Mr. Ponsonby rose to make the motion of 253 which he had given notice to the house. The object he had in view was, principally, to ascertain how fir his majesty's ministers had been justified in advising his majesty to employ his naval and military forces in the Expedition against Copenhagen. That this was a subject which peculiarly demanded the enquiry of the house, he was fully authorized to state on the Declaration issued by his majesty himself, in the first clause of which, his majesty declares that he owes to himself and to Europe a frank exposition of the motives which hart dictated his conduct with regard to Denmark. It was scarcely necessary for him to say, that in speaking of the. Declaration by his majesty and of the speech from the prone, he meant to direct his observations solely against his majesty's ministers; and he must also be understood in speaking of the 'subject to which he was about to call the attention of the house, to refer to his majesty's ministers, and not to his majesty himself, to whose native rectitude and honour, he was convinced that the transaction was as opposite, as it had been disgraceful to the projectors of it, and disadvantageous to the country. In order to consider the subject maturely, it would be necessary to enquire; first, what the disposition of Denmark had been; next, what the conduct of Russia had been; and, lastly, what means France possessed of executing any project hostile to this country in the Baltic. It would be idle to enquire into the disposition of France, with respect to this country, for it was well known that the ruler of that nation was Well disposed to unite all the force that he could against. Great Britain. But, to justify his majesty's ministers for the steps that they had taken, it was necessary to ascertain, not the disposition of France, but the means which France possessed, of manifesting that disposition in a manner dangerous to this country. In drawing up the Resolutions on which be should found his motion for an Address to his majesty, requesting the communication of such papers, as, in his opinion, would elucidate die, subject, he had gone pretty far back. In his majesty's Declaration of the 25th of Sept. 1807 (p. 115), an allusion was made to an apology stated to have been received from Denmark at the close of a former war, for having entered into a ho stile confederacy against Great Britain; which apology "was founded on the avowed inability of Denmark to resist the operation of external influ- 254 ence, and the threats of a formidable neighbouring power." He had therefore framed a Resolution for the purpose of procuring the substance or copies of any communication received from the court of Denmark towards the close of the last war, containing the apology above alluded to. He was desirous to propose this Resolution, because his majesty's Declaration charged Denmark with having entered into an hotile confederacy against this country, and with having defended that hostility by declaring that she was compelled to do so by the threats of a great neighbouring power. He had inquired into this subject, and lie had been told,. perhaps erroneously, that the court of Denmark never did send such apology for the abandonment of its neutrality. He was desirous to know the truth of the fact, and lie could not conceive what objection could be made to the production of these papers, if they actually existed. The transaction had taken place about six or 7 years ago; there could be no apprehension of disclosing any source of secret intelligence; nor any thing could be discovered which the Declaration had not asserted—that assertion he did not believe to be founded on fact. He had shaped another Resolution, for the purpose of ascertaining what information had been received by his majesty's ministers respecting the conduct of Denmark, with respect' to its naval force. He was desirous, that all the reports made during the last year by the king's resident at Copenhagen, as to the steps taken by the Danes for augmenting, their marine, manning their fleet, &c. should be laid before the house; because, if Denmark were really hostile to this country, and were disposed to unite with France and Russia against us, she would unquestionably have exerted herself to put her naval force in a state of respectability. The practice in Denmark with regard to their marine, lie understood to be this: the Danish sailors were. obliged to inscribe their names in certain offices, so that the Danish government knew at all times, pretty nearly, the amount of sailors in their dominions, as, if the sailors -quitted Denmark, they were obliged to state in what ship they went, anti by these means, the government knew the number of their sailors and their distribution in the different parts of the world, to which they were carried by the mercantile marine of Denmark. The extent of Danish commerce, and the distant voyages un- 255 dertaken by the Danish sailors, rendered it impossible for the Danish government to man a considerable fleet at a short notice. it was not as in England, where, owing to the immense number of our sailors, and the extent of our commerce, we were enabled by impressment and other means, to fit out and man a powerful fleet in a few weeks. Denmark to do this must await the arival of her merchant fleets. If, therefore, Denmark had actually meditated hostility against Great Britain, it was impossible to conceive that she would not have demonstrated that lurking intention before the period of lord Gambier's arrival in the Sound. He asked therefore, if his majesty's resident at Copenhagen had sent any advices to this effect? His majesty's ministers had told him, that they meant to refuse an answer; he hoped. the house would not agree with them. He also wished to know, if reports had been received by his majesty's ministers from any naval officer employed in the Baltic during the last year, relative to an augmentation of the naval force of Denmark. It was matter of public notoriety, that during the last year scarcely a week elapsed in which some naval officer of skill and reputation had not passed the Sound, in consequence of our intercourse with Sweden, with Russia, and even with Prussia, until the power of that country had been demolished, It was hardly possible that any extraordinary naval preparations could have been made at Copenhagen, without their having been noticed by the expert and experienced officers to Whom I he alluded. If this information were denied, why wag it denied? because it did not exist; because his majesty's minister at Copenhagen did not send home any information of a preparation for hostility in Denmark, for he could not have done so with.truth; because his Majesty's naval officers had not noticed any naval exertions in the ports of Denmark, for no such exertions had been manifested. The house would therefore be justified in concluding that no steps had been taken by Denmark, which had awakened jealousy or roused suspicion. He had made it his business to enquire what had been the conduct of Denmark with regard to their own ships, and their valuable cargoes, which were in the ports of Great Britain, at the very time that the Expedition against Copenhagen was fitting out. When admiral Gambier was preparing to sail, many of the:Danish captains hearing, 256 amongst-other rumours, that it was as likely that the British force was destined against Denmark as against any other place, consulted the Danish consul on the subject. The consul applied to the Chamber of Commerce in Copenhagen, a branch of the public administration of government. He received for answer, that there was not the smallest ground for anxiety or alarm on the part of the Danish mercantile interest, for that no such circumstances existed, which tended to disturb the neutrality of Denmark, or to place her in a state of hostility with Great Britain. At the time that this answer was received, there were 350 Danish ships in British ports, with ear goes amounting to two millions sterling. Was it possible to suppose, that under these circumstances, When the Danish government declared to her commercial interest that they need not hurry themselves—that there was no fear of an interruption of the good understanding with Great Britain;—was it possible to suppose, that when a third of the commercial property of Denmark was in our hands, the Danish government meditated hostility against us? Such a thing was incredible. But it was said, that though Denmark herself might entertain no hostile disposition against Great Britain, she was likely soon to be forced into a state of hostility, and that, therefore, we were justified in seizing her marine, without any previous notice to Denmark and without any previous behaviour on her part to provoke us to that seizure. If our conduct could he at all justified on this ground, it must be on the necessity of anticipating the views of the enemy with regard to the Danish float. No writer on the law of nations, or on any other law, or on common justice, had ever maintained that one power could-be justified in taking from another power what belonged to it, unless a third power meant, and was able, to take the same thing. The justification of this step, therefore, must rest on the necessity of it, which would depend on these Circumstances: the weakness of Denmark, or her indisposition to resist compulsion; the strength of her enemy, and the certainty that she must yield to its force. Every shadow of proof that Denmark must have yielded to a hostile confederacy was out of the case. It was necessary to enquire What were the means which France possessed of accomplishing her object. One of his Resolution went to ascertain what information his majesty's 257 ministers had received respecting the power that France possessed of seizing the Danish navy If his majesty's ministers knew the intentions of France on this subject, surely they were not so negligent as to omit informing themselves of her power to carry those intentions into execution. What was the relative situation of the two countries? At the time that admiral Gambier sailed, a great part of the Danish army was encamped in Holstein; a considerable French force was also in the same place. This disposition of the two armies chewed no intention in Denmark to yield to France. Had she entertained such an intention she would not advance a force against a French force. The question then came to be, Was the French force sufficient "to induce or compel" (such were the terms of his majesty's Declaration) Denmark to yield to the views of France? In his opinion it was utterly insufficient. Let the house consider the situation of Denmark. She possessed considerable countries on the main continent of Europe: but she had still more valuable possessions in Norway, the Danish islands, (on one of which her capital was situated), and considerable foreign colonies. Had France, therefore, required Denmark to give up her fleet that it might be employed against Great Britain, what would Denmark have answered? "No, you have no right to make such a demand; it is a manifest usurpation on your part; if you make me choose between hostility with England and hostility with France, I prefer the latter; for, if I quarrel with England, England can take from me all my foreign possessions; she can injure my marine, and employ Sweden to attack me in Norway. It is, therefore, better for me to keep that which you cannot take from me, than to sacrifice it by a war with England." This would have been the conduct of Denmark, if the rashness and precipitation of his majesty's ministers had not forced her into hostility against Great Britain. Were it asked, when we proposed to her to surrender her fleet to us and to maintain her alliance with us, why she did not accede to that proposal, he would answer, that we had never made any proposal to Denmark. which it was possible for an independent state to accept. If, in private life, a similar proposal had been made to any gentleman of that house would it not have been considered an insult? What did we say to 258 the Danes? "Enter into an alliance with us, declare yourselves against France, and remain united to England; but first we must deprive you of your power; for we have so little confidence in your good faith, that we will conclude no treaty with you until you are dispossessed of the means of infringing it. Say you are not worthy of credence; ratify your own reproach, and we will allow you to be our friends." To such a proposition, nothing but absolute conquest could ever make a nation submit. But what means did France possess of compelling Denmark to join the hostile confederacy against England, if she were not inclined to do so? It had been said, that France, having taken Jutland and Holstein, might have marched an army across the Great Belt, when frozen, and have seized the Danish fleet. He had consulted books, and other authentic sources of information on the subject, and he did not find that any considerable force had passed the Great Belt on the ice. for above 150 years. It had rarely happened that even individuals had been enabled to cross in that manner. It was well known that the cold in most of the European states was, not now what it had been. The draining of morasses, the cutting of forests, and the general cultivation and improvement of countries, had made great alterations in their climates; so that not only had no troops passed the Great Belt on the ice during the last 150 years, but during the last 60 years no instance had occurred in which that arm of the sea had been so bound up by frost, that a general would have ventured to march an army across it. But even-had it so chanced that a very hard frost should have suggested to the French, the idea of marching across the Belt, what would have been the consequence? A noble lord had stated the other evening that there were 35,000 troops in Zealand, certainly there were 30,000 in Holstein: this amounted to 65,000 Danes. The Swedes were their allies, and so were we; and was it possible, that France could have got a force over the Great Belt, in spite of the Danish three, and the Swedish force, and the British force united? Had the Belt not been frozen over, the French would have no. chance whatever of getting into Zealand. The Danes themselves could have kept them out; and therefore to imagine that the conjunct Danish, Swedish, and British marine could riot have prevented 259 them, would have been most childishly absurd. As it was material to know what were the means which France possessed of carrying her plans into effect, he had framed a Resolution for that purpose, although he was convinced she possessed no such means.—The next consideration was, how far France was to receive assistance in the execution of her projects from Russia? Immediately after the conclusion of peace at Tilsit, it had been argued by many, that Russia had thrown herself into the arms of France, and thereby had given preponderance to that power in the North of Europe. To those who believed this it must have been strange to see the Danish marine taken possession of by this country, and the Russian marine permitted to rove about at pleasure. In one of lord Leveson Gower's dispatches, dated the 2d of Sept. (p. 191.) his lordship stated that in a conference with general Budberg, the general allowed the existence of secret articles in the Treaty of Tilsit, but declared that those articles had no reference to England. Now, it had been insisted in his majesty's Declaration relative to Russia and Denmark, that it was a knowledge of those secret articles that had induced his majesty to take the steps that he had done for the purpose of securing the Danish fleet. It therefore became material to know when his majesty's ministers became acquainted with those secret articles; how far they related to Denmark; and how far by those articles France approached her purpose, with regard to the marine of that country. In another dispatch lord Gower said, that in a conversation with the Russian minister, the latter had not alluded to the transaction at Copenhagen, and added, that he was surprised next morning to receive a Note (p. 194) in which it was stated, that the emperor experienced great pain and anxiety in consequence of an intimation of this transaction, which he had received from his own minister, and from the court of Denmark. The English ambassador was instructed to give an account to the court of St. Petersburgh of the motives by which the British ministry had been actuated. He was instructed to declare, that they had been long in possession of data, winch left no doubt of the intention of the French government relative to the marine of Denmark. Why this they might have known ever since the war broke out! He was still further inst meted to say, that the Danish fleet had been intended to aid a descent on the coast of 260 the British empire, and, therefore, that the security of his dominons had obliged his majesty to deprive France of so powerful an assistance (p. 205.) This was the explanation given by his majesty's ministers to the emperor of Russia—to that very emperor of Russia, who was now represented by them as the chief instigator to the hostile confederacy against us! Was it possible that any person representing his majesty, and satisfied that Russia was what she was now described to be, when he was asked by the court of St. Petersburgh what was the cause of our conduct at Copenhagen, could have replied, that his majesty's ministers possessed data which left no doubt of the intentions of the French government relative to the marine of Denmark? Would he have duly maintained the honour of the crown, and the dignity and interests of Britain, if he had tamely said that we had such data? He was convinced that our government had at that time no settled belief; that Russia was engaged, or disposed to engage, to act with hostility against us. The British ambassador at the court of St. Petersburg, of whose honour and ingenuousness there could be but one opinion, would otherwise have answered to the demand of Russia, "Why do you ask, we this question, when you yourselves have created the necessity; when you yourselves have been the chief instigators and promoters of the project, which my government have taken these steps for the purpose of defeating?"—In another dispatch from this country to lord Cower, dated the 27th of September 1807, when Russia had offered to mediate between Great Britain and France, the right hon. secretary (Mr. Canning) writes, that the terms on which that mediation could be accepted, were 1st, the frank communication of the articles of the Treaty of Tilsit, secret as well as avowed. Now, he thought that at that time the right hon. secretary knew them, and yet a knowledge of them from Russia was insisted upon as the sine qua non of an acceptance of her offer of mediation. Instead of grounding the objections of our government to accept the mediation of Russia, on Ale conduct of that power with regard to Denmark, the dispatch proceeds to state the anxiety of his majesty on a variety of other topics—on the movements in the mediterranean—on the surrender of Corfu—on the intentions of Russia with respect to Turkey—on the public articles of the Treaty of Tilsit, 261 which recognized the French king of Naples only as king of Naples, although that article might in effect be contradicted by a secret article, adding to that title that of the Two Sicilies. These were the considerations which the right hon. secretary urged the British minister to press, as reasons for desiring the disclosure of the Secret Articles of the Treaty of Tilsit; but on any confederacy existing between Russia and France to force the Danes to join against Great. Britain, the dispatch was perfectly silent. How was it possible then, that the right hon. secretary, or the British ambassador, could at that time really believe that Russia was the chief instigator of the project by which France was to have been put in possession of the Danish. marine? In another dispatch from the right hon. secretary, of the 28th Sept. (p. 204) he signifies to lord Leveson Gower his majesty's entire approbation of the answer returned by his excellency to gen. Budberg's Note an the subject of the operations at Copenhagen; which answer contained not the must distant allusion to Russian interference, as being a motive to those operations. The dispatch then goes on, and for the first time, Russia is mentioned by the right hon. secretary, as constituting a great part of our danger. He says, that certain enumerated circumstances "formed such a body of evidence, not only of the designs of Bonaparte, but of the connivance, if not of the participation, of Russia, that his majesty would have been wanting alike in what he owed to his. own dignity and to the security of his dominions, if he had not taken the most effectual steps fur breaking through the combination that was collecting round him; and it would have been idle, under such circumstances, to have waited the consent of Russia to measures calculated to repel a danger of which Russia herself formed so large a part." But there were no instructions to our ambassador to represent to Russia herself the consequences of her own conduct, or the mischief which his majesty apprehended to his own dominions, from her submitting to the guidance of France. The dispatch proceeded to state, "that his majesty is perfectly willing that the pacification with the court of Denmark, should be wholly the work of the emperor of Russia." The emperor of Russia, who, but two or three paragraphs before had been described as the chief instigator of the designs against Great Britain, and the 262 great troubler of the repose of the North of Europe! At this time a change took place in the Russian administration. Gen. Budberg gave up the portfeuille of the Foreign Affairs to count Soltykoffe. In the first interview that our ambassador had with count Soltykoff, he complained to him of not having received any communication of the secret articles of the Treaty of Tilsit. Then in a dispatch, dated St. Petersburg, Oct. 7 (p. 207.) lord Leveson Gower states, that he had communicated to count Romanzow a copy of the Capitulation of Copenhagen, accompanied by a short note (which note had not been laid on the table of the house.) In this dispatch the noble lord says, that "he thought it necessary to let the Russian ministry clearly understand that his majesty was not to be frightened out of the pursuit of such measures as he might judge expedient for the security of his empire, by any indirect menace or intimation of the displeasure of the emperor of Russia." (All this while not one word is said of the conduct of Russia, with respect to Denmark). In reply, count Romanzow observed, "That neither he nor the Danish minister had received any accounts from Kiel since the capture of Copenhagen; that the emperor, therefore, being as yet, unacquainted with the sentiments or views of the Prince Royal of Denmark since that event, naturally waited for the communication of them, before his Imperial majesty could make up his own opinion upon the question." Count Romanzow then asked his Lordship, "Whether it was the intention of his majesty's government to restore the ships to the king of Denmark, in the case of peace being concluded with France?" To which lord Leveson Gower answered, that, "the possession of the Danish fleet had been obtained by force, and not by negociation." In one of the dispatches from lord Leveson Gower, dated 2nd of Sept. our minister expresses satisfaction in finding that "a considerable change had taken place in the tone and temper of general Budberg's conversation." He had become "mild and conciliating," he lead expressed "great anxiety to remove every difficulty in the way of a perfectly good understanding between the two countries;" and in a subsequent dispatch lord Leveson Gower declares his surprise to have received on the following morning a Note from general Budberg expressive of the emperor's astonishment at the information he had 263 received from his minister at Copenhagen, of the propositions made by Mr. Jackson to that court;—propositions which he terms "as derogatory to, as incompatible with, the dignity of every independent power." The fact was, that when lord Leveson Gower had an interview with general Budberg, the emperor was at Gatschina, where he had been for several days. On his return, the Russian minister did certainly communicate to our ambassador a note not of.a very friendly tenor. There were two or three other most material paragraphs in these dispatches, which he should notice. The case which his majesty's ministers wished to make out was, that Russia had been all this while secretly instigating Denmark to join the confederacy against us; and yet on the 4th of Nov. his majesty's minister at St. Petersburgh, alter detailing the difficulties which he had experienced in obtaining an interview with count Romanzow, says that "he had been informed that some members of the council, who had been consulted in the present very critical state of affairs, had advised the emperor not to reject the present opportunity of re-establishing the tranquillity of the North of Europe, and that their opinion had been adopted." So then, down to the 4th of Nov. the emperor of Russia entertained this favourable disposition towards England! In the next dispatch, in-closing the Russian Declaration, lord Gower observes, that general Savary and the other members of the French mission, "boasted, that they had gained a complete triumph, and had carried not only this act of hostility against England, but also every other point essential to the success of Bonaparte's views." What! had they been labouring from the conclusion of the Treaty of Tilsit down to the beginning of Nov. before they could succeed in carrying these "points so essential to the success of Bonaparte's views," and was that conduct of Russia to be assigned as a reason for our breaking in upon a neutral nation and robbing her of her fleet? In no period of the history of any country could a similar transaction he found. But, suppose he were to concede in argument that which was completely contradicted by the dispatches on the table, that Russia had been active in forming a confederacy against G. Britain, was there the smallest proof that Denmark would have been disposed to join it? And. what means had Russia to compel her? She could not 264 march an army down the Baltic, and what fleet had she to oppose against the united fleets of England, Denmark and Sweden? The power of protecting the neutrality of Denmark was all on the side of England, not on France. Was it probable that Denmark would lave sacrificed her East and West possessions, her own Islands, and Norway, because France might have threatened her with the loss of Jutland and Holstein? He defied the right hon. secretary to shew on the table one syllable of evidence, that Denmark entertained such an intention. He had shaped other Resolutions for the purpose of enquiring what hod been the conduct of his majesty's ministers with respect to Denmark herself; and whether, having determined to pursue a course hostile to her interests, they had pursued a course advantageous to ours. He had asked. for the Instructions to Mr. Jackson on this subject, which were not refused; but he had also asked for the correspondence between Mr. Jackson and the government of Denmark, which was denied him. He had asked for these communications, because he wished to know whether they had been of a nature calculated to prevent a continuance of hostility, or to procure a restoration of peace. He had been informed, that instead of making any proposal consistent with the honour and dignity of the Danish crown, no proposal had been made by the British government, in which the continued possession of the Danish fleet did not form apart. Why be at the expence of sending special missions to Copenhagen, when it was determined to adhere to terms so odious and so inadmissible on the part of Denmark? He had been told that it was proposed to Denmark, that her fleet in whatsoever condition it might be at the time, should be restored to her; not on the conclusion of a Definitive Treaty of peace with France, but 3 years after the conclusion of such a treaty! A proposal that could have been made only for the purpose of insulting the Danish court. How had his majesty's ministers acted with regard to Zealand? They stated the necessity of anticipating the views of France as the justification of their conduct. They had attacked Denmark because France entertained three projects: the 1st of shutting the Sound against Great Britain; the second of excluding her manufactures from the Continent; and the 3rd, of taking possession of the Danish 265 fleet. Now, unless,his majesty's ministers had. reduced the power of Denmark so low, that she was not able to assist France; they had secured to France the attainment of two of her objects; for certainly after our entering Zealand, Denmark would shut the Sound, and exclude our manufacture; from that part of the continent. By what ministers had done, they had provoked hostility without depriving of the power of revenge. If our army had been able to beat the Danes, as asserted the other evening by a noble lord, might we not have kept Zealand? With the assistance of Sweden and of our own reinforcements, what chance would France and, Denmark, united, have had, to get back this important possession? To abandon it was the height of weakness. But even if we had not kept Zealand, could we not have dismantled the arsenal and destroyed the docks? could we not have blown up the Crown Batteries and Cronenberg Castle, and secure to ourselves the quiet passage of the Sound? Why so shabby in our iniquities? When we imitated the atrocities of the ruler of France, why not imitate the grandeur and magnitude of his designs? Would Bonaparte, under similar circumstances, have given up Zealand? The conduct of ministers showed how weak it was to do ill by halves. If it was necessary to attack Denmark at all, then it was their duty to render her as inefficient as possible. The same motives that justified the one would justify the other. He presumed it was not want of will in the right hon. gentlemen opposite, but want of knowledge. He trusted at least that they would not talk of scruples, or morality, or law; these according to the modern tenets, were considerations fit only for fools and philosophers, not for statesmen. Would they venture to contend, that it was no disadvantage to G. Britain to have the Sound shot against her commerce, to have Zealand created, what it certainly would be, a strong depository of force against her arms? Having begun the work of destruction, they neglected their duty by not completing it. Let them not say that he gave counsel so atrocious, so monstrous, that their delicacy and sensibility would not allow them to accept it. They had affected to look with great anxiety to the next spring, and had congratulated themselves that by the seizure of the Danish fleet, that anxiety was relieved. But what would they do in. all succeeding springs? 266 Were they disposed to put Ireland in a state of greater contentment than that in which she was at present? If not, why leave Denmark so much power? Haying alienated Denmark from England, France would construct in Copenhagen fleets much faster, better and cheaper, than in any other port of Europe. His majesty's ministers had expressed great solicitude for Sweden. A subsidiary treaty with Sweden was soon to be laid on the table of the house. France had long been the enemy of Sweden; Russia probably had become so. Denmark was rendered the ally of France, and thus by refraining from dismantling Zealand, Sweden was. exposed to the greatest danger. All these considerations pressed with the greatest urgency for the fullest information on the subject. There did not appear to him the slightest justification of the 'conduct of ministers with regard to Denmark. If they could justify themselves for the acts that they had committed, then they could not justify themselves for the acts that they had not committed. In commencing the war, in carrying on the war, in the mode of seeking for peace, in all, he thought them completely wrong, and on all, he demanded the fullest information. Above all, he trusted that he should never hear such transactions as the Expedition to Copenhagen justified, on the ground that statesmen and nations were absolved from an observance of the laws of morality. On, what principle were they so absolved? Did not the same Divine Providence which watched the conduct of individuals, watch also that of States? Look," said the right hon. gent, "at your conduct with respect to America. When you departed from the rules of justice and morality, you lost America. France interfered, and she had no right to interfere. She interfered not for the purpose of emancipating America, but of weakening England, and thereby strengthening and aggrandizing herself. But the government which thus interfered, has been punished for it. The principles which the French armies learnt in that country, became the seeds of that Revolution which overwhelmed the government, scattered the royal family which sent them across the Atlantic, and compelled them to seek an asylum in this country. Were there no other instances? He would beg these philosophers of the modern school to study in the book he should, open to them. Let them look at the partition of 267 Poland: there they would read that Prussia, the prime agent in that detestable confederacy to destroy not only the power, but the very name of an independent state, had been deprived of her share of the robbery, and reduced to the most abject and deplorable state. There they would see Austria and Russia scrambling for their part of the spoil, and crouching at the feet of Buonaparte. Who could say, that the justice of Providence was not evident in all this? The chief object of the Resolusions he had to propose was, if possible, to obtain such information as must satisfy him that ministers were justifiable in what they had done. He was anxious the character of the country should stand as fair as it always had done, and that it should not be made a reproach to us, that at the very time we were most vehement in condemning the atrocity of France, we went far beyond it. The right hon. gent. concluded with moving his first Resolution: viz. "That an humble address be presented to his majesty, praying that he would be graciously pleased to give directions that there be laid before the house, the substance and dates of all information transmitted by his majesty's minister at the court of Copenhagen, during the last year, respecting the Naval Force of Denmark; and particularly respecting any measures taken for augmenting the same, or putting it in a state of better preparation, or for collecting seamen for the purpose of manning the same, or any part thereof."
Mr. Secretary Canning
then rose. He commenced his reply by observing, that the moment was at length arrived, when the gentlemen opposite, so peculiarly qualified by their own splendid achievements, to enquire into the conduct of their successors, had, by a worthy selection of the right hen. gent. who had just sat down, put his majesty's ministers on their trial for that, which, until questioned by them, had been considered as the salvation of the country. In the greatness of his apprehension, lest all moral impressions should be effaced from the minds of the house, the right hon. gent. had taken a course which afforded a brilliant example of a morality, not only out of the ordinary track, but more severe even than that Roman morality, which he knew had its admirers on the opposite bench. his majesty's ministers were called to account—not for disaster and disgrace. They had been called to answer on an accusation of success, to explain the elements, and justify the motives 268 of an eminent service successfully performed. Whatever might be the decision of the house, he, for one, should always feel the highest satisfaction in having been so accused. It was also source of peculiar gratification, that no imputation could rest on those gentlemen by whom this motion was brought forward, of being actuated by party feelings, as had sometimes happened, when the successors of an administration had been left in possession of a glory, which they had dilapidated. He was not aware that any,envious feelings of comparison could have instigated the present motion; when nothing had been done by one set of men, it was impossible to compare their actions with what had been done by another. There was another feature in this transaction honourable to the character of the house; they were not then debating how to ward off impending danger, but, in comparative security, were discussing by what mode that security could be continued. According to the sentiments of the gentlemen opposite, the restoration of the Danish fleet would be the best mode of continuing, that security; for, certainly, if it were decided, that the taking of them was unjust, the justice of retaining them could not possibly be asserted. The house would riot blame the spoilers and yet keep the spoil. Though he could not agree with the right hon. gent. in his conclusion, he agreed with, him in his premises, that if injustice had been done, it should be not only marked but repaired. The right hon. gent. had fairly stated, that the disposition of Denmark and Russia, and the means of France, constituted tire question before the home. He had admitted the designs of France without any other evidence than that contained in his majesty's speech. With respect to the disposition of Denmark, he begged the right hon. gent. to recollect, at the outset, that it was not maintained by his majesty's ministers, that wilfully, knowingly, and of choice, Denmark had been desirous of war with G. Britain rather than of peace. This had neither been maintained, nor was it necessary to be so. A right hon. friend of his, on the opposite side of the house (Mr. Sheridan), had said, on a late evening, that a case of weakness on the part of Denmark, and of a determination to avail herself of that weakness, on the part of France, would alone be a justification of the conduct of the British government. Though he did not impute to 269 Denmark a disposition to go to war with this country, he protested against the advantage which was taken of this admission, when it was asserted, that we had had the hearts of the Danes, and that we had forfeited them. He did not like talking of national dislikes, hut such an observation evinced a most complete blindness to the fact, which was, that from the moment of the Armed. Neutrality, in 1780, there had been a feeling towards this country on the part of Denmark, not of direct hostility, but certainly not of very cordial friendship. Every body knew what had been the conduct of Denmark at the end. of two former wars. In inciting the Armed Neutrality of 1780, Denmark had been an active agent; and at the end of 1800, but a few months after Denmark had declared her abandonment of the principles on which the armed neutrality was formed, she again entered into a league confederated against G. Britain. Did this testify the good intentions of Denmark? Or, on the other hand, did it testify her means of resisting the influence of superior powers? Let whichever part of the alternative the house chose be adopted, he would not hesitate to say, that any government would be lost to a due sense of the interests of the country, if, with a, recollection of former occurrences, they had not looked with vigilance and suspicion to see how Denmark would conduct herself at a period of so much greater danger to G. Britain. Was it not probable, that a league of much more force, and knit with much greater vigour than any preceding one, would be formed against this country? Was it not probable, from the experience of the past, that Denmark would be induced by inclination, or compelled, by force to join that league? The favourite project of Bonaparte, since he had desisted from his threat of immediate invasion, was to destoy our commerce, and to collect a naval force which should run down the navy of G. Britain. Not a treaty did he conclude in which the exclusion of British merchandise and shipping did not form a leading article. In tern s too plain to be mistaken, he had avowed. his intention to bring every power of the continent to bear upon G. Britain. Was there any thing in the situation of Denmark which rendered it probable, that she was out of his view in this avowal? To all these presumptions the right hon. gent. had thought it sufficient to answer, that Denmark had prepared against any 270 attempt on the part of France, to control her conduct, by stationing a military force in Holstein. What was the history of that force? The greatest danger to which Denmark was exposed from France, was in 1803, when France occupied Hanover with a large force. Then not a man was in Holstein beyond the peace garrison. In this state the boasted cordon of Holstein remained till the period that France seemed disposed to molest Denmark?—No—till the army of England and Sweden were in force in Hanover; then, and not till then, the Danes increased their military power in Holstein. He must be an ingenious arguer who could deduce from this circumstance that England had been the object of the sympathy of Denmark, and France of her apprehension. After the battle of Jena, the territory of Denmark had been violated by a French detachment in pursuit of a Prussian corps, and a slight skirmish took place with the Danish troops, in which a Danish general was taken, and conveyed to the headquarters of the French general, where, in place of being treated with the distinction to be expected from an officer of a friendly power, he met with no very flattering reception; and was sent back, after his horse had been stolen, and his pockets picked, under every species of injury which a licentious soldiery could inflict. This had been done whilst the Danish army collected to cover the neutrality of Holstein was stationed in the neighbourhood. Was this event followed by the advance of that army? No such thing; the insult was immediately succeeded by the retreat of the Danish army; and this circumstance produced a remonstrance, on the part of the British government, against the conduct of the Danish government, in neglecting to vindicate its neutrality. The mention of this circumstance led him to contradict a misrepresentation which had been charged against the British government, namely, that the Danish army had been stationed in Holstein at its desire, in order that its designs against Copenhagen might be more easily accomplished. This statement was so wholly unfounded, that it was not till the retreat of the Danish army, before a handful of French troops, that the British government had made a representation, complaining, that that was not the way for Denmark to enforce its neutrality. The conduct of France to Sweden was very different. When the French division, 271 commanded by general Murat, entered Lubeck, 2000 Swedish troops were made prisoners, after the storming of the town, and the general who commanded them was not only treated with every distinction due to his rank and character, but sent back with a message to the king of Sweden from the French general, the brother in law of Buonaparte, inviting him to make common cause with France, intimating that it would be for his advantage to do so, and hinting that it was unnatural for Denmark to possess Norway, which ought to be annexed to Sweden. This had been the conduct of France towards Sweden, at a period contemporary with the assertion of the Danish neutrality; and when afterwards a negotiation was entered into at Hamburgh, for the release of the Swedish prisoners, the same communication was made to the Swedish chargé affaires there. What was the conduct of the king of Sweden upon this occasion? He sent immediately to acquaint the Crown Prince with the offer that had been made to him, and proffered the assistance of 20,000 Swedish troops for the defence of Denmark an assistance which the British government also had strongly recommended to the acceptance of the government of Denmark. This offer, thus recommended on our part, had been rejected by the Danish government, which, in communicating the terms of the offer, concealed entirely the proposal of France respecting Norway. Could the right hon. gent. then contend, that after such conduct, we had a right to rely on the frank and full declaration of Denmark? Shortly. after, Hamburgh was evacuated by the French, but re-occupied on the 19th Nov. only two days before the famous Decree of the 21st Nov. This Decree was communicated to the Danish government, and no remonstrance was made against it, yet, when the mitigated measure of retaliation was afterwards resorted to by the British government, then the rage of the Danish government was excited, and a determination to resist its execution declared. It was due, however, in justice to the noble lord who preceded him in office, (lord Howick) to state, that this determination had been manfully met; which led to its abandonment. He did not mean to insist on this as conclusive, though it amounted to a strong presumption, that, whether from predilection or necessity, the Danish government had no power of election between England and 272 France; there was no choice, no discussion; no reasoning upon the subject. The magistrates of Hamburgh had remonstrated against the Decree of the 21st of Nov. and sent a deputation to wait upon Buonaparte with it. In the conference which the deputies had with Buonaparte, they represented to him the ruin of commerce that would be the consequence of pursuing his wild plan of restrictions, to which his answer was, "that he would annihilate all commerce; for, is commerce and England were identified and he was determined that England should fall, it was necessary that commerce should fall also." But, he did not stop there; he added, "that he would make others co-operate with him," and then adverting to this mighty neutral, this powerful independent state, he said, "let that little Prince take care, or I shall teach him how to act." This was not a private communication, but a statement in a conference which had since been published. What was it that Buonaparte was to teach the Crown Prince of Denmark, to whom he directed such an insulting observation as no one individual could address to another without offence, except the manner of making his means subservient to the views of the French government? When the French shut the Elbe and the Weser, the Danish government consented to the measure without a murmur, but remonstrated strongly against our blockade of those rivers, though the remonstrance was afterwards given up, when it was found that it would be injurious to their own commerce to press their objections to the measure. That it was not the determination of the Danish government to defend Holstein against the French, appeared evident from a variety of opinions, which he found recorded in his office. The right hon. gent. had called for Copies of Correspondence to shew what was the immediate intention of Denmark, but he must contend, that the concurrent opinions of several ministers at different times, and under similar circumstances, were more to be depended upon. as a ground of decision, than the opinion of any individual, however qualified he might be to form a correct judgment.—The night hon. secretary here read extracts from several dispatches from Mr. Garlicke, dated Copenhagen, Dec. 1806, stating, that, after the French Decree of the 21st Nov. had been communicated to the Danish government, a demand was made that the Danish army 273 should be withdrawn from Holstein, that no English or Swedish troops should be allowed to enter the Danish territory, nor any measures taken demonstrative of distrust of France: that on receipt of this intelligence at Kiel, relays of horses had been provided, not for the advance, but to secure the retreat of the Crown Prince. He also read from a subsequent dispatch, dated 28th Dec. 1806, that no preparations for defence had been made, nor any inclination shewn to resort to the aid of the natural allies of Denmark; that several persons employed in the offices of state, though not in the highest department, acted in collusion with France, and were attached to the French interests; that these persons would have considerable influence on the opinions respecting the defence of the country; and that viewing the indolence of some, and the activity of others, at the Danish court, he (Mr. Garlicke) thought it his duty to state the truth, that then was reason to conclude, that when France was in an attitude to in-force her demand, she would insist upon the exclusion of British vessels from the ports of Denmark, and probably afterwards upon the surrender of the Dock Yards of Copenhagen; and that it was therefore the more necessary for the British government to use every means of vigilance and precaution, to defeat the designs of the enemy in that quarter. These had been the opinions of that minister upon the policy and temper of the Danish government, and yet that was the power upon whose determination they were required implicit to rely. It would not be just for him in stating these facts, to withhold his tribute of applause from those who had preceded him in the office he had now the honour to fill, and who had met with firmness the remonstrances and demonstrations of, the Danish government. The noble lord who immediately preceded him had instructed Mr. Garlicke to declare to the Danish government, that his majesty could never, in the event of that power submitting to the controul of France, suffer either the who e or a part of its navy to be placed at the disposal of France. [Loud cries of hear! hear!] The hon. gentlemen opposite might continue their acclamations, but the opinion was entitled to respect. Perhaps, however, the noble lord had not considered the means adequate to the end, and did not look upon the capture of Holstein as more likely to secure the possession of the Danish fleet, 274 than the conquest of Alexandria that of the Turks. But the instructions of the noble lord went on to say, that if the Danes should suffer the French to occupy Holstein, his majesty could not abstain from those measures which would be necessary to maintain the honour of his crown and assert the interest of his subjects. [Loud cries of hear, hear! from the opposition.] He presumed, from their acclamation, that the gentlemen opposite inferred, that these measures should not be resorted to until the Danish navy should be actually taken, or until the agreement should be entered into for its surrender, or until a communication of such agreement should be made by a government, which had entered into a convention with this country in August, and in the December following had violated that convention. The whole conduct of that court shewed, that, either from necessity or inclination, it would have taken a part against this country, and it was no weak presumption of such an event, that all the offers of France had been kept back from this country, whilst they were amusing us with the assurance, that they placed an implicit reliance upon the Declarations of France. He had been hitherto speaking of the state of Denmark in Dec. 1807, and Jan. 1808, when Buonaparte was employed at a distance in Poland against armies, certainly not equal to his own, but which kept him at bay, and by a small assistance might have been rendered equal to his armies. By what means could Denmark defend herself against the French, when Buonaparte should return with his whole force triumphant from Poland, after she had refused the assistance that had been offered to her? Of all persons he did not think that his majesty's ministers should be accused of injustice by the captors of Alexandria; of mismanagement by the attackers of the Dardanelles; as inglorious by the conquerors of Constantinople?—But though he should admit that the demand of the Danish navy was a strong measure, yet there was some extenuation in that case, which did not apply to the demand of the Turkish fleet. He did not mean to argue here the difference of the necessity in either instance. There was this circumstance which bore upon the case of the Danish navy, that the Danish government, contemplating the dangers that were gathering round it, had entertained the project of reducing its navy by sale, and he had it 275 upon authority to state, that the Russian minister had actually entered into a treaty for the purchase 'of part of the Danish navy.—As to the influence of national pride, therefore, it could not be very active, for he could not conceive any situation that this country could be placed in, in which she could entertain a proposal for the disposal, by sale, of any part of the British navy. This would not certainly justify the demand of the Danish fleet, but it. certainly did strip the right hon. gent.'s speech of part of its gorgeous eloquence. The experience of the past had enabled his majesty's ministers to judge of the conduct that would be pursued by Denmark. Had she not received intimation of the dangers that impended over her? Had not the Bulletin published by Buonaparte after the battle of Fried-land given her notice of her approaching fate, when it stated, "that the blockade of the British islands would then cease to be a vain word." What ports but those of Denmark could this prospective threat apply to, for what others were neutral? The conferences too, at Tilsit, and the immediate execution of some of the arrangements entered into there, by the restoration of the dukes of Mecklenburg and Oldenburg, for whom the emperor of Russia had particularly interested himself, on the condition of shutting their ports against Great Britain, shelved the designs of Buonaparte, and pointed to Denmark as the next state that would be called upon to submit to his laws of blockade.—To Denmark alone this intimation of the Bulletin referred, and accordingly she was found shrinking into her shell as France approached, and neglecting to make any addition to her means of defence. She had declared the French Decree of the 21st Nov. innocent, whilst she remonstrated strongly against the British mild retaliation in the Order of the 7th of Jan. as unjust; and yet this was the power which they were told was capable of defending itself against France! The proposition was not maintainable, and if his majesty's ministers had not acted upon the impressions they received from the experience of the past, and their knowledge of the state and sentiments of the court of Denmark, they would not have done their duty. if they had not taken the very steps which were now censured, the eloquence, of the right hon. gent. was cold and dead, compared with the thunder that would have then rolled over their 276 heads. But these were distant warnings. Had not Denmark more immediate intimation of its danger? General Bernadotte, on coining to take the command at Ham-burgh, directed the assembled burghers to prepare quarters for 15,000 men which he represented as only the advanced guard of a much greater force, that was to be employed on an expedition which would not require him to be long absent from Hamburgh. Whither could this expedition be directed but against Holstein? Bernadotte had also been charged with a mission to the Crown Prince at Kiel; and, though he should state as a fact, a thing which he did not know upon official authority, that officer, he was assured, had had an interview with the Crown Prince at Kiel, on the night of the 21st of July. He believed the fact, though he could not state it positively, and he knew also, that it was believed at Kiel, in Holstein, at Hamburgh, and at St. Petersburgh, at the time. Bernadotte, too, had made no secret of the object of his mission, being to procure the exclusion of the English from the ports of Denmark. Was this a state of things, in which his majesty's ministers were to go on confiding in the sincerity and means of the Danish government, till they should be called on for assistance? He wished to know, why they should have waited for the Declaration of Denmark, when fully apprised of the disposition of France towards that power, of the inability of Russia to controul that disposition, and of the want of means, or of inclination, on the part of Denmark, to resist the force of France? But the right hon. gentleman had argued that thought there had been enough in the circumstances and conduct of Denmark to excite suspicion, or call for measures of precaution, yet there was not sufficient to justify the length to which the measures of his majesty's government had been carried. For himself, he did not know what other measures could have been resorted to; and he would defy the ingenuity of the gentlemen opposite, to skew what others could have been adopted, that would have insured the accomplishment of the object. It was not necessary for him, in this instance, to say that the whole of the force employed on this occasion, had not been provided for this expedition originally. A very large part of it had been employed to assist the king of Sweden, the remainder had been provided in 'principles of precaution, and, as the influx of intelli- 277 gence demonstrated the critical nature of the emergency, or, as the views of France developed themselves, it became the more necessary to employ the whole upon this important service.—As to the demand of the fleet, he was at issue with the right hon. gent.; but as he meant to object to the production of the Papers he called for, he thought it right to state, that the proposition intended to have been made in the first instance to the court of Denmark, was to surrender its fleet in deposit, to be returned on the conclusion of peace. This proposition had not been submitted to the Danish government, because the gentleman who was the bearer of it, on his arrival at. Kiel, felt confident that he should see the Prince on the following morning, but found in the morning that the Prince had set out for Copenhagen; on following the Prince to Copenhagen he found he had returned to Kiel. The Danish minister whom he met at Copenhagen, had orders not to beat upon the terms he was authorized to propose: the minister at Kiel could not treat till the return of a courier from Copenhagen; the minister at Copenhagen could not open a negotiation till the return of a messenger from Kiel. Under these circumstances, it was impossible to enter into any negotiation that could hold out any prospect of a speedy or satisfactory result, and thus it was that the original proposition had never been submitted to the Danish government. A sufficient force had been sent to justify the court of Denmark to France in conceding to our demand, or, if it did not concede, to accomplish the object for which had been dispatched.—As to the violated dignity of the Danish nation, the very display of our force before Copenhagen might be considered a violation of that dignity. If one of our cruizers had searched a single Danish ship, or stopped a corporal's guard going to Zealand, this might also be called an attack upon that nation; and upon this subject lie should quote a great authority upon the law of nations, which he held in his hand. That great modern expositor of the law of nations, whom the right hon. gent. in the religious part of his speech, seemed to consider as a special instrument in the hands of providence, Buonaparte, who, in his tender concern for the interests of this country, always took care to give an exposition of his sentiments at a time when it would bear oil a parliamentary debate, bad given, in a Moniteur which arrived 278 this very day, a sufficient proof of what would have made him consider Denmark as in a state of hostility with France. When the Austrian minister, Starhemberg, was recalled, he was particularly ordered to leave London by the 20th, as parliament were to meet on the 21st: and a Moniteur which had arrived this very clay, had given an exposition of Buonaparte's sentiments with respect to neutrals. In the justification of the conduct of France towards Portugal, one of Buonaparte's ministers says in his official report, "If any sovereign in Europe should allow his territory to be violated by the English, the act would clearly place that sovereign in hostility with your majesty, and, therefore, if the Portuguese have suffered their vessels to be violated by the cruizers of that power, they, too, were in hostility with your majesty." Now, those who thought so much of the wounded pride of Denmark, should consider, that upon this principle, the search of the smallest vessel, in crossing the Belt, would be sufficient to place Denmark in a state of war with France. With a French army on the frontiers of Holstein, and no English fleet or force off Copenhagen, it would be an idle waste of words, a mere mockery of negotiation, to enter into any discussions. Humanity as well as policy required a force large enough for the ultimate accomplishment of the object under any circumstances. No man could blame his majesty's ministers for having made the force much larger than was necessary for either object, in order to invite the surrender of the fleet which was required; but, when no proposition would be listened to, it was satisfactory that the means employed were sufficient for the accomplishment of the object with the least possible loss. The right hon. gent. had said that the case could only be justified by necessity, but he was sure the right hon. gent. must carry his principle further, and, admit that the measure ought not to be carried beyond the necessity of the case. He was therefore surprised to hear the right hon. gent. say, at the conclusion of his speech, that the measure ought to have been pushed to extremity. By other premises he might arrive at that conclusion, but certainly not from those he had that night stated. The right hon. gent. had said, that the Danish government could defend the islands against France, though France should be in possession of Holstein. But, if the Danish 279 navy was not prepared against England, neither could it be prepared against France. However, the fact was, and it was notorious, that after Zealand had surrendered, many Danish troops had succeeded in getting into that island, notwithstanding the judicious distribution of the British naval force in the Belts, by the very able officer who commanded in that quarter. On the authority of his predecessor he could state, that the pressure in Holstein was considered as likely to lead to the surrender of Zealand. The right hon. gent. had asked,why they had not put their questions directly to Russia, respecting her conduct? he would answer, that they had flattered themselves, that by pursuing a course rather conciliatory, they might bring back Russia to the line of her true policy, and therefore they abstained from any conduct that might drive her irrecoverably into the arms of France. But the right hon. gent. asked why, if Russia were a party against us, we ought not to have selected Russia for our attack? To this question which had been so often put, the answer was so obvious, that he was surprised to hear it repeated. If they had had certain information of the hostile intentions of Russia, and the object which they had in view, were not attainable by any other means, he agreed that Russia should have been attacked. It had been shewn, that the object sought from Denmark could not have been obtained without a prompt and peremptory force, and that that object was of the highest moment to the security of this country. An attack upon Cronstadt might have been productive of glory, but would not have diminished the maritime means that could be employed against us, and which constituted our danger. Would it then have been wise, or politic, or safe, to have passed the harbour of Copenhagen, which contained 20 sail of the line, that would instantly become the instruments of the enemy's vengeance against us, in order to execute a barren bravado against Cronstadt, where we could obtain but three or four rotten hulks. It was true, he admitted, that Russian ships of the line had passed through our fleets, and we had the choice of attacking them; but, aware of the circumstances by which the emperor had been rendered the friend of France, of the disgusting humiliations to which he had been subjected at the conferences of Tilsit, and hoping that his magnanimous spirit might still be driven to resistance 280 and aggression, his majesty's ministers had still cherished the hope at the emperor Alexander would retrace, his steps, not for the purpose of a renewal of war with France,. God forbid! but in order to consult the true interests of empire. In the present circumstances of the world, a war with France would be hopeless; but it was not hopeless that the spirit and disposition of his people might bring him back to better councils. They had strong grounds to know that the intentions of Russia were hostile, hut, in the most inauspicious moment, they wire not without expectations of altering them. The right hon. gent. had contended that this prospect was not improved by calling upon Russia to sanction the business of Copenhagen; but it was somewhat strange, that such an opinion should be entertained, by those who held that it was of no consequence whether a mediator was friendly or not. He could assure the right hon. gent. that the note of baron Budberg, which he imputed to some French intelligence respecting the tranactions at Copenhagen, was not produced by any sue h cause. The business at Copenhagen had been known at St. Petersburgh on the 22d July, a week before that note was written; and if gentlemen reflected, that general Savary dictated to the emperor of Russia in his capital, they might easily account for the asperity of any Note which might have been submitted to his inspection. All accounts agreed in representing, that the mind of the court of Russia was alienated from this country, and ore might easily conceive a reason for that alienation. The expectation of assistance from this country, no matter whether well or ill founded, was the cause, not of the peace of Tilsit, but of the temper in which it was concluded, when the military disasters had rendered that peace necessary. Out of twenty dispatches received from our ambassador with the emperor, there was not one in which he did not say, "Send assistance, or Russia will fail you; make a diversion, which will take part of the weight of war off Russia, or she will withdraw from it." As to the charge, that the expedition to Copenhagen was the cause of the hostility of Russia, he contended on the authority of our ambassador at Petersburgh, that the fact was not so; but he could also refer to the authority of another noble person, who had an ample opportunity of knowing the truth of what he here advanced, and he should do this with the 281 more satisfaction because of some rumours he had heard, that that noble person (lord Hutchinson) had declared an opinion since his return to this country, that the Expedition to Copenhagen was the cause of the hostility of Russia. The right hon. secretary here read an extract from a dispatch from lord Hutchinson, dated Memel, 20th of July, and stating, that there were many Secret Articles in the treaty of Tilsit; that the predominant party in the Russian court was French, but that the rational part of the nation was against a war with England—that it was probable the Secret Articles related to Turkey, and to the shutting of the Russian ports against England, in the event of the failure of a negociation within a limited tune. This extract would be sufficient to do away any impression that the rumours to which he alluded might have made, as if the noble writer of the dispatch really attributed the hostility of Russia to the business at Copenhagen. Hoping for a change of circumstances, they had thought it better to afford to the Russian government an opportunity of releasing itself from the embarrassing engagements into which it had unfortunately entered at Tilsit; and when he considered the nature of the policy and practice of that court, when he contemplated the anxiety which it had always manifested to maintain its rank as Protector of the North of Europe, and the tenacity with which it still fondly wished to cling to that character, he could not suppose a case in which every feeling of its pride and ambition could be so completely gratified as in the submission of our differences with Denmark to the mediation of Russia as Arbitress of the North. She could thus say to herself, the yea of which I am Protectress has been violated; but those who have violated it are placed in my hands, subject to my mediation. This was the light in which he was confident the application to Russia to mediate, would be considered by every person who was a friend to the true interests of Russia, and it was so considered, until the overbearing influence of gen. Savary altered the tone of the Russian cabinet. But it had been aid, why not attack Cronstadt, and insult the emperor in his own capital? There was a great party, or rather the majority of the bettermost people in Russia who were anxious for British connection; but whatever might be the partialities of such persons, they must all 282 feel for the honour and glory of their country, and therefore it could not be desirable to destroy, by an unprofitable attack upon the national feelings, the nascent popularity of this country. We had the right unquestionably, but it was a different question, whether under the circumstances of the case we ought to exercise it: besides, the object was not worth the cost and pain of the undertaking, and the execution of it would have infallibly disgusted those who would be likely to bring back Russia to her real interests. Those gentlemen who admitted that a knowledge of the designs of France, and of the weakness of Denmark, would justify the expedition, seemed to forget the admission, and to urge the broad principles. It was undoubtedly just, that if there were a community of states in Europe, the weaker states ought to be as secure from aggression, as the more powerful ones. This was a principle which had never been denied. But gentlemen applied this principle which properly belonged to that state of Europe, in which the rights of all were secured by the sanctity of public law; and even the weakest were preserved from aggression or insult, if not by immediate protection, at least by conflicting interests. But, in the enthusiasm of the right hon. gent.'s morality, it was rather strange, that he should have forgotten the moralities of the French Revolution. In the present state of the world, whatever miseries might be produced, whatever calamities endured, whatever atrocities committed, by the permission of that Providence in whom we live, breathe, and have our being, the whole responsibility must rest upon him, who is the sole author of them. There was not now a community of states in Europe, connected by the solemnity and sanction of public law, protecting and protected by the influence of the principles of equal justice, and a mutual sense of reciprocal rights; there was but one devouring state, that swallowed up every one that it could bring within its grasp, and that so far from respecting the rights and independence of other nations, reduced all to indiscriminate subjection, rendering them alike subservient to its designs against this country. Buonaparte now dictated to all the nations of the continent, and had erased every vestige of public law in Europe. He could not but be surprised then, to find gentlemen, when censuring a measure which had proved the salvation. 283 of the country, [hear, hear!]—he should repeat, that it had saved us from the imminent dangers that menaced us, and therefore it was that he was surprised to hear gentlemen compare such a measure with antiquated crimes in which we had no share, for which we had incurred no responsibility. Was it to be contended; that in a moment of imminent danger and impending necessity, we should have abstained from that course which prudence and policy dictated, in order to meet and avert those calamities that threatened our security and existence, because if we sunk under the pressure, we should have the consolation of having the authority of Puffendorf to plead? But the conduct that had been adopted on this occasion, was not without precedent or example. In the, year 1801, the island of Madeira had been taken possesion of by our government for fear it should fall into the hands of the French. Yet Portugal was a neutral nation, and had always, by way of pre-eminence, been styled the old and ancient ally of England. The capture of Madeira had been effected without any previous communication to the court of Lisbon. Undoubtedly, instructions had been sent to our minister at the court of Lisbon, to request that an order should he sent to the governor to surrender the island in good will. The instructions arrived at Lisbon about the time that the troops arrived at Madeira, and the island was consequently taken by force, before any orders could have been sent out to surrender it. Where had Portugal at that time a fleet that could convey troops for the invasion of these islands, or if she had that fleet, what expedition could be sent by her that would not be defeated by the valour and intrepidity of our seamen? He did not mean to condemn the capture of that island, because he knew that it might be, and he had no doubt that it was, justifiable upon the grounds of probable necessity; he adverted to the transaction only as a defence against the generality of the charge. But this was not the only instance in which such conduct had been practised to neutral states, in which it had been used towards neutral and friendly powers; nay, even, there was an instance in which it had been adopted by morality itself towards a friendly state. In the year 1806, there had been reports of its being the intention of the French government to invade Portugal. He had himself no doubt of the perpetual intention of the French 284 government to prosecute that purpose, and he did not question that the design might have been in contemplation at that time, but it did not appear that any army was assembled for the purpose at Bayonne. He admired the conduct which had been adopted by the late ministers on the occasion, he applauded their spirit, and he felt gratitude for the manner in which their proceeding enabled him to meet the general question on this charge. Here the right hon. secretary read an extract from the Instructions given by the late Board of Admiralty to earl St. Vincent, when dispatched to Lisbon. The Instructions directed the noble admiral's attention to three objects; 1st, if the Portuguese government should, by itself; or in conjunction with Spain, be disposed to defend the country against the French, to promise all the assistance that C. Britain could afford, and the presence of a respectable naval force in the Tagus would contribute to that object; 2dly, if that should not be the deter initiation of the court, and the government should embrace the resolution of emigrating to the Brazils, as it had once proposed during the late war, to offer them the assistance of a British naval force, under he protection of which alone that determination could be carried into effect; and. lastly, if there should not be vigour enough in the government, to adapt either of these resolutions, he was to prevent, if possible, the port of Lisbon from falling into the hands of the French, and at all events the Portuguese navy was to be secured; every vessel of which that was serviceable, was to be. brought off; together with the ships, goods, and persons of the British factory at Lisbon, and also the coda, if it should be so disposed: for the execution of these Instructions, the troops were then embarking were to be sent to him with all convenient expedition, but he was not to give any intimation of the circumstance to the Portuguese government, nor to hold any language that might excite the suspicion of the French minister, or lead to any measures of precaution; and, as it might he necessary to employ the troops immediately on their arrival in order to secure a strong position, he was to have the marines and boats of the fleet constantly in readiness for that service. These Instructions were clear in their tenor, precise in their object, and conclusive as to the question then under consideration. If any gentleman wished for the document it 285 would be laid on the table, and the only shyness that had been felt in producing it before was, that it would place him and his colleagues in the situation of convicted plagiarists. [Hear! hear!] These were the Instructions that had been given by morality itself, and the only difference between them and the instructions that had been given by the present government was, that the latter did not desire that the army should be introduced in disguise. But there might yet be one qualification that the right han. gent. would apply to Denmark, namely, that her conduct, when she was relatively strong to weaker neutral states, did not merit such a measure against her. What had that conduct been? When, in 1801, the maritime confederacy held out a prospect that this country would not be able to protect its allies, Denmark treated the unprotected neutral state of Hamburgh with the most violent oppression, and for the purpose of excluding the English from that port. The same conduct had been pursued towards Ratzburg. This conduct proved that Denmark had no very strong claims for forbearance.—But, it was rather strange, that those gentlemen, who blamed government for not having accepted the mediation of Russia, should now imps to it as a ground of charge that they had not passed by Copenhagen in order to attack Cronstadt. We had the right to attack Russia, but had we no interest in forbearing to exercise that right? There were, at the time, in the ports of Russia, 500 British ships, and 6000 British seamen, and gentlemen would perceive,;hat these formed too important an object to be hazarded for the sake of the few hulks that might be obtained at Cronstadt besides, the fleet which Russia had in the. Mediterranean was a security to us for her good behaviour. And here he would take occasion to contradict a misrepresentation that had taken place upon the subject of this fleet. The Russian squadron did not enter the Tagus by order from Vie government, but from sheer distress, and because all the ports of the enemy were so closely blockaded by our squadrons, that they could not enter any one of them. This squadron was first directed to touch at a British port, and even the Russian ambassador was so deceived with respect to it, that he had kept here a frigate with specie on board for the payment of that very fleet. But, if that fleet had been attacked, what an argument might yet be drawn against the pre- 286 cipitancy of such a measure, from the circumstance of the squadron having been directed to touch at a British port, and the Russian ambassador having detained the frigate with the specie for the pay of the crews! He had intentionally avoided referring to any thing in this debate but what was notorious; and if they were to ask why they had rested their defence upon precise information, when the events and facts that had since taken place had amply justified their measure, he would answer, that they had stated that precise ground because it was true, and not because they thought it necessary to their justification in judging of the case before the house. If any more evidence should be thought necessary, let them be condemned, for nothing should ever extort from them the source whence they had derived their information. If gentlemen should say, that this course was contrary to the practice of parliament, he would go to the Journals, to prove that it was not out of the usual course of parliamentary proceedings. Having rescued the country from a great and imminent danger, he would trust to the case as it stood, and he had no doubt but that the conduct of ministers would be judged deserving of approbation. The house might judge of the extent of the service performed by contemplating the distribution of our naval force, that might be necessary if the Danish fleet were not now in our possession.—As to what the right hon. gent. had said of the increase of the danger of Sweden by the Expedition, he could assure him, that that danger was greatly diminished by that event, and so the government of Sweden felt it.—As the right hon. gent. had alluded to a communication made by him to Mr. Rist, the Danish chargéd' affaires, he would briefly state the fact to the house. He had been commanded by his majesty, after the Danish fleet had been surrendered, to make an official communication to that gentleman, desiring that he might procure powers from the Crown Prince to negociate an accommodation, or to procure passports for a minister to go to Kiel for that purpose. This was all the official communication; he had, however, thought it right to inform Mr. Rist of the terms upon which the accommodation might be effected. He had mentioned then the period of 3 years, as that which might, after the conclusion of peace, enable us to form a judgment of the stability of the peace; and certainly, those who had witnessed 287 the last peace must be sensible, that the period was not too long; for in 18 months after that peace, we were as much at war as before. Considering that we had gained possession of the fleet by force, he did not think the stipulation of such a term any insult, and he had proposed either to keep the fleet in deposit, or to take it in purchase. When he communicated this fact to the house, he thought it necessary to state why he did not produce the Papers. As all negociations were resumed on the terms upon which they had been last broken off, and though he and his colleagues had thought it right to make such offers in that instance, it would not follow, that they should be disposed to grant the same conditions at a future period. In the hope of some such accommodation his majesty had even been induced to delay directing the condemnation of the Danish shipping, as well as his Declaration of war. He had no hesitation to add, that every stipulation had been required that could be necessary for the security of the Swedish territory. But now that war had taken place, it could not be contended that the capture of the Danish navy, did not, protanto, diminish the means of the enemy, whilst it added to our means of security. Buonaparte well knew, that the maritime power of Great Britain was the only impediment to his universal aggrandisement. He would not cease, therefore, to exhaust all the means he possessed to accomplish the grand object of his ambition. The trial he would make, and it was only by making it and its failure, that he was to be convinced of the inefficiency and fruitlessness of all his designs. He would destroy all commerce in order to injure this country, which he identified with it:Cedet et ipsemari vector: nec nautica pious Mutabit merces.—But though he should direct the whole accumulated force of his vast territories to this purpose, he would find all his projects frustrated, until he could make all nations independent of commerce, in consequence of their own productions:Omnis feret omnia tellus.By the expedition to Copenhagen, the means of the enemy had been reduced, and the security of the country augmented. Those who thought the policy of that measure weak, and its execution unjust, would certainly vote against him. But he could not consider it a manly way to take the division upon the motion for 288 Papers, and not on the merits of the question, merely because some few would vote, for the Papers, who would not support a motion for censure. Conscious of the principles upon which he and his colleagues had acted, and of the advantages resulting to the country there from, trusting to the justice and the good sense of the house, for a confirmation of the universal sentiment of the country with regard to the conduct of his majesty's ministers upon the present transaction, he should submit to its decision, and meet the motion with a direct negative.
§ Mr. Windham
rose to make some observations on the speech of the right hon. secretary. He was astonished beyond measure at some parts of that speech; even though he did not mean to deny to it in general that sort of merit—the only species it could pretend to—which was necessary to cover a total want of just inference or correct statement. The right hon. secretary had alluded to certain transactions of the late administration. He said, you sent a fleet to Portugal to prevent the Portuguese navy from falling into the hands of the French, and we sent a fleet to the Sound to prevent the Danish fleet from being appropriated to the same service. The fact was so. But the difference was, that we, having it equally in our power, did not persist in the intention, and that they did. This the right hon. gent. called a failure. A failure with him was, a refusal to do, what, however easy in the execution, you did not consider as right; and an inconsistency was, the blaming others for doing that, which, in precisely similar circumstances, you had refused to do yourselves. We had heard of the designs of France on the fleet of Portugal, just as the hon. gent. had of her designs on the fleet of Copenhagen. We had it moreover on the deck ration of Buonaparte himself, who was pretty apt to keep his word in these matters. But as we were fully determined not to proceed to an extremity of this sort, but upon the clearest as well as most certain necessity, we confined ourselves, it the first instance, to measures of proper precaution; and, the necessity not appearing, withdrew from the intention altogether.—But would there have been no difference in the measures themselves? Besides that the presumption of danger was greater from a French army at Bayonne than from fie French army in Holstein, there was a difference between the two measures that was vital. The 289 right hon. gent. therefore, had no reason to exult in a comparison which made against him, and he might address him in the words of the poet—Can nothing nut thine own reproach, Serve fur a motto for thy coach.The Portuguese fleet was not to have been seized by Earl St. Vincent, till Portugal had refused our assistance to defend her territory; till advices should have been received of the actual entrance of a French army into Portugal, and till it should be manifest to all the world, and particularly to the Portuguese themselves, that if we did not take possession of the Ships, they would be seized by France. He allowed that the collusion of the neutral state, or the inability to resist apprehended force, was a sufficient reason for securing the means of that neutral from the grasp of the enemy. But the necessity should be evident. Because the necessity was not evident, the late ministers had not acted at Lisbon. The necessity, was as little evident when the present ministers acted at Copenhagen. The new system of morality was, it seemed, to be acted upon by his majesty's ministers in every instance, not only in their public acts and papers, but in their statements in that house. The scholars of the old school stated as fact, only what they knew to he true. The present ministers stated, as fact, not only what they knew to be false, but what they knew must be stated and proved to be so in five minutes after their assertion.—The right hon. gent. asked in very big terms, why those who attacked Alexandria and Constantinople opposed the expedition to Copenhagen? But he should ask, who attacked a neutral and unoffending nation? Now, had the right hon. gent. adhered to fact, he would have been deprived of nine-tenths of his argument. The troops that were to go to Egypt from Sicily were to wait for orders from Constantinople, announcing to them the commencer lent of hostilities, before they made any hostile attack. It might be part of the new morality to make statements of this inconsiderate kind. He might go to the long, animated, and lively speech he had heard, in which the right hon. gentleman had travelled over so much ground without coming to the point, amusing himself in his progress with accusations that were unfounded, and epigrams that were nothing to the purpose; but if the matter were considered, his three hours might be well reduced to a quarter of an 290 hour, and his immense folio to a decimo sexto. But, after all the graces of motion and gesture, and all the extreme labour in the storm, the sort of beating against a head-sea to prove the necessity of his case, unfortunately for him, the right hon. gent's arguments would not tell against the matter of fact. He said, and so might he, that France intended to get the Danish navy; but still the argument was not satisfactory. All he attempted to prove against Denmark was a terror of Buonaparte—that which many great powers had felt, and did yet feel. But he could not say the Crown Prince would have been a willing sacrifice; that lie wished to shut his ports, or was disposed to give his fleet to France. The construction to be put on his conduct was the contrary. He did what he could, and was with his army in Holstein; and was there up to the period of our expedition. The right hon. gent. argued this point at some length, and then came to the supposition that he might have submitted to France, though we see no good reason why he might not have defended his independence, and have died in the last dyke, and found Danes to die with him in their country's defence. Well; but if he had submitted? To that he had one general answer: better let, Buonaparte take the fleet than we. Even if he had a greater certainty of that matter, he should say so still. Let them go. Had we taken the Portuguese fleet, it would not have been under the same circumstances, and the transaction must have assumed a very different character. But gentlemen opposite could not understand this sort of principle. No wonder; because they seemed to have no feeling for national honour, nor regard for the rights and laws of nations. If the late ministers had taken the fleet at Lisbon, we should have lost no honour, Yet lie (Mr. W.), though acting in the cabinet at that time, never acceded to any measure with more doubt and reluctance than he did, even to that, guarded as it was.—He again declared that he would sooner have seen the Danish fleet in Buonaparte's hands than in ours, under all the circumstances in which we had seized upon it. He then entered into the question of right, and contended that we had none, except on a presumption that would justify us in the seizure of any neutral whatsoever. Then, what was the policy? But we must discuss the right, and then go to the policy as a separate ground of argument. The right in this case blended itself with the 291 policy, since in fact necessity was only a superior ground of policy. Now, in this case, there was no right distinct from policy. If collusion could be Made out, if it could be proved that Denmark only wore a mask, then a belligerent would be able to manifest and establish a right. But the question stood upon an expediency, amounting, as it certainly must, to a necessity, and we must try that question before a jury of the country. Was it politic to a degree of necessity? The character of this important transaction must stand upon its necessity. What was that necessity, that could justify our government in inflicting upon the Panes such severe calamities—the destruction of a great part of their city—the loss of so many lives of unoffending individuals, of all descriptions—the variety and pressure of miseries? If it did not stand on necessity, how criminal was it to violate the law of nations, and to commit such offences against the whole civilized world? What was it but an attack on the whole code of rules, laws, and usages, by which the civilized world was governed—a code adverse indeed, often, to the interests of powerful and ambitious states, but therefore the more necessary to be maintained with as strict an adherence as possible—the defence and the only defence of the feeble against the powerful (often infringed upon, it was true), but, upon the whole, greatly conducive to the interests and to the happiness of mankind at large. It was peculiarly becoming this country to hold it sacred. Before we proceeded to this desperate step, could we prove our right upon necessity? Think of our reputation. As fin as reputation was concerned, and that was a great matter, reputation was all in all, and that depended on what people would think and say of us all over Europe. So great was reputation, that we had better, in a view of policy, do the worst thing in the world, than the best, if appearances would be in our favour: though he was no advocate for such. morals. The law of nations existed, however, upon the agreement of common sense, and the approbation of a general wisdom and general feeling. It was a Joint stock concern for the benefit of all. Its support was a sort of voluntary contribution from all nations. When a great nation like this acted contrary to it, it acted under the awful, the ten-fold responsibility of acting for its own selfish interests against the feelings and the interests 292 of all mankind. He was convinced that all discerning people must see that at the best we had acted on doubtful grounds: he should rather say on none at all. Ministers had now abandoned the pretext of the secret articles of Tilsit. He was very sorry to go farther, and to say that he could not give that degree of credit to our official and public declarations which he was wont to do, and which he earnestly desired to do. But this he supposed, was the consequence of our new morality. This was a fair sample of the new mode of fighting Buonaparte with his own weapons. Did this tell any thing in our favour for violating a neutral nation? The question of policy involved the right, and on necessity alone the question must rest. Other arguments were used; so low and so mean, but unfortunately so successful as to gain the favour of the small vulgar, and the great vulgar. It was interest. The principle of action was fear: not arising from prudence, fore-thought, and self-possession: not from the notion of hint who braves a present danger, to avoid a future and contingent one. When he mentioned the poor fleeting transitory gain, he was sharply told that it was not the actual value of time acquisition; but the probability of its being turned against us for our destruction next season. What! should we be told that we were to give ourselves up to hatred, and dishonour, and reproach, in perpetuity, for the sake of avoiding the comparatively little contingencies of the next summer? These dangers would continue, or be partially lulled, till new dangers ripened and burst upon us The routine of affairs might seem to go on as before, but not so the policy; not so the character of the country! What shall we think when we find that we have created the hatred of nations for generations to come, who will constantly remember our misdeeds when they behold the monuments of our ravages—When they point at the sad memorials of their destruction—when they see the remains of their public edifices; of that beautiful church, which was the pride of their capital, an awful ruin—when the recollection of our bombardment was rendered perpetual by the melancholy sentiment inspired by the eternity of the tomb? The church might fall, but the ruins would remain, to be viewed by all the inhabitants, and to be exhibited by them as a spectacle to travellers and navigators, for their execration of those who 293 committed the ravage, their scorn of their proffered alliance, and their pity for the unfortunate sufferers! A patriotic Dane might leave his money, not to build, but to keep in repair the ruins we had made—to excite a recollection of the transaction, and the abhorrence of this country for the injury done to Denmark by its government. In this policy he feared we had been playing a losing, game. If it was al, low, and degrading, what could be said in its justification? Some might be enamoured of it by the love of plunder, and some might weakly cry out, O! give us safety, give us safety, at all events!' The value of our gain would be soon gone; but our loss, he feared, was perpetual: time would teach some of the young members of this house, by her awful lessons, the importance of justice, and the punishments that awaited its violation. He would recommend to them to recollect the lines they had read in their spelling-books, which were homely, but well calculated to show the value of experience,When house and land are gone and spent, Then learning is most excellent.When experience and reflection shall have taught them the bad effects of injustice, they would, perhaps, recollect the gentleman to whom they are indebted for the hard lessons they are to be taught. He was amazed to hear the acclamations with which the declaration had been received, and shocked to hear the loud support given to the right hon. gent. by his friends for the act he had justified and assumed merit to himself for performing. There was, in the estimation of some, a sort of spirit and genius in going out of the usual track, and in breaking through all those rules which were established and recognized, because they were materially useful to the world. He recollected a sentiment in the letters of Junius that was somewhat applicable: 'Good faith and folly had been so long in opposition, that the reverse was now in fashion; and the man without principle was considered as a man of ability.' There was no victory so easy, as a victory over morality. It was open to every invader. It made little or no resistance. Obligations and restrictions were as easy to oppose as air to those who were resolved to encounter them. But he feared the power of their re-action upon the long run. Generally, the authors might escape, nobody knew how, or perhaps enquired where: but the country might be lost. What they called a, noble sally of adventurous minds 294 might cost others tears of blood. Such systems he detested. He never could endure that shocking, disgraceful, Spanish war, with all its plunder: the ships were known to be at sea richly laden, and we attacked them for the plunder. He would grant that we had got an abundance of dollars; but the consequences might come years afterwards; and the misfortune was, that people did not always trace them back to their true causes. How did we know that the present degraded state of Spain was not owing to that piratical transaction? The right hon. secretary vapoured and bragged of what he had done, and some others had been found to add their boastings. They talked flippantly about former losses—battles of Jena and Friedland; and mentioned recent exploits, such as that of Copenhagen! This was all very pretty; but we were suffering the shame. He had, indeed, hoped, that the character of this country would have been maintained for strict adherence to justice, and that it might be always said with truth—Semper honos nomenque tuum laudesque manebant.Though the name may remain to us, and great power too, yet we may have lost our reputation, our honour, and our glory. These may be gone; and we may become by such councils a reproach and a bye-word to the nations.' Buonaparte might say to the nations of Europe, "I have been loudly and incessantly accused. But who did this? It is England, the preacher up of public law, and public morals and social order?" See what morality has done! Foreign nations might answer, "Is that indeed England, who valued herself upon her character? Why, "old Cato is as great a rogue as you." He wanted to hear from some of the learned doctors and sages of the law on the other side of the house—our wise men who had studied long and deeply, and had preached, and enforced the general duties of law and public morals;—he wanted to hear from them, whether all that had been hitherto received and acknowledged was to be considered as foolishness. He should like to know what they thought of the new doctrines of their associates. Were they prepared, like Prospero in the play, to break their wands, to throw off their wigs and gowns, and to bury their books? or were they prepared to follow the example of the lady, so much talked of a few years ago, who threw away her camphor bag, and exclaimed, "Adieu, virtue! welcome 295 pleasure!" He wanted to hear them deliver their opinions in this house on a subject of such great and paramount importance.—The, right hon. gent. then proceeded in his argument to strew that no honourable acquittal could be given to ministers for the seizure of the Danish fleet, without fuller information, and that it was not a want of information, but something worse, that he chiefly complained of. He condemned severely the conduct of the right hon. seer. of state in withholding that sort of information which the house ought to have, and which was absolutely necessary. He never knew the house so contumaciously treated. Ministers put criminal intentions into their bill, but they could not and would not stand to that charge, neither could they charge collusion. He again condemned the expedition to Copenhagen, as a war of plunder, and declared, that the only way left for him, in his individual capacity to act, towards wiping out the stain inflicted on the country, was to avow publicly his sincere and pointed condemnation, and to express his heartfelt regret, at the measure that night under consideration.
§ Mr. Milnes
said, that after the discussion which took place on the subject on a former occasion, he had waited with some degree of curiosity to hear what line of argument would be adopted by the hon. gentlemen opposite on the present evening. He was not a little mortified, however, to find that they had advanced scarcely any thing new; that they were still attempting to assert the interests of every country in preference to those of England, and to give credit to the assurances of Buonaparte, while they omitted no opportunity of calling in question the Declarations of their own sovereign, or his ministers. There were, to be sure, some novel points; the right hon. gent. who brought forward the motion, had maintained that Denmark alone was able to resist the whole force of that power which had, with very few exceptions, laid every nation in Europe prostrate at its feet. One right hon. gentleman had reproached ministers for their shabby policy in not farther extending the calamities of war: and the right hon. gent. who spoke last, had told the house that he would rather have seen the Danish fleet in the hands of Buonaparte than moored in an English port. These were a few of the novelties with which the house Were to be compensated for the other stale topics that the hon. 296 gentlemen had urged in the course of their speeches. They had not, however, produced the effect of altering his opinion in the smallest degree. Much had been said upon the abstract principles of right and wrong; but those principles, it ought to be considered, were eternal acid immutable, nor could any information render an act just which was essentially unjust. It had been contended, that the measure now before the house, was wrong upon the face of it. But he would ask, if there was not something wrong on the face of a motion which required a disclosure of information confidentially communicated? He was as great. an advocate for the correct political morality of this country as any man; but if a thing was wrong in itself; no disclosure could make it right, however injurious that disclosure might be to the public service. The approbation of the hon. gentlemen would, at all events, be extremely difficult to be obtained; and certainly the risk of doing injury to the public interests should not be hazarded, in order to procure so precarious a benefit. Unanimity, however desirable, would be dearly purchased by public mischief. The present ministers had exalted themselves and the country; the late ministers had sunk themselves and the country. Was this a reason why the present ministers should be deprived of the confidence of parliament? He maintained, that no law of nature could be violated by the measures taken by us to ensure our own safety. It was the most flagitious of all descriptions of morality, that would allow the opportunity of self-preservation to pass by unimproved. He could not countenance the feelings that would spare Denmark to the destruction of Britain. He advised the hon. gentlemen, instead of bringing forward motions of this description, at once to propose a resolution that ministers had lost the confidence of parliament. In this opinion, he believed, they would find but a small proportion, either in the house or out of the house, to join them. They might, indeed, on the present question, find a few adherents from amongst some gentlemen who were generally supposed to think for themselves, or to have entrusted their opinions to a certain viscount, no longer a member of that house. [Here the hon. member was called to order.] But he had the satisfaction of thinking, that there would be a great majority against them, equally independent with those to whom he had now alluded.
reminded the hon. gent. who had just sat down, that it would have been more regular in him to have waited till the members, to whom he had just, alluded, had stated their sentiments upon the present question, and given him an opportunity of replying to what they advanced. Upon the speech of the right hon. secretary he had to observe, that he had endeavoured to draw the attention of the house from the question now before them, and to bring them back to one on which they had already come to a decision. The house, in its address to the king, had concurred in congratulating his majesty upon the success of the expedition, and this concurrence was obtained in an irregular way, and, as it were, by surprise. The question now before the house was altogether different, nor was he to be led away from it by all the arts of the right hon. secretary. Was it a light matter, that, after it had been stated in a Declaration given in the name of the king, that the secret arrangements at Tilsit had given rise to the attack upon Denmark, and that it was by sacking the port and arsenal of Copenhagen, that government had prevented the Danish fleet from falling into the power of Buonaparte, that no proofs should be given of the truth of these allegations? He contended, that if parliament failed to institute an enquiry into such circumstances, it would he wanting in its duty. It was pleaded, that it would be dangerous to disclose the proofs; but let not this argument of danger be pleaded generally; let ministers tell us why this or that specific paper cannot be granted. It was not necessary in granting any paper, that they should acquaint the house how they came by it. Parliament, he asserted, never had been placed in such a situation before. We were now at war with Denmark, and no communication had yet been made to that house of the grounds upon which his majesty had gone to war. The right hon. secretary would not surely plead, that it would be attended with greater danger, regularly to lay the documents before the house, than to stand up and read them in his place as he had done to night; and there was not a doubt that it was much more parliamentary that the house should be put in possession of the Papers themselves. If he was convinced that ministers had acted upon proper grounds, he should be the first to give them credit for what they had done; but he did not think it fair to entrap the 298 country into an approbation of their measures by flattering its cupidity. The language of ministers was, that they had atchieved a splendid enterprize, and therefore that every thing was right. He did not think that there could be the least objection to the production of any of the documents that had been moved for; and in his opinion the letters, extracts from which had been read, ought to be added to the number. The letter of Mr. Garlicke, for instance, stating the hostile mind of Denmark, was very important. It was important also for the house to know, upon what the opinion of that gentleman was founded, that, if the French were once in possession of Holstein, the island of Zealand must necessarily fall into their power; for a single transport with a few Danish troops escaping the vigilance of our cruisers, and passing from Jutland to Zealand, was no more an argument that a French army could pass, than a French privateer crossing unobserved from Boulogne to Dover, would be sufficient evidence to shew the practicability of an invasion of this country. The expedition to the Island of Madeira some years ago, had been cited as a case similar to the present, but he utterly denied that there was the smallest analogy between them. Portugal, said the right hon. secretary, was not then your enemy, but your ally, and if you could attack your ally, surely we might attack a power which we had every reason to suspect of entertaining hostile intentions against us. But the right hon. secretary seemed not to know, or at least to forget, that the expedition alluded to, was sent, not to attack, but to protect an ally at. a time when there were British troops in Portugal, to repel an actual invasion of French and Spanish troops. He could not help remarking however, that it was not a little singular, that ministers, while they withheld all information respecting the late expedition, had not the smallest scruple in disclosing all the secrets of' government for the last seven years.
Mr. John, Leslie Foster
differed from those gentlemen who seemed inclined to confine the question to the narrow grounds of any private information which ministers might have obtained, respecting the views of Denmark. Much stress had been laid by the gentlemen opposite, on the circumstance of ministers not having complied with the wish expressed for the production of the whole of the information which led theta to undertake the late expe- 299 dition against Copenhagen; but whatever might be the opinion of certain gentlemen as to the propriety of having more documents before the house on this subject, he certainly thought enough was known to justify the conduct of ministers. From the relative situation of France and Denmark, it must be evident to any person who looked at the question without prejudice, that Denmark could not resist the power and influence of Buonaparte, even if she were seriously disposed to preserve her neutrality; but he did not admit that Denmark was at the time firm in her resolution to oppose France, rather than depart from the line of policy which she had observed. Her disposition to hostility was manifested, according to his information more than once or twice against us. In the very streets of Copenhagen, a short time before our attack, an Englishman could not walk without the risk of being insulted, and told, that the policy of England had always been to shed the blood of others, in furtherance of her own interest exclusively. Combining this evidence of the public mind, obviously under French influence, with the conduct of Russia, what doubt could be entertained of an intention to form a hostile confederacy against the naval power and the independence of this country? Under such circumstances, and in the present degraded state of Europe, who that felt for the welfare and glory of the empire, but must acknowledge that ministers aught to have been impeached if they had suffered the enemy to plan and mature an hostile combination, which they had the means of dissipating. Surely it ill became those whose supineness had proved nearly ruinous to us; who had done nothing for the common cause, except sending a miserable subsidy to Prussia;—it ill became such men to be the accusers of the present administration. It ill became those, who, by their spiritless inactivity, had given rise to the fatal necessity, to carp at a measure, which was absolutely necessary to repair the mischiefs resulting from their misconduct. How could the house reconcile the conduct of those champions of morality and justice, and their professions of respect for the law of nations, with their attack on Alexandria? But they could not bear the contrast, and therefore they naturally attempted to question and vilify the brilliancy of an achievement which reflected disgrace on their own feeble expeditions. 300 It had been stated in the course of the debate, that both expeditions had been undertaken on the same ground; but if so, which he did not admit, certainly there was a wide difference as to the result, and, therefore the present ministers gained by the comparison. On the whole, he was firmly of opinion, that administration was entitled to the support and gratitude of the country.
§ Lord Palmerston
said, that after the very brilliant and unanswered speech of the right hon. the secretary of state, and the insufficiency of the reply from the other side, it would not be necessary for him to trouble the house at any great length on the subject then under discussion. He should set out with stating, that he conceived it improper to disclose the information which ministers had received on the subject, because their honour was pledged to preserve secrecy. In another point of view also, he conceived it improper to make the disclosure required, because it would, in all probability, destroy the future sources of information. But he asked gentlemen on the other side, what necessity existed for producing such documents and information as had been called for on that and on former nights? It might, perhaps, be necessary to exhibit them, if there was no other ground for justifying the attack on Denmark; but unquestionably, the present situation of Europe and the. degradation or vassalage of its sovereigns, offered, most unfortunately, too ready and solid a reason for the adoption of such a measure. Much had been said by a right hon. gent. (Mr. Windham) on the law of nations, on right and policy he was as ready and willing as any man to pay his tribute of respect to them, and to recommend their application whenever circumstances would permit it; he was afraid, however, that although much talked of, they were little understood; the consequence of which was, that many persons abused the terms, and took one for the other. In the present instance, he was glad to observe, that we did not suspend them without necessity, or, in other words, that we used them in conformity to the law of nature, which dictated and commanded self preservation. This was precisely a case in point; for, as was conceded by the right hon. mover, if Denmark had shewn or given any proof of hostility, directly or indirectly, against this country, then ministers would be justified in inflicting on her the heaviest punishment; 301 but surely, if the house just considered that Denmark was weak and France powerful, and in possession of the means of forcing her into a confederacy against us, under such circumstances could a shadow of doubt remain as to the object of the enemy being accomplished? When the conduct of France to other powers was considered, and the incapacity of Denmark to resist her, our success must be matter of exultation to every one who regarded the blessings of a free constitution. Did gentlemen on the other side of the house mean to say, that Buonaparte would, in the instance of Denmark, be restrained by a sense of justice and morality from perpetrating against her those aggressions and spoliations which had marked Iris character on the continent? Was it at the very time that his triumphant legions were returning to France, that. Denmark was to hope for an exemption from the calamities of war, if she refused to comply with the hostile intentions of Buonaparte; or could it be thought that such a season was the most unfit for carrying his rancorous designs into effect against us? But gentlemen would say, that as there was no official proof of such hostility on the table, therefore the assumption was too bold. Without, however, entering into the question of positive information, he would ask, whether it was not evidence against the Crown Prince, that he did not. attach himself to England, as he could not maintain his neutrality? He must be aware that the power of France would be exerted, if necessary, to compel him to enter into a confederacy against us, and yet he would not listen to any overture from this country for his security and protection. On this ground, therefore, namely, the weakness of Denmark, and the power of France to force her to become instrumental against Great Britain, he should give his vote and support to ministers on the present question.
felt great pain in differing from gentlemen, with whom he was in the habit of voting and acting; but he could not refrain from declaring his conviction of the propriety of the conduct which ministers had pursued with respect to Denmark. He looked not for any justification of the measure, but the weakness of Denmark and the determination of France to force her out of her neutrality. If he were asked, what evidence existed of such being the intention of the French government, lie should reply, by referring to the con- 302 duct of Buonaparte towards all other countries. In tracing him he could discover nothing but the violation of the neutrality of all nations, and a system of oppression and plunder. The manifest interest of France in engaging Denmark against us, left no room to doubt that she would exert all her power to effect her purpose; and for his part, he had no doubt of her proving successful, had not our expedition taken from the Danes the instruments with which he had resolved to strike the blow so long meditated. France never missed an opportunity of confederating against this country, whenever an opportunity offered of pushing her views either by force or influence. He could not, then, bring himself to believe, that France would forego the advantage of having the Danish marine to act against us. Under such circumstances, the house must feel that a paramount necessity existed to induce us to attack Denmark, which must inevitably have been leagued to extinguish our liberty and independence.
regretted extremely the necessity he was under of withdrawing his support from those with whom he was generally in the habit of voting; but in obedience to his feelings, and the dictates of his conscience, he was compelled to acknowledge, that, in his Opinion, there was enough before the house to justify the Conduct of ministers in the attack on Copenhagen. He concurred with the preceding speakers, that the weakness of Denmark, and the great power of France, must remove all doubt respecting the speedy submission and co-operation of the former against us. Hard, however, as the measure was, and greatly as he lamented it, yet he deemed it one of precaution and necessity, which he should vote for.
§ Mr. Whitbread
was sorry to differ from his hon. friends who had just sat down, as he certainly saw as little reason to vote with ministers on any other grounds as on those which they themselves had brought forward; particularly as those grounds consisted in garbled extracts of letters, which were neither fair to the writers nor the public. He wished to recal the attention of the house to the real subject of debate, which was not whether ministers were right or wrong in sending the expedition against Copenhagen, but whether they ought to produce letters, which they pretended they possessed, but which he did not believe ever existed. He would not give credit to such extracts produced 303 by a secretary of state, or regard them as authentic documents. Not that he accused them of forgery; but by the mode of giving a passage here and there, and one letter in three, the text might he as different from the context as light from darkness. With all the art of speaking, which he did not mean to deny to the right hon. secretary, and with which he had, in an able manner, managed the ' cause entrusted to him, and all the art with which he had used the papers unhappily entrusted to him, he had not made out the case of the necessity of an attack on Denmark, or that a single plank had been added to our security. He denied the position with which the right. hon. secretary had set out, namely, that the people of England entertained but one opinion on the subject of this expedition, till an indication of its being wrong was broached in parliament; but, if it were so, it was now full time they should be awakened from their delusion, and shewn that they had gained absolutely nothing by the shameful compromise of national honour. He really wished to know on what ground ministers were to be met; they shifted so there was no following them. They had fled from what they stated in the king's speech and declaration, and told us now, do not talk to us of the treaty of Tilsit; we knew the hostile mind of Denmark long before that.' He would shew that Denmark wished to preserve the strictest neutrality, and recommended to the house, if they wished to investigate the matter fully, to let Mr. Garlicke be called to the bar of the house, and say what he knew of the disposition of the Danish court. He surely was in no danger of being seized by Buonaparte. Let the whole of lord Hutchinson's letters be laid before the house. Let lord Granville Leveson Gower state what he knew of the disposition of Russia. It would be easy to prove that the words put into the sacred mouth of his majesty, were:not only morally, but physically impossible; for he was made to say, that the treaty of Tilsit was the cause, and that there was none anterior. [No! No! from ministers.] He would not argue with the learned chancellor of the exchequer on words. Did he mean to apply to this case his technical,terms and special pleading? Did he mean to address the house as a lawyer, or as a statesman, in which character he now appeared? Could he shew that his participation in this business became the Christian 304 defender of the Church: He doubted it much.—The hon. gent. then contended, that there could be no occasion for concealment, as France made every thing public, and that the expedition was not conceived prior to the battle of Fried land, from the circumstance of its having been acknowledged that part of that expedition was previously fitted out for another destination. He observed, that the armistice between France and Russia was only ratified on the 24th of June, and the two emperors met for the first time on the Niemen, on the 25th. On the 7th of July the treaty was signed. How was it possible, then, that the king's pleasure, as it is technically called, could have been taken on the expedition to Copenhagen on the 19th of July? Certainly, this could not have been done in consequence of any knowledge ministers could have had of the conferences at Tilsit. A noble lord, indeed, was represented to nave stated in another place, that information had been received through Portugal and Ireland, of the designs of the enemy, and this information, too, was received in time to take the king's pleasure on the 19th of July! Surely, when the noble lord said this, he entertained a sovereign contempt of time, space, and geography of every kind. A heavy charge had been made by Russia against this country, for not affording her any co-operation during the campaign in Poland. Now, was there any foundation for the reproaches of baron Budburg? Every body knew that. a force of 10 or 20,000 men, exposed as they must be to certain destruction, could never have averted the fatal battle of Friedland. But, if ministers were in possession of the secret articles in the Treaty of Tilsit, why did they not produce them? It had been said, that a hostile mind existed in Russia against this country. The lion. gent. asked ministers whether it was known to them that Russia was hostile to this country previous to the attack on Copenhagen? [Mr. Canning answered across the table, "Yes."] I am not, replied Mr. Whitbread, disposed to doubt that the right hon. gent. thinks what he says is true: but let that be proved. Frequent mention had been made of the inveterate hostility of France: but what else could be expected from France except hostility? The endeavour on the part of France to combine all the powers of Europe against us was no more unjustifiable, than the attempt of this country to form combinations against 305 France. It was, however, evident, that Russia was hostile to this country after the attack on Copenhagen; and, on that account, he contended it was a meanness in this country to ask a power so hostile to us to interfere for the purpose of making up the quarrel between us and Denmark. He was ready to admit the right hon. gent. had that night advanced strong reasons why an attack should not be made on Cronstadt. With respect to the value of the Danish ships, it was stated, in some accounts, that they were very good ships, because they stood the weather so well in coming hone. But it appeared, from admiral Gambier's account, it was necessary to repair some of them before they were put to sea. From the regularity and preparation in the Danish navy, an inference was drawn, that they were intended to be made use of against us. But it must appear, to any person who ever visited Copenhagen, that, for fifty years past, it had been the practice of the banes, a practice in which they prided themselves, to have their ships laid up in ordinary, in so complete a state of repair, that they could be fitted out in a very short time. But when we took the ships, we took the least efficient part of the Danish navy. We left behind 18,000 seamen, who would be ready to enter into the service of France; and France had ships enough for herself. The English had acted like shabby thieves. They took only one half of their booty. Why was not the French property at Copenhagen seized also? The only effect of the expedition was to arm the people of Denmark against us, and to shut us out from the 'Baltic; while Holland was entirely under the power of France, without the latter being at the expence of sending troops to conquer it. If the act in question was justified by necessity, he? was ready to-admit that it was justified in morality and in the sight of God. But it could not be justified. Ministers wanted to imitate the energy of France. But how did they do that? France had slain a giant, and then England must go and embrue her hands in the blood of an infant. The question now was, not whether the expedition was justifiable, but whether that house was bound to give credit to the assertions of his majesty's ministers, and whether it ought not to require further information?
Lord G. L. Gower,
as he had been so particularly alluded to, felt himself called on to say a few words in explanation to 306 the house. He begged leave totally to differ from those hon. members who had asserted, that the hostile spirit of Russia arose in consequence of the attack on Copenhagen, but said, that it was a consequence of the pressure of the French, after the defeat at Friedland; for if his Imperial majesty could be obliged by that defeat to abandon Prussia, which, four days before, he had pledged himself never to do, it was hardly to be expected he would continue very friendly to the interests of England. In six hours after his imperial majesty's return to Petersburgh, the very first person to whom he gave audience was his Minister of Marine: the very first place he visited, was Cronstadt, and the first directions he gave, were for the equipment of the fleet, and the repair of the fortifications in that place, and this some time before the attack on Copenhagen took place. The noble lord remarked, that many persons in this country seemed to be of opinion that the expedition to Copenhagen was generally execrated on the continent. He could assure them, however, in so far as his experience went, that the contrary was the case, particularly in Russia. A great majority of the persons of consequence in that country rejoiced at the event which took place at Copenhagen, and those consisted not merely of what was called the English party, but others, who thought that Russia ought not to have entered into a war with France, and seemed to wish to insulate their country from the rest of Europe. These persons saw with alarm a French army in Poland, and another on the frontiers of Turkey, and they were happy at the check which the expedition to the Baltic gave to the views of Buonaparte, for they dreaded his hostility through Denmark. The noble lord also pointed out the inconvenience arising from the publication of what passed between his majesty's ministers and the governments of other countries. Foreign ministers had frequently expressed an unwillingness to communicate freely with him, because they did not know but that what they stated might, perhaps, in the course of a year, be made public.
contended, that ministers were not bound to lay before parliament all the information on which his majesty's Declaration had been founded. The hon. gent. had dwelt much upon the circumstance of his majesty's pleasure being taken on the expedition to Copen- 307 hagen on the 19th of July. The fact, however, was, that what passed on that day related only to sending a force to the Baltic, in order to ascertain the disposition of Denmark; the final instructions to attack were sent out afterwards. The hen. gent. admitted that France had the disposition to seize the Danish navy, and the only question was the disposition of Denmark, which must be judged of from circumstances. The Court of Portugal had given repeated information, that the demand of France was, that the Portuguese navy should be joined to the other navies of the continent by the 1st of September. Besides this fact, he wished to call the attention of the house to what had passed at one of Buonaparte's levees: in one of those extraordinary conversations in which that person was accustomed to indulge himself with foreign ambassadors, he addressed himself to the Portuguese minister, and asked him, whether he had transmitted to his court the demand that the navy of Portugal should be ready to unite with the other navies of Europe against England on the 1st of September.? Having said this, he immediately turned round to the Danish minister, and asked him whether he had made the same communication to his court.—The noble lord, in answer to the charge that ministers had not gone tar enough, observed, that after it was found that Denmark could not be brought to any amicable arrangement, the practicability of holding Zealand as a military station was taken into consideration. But the reports of the officers, who had been desired to direct their attention to this subject, proved that the force necessary for the defence of that island was far greater than this country could spare in the state of military poverty in w inch the former administration had left us. It was also thought that it would have been improper to advise his Swedish majesty to furnish for this purpose a detachment from his army, to make up the deficiency of ours, as the removal of that force would have weakened Sweden too much, in the event of an attack from Russia. It was also proved from the report of admiral Keats, on the probability of the enemy transporting a force from Holstein to Zealand, that it would be impossible to keep up a blockade in the winter months sufficientiy close to prevent that communication. The noble lord then proceeded to show that the designs of the late administration against Portugal were of a nature 308 perfectly similar to the Copenhagen expedition, and had infinitely less of the plea of necessity to justify them.
§ Mr. T. Grenville
complained of the constant practice of introducing, collaterally, charges against the late administration. He thought, after what had passed the other day, that this practice would have been refrained from. The attack upon Turkey, in a period of peace, had been alluded to, though the secretary of state must have known that the orders given by the last administration were precisely the contrary of attacking the Porte during peace. On this subject, and on the Lisbon expedition, which had been also alluded to, there was nothing which the late administration so much desired as investigation.
Mr. S. R. Lushington
took a view of the whole of the transactions relative to Russia and Denmark, and then proceeded thus:—In applying, sir, the laws of nations to the conduct of G. Britain towards Denmark, the gentlemen on the opposite side of the house seem desirous of establishing a code of their own, separate from that law of nature, which, according to the best writers, is the very foundation of all the laws of nations. Their sentimental system would embrace all nations but their own. These ingenious disquisitions may be well calculated for the amusement of the schools, but they are not fitted for the events of real life, or a state of ferocious war. Sir, the first law of nature, the foundation of the law of nations, is the preservation of man. It is on the knowledge of his nature, that the science of his duty must be founded. When the feelings point out to him a mighty danger, and his reason suggests the means of avoiding it, he must despise the sophistical trifler, who tells him it is a moral duty he owes to others to wait till the danger break upon his foolish head, lest he should hurt the meditated instrument of his destruction. Upon this general principle of the law of nature and of nations, I maintain the morality, and certainly the necessity of the Expedition against Copenhagen. In applying this general principle to the state of Denmark, we shall find that it derives particular force from her past conduct. It may suit the purpose the Moniteur to represent Denmark as enjoying a moral dignity in the circle of nations, and to insist that G. Britain had a sufficient guarantee in the sincere neutrality of Denmark, and in the cordiality of her 309 attachment to England. I would ask, sir, whether it was a proof of the moral dignity of Denmark to attack the neutral state of Hamburgh, or of her neutrality to shut that port against the commerce of Great Britain, or a token of her attachment to us to originate and support a confederacy, having for its avowed object, the destruction of that maritime law which we conceive indispensable to our existence as an independent nation? All these circumstances, and those stated with such unanswerable truth, and matchless eloquence, by the right hon. the secretary for foreign affairs, justified his majesty's ministers in expecting similar demonstrations of the will and the power of Denmark, whenever the mandate and the alliance of France should promise her protection in them. I rejoice, sir, in the wisdom of those councils which has anticipated and has averted this danger. But I am astonished that any man in this house, or in any other, should doubt the reality of that danger, when he: recollects, that in confirmation of all the other evidence I have stated, the Prince of Portugal has been driven from his dominions, because he would not join in that confederacy with France, Russia, and Denmark. With this impression, sir, of the conduct of ministers, I am thankful to them for the great service they have rendered to the state, and they may be assured that this feeling is general throughout the country. Let them proceed in the course they have already pursued, let them face unappalled the unnatural combination which is gathered around us, relying that the spirit of the people of Eng-will keep pace with the energy of the government.
§ Sir C. Price
regarded the Copenhagen expedition not only as just and necessary, but as wisely planned, and gloriously executed.
§ Mr. Davies Giddy
was sorry the information on which ministers had acted could not be laid before the house. However, as that was the case, he thought himself bound to acquiesce in the concealment which the government thought necessary.
rose to reply. He remarked, that all he had asked for was information, and that all the answer he got to that request, was details respecting expeditions to Alexandria, the Dardanelles, and Lisbon, in order to prove some supposed misconduct in a former administration. The right hon. secretary had read extracts to prove the hostility of Denmark, but to this 310 he objected, on the wholesome principle, sanctioned by courts of justice, which was, that when you propose to read a document in your defence, you must wad the whole of it, for if you were permitted to read extracts only, it was probable that you Would read nothing but what was favourable to yourself, and that you would omit all that was against you.—He complained that the right hon. secretary had accused him of justifying Bnonaparte. All the compliment he paid to France was to compare her conduct with that of the servants of the crown in this expedition. While the right hon. secretary talked so much of the morality of others, he ought to take care of his own. He had said that his majesty was disposed to wait for the operation of the thinking part of the Russian community, rather than, in the first instance, to resort to measures winch might have a result more disagreeable to that monarch. This looked like intimating, that he was, from his discontented subjects, to meet the fate of his father. [a cry of no! no!] if such Were not the meaning of the right hon. secretary, he hoped that more care would in. future be taken in the words employed.
§ At half past five (on Thursday morning) the house divided, when the numbers were,
|For Mr. Ponsonby's Motion||108|
|List of the Minority.|
|Abercromby, hon.J.||Dundas, W.|
|Adam' W.||Dundas, C.|
|Agar, E. A.||Dundas,|
|Althorpe, viscount||Ebrington, lord|
|Antoine, W. L.||Eden, W.|
|Anson, G.||Elliot, W.|
|Bathurst, C.||Estcourt, T.|
|Brand, T.||Ferguson, general|
|Bradshaw' C.||Eitzgerald, lord H|
|Bruce, P. C.||Fitzpatrick, R.|
|Burdett, sir F.||Frankland, W.|
|Byng, G.||Grattan, H.|
|Calcraft, sir G.||Grenville, T.|
|Calcraft, J.||Greenhill, Robert|
|Campbell, lord J.||Grenfell, Pascoe|
|Cavendish, lord G.||Halsey, J.|
|Campbell, J.||Hamilton, lord A.|
|Cavendish, W.||Herbert, H. A.|
|Cavendish, G.||Hibbert, G.|
|Co!bourne, Sedley||Horner, F.|
|? Combe, H. C.||Howard, H.|
|Creevy, T.||Howard, W.|
|Cuthbert, J. R.||Hunt, Robert|
|Jekyll, Joseph||Petty, lord H.|
|Knapp, Geo.||Piggott, sir A.|
|Knox, Tho.||Poole, sir C. M.|
|Laing, Malcolm||Pollington, vise.|
|Lambe, W.||Ponsonby, G.|
|Lambton, Ralph||Ponsonby, H. G.|
|Lawrence, French||Priitie, F. A.|
|Leach, John||Pym, Francis|
|Lefevre, C. Shaw||Romilly, sir S.|
|Lloyd, J. M.||Russell, lord W.|
|Macdonald, James||Scudamore, R. P.|
|Haddocks, W. A.||Sharp, Richard|
|Mahon, viscount||Shelley, Timothy|
|Markham, admiral||Sheridan, R. B.|
|Martin, Henry||Smith, John '|
|.Mathew, M.||Smith, W.|
|Mule, Wm.||Stanley, lord|
|Milbank, sir Ralph||Taylor, M. A.|
|Miller, sir Tho.||Temple, earl|
|Milton, viscount||Templeton, vis.|
|Moore, Peter-||Thompson, Thomas|
|Morpetb, Viscount||Thornton, Henry|
|Moseley, sir O.||Tierney, G.|
|Mostyn, sir Thomas||Vernor, G. G. V.|
|Neville, P.||Walpole, 0.|
|Newport., sir John||Ward, J. W.|
|North, Dudley||Western, C. C.|
|Ord, William||Wharton, John|
|Ossulston, lord||Whitbread, Sam.|
|Parnell, Henry||Wilder, Fr. John|
|Peirse, Henry||Williams, Owen|
|Pelham, C. A.||Windham, W.|