« ForrigeFortsett »
rents of invective which would have ing, that though the house considerbeen poured upon them for giving ed with regret the lives which had up, at such a time, a conquest so been lost, it was of opinion that his dearly bought and so critically im- majesty's ministers had proceeded portant? Was it a rash supposition upon good grounds in undertaking to imagine, that hostilities would re- the expedition. 232 members voted commence? Was there nothing in the against this, and it was carried by wavering and uneasy alternations that 272. The second set of resolutions preceded the treaty of Vienna, to was then put to the vote ; and Lord countenance the belief that another Porchester's censure upon ministers battle might be fought for the liber- for detaying the evacuation, was neties of the continent? And in that gatived by 275 against 224. A councase, would not Walcheren have been, ter resolution, approving them for rein our hands, a most important means taining the island as long as they had of annoyance ? At that time, too, the done, was moved by General Crausickness was daily abating : that dis- furd, and the numbers were 255 to 232, temper uniformly abates in October, leaving ministers a majority of 23. and terminates in November. Here, This was their smallest majority; their then, the evil was momentarily de- largest was 51, which was in fact upcreasing, while the advantages rea: on the same question ; but before the sonably to be expected rose with the final division many of the ministerial crisis itself. The opponents of mi. side had left the house, conceiving the nistry would have an expedition sub- business sufficiently determined, and ject to no chances, and secure of in- worn out by the length of the determediate, as well as ultimate suc- bate, for the house did not adjourn cess, their theory was more perfect till half past seven in the morning. than their practice. I will detain the The reasons which the ministry ashouse," said Mr Perceval, “no longer, signed for not having evacuated Walweary as their attention is, and ex- cheren sooner, were completely satis. hausted as is the subject. I have reluc- factory. Upon the policy of undertantly endeavoured to drag them along taking the expedition, more was said with me through a length of detail than their opponents had anticipated; which lent me no aid, and to which the importance of the naval station my humble efforts could impart no
which had been attacked was made interest. It remains only to state, apparent; it was shewn that three that it was my anxious wish, as well successive administrations had each as that of my colleagues, to retain meditated an attempt upon
that staWalcheren, if that intention had been tion, and that such an attempt had practicable, and that our greatest re. also been contemplated by Nelson. The gret is, that it was not possible to effect which the discussion produced retain a conquest which, if retained, upon great part of the country was would have proved invaluable." expressed by Mr Wilberforce, when
The question now, after four nights he said, that a great deal debate, was put to the vote. 227 mem- of strong and just reason- May 9. bers voted for Lord Porchester's re- ing had been adduced on solutions, 275 against them. The both sides, and that on the whole it house then divided upon an amend- was a question with regard to which ment of General Craufurd's, purport, impartial men might differ.
The opinion of Nelson upon such chosen, and the choice of the coma subject was deservedly considered mander was, if possible, stiH more in. as of the greatest weight; but what defensible, from his vice of notorious was it in reality that Nelson had pro- and incorrigible sloth. Under a man jected ?-an attack upon Flushing, of soldier-like habits and activity, the which he said, would be a * week's expedition might easily have succeedexpedition for 4 or 5000 troops. The ed, and in fact could hardly have possession of Flushing would have failed of success, had the first operaeffected all that was desirable ; that tion been effected that of landing station in our power, it would have upon Cadsand ; the failure there drew mattered not what might have been after it all the other evils. But had the number of ships which would then the expedition succeeded in all its have lain rotting in the Scheldt. And parts, still it would, at such a time, if the conquest had been made at a have been a miserable misdirection of fit season, we should have been left such an armament. It was affirmed, with unexhausted forces to maintain that we could not have supported an it ; for to take and to hold is the army farther from our own shores, beonly principle upon which any state cause foreign coin could not at that should ever attempt conquest. The time be procured ;-a strange arguill effects of the climate, had they ment, which the opposition seem to been duly foreseen, might have been have considered as valid, for they made counteracted by proper precautions, no reply to it. But, without referand perhaps even the causes of the ring to the manner in which the evil materially diminished by cover. French make war, what is to prevent ing as many of the drains as possible, us from giving our own money curand keeping those clean which were rency wherever our armies go, by
The greater part of the martial law, if foreign coin is not to troops would have been effectually be procured, or only at a loss ? — The secured by being hutted on the sand paramount object at that time should hills and kept in floating barracks, have been Spain. It is true, that a and means might have been devised larger army could not have been em. for lessening the danger to those whom ployed under Sir A. Wellesley, be. it would have been necessary to keep cause that which he had was not supin the tową. Generous diet, with the plied ; but there was another and even free use of tobacco and of spices, would a more important scene of operations have served as antidotes to the cli- in Catalonia. Barcelona might have mate; the risk would have been greatly fallen, Gerona have been saved, and alleviated by quartering them in the Zaragoza recovered forthe Spaniards. upper stories; and if men for the ser. If, however, it had been thought vice had been selected, who were na- better to turn our views to the north, tives of the fen countries, they would and the circumstances of Prussia, as have found themselves in an atmos- Mr Canning so ably argued, renderphere not very different from their ed it unfit to land in Germany, one
object, and only one, offered itself, These things had manifestly never
which would have been commensubeen considered; the season was ill rate to the meansemployed. Weshould
Clarke and M'Arthur's Life of Nelson, vol. ii. p. 229.
have once more, and now with a jus- ministry ought to be displaced, and tice which could never be disputed, they themselves be appointed to suc. have attacked the Danish capital, ceed them; and they who agreed with plasted the English flag at Copenha- them most entirely in the first part of ges, established a viceroy there, in- their proposition, would have regardcorporated Zealand with the British ed the second as a worse evil than the empire, and admitted the inhabitants expedition itself. The temper and to a full participation of all the rights the views with which this party call. and privileges of British subjects. ed for a vote of censure, were expo
"If we pay a proper regard to sed by Mr Stephen in a singularly fe. truth," says Polybius, “ we shall find licitous allusion. “The public," he it necessary, not only to condemn our said, “ were led to expect a redress friends on some occasions and com- of grievances, and punishment of demend our enemies, but also to com- linquents; but the gentlemenonthe opmend and condemn the same persons, position bench had the more substanas different circumstances may re- tial game in view of obtaining posquire ; for, as it is not to be imagined session of the government; and this that those who are engaged in great was the true cause of theirimpatience. affairs should always be pursuing false They reminded him of the squire of or mistaken measures, so neither is it the valourous knight of La Mancha. probable that their conduct can at all The knight, like the people of Eng. times beexempt from error.” Themo- land in this case, was intent on genedern spirit of party, not having that rous purposes, though with mistaken regard to truth of which the historian views ; but Sancho had always his speaks, either sees things falsely, or, if eye to the main chance ; and as soon it sees them aright, wrests the conse- as an adventure was atchieved by his quences to its own perverse purposes. master, he conceived, like these right The opposition argued truly, when honourable gentlemen, that his own they maintained that the expedition to end was attained ; and said, 'I do bethe Scheldt was impolitic and disgrace- seech you, sir, give me immediately ful ; but the conclusion upon which that same government.” they insisted was, that therefore the
Sir Francis Burdett's Motion for releasing John Gale Jones. His Letter
to his Constituents, Committal to the Tower, and consequent Proceedings.
The decision of the house upon the the House of Commons had a right
could suppose that any twelve lawful vilege. The privilege talked of re. men in England could find a verdict sembled the bye laws of a corporaof guilty, then would he be punished tion, sufficient to bind themselves, twice for the same offence. If, on but which could not overturn the the other hand, a verdict of acquittal law of the land. This was to shew were returned, then would he have the house to be as great as kings, been sentenced to undergo the most lords, and commons. It was, besides, severe punishment short of death, that an encroachment on the prerogative of indefinite imprisonment, by an or- of the crown, whose privilege it was der of the House of Commons, for to see that no unlawful restraint was having done an act not proved to be laid on the liberty of the subject." a crime. It was a doctrine clearly Sir Francis concluded in these words : laid down by Lord Coke, that no “ Sir Fletcher Norton has said, that man could be fined, or confined, but he would pay no more attention to a by a Court of Record; no court but resolution of the House of Commons that in which forty shillings damages than to that of a set of drunken pora might be given could be a Court of ters in an alehouse. The observa. Record ;—the necessary conclusion tion was coarse, but it was just. If was, that the power of fine and im. gentlemen, therefore, are of opinion prisonment was not in that "house. that a resolution of this house is equal No right to fine was assumed. Why to that of all the branches of the con. then was the greater power retained, stitution, they will then reject my when the smaller one was admitted proposition ; but if, with me, they to be illegal? The warrant of com. think that they cannot overturn the mittal, too, he contended, was ille- law of the land, and the acts of pargal in all its parts, but eminently liament solemnly passed, by any asso in its conclusion. A legal war- sumed power exercised by that house rant must conclude with the words, alone, they will agree with me that 'till the party be delivered by due John Gale Jones must be discharged.” course of law;' this warrant ended Upon this Mr Williams Wynn said, with the words, during the pleasure that if a motion had been brought of the house.' The house, by such forward for the liberation of John a proceeding as it had resorted to, Gale Jones, upon the ground of his involved the assumption of the judi- contrition for the offence which he cial, executive, and legislative powers, had confessed at the bar, he should which was in the very teeth of the not have objected to it; but the prolaw. In the due administration of the posal of that liberation had been so law it was wisely provided, that the interwoven with other topics, that he same men shall not take two steps really knew not how to proceed." together ; one set find the bill, an- Then taking up the historical arguother decide on the fact, another the ment which Sir Francis had produlaw; but that house, which admini- ced, he shewed him that there were sters no oath, which squares itself by cases on record of the assertion of this no form, which makes no previous right as early as the reign of Henry examination of the fact, jumps at once VÍIÍ. “ It was indeed true, that no upon its dangerous and most alarm- instance of committal for a libel was ing conclusion, and finds the accused to be met with prior to the reign of guilty. And for what? for their pri. Elizabeth ; but the fact was, that in