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HISTORY OF EUROPE,

1810.

CHAP. I.

Meeting of Parliament. Debates upon the King's Speech, and upon the

Affairs of Spain.

Never since the commencement of in Spain, was gone by; and the de. the war had the affairs of this coun- feats which the

Spaniards had sustain. try, of Europe, and of the world, ed were far more disheartening than worn so dark an aspect, as at the en- those of the preceding winter, because trance of the new year. The conti- they evinced that neither had the arnental war, which had excited such mies improved in discipline, nor the 'high, and at one time such reasonable government profited by experience. It hopes, had ended not more trium- was but too plain, that, notwithstand. phantly for France, than disgracefullying the show of resistance made at for the ally of England and for Eng. the Sierra Morena, the kingdoms of land herself. The total sacrifice of all Andalusia were in fact open to the honourable feeling made by the house enemy ; 80 supine was the central of Hapsburg, in uniting itself to Buo- junta, as to make it even probable naparte, as yet was not even suspect that Cadiz itself might be betrayed ed; but it was apparent that that house or surprised ; and if, now that Buonawas at his mercy, and that Austria, parte had no other object, he should having thrown down her arms, existed march a great force against the Engby his sufferance. In the peninsula, lish in Portugal, there were few pera campaign which opened with the sons who had sufficient knowledge fairest auspices, had terminated dis- of the country, and of the character astrously : the golden opportunity, of the people, to look onward to the when by one great effort proportion- issue without dismay. In all parts ate to the occasion, Great Britain of the world, even those which were might have exterminated the French secured by distance and the seas from

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VOL. III. PART I.

the restless ambition of France, tl.e the lord mayor and sheriffs pledged prospect was little less gloomy. Spa. themselves to deliver it into the king's nish America was on the point of own hand, unless they were refused. civil war, a crisis which the detestable The city remembrancer accordingly misgovernment of the old court had waited upon the

secretary

of state, to long been preparing, and the junta, know when his majesty would receive by their culpable neglect, accelerated it, and stated a wis to present it at what they might now so easily have the next levee. At the next private prevented. Our own affairs in Ame. levee, the secretary, having consulted rica were hardly in a better condition his majesty, informed the lord mayor than those of our allies; the dispute and sheriff, it was the king's pleasure with the United States had been renew. that their petition should

be delivered with fresh violence, at a moment ed at the secretary of state's office, when it seemed to be closed, and the his majesty having, for the last four temper of the president, and of that years, discontinued public levees on part of the people whom his conduct account of his loss of sight. They and language encouraged in their in. then offered to present it at the prisults and outrages, was such, as ren- vate levee, when they presented the dered accommodation more difficult petition of the common council, but than ever.

From India intelligence they were not permitted, and the seof a more painful nature had arrived, cretary offered to take it, and save disputes had arisen there between the them the trouble of calling at his ofcivil and military powers, and though fice. This they, on their part, dethose disputes were now concluded, clined, saying they could not present or at least suspended, it was not till it, except to his majesty personally. a part of the Madras army had bro. The sheriffs afterwards waited upon ken out in actual rebellion. But of the secretary, and requested that he all calamities, foreign or domestic, would apply for a private audience. none so deeply affected the English He replied, his majesty had already people as the lamentable expedition signified his pleasure. Upon this to Walcheren ; every thing which the livery assembled again, and passed could excite astonishment, and an- a string of resolutions, declaring that guish, and indignation, was united in it was their undoubted right to prethat deplorable history : its origin, sent their petition to the king sitting progress,

and termination, were alike upon his throne, though out of perintolerable to recollect; it began in sonal feelings they had at the last comfolly, it was conducted by imbecilli- mon hall waved the exercise of this ty, and it ended in disgrace.

right ; that the denial which they The common council voted an ad- had received was a flagrant violation dress to his majesty upon this unhap- of the right of petitioning, and whopy expedition, praying, that an early ever had advised his majesty not to and strict inquiry might be instituted receive their petition, had committed into the cause of its failure. The a scandalous breach of duty, violated livery also voted an address, but in a one of the first principles of the condifferent temper. It was couched in stitution, and abused the confidence intemperate language, attributing all of the sovereign. They resolved also, our failures and disasters to the abu. that the sheriffs, attended by Mr Rea ses and corruptions of the state ; and membrancer, should forthwith wait upon his majesty, and deliver these liament was opened by commission resolutions into his own hand. The on January 23. The speech expresssheriffs accordingly addressed a let. ed deep regret that Austria had been ter to Mr Secretary Ryder, inform- compelled to conclude a disadvantaing him, that they should attend at geous peace.“ Although the war the next private levee to present the was undertaken," it said, “ by that resolutions, unless it should be his power without encouragement on the majesty's pleasure to receive them at part of Great Britain, every effort some other time and place for that was made for the assistance of Aus. purpose. The secretary returned for tria which his majesty deemed con. answer, that having laid their letter be-sistent with the due support of his fore the king, he had it in command allies, and with the welfare and inteto inform them, that his majesty had rest of his own dominions. An at. already signified his pleasure that all tack upon the naval armaments and addresses (excepting only those of establishments in the Scheldt, affordthe body corporate of London and ed at once the prospect of destroying the two universities) should be trans.. a growing force, which was daily bemitted to the secretary of state, to coming more formidable to the secube by him laid before the king ; his rity of the country, and of diverting majesty did not think it fit to depart the exertions of France from reine from the same conduct in respect of forcing her armies on the Danube, the resolutions of the livery. Had and controuling the spirit of resisthey been deputed from the body tance in the north of Germany, corporate, he would have received These considerations determined his them as he was in the habit of do- majesty to employ his forces in an ing, and as he had recently done; but, expedition to the Scheldt, and aldeputed as they were, he could not, though the principal ends of the ex. without admitting communications to pedition had not been attained, he be made in like manner by other confidently hoped, that advantages classes of his subjects, and thereby materially affecting the security of exposing himself to that personal in his dominions, in the further prosecu, convenience, in the present state of tion of the war, would be found to his sight, which the discontinuance result from the demolition of the of public levees was intended to pre- docks and arsenals at Flushing. Upvent. To the address of the common on this subject, such documents and council, of which the language and papers should be laid before parlia. the spirit were equally becoming, the ment, as would afford satisfactory inking replied, he regretted that a part formation. With regard to Sweden,” only of the important objects of the it was said, “his majesty had uniexpedition had been effected ; but he formly notified to that power his did not judge it necessary to direct decided wish, that in determining upany military inquiry into the conduct on the question of peace or war with of the commander: it was for parlia. France, and other continental powers, ment in their wisdom to ask for such she should be guided by considera information, and take such measures tions resulting from her own situa. upon the subject as they might deem tion and interests ; while therefore most conducive to the public good. he lamented that Sweden should have

Things were in this state when par. found it necessary to purchase peace by considerable sacrifices, he could were desirous of maintaining friendly not complain that it had been con- relations between the two countries, cluded without his participation; and and that desire would be met by a it was his earnest wish, that no event corresponding disposition on his

part. might occur to interrupt those rela- Speaking of domestic affairs, the king tions of amity, which it was his desire, expressed his hope, that parliament and the interest of both countries, to would resume the consideration of preserve." Touching the peninsula, the state of the inferior clergy, and the speech continued, “ the efforts adopt such farther measures upon of Great Britain, for the protection that interesting subject as might apof Portugal, had been powerfully pear expedient. « The accounts aided by the confidence which the which would be laid before them of prince regent had reposed in his ma- the trade and revenue of the counjesty, and by the co-operation of the try," he said, “ would be found local government, and of the people highly satisfactory, for whatever temof that country. The expulsion of porary and partial inconvenience the French from that kingdom, and might have resulted from the mea. the glorious victory of Talavera, had sures which were directed by France contributed to check the progress of against those great sources of our the enemy. The Spanish govern- prosperity and strength, those meament had now, in the name and by sures had wholly failed of producing the authority of Ferdinand VII., de any permanent or general effect. The termined to assemble the general and inveterate hostility of the enemy conextraordinary cortes of the nation. tinued to be directed against this This measure, his majesty trusted, country with unabated animosity and would give fresh animation and vi- violence; to defeat the designs which gour to the councils and the arms of were meditated against us and our Spain, and successfully direct the allies, would require the utmost ef. energies and spirit of the Spanish forts of vigilance, fortitude, and perpeople to the maintenance of the le- severance; but at every difficulty and gitimate monarchy, and to the ulti- danger, his majesty confidently trust. mate deliverance of their country. ed that he should derive the most ef. The most important considerations fectual support, under the continued of policy and of good faith required, blessing of Divine Providence, from that as long as this great cause could the wisdom of his parliament, the be maintained with a prospect of suc- valour of his forces, and the spirit and cess, it should be supported, accord- determination of his people." ing to the nature and circumstances of The address in the Upper House the contest, by the strenuous and con- was moved by the Earl of Glasgow, tinued assistance of the power and re- and seconded by Viscount Grimston. sources of Great Britain.” Concerning Earl St Vincent rose to oppose it ; America, his majesty regretted the he had, in like manner, opened the sudden and unexpected interruption of campaign at the beginning of the last the intercourse between his envoy and session, and on that occasion had tathe government of the United States; ken leave of the house, bidding their he had, however, received the strong-lordships good night. “My Lords," est assurance from the resident Ame. said he, alluding to that circumstance, rican minister, that the United States “when I addressed you last, I thought my age and infirmities would prevent send one of the ablest men who ever me from ever again presenting my- commanded an army into the centre self to your consideration ; but such of Spain, unprovided with every rehave been the untoward and calami. quisite for such a dangerous march. tous events which have since occur. If Sir John Moore had not acted acred, that I am once more induced, if cording to his own judgement in the my strength will admit, to trouble perilous situation in which he had you with a few of my sentiments on been wantonly exposed, every man of the present occasion. Indeed, we that army had been lost to the coun. have wonderful-extraordinary men in try. By his transcendent judgement, these days, who haveingenuity enough however, that army made one of the to blazon with the finest colours, to ablest retreats recorded in the page of sound with the trumpet and the drum; history; and, while he saved the remin fact, to varnish over the greatest nant of his valiant troops, his own calamities of the country, and endea- life was sacrificed in the cause of his vour to prove that our greatest mis. country. And what tribute have his fortunes ought to be considered as majesty's ministers paid to his valued our greatest blessings. They talk of memory, what reward conferred for the glorious victory of Talavera, a such eminent services ? Why, even in victory which led to no advantage, this place, insidious aspersions were and had all the consequences of de- cast upon his character: People were feat. The enemy took prisoners the employed in all parts of the town to sick and the wounded, and our own calumniate his conduct. But, in spite troops were finally obliged precipic of all the runners and dependents of tately to retreat. I do not mean to administration, the character of that condemn the conduct of the officers general will always be revered as one employed either in Spain or Walche. of the ablest men this country ever ren; I believe they did their duty. saw. After this abortive enterprize, There is no occasion to wonder at the another, equally foolish, equally unawful events which have occurred :- successful, and no less ruinous, was they are caused by the weakness, in- carried into execution ; another genefatuation, and stupidity of ministers. ral was sent with troops into the heart We owe all our disasters and disgrace of the peninsula, under similar cirto their ignorance and incapacity. cumstances; and the glorious victory But what could the nation expect alluded to was purchased with the from men who came into office under useless expenditure of our best blood the mask of vile hypocrisy, and have and treasure. But what shall I say, maintained their places by imposture my lords, when I come to mentio and delusion? The first instance of the expedition to Walcheren ! It was the pernicious influence of their prin- ill advised, ill planned; even partial ciples was their treatment of a coun- success in it was doubtful, and the try at peace with us ; in a state of ultimate object of it impracticable. profound peace they attacked her un- It is high time that parliament should prepared, and brought her into a state adopt strong measures, or else the of inveterate and open hostility. This voice of the country will resound like was a foul act ; and the day may thunder in their ears. Any body may come when repentance will be too be a minister in these days. Ministers late. Their next achievement was to may flow from any corrupted source ;,

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