HC Deb 03 March 1808 vol 10 cc887-9
Lord H. Petty

rose, pursuant to notice, to move for information, tending to shew what measures had been taken to insure the collateral execution of the Orders in Council by the powers in alliance with his majesty. Unless Sweden imposed similar restrictions, the restraints imposed by us were nugatory. Gottenburgh might be made a depot from which American produce and the produce of the French colonies might be sent to all the southern shores of the Baltic, and thence circulated through Germany and Russia. Sicily also might be made an entrepot for a similar transaction; so might Sardinia. In order to ascertain what ministers had done on this point, he moved, "That an humble address be presented to his majesty, praying that there be laid before the house the substance of alt communications with powers in amity with his majesty, touching the Orders in Council of the 11th November."

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

rose to give his negative to the motion of the noble lord, upon the following grounds: in the first place, the observations of the noble lord were applicable to the article of cotton only: and, in the next place, he informed the house, that there was no disinclination whatever on the part of his majesty's allies to concur in the system which government had found it expedient to adopt in the present period of the war; and that assurances had been received from Sweden, in particular, of the willingness of that government to give every facility for carrying that system into full effect. A general assurance of this nature had been received, but it could not be supposed, that any distinct and decisive expression of approbation of the whole details of the measure had been received, because those details were not yet finally arranged, and were still subject to the decision of parliament.

Sir A. Piggott

asked if it was not proposed to levy a tax upon the exportation of sugar? he understood this to be the intention; and, if so, it might be carried direct from America to Sweden: and as Sweden had no sugar colonies except the small island of Saint Bartholomew, and consequently had no sugar monopoly to protect, he did not think it probable that the government of that country would concur in imposing a duty upon this article merely to secure the British monopoly. He wished to know therefore, what assurances ministers had received that Gottenburgh would not be converted into a depot for supplying the continent with colonial produce.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

replied, that government had received general assurances of the readiness of Sweden to concur in giving effect to the measure.

Mr. Ponsonby

said, that if the king of Sardinia co-operated in the measure, the result of this co-operation, as to him, would be to deprive him of the only part of his dominions of which he-was still in possession; and if Sweden refused to co-operate, which he thought not at all improbable, the right hon. gent. had told the house that she was to be compelled to concur in it. And this was the reward which was to be conferred upon our only remaining ally! this the encouragement which we held out to other nations, to attach themselves to our cause! this the motive which we presented to those powers by whom we had been deserted, to return to their old connection with us!

Mr. Secretary canning

stated, that the king of Sardinia was not an, ally of this country and that he had never been asked to concur in the measure; and that from the king of Sweden, who was our ally, the most satisfactory assurances on this head had been received.—After a short reply from lord H. Petty, a division took place: For the motion 71. Against it 130.