HC Deb 28 January 1808 vol 10 cc164-84
Lord Castlereagh

rose, pursuant to notice, to call the attention of the house to the late services of his maty's army and navy in the Baltic. Whatever difference of opinion there might be as to the political character of the Expedition in this house, he flattered himself that no difference would exist on the proposition he was about to submit. It had always been the custom to consider the services rendered by his majesty's army and navy in carrying into effect the orders with which they were entrusted, distinctly and separately from the merits of the policy by which his majesty's ministers were actuated in issuing those orders. This being the established custom, he should certainly not be the first to deviate from so wise and proper a practice. It was a justice due to the army and the navy, who were never called upon to decide as to the propriety or impropriety, nor to mix their conduct with that of those by whose impulse they acted, and who alone were responsible for the prudence, justice, wisdom, and policy of the plans they directed to be carried into execution. It was, therefore, due to the army and navy to look only to the execution, which was the distinct service that fell to their charge. But it was not to the army and navy alone that this distinct consideration now was a point of justice, but also to the gentlemen in the house who might differ from his majesty's ministers as to the propriety of the plans that might be carried into effect. Those gentlemen would naturally wish to bear testimony, as warmly as any others. to the meritorious conduct of his majesty's army and navy; but they would find difficulty in doing so with satisfaction, if the merits of the army and the navy were not submitted in a shape wholly distinct from the conduct of ministers. The only question that could be entertained on the particular service for which he proposed to ask the thanks of the house was, whether, taking the whole character of the achievement, the difficulties that were overcome, and the manner of surmounting them, the conduct of the army and navy in the whole of the proceedings was such, as to call for the greatest reward a grateful nation could bestow—the thanks of the country by the organ of its representative body. He submitted this motion, with a full consideration of the jealousy with which parliament ought always to guard against giving the distinguished sanction of its approbation to services, not of an amount sufficient to entitle them to this high reward. With respect to the nature and amount of the service performed at Copenhagen, there could be but one opinion as to its being of the highest importance. Whether the magnitude of the object that called forth the exertion, the extent of the means employed, or the result of the enterprise was considered, there would hardly be found in the history of this country, an enterprise in which the exertion of naval and military skill and power had been put forth with so much energy and effect. He allowed the exceptions which the hon. gentlemen opposite had to the expedition, in a moral and political point of view, might in their eyes take from the value of the service rendered to the country. But, so large a naval force not only rescued from the hands of the enemy, but added to our own naval power, could not surely be considered in any other light than as an accession of strength that called for a just tribute of approbation and acknowledgment to those by whom it was obtained. It was a more natural question to examine whether the difficulties opposed to our force were of such a nature and amount as to constitute a claim to a very high degree of credit for having overcome them, and on this head he conceived that he observed a sort of scepticism on the other side, and to some, though not any considerable extent, out of doors. It was argued by those persons, that the operation had been so easy, so simple, so little attended with opposition or difficulty, that the army and navy were not entitled for its accomplishment, to that mode of thanks which, on other occasions, it was usual to bestow on them. He, however, knew well, that there had been difficulties of very serious magnitude to overcome. It was certain, that his majesty's ministers, when they had been determined on the painful duty of undertaking this expedition, at a very critical conjuncture, had at the same time, felt it incumbent on them to prepare such a force, as, by taking away all hope of effectual resistance, would force Denmark to a quiet submission to the demands made in his majesty's name, or enforce compliance, with the least possible loss to his majesty's forces and to the Danes, whose blood it was equally a matter of desire and of feeling to spare. On this principle, the force that was already in the Baltic for the purpose of co-operating with the king of Sweden, was ordered to meet the force that was sent directly from this country, and never, certainly, did a more efficient army appear in any part of the world to assert the cause of this country. Now, as to the opposition this army had to encounter, it was a false notion that Denmark was wholly unprepared to resist on the side of Zealand. It was not the fact, that the whole military force of Denmark was collected in Holstein. From the best inquiry, it had been ascertained, that exclusive of the citizens and peasants who formed irregular corps, there were not less than 35,000 men who had been trained and accustomed to bear arms in the service of the king of Denmark, including regular and militia forces, seamen and marines. The garrison of Copenhagen was 15,000, that of Cronenburg 4,000, and the force in the country, attacked and dispersed by sir Arthur Wellesley, was 16,000, making altogether 35,000. This force was always open to increase by reinforcements from the other islands. The Belt could not be always sufficiently guarded to prevent such reinforcements from being thrown in, and they had, in fact, been thrown in to some amount. The town of Copenhagen, so far as its extent admitted, was equal to any fortress, and from the nature of the works by which it was surrounded was incapable of surprise. The works towards the sea were, in fact, invulnerable; and on the land side, the nature of the ditch rendered it extremely difficult and dangerous, if not impossible to approach. These difficulties were not to be estimated at nought, though they ultimately gave way to a bombardment, against which it was, impossible to hold out. With respect to the time in which the service was accomplished, it was of the utmost importance that every expedition should be used; and when gentlemen considered the difficulty of landing, and bringing up heavy ordnance to the extremity of a line which extended four miles from the landing place, and when it was considered, that the whole of this difficult and arduous and important preparation was completed between the 18th of August and the 2d of Sept. when the town was summoned to surrender, the zeal and diligence with which this part of the service had teen executed would be found deserving of the highest commendation. The disposition on which the British commanders had acted, was evinced in the summons sent when they were ready to commence the bombardment. It was certainly right, that no desultory attacks should be allowed, till the great operations, which could not be resisted, were arranged: except mere engagements of defence, no other actions had taken place before the grand attack. The most favourable conditions were offered, and it was not till the Danes refused to come to any terms, that a single gun was fired. No one lamented more than he did the fatal effects of the attack; but if the place was to be reduced at all, the mode of effecting that object that had been resorted to was certainly the best. A regular siege would have been attended with more loss on the part of the British, as well as of the Danes. Nothing but the smallness of the loss sustained by the British could be pleaded in diminution of the success obtained by the British. This arose, not from any want of means on the part of the enemy to do injury. The killed and wounded on our part were no more than 300 men. But the small loss sustained was a circumstance to add to, rather than to take from, the merit of our commanders. When the whole character of the transaction, the number of men the enemy had in arms, their facilities of receiving reinforcements, the difficulty of reducing so large a place at so late a period of the year, and the impossibility of effecting the reduction by any other sort of attack than that described; when all these things were considered, he had no hesitation to say, that the army and navy had atchieved a service as great as any that had ever been performed by a British force; they had atchieved that service in the most effectual manner, and the humanity and generosity which distinguished the whole of their conduct, both in hostility and in victory, shed a fresh lustre over their glory. On this last point certainly there could be but one opinion, both within doors and without.—Having thus far endeavoured to do justice to the merits of the army, he should not satisfy his feelings if he did not do a similar justice to the other departments. It was not usual for parliament to take notice of the merits of the departments that were concerned in the outfit of expeditions; and the persons employed in those departments were as little disposed to take merit to themselves. The time at which the expedition was sent out, and the effectual manner in which every part of the preparation, naval and military was brought in aid of the object, called for a share of acknowledgment to all the co-operators. If it was wise to undertake the expedition at all, it was doubly incumbent to lose no time. Delay would have increased the difficulty and the eventual loss to this country and to the Danes. There was not only the risque of the Danes drawing their army from Holstein to Zealand, but the French army of 40,000 men, under the command of marshal Bernadotte, then on the frontiers of that province, made no secret of its destination.—A considerable British force was already prepared for service on the continent; but it was necessary, in altering the destination, to make a material change in the equipment of this force, by furnishing it, with the means of carrying on a siege. A large number of transports were collected, but their destination was to be altered. An ordnance train, the largest ever sent from this country, was to be prepared and embarked. All these preparations were made between the 19th July, when his majesty's ministers, having shortly before received the information which determined them, took his majesty's pleasure as to the propriety of the expedition and issued their orders accordingly, to the 30th of the same month, when the expedition sailed, completely prepared and equipped in every matter essential to a fleet and army. It was certainly in a great measure owing to the exertions of the Transport and Victualling Boards, and the Board of ordnance, that a British force of 25,000 men was assembled ready to act in the Baltic before the middle of August.—Having thus pointed out the military merits of the enterprise, and the useful co-operation of the public boards, he submitted to the house, whether a great injustice would not be done if those merits were not acknowledged, whatever doubts some might entertain of the moral justice and good policy of the enterprise. He could not think of the magnitude of the result without being satisfied, that the service called for the acknowledgment of parliament. If the navy had not done so much as the army, yet he had no hesitation to say, that though it was not prudent to bring the men of war to act directly against the formidable defences of Copenhagen towards the sea, they had rendered the most important service in checking the small craft, that would otherwise have annoyed the flank of the British army, impeded its operations, and added much to the loss of men. Certainly, never was greater exertion displayed in the equipment of a navy, than was exhibited by the British seamen at Copenhagen, in fitting out 18 sail of the line, besides frigates and smaller vessels, in six weeks. It was true, these ships were in a higher state of preservation than was usual for ships lying in ordinary, and such as to indicate an appearance of preparation for active service, but there was yet much to be done in the way of equipment. The noble lord concluded with moving, "That the thanks of the house be given to lieut. general the right hon. lord viscount Cathcart, knight of the most ancient order of the Thistle, commander of his majesty's forces in the north of Europe, for the judicious and decisive measures, which, after exhausting every means of negotiation, were employed by him for effectuating the surrender of the Danish Navy and Arsenal of Copenhagen. "The Resolution being read from. the chair,

Mr. Windham,

notwithstanding the distinction taken by the noble lord, felt himself under the disagreeable necessity of opposing the present motion; and if such had been his opinion before, certainly nothing that had been said by the noble lord could have the effect of altering his determination. It was unpleasant to object to a motion of this kind, because the party principally interested was brought before the house by no fault of its own. It was unpleasant to object to what was asked in their name, though not by them. It was unpleasant also, because there was an idea that where praise was withheld there was an intention to cast blame. Certainly, here there was no room for any such construction as that, for he subscribed most heartily and chearfully to all that had been said of the meritorious conduct of the army and navy in all that had been done; they had done all that men ought to do. The moderation and temper with which they had conducted themselves, served to mitigate the harshness of the enterprise on which they were employed. It was certainly right to keep the merits of the army and navy distinct from the merits or demerits of ministers; and to separate the consideration of the orders from that of the execution. But it was not so easy to separate and keep distinct the nature and character of the service. The nature of the service was always one of the indispensable rules by which public gratitude was measured. In all military annals, there were instances of as great personal merit in the minutest actions, as in operations on the largest scale; in single ships, in luggers and schooners, in packets even, as there was lately a brilliant example, above all, in actions of boats. In all these cases there was as much courage, as much zeal, as much heroism, as much true contempt of death as in the engagements of great fleets and armies; yet these cases were not considered of sufficient magnitude to call for the thanks of parliament. It was also beyond a question, that there was greater merit in effecting a judicious retreat before a superior enemy, than in hazarding a battle under every prospect of defeat. The sanction of the approbation of parliament would be particularly called for in such a case to rescue merit from ignorant censure. Success was no criterion in point of justice, but in point of practice it was; and it was only as the emanation of national exultation, upon great success and great public service, that the thanks of parliament ought properly to be regarded. We should be able to say, 'this is a subject on which every heart gives a loose to joy; this is the expression of the general feeling, and the triumph is made manifest by the grateful acknowledgments of the legislature.' But who could say that the present was a case in which every heart exulted? This was not a case similar to that in which British troops had conquered the conquerors of the world; where those who had assumed the title of invincible were met without any advantage of numbers, man to man, and yielded to the superiority of British prowess. That, indeed, was a triumph on which every British bosom exulted; that was a triumph worth fifty navies of Denmark. But this was not the feeling on which his majesty's ministers acted, any more than those self-erected tribunals, formed probably at first upon good intentions, but threatening to become in the end a most serious mischief to the country,—who while they think but little of Battles of Maida, the sources only of national glory, know no bounds to their exultation on any measures which promise to open a source of commercial speculation; who set themselves up, not merely as the rivals, but as the opponents, of the king's tribunals; who acquit where those condemn; who cry up to the skies those whom the others have pronounced to be offenders; who set at nought the rules by which his majesty means his service to be governed; who teach an officer to say, 'no matter what my profession thinks or what the king's courts decide, I have other resources to trust to, I have other cards in hand; 'King loses, Knave wins;' If I am a culprit at Portsmouth, I may still be what is much better, a hero at Lloyds.' The noble lord was, no doubt, thoroughly satisfied of the general exultation of the country, at the success of the expedition; but the pain he afterwards expressed himself to have felt arrested his assertion, and did more justice to his disposition and principles. If pain was to make part of the sensations excited, the joy could not be very complete. It was rot in fact, nor ought to be, that unmixed effusion which we witness in the country on any of those occasions which really and truly and as it were by acclamation, call forth the thanks of this house, but that sort of sober, chastised, subdued joy, if joy was to be felt at all, which a father would feel on hearing that his son's life was safe, but saved by an operation which was to leave him a sufferer and a cripple all the rest of his days. It was not in this state of mind, nor for successes of this description, that a nation indulged in public rejoicings, or poured forth its acknowledgments to those by whom these successes had been obtained, however meritorious, individually, their conduct might have been. National thanks implied national rejoicing; and national rejoicing did not belong to the present occasion. It was on this principle that he heard with pain and disgust the firing of the Park and Tower guns, on the day when the news arrived. It was a call for exultation on an occasion, where sorrow for the necessity of using force, and sympathy for the sufferings brought upon the Danes, was in the mouths of his majesty's ministers, and in the hearts of the British people. It was not merely a want of propriety that was to be complained of in such an injudicious demonstration, but want of policy, as we might yet have to suffer a severe penalty from the wrath of an exasperated people. However strikingly meritorious, therefore, the conduct of the army and navy might have been, they must have been content, on this as on so many other occasions, to remain without that last and highest reward, the thanks of this house. If neither the practice nor policy of the country would admit of such reward being given in the present instance, if according to the practice, generally, if not invariably observed, such an expression of the public gratitude would imply sentiments, which the country neither did nor ought to feel, and which it would be in the highest degree injurious both to its character and to its interests, to be supposed to feel, the army and navy could not complain, though a reward was with- held, which they themselves must be conscious of having equally deserved, as far as their own merit was concerned, in a thousand instances where yet it was never at all in their contemplation. All this, supposing the service to be of as high a character as he had been hitherto willing to take for granted; but he was prepared to go the length of saying, that as a mere military and naval proceeding, the service was not one entitled to the thanks of the house. The army and navy did all they could; but what was done did not deserve the thanks of the house. The noble lord was checked at times in the merit he was dealing out to the army and navy, lest he should take too much from himself and his colleagues: on the other hand, he did not well know how to praise himself and them, without cutting up the foundation of what he was to say of the two services. He was at a loss whether to take it in meal or in malt. Then the noble lord seemed to think the glory belonged to the transport and victualling boards, and thus while these boards did the service the army and navy were thanked. The fitting out and bringing away ships was certainly a service, but it was a service of labour, such as might be performed at Portsmouth or Plymouth, as well as at Copenhagen. At this rate, public thanks and rewards might be given at one end of an expedition as well as at the other, at the out-fit not less than at the conclusion. Yet he had never heard of a commissioner of a dock-yard who had been made a peer; nor of a master attendant who had a red ribband. In other cases, the titles of the honoured commanders had been taken from the scene of action; such were the titles of earl St. Vincent, lord Nelson of the Nile, and lord Duncan of Camperdown. Was a similar reference to be made in the case in question, the title might perhaps be appropriate enough, Copenhagen seeming to signify, according to its etymology, "the harbour of merchants and traders," but he did not conceive that any one would be much disposed to contend, that the assumption would be very desirable in the present instance. A yet stronger criterion was the omission of what had been usual on all occasions to which this pretended to be similar, the striking a medal to commemorate the service. In the name of ridicule and common sense, what would have been the emblems that such a medal must have contained? Instead of masts falling, ships exploding, actions yard-arm and yard-arm, we must have had nothing but men employed in rolling tar barrels, or working cranes, packages of hemp, lighters and wherries with spars in tow; a scene, in short, for Tower wharf or the West India docks.—The noble lord said, ithad not been judged prudent to bring the British fleet to act against the batteries of Copenhagen, and that was the reason why the ships were not more actively employed; then came the commissioners of victualling, then the extraordinary preparation to prevent the Danes from being prepared to meet us with adequate resistance, then the great amount of the Danish preparations, and then the merit of the Transport Board. Thus, what the noble lord gave with one hand he took away with the other. Government sent a force sufficient to render resistance unavailing; and in this principle they were right; then came the difficulties to be conquered and the resistance which it was such a merit to have overcame. Then the noble lord said a force had been collected which was sufficient to render success difficult and doubtful, and this laid the foundation for a compliment to the skill of the commander. It was not to be doubted, that the zeal of the Danish inhabitants led them to do every thing that could be expected from them: but they were not a force of such a description, as an officer bred to regular warfare would take credit to himself for having overcome. He thought it a thing to be deprecated that in the midst of the services every day passing, any glory should be taken from the reduction of Copenhagen. The fact was, the city was reduced by the distress brought on it by the bombardment. He did not condemn the bombardment as a means of reducing the town, if the town was to be reduced, but he did not think it a foundation on which to build a structure of glory.—On these grounds, considering the question as entirely distinct from the conduct of his majesty's ministers, he did not think the service deserving the thanks of the house. To bestow such a reward where it was not deserved, was to undervalue and degrade the reward itself. It would have the effect of diminishing the estimation of it, where it had been already given, and to sink the ambition to seek it in future. He again lamented the marks of exultation so improperly displayed, by way of contrast, he supposed, to the actual sorrow that prevailed. He also lamented, however high his personal respect for the individuals, the grant of the peerage to lord Cathcart and lord Gambier. He had the pleasure of knowing and living in some degree on terms of friendly intercourse with both, and had a high esteem for their characters, both in their profession and out of it. Lord Cathcart was a soldier, the son of a soldier, and the father of soldiers, and had served meritoriously in the army ever since the American war; and lord Gambier, though but little employed for many years in active service at sea, was remembered as a sharer in the memorable victory of lord Howe on the 1st of June, and as having contrived to distinguish himself, so far as a single captain could, in that distinguished action. Still he thought the services performed by them on this occasion did not warrant that exertion of the prerogative in their favour, and he highly blamed his majesty's ministers for advising their sovereign to grant these honours, and for proposing these thanks. If any thing should be kept distinct from party feeling, it was the granting of these naval and military rewards, without any other motive than the consideration of mere military merit. Would the honours bestowed on these officers acquit the noble lord of the censure that would attach to the nature of the expedition? Would it not rather be concluded, that being granted with that view, they only served to aggravate the greater and weightier offence which had been already committed? This sort of grant was an instance of the worst species of ministerial corruption, in as much as it went to the destruction of that fund of honorary rewards, in which the poorest man in the country, if the case were properly explained to him, or even without any explanation, on the pure impulse of feeling, would be sensible that his interest was more materially involved and affected, than in the most wasteful expenditure of the produce of the taxes. A pension if unworthily bestowed on one, would remain a recompence of no less value for another; but a title of honour, or a vote of thanks, would sink in value, both as to the past and the future, upon every misapplication that the granting of either was subjected to. The house was now called upon by lavishing rewards to cast a false lustre on an act of doubtful justice and policy; it was hoped that this vote would have an effect, not unlike, in its principle though opposite in its operation, to those forfeitures of ho- nours, and apparently increased severity in punishment, which, in former times, were devised to cast an additional horror on crimes. But the nature of the stratagem would be canvassed and exposed, and the public would join him in thinking such distinction a shame rather than an honour. It would be like the case of a worthy baronet (sir Brooke Watson) late a member of that house, who having to go in the city-pageant on lord mayor's day, and being asked what he intended to do with his wooden leg, answered, with great good humour, that he meant to gild it. While there seemed, in fact, a sort of propriety, that in the midst of so much splendour nothing so plain should appear as an ordinary wooden leg, it would on the other hand have been supremely ludicrous, to set off ostentatiously what it must be wished to conceal, to decorate a defect, to attract attention and notice to what could he regarded only with regret and pain. This was exactly, however, what his majesty's ministers were doing? They were gilding their wooden leg, and exposing it to public mockery, by endeavouring to get a false honour for themselves, at the expence of the hon. commanders. The service performed was not such as to merit the honour or the thanks: and therefore, he, acting on the same principle on which he declined moving a vote of thanks for the capture of the Cape of Good Hope, protested against the misapplication of a most sacred trust, whirr ought never to be exercised without the greatest circumspection, and which would be soon destroyed if exercised inconsiderately or improperly.

Mr. Brand

declined entering at all upon the merits of the service, in which that part of the army and navy had been employed, to which it was proposed to vote the thanks of the house, but he deprecated the coming to a resolution, which would preclude the house from afterwards coming to a decision upon the policy of the expedition. One of the grounds on which the expedition was justified, was the alleged weakness of Denmark to defend herself had she been attacked by France, and he conceived, that it would be altogether inconsistent to pass a vote of thanks for a service which derived its principal importance from the degree of resistance which those employed in it had to encounter.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that the motion now before the house, would by no means have the effect pre- tended by the hon gent., and that it neither entered into the contemplation of his noble friend, who proposed, nor of the right hon. gent. who opposed the resolution, that it in any way pledged the house to an opinion upon the merit or demerit of those who planned the expedition. He wished that that right hon. gent. had so discussed the question immediately before the house, as not at least to afford strong grounds of suspicion, that his mind was very much prejudiced upon the question not now before them. He would not however, be tempted by any thing that had fallen from the right hon. gent. to transgress the limits of the present question, not even to reply to the charge, that ministers had planned the expedition from no other than the paltry motive of keeping their places; the solidity and justice of which he should leave with the cool judgment of the house, and the cool judgment of the right hon. gent. himself. What he meant now to observe was, that the reasoning of the rt. hon. gent., if corroborated by the decision of the house, would be extremely prejudicial to the public service. He seemed to be of opinion that no service was entitled to the thanks of parliament, except it was the cause of a general and triumphant feeling, compleatly unmixed with any regret, and that there could be no merit, under any circumstances, either in a retreat or defeat, to entitle it to such an honour. He begged leave, in opposition to this doctrine, to remind the right hon. gent. that adm. Cornwallis received the thanks of the house for the judgment and bravery which he displayed in presence of a superior force, when no engagement, and consequently no victory, took place. The thanks of the house had also been voted to the governors of Madras and Bombay, for their activity in forwarding the views of the governor general of Bengal. When lord Hood took possession of Corsica, unaccompanied with any of the circumstances which the right hon. gent. had contended were necessary to the establishment of such a claim, he had received the same mark of approbation. The very circumstance of the service in question being painful to the feelings of those employed in it, he considered as an additional reason why it should not pass unrewarded, and if any thing more than another could add to the merit of the officers employed in the expedition against Copenhagen, it was their having obtained a cheap and bloodless victory, in com- parison of what it would have been had they battered and stormed the town, in which case, perhaps the right hon. gent. would have had no objection to their receiving the thanks of parliament. For his part, he conceived that their conduct was highly meritorious for its temper and moderation. At the same time, they had taken care not to hazard the object they had in view. The right hon. gent. appeared also to think, that nothing had been done by the navy, and that if the thanks of the house were voted to the army, at least they ought not to be voted to the navy. Could a single instance be found of a conjunct expedition, in which because one description of force did only all that it could do, the thanks of parliament where withheld from it? Even when the navy had only landed the troops in Egypt for instance, in which although the navy certainly made excellent arrangements for the disembarkation of the army, yet by the latter the victory was won, for which the thanks of parliament were voted to both. He hoped the house would make no distinction between the services. He hoped the house would separate the present question from the question of the policy of the measure. He hoped the house would not refuse their thanks to the officers engaged in this expedition, because they had executed a painful and heart-breaking duty. (A cry of hear! hear!) He repeated, that it certainly was a painful and heart-breaking duty. He had never contemplated the subject, either before or since the expedition had taken effect, but as a most painful duty. Still, however, it was a duty. It had been performed with as little injury to the power attacked as possible. The question was, whether the house would refuse their approbation to officers, who had rendered a most important service to the nation, by diminishing that force, which, but for their exertions, would probably, ere this, have been joined with the enemy in the invasion of this country.

Mr. Tierney

said, the only distinct ground which had been stated, which he could understand, was, that our army and navy had been sent on a most painful duty, and had conducted themselves with all possible moderation. He was not at all inclined to dispute this statement; but he did not think this was exactly that sort of merit which was to be rewarded by peerages, and the highest honours which the state had to bestow. Was it supposed that humanity was a quality so rare in this country, and that the feelings of our officers by land and by sea were so different from the general feelings of the English nation, that it was absolutely necessary to give them the thanks of parliament for not acting in a manner unworthy of the British character? In considering the speeches of the noble lord (Castlereagh,) and the right hon. the chancellor of the exchequer, it appeared to him that the latter had spoken with much greater advantage than the noble mover. The right hon. gent. had heard a speech from his right hon. friend (Mr. Windham,) and that furnished him with something to say by way of reply. The noble lord, however, had no such advantage; he was to make out a case, or rather to make a long ingenious speech when he had no case at all. In this kind of effort, the noble lord was generally very successful; for he certainly possessed the dexterity and ingenuity of making as much out of little as any member in that house. The right hon. gent. had supposed his right hon. friend to have said, that ministers had advised the expedition merely for their own private views. His right hon. friend had said no such thing; but merely, that ministers having done something, wished to make the most of it. They had attacked the city of Copenhagen by surprise, or, as some would call it, by treachery, and having succeeded, they wished to give the utmost possible importance to the transaction, and celebrated it by firing of guns and granting of peerages. They had been extremely lavish in the distribution of honours of that description. He believed that there was no instance in the annals of this country of the honour of the peerage having before been conferred for military services of this description. It appeared to him, however, that those persons upon whom those honours had been lavished, had no great reason to be proud of the manner in which they had been obtained. As to admiral Gambier, he believed that no man could have been more surprized than he was on finding his name in the gazette as baron Gambier. It was an honour that he could not have expected. As to the other naval officers employed in this expedition, they never suspected they had performed any achievement that entitled them to the high reward of the thanks of parliament. The fleet in fact, had nothing to do, and consequently did nothing. Every thing that was done was by the army, and all the duty that fell upon the fleet was to stand by and see fair play. It was like the duty of keeping the lines on a field-day, or of keeping a ring at a boxing match, but certainly nothing that a British fleet could take pride in. Although he considered that what they did was next to nothing, he would still give them credit for doing more than the noble lord had stated them to have done. The noble lord, in magnifying the difficulties which our troops had to encounter, stated the number of the Danes to be 35,000, and to have been collected from the different islands. As to their numbers, he did not suppose any human being besides his lordship could credit that statement; but as to their being collected from the different islands, he must, in justice to the fleet, deny that assertion. As to the operations of the army, he did not suppose that they had any opportunity of signalizing themselves by any military exploit. There was no man respected more than he did the character of sir Arthur Wellesley, and he did not know any general to whom the country might look in future with greater hope; but he was convinced, that gallant general must have been as much surprized as admiral. Gambier was, when he found himself made a peer, to hear that this affair in the island of Zealand was magnified into a great victory. Sir Arthur Wellesley was a general who had often been in real battles, and was well acquainted with victory, and, therefore, he must have been surprized at finding this victory so celebrated. The real truth was, that there was little or no fighting in the case. The corps that opposed sir Arthur Wellesley was a very inferior force, consisting principally of undisciplined and unarmed people, who took to their heels as soon as they were attacked. He believed that all the regular troops in the island did not exceed 2,700 men; and as to what the noble lord called the regimented militia, he believed there was nothing like a regular organized militia in the island; but that what was called the militia, consisted merely of the inhabitants capable of bearing arms, who, although undisciplined, were in some manner attached to the different regiments. He believed that the organization of what the noble lord called the regimented militia of Zealand, differed but very little from what was formerly known in London, by the description of the Lumber Troop. If there had been such an armed force in Zealand as had been stated by the noble lord, could it be believed that it would have been possible to effect a landing without opposition, within a few miles of Copenhagen? He should contend, that in all the operations previous to the surrender, there was not a single opportunity afforded to any one officer or distinguishing himself in any remarkable manner. There had been nothing to call fighting in the field; there had been no encounters with the garrison; there had been no attacks of the works of the fortress; but whatever was done, was done exclusively by the artillery, assisted by the marines, in bombarding the city. As to the precedents brought forward by the right hon. the chancellor of the exchequer, he did not think they had much bearing on the case. The thanks to admiral Cornwallis was for having, with a very inferior torte, saved the fleet under his command by the skilfulness of his manœuvres, and the courage he displayed. This was clearly a service entitled to thanks; but if his fleet had been so vastly superior as not to have given him an opportunity of displaying that professional skill, there would have been no grounds for the vote. In one part of the noble lord's speech, he described the force sent to Copenhagen as so decidedly superior as to be absolutely irresistible, although in another part he conjured up a force of 35,000 regulars and militia, in order to give splendour to the success. As to the votes of thanks to the governors of Bombay and Madras, he should not have concurred in them, if he had been in the house: but the cause for which they had been given was expressly stated, and certainly the exertions of the different governments had been productive of the most important results. He disapproved of the peerage being given as the reward of any military services, but those of the highest rank; but as to pecuniary grants, he thought the country often too niggardly in their remuneration, and that a pension of 2000l. per annum was not a sufficient reward for services of the highest importance. There was one reason which he thought might incline some persons to think that rewards and thanks ought not to be given in this instance. The Committee at Lloyd's, who generally ran before the decision of parliament, had not yet voted their thanks and rewards. He believed, however, that he could account for the tardiness of those gentlemen on the present occasion. He believed that one of the great inducements of that body to hail their Captain. of the Fleet (sir Home Popham) was that they considered him as a man who would be most extremely attentive to the interests of their trade; but it turned out, that after the surrender, he was so completely occupied in packing up the stores taken, that he forgot to apprize the merchant vessels in the trade, of the war with Denmark, and many ships were taken in consequence of this want of information. Probably the gentlemen at Lloyd's felt a little sore upon this point. It must be recollected also, that great complaints had been made by the Russian merchants of the neglect which their trade had experienced. The Captain of the Fleet was, however, employed in a different manner. He was packing up every thing which could be carried away, and collecting every old hammer which he could find. As to the promotion of admiral Gambier to the peerage, every one who was personally acquainted with the gallant admiral, who knew the excellence of his character and the suavity of his manners, might be pleased at any good fortune he might meet with; but the general feeling of those who happened not to be acquainted with him, was a feeling of disgust at seeing the peerage given as a reward for such service, or such no-service, as he had performed. When he said 'no-service,' he only meant to say that there was nothing for admiral Gambier to do. The hon. member, after contrasting the late expedition with the advantages gained at Copenhagen by lord Nelson, where the gallantry and humanity of the English character were admired by the Danes themselves, concluded by declaring, that he thought the thanks of parliament would be of little value in future, if they were now given.

After the gallery was cleared for a division, Mr. Whitbread, Mr. Elliot, Mr. W. Smith, and sir F. Burdett spoke against the motion; and at the instance of sir F. Burdett,

List of the Minority.
Brand, T. Matthew, M.
Burdett, sir F. Martin, H.
Combe, H. C. Ossulston, lord.
Creevey, T. Parnell, H.
Folkestone, lord. Pierce, H.
Honeywood, W. Smith, W.
Hibbert, G. Smith, J.
Hurst, R. Sharp, R.
Horner, F. Tracey, H.
Howard, W.
The following Resolutions were then moved by lord Castlereagh, and agreed to; "1. That the thanks of this house be given to lieut. gen. sir Harry Burrard, bart. lieut. gen. the earl of Rosslyn, lieut. gen. sir George Ludlow, lieut. gen. sir David Baird, majs. gen. the hon. Edw. Finch, Tho. Grosvenor, the right hon. sir Arthur Wellesley, sir Tho. Blomefield, hart. Dreschell, baron Linsingen, Brent Spencer, brigadiers general Robert M'Farlane, and Henry Warde, and to the several officers who served in the army commanded by lieut. general the right hon. lord viscount Cathcart, for the zeal, intrepidity, and exertion which they displayed in the various operations which were necessay for conducting the siege, and effecting the surrender of the Navy and Arsenal, of Copenhagen. 2. That this house doth highly approve of and acknowledge the distinguished regularity, discipline, valour, and exertions, displayed by the Non-commissioned officers and soldiers of the said army in all the operations attending the reduction of the Fleet and Arsenal of Copenhagen; and that the same be signified to them by the commanders of the several corps, who are desired to thank them for their distinguished and exemplary conduct. 3. That the Thanks of this house be given to admiral the right hon. lord Gambier, for the distinguished ability. and promptitude displayed in the judicious distribution of his majesty's Fleet under his command in the Baltic, by which all succours were cut off from the island of Zealand, and the uninterrupted operations of the army at the siege of Copenhagen were secured, and for his zealous and cordial co-operation with the land forces during that important service, after every means of negotiation had been exhausted; and also for the judgment and indefatigable activity manifested by him in equipping the Danish Navy for sea, and effecting the embarkation and removal of the naval stores from the arsenal of Copenhagen. 4. That the Thanks of this house be given to vice admiral sir Henry Edwin Stanhope, bart. to rear admiral Essington, to rear admiral sir Samuel Hood, to rear admiral Keats, to captain sir Home Popham, first captain to the right hon. admiral lord Gambier, and to the several captains and officers in the fleet under the command of the said admiral, for their cordial and effectual co-operation with the land forces during the siege of Copenhagen, and for their indefatigable activity and exertions in equipping the Danish Navy for sea, and effecting the embarkation and removal of the naval stores from the arsenal at that place. 5. That this house doth highly approve of and acknowledge the services of the Seamen and Marines on board the ships under the command of admiral lord Gambier, in their cordial and. effectual co-operation with the land forces during the siege of Copenhagen, in their indefatigable activity and exertions in equipping the Danish navy for sea, and in effecting the embarkation and removal of the naval stores from the arsenal at that place; and that the captains of the several ships do signify the same to their respective crews, and do thank them for their distinguished and exemplary conduct."

the house divided, when there appeared, For the Vote of thanks 100, against it 19. Majority 81.