect to the House, in
having remained so long silent. Ent no
sooner had the hon. gent. preferred that
charge, than he put a variety of questions
to him, to which he demanded a categori-
cal answer. The best answer, that could
be given to this charge, had been supplied
by the hon. gent. himself, viz. that be-
o ing," to use his mother tongue, under
many indictments, and each indictment
consisting of many counts," it was not un-
natural, i, was not inconsistent with com-
mon justice, that he should be desirous to
hear those indictments and the arguments
and proofs, "., h1; bI they were supported,
before he should plead or enter upon his
defence. When the House recollected
that it was not until heheeard the hon.
gent., that he could be aware of many of
the questions, which he had to answer, ori
of many of the indictments against which
he had to defend himself; it would, lie was
sure, acquit him of any thing like inten-
tional disrespect, for not having risen
sooner. It was, in point of fact, because
he expected to hear from the hen. gent.,
and some of those who sat near him, all
those charges which he should have to
answer, that he had not offered himself to
the attention of the Iouse at an earlier
period of the debate. There was also an-
other reason why he wished to hear the
hon. gent. and others, on that side of the
House, before he rose; he wished to know
whether the Amendment which they had
proposed was all the amendment which
they meant to offer to the Address, or


whether-they meant to propose any other
alterations. The Amendment which had
been proposed only applied to that part of
the Address which related to the tender
of papers respecting the expedition to
Walcheren, and would of course leave un-
touched all the remaining parts of the
Address. He was anxious to know, there-
fore, whether the gentlemen on the other
side had made up their own minds as to
what they wanted the HouK' to do upon
this occasion--whether they had any
other Amendments to offer ? If they had,
they were bound in common candour,
though not perhaps in strict form, to state
at once what were their intentions. It
appeared to him rather extraordinary,
that, if they had any thing to suggest
with regard to the other parts of the Ad-
dress, they had not stated it in the
Amendment, for certainly in their speeches
they had alluded to the campaign in Spain
and Portugal, as well as to the Expedition
to the Scheldt, though no part of the
Amendment applied to that campaign.
But he really believed that the gentlemen
on the other side who had spoken, were
not aware of any intention to propose
any further Amendment, if it really ex-
isted, for if they had they would in
candour have announced that intention.
-Amongst the many questions which had
been put to him there was one to which, en-
tering fully into the feeling which had been
so eloquently expressed by his right hon.
friend below him (Mr. Canning) he wished
to say as little as possible now, or at any
other time. Upon that subject, therefore,
he should only state thus much, that with
regard to the transactionsto which the
hon, gent, had alluded, he could assure
him and the House, that he was entirely
ignorant of their existence until the close
of the sessions of parliament, and when
he did know of them, lie certainly did con-
ceive, whatever might be the motive which
induced his right hon. friend to wish for
the removal of his noble friend from the
department confided to him, that lie (the
Chancellor of the Exchequer) couldn't be
a party in them, more especially as an ex-
pedition of great importance was at that
time in great forwardness, with which the
noble lord (Castlereagh) was intimately
connected. All that he had done on that
occasion, arose from an anxious desire to
preserve to the country the services of
both the individuals alluded to. Feeling
as he did the utmost admiration of the
splendid talents and eloquence of his right






95] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.-The Lords Commissioners' Speech.


hon. friend (Mr. Canning,) and thinking
most highly of the abilities of his noble
'friend (lord Castlereagh,) he certainly
felt himself bound both by inclination and
duty to do every thing that it was in his
power to do to retain both of them in the
service of their country. This was his
only object, never having partaken in any
opinion of the inability of his noble friend,
but thinking that he was as able, as useful,
and as efficient a minister as the office
which he tilled ever possessed. Having
said thus much upon this delicate sub-
ject, he should not go any further into the
question. The hon. gent. had next put to
him some questions respecting the situa-
tion which he had the honour to hold in
his Majesty's councils, to which questions
he begged to answer in the most explicit
and distinct manner : that situation was
not in any manner an object of his own
desire; on the contrary, if his wishes
could have been realized, another person
would now have held the office of First
Lord of the Treasury. After the resigna-
tion of the noble duke lately at the head
of the administration, his Majesty had di-
rected him and a noble friend of his, to
make an application to two noble lords,
for the purpose of forming an extended
administration.-This command his noble
friend and he obeyed, and, upon a bfun-
dation such as this, it was, that the hon.
gent. had accused him of having hawked
about the offices of government.-[Here
Mr.Whitbread said, across the table, No,
no."]-The Chancellor of the Exche-
quer continued, and observed, that that was
what he understood the hon. gent. to say,
and the whole tenor of his argument proved,
according to his conception of it, that that
was what he meant. The situation of the
country was obviously such as required as
strong an administration as could be
formed, and he did think that there ex-
isted circumstances at the time the appli-
lication was made, which rendered it not
improbable that that application would
not have been unsuccessful. But if he
was to be accused of arrogance, and of
wishing to reign without a rival, as had
been insinuated by the hon. gent. it was
strange that he should have made this ap-
plication to the two noble lords, and more
especially when he informed the House
that the first proposition which he should
have made to them, if they had given him
an opportunity of stating it, would have
been that it should be left to themselves to
determine who should be the First Lord of


the Treasury. With respect to himself
he again repeated that it was a situation
which he did not desire. That he had af-
terwards accepted the office was true, and
his principal motive was, that he felt
himself bound, by every consideration of
duty and principle, not to suffer his so-
vereign to be dictated to, and not to
leave his Majesty without a minister.
He had already stated the proposition he
meant to make with respect to the office
of First Lord of the Treasury ; with re-
gard to the other offices of government, it
was natural to conceive that they were to
be at the disposal of those who contributed
to the formation of the administration.
If there was any thing in this statement
that rested solely upon his assertion, the
fault did not rest with him, for he had no
opportunity afbfrded to him of conveying
to the two noble lords the nature of the
proposal he meant to make. But the hon,
gent. seemed to think thatthere was some-
thing unaccountable, almost absurd in the
offer which he had made to the two no-
ble lords, and that it was highly ho-
nourable in them to have refused it.-
Upon this point he begged to repeat
what he had stated before, that it ap-
peared to him, that there were then in
existence circumstances which afforded a
greater chance of the success of his appli-
Scation than at any other time. The first
was, though this might appear a trifling
consideration, the period of the year.
Some time had elapsed since the proroga-
tion of Parliament, when political animo-
sities might naturally be supposed to be
irritated and augmented by the contests
in which the different parties were en- *
gaged in Parliament, and the lapse of
time might naturally be supposed to have
abated much of party animosity. This,
however, he mentioned only as a slight
circumstance ; but there were others in his
mind of much more importance. The hon.
gent. had asked how he could expect that 4
any union could take place among those
who differed so radically ? Most certainly
veryconsidcrable diflfrences had subsisted
between the noble lordstowhom hemade the
application, and the administration of which
he was a member, but he thought that
there was less chance that these differences
would prevent an union at that time, be- *
cause the grounds of many of those dif-
ferences had been removed. With respect
to Austria, thewar had nearly terminated;
certainly the relative situation of Austria
and France appeared to be ripening to a
2







97) PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.-The Lords Commissioners' Speech.


* crisis which would unite all opinions;
and therefore the question respecting the
propriety of taking a part in the contests
on the continent, which formed one of
the points of difference, was on the eve of
being removed. With respect to Spain
and Portugal, he thought there could exist
no difference of opinion as to the propriety
* of giving assistance to those injured na-
tions, as long as they felt the inclination,
or possessed the means of defending them-
selves. That question, however, was open
for discussion. With regard to America,
there certainly did appear to exist greater
difficulties in reconciling the differences
* which had subsisted between them; but
even upon this point, widely as they had
-.',-- 4, the obstacles to an union did
not appear to be insuperable. One of the
great leading points of difference respect-
ing America arose upon the Orders in
Council, which the two noble lords had
represented as most impolitic in principle,
* and as being, in their operation, big with
ruin to the commerce of this country.
Fortunately the policy or impolicy of the
Ordersin Council then no longer remained
a question of theory; it had been deter-
mined by the evidence of facts. So far
from having ruined the commerce of the
country, as had been confidently predicted,
they had been productive of the mnost
beneficial consequences. He was now
happy to have it in his power to state,
that the trade of this country in the last
year, that is, to the quarter ending in
October last, was, not only greater than
it was the year before, but than it ever
S had been even in the most prosperous
period. The exports for the year ending
in Oct. 1809, were greater by seven mil-
lions than during the most prosperous
years of trade in the most favourable time
of peace ; and, by ten millions, than dur-
ing any preceding year of war. fHe did
not mean to say that there were not other
circumstances which had operated with
the Orders in Council to augment our
commerce, but he had stated enough to
shew that there was nothing so incon-
sistent with common sense; nothing so
calculated to ruin the trade of this coun-
try, in the Orders of E..il,. i, as the noble
lords had contended. He had therefore
flattered himself that lie should have been
able to remove one great ground of dif-
ference between those noble lords and
himself, by an appeal to the experience
and the incontestible evidence of facts,
Another essential ,. .i;: of difference cer-
voL., xy,


tainly was the Catholic Question ; but
there again it appeared to him that the
obstacles to an union had been, in a great
degree, removed. After the noble lord
and the right hon. gent., who had pre-
sented the Catholic Petitions to both
Houses of Parliament, had been disavowed
by the Catholics, with regard to the offer
which they had made relative to the veto
on the appointment of bishops, he did
think that they would naturally have
come to the determination of not again
supporting that Petition, until the Catho-
lics should agree to that proposition,
which the noble lord and the right hon.
gent. had deemed so essential. And as it
did not appear probable that the Catholics
of Ireland would agree to that proposi-
tion, there seemed to be reasonable ground
to believe that there was a greater chance
of a concurrence of opinion, to a certain
extent at least, between those two noble
lords and the administration, than had
heretofore existed. Under all these cir-
cumstances, he certainly had felt and
thought, that there was a great probabi-
lity that his proposition would have been
acceded to, and that those two noble lords
would have concurred with him in think-
ing, that in the present state of the coun-
try, it ought to be the wish of all men, of
all parties, that the strongest and most
efficient government should be formed.
These were the reasons which had induced
him to make the offer upon which the
hon. gent. had commented so strongly.
He could assure the hon. gentleman that,
if he had anticipated that the proposition
could have been deemed dishonourable to
the character of those noble lords, he
should have felt it dishonourable to his
own character to tender it. But then the
hon. gent. asked, why, after this symptom
of weakness, as it had been called, lie had
accepted his present office He had ac-
cepted it because his offer having been
refused, no option was afforded him but
either to take the official situation which
he had then the honour to hold, or to
leave his Majesty to be dictated to by
those who differed from him in opinion.
He had yet to learn, that under such cir-
cumstances, he ought to have deserted his
sovereign. He believed that there was
not a gentleman opposite who, if he felt
the same conviction on the point to which
he" alluded as that which he entertained,
would, under such circumstances, have
abandoned the interests of his royal
master. The hon. gent. declared, that he
Hl






9] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.-The Lords Commissioners' Speech. [100


wished to see the present administration
removed, and another set of ministers ap-
pointed in their room. He did not mean
to speak presumptuously, though the hon.
gent. opposite (Mr. Whitbread) might
think his language had that tendency;
but, looking at the gentlemen opposite to
him, and giving them full credit for the
talents and eloquence which they pos-
sessed, he did not. think that they would
possess more of the good opinion of the
House and of the country than he and
his colleagues did. The hon. gent. had ex-
pressed his decided disapprobation of the
whole conduct of administration, from the
time the duke of Portland came into office;
but in deciding upon the character of an
administration, it was necessary to com-
pare their claims with those of other admi-
nistrations, and he should be glad to know
what reason there was to suppose that the
state of this country was worse, with re-
.1.1 either to its foreign or domestic rela-
ii1, ..i, under their administration, than it
would have been if the gentlemen oppo-
site to him had remained in office ? l ..
indeed, when the duke of Portland's admi-
nistration came into office, was at war
with France, but peace soon 1.il....,.,,
and Russia became the ally of France.
Unquestionably, no blame .could he attri-
buted to the noble duke or his i
for the treaty of i .I ., indeed, from 'the
language of Russia (who constantly conm-
plained of the preceding administration,
fiom their unwillingness to make any exer-
tions in the common cause), it was obvious
that the defection of Russia must be attri-
buted to them. He knew it would be
said, that the hostility arose from the ar-
mament which had been sent against Co-
penhagen ; but could any man seriously
believe that there was nothing in the
treaty of Tilsit which would have induced
Russia to take part with France, even if'
the armament to Copenhagen had not
taken place ? The only difference would
have been, that if that measure had not
been adopted, we should have had all the
Northern powers against us with much
greater means of annoyance than they
now possessed, and should have been shut
out of the Baltic, instead of having the
command of that sea. With respect to
the affairs of the Peninsula, he could not
tell howthe hon. gentlemen opposite would
have acted if they had remained in office,
but he was inclined to think that upon
every principle of policy and feeling they
would have i h:. i.,,l it ,,..1 io. to .;-


every assistance in their power to Spain.
Judging, however, as well as he could
of the state of the world, he was firmly
convinced that the state of Spain was
much better now, as far as concerned
this country, than it was when the duke
of Portland's administration came into
office. Even were France ultimately to
subdue Spain, an event which he most sin-
cerely deprecated, she might hold the
country in subjection, but she would pos-
sess diminished means of annoyance to
Great Britain. She would not derive any
revenue from her conquest, hostile as the
sentiments of the Spanish people were to
her. She would not be able to withdraw a
single soldier from the Spanish territory.
-Having said thus much on that point, he
should now advert to a subject which
would certainly be much better discussed
when the materials were before the House.
He had been asked by the hon. gent. what
was the meaning of that part of the Ad-
dress relative to the expedition to Wal-
cheren ? It did not appear to him that it
required any explanation. The Address
certainly did not pledge the House to in-
sti(t !e inquiry into that expedition ; nei-
ther did it pledge the House not to in-
quire iinto that expedition; it left that
.* open to the decision of the House,
the documents were produced.
Certain information, as stated in his Ma-
jesty's f ', would be laid before the
blouse, it would be for the House
to decide whether it would call for more;
whether it would institute an inquiry at
the bar; whether it would order an in-
quiry in a committee; or whether it would
institute any inquiry at all.-With respect
to the expedition to the Scheldt, that sub-
ject had been so ably discussed by his
noble friend (lord Cil.-:r. i:]l. "ind by
his right lion. friend I '!, ,., that it
was not necessary for him to say much about
it. If !lhe I... would recollect the state
of the French and Austrian armies on the
Danube, the state of tIle Tyrol, and the
state of the north of CGenrmany at the time
when ihe expedition to the Scheldt was
couiceried, hei was persuad;'d that they
would concur in thinking that some at-
teuwpt at diversion was most advisable;
and unquestio:iably that operation, which
had been preifrred, was beyond all com.
paring otn lhe one which promised most ef-
i' il- te benefit the cause of our allies,
and to secure our own interests. The
right hon. gent. opposite (Mr. Ponsonby)
-i;.I'u ,. that the ':O '*, contained aa






101i PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.--The Lords Commissioners' Speech. [102


estimate of the value of the operations at
Flushing very ,i'l. i. i, o from that formed
by his right hon. friend (Mr. Canning.)
It was not so. If the object of the expe-
dition had been solely the destruction of
the basin of I i Ii_. -, no one would deny
that the end was not equivalent to the
means by which it was to be obtained.
But did it follow that the destruction of
the basin at Flushing was not a very de-
sirable object, and one of no small impor-
tance ? It had been said by a right hion.
gent. opposite, that the damage sustained
by the enemy would soon be repaired.
Now, the fact was, that the ba,,in at Flush-
ing had been two or three years in con-
structing ; and it had been so completely
destroyed, that the most able engineers
had given it as their opinion, that it would
be much easier to build it anew than to
repair it. Was not this an important ad-
vantage ? Was it not beneficial to place a
principal naval station of the enemy in
such a situation that it could not be of
use in furnishing the means of annoyance
against us for two or three years ? Still he
was willing to allow, that this would not
have been a sufficient object for such an
expedition. But the expedition had a
much greater object in view; namely,
the destruction of the arsenal and shipping
at Antwerp. Nine or ten sail of the line
had lately been launched there, and as
many more were in a considerable state of
advancement. A great hazard might wise-
ly be run for the prospect of destroying
such a maritime establishment. His ma-
jesty's ministers knew what they risked,
but the object was worth the attempt.
Besides, it was the best mode that could
be devised, not to withdraw French troops
from the Danube, but to prevent rein-
forcements of 25,000 or 30,000 men from
.,.-, thither. A circumstance, which,
when the nice balance that existed be-
tween the contending armies was ad-
verted to, must appear to be of great
consequence; even during the armistice
this was a material consideration, and,
therefore although the advantages were
unquestionably lessened by the armistice,
the expedition was notwithstanding, use-
ful to Austria. The moment that Austria
knew that such an expedition was in agi.
station, she entreated us to persevere in its
completion. But the hon. gent. had ac-
cused his 3I ,- \'s government of sending
supplies to Walcheren after it was in con-
templation to abandon it. Let it be re-
collected, however, that had the armistice


been broken off instead of being con-
firmed, the evacuation of Walcherenr
would not have taken place. The right
hon. gent. opposite asked of what value
the possession of Walcheren could be to
Great Britain ? I.... I. he (Mr. Perce-
val) consented to surrender it under the
circumstances to which he had just ad-
verted, he was ready to avow that -he
thought it of great value. Whether it
was worth the expence of a garrison,
however, was another question ; and on a
comparative view of the subject, that
question had been decided in the nega-
tive. But to shew still more strongly the
sense which the Austrians entertained of
the value of this possession to their inte-
rests, he would only observe, that within
a day or two of the conclusion of the ar-
mistice, Austria requested this country
not to abandon Walcheren.-The next
subject to which he came, was the ap-
pointment of lord ( I. ,iii to the expe-
dition. The gentlemen opposite had in-
dulged in i. In., i,... on that noble lord,
which, considering the situation in which
he st6od, might with great propriety have
been omitted. Whenever it was pro-
bable that the conduct of an individual
would be subjected to an inquiry, justice
demanded that the public mind should
not be prejudiced against him. Was it
fair to any officer, because he differed
from others in politics, to be treated as
this noble lord had been treated by the
right hon. gent., and by the hon. general
opposite ? He was sure that the latter
would feel the injustice of such aproceed-
ing in his own case, and would deprecate
the dissemination of opinions condemning
his conduct, when that conduct was to
become the subject of any investigation.
Upon this point he should only make one
more observation, viz. that the result of
the inquiry, if any inquiry should be
thought necessary, would, in a great mea-
sure, decide the question relative to the
propriety or the impropriety of the ap-
pointment of that noble lord to the com-
mand of the expedition.-He could not,
also, upon this occasion, avoid expressing
his regret at the manner in which another
noble lord (Wellington) had been at-
tacked in his absence; if this practice
were persisted in, it would damp the ar-
dour, and check the spirit of our officers;
for they would go out to fight the battles
of their country with the melancholy con-
viction, that however great their exertions
might be, their political adversaries would
i






103] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 23, 1810.-The Lords Commissioners' Speech. [104


in their absence eagerly seize upon every
little event that could be construed into
a disaster, for the purpose of wounding
their feelings, depreciating their services,
and attacking their characters.-The hon.
gent., who had seconded the amendment,
had also in his opinion, in a most unjusti-
fiable manner, commented upon the con-
duct of several officers of a less elevated
rank, who had been employed on most
important services in Spain, whom he had
chosen to term military missionaries,"
and whose interest he had described it to
be to misrepresent the state of Spain, and
the feelings of the Spanish people. Sure-
ly, it could not be supposed that gentle-
men of high private characters and great
professional reputation could feel any
thing like a personal interest in keeping
up the delusion, asit was called, with re-
spect to the real state of Spain. But in
the whole of the speech of the hon. gent.
to whom he was now alluding, there was
no part which he more sincerely regrett-
ed than that part of it, in which he spoke
of the aiitirs of Spain, and of the exer-
tions of the Spanish people. That the
defenders of Saragossa and Gerona should
be represented as exhibiting no single
trait of generosity or enthusiasm was
surely not liberal. Well, too, might that
hon. gent. censure what had been done
by his majesty's government to aid the
Spapish cause, when he said that that
cause did not deserve success. For his part
he was persuaded, that neither in ancient
nor in modern history could such an
example be found, of a country maintain-
ing a contest like that which this de-
graded" Spain and this degraded" Span-
ish government had so long supported.
Never, in recent times, had 250,000
Frenchmen been in a country for such a
length of time without subduing it. Spain
was not subdued; but what effect on the
energies of Spain such language as had
been used to night might produce, it was
impossible to predict. It was much to be
lamented that the struggle in Spain would
probably be most severe ; but the diffi-
culties they encountered and the reverses
they had sustained, had not yet had the
effect of subjecting the determined re-
sistance of the Spanish nation. At every
defeat a new army sprang up; and the
Spaniards, animated by their hostility to
the usurper of their rights, would main-
tain a determined resistance to the last.
-With respect to the late campaign, he
could not agree with the hon. gentlemen


on the other side of the House; he could
not agree that in any instance disgrace
had followed our arms; As the move-
ments of general sir John Moore in the
year 1808, and the battle of Corunna, had
saved the South of Spain that year, so he
believed the expulsion of the French from
Portugal and Galicia, the junction of lord
Wellington with Cuesta, and the battle of
Talavera, saved the South of Spain this
year. What would have become of Spain
if the British had not arrived at Portugal
when Soult had taken Oporto ? An hon.
general opposite, had given a confident
opinion that Portugal could not be defend-
ed with 30,000 men; but the hon. general
seemed to forget that there was a native
force of 40,000 Portuguese, trained and
disciplined by British officers, and that it
would require a vigorous effort on the part
of the French to succeed against 30,000
British troops, and 40,000 native troops
conducted by British officers.-There was
only one point more to which he wished
to advert. The hon. gent. who spoke
last had asked his right hon. friend (Mr.
Canning) when he had not an opportunity
of answering, whether lie had not kept
from parliament last session a document
which would have justified Mr. Erskine
for signing the treaty with America?
If there existed such a document it
had escaped his recollection, and he
was convinced that whoever had given
the hon. gentleman his information had
misled him. When this subject was
under discussion last session his right
hon. friend had stated his reasons for pro-
ducing the document which was then pro-
duced, viz. to justify his Majesty's go-
vernment for refusing to agree to the
Treaty signed by Mr. Erskine. He pro-
duced the Instructions sent to that gentle-
man to shew that they did not warrant
him in signing that Treaty. His right
hon. friend also stated, at that time, that
what he was then saying, was not intend-
ed as an attack upon Mr. Erskine, but that
there were other documents which might
be produced if that gentleman felt them
necessary for his justification. Upon the
whole, he was convinced that the House
could not agree to the Amendment, even
upon the grounds stated by a right hon.
gent. opposite to him, and it would see
that the Amendment did not pledge it
either to enter into an inquiry, or to
avoid one, nor did it pledge the House to
any opinion, upon any one point, of the
conduct of ministers.







105] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 25, 1810.-Vote of Thanks to Lord Wellington. [106


S Mr. Tierney made some most pointed
observations in reply to the Chancellor of
the Exchequer. He remarked,that even
by the admission of the right hon. gent.,
the men whom he put into office, were
only placed there because no better could
be found. He also challenged any one
to deny, that in whatever company lhe
* had been, high or low, the present ad-
ministration was spoken of in terms of
contempt.
The House then divided; when the
numbers were :
For the Amendment 167
Against it 263
Majority against the Amendment 96
List of the Minority.
Abercromby, Hon. J. Greenhill, R.
Adam, W. Glenfell, P.
Agar, E. F. Grosvenor, Gen.
Althorpe. Vise. Grant, M.
Anstrnther, Sir J. Hall, Sir J.
Antonie, W. L. Halsey, Jos.
Aubrey, Sir J. Hamilton, Pitt
SBaker, J. lHammet, John
Baring, N. Hibbert, G.
Baring, T. Ilippesley, Sir J.
Bernard, S. Horner, F.
Biddulph, R. M. Howard, H.
Bradshaw, Hon. A. C. Howard, Hon. Wm.
]ro#gdn, J. Howorth, H.
Browne, N. Hume, W. H.
Burdett, Sir F. Hussey, W.
* Bynl G. Hutchinson, C. H.
Calcratt. J. (Teller) Ilurst, R.
Calvert, N. Jackson, J.
Cavendish, Ld. G. Jekyll, Joseph
Cavendlsh, Wm. Kemp, T.
Cocks, J. Knox, Hon. T.
Cochrane, Lord Lamb, Hon. W.
Cowper, Hon E.S. Lambton, R. J.
Coke, T. Langton, W. G.
Coke, Ed. Leach, J.
Colborne, N. W. R. Latouche, D.
Cooke, B. Latoucie, J.
Craig, J. Lemon, Sir WV.
Crcevey, T. Lemon, John
Cuthbert, J. R. Lemon, Charles
Curtis, Sir Wm. Lloyd, J, W.
Daly, Rt. Hoen. D. B. Lubhock, Sir J.
Dickinson, W. Lyttleton, W. H.
Dundas, C. Longman, G.
Dundas, ion. L. Lester, G.
Elliot, Rt. Ion. W. Macdonald, J.
Euston, Earl Mahon, Vise.
Fergusson, Gen Markham, J.
Fti..acrald, Lord H. Milbanke, Sir IL
FitzrFrald, Rt. Hon. M. Martin, H.
Fitzpatrick, Gen. Mathew, General
Fitzroy, Lord Win. Maxwell, W.
Foley, lion. N. Mildmay, Sir H.
* Foley, T. Mills, W.
Folkestone, Vise, Mills, C.
Foulkes, Sir M. Milner, Sir W.
Frankland, W. Mexborough, Earl
Fremantle, W. (Teller) Milton, Viscount
Giles, D. Moore, P.
Gower, Earl Morpcth, Vise.
Grattan, H. Morris, Y,


Mosley, Sir 0. Smith, G.
Mostyn, Sir T. Smith, W.
Neville, Hon. R. Stanley, Lord
Newport, Sir J. Stanley, J.
North, D. Somerville, Sir M.
Nugent, Sir G. Symonds, T. P.
Northey, W. Talbot, Col.
O'Callaghan, J, Tavistock, Marquis
O'Hara, C. rarleton, Gen.
Ord, W. Taylor, M. A.
Ossulston, Lord Taylor, C. W.
Parnell, H. Temple, Earl
Peirse, H. 1. .1..i.r-, 1.. V ise.
Pellam, H on CI. I .... l. ., I'.
Percy, E;arl Tierney, Rt. Hon. C,,
Piggott, Sir A. Tighe, W.
Ponsonby, Rt. Hon. G. Townsend, Lord J,
Ponsonby, Hon. G. Turton, Sir T.
Porchester, Lord Vansittart, G.
Power, R. Vernon, G.
Prittie, Hon. F. Walpole, Hon. G.
Pym, F. Ward, Hon. J. W.
Pollington, Vise, Warrender, Sir G.
Quin, Heon. WWestern, C. C.
Romilly, Sir S. Wharton, J.
Sheridan, R. B. Whitbread, S.
Sebright, Sir J. Williams, Sir R.
Scudamore, R, P. Williams, 0.
Sharp, R. Windham, Rt. Hon. W.
Sheliey, T. Winnington, Sir E.
Shipley, W. Wardle, Col.
Smith, S. Wynn, C.
Smith, T, Wynn, Sir W. W.

HOUSE OF LORDS.
Thursday, January 25.
[VOTE OF THANKS To LORD WELLING-
TON.] Earl Grey, previous to the discus%
sion of the next day on the intended : .- .
of Thanks to lord Wellington, thought it
of considerable importance that some in-
formation should be laid before the House,
by which they might be the better ena-,
bled to form an opinion with respect to
the propriety of the motion. It was ne-
cessary they should know whether the ad-
vance of lord Wellington into Spain, was
the exercise of his own discretion, or the
result of the instructions of ministers, and
with this view he should move for the in-
structions sent to lord Wellington. It was
also of importance they should have be-
fore them the nature of the iti.n ,,,,,....
communicated by lord Wellington re-
specting the action of Talavera, there be-
ing strong reason to believe that ministers,
at the time they held out that battle as a
victory, knew from what was stated by
lord Wellington in his dispatches, that our
army must retreat; and that the battle,
said to be a victory, must be followed by
all the consequences of defeat. His lord-
ship therefore moved for the Instructions
sent to lord Wellington; for the Dis-
patches received from him upon his






07] PARL, 1EBATE%, JAN. 25, ] 81tX--- ole .:' .;. vws to Lord I' ;i ...... L 10


marching from Placentia; for the dis-
patches which he sent from Talavera after
the battle; and also for certain corres-
pondence between Lord Wellington and
the Spanish government, respecting sup-
plies for the army.
The Earl of Liverpool did not see the
necessity of calling for any documents of
the nature alluded to by the noble earl,
for the purpose of discussing the motion
for a vote of thanks to lord Wellington.
The vote was a tribute to the bravery of
the army, and the skill of the commander,
and.had no connexion with any enquiry
into the merits of the campaign. He
should therefore oppose the motion.
The Marquis of Douglas thought it
highly necessary that they should have
the proposed information before them,
particularly when it was doubtful whether
the purpose for which the battle of Tala-
vera was fought was gained, or rather
whether it had not wholly failed. There
were other documents also which he
thought of importance, and for which he
should afterwards move.
Lord Erskine said, lie should have great
satisfaction, if unfettered by his situation
in that House, in paying a tribute to the
merits of lord W. II .1.... whom he con-
sidered as an able and accomplished of-
ficer. Im thought it, however, essential,
that they should have the proposed in-
formation before they proceeded to the
discussion of a motion of thanks for the
L..o ,, -I Talavera. He would put an hy-
pothetical case;'suppose that the result
of fighting a battle should be, although a
victory was claimed, the failure of the main
purposes of the campaign, would it not
be essential that they should have informa-
tion with respect to the reasons for adopt-
ing that measure, before they voted thanks
for a victory which had produced only
disastrous consequences ?
The Earl of Harrowy maiaintined that
it was not the practice to call for informa-
tion, with the view ,of ascertaining the
character of' a victory when the only pur-
pose in contemplation was the voting
thanks to the commander. The prece-
dents were all the other way. Thanks
were voted for the victory of Maida, al-
though, without meaning to convey the
slightest reflection, it might be said to be
little better than a barren laurel.
Earl Grosvenor contended, that it was
impossible for that House to vote thanks
for a mere isolated act of valour, without
;.,'.'ii,. into the circumstances which


attended it. With respect to the battle
of Maida, it was complete in its object,
and the commander retreated at his op.
tion, but the only consequences of the
battle of Talavera were the surrender of
our sick and wounded into the hands of
the enemy, and our being forced to retreat.
The Earl of Lauderdale thought the
conduct of ministers extremely singular;
an intention had been intimated by his
noble friend on Tuesday night, of bring-
ing forward a motion of inquiry into the
conduct of the campaign in Spain, which
necessarily involved the merits of the
battle of Talavera, and yet this was not
thought a sufficient reason to stop a mo-
tion for a vote of thanks for fighting that
battle, although in the affair of Basque
Roads the mere private intimation of a
member of the House of Commons, that
lie should oppose a vote of thanks, led to
a Court-martial on the commander.
Viscount Sidmozth was desirous that a
full inquiry should take place, into the
conduct. of the campaign in Spain, and
that the documents moved for by the
noble earl, and many more, should be
produced, but he did not think their pro-
duction applicable to the intended motion
for a vote of thanks. There was no pre-
cedent for calling for papers to inquire
into the general conduct of a campaign
with a view merely to a specific vote of
thanks for a particular service. In the
case of the battle of Corunna no question
was made about the vote of thanks, al-
though the campaign had,been disastrous
and demanded inquiry.
Earl (Grey was by no means convinced
by what he heard, that there was the
slightest impropriety in his motions. Let
the case be put hypothetically, of a com-
mander advancing into a country, i lt;,.:
a battle, claiming a victory, and in two
days afterwards, being obliged to retreat
before those whom he had defeated, and
to leave in the hands of the enemy his
sick and wounded ; and surely their lord-
ships must feel the necessity of having
before them some information as to the
circumstances attending this battle, and
those which led to it, before they came to
the discussion of a vote of thanks proposed
to the commander. His noble friend had
mentioned the battle of Corunna: when
these thanks were voted, lie was not in
the House, but in that case, the gallant and
distinguished officer who commanded,
gained his object; the purpose of fight-
ing was to secure a good retreat, and that






PARL. DEBATES, J.A. '25, 1810.--Dispute with America.


a object was gained. But in fhe case of
the battle of Talavcra, it was doubtful
whether it was a victory or not. Under
thtse circumstances he thought it essen.-
tial that the information moved for should
be laid before the house.
The motionswerethen put ;n.1.,. ,I. .1
[LORDn GAMBIER.] Lord Grenville, uo..
* derstanding that a notice was given on
Tuesday night for a motion of thanks to
lord Gambiler for the destruction of the
Frinch ships in Basque Roads, wished to
call the attention of the House to the adop-
tion of some mode for the purpose of ren-
dering their proceedings regular. The
last notice which appeared on the jour-
nals respecting lord Camnbier was an in..
timation of his arrest, for the purpose oft
his being tried for his life and honour,
before a Court-martial. If it was now
thought expedient that thanks should be
moved, it would be necessary that the
proceedings of that Court-martial should
* be laid before the House, in order that
they might have regularly before them,
what had taken place since the arrest of
lord Gambier. IIe therefore moved for
the Minutes of the Court-martial.
Lord Mulgrave, with respect to what he
had slated in a former session relative to
lord Gambier, regretted that strangers
were excluded, as it prevented that pub-
licity being given to it which he wished.
le had then intimated by his Majesty's
commands, the arrest of lord Gamniier,
and had stated that the Court-martial had
been summoned at the earnest request of
lord Gambier, who in doing so, had been
Sactuated by that high and honourable
feeling which so '1: characterized
British officers. i' i' pect to the pre-
sent motion, he objected to calling for the
Minutes of the Court-martial,as that would
appear as if it was wished to re-try the
case. IIe thought the laying the Sentence
before the. House would be sufficient to
Sender their proceedings regular, and an-
swer all the purposes of the noble lord.
He therefore moved as an Amendtment to
insert in the motion the Sentence instead
of the 1Minutes,.
Lord Grenville, had no objection to the
Amendment ; he certainly did not wish to
re-try the case, which, in his opinion,
ought not to have been tried at all. His
only object was that the Minutes would
contain the most authentic particulars of
the action, on which they might form an
,.pi,.;i with respect to the proposed Vote.
ihw Amendment was .' I.'. to.


HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Thursday, January 25.
[DISPUTE WITH AMERIICA. Mr. Alor
ris rose and spoke to theI..P.'ll' ll effect:
--Sir, I was very anxious to have offered
myself to your notice on the night of the
last debate, after an alhlsion which had
been made towards the close of it, to the
provisional agreement which had been en-
tered into by an honourable relation of
mine (Mr. Erskine) as his Majesty's mi-
nister to the United States, but I am not
sorry that I did not catch your eye, as I
may perhaps hope to experience from the
indulgence of the House, from the pecu-
liar personal interest I feel in the question,
'as well as from its public iinp .i i.u'- a
more patient attention than could have
been afforded at that late hour in its then
exhausted state.---It is perfectly correct,
as stated by my right hon. friend (Mr.
Perceval), that the dispatch communicat-
ed to parliament, of the 23rd of January
last, was the only dispatch by which con-
ditions were prescribed to Mr. Erskine,
for the concluding a provisional agree.
ment ; but I can by no means admit, that
when he found that the conditions were
impracticable according to the letter, he
might not have found it expedient to re-
fer to his other instructions for the pur-
pose of ascertaining, whether he would
be acting in conformity to the wishes of
his \i ., ..'s government, if he was to
comply with the sense and spirit of his in-
structions, though he could not with the
letter. I can, therefore, in no shape ad-
mit that the other dispatches might not
have materially contributed to the judg-
ment he formed, when he considered this
substantial compliance with the instruc-
tions as within the scope of his duity. That
he did so consider them, we have his own
authority in a letter which he wrote to
lMr. Smith, and which has been since pub-
lished, in which letter he speaks of his
several letters of instruction, as having led
him to think that lh should consult the
views of his moajesty's government, by
foi'lowi.ig the spirit of his instructions
when e cculd not have them complied
with according to the letter. It is quite
clear, therefore, that in his judgment, the
other letters of instruction are material to
the forming an opinion of his case--that
'..pi; ',.!.,> in erroneous. We, the House,
can be in no condition to call it so, unless
the instructions are produced. Ministers
may, if they please, withhold them ; with


[110






PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 25,


them rests the responsibility. I know no
reason why they should. I am not aware
of any objection which can be made to
their being made public ; but if they are
not, the public is not in possession of the
whole of his case, that must be before
them in a disadvantageous light; and
they are bound to say, that on grounds of
public expediency, it is so left : but what-
ever may be said on the subject of instruc-
tions, though these instructions may be
withheld, I am satisfied, that no objection
can be raised to the production of the
answer returned by him to the dispatch
communicated to the House. I am wholly
at a loss to conjecture why that was with-
held. I cannot understand on what prin-
ciple the dispatch was communicated, and
not his answer-his answer, which con-
tained the terms he had obtained, which
would have proved, that in what he had
obtained those very conditions were sub-
stantially recognized-recognized, in the
only way in which they could have been
recognized, consistent with the forms of
the American government. There can
be no note in writing from the American
executive-they have no power, no autho-
rity to give it. This official recognition
is as binding, therefore, as any note in
writing could be. I am the more astonish-
ed that this communication was not pro-
duced, because I find that Mr. Jackson
adverts to it, and says, that it appears
from thence, that the conditions were
sent over to Mr. Smith; that Mr. Erskine
had repeated in that communication, verba-
tim et seriatim, what had passed in his con-
ferences with Mr. Smith, on the subject of
these conditions ; so that not only the ex-
istence of the document is thus publicly
admitted, but its contents ; and that they
are obviously most important to the deci-
sion of the question there can be no doubt,
when it is the statement of what passed
between him and Mr. Smith, at the time
of entering into the agreement, and
contains the pledge of the American go-
vernment, the official recognition by the
American executive, of those very con-
ditions in substance, though not in the
form required. It is the having withheld
this dispatch that I cannot but consider
as a great injury to the reputation of my
relation, who was held up to the country
as having given up every thing and gain-
ed nothing ? when, if this communication
had been laid before parliament, they
would have been able to judge, whether
he was right in uolvidering that he had


Ill]


1810.-Dispute with America. [112
thus obtained the substance of the condi- *
tions prescribed, though not the letter,
and thereby accomplished the object of
his majesty's ministers, in the only prac-
tical way they could be accomplished.
Let it not be supposed for a moment,
that he was vain or silly enough to sub-
stitute views of policy of his own for
those of his government-it was their
policy, their system ; it is on the suppos-
ed adoption of their policy, and their
system in its sense and spirit, that he puts
his justification. I shall not trespass any
farther on the House on this part of the
subject, as a notice just given by my hon.
friend (Mr. Wiirtbread) will aflbrd an
early opportunity for that purpose; but
there is another poml, of at least equal
importance to the character of my
honourable reltioi, which I am most
anxious to set riglit-1 do not mean to
say, that Mr. Jacksoi has. directly as-
serted that Mr. Erskine was ordered to
give an explanation to the American
government of the reasons which had in-
fluenced his Majesty's minister to disa-
vow the arrangement he had made; but
if he is not to be considered as asserting,
at least he insinuates it so strongly, that
I am bound on the part of my hon. rela-
tion to say, that he was not ordered to
give that explanation-that he was not
authorized to give it either directly or
indirectly : and I am the more anxious to
state this, because reasons were assigned
for his having withheld it, of a private and
personal nature; he is supposed to have
withheld it from some delicacy attaching
to the peculiar situation in which he
found himself from the disavowal; nay,
more, he is supposed to have relied on the
goodness of the President, as affording
him an excuse in that respect. What is
this, in other words, but -\ .i,. that he
was guilty of a dereliction ot his public
duty from some considerations which were
purely personal to himself; and how is
this charge :;-,.'.i-:i .1 when that expla-
nation having been withheld, is one of the
principal complaints made by the Amue-
rican government; so that from some sup-
posed personal motive he has abstained
from the discharge of his public duty,
and by so doing, has increased the irrita-
tion already excited in that country ?
What is the House to think, when I state
that he was not ordered or authorized to
make the communication, and that under
the circumstances in which he was
placed, to have made that communication






P J3J PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 25, 181 0.-The Lords Commissioners' Spetch. [114
without order or authority, would have [THE LpaDs' COMMISSIONERS' SrEECH.]
been to'the last degree indecorous or un- Lord Bernard appeared at the bar, with
i ,i i~ From Mr. Jackson's mode of the report of the Address to his Majesty,
describing that explanation, too, it does in answer to his most gracious Speech.
not seem as ifthe communication of it was Sir Francis Burdelt rose, and began by
likely to 'have conciliated the American .I, ;i that he had paid that attention
government. The forcible terms' in that was due to the sentiments of the
which it was said to have been conveyed, different nil. m. i. gentlemen who had
do not sound as if they were likely to already delivered their respective opi-
have allayed the resentment, or soothed onions on the various topics which the full
the feelings of the American government; discussion of the King's Speech naturally
but whether they were or not, he had no embraced. He had listened, he hoped,
discretion given to him upon the subject; with equal candour, to the defence of the
and to make a charge upon him for hav- men who thought themselves still quali-
ing kept back this explanation, from mo- fled to govern the country, and to the ar-
tives of a private nature, is to inflict a guments of those who thought themselves
wound upon his reputation. I do not better fitted for that arduous situation;
mean to lay any imputation upon Mr., and the result of the whole was, to con-
Jackson. I must presume he acted ac- firm more and more that calm conviction
I... ; to the best of his judgment in of mind, with-which lie had entered that
the discharge of his public duty; but, House, of the necessity, sooner or later, of
Sir, I deny that any motives for embar- an entire change of system; of a
rassment existed, or any cause from thorough, constitutional, and temperate
which it could have arisen-that Mr. Er- reform in parliament. When they con-
skine had hoped to have considered thim- sidered the extent and nature of the fail-
self the instrument'ofhis V' j, 's goveru- ures abroad, the numerous instances of
ment, for allaying the animosity which obstinacy, fatuity, and incapability at
had unhappily prevailed between Great home, that had stigmatized the short pe-
Britain and America, is most true; that riod of time since their last meeting in
lie had hoped to bring about, with due at- that place; and when they compared,
tncl.ion to his instructions, a re-union be- with that consideration, the confidence
twcen two countries connected by ties of that the majority of that assembly were
blood, by identity of interests, by con- still willing to repose in the authors of
genial sentiments of liberty, at a time our disgraces, it did appear to him aston-
wlhen the very name ofit is banished from ishing, how any well-meaning i. il i;,
the rest of the civilized world ; that he man could doubt, that there was some-
had hoped to have accomplished this, not thing in our system radically wrong.
a tame, passive re-union, but one which With respect to the leading complaints
would lead to cordial, active ct.. .. ri;..n made against the present ministers, never
against France ; that this was a proud ob- were men in such a state of self-abandon-
ject of ambition, and that he was hum- ment; they had nothing to say for them-
bled, mortified, and grieved when he selves, and could have confidence in no-
found that lie had failed, I am free to ad- thing but, in that assembly, in which
mit; that his being thus mistaken in his there seemed to be a mysterious some-
view of what were the wishes of his Ma-; thing that might justify the most culpable
jesty's government, and that this mistake, in expectations the most extravagant, not
was painful to him in the extreme, I be- only of impunity, but protection. This
lievc; but that there were any other sen- he did not say out of any sentiment of
timents, or any ideas of delicacy or cm- personal asperity to the gentlemen com-
barrassment, which induced him to swerve posing the present administration, and the
from any part of his duty, or that he principle of it, which, without a reform,
could have suppressed explanation from it must have in common with every fu-
the influence of any such feelings as those ture administration : he spoke not against
ascribed to him, I utterly deny. I have this individual or that, or in favour of
* addressed the House somewhat more at this or that party. If gentlemen at this
length than I originally intended, and I very awful crisis felt alarm, because the
thank them for the attention with which conduct of public aflairs ere intrusted to
they have listened to me; and the great the present ministers, and thought that
interest which I cannot but take in the their apprehensions for the public safety
subject must be i.', apology. could be removed only by the appoint-
YOL. xv, I






115] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 25, 1810.-The Lords Commissioners' Speech. [116


rent of other men in, their stead, more
able, more experienced, or more honest,
how should he (sir Francis) feel alarmed,
when he could derive no one hope for the
public benefit frort any such change?
Change of'menwould do nothing, could do
nothing, while they would be necessarily
obliged to act up to that fatal system in
which all our real danger lies. Ministers
were but the instruments in the hands of
that pernicious system; and while they
were but its passive instruments, they
must work its destructive will. To him,
therefore, it was idle to talk of a change of
tools; it was to the design and nature of
the work itself that he objected; and
while he thought that big with peril to
the constitution, perhaps the less skilful
and adroit the workmanship the better.
Among the many acts of the present ad-
ministration, since the commencement
of the recess, which had been the subject
of general complaint, there was one of a
nature more immediately growing out of
that system to which he had alluded, and
more directly to be traced to that bad
source than any of the rest. He alluded
to the treatment which his Majesty had
been advised to give the first corporation in
the empire. How, he asked them, could
they otherwise account for that wild and
preposterous policy, that could affect to
find wisdorh in an insult, inflicted by the
crown on the corporation of the city of
London. Did it not look as if it was es-
seatial to the preservation of that fatal
system, to throw obstacles in the way of
communication between the people and
the throne ? It naturally revolted at all
means of facilitating the growth of that
confidence between the King and his sub-
jects, which of all other national blessings
it had most reason to dread, and therefore
was it urged, by the all-paramount mo-
tive of self-preservation, to keep wide
asunder, to alienate the two parties, not-
withstanding their common interests; be-
cause it well knew, that the fair, cordial,
conciliatory, and constitutional com-
merce between both must precede its
own radical extermination. It was to
such a system that the insult given to the
right of petition and remonstrance, was to
be fairly traced ; that system, he did not
hesitate to say, owed its birth, and growth,
and maturity, to the corrupt state of that
assembly; for if ministers were not fully
aware to what length they might safely
go, and how readily they would be borne
out in their most extravagant criminali-


ties, by the more extravagant sejvility of
that assembly, was it to be believed that
they would have had the temerity to ad-
vise the King to call in question the most
valued privilege of the people of England,
by such an insult as had recently been
past upon the metropolis of the empire ?
The first and most respectable of all the
corporations, the city of London, in bad
times- treated with respect, and, in the
worst of times, never insulted with im-
punity: a corporation, not to say politi-
cally, but integrally, the first in the
King's dominions; whether they consi-
dered the liberality of principle, the
high honour, the rigid integrity, the im-
mense wealth, the commercial influence,
the great weight of political interest,
which had so long constituted the insepa-
rable characteristics of that body, and
which, in the present times, distinguished
so many of its members; to insult such a
body, in regard to the disputed exercise
of their long established corporate pri-
vileges, was to insult the whole people of
this country. Was it npt an unwise thing
to engage his Majesty in an indecent
struggle with such an important portion
of his subjects? He knew of no more dig-
nified prerogative to be exercised by the
King, than that of admitting to his pre-
sence the loyal effusions of his people.
Even William the Conqueror respected
the privileges of the city of London ; and
William 3, evinced for them that sacred
respect that was worthy such good pri-
vileges, and worthy of the good times of
that Revolution, that more firmly esta-
blished them. We knew that such for-
merly was the merited influence of this
corporation, that the Convention Parlia-
ment thought the weight of the sanction
of the city of London absolutely neces-.
sary to its existence. A body of such ab-
solute and relative importance ought not
to have been treated with levity, much
less with insult. It was not long since an
occurrence had taken place, which, by
the interposition of that House, proved
that the King himself could not turn aside
or stop up a common bye-path in his own
demesne. The question was brought to
the test-He could notdo it. If then, the
executive power, armed with all its in-
fluence, could not turn a little footpath
across his own park, what were we to
think of those men who would dare to
block up the great highways to the sub-
jects hereditary right of Petition and Re-
monstrance. The right of Petition was






S17] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 25, 1810.-The Lords Colmnissioners' Speech. [118


* the subjects' high road to the throne-the
Revolution opened that road, and it was
essential to the health of the constitution
that it should be kept at all times open,
But to say nothing more upon the abstract
right of the subject to Petition-to say
nothing more of the peculiar weight and
respectability of the party exercising that
* right in the present instance, he wished to
ask, if the occasion of the Petition was not
ofanature tojustify the exercise then made
of that privilege ? Had the corporation
no grounds for petition or remonstrance in
our calamities abroad, and our sufferings
at home ? Was the act of petitioning alto-
gether impertinent agd unprovoked by
any of the late or passing events of the
day ? Whatever cause might be assigned
for the seemingly unaccountable treat-
ment the city of London had met with, he
felt confident that it could not be attri-
buted to any such motives. And, indeed,
he could not help observing, with regret,
* that the present was by no means a solitary
instance of encroachment upon the right
of petition. In the whole course of his
present Majesty's unfortunate reign, were
to be found repeated instances of the same
insulting indifference towards the exer-
cise of this invaluable and indisputable
privilege.-The next point to which he
had to advert was, what appeared to him
a violation of the usages of that House;
it had been the custom to submit to the
members of the House a copy of the
King's Speech, at least one day before the
meeting of Parliament; but on the late
occasion, the great majority of the House
were ignorant of the Speech till it was
read from the chair.-Another circum-
stance which he had, by the way, to ad-
vert to, was, that when they broke up last
session, they were in possession of the cir-
cumstances of that foul and scandalous
job respecting Chelsea hospital. But
what would the House now think, when
A they 'were told that, notwithstanding all
his exertions to defeat that job, it had been
recently concluded upon, and the grant
made out? Did ministers suppose that this
sort of precipitance was the way to stop
all further inquiry? They would find
themselves deceived if they thought so, for
it was his intention to move at a future
* day for the revocation of the grant in
question. He had left ministers a fair re-
treat, they had not taken the advantage
of it, and he was determined to follow up
what he had already attempted, in order
to defeat thatjob.-He should now pass to


the more immediate consideration of the
Speech itself. And, in the first place, he
thought the Speech singularly defective;
the King's Speech at the opening of Par-
liament ought to be a ,' nlU al exposition
upon every prominent event and exten-
sive operation that had occurred during
the recess; and not a mere milk and
water composition, full of unmeaning ge-
nerals that could not be disputed, and the
truth of which had neither importance
nor application. It ought not to be that
kind of composition, so cautiously modelled
and shaped by the apprehensions of mi-
nisteis, so as to slide harmless through
discussion. The present Speech said no-
thing of the state of our affairs in India;
and as to what it did say, there was
a passage towards the conclusion of, it,
that he thought deserved more anim-
adversion than it had yet met with;
he meant that part that was tacked to
the Speech, relating to a provision for
the poorer order of clergy. He should
be sorry to oppose any justifiable method
of relieving the wants of that body of
men, but never would he consent to
do so by imposing additional exactions
on a burthened and almost exhausted
country. If the poor clergy were so in-
digent, they could not derive relief from
a fitter source than the wealthy part of
their own calling-the higher order of the
established clergy were, in all conscience,
rich enough to contribute to the necessi-
ties of the poorer class of their brother-
hood; there could be no doubt that so
opulent a body had the means to assist the
individuals attached to it, and whileathey
were so amply gifted with the means, it
would be invidious to express a doubt,
that men of their profession would be
wanting in the inclination. To the rich
clergy, therefore, he would leave their
poorer brethren, or to whatever benefit
might be drawn from an application to
that purpose of queen Ann's bounty; in
short he would agree to any plausible
expedient for their relief, but never would
hear of wringing from the hard hands
of honest industry the last shilling for
such an application.-With respect to the
Expeditions, it could not be contended,
that the primafacie result of our military
operations was not disgrace. There was
marked disgrace upon the face of the
campaign; (to apply that term to the
whole of our military operations) failure,
total failure in Spain, and utter disgrace in
Walcheren. He should not now enter






119] i .l1: .. DEBATES, JAN. 25, 1I 1.-The Lords Commissioners' Speech. [120


into the merits of the plan, or the ques-
tion of the delay that had occurred in
S.1 \-;,4 .lat plan into I!;, ; but it was
I. 'I 1...... that such either was our se-
crecy or our dispatch, that for three
months before our expedition sailed,
general Monnet's proclamation disclosed
the object of that armament, and during
that period counter-preparations were
making by the enemy to oppose it.
But there was one circumstance con-
nected with this subject that appeared
to him not a little extraordinary, lie
had read an order from a noble lord
lately at the head of the war department
(lord Castlereagh), directed to the cap-
tains and commanders in the fleet em-
ployed in the descent upon Walcheren,
and requiring them to search their re-
spective ships and vessels, and (when
found) to send back to this country a per-
son who was said to have sailed with the
fleet; the person to whom he alluded was
Mr. Finnerty, and it seemed that in order
to comply with the directions of ohe no-
ble lord, every minor consideration was
thrown aside; the other objects of the
grand expedition were suspended, and the
British fleet put into active requisition for
the purpose of facilitating the apprehen-
sion of Mr. Finnerty. He did not wish to
be too curious in inquiring, into the cause
of this important part of' the service; but
as to its ... ., it had transpired, that
owing to the busy occupation that now
engrossed the attention of the command-
ers, a transport containing the entrench-
ing tools was left behind, and the want of
those tools produced, it is said, lie knew
not with what truth, some delav in the
construction of the works before i' 11._.
With respect to the other topics, the cam-
paign in the Peninsula, our alitirs in the
East Indies, our dispute with America, he
could not but assent to the substance of'
the objections that had been made, though
lie confessed that as to questions involving
military topics le i -..... ii. himself, and
niany of those who heard him, not the
most competent judges; but he could
judge of the change that had taken place
in the prospects of the country since the
year 1793. When the war that then
broke out, founded as it was in folly and
injustice, what terrible predictions did
.they then heat of the probable conse-
quences, resulting from that ill-omened
step ? but how insignificant were those
predictions, compared with the more ter-
rible events that had since occurred ?


Not even the prophetic despondency of
that inauspicious period could have dared
but imagine all the evils that have since
afflicted and humbled us. Nor could he
without pain and astonishment observe
the too prevalent disposition even then,
to cite and to bow down to the authority
of a departed statesman, whom as a mi-
nister he looked upon as the greatest
curse that ever visited this country. IHe,
for his part, could not so soon, nor so
easily unlearn the lessons, the terrible
lessons, impressed upon his mind by
the uniform tenor of Mr. Pitt's ad-
ministration, 'and so strongly inculcated
at one period by the severe but deserved
animadversions of' those gentlemen who
had since learned to think of that mi-
nister with greater charity, ; but he could
not yet endure to hear such a man panegy-
rized ; for if he was fit to be panegyrized,
he was fit to be imitated. lie could not
yet think it other than an insult, the bur-
thening with his debts the people he had
so reduced. He thought it a still greater
insult to make that people pay for the
erection of a monument to his memory.
It was, indeed, unnecessary. He had left
his monument behind him-' Excgit mo-
numentum aerc perennius.' A monument
that would be as lasting as those ruins in
Europe of which he was the founder; or,
if there must be a monument in this his
injured country, lie (Sir iFrancis) would
propose that a pillar should be reared in
the .; ;,, square; that on the oneside
i I ,, ii should appear in large and
imposing characters, and on the other
should appear, equally conspicuous,all the
host of Mr. Pitt's acts in direct violation
of the provisions, and in utter subversion
of the principles-of that great bulwark of
our liberties. He should propose, also,
that the Speaker should, on the initiation
of every new minister, hlad him up to the
foot of that pillar, and thus make the name
ith .. iJ not to be ail example, what it
ought-a warning to all who took upon
them the charge of the future government
of this country.-The hon. baronet next
proceeded to observe upon the rigorous
mode of collecting the taxes, which, he
al!...l. .1 .. be oppressive in the extreme,
vexatious and harassing; that there was
no mode of redress, but by means that in-
volved the injured parties in greater ex-
pence than the fraudulent exaction amount-
ed to. He instanced cases where poor
farmers were surcharged for dogs; the
tax itself was 20s. ten, of which went intd






t2l1 PVARL, DftBATES, JAN. 25, 18 10. -- Tle Lords Commissioners' Speech. [12i


t the informer's pocket, and in general the
fraudulent surcharges went only to errich
the exactor without contributing a mite to
the treasury. He noxt adverted to the Ju-
bilee, which he denounced as a clumsy
trick, to thrust joy down the throats of the
people, and repeated his opinion, that all
such evils were to be traced to a radical
* error in the system, and that no matter
what changes took place while that re-
mained unchanged. How happy would
they be if they could place the country
in the position in which it stood at any
former period for the last fifteen years.
How happy if it stood even in the same
situation as after the much abused treaty
of Amicns; in short, there was no pre-
ceding year for that space of time in
which it did not stand better than in the
succeeding. With respect to their mili-
tary operations, he would put this simple
question ; if neither the generals nor the
soldiers were to blame, why was their
* failure so great and general ? Changes
were imperceptibly taking place that were
of an alarming nature ; the counttlv was
set thick with barracks, and foreign cr-
cenaries were introduced daily, v without
exciting comment or curiosity. There
ment of the Duke of Brunsnick Ocl.,
who, immediately before, were stiglmat.i ,J
Sin the general orders of the Archduke
Charles, as unfit to be employed, or serve
with soldiers, were brought here to defend
Einglishmenn'-Englishmen wanted no such
defence. He had to reprobate another
monstrous innovation, hateful to the con-
stitution, and destructive of our liberties,
the practice of secret and solitary impri-
sonment. No power of despotism could
invent what was more subduing to the
mind of man, or odious to his feelings.
Three warnings that he could state,would
evince that there could be no apathy on
sucl points; at present he would forbear
going into the subject. The insult to the
* city of London did afford a rallying point
to every county in the empire, to support
the right of petitioning and stand up to-
gether against despotism. If the king
was not to be made acquainted with any
thing, but through the polluted medium
of his ministers, then were they on the
brink of destruction, and all that remained
of their freedom, and of their constitution,
was lost. He was not one of those who
could attribute all the misfortune and ca-
lamities of this reign to the influence of a
malignant star-no star was necessary ;
there was o.ine-rlbill l I.l',' in themselves,


from which all these evils sprang. He
could see in that room the root of all the
evil. lere wasthe ro6t; and the branches
spread over, and extended to every extre-
mity of the country. Under their shade
flourished no useful plants, nothing but
noxious weeds. The fruitsupon the boughs
were tempting to the eye, but to the taste
they betrayed the bitterness of ashes.
They knew the passage to which he al-
luded, and also knew what it was said
ought to be done to the tree which was
not good. Our corruption interfered with
every branch of the state-it injured our
navy, our army, our commerce-and mi-
nisters, at any price, must have a ma-
jority in parliaiment.-(Hear! hear !) He
had read of a Roman, whose unremitting
advice to the Senate was Carthage
must be destroyed ;" so would,he return
ever to the same point, This House must
be reformed."
iMr. York called upon the House to ob-
serve the remarkable words made "use of
by the lion. baronet; whenever he spoke
of the House of Colnmmons, the hon. ba-
roinet never condescended to call them the
Hiiouse of Commons, but in speaking of
them, called them this assembly" or
" this roon,/' or this meeting :" If by
this, tie hon. baronet meant to insinuate
that Ilecy were not the legal and con-
stitutional representatives of the peo-
ple, ie altogether dissented from any
such monstrous doctrine, and gave it
as his opinion, that the Reform recom-
mended by the hon. baronet would only
increase the danger it was designed to
remedy. With respect to the Jubilee,
lie strongly reprobated the very improper
terms made use of by the hon. baronet in
his description of that memorable festival,
tlwhere he spoke of it as forcing joy down
the throats of the people ; never, he con-
tended for it, was the popular affection of
joy so spontaneous, so sincere, and so uni-
versal : coupling this with the malignant
star," of which the hon. baronet spoke so
eloquently, lie wished to know if the reign
of our beloved monarch, commencing it
such an tara of national glory ; and with
the gift to his people of a noble and ho.
nourable peace, partook of any portion of
that malignant influence so pathetically
deplored by the hon. baronet ? The hon.
baronet had said a great deal of how happy
we should be could we travel back to any
one epoch of our past condition for the last
fifteen years. He would go a little higher
than the hon. baronet went, and say, that






123] PARL. Dl I; \'1., JAN. 25, 1810.-The Lords C. .;'.:-. i' Speech. [124


happy would it have been for this country,
for Europe, and the world, had they never
witnessed the calamitous event of the exe-
crable French Revolution. The hon. ba-
ronet had, with no inconsiderable elo-
quence, indulged himself in vehement in-
vective against a late illustriousstatesman,
Mr. Pitt, and had made a whimsical pro-
posal for the erection of a new monument
to that great man's memory ; to which it
seemed the Speaker, with his mace, and
attendants, were to pay a visit for the pur-
pose of introducing every new minister to
its presence. Ofthe merits of the plan ie
should say nothing, but lie denied, in the
name of the people of England, and in the
presence ofthosewhom hethought theirle-
gal representatives, that they had repined
at paying the debts, or reluctantly contri-
buted to erect a monument to the memory
of that great and justly lamented states-
man. MIr. Fox himself, his great political
antagoni;l, had not opposed the payment
of his debts. In fact, there were many of
the assertions of the hon. baronet that re-
quired only to be restated, in order to be
refuted.-With respect to the city of Lon-
don, the hon. baronet had firAt presumed
the fact of insult, and then argued upon
it; but the city of London had suffered
no insult. He respected that loyal cor-
poration as highly as the hon. baronet
could do, and never would forget the glo-
rious part they acted in establishing the
present family upon the throne. The
city of London he knew was, as it were,
the heart of the kingdom, giving blood
and spirit to the rest of the country. Far
be it fi-om him to wish to circumscribe
its privileges ; but there was no attempt
of the kind in the case alluded to. The
corporation, properly so called, had pri-
vileges, which, perhaps, did not extend to
the, corporation as comprehending the
livery. The latter, perhaps, could not
claim the audience upon the throne, to
which the former was entitled, but how
was the right of petition questioned or in-
vaded ? Was it refused to be received ?
Was not the question merely as to the
form of presenting ? and was there to be
no allowance made for the advanced
years, and peculiar personal infirmities of
the King, that must make retirement so de-
sirable, and all unnecessary publicity of
transacting business so irksome ? He was
glad to hear the hon. baronet give the
assembly, as he called it, such an instance
of the dangerous state of our liberties and
fights, when the King of one of the first


powers in the world could not turn aside
' a little foot-path in his own demesne.'
The country was said to be in great dan-
ger. Hle thought it was; and that the
danger was much nearer home than was
generally imagined: it was in our intes-
tine divisions, and that party animosity
that made us hate one another more than
the common enemy, and in the exagge-
rated manner in which every thing was
taken against the fortunes of the country,
and in favour of those of our enemies, in-
dustriously circulated as they had been by
those who were enemies to our constitu-
tion, both in church and state.-With re-
spect to the present administration, he re-
gretted the differences that had occurred
as much as any man ; but denied that
they were imputable to his right hon.
friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer,
who had done what he could to give it
efficiency and vigour, and when his efforts
failed, with a constancy and courage
wol thy his pure and honourable mind, had
taken the resolution of standing by his
sovereign. Hle (Mr. York) would sup-
port his Majesty's administration-he
meant that he would never enter into sys-
tematic opposition against it. lie ap-
proved of the Address because it did not
pledge the House to any thing: he thought
that part of theWalcheren Expedition that
succeeded, very much undervalued, and
put the case of a French fleet entering the
Thames, and landing their forces on the
island of Sheppy, and taking Sheerness,
and though not able to come up to
Chatham and destroy it, yet, after blowing
up the docks and works at Sheerness, re-
tiring to SI. '1'y, keeping possession of it
four months, and then retiring unnolest-
ed; their rear untouched ; the enemy
not daring to look them once in the
face ; would this be thought nothing of,
or would it be thought disgrace? The
capture of Flushing was an important ser-
vice : 10,000 men fell into our hands pri-
soners of war; the basin that was de-
stroyed held at low water 22 feet of water,
and was capable of holding 15 or 20 sail
of the line ; the Scheldt was not naviga-
ble four months in the year, and the
French fleet had begun already to. feel the
want of their basin. He repeated, then,
that the capture of Flushing was an im-
portant service. The hon. general (Tar-
leton) turned up his eyes. He lamented
to see in his hon. friend such a disposition
on this, and other occasions, to withhold
that defence from brother officers in their






125] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 25, 1810.--The Lords Commissioiers' Speech. [126


absence, which it would so well become a
brother officer to make. He then advert-
ed to the advance of lord Wellington to
Talavera, and thought there was no part
of that illustrious officer's proceedings
that was not worthy of his exalted reputa-
tion. If there was any thing that might
admit of the nicer investigation of military
S criticism (to which, he agreed with the hon.
baronet, so few in that House could have
any just pretensions), yet, if there were
any, he would select two points; one
was, the seemingly too great reliance
placed by that gallant ollicer on the
Spaniards; and the other was, his not
having secured the pass of Banos, which
* sir Robert Wilson had so gallantly de-
fended against a superior force for 9 hours.
These were the only points upon which
he thought there could be any doubt.
Sir John Sebright thought the present
ministers incapable of serving the country
efficiently at this awful crisis. He was
n hot fond of systematic opposition. lle
respected the right hon. gent. at the head
of the government; gave him full credit
for his integrity, but that was not enough ;
gave him credit for his talents also, but
did not think they were of the kind that
were at present wanting at the head of an
administration. He did not blame that
right hon. gent. for the dissensions that
lately occurred in the cabinet; but if there
had been an efficient head, there would
have been no such dissensions. When a
regiment was in mutiny, the command-
ing officer was responsible.-With re-
spect to the Walcheren Expedition, he
could not see the necessity of waiting
for the production of papers before they
gave their opinion upon it.-What could
those papers contain? Could minis-
ters shew him a new map of Europe ?
Unless they could, and one essentially
different from all that he had ever con-
suited, he never could be brought to ap-
Sprove of au Expedition up the Scheldt.-
All the mischief that had been done at
Flushing might, perhaps, be repaired in a
month.-As to the glorious victory of Ta-
lavera, as it had been called, there was a
glory of the soldier, and a glory of the
general. The glory of the soldier was
patience under privation and fatigue-
4 discipline and courage. This glory had,
indeed, been displayed in all its lustre at
Talavera; but although he admired the
talents of lord Wellington, he did not
think that he had acted, in the advance into
Spain, the part of a wise general. Before


he advanced he ought to have ascertained
what was the strength of his ally and
what the position of the enemy. He beat
the French ; but then he 'was compelled
to retreat, as if he had been beaten,
Barren laurels indeed Why, this was the,
essence of laurel-laurel water, which was
a poison.-The hon. baronet then adverted
to the disgracefi manner in which the
high offices of the stale had been bandied
about. lie likewise pointedly adverted
to the abuse of the term loyalty. He al-
lowed the right hon. gent. (Mr. Perceval)
loyalty, and he considered loyalty as a
very high virtue ; but he could not allow
the right lion. gent. to be the sole posses-
sor of loyalty. lHe contended that no-
thing could be more injurious to his Ma-
jesty, than the manner in which the word
loyalty had on many occasions been pro-
stituted. No one had a right to identify
himself and his party with the King. It
was equally injurious to the King, and in-
consistent with the constitution. The hon.
baronet then strongly pressed the neces-
sity of removing the present ministry.
which he declared he did without the
smallest interested motive; for every
one knew that he was of no party, and
would \wll;IIl have supported the mi-
nisters if they had been such as the pre-
sent times required. lie then recommend-
ed a rigid attention to economy ; which,
though it might give but little relief from
the pressure of taxation, would at least in-
duce the people to bear their unavojdah!e
burdens with more patience. He also
expressed his regret, that the hon. baronet
(sir F. Bordett) had disturbed the ashes of
a late great minister. He firmly believed
it was to him that he owed his being there,
and that he had an acre of ground of his
own on which he could set his foot. He
concluded by again urging the necessity of
removal and inquiry ; and said, that the'e
were the sentiments, if not of an able, at
least of an honest man.
General Tarleton, adverting to the
Walcheren Expedition, observed, that
there was not a sufficient number of craft
to bring the necessary number of troops
at once against the enemy. This demand-
ed inquiry. The damage done to Flush-
ing, he said, might be repaired in a short
time. He explained, that the reasons
why he had on a former night, made
some observations on the conduct of the
officer (*.mim, ,n,;, our army in Spain,
were these--~rst, because ministers had
declared that the advance .to Spain was






127] PAkL. DELBATE, JASN. 25, 181O 1-772- Lords Corniisibneine' 1;Jeech. f I 28,


purely his own act, done in the exercise
of his discretion ; Secondly, because, in
these cases, he perceived in ministers a
disposition uniformly to refuse inquiry.
He appealed to the House, whether, when
the merit of an officer had passed the or-
deal of examination, there ever was a more
generous public than that of this country,
or more disposed to do its ... .. full
justice ? As a proof of this, he desired
gentlemen to look at the cases of 'Mrlbo-
rough, &c. &c. The merit of lord Wel-
lington was still equivocal. He asked
why, in cases.of failure, the merits of the
officer should not be inquired into as a mat-
ter of course, as was, in a great measure,
the plan in the navy ? He had blame lord
Wellington, when present in that House,
for the convention of Cintra-for to him
it was almost entirely to be attributed.
Hie now blamed him for his rash advance
into Spain. Ile might have known that it
was first necessary to secure the supplies.
From the days of Homer till now, armies;
could not march and fight without eating.
He should think thai, he had not done his
duty if he had not stated these opinions.
He admitted that the army had gained
great glory at Talavera. Never was
there a greater display of intrepidity, for-
titude, patience, and every thing which
constituted the excellence of an army.
But the conduct of the general was a to-
tally distinct consideration, and that alone
he blamed.
The Report was then broughtup and read.
Mr. Whitbread observed, 'hat lie wished
to introduce an Amendment in one part
,of the Address, and to that part he would
.confine what he had to say. He had on a
former occasion observed, that there was
in tle Address no pledge on the ..of
the House to turn its attention to a'i eco-
nomical .reform. When taxes were dol-
lected almost to as 'r .: an amount, as
the people could bear ; when such Inrge
sums had. been :; I'1 wasted in the
courseof the last summer; when the right
.hon. gent. had joined with him persovns
whose views of economy were so dilf
ferent from those generally entertained ;
*he.particularly alluded to a Secretary of
thee Treasury (Mr. '.' I i,.. i. who had;
Seen Chairman of the Committee of Ways
and Means, and a.member of the Finance
Committee, in which he had evinced senti-
4ents materially !lrl I. -i. from the Chair-
man, and was in a great measure the
cause of the slow progress of that Corn-,
*mittee, Under all these circumstances,
4


he thought that a pledge of this nature
was requisite. Mr. Whitbread also no-
ticed the modesty of the hon. gent. (Mr.
'Il. .*'i", who, on a former night had
expressed his hope that he would be able
to learn to do his duty. But the misfortune
was, that it was of the last importance
that some one should have been placed in
that situation who had learnt to do his
duty before. The Amendment which he
had to propose would be gratifying to a
people, who, with a patience unexampled
in any history, had submitted to a grind-
ing system of taxation, at variance with
the spirit of the constitution in which they
had been accustomed to live. He had
worded it in such a way, that he thought *
there could be no reasonable objection
to it from any quarter. IHe concluded by
reading his Amendment, the substance of
which was, That injustice to the peo-
ple, the House would, at the earliest op-
portunity, diligently apply itself to the ef-
fecting of such economical reform as *
might be consistent with the welfare of
the state ; such as might be satisfactory
to the feelings of the people, and, in some
measure, prove an alleviation of their
burthens."
The Chancellor of the Exchequer did not
see the least occasion for this Amendment,
his Majesty having promised that the Es- *
timates for the current year should be
prepared with the utmost attention to
economy. The proposed Amendment
would only serve to mark a suspicion of
this promise, and to raise expectations in
the people which could not be gratified.
H1e then objected to the language in
which the hon. gent. spoke of the pressure *
of the taxes on the people-a language
which, in his opinion, could answer no.
good purpose whatever. He rather thought
the Amendment alluded to those measures
of economy which were under discussion
last summer; and, as he knew that an
hon, gent. (Mr. Martin,) intended to bring *
forward his Resolutions again, he saw no
reason for the proposed pledge.
Mr. Ponsonby supported the Amend,
mont, upon the ground that the Estimates
related to the war expenditure solely,
while the Address related to measures of
economy, proper at all times, but particu-
larly so at a time when the war expendi- #
ture was so large. As to raising unreason-
able expectations, the Aendmdent care-
fully avoided this by the introduction of
the words, as far as was consistent with
the welfare ofthe state."






'-*J PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 26, 1810.-Battle of Talavera. [I .0
Mr. Tathurst thought the paragraph un- been adduced as evidence .;In a man's
necessary, as matters connected with the capacity for a seat at the treasury,, that
public economy were confided to the Fi- he had once been on a Committee of
nance Committee. His chief object in Finance, and had once been the Chairman
rising was to notice a statement made by of a Committee of Ways and Means.
an lion. baronet (Sir F. Burdett) respect- Mr. John Smith contended, that the
ing a noble relation of his. He under- general sentiment of the country was, that
stood the hon. baronet to state, that his government had been guilty of.a shameful
relation (lord Sidmouth) received a peer- want of economy, more particularly in
age for having commenced the war; but the :.lii 1, department. He would vote
he was misinformed as to the fact, for it for the Amendment, because it pledged
was notorious he did not receive the peer- the House to an inquiry on the subject.
age then, but afterwards, on coming into Sir A. 1'igot also supported the Amiend-
administration with Mr. Pitt; and then ment, which pledged the Iouse to enforce
he was induced to accept of it from cir- only such retrenchments as were con-
cumstances independent of personal gra- sistent with the welfare of the country.
tification. He begged als) to state, that What confidence could Parliament place
his noble relation, on retiring from office, in the assurance of ministers, that the
declined a title higher than what he after- estimates for the present year should be
wards received, and also refused any pe- framed with a strict regard to economy,
cuniary reward or gratification which was when they opposed an inquiry into the pro-
then offered to him. fuse expenditure of the year that was past ?
Sir F.'Burdett said in explanation, that The gallery was then cleared for a divi-
he ohly meant to express his opinion sion. The numbers were, for the Amend-
generally, that the honour was ill bestow- ment 54. ; against it 95 ; 1 .-iv t t.
ed, that the noble lord had done nothing [FOReIGN TROOPs.] E : a' -'i", ad-
to deserve it, and that lie was still to learn averting to the circumstance of the recep-
what were his merits. tion into British pay of a number of
Earl Temple thought it important that Foreigh Troops that had arrived in this
the House should shew a disposition to country under the command of the duke
probe and examine into every abuse; of Brunswick Oels, wished to know if it
for otherwise the people would be apt to was the intention of ministers to advise
think that abuses were greater than they his 3i1 ,j. to make any communication
were. He should therefore support the to the Ilouse on the subject ?
motion. The Cthancellor of the Exchequer replied
Mr. Wharton hoped for the indulgence in the negative ; unless, indeed, he might
of the House in replying to some allusions receive his Majesty's commands to make
which had been made to him. He had some communication relative to the gal-
not admitted on a former night that he lant leader of these troops. Such a com-
was ignorant of the duties of the office munication as that alluded to by the noble
which he had the honour to fill; but, if lord was unnecessary; for it was perfectly
he was ignorant, he would not come to consistent with the existing laws that a
the hon. gent. for instruction. He came certain number of Foreign Troops should
into office under great disadvantage, after be in British pay, and that number had
it had been filled by the hon. gent. who not been exceeded by the accession of
lately left it; but he flattered himself, the Troops under the duke of Brunswick.
that from the knowledge which he had If, however, it had been exceeded, under
previously acquired of Finance, as Chair- the peculiar circumstances in which those
man of Ways and Means, and a Member brave soldiers arrived, such a step would,
of the Finance Committee, and by unre- in his opinion, have been completely
emitting industry, the prophecy of the justifiable; although in that case he.
hon. gent. as to the detriment which the should certainly have -h., Ill' it his duty
public service would sustain, would fail to to advise a communication to Parliament
be realized. As to retarding the Report on the subject. ,
of the Finance Committee, lie thought he -
had done a public service, by procuring HOUSE OF LORDS.
papers to be expunged from it, which, had Friday, lJanuary 26.
they gone forth, would have had a most [BATTLE OF TALAVERA.-VOTE OF
detrimental effect to the country. He THANKS TO LOKD WELLINGTON.] The
believed it was the first time it had ever order of the day being read,
VOL. xv. K






PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 26, *IS10.-BitIk of Talavcra-


The Earl of Liv:rpzool rose, and ad.
dressed the House, to the following pur'-
port:--My Lords ; In pursuance o' tlhe
notice I gave, I now rise for the purpose
of ;.. That the Thanks of this House
be given to lord viscount W. "1. i...i the
officers and the army under his command,
for the skill and ability, the valour and
bravery by which they obtained a victory
over the enemy at Talavera. When, my
lords, I first proposed to bring this question
under your consideration, I fully expected
that it would have met with unanimous
approbation; but since I lhve been led to
believe, from what has fallen from noble
lords opposite, that this motion of thanks
- diI encounter some degree of opposition,
I never, in the whole course of my life,
felt more interested in any question both
on private and on public grounds. I have
in framing my motion on this occasion
pursued the usual course, and with a view
to conciliation, have separated the conduct
of the army, and the officer commanding,
from every other subject connected with
the general management of the campaign.
It has been my care to propose the vote of
your lordships thanks in that shape which,
if possible, could have no disputable point
of objection, and therefore it is that it is
confined simply to the battle of Talavera.
Whatever opinion may be entertained
respecting the measures which led to the
battle itself, or the consequences that en-
sued, there can be, I am persuaded, but one
sentiment as to the skill of the general and
the valour of the army that fought and
defeated the French at Talavera. I be-
lieve that on any former occasions, it was
never deemed necessary to blend the
other circumstances of any campaign with
the consideration of the valour of the
troops displayed in a particular action.-
The instance alluded to last night by my
noble friend (IIarrowby). when your lord-
ships were called upon to confer a vote of
thanks upon sir John Stuart and the army
under his command, for the glorious vic-
tory gained at Maida, must be well re-
membered. It must be in your lordships'
recollection, that when a noble baron, in
this house, and another of his Majesty's
ministers, in another place, moved a simi-
lar tribute of approbation of their conduct,
whatever difference of sentiment might
exist, as to the measures which led to that
event, such was the brilliancy of the act
itself, such was the glory gained by British
intrepidity and valour on the occasion,
that without investigating other measures


connected with it, not only did his Ma-
jesty's present servants; but the whole
tloucs, agree to the motion, unanimously.
-My lords; different sentiments might
be enterlained on thic .**,'1,;. i and po-
licy of that descent upon Calabria. On
that occasion it was deemed expedient,
by those who directed the operations of
the campaign, to make that attempt, for
the purpose of accomplishing two objects
-one as a diversion against the enemy,
and to assist the Calabrians then in a.
state of insurrection ; the other, to relieve
the Mole di Gaeta, a fortress on the coast,
at the time besieged by the French. Al-
though that army failed in the latter ob-
ject, and succeeded but partially in the
first, yet no one .. .. .I1 that the general
had not done his duty, no one denied that
the whole, both the general and the army,
were entitled to the gratitude of' their
country, and the thanks of Parliament.
Still, in that case, it might have been said,
whatever may be your lordship's opinion
of the present, that the consequences
which ensued were not beneficial to the
country, and that the measures which
preceded it were not founded in any prin-
ciple of sound policy. The Thanks of
both houses were nevertheless given to sir
John Stuart, and the army, for the eminent
skill and valour displayed in that battle,
and the splendid victory obtained. I come
now my lords, to the merit of that action
which terminated in the glorious victory
of Talavera, and I most readily admit, if
your lordships were called 1p," to decide
upon all the circumstance that cam-
paign, that it might materially alter the
question; but I wish to direct your atten-
tion solely to the conduct of the officer,
and the army under his command, on the
27th and 28th of July. We ought to con-
sider the state of the army before and at
the time of the engagement; for if every
measure was pursued on that occasion,
which could reflect honour on the pru-
dence and valour of the general, not any
events which afterwards occurred should
derogate from his merit in that memor-
able engagement. The march of lord
Wellington into the interior of Spain,
was not, as some may term it, a rash
undertaking; on the contrary, it was well
considered, wisely planned, and delibe-
rately executed. No greater prudence
could be manifested than the choice of
the admirable position at Talavcra, as it
vwas afterwards described by the French
generals. Need I remind your lordships


[132


131]







33] PARL. DERPATES, JANT. 20, 110.-Vote 0 '17 1 to Lord [134
" of all the circum'ltances by which this vic- same policy that led to its advance di-
tory was attended : It had been detenrinted reacted to retreat, that retreat was not
oil the part of the enemy to make a con- owing to any want'il oF 'kil! ;r foresight.
centrated attack upon the combined ar- VWhIe the Fretnch a ny was reinforced
mies. The Ihbititih force afterwards en- by another body of :3i,000 men, who,
;aged, did not altogether amount to more from other quarters, had been marched to
than 20,000 meni ; and although the Spa- their aid, it was prudent, on the part of
lish army was presctt, and partially took lord \ellington, to retreat, and reserve
* a part in the battle, yet it was evident, not his strength for a more fivourable oppor-
only from lord Wellington's dispatches, tunity of making asuccesful struggle if
but from the accounts of the enemy, that the cause of Spanish liberty. For, cer-
the brunt of the attack was principally, if tainly, my lords, a brilliant success may
not wholly, borne by the Elgli sh. Thus, be gained over an enemy, and motives of
my lords, the French army, amiounting to military prudence may atterwiards direct
almost 50,000 men, commenced their des- a retreat, if that enemy Le strongly rein-
perate attack upon the British line, and forced. It cannot with any fairness be
were repulsed. They renewed it, and for a moment contended, that when in a
were repulsed again ; and though they contest between two bodies of men or two
frequently renewed and repeated their individuals, a great and splendid triumph'
attempts, they were defeated-signally has been gained on the one side, the ar-
defcated in every instance. Although, as rival of a fresh. force on the other is to be
I have said, the Spanish army was present, considered as destroying the merit or ren-
the French directed all their eflbrts against during doubtful the victory which had
* our troops. This was peculiarly evident been previously acquired. I am ready to
in their attack upon the strongct part of allow, that a proposal of this nature is one
our position where inlajr-geivral Hill of the greatest importance; but when
commanded, against which they directed such a motion is submitted to the consi-
the great bulk of their force, and where all deration of Parliament, it ought to be con-
their attempts were eventually but glo- sidered on the other hand that any light
riously frustrated by the irresistible valour objection to it may be attended with se-
of British troops. Jn a similar manner an rious results.-.11y lords; I would im-
attack was directed against other parts of press upon your minds, that it is of the
the line, and universally failed; the enemy last importance that such victories as that
were routed with the loss of nearly 10,000 of Talavera should be rewarded by every
men, and obliged to retire from the scene tribute of honour and praise this IHouse
of action and seek security in flight, can bestow. If we refuse to reward the
Could any action be more decisive? valiant deeds of our army, by every ap-
Could any be more glorious to the probation we can bestow, we take from
SBritish arms, when you take into con- them every incitement to valour ; we dc.
sideration the inequality of numbers ? prive thiem of those laurels which con-
This victory, my lords, was attended with stitute the soldier's honour and his fame ;
unlrring proofs of its brilliant and deci- which he thirsts after, not only bfr him-
sive nature. Twenty pieces of artillery self, but, because he knows they will be
and four standards were the trophies of handed down with derivative value to his
the triumph of the British general and descendants. It is for this that he devotes
army. Inwhlatever light it can be viewed his life to his country's good ; and if you
* this action must be considered eminently refuse such a tribute to the transcendent
entitled to the thanks of your lordships, merits of the survivors and the glorious
and the gratitude of the nation. It ar- memory of the slain, you will act un-
rested the progress of the enemy ; it was justly to the army, and disrespectfully to
remarkable for the military skill display- the devotion of those who are dead. In
ed in it throughout; it was maintained in the existing state of the continent of
a manner no less conspicuous for tactical Europe, it becomes us more especially
arrangement, than for the characteristic to consider the interest, to animate the
energy of the general and the pre-eminent courage, and to reward the services, of
valour of the troops; and being achieved our army. France was, under the old go-
against such an immense disparity of vernment, a great military power; but
numbers, shed a new lustre upon the long we see her a still more formidable one in
established reputation of British soldiers, the present day. Under the monarchy,
Though the army was afterwards, by the not only the military, but every other






PARL. DEBAT-ES, JAN. 26, 1810.--- .**' of Toalawea-


profession, was eminently encouraged;
but the revolution, which has i1., ... i
other establishment,, has altered the whole
system of old France, and sacrificed every
thing to the interest of the army. The
profesion of the law has been destroyed ;
that of the church has been overturned;
commerce and trade are little attended to;
and nothing is countenanced with honour
or respect, except the profession of arms.
No stronger inducement than the con-
sideration of the effects of such a system
can influence your lordships to unanimity.
When the enemy endeavours to traduce
our national character in every other in-
stance, this is the theme of his ostensible
in vective, and his real praise. We know
he has pronounced us a nation of shop-
keepers. It has been the good fortune of
Great Britain to unite a miilitary spirit
with our commercial pursuits, and every
encouragement is due still further to pro-
mote this spirit. No achievement was
ever more entitled to praise than the vic-
tory at Talavera. It was so considered
by the government of Spain-as a victory
of the last importance to the safety of their
country-and they conferred the highest
honours on lord Wellington; honours so
great, that they will be found to have
been but seldom bestowed for any ser-
vices. low, I will ask, did his A1 ,i, Iy ,
in his General Orders, denominate the
battle of Talavera ?-[His lordship here
read the General Orders, wherein it was
stated that the French were completely
defeated]--His '.1 r, in those Gene-
ral Orders, which might be ccrtxainly
considered as proceeding from the advice
of his ministers--.
Earl (Grcy rose to order. lie consi-
dered any mention of hib '_i .. I\ 's senti-
ments, in the course of a debate, as irrc-
gular, and inconsistent with the privileges
of the IHouse.
'The Earl of .Liverpool continued ---My
lords, I did not mention the opinion of his
1 -- i in any manner, but as the ad-
vised opinion of his ministers for which
they are responsible; and in that I con-
ceive 1 ami justified, according to the
usage of this House I will again ask
your lordships, how the victory of Ta-
livera wsas estimated by our allies ? Why,
universally, they considered it one of the
greatest magnitude in itself and of the
mos;, advantageous nature in its conse-
quences. It filled the breasts of the peo-
ple of Spain with general admiration. It
S..i never do, my lords, to judge of mili-


tary prowess, by all the rules of special
pleading. I wish to press upon your at-
tention the importance of an unanimous
vote, as it will inspire your armies with a
love of glory, and secure the strength of
the country. Thlie noble earl concluded
by moving That this House do return
their Thanks to general lord vise. Wel-
lington for the skill iand ability displayed
by him in the battles on the 27th and
2;'th ofJuly 1809, at Talavera."
The Earl of '. .. .i. as a professional
man, that it was wiii pain to his feelings
he rose to state those objections which ir-
resistibly impelled him to express his oppo-
sition to the motion of thanks to lord Wel-
lington. On all occasions, he was sure that
the i.; L.- I army would discharge their
duty, and, in every emergency, exhibit
proofs of unquestionable valour ; but he
could not, as a military man, allow that the
noble general had acted prudently, in hav-
ing brought himself into such a situation,
as that in which the battle was fought,
without his having the power to decline it.
The noble earl had alluded to the battle
of'Maida-but Ihat brilliant action wasnot
to be compared with the contest at Tala-
vera. It was decisive in its issue, and did
not come under their lordships considera-
tion, in a questionable shape, like the vic-
tory of'Talavera. lie could notdenomin-
ate that a victory, where a retreat imme-
diately followed, and the wounded and
the prisoners fell into the hands of the
enemy. The noble earl had dwelt; with
much stress, upon the artillery taken on
the spot-but the capture of artillery was
not to be considered at all timesas a signal
of victory. It might have been con-
venient for the enemy to leave them on
the field. As to the reinforcement of
30,000 men, which was advancing to sup.-
port the French, why did not l9rd Welling-
ton know of their situation, and the proba-
bility of their approach ? It was the duty
of every general to have such information.
He thought, when considering the amount
of the British force in the Peninsula, and
that only so small a portion of it was
brought into action at Talavera, there
was ground for reprehension ; and this
conduct appeared perfectly conformable
to the manner whereby the same general
broui'ght only half of his forces to act
against the enemy at the battle of Vimeira.
IHe had listened with attention to the ob-
servations of the noble earl, respecting
the situation of the country, and he would
only ask, how came it that we were so si-


L130






137] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 26, 1810.- Vote of Thanks to Lord il' '.: ;. [13


* tuated ? Why, the chief cause was the
same with that which produced the disas-
trous consequences of our expeditions to
Spain. It might be recollected that he
had given his opinion, in a former session,
that the most judicious disposal of our mi-
litary force, in aid of Spain, would be to
send them by ten or twenty thousand
together, on board our fleets, for the pur-
pose of being landed at any point where
they might best conduce to the assistance
of Spain and our Allies. It was his de-
cided opinion that by such a mode of war-
fare, we might have relieved Gerona,
which had withstood so long and glorious
a siege. In addressing these observations
to their lordships, he had explained his
reasons for not acquiescing in the motion as
to the noble general; but, as to the army,
it should meet with his entire approbation.
Earl Grosvenor was induced from con-
siderations of duty, to rise on this occasion,
and with whatever regret to state those
I reasons which led him to oppose this mo-
tion of thanks to lord Wellington. In the
first place, he was apprehensive that if
the House were to be called upon to vote
thanks for every instance of the display
of valour, the proceeding would draw after
it injurious results. The consequence
would be, that if a single division exhibit-
S ed proofs of determined bravery, their
lordships would be called upon to vote
away thanks, which was the highest honour
they could bestow. Nay, the principle
might be extended, and then the bravery
of a single detachment, or an individual
act of valour, would expect this high tri-
bute of commendation. Whenever con-
sequences no way beneficial, still more in-
jurious, resulted to the country, from any
operation of an army, whatever admiration
might attach itself to the conduct of that
armyduringsuchoperation, he did notper-
ceive the propriety of their being publicly
thanked by the Parliament. The battle
1 of Corunna, and the vote of thanks on that
occasion, had been quoted as i. ;fl\ ; a
similar proceeding respecting 'lalavera :
but, in his opinion, the former was not,
on account of its consequences, entitled to
that distinction, i!i..__i certainly prefera-
ble to one under consideration. He wish-
ed to know from ministers whether or not,
S supposing the lamented sir John Moore
had returned to this country after the bat-
tle ofCorunna, they would have proposed
i ,ii 11 vote of thanks, passing over the,
on his part, unblamable failure of success
that occasioned that battle to be fought


there ? He had in a general view an ob-
jection to the grant of peerages, as the re-
ward of naval or military successes, and
therefore, felt disposed to take this oppor-
tunity of commenting upon the other ho-
nours, which, in so conspicuous a manner,
had been conferred upon the noble gene-
ral. He supposed this vote of thanks would
be followed, by another proceeding for
granting a pecuniary remuneration. Their
lordships would reflect upon the impolicy
of granting titles of nobility to men whose
fortunes were not adequate to support
the dignity. It was of importance to the
country that the peerage should not be so
bestowed, because though no bad conse-
quence may follow while the titled indivi-
dual lived, the defect of fortune was like-
ly to render his successors dependents on
the crown. Perhaps it would better pro-
mote the ends of military ltam and repu-
tation, if an institution were established,
from whence might be granted different
orders of military merit. It would ex-
cite the same spit of valour, without
producing any of those inconveniences
to the constitution, which resulted from the
conferring of titles of nobility. Having
adverted to this subject, as connected
with the constitution, he was ready to
allow that such heroes as the great Marl-
borough and Nelson, were entitled to the
highest honours and estates, which had
been granted to them and their successors.
The battle of Talavera was one which, in
all its circumstances did not appear to him
entitled to such rewards ; and therefore
he considered it proper to address these
sentiments to the House, as an explanation
why he could not concur in the motion
now submitted to their consideration.
Viscount lllotij," expressed his wish to
offer a few remarks upon the question pro-
posed for their lordships decision. He
was not possessed of those talents, and
that experience, which belonged to the
noble lord opposite (earl Grey) who ap-
peared to be attending to every thing he
might urge, and was preparing to answer
every argument. Still, however inferior
he might consider himself to the noble
earl, in other respects, lie could not re-
concile it to his feelings or his duty not
to communicate his sentiments on this oc-
casion to the Ilouse. Looking at the con-
duct of the noble general, in his march
fiom Portugal to the battle of Talavera;
looking to the decided victory obtained
there; and then contemplating the cir-
cumstances of his able retreat, he felt






PAliL. DEBATES, JAN. 26, 1t31(.----L.. o QJTalavera-


bound to say, that, in his opinion no gene-
ral ever deserved more honour or reward.-
What would the noble lords opposite have
said, if lie had remained inactive in Por-
tugal, and not marched into the interior
of Spain ? What would have been their
outcry, if such had been his conduct ?
Why, then it would have been said, there
was no necessity for his remaining in
Portugal ; we were in possession of Por-
tugal. What benefit could result to the
Spanish cause, if he had remained in-
active on tie frontiers of Spain?-But lord
C.V..i;.. I .i had done all which prudence
could .. i. and valour carry into exe-
cution Hi nook a position at Talavera
which reflected lustre on Iis taleni.ts; antd,
though his army was harassed, "', ..
and had undergone the utmost privatior.s,
it was in that state they were opposed to
the French army, luxuriously supplied
with every comfort which French commis-
sariats could furnish, and one of the most
splendid victories which was ever record-
ed, was gained by the skill and ability of
the general and the steady discipline and
determined valour of the 1 ,i ,i, army ar l-
most unassisted. For this they were en-
titled to the gratitude, applause and affect.
tion of their (.. -.i, and the unanimous
thanks of that II ...... It was a victory so
redundant with glory, that if any errors
were in the way, they ought to be over-
shadowed by the laurels which had been
acquired there. He wished to say a few
words on the retreat of lord Wellington,
which was only resorted to for the purpose
of refreshing his troops. The sick and
wounded, about whom so much had beenal-
ledged, were left; but how were they left ?
Sir Arthur Wellesley left in the care of
the Spanish army those sick and disabled
soldiers, whose wounds and mutilated bo-
dies were so many bleeding mnerentoes of
their glorious struggles for the triumph of
the Spanish cause, over their perfidious in-
vaders; he left them with general Cuesta,
who occupied a position sufficiently strong
to be maintained against the enemy and
to affbrd the British army another oppor-
tunity of signalizing their valour, and as-
sisting the Spaniards in the redemption of
their liberty. While the wounds of our
soldiers were still bleeding in the cause of
Spain, after the glorious ..... 1 they had
made against the enemy, the conduct of
general Cuesta prevented the noble lord
from taking the advantage of his situation.
No general was better skilled in war, none
more enlightened, none more valiant than


lord viscount Wellington. The victory of
Talavera was as brilliant and glorious as
any upon record, and consequently entitled
to the unanimous approbation of their
lordships and the eternal .i II' ; 'A *.i
and of this country.
Earl Gre 1-.i .. been so particularly
alluded to ..' i,. ioble lord, who had
just sat down, begged leave to trouble
their lordships with a few observations
I., ,, the question then under their con-
sideration. The noble lord had alluded
to what he had said on a former evening;
namely, that it was doubtful, whether the
battle of Talavera was a victory or not;
he must again repeat that doubt, for he
had yet to learn that it was a victory ; still
more, that it was a splendid and decisive
victory as described by the noble lord.
He could not discover any circumstances
in its nature or results, which entitled it
to the character of a victory, much less to
that of a splendid and decisive victory;
and under this impression, however pain-
ful the duty, and however much he might
regret it, still he felt it to be his duty to
resist the conferring of that high reward,
the thanks of that House, which it was
now sought to bestow. The noble earl
(Liverpool) had indulged in a vein of de-
clamation, upon the propriety and the ex-
pediency of conferring rewards upon mili-
tary merit. He was, certainly, ready to
agree with the noble earl in the propriety
of bestowing rewards, where rewards were
deserved, and of conferring the high ho-
nour of the thanks of that House upon
transcendent merit; but he could not
agree that the battle of Talavera was an
event that ought to be characterized in
such a way or remunerated by that su-
perior distinction. Before, however, he
should go into the discussion of the sub-
ject immediately before the House, he
would beg leave to say a few words re-
lative to the instance of the victory of
Maida, for which the noble earl had stated,
that the thanks of that House had been
given, although the objects of the expedi-
tion of Sir John Stuart, had completely
failed. He (lord Grey) was not aware
that the objects of that expedition had
completely failed, as stated by the noble
earl. If they did fail, the failure was re-
mote. It would be recollected that a
French force was at that period assembled
on the :\ .'I...l.ii coast for the purpose of
making a descent on Sicily. To destroy
this force was the object of the expedition
of sir John Stuart, and in that object he


[140






141] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 26, 1810.-Vote qf Thanks to Lord Ir, -.., :.., [142


Completely succeeded in the battle of
Maida, and the consequences that resulted
from it. The enemy did not after that
action retire in regular order, nor take up
a position within sight of the field of bat-
tle, but were completely dispersed and
annihilated as an army. Here then was a
clear ground for the thanks of the House,
S a decisive victory having been gained,
and the object sought in fighting the battle
having been by that victory most fully
attained. But when noble lords talked
of a decisive victory having been gained
at Talavera, it was incumbent upon them
to shew that some of those results by
which the character of a victory was dis-
tinguished, had taken place. To prove
that a victory had been obtained, it was
surely necessary to shew, either, that the
object contended for had been gained, that
the enemy's army had been dispersed,
that prisoners had been taken, or that some
decisive advantage, with aview to the ge-
S neral object of the campaign, had been
achieved. The noble earl (Liverpool)
had stated the taking of artillery to be a
sure criterion of victory, but this was at
best a doubtful point. How these twenty
pieces of artillery were taken, did not by
any means clearly appear, but surely the
taking of prisoners would have been a
much more decisive criterion of victory;
but instead of our taking prisoners it ap-
peared that prisoners were taken by the
enemy. So far front the battle of Tala-
vera, therefore having the character of a
victory, it had neither succeeded in at-
taining the general object of the campaign,
nor the immediate object, namely, that of
dispersing the enemy's army.-The ge-
neral object of the advance of lord Wel-
lington into Spain, he took to be that of
driving before him the enemy's troops,
and obtaining possession of the capital of
'I ,.Ii The French troops in Spain at
that time occupied a defensive line of po-
* sitions from Toledo to Salamanca. On
the advance of lord Wellington into Spain,
the enemy left their positions, for the pur-
pose of concentrating their troops, and
,.,. ,i him from advancing. Lord
\\, lliihi.. having marched to Talavera,
and being there destitute of the means of
transport and of provisions, was obliged
to stop, the battle was fought, and the
enemy were for the moment repulsed;
but the general object of the advance into
Spain was lost, the enemy retained pos-
session of the capital, and the British
troops were obliged to retreat. The im-


mediate ,. i. of the battle was not gain-
ed; for what was the result ?-The enemy
retired in good order, and took up a po-
sition in sight of the field of battle, where
our army did not venture to attack them.
in two days afterwards the British army
was obliged to retreat, leaving to the care
of the enemy their sick and wounded.
The noble earl had said, that this was in
consequence of the advance of another
part of the French troops, which threaten-
ed the flank and rear of our army. That
Lord Wellington had no intelligence of
the advance of this body of French troops,
until the 31st of July, did not speak much
in behalf of his conduct as a general. Not
only, however, the battle of Talavera could
not be considered as a victory, but its re-
sults were absolutely disastrous. By his
retreat, lord Wellington left uncovered
the Spanish army, under Vanegas, which
was in consequence afterwards defeated
by the French: he left Sir Robert Wilson,
exposed also at Escalona, and his troops
were, in consequence, totally defeated by
the French. Sir Rt. Wilson, whom lord
Wellington, in a subsequent dispatch,
praised as an active partizan," had cer-
tainly shown great ability and extensive
military talents, in collecting and organi-
zing a force out of materials not the best
adapted for the purpose. If then, it was
proved, that by the battle of Talavera
the enemy were merely for the moment
repulsed, but not defeated, and that the
most disastrous consequences resulted from
that battle to our ally, as well as with
respect to the general object of the cam-
paign, surely it could not be pretended
that a victory was gained, or that the
high honour of the thanks of that House
ought to be conferred for merely i. .I-
an enemy.-It had been said, that lord
Wellington had displayed great skill in
the dispositions he made during the bat-
tie. lHe confessed he could not agree in
that opinion. lie thought that the posi-
tion on the left had not been -.lii,., nIly
secured, or taken advantage of; and lie
doubted much whether tbhe charge of ca-
valrv was jud'icioui, it having been at-
tended 'ith great loss, without producing
any ad:l!' tale advantage. lie could not
help think;!:, that there was much also
to blame in the conduct of lord Wellington
with respect to ihe Spanish troops, though
certainly the dispatch of the Spanish ge-
neral gave a very iI..r 1 account of the
conduct of those troops to that given in
the dispatch of lord Wellington. But if






PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 26, I 10.--Battle of Talavera--


lord Wellington believed the Spanish only when all circumstances were most fa-
troops to be of such a description that they vourable for him, lay the perfection of a
could not be trusted to meet the enemy, general's skill. If we looked to Auster-
why did he place the, British army in a litz and other great battles, we should
situation of such imminent peril at Talave- find that the French armies seized their
ra? If lord Wellington held such an enemies magazines, and were better pro-
opinion of the Spanish troops, nothing vided for in hostile countries than the ar-
could justify him in giving the Spanish mies of those countries themselves. Must
General the option either of defending the there not have been in our case a great.
passes against the advance of the French want of foresight and arrangement for the
army under the duke of Dalmatia, which provisioning of our army, upon our making
threatened the flank and rear of the Bri- the attempt we did, in the heart of Spain;
tish, or of taking care of our sick and He had heard from those who had since
wounded at Talavera. If he thought been through that part of the country,
the Spaniards incapable of effectually that after the French had been twice
combating the enemy, nothing could justi- there, there were still sufficient means of
fy him in giving such an option, by provision. The French, in fact, sent out
which, if the Spanish general had ac- a number of small parties, who collected
cepted the former part of the alterna- provisions and kept the peasantry quiet,
tive, the British army might have been and we took no means to counteract the
placed in a situation of most imminent operations of those parties. This did
peril. Why also had not lord Wellington not evince much merit on our part.-No
better information with respect to the more painful task could fall upon him than
state of the defence of the passes ? Why to object to thanks in a case where great ,
did he trust to the intelligence he re- and indisputable bravery had been shewn
ceived from the Spaniards, neglectingeven by our gallant army : he wished not
the ordinary precaution of sending an to withhold the rewards of parliament
officer of his own, to ascertain whe- but to make them greater, and raise their
t her the passes were properly defended ? value higher, by dealingthem outsparing-
--Unfortunately the disasters to which he ly, and appropriating them solely to
had alluded, and which immediately fol- those great occasions that incontestibly
lowed the battle of Talavera, were not demand them. He thought that at Ta- *
all that resulted from that measure. The lavera whatwe did, with all that could bo
British army was compelled to retreat into said or thought in praise of it, could not
*'..uii.l. where he was ahlaid, it was now be r. nai .' into what was truly and
in a very critical situation, and where, justly to be described a victory.-The
from the unhealthiness of the position it noble earl (Liverpool) had read the Ge.
occupied, disease had made such alarming neral Orders issued by his Majesty, re-
progress amongst the troops, that he be- lative to the victory stated to have been
lieved their number did not now exceed gained at Talavera, and he (lord Grey) *
9,000(olt.i.r,, men.-The noble lord had must again protest against using his Ma-
very eloquently and truly depicted the jesty's name for the purpose of influencing
suffering state of our army at the time the deliberations of that House. As to
they fought the battle of Talavera. It the impression however which those Ge-
certainly demanded a very serious inquiry neral Orders were cited to prove, they
how it happened that the British troops only proved the impression which minis-
were destitute of almost every comfort, ters wished to convey. When the noble
and almost without provisions, whilst the earl talked of the impression made by the
French army was amply supplied.-It victory, as he called it, of Talavera, what
was a most singular thing that we, in a had not ministers to answer for, for the
friendly country, which we went to de- deceptive impression which they strove to
fend, should be so ill supplied-should, create, by the publication of extracts of
be almost starved in fact: while the dispatches from lord Wellington, which
French, the enemies and invaders ofthat conveyed a totally different meaning from
country, should be well supplied and that of the dispatches themselves. Thus, *
well fed. It had been said by a great au- in the extract which was published of a
thority, that the least merit of a great ge- dispatch from lord Wellington, dated
neral consisted in (ili n. a battle. In from Talavera, in which he says, I can-
judicious marches, in combined and well- not move from hence for want of the
timed movements, in coming to action means of transport and provisions," was
2


[,144t






1X 5] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 26, 1 81.--Voe of Thanks to Lord Wtellington. [ 14


Sit not meant that it should be understood
that he could not advance ? although mi-
nisters knew at the time that his dispatch
stated that he could not retreat for want
of these necessary means. His Majesty's
ministers at the time they trumpeted forth
the battle of Talavera, as a splendid and
glorious victory, were in the possession of
* lord Wellington's dispatches, in which he
stated the unfortunate situation of his
army, the necessity of his retreating, and
the difficulties he had to encounter in ef-
fecting that retreat. The impression
made in the country was not to be won-
dered at when the publication of lord Wel-
lington's dispatches was so managed as
to carry all the appearance of the intelli-
gence of a splendid victory. IIad the
news arrived during the sitting of par-
liament, and ministers had immediately
moved for the Thanks of that House to
lord Wellington, he (lord Grey) should
have most readily and cordially joined,
4 conceiving from the dispatches, as pub-
lished in the Gazette, that a splendid and
decisive victory had actually been gained ;
but, how great would afterwards have been
his indignation, when he had discovered
the unworthy deception practised by his
Majesty's ministers ? Under all these
circumstances, whatever pain and reluc!-
* ance he might feel in opposing a motion
of this.natume, believing as he did, that
lord Wellington was an able, skilful, active
and enterprising officer, and not wishing
to oppose a Vote of Thanks to other offi-
cers employed for their skill and ability,
or to the army, for the bravery and good
conduct it displayed in the battle, he still
must, in the execution of his duty as a
member of that House, and for the reasons
he had stated, oppose the motion now un-
der consideration.
The Marquis Wellesley replied to the
noble earl who had just sat down. If it
was painful, he said, to the noble earl to
S'perform a public duty by opposing the
present motion, and that it was really
painful to him would be readily believed
by all who knew the honourable feelings
which belonged to the character of that
noble earl, the generosity of his nature,
the liberality of his sentiments, and his
proud descent from 'a person so highly
4 distinguished for ..;' *, talents and ser-
vices: how painful must be the situation
in which he stood, who could not but be
open to private feeling, while he also had
a public duty to perform: who had to
Indicate the character and conduct of so
7qb. XV,


near and dear a relation as a brother; of
an officer whose eminent qualities he had
had such frequent opportunities of ob-
serving, qualities of which whatever opi-
nion it might please the noble earl to en-
tertain, were attested by the universal
voice of the officers and soldiers of the
armies he had commanded, and of the
countries in whose defence they had been
exerted: of Portugal where he was al-
most adored, and where lie was invested
with power little short of royal : and of
Spain,where he was equally beloved by the
people, and respected by the government.
In standing forward on the present occa-
sion in defence of lord Wcllili;ton, he
might safely contend that his notb! rela-
tive had taken a judicious view of the ob-
jects which he had to accomplish ; of the
means which he possessed for their ac-
complishnment; and of the mode in which
these means were to be applied. On
these public grounds he was willing to try
and rest the merits of lord W li;., i..i.
and confident of their strength, ih.. % -....
endeavour as far as possible to discharge
his mind from the influence of all private
feeling.-Aidl now in the outset he must
beg leave to observe that the noble earl
did not seem very clearly to unrlerstanl
li '1. 1. of lord Wciington's operations.
S11. It it -h : H-is firstthoughits
were directed to the situation of Portugal.
On the arrival of his brother in that coun-
try, he found that the enemy were not
only in possession of its northern pro-
vinces, but that they manifested a disposi-
tion to advance into the south. It was
indeed evident that the French did not
intend to act merely on the defensive :
hut that they had formed a plan by which
Soult and Victor were to advance fronm
different points. The first object, there-
fore, of lord Wellington,.was the deliver-
ance of Portugal; and on the praise of
the operation by which he expelled Soult,
it was not necessary for him to dwell. Ira
the eyes of all Portugal and of every mili-
tary man, it was an operation as able, as
active, as rapid and conclusive as any
which the page of military history re-
cords. It was therefore surely unfair, as
some noble lords have done, to describe
such an operation merely as an affair with
the rear-guard of Soult's corps. Having
thus achieved the expulsion of Sonut from
the north of Portugal, lord i' II' lii..,
proceeded to the south to oppose Victor,
who had actually advanced in that direc-
tion, but who on the approach of lord
.1.






PATL. DIEBATES,' JsN, '2(, 1l61O.-Bakle of TIfaveea-[t


Wellington had thought it prudent to re-
treat. But here again lord Wellington
was reproached with a delay of 10 days
at Abrantes. This was another miscon-
ception, which it Was proper to rectify,
for in point of fact the delay imputed to
his noble brother, was not protracted a
moment beyond what was absolutely ne-
cessary, for refitting his army after so long,
so rapid, and so fatiguing a march. Hav-
ing effected that object, lord Wellington
immediately advanced into Spain; and
here he must beg leave to correct another
error into which some noble lords on the
other side of the House had fallen. A.
comparison had been drawn between the
situation of that gallant and deeply la-
inented officer, sir J. Moore, and that of
lord Wellington on their entering Spain.
There was not, however, the least simila-
rity between the two cases, and that dis-
similarity arose from the different state of
Spain at the two periods. WhensirJohn
Moore entered Spain, the members of the
Central Junta had hardly taken their seats;
their authority was scarcely acknowledg-
ed, and little or no organization had been
el-..i.l in their armies. Silence sir John
Moore had justly said, that on entering
Spain he had neither seen a Spanish army
nor a Spanish general. The part of the
country, moreover, through which he had
to pass, was deficient in resources; nor
was he invested with sufficient authority
to avail himself of those which it afforded.
Such was the destitute situation of sir John
Moore, while he had at his back the
whole of the French army, commanded by
the French emperor in person. In stat-
ing these circumstances, the noble mar-
quis wished not to be considered as deli-
vering any opinion with respect to the
policy or impolicy of the march of sir J.
Moore. That was a question upon which
he wished to be considered as completely
unpledged. All that he thought requisite
for his present purpose, was, to state the
vaked fact.
Now, what was the situation of Spain
when lord Wellington advanced into that
country ? The Central Government had
long been established and their authority
was generally recognized. The partof the
country through which his march lay
abounded in resources of every descrip-
tion, nor was it fair to entertain a doubt,
9f the power and disposition of the Spanish
government, to render them available.
The only hostile force which he would
at first have to encounter, was Victor's


corps, consisting of 28,000 men. So cir-
cmni;tanlced it was proposed to him both
by the Spanish government and by gene-
ral Cuesta to advance against Victor.
What discretion could he have used, what
justification could he have offered for
declining such a proposal ? It was not
proposed by gen. Cuesta, as the noble
earl seemed to insinuate, to march to Ma-
drid, and to expel the enemy from the
Spanish capital: but the joint request of
the Junta, and of general Cuesta, was, that
he would co-operate with the Spanish
army in driving Victor beyond the Tagus,
by which operation he would protect the
southern provinces of Spain, one of the
great objects of his instructions, and per-
haps also compel the enemy to eva-
cuate the northern provinces, another of
the objects which it was thought very de-
sirable to accomplish. Having thus to
look to a government fully established ; to
a country abounding in provisions: to an
army of 48,000 men well equipped and
in all appearance wel disciplined ; to a
general who possessed the confidence of
Spain and of that army, how could lord
Wellington have refused his assistance
in the attainment of that limited object.
Would not a refusal on his part have ar-
gued a supposition that the Spanish go-
vernment was incompetent to perform
its duty; that the country, though full
of provisions, was incompetent or un-
willing to supply them? How besides
could he have answered for the safety of
Portugal, unless a blow was struck against
Victor that would have prevented him
from joining and co-operating with Soult
or any French corps that might invade
that kingdom from the northward ? By
advancing into Spain, therefore, it was
not Spain only that he was anxious to
assist, but Portugal that he was resolved to
defend. Mindful of his instructions, lord
Wellington kept these main objects stea-
dily in view, and he proceeded to the pro-
secution of them with zeal, courage, ac.
tivity and judgment.
But in thus entering -'..;n, did lord
Wellington take the necessary precau-
tions for the security of his army ? To
this he would answer that his brother had
taken every precaution that depended
upon him,or which the prospect of things
could have ,i:... d at the moment.-
Besides, was he to place no reliance on
gen. Cuesta or his army with whom he
was to co-operate? Was he to place no
reliance on the Spanish government, who-


[148






149] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 26, 1810.-Vote of Thanks to Lord Wellington. [15~


S solicited his assistance? Was he to place
no reliance on the country which he
came to defend ? Did not the plan more-
over concerted between him and gen.
Cuesta hold out every promise of suc-
cess ? that plan was briefly this: lord
Wellington was to move against Victor's
corps in concert with gen. Cuesta. In the
mean time gen. Venegas by a circuitous
march was to advance towards and threaten
Madrid, in order by this demonstration to
draw off the attention of the French corps
under gen. Sebastiani and king Joseph,and
thus prevent their forming a junction with
Victor. From this plan, if duly executed,
lord Wellington was justified in expecting
every success. Accordingly he advanced
against Victor at Talavera on the 22d of
July, and soon came in sight of the ene-
my, whom he proposed to attack on the
following morning. Victor's corps was
then unsupported by any other, and con-
sisted of no more than 28,000 men. If
* therefore the attack upon Victor had
been made on the morning of the 23d as
proposed by lord Wcllingion, must not
the result have bccn most glorious and
complete, the more so as after Victor had
been joined by the corpl of Sebastiani and
king Joseph, lord Wellington had been
able to diceat him ? And even had Soult
:aii. .. .I I I, I .. ,., would there not have
been every certainty of another splendid
victory ? General Cuesta however refused
to attack the enemy on that day; for what
reason had never yet been explained;
but the consequence was that Victor re-
treated, and made his escape on the very
night of the 23d, and I. .. a junction
with Sebastiani and '.n Joseph. At
the same time general Ve.-r:-. who
ought to have been at Arganda on the
22d, had received a counter order from
the Junta not to move. It is true that
that order was afterwards withdrawn ; but
Venegas only reached on the 29th the
S position which he ought to have occupied
on the 22d. Of the reason why the Junta
issued that counter order, although he
made repeated enquiries, he had never
been able to obtain any explanation.
Such was the failure of a plan which
seemed to have been so wisely contrived.
Against such strange mismanagement
what human prudence could provide?
What general, what minister could stand
if brought to your lordships' bar to an-
swer for the consequences of such un-
looked for, such unaccountable casualties?
He perfectly agreed with the noble lords


on the other side of the House ri:.;,in:ilg
the necessity of a radical change .in the
government of Spain, and his opinions on
that head, he believed, were not unknown.
But that change could not be the work of
a day; and were we to make no one exer-
tion, not risk a single soldier in the Spa-
nish cause, until Spain had attained the
full perfection of a free state ? It mustno
doubt be our wish to see Spain connect
the action of the executive power which
the spirit of the people, draw forth her
own energies, and act a part worthy of
herself and of her brave and generous
ally, but it surely was not to be expect-
ed that she should reach at once the
vigour of a free government, just emerg-
ing as she was from that dreadful op-
pression under which a wretched go-
vernment had broken down the facul-
ties of her people; emerging as she
was from those inveterate habits and
ancient prejudices, which have so long
contracted her views, and retarded her
improvement; emerging as she was
from that disconnection and disunion be-
tween her different provinces, among
which, however they might join in the
hatred and detestation of their common
enemy, no cordial harmony had pre-
vailed in other respects. The thing was
impossible, but were we therefore to
abandon the 'p-.!.i ., to the mercy of
their cruel invaders? Were we there-
fore to desert them in this crisis of their
fortunes ?
With these observations he should now
leave that part of the question, and come
to the battle of Talavera itself and the cir-
cumstanceswhich attended and followed it.
In a military sense perhaps nothing more
could be said of the result of that battle,
than, that the British troops had succeed-
ed in repulsing the attack of a French
army almost double their numbers, the
efforts of which had been chiefly direct-
ed against the British troops. But was
there no skill, no bravery,no perseverance
displayed in the mode in which that re-
pulse was elected ? Did no glory re-
dound from it to the character of the
British arms ? Has it not been acknow-
ledged even by the enemy as the severest
check they had yet sustained ? Now as
to its consequences. Were they really such
as to disparage the merits, and mar the
splendour of that day ? He would boldly
maintain that the defeat of the enemy at
Talavera had essentially contributedto the
main objects of the campaign. For unless






PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 26, 1810.-Battle of Talavera.


that blow had been struck against Victor,
it would have been ii ...--i!..l. to prevent
the enemy from over-running the South
of Spain, or from making a fresh irruption
into Portugal. It saved the South of Spain
from absolute destruction. It has afford-
ed time to Portugal to organize her army,
and to strengthen her military posts. It
also enabled lord Wellington to take a
position, where he might derive supplies
from Spain at the same time that he drew
nearer to his own magazines ? Were not
all these achi,.vemen1ts essential to the
objects of the expedition ; And what was
the general result? Until then, the French
armies had been acting vigorously against
Spain and Portugal; but since the battle
of Talavera, they have been. *. .1 .1I to
abandon their offensive operations and to
resume the defensive. He should not at-
tempt to diminish the disasters, which
afterwards befel the Spanish arms. Both
his noble brother and he himself had
earnestly advised the Spaniards to keep
to their defensive positions: but flush-
ed with the victory of Talavera, and with
hopes too sanguine of further successes,
they advanced at all points ; and the result
but too fatally justified the propriety of
the advice, that had been given to them.
But he would not go into any critical dis-
quisition of military discretion. It was
enough for him to have shewn that in the
prosecution and attainment of the objects,
on which he was employed, lord Welling-
ton made a judicious application of the
means entrusted to his hands, and derived
from them every advantage to which they
could be turned. He arrested the pro-
gress of the French armies into the South
of Spain, and procured a breathing time
for Portugal to organize her i..... -, and
improve all her means of defence. Ile
would not take upon him to say, that
Portugal was placed in a state of complete
security; but he might safely assert, that
time had been gained for producing an
essential improvement, in the condition of
lc;r .in. ; so that it would be enabled
t~'.i.ti..ly to assist and co-operate with
the British troops. In fine, Portugal was
placed in a greater degree of security, than
at any period since she has been menaced
by France. All these advantages were fair-
ly to be ascribed to the skill, the courage,
and the activity which directed the
exertions of lord Wellington and his army,
and upon the whole he did not hesitate
to say, that his brother was justly entitled
to pyery distinction which hib Sovereign


has conferred on him, and to every honour
and reward which it was in the power of
that House to bestow, as any noble lord
who for his personal services had obtained
the same distinctions, or who sat there by
descent from his illustrious ancestors.
Lord Grenville observed, that he never
rose to perform his duty with greater pain
than he did at this time ; but a public duty
it wasand he could int shrink from it.
The view he had of the subject was this:
from the first moment that it had been
agitated he knew that it could not be re-
garded in that narrow light as to make
this the sole question, whether eminent
valour and even skill had been displayed
on the day of battle. No; lie thought
that the subject must be treated in a man-
ner which would shew the propriety of
giving, in the first place, the information
which his noble friend (Grey) had re-
quired on a former occasion respecting the
campaign, and especially relative to that
most calamitous event, the march into
' ... .. His opinion wassupported by the
manner in which his noble friend opposite
(Wellesley) had discussed the subject.
He had, and properly in his opinion, not
confined himself to the transactions of the
day of battle, but taken a comprehensive
view of the causes and consequences of
that battle. The events of. twenty-four
hours might be sufficient to prove the me-
rits of the soldier, although the sufferings
both before and after a battle might con-
stitute no small portion even of the sol-
dier's deserts. But the case of a general
was widely diff-rent. This question was
none of his seeking. But he must say,
that even a victory, if attended with cala-
mitous circumstances, did not deserve the
thanks of that House. The conduct of
lord Wellington ought to be examined as
connected with the plans of the govern-
ment at home, and as connected with the
state of the country whose cause he had
been sent to support; and it was for these
reasons that he thought the information to
which he had adverted ought to be
granted before coming to any vote on this
subject. If the Spanish forces had been
directed by the spirit which distinguished
the British troops, then,certainly, any one
might be justified in forming the most
brilliant expectations of the result of a
plan in which both co-operated. But, as
the case stood, the question was, whether
a British army ought to have been risked
in an enterprise which depended so much
pn Spanish co-operation, A plan was,


[152







PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 26, 1810.-Committee of Supply.


however, formed, and Victor was to be at- ferior officers and the army were then
tacked by the combined armies, and when read.
the moment of attack came, the Spanish Earl Grey professed his hearty concur-
general refused to co-operate. He was rence in these motions. The inferior of-
willing to suppose that lord Wellington ficers and the army had done their duty
had, by the letter or -i.;il of his instruc- in the most admirable manner, and he
tions, been compelled to engage in this hoped these motions would pass nem. dis.
combined efibrt. But what, then, were The motions were then unanimously car-
we to think of our councils at home, ried.
which had exposed a British army to so
much peril, by depending upon the effi- ou OF COMMONS.
cacy of Spanish co-operation? Their
lordships were then told, that general Friday, January 20.
Venegas had been prevented from co-ope- [COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY.] The order
rating by counter-orders from the Spa- of the day was read, for taking into con-
nish government. lie called then upon sideration the Speech of-the lords comn-
their lordships to consider what the mi- missioners, on the opening of the present
nisters had been doing for the last two session.
years, to consider how much dependance The Chancellor of the Exchequer moved
they had in the course of that time placed the usual question That a Supply be
upon such a government as this. The granted to his Majesty."
chief object of this ought to be preserva- Mr. Creevey rose and observed, that as
tion. Their lordships would reflect vwhe- a passage in that Speech contained high
other they would be justified in supporting encomiums upon the flourishing state of
them, in a continuation of error. We the foreign commerce of this country; be-
were now told that the security of Portu- fore he could give his assent to the mo-
gal was not complete, but that great re- lion just proposed, he must request leave
lance was to be placed upon the co-ope- to ask some questions of his Majesty's mi-
ration of the Portuguese with the British. nisters, respecting that system to which'
Of this he would only say, that they they attributed this .1l...i l,.h, success;
ought to judge of the future from the past, but from which he apprehended conse-
that they ought to recollect the retreat quences the very reverse.
for want of co-operation, and that the The Speaker rose to remind the hon.
remnant of the army was in a situation gent. that if he had any objections to
not- dissimilar to that in which it was oiTer against the Supply, this was not the
placed by its advance to Talavera. This stage of proceeding in which it was usual
was most strongly impressed on his mind, to urge them; that would more regularly
and he could not avoid taking advantage be done in a committee of the whole
of this opportunity to express his feelings. HIouse. It was not in the usage of the
With regard to the immediate question, House to discuss the motion now (,., .I in
he thought that it could not be narrowed the present stage of the business ; the
to the events of a particular day. He uniform practice had been to let this ques-
did not attribute these disastrous events tion pass, as of course, without discussion.
to lord Wellington. Sure he was, that Having reminded the lion. gent. of what
nobody could think he had any desire to was the usual mode of proceeding gener-
do so. He believed that he was fettered ally in practice, it must be for the dis-
by the nature of the service on which he creation of the House to consider whether
had been sent, and by his instructions, they would indulge the hon. gentleman in
and that the plan and its calamitous con- any latitude of discussion on the present
sequences were to be attributed to mini- occasion.
sters. They had on a former night ar- Mr. Creevey said, he saw upon the votes
gued against what they called prejudging of the House, that the consideration of the
a question. Sure he was that they were Lord Commissioners' Speech was an order
now prejudging, when they called for the of the day; and he always understood
opinion of their lordships, and refused to it to be the undoubted rightof every mem-
produce the documents on which alone her to dis,:uss in any stage, every question
that opinion could be correctly founded, proposed in that House for adoption. He
The Vote of Thanks to lord Welling- did not at present intend to go at any
ton, was put, and carried without a di- length into the general subject of the
vision. The motions of thanks to the in- Supply; but before the House was called


[154







5 PAR L. I il% A\' 'AL JAN. I26, 18 l0.-ConvuleCe of 9SUPPlJy.


on to vote that Supply implicitly, and in
a general way, he felt that some infor-
Ination was necessary to the House, as
well upon some topics in the Speech, as
upon others highly important, which he,
as well as ot er- other gentlemen, were
surprised to find totally omitted. Not-
withstanding the high prosperity in
the state of our foreign commerce boasted
by his Majesty's ministers, it was, he be-
lieved, a fact well known to every comn-
inercial man, that for all the articles of fo-
reign produce, of late imported into this
country for home consumption, we were
obliged to make all our returns in actual
specie, and not in produce or manufacture.
Could any thing then, be clearer, than that
such a traffic, if longer continued, must
speedily dr' .1' ouitofthis coun-
try? Suei i ; ... ready been felt
to an alarming extent; ,and nus;:t not the ne-
cessary consequence of te .: ,t;'... of
rpecie, be an inordinate ris ,.. .: due
of money, and a great ...'. of .-
per currency ? Was ut not already well
known, that a traic had been for some
time carried on, of buying up specie, for
the purposes of exporttion, at a ciual
premium of 30 per ce:t. above its current
value : and could any thing be moe
seriously injurious to he interests of the
country than consequences such as these,
resulting from this system of licences,
under the Orders in Council, to which so
much of our national prosperity was at-
tributed ? He wished, therefore, to know
from his 1i .r -, 's ministers, whether it
was their intention to persist in this system
of commercial licences, for the importation
of foreign produce, upon terms so ruinous
to the national interest.-The other subject
to which he had alluded, and upon which
the Speech was most unaccountably silent,
notwithstanding the intelligence of some
recent transactions so highly -1 ... in :.was
the alarming state of the aIll'fi.. i India.
For the last four years, scarce was there
a word of communication given to that
House relative to so important a branch of
British territory, producing a revenue of
no less than fifteen millions a year, except,
indeed, when an application was made
by the Company to that House for a loan
of 1,500,0001. lie understood that the
India Company intended to apply in this
session for another loan of two millions,
under the sanction of his Majesty's minis-
ters; and by them he now desired to be
informed whether this was the fact. IHe
lsounderstoodthat the Company's Char-


ter was to be renewed in the coming
spring. This was another point upon
which it was highly necessary for the
House and the country to be early and
correctly informed; for surely it was a
matter of the most serious concern to
propose such measures without giving
parliament full information upon the em-
barrassed state of the company's affairs,
and ample time to deliberate respecting
the policy of ,....... them a new loan
and a new charter, after all that had hap.
opened since they had obtained the last.
Upon these points he presumed ministers
would have no objection to give the
House some explicit ilormnation.
Mr. Rose said he should think it would
better have become the hon. gent. to have
sought more accurate information on the
subject of our export and import trade,
before he ventured to make a public as-
sertion, that the whole of our import trade
was of late carried on under the system of
licenses fro;n the ..'..i,. .;, for an ex-
portation of mere ; .I.'i, without any
home produce or manufacture. The fact
was, that for a very long time past our ex-
por!t trade had been carried on in manu-
fa6btures, with a perpetual balance of mil-
lions in favour ofthis country, and to a de-
gree of prosperity superior not only to
any former period of war, but to the most
favoured times of peace in the history of
the British empire. It was possible that
some parts oi our import trade, from par-
ticular quarters, might be carried on by
individuals, merely by an export of mo-
ney. This, however, had no sanction
from the government of the country, who
did every thing in their power to prevent
it. It was not impossible that some in-
stances might have occurred, such as the
hon. gent. had mentioned, of bullion being
bought up at an advanced rate, to be
sent out of the country. It was, however,
scarcely possible, in the immense business
of issuing licenses, that some abuses might
not have been practised by some indivi-
duals. If, however, the hon. gent. knew
of any such, and would have the goodness
to point out any manner in which it was
possible they could be detected or pre-
vented, he might rely upon it that his ad-
vice should be thankfully received, and
vigilantly adopted. But he would find it
a difficult thing to persuade that House, or
the merchants of this country to adopt
such a policy as the suppression of a sys-
tem under which the commerce of thia
country had prospered beyond all former
example.


155]


[156






PARL. L)kB.\ L-, JAN. 26, 1810.--Committee of Supply.


The Chancellor ofthe Exchequer supported
the argument of Mr. Rose, and repeated
his assertion of Tuesday night-that the
amount of commercial exports, in actual
manufactures and produce from this coun-
try, within the last. year, exclusivelyof bul-
lion, exceeded by a balance of from seven
to eight millions any year of our history
S in the most :. .r. ii- b times of peace;
and by ten millions, any former year of
war. With respect to the other question
put by the hon. gent. he conceived it not
to be the time for discussing that subject.
If any such measure was in the contempla-
tion of the India Company, as the applica-
tion for a loan, or for a renewal of their
S charter, it must originate in the Court of
Directors, and not in that House. His
Majesty's ministers had no power to oblige
the India Company to a disclosure of their
intentions upon those heads. If they con-
templated such a proceeding, they must
proceed by petitioning the parliament;
S and it would be time enough to discuss
those subjects, when they came before it
in a proper shape.
Mr. Tierney was not disposed to give his
Majesty's ministers the credit they seemed
so anxious to assume for their Orders in
Council and commercial licences, as the
true source of all the commercial prospe-
S rity they boasted in the last year. IHe
attributed this apparent prosperity to quite
other causes; namely, to the long exclu-
sion of our trade from some ports of the
continent, which when occasionally opened
for us, either by the wants of hostile na-
tions, the enterprising spirit of our own
merchants, or by the intervention of neu-
trals, created an extraordinary demand for
British commodities for a time; and hence
the apparent but fluctuating superiority of
the period in question. But how much
greater would these exports have been,
hadthe Orders in Council never been is-
sued, to debar us of the agency of neu-
a trals, and had the trade of the country
never been shackled by commercial li-
cences. There were, besides, still stronger
objections to this licensing system in ano-
ther point of view, because it laid the com-
merce of the country at the feet of the
minister; and enabled the government to
exercise a partial influence'for the advan-
S tage of those whom they considered their
friends, and to the injury of those whom
they might view in a different light. He
would not positively charge them with
such an exercise of their power; but he
believed it was pretty well understood in


the world, that when a man had any thing
valuable to give, he was in a-fair way of
expecting something equivalent in return.
Ministers sometimes required support, and
merchants were sometimes members of par-
liament, or possessed political influence in
some quarter; and if by any chance a
merchant was favoured with a licence,
perhaps exclusively, to trade to any par-
ticular country for theexport or import of
any given commodity, no doubt he would
feel himself much obliged; he would con.
sider the minister who gave it his friend,
and would think nothing of losing a few
nights rest, or sitting up now and then a
few hours extraordinary, to attend a de-
bate or division in that House. It some-
times happened, that in one week licences
were given to trade to certain parts, and
in the next they were stopped. In such
cases, the licences themselves became, to
those who had the good fortune to obtain
them, lucrative commodities for traffic.
He had heard of an instance where a sin-
gle licence was sold for 1,0001.; and if
these instances were frequent, every man
must see what enormous degree of influ-
ence it would give to ministers.
[. tI ,qfthe Exchequer explained,
by saying he never had spoken of the
OrdersinS. ;' or the system of licences,
as eligible measures; on the contrary, he
thought them abstractedly ineligible ; but
they were forced upon the government by
the existing circumstances.
Mr. Rose assured the right hon. gent.
(Mr. Tierney) that in issuing those li-
cences the most perfect impartiality was
observed, and no man's political princi-
ples or conduct ever thought of on such
occasions.
Mr. Ponsonby attributed the comparative
prosperity of our commerce of late, not to
the Orders in Council, nor to the licensing
system, but to the temporary suspension
of the American embargo and non-inter.
course, under an idea that all differences
were adjusted with Mr. Erskine; and to
the occurrence of the Austrian war, which
attracted all the French troops from the
ports of Holland and Germany.
Mr. Stephen said it had been remarked,
that memory stood in an inverse ratio to
wit. The wit of the right hon. gent. op-
posite (Mr. Tierney) they had frequent
occasion to remark; but this night he had
shewn, that he possessed the worst me-
mory in the world. lie must surely be
seen to have done so, when he had stated
that the Orders in Council had reduced






PARL. 1)1 .\ I1..', JAN. 26, 18IO.-Committee of Supply.


the trade of the country to the greatest
state of distress, whereas, it must be in the
recollection of the House, that they were
issued in November, and that the state of
stagnation had been proved to have ex-
isted in August and September.' It was
remarkable, however, that the two right
hon. gentlemen had assigned very differ-
ent reasons for the present great increase
of trade. One assigned it to the effect of
revulsion ; the other to the Austrian war
and the Walcheren Expedition. It had
been, alleged or insinuated that licences
were given only to the friends of admi-
nistration and yet it was admitted that the
trade of the country, was carried on almost
exclusively under the protection of li-
cences, was great and extensive beyond
all former precedent; he could not there-
fore but congratulate the gentlemen on
the bench below him on the evidence
which this aflfrded, that the whole com-
mercial body of the people were friends
to the present ministers.
Mr. .-' assured the hon. and
learned gent.. that he never meant to as-
cribe the success of our trade to the Wal-
cheren .,. '; ..:i.
Mr. i i .* .' was one of those who be-
lieved that the worst consequences had re-
sulted from the Orders in Council-the
trade was kept alive by relaxations and
departures from them. As to the par-
tiality which the syi.cs of licenses ad-
mitted, he had no doubt iipn it; but he was
forced to give credit to the assertions of
ministers, that no partiality was observed
in the granting of them-so far above tihe
ordinary weaknesses of human nature were
they. Perhaps, however, he could state
instances of the conduct of past times,
which did not proceed upon the same ii-
beral principle. He remembered that, in
the case of the restraint upon the importa-
tion of bark, the ministers granted a li-
cense to one merchant, who was a mem-
ber of the House of Commons, (at least so
report said). He did not state confidently
that it was so ; but if it wa:, what could
be said to ministers who had so conducted
themselves ?
Mr. Rose knew of no such license as
that which the hon. gent. had stated.
Mr. Wilberforce felt it due in justice to
his Majesty's ministers, to declare, that in
proposing the bill to prevent the exporta-
tion of bark, their object was not to pre-
vent the enemy from getting bark, but to
oblige them, if they were to get bark from
this country at all, to get it with a certain
proportion of other articles. IHe was


ready to grant, that the mode of carrying
on our trade by licenses was very objec-
tionable, and liable to great Suspicion ; and
it was one of the unhappy features of the
times that it was necessary to resort to
such a practice. It was not to be sup-
posed, if an increase of seven millions had
taken place in the exports of the country,
that any improper selection had been
made of the persons to whom licences had
been granted. It must he obvious that
they had been granted indiscriminately to
the whole of the commercial body, and
not restricted to the friends of the go-
vernment.
Mr. Simeon was of opinion that the
Orders in Council were like every other
measure of policy-intended to be strict
only when they could injure the national
enemy, and relaxed when they might be-
nefit ourselves. It was admitted that trade
had flourished. It was absurd to con-
ceive that the system which benefited the
whole should be radically injurious to the
parts. If the body of British merchants
were satisfied and grateful, it was idle to
say that the individuals of that body were
materially injured by the continuance of
the system.
Mr. A. .: said, the Orders in
Council could never have originated with
any man conversant in mercantile affairs.
The trade was completely shackled; there
was '... ", a port to which they could
sail without a license. He believed there
was no, partiality shewn, but still it was
",,i. .. i. to know that the influence did
exist. At the board of trade, there was
net one, except the vice president (Mr.
Rose), who knew any thing of the matter;
thie rest were lords, lawyers, and natural-
ists. To say that these Orders in Council
were the foundation of our commercial
prosperity, was absurd. In fact, they did
not exist. The merchants of this country
have not been permitted to trade to any
country to which neutrals were not also ad-
mitted. It was impossible, therefore, that
the commerce of this country could have
been benefiRed by the exclusion of neu-
trals. \When the state of the mercantile
interests of this country, however, came
fairly before the House ; when the state
of bullion and of (exchange were taken
into view, it would be seen we had not
much on which to congratulate ourselves.
it would be seen that we did not enjoy
that real healih ess, ntial to the well-being
of commerce.- Ic as then agreed,that the,
House should on l'.1.i.i resolve into a,
Committee of' uipply.


(501


[160







PARL. DEABATES, JAN. 26, 18 1 .-Expedition to the Scheldt.


S [EXPEdiTION TO Ttif SCHELDT.]-Lord
Porchester rose and spoke to the fol-
lowing (liTft :-Sir, when at the close
of a former night's debate, I'gave notice
ot the motion, which I shall this night
have the honour to submit to the House,
it :wa< my intention to propose the ap-
pointment of a Committee to inqtire into
the conduct of the whole campaign. Upon
reflection, however, I am persuaded that
it wilt be inuch more conducive to the
object I have in view, namely, to prove the
incapacity and total want of system, that
pervade all the military measures of his
Majesty's ministers, to separate the dif-
ferent branches of the campaign, and in-
stitute a distinct inquiry into each ; after
which particular investigation, the several
results may be more .clearly summed up,
aitd a general conclusion drawn with
greater accuracy, justice and truth. I
shall, therefore, in what I have to address
fo the House and in the motion with which
* I 'miia to conclude, confine myself ex-
clusively to the policy and conduct of the
late disastrous Expedition to the Scheldt;
and when the House considers tliat, nei-
ther in the Speech from the throne nor in
the Address to his Majesty upon it, is any
thing contained, that holds out a promise
of a pledge, that any inquiry will be in-
stituted, I am persuaded, that gentlemen
inust feel not alone the propriety but the
necessity of agreeing to my motion. The
House has heard a noble lord (Castle-
ieagh) who is so much concerned in these
transactions, express his readiness, nay,
his solicitude, to meet inquiry. I will call
then, upon that noble lord and upon
Others; implicated equally with him in
this transaction, who are heard to speak
with an equal tone of confidence, as to
their means of justificatiold, to support me
upon this occasion, in my endeavour to
: afford them an opportunity of redeeming
their character-of rescuing themselves
* from a most severe imputation, by voting
for that inquiry, which they have so boldly
courted. It is due to that noble lord,
therefore, it is in justice due'to the admi-
nistration and to the country at large, that
inquiry should be" instituted accordingly;
and, as mercy has been disdained, and
even penal visitation boldly challenged,
* that the scrutiny should not be denied nor
deferred.-Before I proceed however, to
state the grounds upon which this inquiry
appears to me indispensibly necessary to
answer the ends of justice-to comply
with the wishes, and to vindicate the ho--
vOL. XV.


nout of the country, I think it right to an-
ticipate some of the objections usually
made to a proposition of this nature, and
which are, of course, likely to be brought
frard in this instance. I never, indeed,
recollect any proposition made in this
House, for in'qiry, in'which something
evasive has not been urged on the part of
ministers, and I am inclined to apprehend
that the desire for inquiry, on this occa-
sion, professed by those, who were mi-
nisters-those who are now in office will
contrive, if possible, to elude and to thwart.
The objections likely to be made to my
motion will, I suppose, apply to the time
and the form in which it is submitted. To
the latter I will first direct my attention.-
My object is, that the inquiry shall be
conducted by a Committee of the whole
House, because tiat appears to me the
most eligible modle of proceeding in the
investigation of a question of such mag-
nitude and importance. That magnitude
and that importance are, indeed, such as to
demand the exercise of the highest inqui-
sitorial powers belonging to this House.
Considering the sentiment, that univer-
sally prevails respecting the conduct and
result of this Expedition-considering how
loud and strong is the demand of our con-
stituents upon this subject-and let us hope
that they will not by any disappointment
of their just expectations be urged to ad-
dress us with more energy-I cannot con-
nernt to delegate the right of inquiry on this
occasion to any select or secret Committee,
by whom the course of investigation might
be misdirected, or its bounds limited-
before whom, possibly, garbled extracts,
called documents, might be laid by mi-
nisters themselves, in order to produce a
partial discussion. But I will not expose
the case to such a risk. It is in a Com-
mittee of the whole House alone, we can
have a fair case, because if necessary we
can examine oral evidence at the Bar.-
As to the objection respecting time, it may
be said, that my motion ought not to be .
entertained until the papers promised by
ministers shall be laid before the House.
But there is no validity in that objection.
It is indeed a delusive and shallow subter-
fuge, as my view is simply to establish the
tribunal before I open my case-that be-
fore the papers and documents applicable
to the case shall be brought forward, it
should be known before what tribunal that
case is to be tried.-The only end I have
in view is to pledge the House to the iii
stitution of an inquiry. I do not propose
M'


16I]


[162







PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 20, 181 O.-Expedition to the Scheldt.


to prejudge any measure or any man, but
to satisfy the 'country and to justify the
House, which we ought to do as early as
possible, by shewing, that it is our resolu-
tion to bring to a fair trial and judgment
those, against whom the strongest grounds
of suspicion exist-those against whom
the most serious charges are generally en-
tertained and are universally made. I
trust and hope, that, in such an object, I
shall have the support of all the real friends
of inquiry. Sure I am, that the country
will concur with me; that I shall be op-
posed by those only who wish to evade
inquiry altogether. It is not my wish at
this time to discuss the merits of the in-
vestigation. I do not wish now to put the in-
quiry upon its trial but to put his Majes-
ty's ministers upon their trial. But I do
not desire to put ministers upon their trial
before they have had full opportunity of
preparing their evidence and their defence;
yet can the country endure to remain in
doubt, whether such ministers shall be
tried at all. To remove that doubt, to
give assurance to the public, that the
causes of the disaster and disgrace which
have lately befallen us, shall be fully in-
quired into-that a transaction which has
entailed such misfortunes upon England,
while it has entirely closed the prospect
. of benefiting, the continent, shall not pass
without due investigation-that we will
trace it to its source-that we will
follow it throughout its progress-that
we will endeavour to derive from that
eview all the means of instruction which
experience can furnish to assist us in -ex-
tricating the country from its present diffi-
culties :-These are the important and sa-
lutary effects to be derived from the adop-
tion of my motion : and these I trust will
appear of sufficient magnitude to induce
the House to accede to it.-If we examine
any, or all the campaigns which have re-
cently taken place, we shall find in each
the same characteristics of ignorance and
imbecility, the same departure from all
the established principles of sound prac-
tice and military policy. Look at which
you please, you perceive the same fea-
tures of weakness and deficiency. The
farther we, advance the more we see of
tardiness of preparation, of ignorance in
conduct, of imbecility in combination, and
of consequent failure in result. In fact,
every operation was marred and rendered
inefficient by the gross mismanagement of
those to whom unfortunately the super-
intendance of our affairs is committed.


The whole course of their policy and pro-
ceedingg served only to waste our strength,
to exhaust our resources, and to expose and"
degrade our national character. In the
Expedition to which my motion refers,
the calamities which attended it, are, in
fact, to be equalled only by the magni-
tude of its extensive and expensive pre-
paration. When I charge ministers and
their agents with having departed from
every military principle, with having
acted contrary to all acknowledged usage,
particularly according to the practice of
modern warfare, I feel the charge is
strong; but, if I am able to prove its jus-
tice, is it possible to find in language,
terms sufficiently strong to express the re-
probation which ought to attach to their
character and .conduct who, with such
evident incapacity, could have the pre-
sumption to undertake the government of
a great nation ?-When they were found
to deviate from all established rules-to
discard all the lessons of experience, and
to take a singular and eccentric course,
they might, if they happened to be suc-
cessful throw a veil over their errors by
their triumph and obtain a character for
peculiar superiority-they might in such
a case, be supposed to soar above the
ordinary conceptions, by travelling with
safety and success out of the ordinary track
of mankind; they might indeed be regard-
ed as prodigies, born to enlighten and ele-
vate the human powers. But when their
eccentricity has been only demonstrative
of ignorance; and productive of inevitable
disgrace-when they appear mere shal-
low-brained projectors, they must excite
the scorn and derision of every thinking
man, if it were not for the extent of the
mischief to which their projects have led,
which serve to produce against them a
mingled sentiment of indignation and
contempt. It is impossible indeed to look
at the total want of capacity of these men,
and consider the pre-eminent station they
occupy, without surprise and indignation.
Of the nature of their capacity I think the
Expedition to Walcheren and the manner
in which it was planned and conducted,
quite a sufficient evidence. That Expe-
dition the country has long been in the
habit of considering as ruinous and dis-
graceful. For myself, I must say, that I
have been always at a loss to account for
the objects of this Expedition,.until mini-
sters themselves afforded some explana-
tion. Notwithstanding the general im-
pression, we are now told that this Expe.


[ 164,






PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 26, 1810.-Expedition to the Scheldt.


S edition really furnished matter for gratu-
lation-that it presented a theme of joy,
because we had demolished the basin of
Flushing, and did such injury to the for-
tress as cannot be repaired in haste, and
then only at considerable expence. This
we had upon the authority of the minister:
but we have lately heard rather adifbfrent
story from an equally impartial authority.
We hear it from the enemy, that the basin
and fortifications of Im, can be com-
pletely repaired without any material loss
of time or extent of expence, but this
statement is accompanied by the expres-
sion of a doubt, whether it would be
politic in France to incur such expense
or make these repairs ? Our enemies had
the unparalleled insolence, thus to tell his
Majesty's ministers, that their conquests
are good for nothing or profitable only to
France. Is it then seriously to be main-
tained, that the idle flourish which the mi-
nister has thought proper in this case to
* introduce into the king's Speech is a re-
sult deserving the name of success upon
an Expedition which has been attended
with so much waste of human life, and
with the expenditure of five millions of
money ? But was not the fall of Austria,
under the foot of the conqueror, without
an effort upon the part of this country to
S avert her fate, sufficient to outweigh the
advantages arising from the destruction of
an inferior arsenal, which the enemy did
not think worth the trouble of repairing ?
But as to the real objects of this Expedi-
tion, theywere according to the statement
of ministers twofold.-The first, in order
and importance, is said to be a diversion
Sin favour of Austria; the second, the at-
tainment of something solely British, or
national, advantageous only to our own in-
terest. Now how did ministers proceed
towards either of these objects? As to the
first, Austria, it will be recollected com-
menced the war on the 8th of April last;
1 ministers were aware of her intentions to
do so long before, and why, then, were
they not prepared to give her prompt and
effectual aid ? Why, as usual, waste in
slow and tedious preparation that time
which was necessary for vigorous and de-
cisive action ? Why were we not forward
to aid Austria after the battle of Esling,
* when a happy change of circumstances
might have rendered that aid of the most
important consequence? But no, minis-
ters became active only when activity
must be unavailing. They sent out these
Expeditions after Austria had fallen, never


to rise again. On the Oth of July, the
conqueror of the world was obliged to act
on the defensive; but the battle of Wa-
gram extinguished all the hopes and ex-
pectations which Europe began to feel.
On the 12th of July the news of the ar-
mistice reached us, and on the 13th sailed
the Expedition.--lere was judgment;
here was consideration; setting all ex-
perience at defiance ; when the minister,
consistently with his invariable rule of
acting, and contrary to all general prin-
ciples and.established practice, offered to
administer medicine to the dead. But the
minister was not only injudicious in the
time, but in the place which he had chosen
to create a diversion in favour of Austria.
If he had sent in due season an adequate
force to any of the ports, or vulnerable
points on the coast of France, Buonapartl
might have been somewhat more alarmed
than he was likely to be for the fate of the
island of Walcheren. But, why not send
an Expedition to a point convenient to the
scene of actual operations, why not rather
send it to Italy than to Holland? It has
been said, that we had not money nor
troops, nor transports, to send out an Ex-
pedition so early as could be wished-
But when we found these supplies for Hol-
land, why could they not have been found
for an Expedition to Germany or to Italy ?
Is it pretended that we were more liable
to encounter difficulties in the one place
than in the other-that we could not deal
with the Italians or Germans because they
were all like so many Jews, on as easy
terms as we could with the Dutch-that
we could not make paper currency as
available among the one as among the
other ? Are such miserable pretences to
be listened to? But, if ministers really
experienced the want of money, troops and
transports, how can they offer such cir-
cumstances as pleas of justification for
their actual conduct? Why, I would ask,
were they exposed or subject to such
wants ? They had time enough to prepare
and signs enough to warn them of the
necessity for preparation. The state of
Spain was calculated to excite and keep
alive the attention and energy of any set
of men capable of ;',, i.; and activity,
and they had besides, early notice of the
intended movement of Austria. Hlow,
then, are they to account for not having
on foot and in readiness an adequate dis-
posable army?-But, it is alleged that
the army commanded by sir John Moore,
which necessarily formed the basis of the


165]


[166






167] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 26, 1810.-Expedition to the Scheldt.


force sent to Walcheren, was not in a state
to move earlier. Let us, however, exa-
mine this allegation; sir John Moore's
army embarked at Corunna upon the 18th
of January, and is it to be maintained that
that force could not be put in a state fit
for active service until June or July fol-
lowing? I r collect that according to the
reports laid before this House, sir John
Moore's army was represented to have
lost in this retreat and the action of Co-
runna, only about one-sixth of his original
force. At least, such was the statement of
iniisters, and it was also affirmed, that this
army brought away all its artillery, all its
cavalry, with the exception of the loss of a
few horses and some stores. Yetaftersuch
a report to parliament, it is now said, that
the army whose condition had been so re-
presented could not for six months after-
wards be put in a state fit for action.-Is
this to be taken as a specimnin of the
capacity of ministers to recruit an army ;
of their ability after reverses to repair the
casualties and calamities of war? I am
sorry to draw comparisons between them
and the enemy, because those comparisons
must be painful, where the result is so un-
favourable to one's own country. But,
we can hardly help constrasting on this
occasion the fate of the army of Soult with
that of the army of sir John Moore.-Ac-
cording to the published dispatches, Soult
was completely routed in Portugal at the
close of May-not a gun was left to him;
no, nor even any baggage to cheer his
melancholy retreat; and whither was he
ob'iged to retreat-into Gallicia, a hostile
country, where, so far from looking for
aid, le had to calculate upon resistance
and embarrassment. Yet this discomfited
general did not require six months to re-
cruit his troops and prepare them for ac-
tion. No, for on the 2d of August, after
a circuitous and harrassing march,'we find
him fully qualified and able to conquer
his conqueror, and compel him to a pre-
cipita e and sudden retreat. But to re-
cruit an army after defeat, to repair the
consequences of military reverses, has uni-
formly been the characteristic of great
commanders, from Frederic the Great
down to Buonapart6.--With regard to the
next want of the minister, respecting trans-
ports, we are told, that it was necessary to
wait for the arrival of ihe transports, from
Lison,' before the troops could be sent to
Holland. But why were these trarnports
at Lisbon ? Was it thought necessary to
detain them there for sir Arthur Welles-


[168


ley's army in case it should be defeated
and obliged finally to retreat.-In that case,
we could not have had any transports to
send to Holland, so that our ministers
combined their plan with such peculiar
judgment and elicity of arrangement that
a defeat in Portugal would have prevented
the Expedition to Holland. But I would
ask why the minister had not a suffi-
ciency of transports ready for any opera-
tion that might be deemed necessary ?-
Will the House accept the answer or ex-
cuse which ministers have made upon this
subject ? Would Buonaparte, do you sup-
pose, listen to such an answer from any
of his ministers?--or would any of his
ministers attempt to offer such an excuse
to him ? Certainly not, because such an
excuse is but an aggravation of the mis-
conduct which our ministers intend it to
extenuate. It was the duty of ministers
to be provided with an ample supply of
transports for the public service, and if
they did not attend to that duty, it was
not admissible in them to plead their neg-
lect as a reason for not sending out an
Expedition which, if proper to have been
sent out at all, ought to have been sent in
due time. I am speaking of what means
they had provided, in order to act upon
their own plan, and pointed out the ineffi-
cacy of these means to their own ends.
My remarks apply to their arrangements
for the execution of a plan, which plan
was I contend in itself highly exception-
able. For if it was really meant to assist
Austria by making a diversion in her fa-
vour, could any thing be more preposter-.
ous, than to choose a place for an Expedi-
tion, where there was no possible point of
contact or communication with the power
we professed a desire to support. The
barriers between us in that situation and
Austria were immense. We had it not in,
our power to advance a step without meet-
ing a fortress, which, when captured, we
must reduce our force to garrison, before
we advanced farth; r. But lord Chatham
found it impossible to advance at all. Ant-
werp, which according to the original
plan, was first to be taken by a coup de
main, stopped his career. But there was
in the whole plan such a manifest proof
of folly-such a disregard of all the pre-
cepts derivable from experience and esta-
blihed, usage, that the result was such as
might reasonably be looked for. If gen-
tlemen will examine the history of mili-
tary transactions-If they will only reflect
upon the .'>p I' i.. of their own times,






169] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 26, 1810.-Expedition to the Scheldt.


they must see that there are two princi-
Sples which uniformly regulate all wise
military arrangement:-the first is, to di-
rect your main force to your main object,
which, once attained, all minor objects
will naturally follow ;-the second, to
divide and distract the enemy as much as
possible. It is by attending closely to
these two principles that France has been
aggrandized, and her enemies destroyed
-it is through our neglect of these prin-
ciples that we have been uniformly de-
feated and disgraced. Does not the mark-
ed disregard of these principles strike the
commonest observer in the conduct if the
Expedition to which my motion refers?
SWhat was the main object of this Expe-
dition ?-the French fleet and Antwerp.
Do they go at once to Antwerp ?-No
The Expedition sailed for Walcheren on
the 28th of July. It was accompanied by
heavy cavalry, which, in fact, never land-
ed, and other descriptions of force which
was appropriate to service different to
that entered upon. Upon the 28th of
August, it was decided by our commander,
that Antwerp was not assailable, and that
our troops must retreat. Now, how was
the long interval employed from the arri-
val of our force at Walcheren, until it was
deemed advisable to come to this deci-
0 sion ? Why, instead of proceeding at once
to Antwerp, and leaving some of our ship-
ping to blockade Fluihing, such blockade
would have renderrlr! the force in that gar-
rison, and all Walcheren, quite useless,
Flushing was regularly besieged. Thu-
the force whi(h might have been kept as
it were in a cage, and not available to the
enemy, was, by our leaving down before
Finlr.i.. with double the number, ren-
dered completely effective against us.
But this was not all ; before Flushing was
reduced, a formidable force was collected
at Ahtwerp ; we had then to advance
against a population armed and adverse,
and this advance was to be made accord-
ing to the admirable plan in order to take
these people by surprise, to capture a
fortress by a coup de main, after a month's
preliminary notice. These, however, are
not the only egregious blunders and faults
belonging to this extraordinary transac-
tion. It was obviously incumbent upon
* ministers to collect some information as to
the nature and defensive state of the points
of attack, before our army was sent out.
Surely they ought to have known, whe-
ther Antwerp was a fortress or a town,
whether it possessed the means of vigor-


ous resistance, or was assailable by a coup
de main? These things ought to have been
previously ascertained by ministers, with-
out sending out their general, lord Chat-
ham, with 40,000 men to reconnoitre the
place or rather to act the part of spies.-
Now we come to another point, upon
which I think ministers have incurred a
very serious responsibility, in which I can
hardly suppose it possible for them satis-
factorily to account for their conduct. I
should wish to know why, when they de-
termined to abandon the attack upon Ant-
werp as ionpracticable, they did not aban-
don Flushing as untenable? Common
powers of observation were enough to con-
vince them of the necessi y of the one, as
well as of the other. History, indeed,
would have infi)rnwd them, that Walche-
ren was not ten;ble without imminent and
certain danger to the health of our brave
troops. Why not, then, when the main
obj-cts of the Expedition were found to
be unattainaile, destroy Flushing at once,
abandon the island, and rescue our army
from that pestilence which had so dread-
fully desolated its ranks ? It is said, no
doubt, that Walcheren was retained in
consequence of a requisition from Austria,
in the hol,e that by our continuing in pos-
session of that island, Buonapart6 might be
influenced in his negotiations with that
power But is there any rational man
who would believe this? The fallacy of
the pretence was indeed obvious, from the
conduct of ministers themselves. Ifit was
meant to retain Walcheren as a feint,
why proceed to fortify the works of Flush-
ing? why construct new works elsewhere
in Walcheren, and expend a considerable
sum on such fortifications? But ..iIpI.O-. :
the only object of keeping it were, as
stated, a demonstration to aid the views of
Austria, is it not absurd to imagine, that
such a demonstration could have any ef-
fect upon the mind of Buonapart6, or that
in order to get possession of that island,
or to avoid the delaying for two or three
weeks his attack upon it, he would be in-
duced to lower his tone or modify or mo-
derate his terms with Austria. Yet this
notion, so glaringly absurd, is oflired as
an apology for detaining our troops in
this horribly pestilential islanl,where na-
ture sickened, and every gale was death."
-The effect of disease upon our army in
this unfortunate Expedition is not to be
ascertained or decided upon merely from
the report of actual deaths. For, accord-
ing to the information I have received, the


[170






171] PARL. DEBATES, JAN. 28, 18 10.-Expedition to the Scheldt.


greater part of the survivors is for life un-
fitted for any active service. What then,
is a measure so productive of calamity, so
pregnantwith disasters, to escape inquiry ;
or are its authors to escape punishment ?
-Having gone through all the points
which occur to me as connected with the
policy or progress of this Expedition, I
now proceed to consider the choice which
ministers thought proper to make of a
commander to direct its operations. I do
not intend to complain of the selection.
Although he was not one of those officers
whom fame had noticed among her list of
heroes-although he was not one of those
who "in camps and tented fields had bled"
-although he was much more familiar
with the gaieties of London or the business
of office, than with the annals of military
experience or glory-yet I do not com-
plain of the appointment of such an offi-
cer to command such an Expedition.
He was, in fact, the most appropriate per-
son that could be chosen. But if it were
a wisely-planned Expedition, I should
say, that it ought to be entrusted to an in-
telligent commander-to one who pos-
sessed the confidence of the army-to one
experienced in modern warfare, as this was
not the time for making hazardous expe-
riments.-But, abortive and impracticable
as the plan was, I should have thought it
a pity to have the character of an officer
of that description exposed to sacrifice, by
rendering him responsible for the success
of a measure which it would be impossi-
ble for such a man to comprehend or exe-
cute. No, lord Chatham was the fittest
man for the station. This ill-fated Expe-
dition was the favorite bantling of minis-
ters. It required to be fostered by pa-
rental partiality, for it could have no
claim to rational attachment. Such an
Expedition could, in fact, he understood
by themselves alone, and one of them-
selves alone was fit to command it.-Many
other proofs of neglect and inattention
have been mentioned to me with regard
to the conduct of this Expedition, upon
which I do not think it necessary to dwell
at present. Among others, I have to
state, that transports were sent out to
Walcheren even after the order for its
evacuation had actually reached the island.
I have also heard of the sick and dying
soldiers being most severely distressed for
bedding, for clothing, and even necessary
provisions and medicines. These things,
I hope and trust, are not true. But yet
they rest upon the statement of such au-


thorities, as to furnish an additional argu-
ment for inquiry. Indeed, the arguments
for inquiry are numerous and irresistible;
and unless you accede to these arguments,
you cannot hope to have credit with the
country for acting under the influence of
reason or argument. In fact, it is neces-
sary to your own character, and to esta-
blish ;some security against the repeti-
tion of similar blunders and the uncon-
trouled sway of incapacity, to vote an in-
quiry upon this occasion. Unless you
do, imbecility may rule on-all military
principles may be disregarded-and all
the precepts of statesman-like judgment
may be set at nought with impunity.
Ministers may fancy themselves able, if
they can only contrive to be active-
Expeditions may be multiplied, only to
multiply disgrace-our armies may con-
tinue to be exposed to danger, without
any just necessity, or rational object, to
squander their blood for mere fame, for
barren laurels which blossom on the brow,
but never fructify. But what a series of
folly and presumption have we witnessed
under the direction of a minister, who
tells the world that our sovereign can be
safe only with his aid and guidance;
under him who has degraded the reputa-
tion of our sovereign's army, who has
scattered dismay through every part of
his country, and destroyed the last hope
of his allies. Do not such results furnish
good grounds for inquiry? Is it possible
that you ought to go on confiding in such
a minister ? What, let me ask you, has he
done to deserve confidence, or rather,
what has he not done to provoke distrust ?
If ever there was a time when inquiry was
necessary to satisfy the wishes of the pub-
lic, to consult the safety of the country,
surely it is at present; at this moment,
which may be well considered the most
awful crisis that ever suspended the des-
tinies of a mighty empire-a crisis ren-
dered more alarming by the sentiment
that universally and justly prevails, with
regard to those to whom the administra-
tion of our government is committed. In
these men, I have no hesitation in stating,
that which must be admitted by every
candid man, that the country has no con-
fidence whatever: that the country can
have no confidence whatever. They are,
in fact, fallen to the lowest ebb in public
estimation. The eyes and expectations
of the country are fixed upon us [cries
of hear! hear upon the ministerial
benches.] If gentlemen on the other


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