Page images

disposition to conciliate Russia. Ent kommer de nike it might be to make Russia believe we did nu sespect her design upon the Porte, we sbobki boi irripiste ourselves into hostilities with Turkey, so CORDEDand 60 conducted as the war had been heyrut and coaclucted by the late ministers. When we lid intesfor", it oarkt to have been done in a manner that would not have given the Porte reason to suspect the sincerity of our views, nor to Russia a right to charge us with sot basing interfered as we ought; and she must have expectes] we should not commence an interference by an expedition for our own advantage. He had not been in the house when the right honourable gentleman began his speech, but he understood the honourable gentleman to have said, that no demand had been made by Russia for troops ; but he could assure the right honourable gentleman, that a demand had been transmitted from St. Petersburg for a considerable body of troops, so that this was not so novel a part of the question as the right honourable gentleman represented. The right honourable gentleman had commented upon a note of M. Sebastiani, and the dispatches of lord Howick. lle could not be suspected of being : partial to the productions of the enemy, but certainly no one could read lord Howick's dispatches, without perceiving that he went great lengths to direct an armed interference to defeat the ascendancy of French counsel at the Porte. Notwithstanding the declaration of the right honourable gentleman, that he would abstain from recrimination, he had done upon this, as bad been invariably done upon cvery other occasion when this matter was mentioned in that house--made it the ground of condemnation against the present government. The in- \ terference at Copenhagen was not more decisive in prin. ciple than this was. Here a force was sent to bombard the capital, not of a neutral, but of a triple ally ; to burn the capital of a power whom we had taken an oath 10 protect. If you wish for war, enter into a definitive alliance ; if you want to strip a power of part of its territories, enier into a stipulation to guarantee the integrity of its possessions. Here was Copenhagen justified ; in this had the present ministers an acquittal from all the charges that had been made upon them with respect to that expe• dition. If they could only be able to lay upon the table a copy of a treaty of defensive alliance with Denmark,

VOL. III.-1808.

the cases would be parallel, except that the Danish expe. dition was crowned with success, whilst the other was ato tended with defeat and disgrace the calculation of the proportion between the means and the end bring such as only to secure disconfiture. The right honourable secrc. tary then proceeded to quote several passages from lord Ionick’s dispaiches, to shew that the doctrines they con. tained exactly corresponded with the principles upon which the Danish expedition had been so jusily undertaken, and so successfully executed. It was impossible tbat the Turkish fleet, passing the Dardanelles and the streights of Gibraltar, should attack any of the British possessions. On the contrary, the Danish flect might, if once launched with a liostile view, be on our shores with. out a moment's notice. An intervention to procure, by pacific means, the arrangement desired by Russia, he did 11ot condemn; but to interfere first by menace, and afterwards by violence, violence inadequate and unsuccessful, was what he did comemn. It was known that the passage of the Dardanelles would be regarded as an act of hostility; at least it was quite as natural to suppose that the approach to Copenhagen, the landing of troops, and the investment of that capital, would be received without resistance, or without a feeling of hostility, as that the passage of the Dardanelles, and the appearance before Constantinople in a hostile attitude, would be viewed by the Turks with calmness and indifference. But thc estimate of the strength of the castles, and the appointment of the British force, shewed clearly that there was an ilea that the object of the expedition was likely to be regarded as bostile, and to be met with resistance. But it was' said the expedition appeared before Constantinople purely for Russian objects. The restoration of the hospodars was a Russian object; but how was it demanded by the British commander ! with the alternative of giving up the Turkish licet! If the fleet had been given up, couli the restoration of the hospodars be still insistert upon ? and if it was not insisted upon, and the British force came off with the Turkish feet in pocket, what would become of our attention to the interests of Russia ?

Thus much as to the justice of the expedition. Now as to the policy. He woului contend that the Russians onght to have been induced by all means to concentrate their wbole force against the most powerful and dangerous

[ocr errors]

enemy, Baona parte, and not to have weakened it by unprofitable schemes upon Turkey. That ought to have been our policy also. There, 'as to the force, the inadequacy of it was such, that if sir Thomas Louis had not como away as expeditiously as he had done, his passage would have been iotally cut off. The necessity of hav. ing a body of troops was also laid down by the naval commanders. It was asked, what the troops could have done. They could have taken and held Lestos casile, which was tenable and important. They might have taken the castle of Abydos, and destroyed it. These towers did great damage to the British ships in their return; and the admiral said, that if another week had been allowed to prepare the defence, the squadron could not possibly have returned. It was asked

It was asked, what could 5 or 6000 British troops have done, when Consiantinople had 200,000 men of military age among its inhabitants ? They might have destroyed the castle of Abydos by a coup de main, and they might have held the castle of Lestos, where the 200,000 inen from Constantinople could not have got at them. But the troops were sent to Alexandria to commit a double breach of alliance, and to incur a double failure. He did not think 5000 men could achieve miracles : he could hardly conceive that 5000 men could open a communication from Chili to Buenos Ayres, over the highest and most impracticable moun. tains in the world ; but he did think they might have destroyed one small castle by a coup de main, and taken and held another in which no attack could have been made on them. He again insisted on the insufficiency of the grounds of the expedition in point of justice and policy, the inadequacy of the force employed, and the madness of sending a military force to secure a retreat. The return of the troops sent to Alexandria set free a part of the force in Sicily, which was brought to Gibraliar with a view to co-operate in securing the retreat of the royal faa mily of Portugal from Lisbon, but that object was happily effected without the necessity of employing them. He defended himself and his colleagues from taking a for. ward part in this discussion. He did not see what practical benefit could result from a censure on persons who. were no longer in his majesty's councils; and he thought it would be injurious to have on the journals, a resolution reflecting on the honour of the country. "If a vote of

CORSIE vas proposed against ministers in office, supposed to have misconducted themselves, the pa:sing of the resolution may lead to the removal of those ministers. No practical object being likely to be auswered by the present motiup, and the injurious and unpleasant consequerces he had adverted to being likely to arise from the ricording of such resolutions on the journais, lie thought he should best do his duty by moving the order of the day.

Mr. IT'indhan observed, that gentlemen seemed to consider a treaty as liuding, notwithstanding any change of circumstances that might arise. Now he considered that a treaty was only binding as to what was within the purview of that treaty; a friend might, for instance, become our very worst enemy by change of circumstances. Was it to be supposcil, then, that under every circumstance, or whatever might be the conduct of the power to which we were allied, we were still to adhere to it as firmly as if it not only fulfilled the letier and the spirit of the treaty, but as if it bad gone further, as if it proceeded to the ut. most stretch of honour ? were we still to look upon them with an eye of friendship, when we were convinced not only of tirir awe of the power, but of their attachment to ihe cause, of the enemy? The letters of admiral Louis and sir Thomas Duckworth, informed the government that force was veessary, and that every thing depended upon promptitude. He would therefore leave it to any officer, whether it would have been politic to have advaneed and left the troops behind. The question was to be decided upon the principles of general policy, and not upon an argumentum ad hominem; and lie maintained, that there was nothing, cither in the principle of action, or the arrangement of the plan, which had been attempted to be controverted; it was not therefore to be judged of from what followed, instead of from what preceded, the transaction.

Colonel I'ood endeavoured most strenuously to impress the house with an idea of the impolicy of the measure.

The question was then loudly called for, but the house in courtesy gave way to the reply of Mr. William Taylor; after which the question, that the other orders be now read, was put, and carrice without a division.

The committee on the Dublin police bill was then postponed till Monday.

Mr. Ponsonby urged the consideration of the mischief which was likely to result to these countries from a suspension of the distillation from corn. He therefore suge gested the necessity of the house coming to a speedy determination on tbat subject.

In this he was supported by Admiral Harvey and Sir H. Mildmay; and with the consent of Mr. Lushington, his mction relative to the Etrusco was fixed for Tuesday.

The sugar distillation business was ordered for Monday,

The other orders were then disposed of, and the house adjourned.


SATURDAY, MAY 21. The bills on the table were forwarded in their respective stages.

The Lord Chancellor ordered counsel to attend on Mona day, to be heard in the competition of brieves, in the Roxburgh appeals. His lordship threw out certain doubts, however, as to the state in which this important cause stood. The interlocutor of the court of session was of the most undefined nature; going generally to find that the estates were held by the late duke under an entail, which contained an effectual prohibition against altering the order of succession; and that the persons called to the succession under that branch of tlre destination beginning with the eldest daughter of Harry lord Ker, are heirs of tanzie under the said cntail, reserving to the defenders all objections to the purster's title as accords. Under this interlocutor, therefore, the house was called on to decide an abstract point of law, without seeing that all the proper parties were before them. This was an order of proceeding contrary to the rules of that house, in which no question of law could originate. It might, therefore, still be necessary to send back the case to the court of session, that the respond. ents might there prove their pedigrees. This point, however, should be talked to on Monday. It is by no means improbable, however, that this cause, after having occupied the greater part of the session of parlia

« PreviousContinue »