HC Deb 15 April 1806 vol 6 cc753-4
Lord Garlies

said, that previous to the holidays he had asked his majesty's ministers whether they intended to move for a Vote of Thanks to be conferred on the military and naval commanders, to whose meritorious services the country was indebted for the possession of the Cape of Good Hope. He was then given to understand, that it was thought proper to wait for further dispatches that might communicate the account of the complete conquest of the Settlement. These dispatches had now arrived, and seeing his majesty's ministers in their places, he took the present opportunity of enquiring whether they meant to confer any mark of public approbation on those who had achieved that important conquest. A noble lord (Howick) had come down to the house with great alacrity in the case of sir John Duckworth, and he believed that had it been his parti- cular province, he would have been equally forward on the present occasion.

Mr. Windham

begged to state most distinctly to the house, in answer to the question of the noble lord, that his majesty's ministers had not abstained from proposin a Vote of Thanks on this occasion, from any want of approbation of the conduct of the officers and men who had been engaged in the expedition. They had done all that was wished to be done, and they had done it well; but it did not appear that the capture of the Cape was a military exploit of that splendid nature that called for such a distinguished mark of approbation as the Thanks of the House, which should not be made cheap by being too frequently conferred. A certain degree of discretionary judgment with regard to the more and the less, must be left with ministers; and on the best judgment that they were able to form, the achievement alluded to was not one of those which called for the solemn Thanks of Parliament.

Lord Garlies

did not wish to enter into the merits of the conquest. The acquisition of the Colony—(Here the noble lord was interrupted by the Speaker, who observed that there was no question before the house.)