HC Deb 24 February 1809 vol 12 cc1057-119
Mr. Ponsonby

rose, and spoke to the following effect:—I rise, Mr. Speaker, pursuant to notice, for the purpose of moving an inquiry upon a subject, as important to the honour, the fame, and the interest of England, as any that has ever been agitated in this house. If I had given no notice whatever of the discussion, the considerations I have mentioned must serve peculiarly and immediately to call your attention to the question. When the Spanish insurrection, as it has been called, I mean the resistance of the Spanish nation to the attempts of France to subjugate that people, was known in this country, the minds of all men were engaged in contemplating its character, and a prospect seemed to present itself, that means might arise out of it calculated to serve Spain, to serve this country, and to serve the world, by making a stand against the immensely growing power of France. Such an event naturally attracted the consideration, and excited the interest of all classes of the community. It called, in a most particular manner, for the attention and inquiry of those by whom our government was administered, and never perhaps did any government, upon any occasion, meet with a more general and unfeigned desire on the part of the people to second that course which it might be found expedient to pursue in aid of the Spanish cause. All power and all principle seemed devoted to that object. The feelings of the public ran before the wishes of the minister. He had only to command, and every Englishman was forward to obey. If consulted one by one, there was universally to be found a disposition to sacrifice, a resolution to act, and a promptitude to determine in favour of the Spanish insurgents. Ministers had only to consider, and inquire as to the best means of directing and rendering effective this ardent and unanimous feeling. With them it rested to consider the nature and tendency of the insurrection, and in what manner it was possible to promote its object. With them it rested—to them the duty, in a most imperative manner, belonged, of examining the state of Spain, and of ascertaining how far it was practicable, with the resources they possessed, to give effectual assistance to that country. The circumstances of England and of Europe forcibly demanded this examination; because it must have been felt, that upon their interference would depend the most important consequences—either the depression, or the aggrandizement of the power of France. All the great powers of the continent were at the time in a state of comparative humiliation, owing to the inordinate power and over-bearing influence and authority of the enemy. England alone was still able to defy his power; and it most materially behoved those to whose direction the resources of England were committed, to take care at least that they should be so employed, that, if the termination of the contest should be disadvantageous to Spain, it should not risk the character or endanger the safety of England, as upon that safety rested the fate of the world. In this country alone was to be found the power, the spirit, and the determination to maintain resistance to France. Austria having been plunged into the third Coalition, against the opinion of its ablest advisers, was merely struggling to preserve the strength which her conqueror and our enemy had permitted to survive his victories, Prussia subsisted upon his courtesy, and Russia had embraced his counsels. No where did an army present itself that was not acting under his standard, or inactive through a dread of his attack. The world was divided between England and France, all the powers of the continent being the vassals or the allies of the enemy. Under such circumstances a spirit of resistance was displayed in that country, where least of all it was to be expected. In that country which had for a series of years been the active ally, or submissive dependent of France, a resolution was ma- nifested to shake off the yoke of French domination. As soon as the resolution was formed, application was made to this country for assistance. Just before the conclusion of the last session the subject was brought under the consideration of this house. No one was willing to damp the spirit that was responsive to that application, provided a compliance with it could promise any successful result. But every reflecting man recommended consideration. Ministers, however, took their own course, and we have witnessed the consequence. No statement of any information received from Spain was laid before parliament. The session was closed before any deliberate opinion could be formed upon the subject, every thing was left to the discretion of ministers. Parliament had no opportunity of interfering, the ministers were furnished with all the aids they could desire from the hearts, the purses, the anus of the country. Every guinea they required was most cheerfully granted; they had a vote of credit to the utmost limit of their request; there appeared but one mind, one feeling, and one sentiment on the part of parliament and the country in favour of Spain, no other wish existed but that which was calculated to give effect to the operation of ministers, party spirit was quite sunk throughout this country upon that occasion; and indeed in every part of the empire the public voice was loud and ardent in desiring that all the whole power of England should be put in motion, if necessary, and at all likely to be effectual in repelling the advances of the enemy, and promoting the liberty of Spain. Such was the pulse of the country which ministers had to direct. But it became their duty to direct it with judgment and efficiency. Standing upon an eminence, it was for them carefully to survey the prospects before, them. It was for them to examine, with precision and accuracy, all the moans in their reach to employ, and how far those means were adequate to the ends in view. Before they attempted to involve the country in the contest alluded to, before they ventured so to engage its wealth and its power, they should have taken care to make this examination, and, above all, to ascertain the real state of Spain. The first object, therefore, that claimed their consideration was, the employment of proper persons to inquire into that stale; and for that purpose they should have sent some men of the highest capa- city to that country, men well acquainted with both military and civil affairs, men competent not only to assist the counsels of a cabinet, but to direct the operations of an army. Many such men could, no doubt, be found in this country. The occasion was of a nature to call for the employment of men of this description. It could not be supposed, whatever the spirit of the Spaniards might be, that that spirit could succeed in effectually resisting the power of France, unless it was directed with the utmost ability; and we ought to have availed ourselves of the opportunity to send that description of ability to Spain. I know not the character of those agents whom ministers thought proper to employ in this mission, nor do I mean to speak disrespectfully of their merits; but I cannot find their names among those who are distinguished for any exploits or for any experience, either of a military or a civil description. I understand that they are all young men, and not likely to possess the experience and capacity of observation which are necessary to form a correct judgment upon such an important concern. Ministers should have been aware of the responsibility attached to their office, and cautious upon what representations they acted. They should have been alive to the reflection, what in their hands were placed the means not only of assisting Spain, but of defending England; that they were not only to consider the prospects of Spain, but of their own country; that, called upon to administer the affairs of a nation involved in an arduous contest, the duration of which no man could calculate, they should not unadvisedly risk the means of that nation; that they should not send out its arms or its money, unless where effectual resisistance could be made to the enemy. It was therefore peculiarly incumbent upon ministers to employ the utmost talents and industry, for the purpose of enabling themselves to judge of the temper, the resolution, and the ability of the Spaniards. What was the spirit of the people, what the internal condition of the country, what the state of its parts, what its resources, both military and naval, what, in a word, the means upon which we could calculate for success in pursuit of the common object? Ministers could not have been insensible to this reflection, that great as our power confessedly is and has been at sea, the whole disposable force of their country could not alone make any effectual stand in the Spanish cause, or justify any hope-of a successful result in a contest against the stupendous military means of France. It was therefore essentially necessary to know fully the nature and amount of the co-operation which they could rely upon meeting in Spain. With this view, they should not have sent young men of eager, sanguine, enthusiastic disposition; but they should have sent men of experience, of observant, cultivated, and discriminating minds, men not likely to be influenced by false appearances, but capable of deciding upon the soundness of principles and real character. It was not sufficient to know, that monks could excite some of the poorer and more ignorant of the people to insurrection, and that, when so excited, they evinced great enthusiasm; the disposition and views of the upper classes, who, from their rank and property, possess a natural influence in any country, ought to have been known. But above all, inquiry should have been carefully made as to the inclination of the middle class, which is the great bond and cement of connection between the higher and the lower orders in every country; whether we should be likely to meet in that class a cordial spirit of co-operation, and what the force of that co-operation would be. An inquiry of this nature should have been gone through before ministers had resolved to commit the country, or at least before they had ventured to send an army to Spain. In pursuing this inquiry, they could have collected from history some information that was well worthy of their attention. So far as history goes, they could not find much to encourage any very sanguine reliance upon the character of the Spaniards for cordial or active co-operation in such a contest. I am not disposed to speak disrespectfully of the Spaniards, but history does not represent them as a people remarkable for that daring, enthusiastic, high-spirited disposition which prompts and qualifies men to make a great struggle for liberty and independence. The manner, indeed, in which they surrendered their liberty, would not justify any reliance upon their spirit; and their conduct during the War of the Succession evinced neither spirit nor principle. The upper classes particularly, upon that occasion, were found to betray a great dereliction of public principle, and a great want of public duty. They were perpetually fluctuating between Charles and Philip, according as victory and the pros- pect of ultimate success appeared to incline to either. It is impossible that confidence could attach to such a description of people; and what evidence have we had since of any material change in their character? The most powerful principles to excite mankind have uniformly been Religion and Liberty; and have either been found materially to operate upon the recent movements of the Spanish people? Upon the principle of religion the greatest conquerors have set out and acted. It has been found to excite the inherent spirit of heroism. But the greatest effects have been produced by the influence of the two principles united. That union, even in small countries, has operated the most important consequences. We have heard of this operation in some of the smaller states of Germany, in Holland, and in England also. What ha* been the influence of these principles in this country, when they engendered and promoted the resolution of our ancestors, to remedy abuses, to correct errors, and to destroy superstition? Exactly the same was the resolution which they produced in Holland when she rose in resistance to the power of Spain; and the same effect will spring from them wherever they exist. These, indeed, are the only principles which have ever served to excite the noble daring, the heroic resolution, to conquer or to die; to seek victory or death. It was necessary, therefore, to inquire, whether the Spaniards were actuated by both, or by either of those great principles, with a view to calculate upon the probability of their success in the field. If they were not animated by the resolution which enabled Holland and England to conquer; if they did not entertain some hope or wish for improvement of situation, what motive could induce any confidence in their energy, or zeal, or perseverance; and if they were not sensible of this necessity, and desirous of the attainment of an improved situation, how could any reflecting man look for energy, zeal, or perseverance among them! When I talk of improving the situation of the Spaniards, let me not be misinterpreted. I do not desire that they, or any people, should become wild or mad, and that they should destroy society itself in order to improve its condition; that in order to remove abuses they should tear away all their ancient institutions; that in order to reform religion they should destroy Christianity itself; but I do say, while the inquisition existed, that, it the Spaniards were not sensible of the multitude of abuses which pressed upon them, if they felt not a wish to reform abuses, and to restore their rights, and were not willing, for that reformation and restriction, to encounter all the dangers and endure all the difficulties inseparable to the species of warfare in which they were engaged; I say, that if this people were not actuated by the wish for, and encouraged by the hope of, an improved condition, it was impossible for any statesman, for any man of common sense, to suppose that they would fight with success. I would not be understood to intimate that ministers ought to have dictated any thing relative to improvement to the Spaniards, or that any dictatorial tone should have been assumed. What I mean to say is this, that if the Spaniards were insensible of the cause of their degradation, and indifferent as to its removal, it was in vain for England to calculate upon materially exciting the spirit, or effectually aiding the exertion of such a people. What, I would ask, would be the situation of England itself at this hour, if the domineering establishment of the priesthood had not been removed, if the baneful effects of the feudal system had not ceased to exist, and if a liberal system of equal laws had not been established, which secures every man the property of his own labour; which excites industry by guarding its produce; which encourages genius by rewarding its exertion; which constitutes the happiness, the glory, the fame, and the consequence of this great nation? With such a picture in our contemplation, how was it possible to suppose that the Spaniards could make a glorious struggle, could submit to severe privations, could act greatly, under the influence of the Inquisition, and with no hope of bettering their condition? What information ministers may have received upon these topics I know not; I am in perfect ignorance; and it is not a little extraordinary, that from the commencement to the termination of the contest by the expulsion of our army from Spain, the people of this country knew less of the real state of things, than in any former war in which this country had ever been engaged. When the emperor of France was carrying on war in the hereditary states of Austria, in Poland, and in Prussia, we had more information respecting his operations, than we had, when he was fighting against a British army in Spain, and even at a time when almost the whole of the ports of Spain were in our power. I appeal to any man, whether it be not true that the people of this country were more ignorant of what was going on in Spain, than they were of the progress of the Austrian, Prussian, or Russian campaign? What may have been the extent of information received by ministers it is impossible for me to know; but I must insist, that they should have taken all practicable means to ascertain the real disposition of the Spanish people; what lengths all classes amongst them were inclined to go, and how much they were disposed to endure in the prosecution of the contest, before they should have committed in the heart of Spain, what was intrusted to them by parliament, the greatest British army that had ever been employed upon the continent of Europe, I mean that which was under the command of the late sir John Moore. The first step which his majesty's ministers took in this campaign was the dispatching of sir Arthur Wellesley, with the force which had been assembled at Cork, to Spain. But though it must appear to any person who reads superficially the Instructions of the noble lord (Castlereagh) to that gallant general upon the occasion, which are contained in his letters of the 30th of June, that he was left, at liberty to act according to his own discretion in consequence of any information he might receive upon the coast of Spain; yet it is also obvious that in fact that discretion was taken away from him by the Instructions of the 15th of July, and that the expedition to the Tagus was fixed on by the noble lord as that by which hostilities were to begin. When the gallant general arrived upon the coast of Spain, he thought proper to apply to the Junta of Gallicia and of the Asturias for information. By the former he was told, (I speak from his own words, uttered upon a late debate) that they did not want men to be sent into Gallicia; that they considered the expedition to Portugal, and the dislodgment of the French from that quarter, as an object more desirable for them than to have the British army sent into their own country. The gallant general had at the same time admitted, that the Junta of Asturias at Oviedo had been desirous of having the co-operation of the British army in that province with a view to the expulsion of the French from St. Andero: whilst he explicitly declared, that, in his own opinion, the presence of the British army. in Spain was at that time indispensibly necessary, in order to connect the Spaniards among themselves, in order to induce a co-operation which otherwise could not exist, to effect a communication between the northern and southern forces, and had assigned that as a reason for concluding the Armistice and the Convention. But when the gallant general went to Portugal, the plan of the campaign was decided; there was no longer any room for deliberation; there was no longer any room to act upon any information that might be received with regard to Spain. After the noble lord had directed his force to the Tagus, it became impossible to apply any force in favour of Spain until that expedition was in some way or other concluded. I do not mean, I am sure, to revive the debate which has already taken place with regard to the transactions in Portugal. It is a subject fresh in the recollection of the house, and there is nothing to induce me to renew it (Hear! hear!)—After the Convention in Portugal was concluded, the British force, consisting of 30,000 men, was a disposable force, to be applied as his majesty's ministers thought proper. Upon the:30th August the Convention was signed, and the campaign in Portugal was then at an end. I desire, then, to know why it was that such a length of time elapsed between the conclusion of the Convention of Cintra, and the 16th day of October, when sir John Moore proceeded on his march from Portugal for Spain (Hear! hear!). The gallant general (sir A. Wellesley), although he obeyed the noble lord, did it under the conviction of the absolute necessity of a British army entering Spain; the Spaniards themselves declared that necessity; he agreed with them, as he saw they wanted the British army to form a connection between the different armies as a great bond of union, cement, and co-operation. I desire then to know why, between those two periods, no steps were taken to move the force of sir J. Moore to the assistance of the Spaniards. Upon the 13th of October, sir David Baird arrived at Corunna, with a force inferior to that of sir John Moore, but intended for conjunction and co-operation with him; and, as appears from the Papers before the house, not for the purpose of separate action. It was not until the 27th of October that his army was disembarked at Corunna. Up to the 27th of Sept., I have heard it said, that none of the Juntas could be called the Supreme Junta, but that upon that day the Central Supreme Junta was installed at Madrid, and yet it was said to have been necessary to wait from the 13th of October to the 27th of that month, until that army could obtain permission from the Supreme Junta to land in the North of Spain. I desire to know, if none of the agents of the ministers in Spain had informed our general of what was going on in that country, and of the time when it was necessary that the army should assume its situation and exercise its functions. It does not appear that they had any person called an accredited minister or ambassador in that country, until Mr. Frere was sent, and he, too, does not appear to have arrived at Madrid, until the 7th of Nov. Ought not such a communication at least to have been kept up with the executive body, as that the general arriving with the force could know whether the Spaniards would receive them or not? and how was it to be accounted for, that so much time elapsed before any information could be obtained by sir David Baird, when he reached Corunna, as to whether he would be received as a friend by those whom he went to assist? I do not mean to insinuate any disparagement of Mr. Frere, and I do not wish to detract from his merits, which may be as great as those of any man whatever in his majesty's service, in his official duty, but in my humble opinion Mr. Frere was not the proper person to be sent to Spain (Hear! hear! hear!). A military man was the proper person to be sent to that country. It was essentially a military appointment, or it was nothing. If the whole population of the country was not disposed to take up arms in its own defence, and ready to be organized by the then existing government in order to act with us against France, I say there was no chance of success in Spain, nor would it have been safe for us to employ a military force in its defence.—I say, therefore, that the proper person to be sent upon that occasion was a military, and not a civil officer. But, as I before stated, sir John Moore moved for Spain, on the 16th of October; on the 8th of Nov., he reached Salamanca, and on the 14th was followed and joined by most part of his army, which indeed, upon that day, may tie considered as having been assembled at that place. It may be for the house to consider how he was employed all this time. The force, which the Emperor of the French had originally sent to Spain and Portugal, had been found inadequate for his purposes; the surrender of Dupont had weakened it, and broken the connection between its different parts, so that in short, all the remnant of that French force, retiring towards the extremities of Spain, was found concentrated in Navarre. The emperor of the French himself had not, at that time, a sufficient force immediately disposable to enable him to accomplish his purpose, and he found it incumbent upon him to withdraw from the banks of the Danube and the Vistula, from Germany, Prussia, and Poland, those troops which had been engaged in the Polish campaign. The distance they had to march was prodigious, and they had no maritime means, such as this country possessed, to enable them to move with that expedition and celerity which the urgency of the occasion rendered unnecessary. They lost no time, however, in marching forward to join and co-operate with their companions in arms in the interior of Spain. The French emperor himself, too, quitted his capital to meet the emperor of Russia at Erfurth, and no sooner were the matters to be concerted between them adjusted, than he returned and declared to his Legislative Body, the Senate, his intention to proceed to crown his brother at Madrid, and to complete the subjugation of Spain. On the 5th of November Buonaparté arrived in Spain, nine days before the British army had reached Salamanca, and placed himself at the head of that army which had come from the shores of the Danube and the Vistula. What was the cause of the feebleness of the one power, compared with the energy and activity of the other? I desire to know, why the most effectual means were not taken to secure the immediate junction and co-operation of our forces with those of Spain? It is well known that this country cannot furnish a military force at all equal, in point of number, to the military force of France, and therefore it appears the more necessary that when you are to employ your force against her, that force should be kept as much united and concentrated as possible, so that it should be found in one compact consolidated body, not broken into fragments, nor scattered here and there, in a detached and divided state. His majesty's ministers should at least attempt to secure success by means of an easy junction of our armies previous to their being met by the enemy. What were the consequences of the different plans of action observed by the English, and the French governments? The gallant general has told us that he considered the presence of the British army necessary to keep up an union and co-operation of the Spanish forces; he communicated, I presume, that opinion to his majesty's ministers; no one can question it; he is an officer of too much military judgment and experience to have with-held from ministers the knowledge of that which was the most important point, perhaps, of any for the success of the reinforcements sent from this country. If he were conscious of that, he must also have known that the sooner that army arrived on the theatre of action, the more chance was there of success, and the later the more likely was it to be defeated. Yet, strange to tell, the army of Romana and Blake, together with the army of Estremadura, were defeated before the army under sir John Moore arrived at Salamanca. On the 10th of November the united army of Leon and Estremadura was defeated and dispersed at Burgos; on the 12th Blake's army shared the same fate at Espinosa after having been previously defeated at Reynosa; and it was not till the 11th of November that sir John Moore's army arrived at Salamanca. What were the views of the English army, but to produce union and co-operation amongst the Spaniards? and was this to be effected after their armies had been defeated, so as that nothing was left when the English army advanced from Salamanca? What did your army do? In what situation did sir David Baird find himself, in order to effect his junction with sir John Moore? He found nothing but a total inability to make a forward movement at the time when it was landed. I have heard that so destitute was it in some respects, when permitted to land upon the Spanish coast, that sir David Baird had not even money enough to defray the necessary expenses of the army. That in sending an expedition by sea, it may be liable to some accidents in regard to the ships that convey your ordnance and ammunition, I will admit; but that you should send an officer with a force under his command, without even a few casks of money to purchase provisions and procure the ordinary necessaries, I scarcely could have believed possible. I have heard, however, and upon unquestionable authority, that that gallant officer had not even money enough to obtain a supply of necessary provisions, but was compelled to have recourse to obtain- ing that credit from private individuals, which government had neglected to afford him. The campaign went on therefore, as might have been expected: after the destruction of the Spanish armies, I have mentioned, it was not difficult to conceive that the defeat of the army under Castanos, called the Army of the Centre, was very soon to follow; and accordingly, on the 23d of November, it suffered a defeat. Thus, sir, those three armies which we are to presume were ready to unite with ours, were severally overcome by the power of France; whereas, if the army of England had been ready to effect a junction, at an earlier period of the campaign, the French army might have been defeated and saved the trouble of those few forced marches, which, as Buonaparté says, it cost them to destroy the Spanish armies. These armies being beaten in the field, nothing remained to the Spaniards but to defend the pass of the Sierra, but there, too, a defeat was sustained, and on the 30th of November it was forced. All this time not a single British soldier had appeared in action against the French. Celerity of movement, quickness, dispatch, and promptitude of action, appear to have been the only things that seemed necessary to the gallant general; and yet, from what causes I know not, but from some causes hitherto unexplained, no British force found its way into Spain, until ail the Spanish armies had been overthrown, and Madrid had again capitulated to Buonaparté (Hear! hear!). Do not these circumstances demand inquiry? Is it not necessary to know why the character of this country has been lowered by our conduct in Spain? Is it not necessary to know why our force was of no use to our allies, no injury to our enemies, and that it could effect nothing, but ruin its own military character notwithstanding its superior bravery and intrepidity? In this situation sir John Moore found himself in the month of December. But it appears that it had been the intention both of sir David Baird and sir John Moore to retreat as soon as they learnt of the surrender of Madrid and the defeat of Castanos, for it was evidently imprudent to keep the field against such a force as the French emperor could then bring against them. Orders, as I have been informed, were actually issued for that retreat, and fortunate I think it would have been had those orders been persevered in, and that retreat commenced at that particular time, if it could have been effected without injury to those brave troops that composed our army. The opinion, however, of the Commander in Chief again changed, and I desire to know what were the causes that produced the change (Hear! hear!). Why, after the capitulation of Madrid, and the advance of Buonaparté as victor, that retreat was not adopted? I think the house will desire this information. Was this spontaneous interference of the general himself, or was it the official interference of the government at home? I have heard that sir John Moore did receive dispatches from the Supreme Junta, and from Mr. Frere, urging him to advance. I have heard he received representations from Mr. Frere of the great strength of the Spaniards in the south of Spain, and that if he would attack the enemy in the north, the Spanish cause, then almost lost, might still be retrieved. I have heard that it was urged to sir John Moore repeatedly, that he should advance. I can conceive that this is true, but still our general ignorance demands an inquiry into the veracity of these reports. On the 21st of December sir John Moore arrived at Sahagun, and on the 22d of December the emperor of the French left Madrid with a great force to attack him. On the 24th of that month, such were the effects of this last movement from Madrid, that sir John Moore felt it necessary to retreat again, and under such circumstances too, that if he had remained for 24 hours longer, and engaged marshal Soult's corps, it was almost next to certainty that not a single soldier of his army could have returned home. I state this upon the authority of officers with whom I have conversed, who gave it me as their opinion, that if the British army had engaged with marshal Soult, it never could have effected its retreat as it did.—Sir, in order to account for these proceedings, it is necessary that this house should institute the fullest inquiry; it is necessary to know in what situation sir David Baird and sir John Moore found that country, when they advanced into it; whether that enthusiastic spirit which could alone have saved the Spaniards from destruction, actually existed; it is necessary to know whether they were willing and cordial in their assistance to the English army; whether they received them as deliverers, or as their guests, with love, or with jealousy and fear, and to ascertain what the British army had to rely upon, when they found themselves in the presence of a great hos- tile army. We must necessarily institute this inquiry, in order to determine whether it was wise or not for his majesty's ministers thus to hazard, in the heart of Spain, one of the best armies that has ever been sent out of this country. It is necessary to know what military force sir John Moore found to co-operate and unite with him, and whether he found any thing in the field of battle, except the British and the French soldiers. Perhaps it may be said by ministers, that the Spaniards did not discover all that cordiality and co-operation with ns in the cause in which we were mutually engaged, that was expected. Can it be proper, or can it be admitted, that ministers shall say this after they have involved the country in such a ruinous, unproductive, and inglorious struggle? The retreat under these most inauspicious circumstances commenced, and what was the consequence of that retreat? In that retreat you lost all your ammunition, all your magazines, above 5,000 horses, and I fear, a much greater number of men, than the gallant general opposite (gen. Stewart) thought proper to state to the house, when he said that they amounted only to between 4,000 and 5,000 (Hear!). Our loss was great in consequence of that disastrous retreat, commenced under circumstances, which shew, that, had we trusted to the prudence of the commander, it might have been avoided. Is it not true that a retreat had been previously ordered; that an advance was made; and that a retreat was again commanded to be made? and is it not necessary for us to inquire whether this was owing to the misconduct of those at the head of the army, or of those at the head of his majesty's councils?—Deeply as we must lament the loss of those gallant officers and soldiers who have fallen upon this occasion, and deeply as we may lament the success of the enemy, it is not, perhaps, so necessary in the eyes of Englishmen, as it may be in regard to the continental powers, to free ourselves from that injurious opinion as to our military character, which must float in their minds from these transactions. Do not let us forget this, that, although we have obtained glory and renown, for our military bravery, England has for ever lost its fame and character, as a military nation. Were you to propose to send your soldiers again, as an encouragement and an aid to other foreign powers, upon any future occasion, what would be the answer? It would be, "No! No! your troops are good and brave; your officers are skilful, intelligent, and courageous; but there is something in the councils of England, or in the nature and manner of the application of her force, that renders it impossible ever to place any reliance upon her military assistance." We have seen already what passed in the last war with France. When you appeared in Holland and Germany as auxilaries, you failed in your efforts; but true it is, that your force in these cases was comparatively small and the question remained undecided; the problem is solved however, by what has lately passed in Spain. You professed to send forth the largest army that ever went from England, for the purpose of meeting the force of France; and what has been the result? It has been nothing but a shameful retreat before the armies of France, and a disgraceful desertion of the power you anxiously wished to assist. Never can we rely again upon the confidence of any power of the continent in our military exertions, however much they and ourselves may rely on our maritime efforts. This campaign, I say, will have an influence upon the character of England long after all of us shall cease to live. The noble lord (Castlereagh) observed in a former debate, that it would have been absurd to think of stopping the passes of the Pyrenees, and preventing the French from sending reinforcements into Spain, as there were no less than forty-three passes by which the French could enter Spain. But if a British army landed at St. Andero could be of no avail for that object, if the French could not, by any efforts on our part, have been shut out from Spain, I would ask the noble lord, whether that was not a good reason why a British army should not have been sent into Spain at all? For any amount of force this country could send thither could not contend against the 4 or 500,000 men whom Buonaparté could pour into that country from France. The noble lord had called this a Pyrenean campaign, but, though I do not presume to decide upon the subject, I must say, that the best informed persons were of opinion that the north of Spain was the most eligible point for the debarkation and first operations of the British army. The French force, in Navarre, at the outset, was not more than between 40 and 50,000, and if the Spaniards, as they themselves told you, were not able to drive that force out of their territory, how was it possible that you could beat the 3 or 400,000 men which the French might afterwards have sent to meet you in that country? I have conversed with no military man upon the subject, who has not declared that from the beginning, it was vain and idle to hope for ultimate success in such a contest, if this vast force of France could not be kept out of Spain, I desire to know why sir John Moore's army should have been so endangered by the imprudent advance that was made. Was it merely that you could not bear the danger of death, that this most harrassing of all retreats that ever was accomplished, took place? Was your character so degraded, that it was necessary we should attempt to raise it by such destructive means, in the eyes of the world? We never, I believe, have met the French upon equal footing, that we have not invariably shewn our superiority. Are not the recollections of Maida, and of Egypt, sufficient to convince you and the world, of the truth of this assertion? Do not these circumstances, therefore, deserve inquiry? Is it not necessary to know how ministers have conducted themselves in this expedition to the continent, to know on what principles they have proceeded in a contest in which you entered with so much hope, with so much heart and expectation? a contest in which every man almost implicitly relied upon raising the power of England, reducing the aggrandizement of France, and delivering Europe from the grasp of French tyranny? Alas! how have these hopes been blasted, how grievously have our troops suffered in their vain exertions, and how much have ministers involved the whole transaction in darkness, and obscurity. Is it not necessary to know why your army was exposed to danger, and at the same time to produce nothing that was good or advantageous to the country? The soldier should always be prepared to die in his country's cause, and I doubt not that British soldiers are particularly impressed with that feeling; but is it thence to be inferred that you are unnecessarily to expose them to dangers, and to fruitless efforts, so as to bring ruin on themselves, and disgrace upon the nation? Other plans of campaign, I know, have been mentioned, which in the opinion of some were likely to have been attended with great success; and these are the employing of the troops of England for the purpose of garrisoning some of the strong posts on the continent, and particularly upon the sea coast of Spain. I presume not to offer any opinion upon that subject; but I believe that that would not have given us great benefit. The Spaniards have shewn towards us great jealousy. At Cadiz our reception was not flattering; and at Ferrol, not an effort was made in our favour. I have heard, but I cannot vouch for the truth of the report, that even the force which you sent a short time ago, from Lisbon to Cadiz, has not been permitted to enter the harbour. I have heard this from an authority which I deem good, and I shall continue to believe it until it be contradicted. I ask the house then to institute an inquiry for the purpose of discovering what have been the motives that led ministers so to dispose of the force of the country on a service at first so full of confidence, and now so full of doubt and uncertainty as to lead to the belief that the cause of Spain is desperate. I call upon the country to seek for this inquiry, in order to shew how much distress, difficulties, dangers, and perils unexampled, our gallant soldiers have endured in this fruitless and inglorious struggle. Is there an Englishman that could have seen the exertions of such troops, and not rejoice in them? Is there a peasant in the bleakest mountains of Scotland, or in the barren bogs of Ireland, who is not proud of their conduct, and desirous of emulating their example, and of displaying equal courage and intrepidity? I aver that all possess the same energy and courageous sentiments, and that all are equally ready to imitate their example, and employ their exertions in their country's cause, but the more especially if they could be convinced that their exertions will be judiciously and prudently applied. I call upon you, by the gratitude you owe to those who were thus shamefully sacrificed at Corunna, by that which you owe to their companions in arms, who are still in existence, and able and willing to defend their country, or to be employed upon any service; I call upon you by the interest you must take in those who yet remain, to institute this inquiry, in order that they may not be sacrificed by a similar misconduct, upon a future occasion (Hear! hear!). I call upon you, as you value the glory of our country, the preservation of our future power and reputation, as well as our interest, by every thing that can excite the exertions of brave men, to institute this investigation for the satisfaction of all. The proposition I make to the house is not for this or that mode of inquiry. I care not whether you do it by a secret, a select committee, or a committee of the whole house, for either of these will satisfy me, and will gain the object which the country must have in view." The right honourable gentleman than concluded by moving, "That it is indispensably necessary that this house should inquire into the causes, conduct, and events of the late campaign in Spain."

Lord Castlereagh

hoped, that the house would indulge him, while he should endeavour shortly to detail to the house the reasons by which he was induced to negative the motion of the right hon. gent. He must, however, in justice to himself, declare, that he would be the last person in the house to persuade parliament not to enter into any proper or necessary inquiry for which just and reasonable grounds had been stated. Ignorance was rather a humiliating reason for any man to assign for such an inquiry; and if the right hon. mover had waited with a little patience, find accepted the proposal which he had made early in the session for laying proper documents before the house, perhaps he would have had some more substantial foundation whereupon to ground his motion. The right hon. gent. could not then well plead, that he felt it necessary to appeal to that house, on account of any reluctance on the part of his majesty's ministers to give him every information in their power. He could assert on his own behalf and on that of his colleagues, that they would not have made any objection to the production of all such information, as, consistently with their duty and a regard to the public interests, could be laid before the house, and however that information might afterwards be applied, it would afford a much better ground for going into the inquiry in a committee than the claim which had been made by the right hon. gent. on the bare shewing of his own ignorance. They had had already sufficient proof how far committees of the whole house went to impede the general business of the public, and it was not, therefore, upon such light grounds that the house ought to be induced to go into a committee of that description. The only reasons, that had been alledged for the Inquiry were reducible to the ignorance of the right hon. mover; and he did not think that that was, or had ever been pretended to be, a proper parliamentary ground for inquiry. But no doubt the right hon. gent. supposed he had his forces well marshalled, and in high discipline, and was therefore anxious to lead them forth to battle. As he could not bend to the cogency of this reason, he certainly should oppose the motion, though at the same time he declared, that had there been the slightest prima facie evidence to support it, he would have fully coincided in it, no matter upon what ministers might rest for their justification. If the result of the Campaign in Spain had not been as glorious, as had been so earnestly and so justly expected, owing either to the imperfect state of discipline of the Spanish armies, or to the want of sufficient time to complete that discipline, still he contended that there was no prima facie ground for attaching the blame of that failure to the misconduct of his majesty's ministers; and, even though he should admit to the right hon. gent., what was in itself so questionable, that the melancholy failure in Spain was in itself a prima facie ground of inquiry, yet he was prepared to contend that no blame could attach to the conduct of his majesty's ministers, should it even be conceded, that the arrival of the British army in Spain had taken place too late to prevent the failure, if his majesty's ministers could state to the house satisfactory causes for the delay. The British army was intended to act only as an auxiliary force in aid of the Spanish armies, and surely the British government was not to be blamed because the Spanish forces had not, unhappily, been able to hold out till the arrival of the military succours which were sent out to their assistance. The right hon. gent. ought certainly to have waited for a little information, and not attempted to drag parliament into an inquiry which would prove disgraceful to itself and distressing to the country. Ministers, he contended, were perfectly justified in not asking the opinion of parliament, last session, before it could have an opportunity of considerately forming it. Never was there a cause in which the feelings of the country more fully participated—in which aid was given on all hands more cheerfully. Indeed, if government could collect any clue from the country by which to guide their conduct, it would be completely in harmony with the opinion expressed by his majesty in his closing speech last session, in which he said assistance should be rendered to the Spaniards, as far as was consistent with the wishes and distinct policy of Spain, blended with no selfish views of our own partial interests. It had been said by the right hon. gent. that government ought to have waited to collect full information how far the spirit of liberty in the Spaniards went to the amelioration of their condition; how far the national feeling and public spirit of that country were such as to justify them in hazarding a British military force in aid of its cause. Now, how the hon. mover could reconcile this with his former admonition to speed and celerity, it was not indeed in his ingenuity to discover. As to the selection of characters necessary to give government their opinion as to the spirit of Spain, he would merely ask, would it be rational for them to listen to any man's opinion, before the formation of the Central Junta, which alone could be competent to decide upon the views of Spain; and were they to leave Spain and Portugal to their destinies till that event should have taken place? The only rational question was, whether it could be hoped that Spain, with our assistance, would be enabled to stand against France; and if this could be proved, government stood justified. He had heard that night the great power of France stated as a depressing circumstance; but that was rather an unfortunate argument for those who had constantly been vaunting the efforts of which an universal and determined people were capable. Spain had, indeed, made an energetic effort—she had borne up against the military power of France with more vigour, more constancy, and better success, than those powers, which had been supported by formidable regular armies; and if she had, in some degree, failed, it was rather hard and little worthy of the generous feelings of that house, to reproach her with it in the hour of her difficulties and the season of her distress. It had been held by many statesmen, that the efforts of a people themselves were whole equal to any efforts of regular military force, and certainly there never was a more energetic effort made by any people, than by those of Spain. It was there literally the cause of the people, and it came with a peculiarly bad grace from the other side of the house, when it was stated that the cause of the people was not sufficiently attested by the expression of popular sentiment, unless that sentiment be supported by the sanction of the higher classes. He was not disposed, perhaps, to attach all that weight to mere popular effort which some gentlemen were willing to ascribe to it, yet he thought that there had been many circum- stances in the case of Spain to inspire a confident hope of its success.—It was known that the popular rising was the simultaneous effort of the whole country. It was not one province calling upon another and procuring assistance and co-operation by degrees, but the whole country rising at the same moment, to assert its rights and contend for its indepedence. Within, he believed, the space of five or six days, all the provinces had risen. But it was not barely this circumstance that afforded hope or encouraged confidence: it also appeared, that in the course of a very few months, they had collected an army in Andalusia, and obtained a distinct victory over the French, under Dupont, at the memorable Battle of Baylen, in which the Spanish army was little superior in point of numbers to the enemy. He could also state to the house, as ft circumstance that proved the confidence of the Spaniards in their own strength, that when general Spencer applied to them to know whether he should come to their assistance, they stated that they confided in their own strength, and recommended his marching to the relief of Portugal. Nor was it merely to Andalusia they were to look; Saragossa presented also a picture of encouragement: nor had Leon been deficient, for at the battle of Rio Seco the enemy had by no means the advantage they boasted of; the Spaniards had, in fact, obtained decisive advantages, and would have effectually subdued the enemy, if they had had the benefit of cavalry to follow up their successes. Ministers were not to look only with a philosophical view to the constitution of Spain, but were to consider the army it could produce. What that army might be expected to do, if it had sufficient cavalry, could he easily inferred from what they had done, when in the course of two months it succeeded in driving 100,000 men from the provinces they had occupied, and confined them to the left bank of the Ebro.—As to whether the nature of the co-operation adopted by his majesty's ministers was the best that could be resorted to under all the circumstances, he was now to consider. There were two extreme opinions upon this subject, and one middle one; and the intermediate opinion having been adopted by his majesty's ministers, they were ready to rest their justification on their having made choice of that middle opinion. One of the two other opinions was, that if Spain was really animated by the spirit of pure patriotism; if she was in earnest in the great work of her own delivery, that she had the elements of her own salvation within herself; that she therefore did not want British soldiers to fight her battles; that she was sufficiently powerful as to men; and that our co-operation need go no further than supplies of arms, money, clothing, ammunition, and whatever other necessaries might be wanting. Than this opinion, he was free to confess he knew nothing more unwise. Nothing could have tended more effectually to confirm that reproach which had been dealt out by the enemy against us, than that we should not in this instance have taken an active part ourselves. It would have looked too, like that selfish policy with which we had been changed, if while we were urging and exhorting, by every means in our power, a people to defend themselves against a powerful enemy, if whilst we were lavish of our money and stores, we should yet decline to embark our best treasure in a cause which we affected to call glorious and to esteem invincible. There was another extreme more congenial to the feelings of this country, though not in his opinion more reconcilable with sound policy: it was, that there was no medium between a great effort, and the whole effort, and recommended that not a soldier should be kept at home. Without taking any notice of the effects that such a measure might produce at home, if in such a case our efforts should be attended with disaster (and disaster must in all cases be provided against) yet, putting the possibility of disaster out of the question, the thing would be in itself impracticable. There was a limit beyond which they could not go: in short, they must necessarily keep within the limits of the national credit, and there need no more be said in answer to this second opinion, than that it was impossible to act upon it. Then the question, to which they were come, was, whether the effort, which had been made by his majesty's ministers to co-operate with our allies in Spain, had been sufficient; and the assistance thus given would be best judged of by being considered in a three-fold relation: First, as to its extent; secondly, as to its course; and thirdly, as to its ability. In reference to its extent; when information had been first received by his majesty's ministers, that a supply of British troops was wished for to act in concert with the native armies in Spain, there were sent, exclusive of the 10,000 men liberated in the north of Europe under the command of the marquis Romana, no less a force than 45,000 or 50,000 men, nearly 50,000 rank and file into the Peninsula. Besides this army government had issued orders, that the forces in the Mediterranean should send out detachments to act in Catalonia, though subsequent circumstances interposed to prevent those detached troops from rendering that service, which it was then intended to employ them in. If, then, an army of 45,000 men be thought sufficiently considerable in its extent, the next question for the house to consider would be, did they give that army a proper direction; that army once in Portugal, did it from thence get a proper direction? He put the question this way, for he did not want to revive the debate upon the Convention, and therefore he should follow the example of the right hon. gent., and pass over that part. The right hon. gent was ready to admit, that the north of Spain was the best scene for our co-operation, but he assured the right hon. gent. he was not now going to the Pyrenees. He could conceive a man of common sense going to Saint Andero, but he could not conceive a man of sound sense, going to the Pyrenees. He was going merely to that question put by the right hon. gent., as to what could have detained the British army so long during the interval, previous to the Kith of October, the day on which they made their first movement on their march from Portugal to Spain. If the right hon. gent. had taken the information he (lord C.) had offered him, he could have been enabled to have answered his own question; but it was to be taken into consideration what was the difficulty of carrying an army beyond Corunna after the month of September. The port of Saint Andero might have been thought preferable; but that port was extremely small; and he put it to the house, in what situation an army would have been, with 40 or 50,000 French in the neighbourhood of Vittoria, that army but half equipped, and all the transports gone away.—As to the question respecting the delay, he had at an early period of the campaign in Portugal directed that a communication should be opened with the Spanish Generals on the subject of the co-operation of the British army in Spain. That communication had accordingly been opened with general Castanos, but the letter, acquainting him, with the circumstance, had not been received till after the conclusion of the Convention of Cintra. On the 14th Sept. lord Wm. Bentinck was sent to attend the Supreme Central Junta, which was installed at Aranjuez, on the 24th of the same month, in order to confer with them upon the subject. On the 25th of Sept. orders had been sent to sir Hew Dalrymple to move forward with his army towards the north of Spain; and on the same day sir David Baird received orders to embark for Ferrol or Corunna. It was not, however, till the 29th of September, that the first letter from lord Win. Bentinck was written, containing the Answers of the Supreme Junta to certain Questions, which he had been directed to submit to them, as well with respect to the entrance of the British army into Spain, as in regard to the manner in winch it should be employed there. The Answers thus received were, that the fate of Spain depended on an early co-operation of a British force; and to the second question, that which was most important in a military point of view, was, that they wished our forces to be concentrated as one British army; and general Castanos received orders to confer with lord Wm. Bentinck as to the best mode of carrying those wishes into effect. It was proposed that the army in Portugal should make for Burgos, by the route of Salamanca, and sir David Baird debark his troops at Corunna. This intelligence was received at Lisbon on the 8th of October; and here he was free to acknowledge that one of the lamented consequences of the Cintra Convention had been the occupation of the transports, which might perhaps have been otherwise employed; but by that Convention 20,000 tonnage of transports were engrossed in conveying to France 25,000 of French troops; but at the same time he wished it to be distinctly understood, that still there had been transports that might have served to convey our army by sea, to the northern provinces of Spain; but sir John Moore decided otherwise, and in making the very judicious decision that he had made, he was influenced by abstract reasons, not merely by any inconvenience arising out of the occupation of so large a tonnage of transports. Had he gone by sea to Corunna, he would have had to march his army through Gallicia, the poorest province in Spain, and the least calculated to supply an army that was to provide itself on its march. While the question respecting the operations of the British forces in Spain was pending at Madrid, the very same question was discussing in London, and it is not a little remarkable that the very same decision was agreed to, at the same time, in both places;—the marquis of Romana's opinion upon this subject was in writing, and was ready to be laid upon the table of the house. This was a circumstance of such strong and singular coincidence, that he left it to the consideration of gentlemen, if it did not carry with it in its coincidence a strong evidence of its propriety. It appeared then, that lord Wm. Bentinck's letter was dated the 29th of September, and on the 9th of the following month sir David Baird sailed; and again, that on the 17th of September we received the intelligence of the Convention of Cintra, and that on the 25th of the same month the Instructions were sent out for the army in Portugal to march. He could not see where ministers had been guilty of unnecessary delay.—As to that of the troops not being immediately permitted to land, he could only say, that from a prior and distant application made to his majesty's government for British troops on the part of the Juntas of Gallicia and Oviedo, ministers had a right to expect that no obstacle would have been thrown in the way of any troops they might have afterwards sent. Our troops under general Baird having sailed on the 9th of Oct. he (lord C.) had previously wrote a letter to general Broderick in Gallicia, acquainting him with the expeditions then going out, and requiring him to try every means to secure them accommodations on their landing, and provide for their continuing their march. This letter, though addressed to general Broderick, was, in case of his absence, to be opened by captain Kennedy. General Broderick was then in Gallicia with gen. Blake. Capt. Kennedy accordingly opened the letter, acted upon it, and acknowledged the receipt of it on the 1st of Oct He (lord C.) wrote also to general Leith on the 30th of Oct. and to lord Wm. Bentinck, then on the frontiers of Leon. In consequence of these letters the necessary communications had been made to the respective Juntas, but he was sorry to say, that the Juntas had, in fact, neglected to act according to them. He did not wish to censure or complain of their conduct, but such was the fact. After the landing it was proposed to the marquis Romana to change the destination of his corps from Corunna, with which he complied, and there was then an army, including the Asturias and Blake' s, and Romana's, of from 50 to 60,000 men.—The right hon. gent. had given way to an expression of surprize, that the movements of the British army should have been so slow, and those of the French comparatively so rapid: but the surprize of that right hon. gent. would probably cease when he recollected the difference between an army fully equipped and one not equipped;—betweenanarmythatcan seize upon every thing on its way that can facilitate its march, whether provisions or carriages;—and an army that cannot have any such resource; and another consideration, too, not to be forgotten, was, that the roads in France, where the greater part of this expedition was manifested, were of a very superior quality to those of Portugal, through which our armies had to march. On the 14th of Nov. sir John Moore arrived at Salamanca, and never was an army, considering all the fatigues it had undergone, all the hardships sustained, all the difficulties surmounted, to be found in a more perfect slate of discipline, or in better condition. He was joined by sir D. Baird on the Douro, and though the Spanish armies under Romana and that of Estramadura, had, prior to the arrival of sir John Moore, suffered severe reverses, still it was an unfair test of the general spirit of the people. They had at that period the most difficult task imposed upon them, that could devolve to a nation in such circumstances; it was at the same time to make head against a powerful enemy, and to make a government.—There was certainly one circumstance much to be regretted—that they did not put one person at the head of their army, so as to make it one great machine in the hands of some one powerful leader, and not have its force divided and broken down into small and insulated bodies When gen. Moore arrived first at Salamanca, he had reason to expect that Buonaparté would have directed his force against the British troops, rather than against Madrid: and there was great reason to hope every thing from the spirit, which, according to gen. Hope's report, whose column had passed through Madrid, was prevalent in that city. They shewed every symptom of the greatest zeal and energy. He admitted that there was more languor in the northern provinces, but Castile had always been that part of Spain that had distinguished itself most in every patriotic ebullition. After the march of the army from Salamanca, the only object was to draw off the force of the enemy from pushing his conquests to the South, and surely never was a diversion more completely effected. It had left the whole south of Spain free, and given it a repose for six weeks or two months. When sir John Moore had suspended his retreat, his subsequent march to Sahagun and Saldanah was not proceeded upon on mere abstract grounds. Sir John Moore had received a letter, intercepted by a corps of cavalry, to which his hon. relative (gen. Stewart) belonged; the letter was Berthier's, promising reinforcements to Soult, but when he had got to Sahagun, and discovered that Buonaparté was bearing down on him from Madrid, he then had no option but to retire on Astorga, at the same time that he felt no doubt, that if he could have come upon Soult, the result would have been worthy of his great character.—He could not conclude without adverting to that, part of the right hon. gent.'s speech, that seemed to imply that out losses in Spain had been more than what had been stated by his hon. relation; he believed that statement would be found to be correct; as to the artillery, he denied that the French got a single piece: what could not be carried off had been spiked; there was certainly a trifling escort with a few pieces of artillery on their way to Romana's army; this he apprehended had fallen into their hands, and it was of those they had so vaunted. He ridiculed the notion of our military character being lost in consequence of the late reverses, and asked if the disgraces of Vimiera and Corunna were to be blotted from the memories of Englishmen? If, however, they were anxious for inquiry, they might go into a Committee that would occupy them three months; but nothing was a greater mistake, than the supposition that those who called for inquiry, meant that they wanted information (Hear!). He left it with confidence to the house to say, whether any case had been made out to justify the motion of the right hon. gent.; and where no case was made out no enquiry could be called for.

Mr. Tierney

observed, that there never was a speech which called so much for animadversion as that which the noble lord had just closed. The noble lord said that there was no prima facie case against ministers. There were, however, few men in England who would agree with him in that opinion; there would not one, he believed, be found to agree with the noble lord, if the whole country were to be polled over. The prima facie case was this; that England had sent out to Spain an array of 53,000 men, and that they had returned again under the fire of the French cannon! What had this army done in the peninsula that had not been undone? If he had eloquence sufficient he might describe in glowing terms the victories of sir A. Wellesley in Portugal; but the prima facie case was, that, owing to the councils of ministers, all that he and others had done was in vain; and that we had no hopes of maintaining ourselves in Portugal, except it was the good pleasure of Buonaparté to leave it in our possession; for he presumed the noble lord would not venture to state that Buonaparté might not, if he pleased, be now in as complete possession of Portugal as he was twelve months ago. After all the promises of the noble lord, and the mighty hopes that were held out, the little prima facie case that remained was this, that the almost unparalleled bravery of our troops had not been able to save the country from disgrace (loud cries of no! no! and hear! hear! from the ministerial benches). He could not be understood to mean that any slur attached to the army or its officers. But this cheer was truly kind now; for never had he heard any speech from a secretary of state so little cheered as those which the noble lord had delivered on the present and on a former occasion (a laugh and cries of hear! hear!). Our failures were not owing to the army, but to the military councils which his majesty, unfortunately for the country, had chosen. And while he paid the truest tribute of applause to the bravery and skill of the former, he could not look at the imbecility of the latter without indignation and contempt. If he were merely to state the case, it would bear him out in what he said. After all the boasting of the noble lord and his colleagues; after all the hardships to which our army had been exposed, the only triumph was, that we had got most of our troops back again! The noble lord, it must be confessed, was a man of a most singular disposition, for he was pleasant on this occasion; and what served to make others sad, made him merry (hear! hear!). The noble lord had talked of his right hon. friend's prudence in bringing forward this motion while he had his troops together. He sincerely wished the noble lord had followed that policy with regard to Spain, and brought the troops thereto act in a body at a period when their exertions would have been availing.—The noble lord had said, that it was degrading to the house to go into a committee to enquire into this subject. Was it degrading to do that which almost every man in the country must feel to be the duty of the house-of commons?—But then the noble lord said, "Why don't you wait for the Papers?" The reason was obvious, the motion was not a censure upon the government; what was called for was a Committee of Inquiry, and there the noble lord would have an opportunity of producing all the documents which he might think material for his own justification. To move for documents from day to day, as the noble lord proposed, could furnish no accurate information either to the house or the public; for after one set had been produced, another set might appear necessary, and so the matter might be protracted to the end of the session. What he wanted was viva voce evidence; he wanted to examine officers who had served under the gallant Moore, to learn what were his sentiments on the subject; he wanted to know how the troops had been equipped; what was the nature of the commissariat; and whether it was not so grossly ignorant of the method of supply that the army was starving in the midst of plenty? (Hear! hear!). The noble lord then came to details, and nothing, he said, could be done till the Supreme Government was constituted at Aranjusz, in September. But had not the noble lord the means of ascertaining what they might require by a previous communication with those, who, it was well known, would form part of that government? Might he not form some idea of what the wants of the Spaniards would be, and make his preparations accordingly? But the noble lord plainly said, that sir David Baird's troops were not ready till the end of September.—What a confession was this from the noble lord, who talked so muck of vigour and promptitude, and of transports upon transports! But, he certainly did confess, that the troops were not ready to sail till the close of September, and, if this should appear to be the case, on inquiry, then the noble lord was culpable. Two years had not elapsed since a draft had been made from the militia of nearly 40,000 men, with a view to any contingency or emergency of this sort; but the noble lord said, that nothing could be done till October. On that point, he differed very much in opinion from the noble lord, as he might have known before what might be wanted to enable him to be in a state of forward preparation. Then the noble lord shifted the plan of the campaign from himself and his colleagues, upon the Junta of Spain, and general Moore, abroad; and upon the marquis Romana, and somebody else, not mentioned, at home. Nothing, he allowed, was more wise than to afford the Spaniards such a shelter to fall back upon in case of defeat, as that which would be furnished by the British army. But how had the noble lord set about this? General Baird was at Corunna, general Moore at Salamanca, and general Hope at Aranjuez, and the troops of all these generals thus formed a central army, which had to occupy the space of 300 miles (Hear! hear!). Now, though he confessed his ignorance of military affairs, in the exercise of mere common sense, he could not but think all this very extraordinary.—But supposing this mode of proceeding to be good, the question was whether, from the delays that had taken place, it was not madness to persevere in it? It was said, that it was in consequence of instructions from Morla, that the plan had been adopted, and that the army occupied these points. Morla was then War Secretary, and judging from what had since been learned respecting that person, it was likely that such had been the case. The consequence, however, of this arrangement had been, that no part of the British army arrived on the edge of the scene of action, until the 2d of December. On the 13th of October, after the arrival of gen. Baird at Corunna, an application was made by the Junta of Gallicia to the Supreme Junta, in consequence of the necessity of which general Baird was obliged to remain on board his ship till the 20th, when an order arrived to suffer his men to land by divisions of 2,000 at a time. And the landing was not completed till the 6th of November. When the army was landed, the general, as his right hon. friend had stated, wanted money, and was obliged to send somebody (col. Gordon he believed) to Lisbon, to procure a supply. He further believed that gen. Baird, when he got to Corunna, was without instructions as to his future proceedings. He got information, however, from sir John Moore, that he was to meet him. Now this might be wise in theory, but when the French patroles came tip to the lines of these armies, common sense proved that the plan ought not to have been persevered in. Then, in what a situation was sir John Moore placed! he must have been utterly at a loss whether to assist sir David Baird, or gen. Hope; and there they were without any general plan till the 5th of Dec. when sir John Moore gave an order to advance, in consequence of being joined by the cavalry and artillery under gen. Hope, whom he believed to be one of the best officers in the service; and he might appeal to this very operation for the truth of this assertion. The French, however, during all this time, were not idle. They had got to Madrid: but to account for the rapidity of their movements, the noble lord said that they took every thing they wanted. And why did not we secure every thing we wanted? And the question was the more appropriate, inasmuch as we were in a friendly country; the French in a hostile one. All this called for inquiry; and the noble lord pointed to his documents. Suppose, these were to implicate the ruling persons in Spain and Portugal, whom could the house summon for explanation? Could they call for the bishop of Oporto? (a laugh). Never was there such a course of abominable lies as had been circulated with respect to these transactions in the month of November. Buonaparté, it was said, and particularly by those most attached to the government, was utterly ruined; all his schemes had failed, and nothing was heard of but universal insurrection of the Spanish nation: It was said, that he was at last caught; that he had made a false move; that sir John Moore had got behind him, and that his destruction was inevitable. But to the noble lord's very great surprise, Buonaparté pushed forward to Madrid without stopping to attack our armies. But it did not appear very surprising, that Buonaparté, who wanted to get the crown of Spain for his brother, should push forward to the seat of government with as much dispatch as possible. The noble lord thought that Buonaparté had committed a great error in not waiting to attack our armies. But the object of Buonaparté was to drive us out of Spain; and he did not much risk that by securing another object, and the event was, that he secured them both. The noble lord, perhaps, ought not rashly to set his own opinion against that of Buonaparté in a military question. Buonaparté was an usurper, an upstart, a tyrant, and a great many other bad things, but still it was impossible to deny, but this wicked man had some skill in military matters, sufficient, indeed, to counterbalance the authority even of the noble lord.—But so it was, that Buonaparté, whether right or wrong, got to Madrid, and then sir John Moore formed the resolution to advance. Now, he wanted much to know whether sir John Moore had received instructions to advance at that particular moment? And he also wanted to know why the troops that were embarking, to the number of 12,000 men, were not sent forward immediately to his assistance in his retreat? Great advantages might have resulted from this: in the first place, gen. Moore might have been alive, and if 10,000 men, a great, proportion of which were actually in the transports, had been sent to Corunna, then a real diversion might have been effected; for the army might, perhaps, have maintained itself for some time in that place, and in reality obliged Buonaparté to turn his whole attention to that quarter. But instead of this, he had heard that Buonaparté having seen the British army on the road to Lugo, had turned the greater part of his force again towards the south, and left it to one of his generals, with what he conceived to be a sufficient body of troops to execute the object.—Now, what was Buonaparté's prima facie case? He had promised to crown his brother in Madrid within three weeks of the time when he passed the Pyrenees. He had done so. He had promised to drive the English into the sea; and though he was not able to do this exactly, our army, it was well known, was obliged to embark under the fire of the French cannon. The noble lord's prima facie case was directly the reverse. Re had promised every thing, and done worse than nothing. You could never send any where more than 50,000 men; but no nation after this would ever trust to 50,000 men, or 100,000, if directed by such military councils. But then the noble lord said, that it was a great object to create a diversion in favour of the South of Spain, where the people were all hostile to the views of France; why, so they were also in the North; but if any Spanish gentlemen were examined at the bar, they would in all probability say, that after all our promises and exertions we had for them done nothing.—Why did not sir John Moore retreat into Portugal? If that gallant general had been left to his own discretion, he was persuaded he would have retreated upon Vigo and Portugal. ["His Letter says the contrary," was whispered by some of the ministers across the table.] Well, that might be, but he might have been of one opinion at the date of that letter, and of a very different one at another time. He wanted to know why we had not taken possession of Ferrol; if the government of Spain had not sufficient confidence in us to grant us this much, why were troops sent to that country at all? But he could not help again asking why sir John Moore had not fallen back on Portugal? The fact was, that this lamented general knew well that he was acting under an administration not very friendly to him; at the same time he did not mean to insinuate that the noble lord had behaved in an illiberal manner to sir John Moore; but certainly the situation of that gallant officer was a most unhappy one. He must have been sensible of the expectations that were encouraged in the country, every newspaper from which was filled with the most erroneous accounts of his situation, and with paragraphs, stating sir John Moore would do this, and sir John Moore would do that. The gallant general must have felt the cruel hardship of his situation, and the little hope he could have of very strong support, if he should happen to do any thing that was wrong; a tiling not easily avoided amidst the difficulties with which he was surrounded. But, then, the noble lord had dwelt upon the rapidity of the movements of the. French troops, and rested a considerable share of his justification upon this circumstance. Now it was very singular in this prima facie case (to use a favourite expression,) that there was nothing to obstruct the plans of the noble lord, but, what he might have known very well before. Buonaparté had taken no pains to conceal the time of his marching. He marched on the 5th of Nov. from Bayonne, and he told you so. The sun shone in October; the rain fell in November, and the snow in December; all which were common things, and the noble lord might have learnt them from Moore's Almanack. But the noble lord said, "who could resist such engines of destruction" (he believed that was the precise expression) as the French carried with them." Why, the engines of destruction were horse, foot, and artillery, not uncommon engines of destruction in war (hear! hear!); and the noble lord might have foreseen that the French would possess them, and the failures in fact must be attributed to ministers, unless they could prove that a mutiny had broke out in the army, or an extraordinary mortality. But nothing of this kind was alleged, and therefore there existed the strongest reasons for an inquiry. The noble lord had very cautiously adverted to the statement of his noble relation (general Stewart), as to the number of troops lost in these expeditions, and seemed very doubtful whether he could venture to declare his belief of its correctness. He (Mr. Tierney) had conversed with several officers who were present in these expeditions, and understood from them that the loss was at least from 8 to 10,000 men, instead of the 5,000 mentioned by, the hon. general. The noble lord had said that the enemy had taken none of our artillery. What had become of the nine-pounders of the 2nd brigade? Their guns had been left behind, as he understood, and he strongly suspected that the noble lord would find that he had been mistaken in his statement. But whether our loss was more or less, could any man doubt as to the situation of affairs when the first dispatch from sir John Moore, of the 2Slh of Dec. appeared in the Gazette, containing the words, "I find I have no time to lose in securing my retreat." From that day, till the arrival of the army at Corunna, was a scene of woe such as had scarcely ever been heard of. Think of blowing up the ammunition; destroying 3 or 400 waggons; staving the casks with the dollars; leaving the artillery to be cast away; and the Shrapnell shells to the French, who would thus be enabled to discover their composition.—He requested it might be understood, that he meant not to ascribe these disasters, in the smallest degree, to sir John Moore; but it was obvious, that if ministers had sent the force which had been partly embarked to his assistance, the calamities might in a great measure have been prevented. The ministers he conceived to be extremely culpable in this respect, although he allowed that this depended very much upon the time at which the noble lord had the first intelligence of sir John Moore's retreat. But when he first heard that it was the intention of sir John Moore to advance, the noble lord ought to have sent a reinforcement, which would have been useful whatever turn affairs might take. The noble lord had said that the gentlemen on his side of the house had abandoned Spain. He affirmed, however, that not they, but the ministers had abandoned Spain. There were, however, it appeared, great hopes of what might be done in Portugal; and general Beresford, with several other officers, were to be sent to organize the people of that country, lint why were they not organized before, when it would have been of use to do so? But now, when we were about to abandon the country, we began to encourage the Portuguese to take arms in their own cause. "Now, my lads, (we said) is your time to defend yourselves against the villainous French, since you see that we can defend you no longer." (Hear! hear!). The truth was, the noble lord was astounded at the total failure of all his vigorous schemes, and this put him in a vein of pleasantry, such as had never before been heard of. (A laugh and Hear! hear!). He (Mr. T.) however was not disposed to treat this motion so lightly. By the attention which was paid to it the country would judge of the character of the house of commons. The house ought to convince the army that, though they might be exposed to unavailing exertions and useless hardships by the mismanagement of ignorant councils, they had protectors in that assembly, who would never be slow in attending to their interests and their comforts. Unless the officers of the army had this support to look to, all would with them be absolute despair; for with the exception of some of the connections of ministers, there was not an officer who came home from the expedition to Spain, that did not vent execrations against the authors of it. From Lugo until they reached Corunna, there was not a man engaged in that retreat of unparalleled danger and hardship, who did not vent curses against those who placed them in that situation. If he knew any thing of gesture, he could perceive from the agitation of a right hon. gent. opposite (Mr. Canning), that he was waxing wroth, and he anticipated a most splendid tirade from him in condemnation of the effect which the sentiments uttered by him might have in inflaming the army. But in what he had said, he had stated nothing more than the fact. He had heard it from officers, whom he had met in certain circles of society, and it was these he meant when he spoke of the army. The noble lord called for confidence in the head of the administration; but who was the head? He had a high respect for the private virtues, and many amiable and excellent qualities of the Duke of Portland, but he could not consider him as the head of the govern- ment. Was it then the Chancellor of the Exchequer? He had already disclaimed it. Was it the right hon. gent. (Mr. Canning) who he could perceive was meditating some vehement burst of eloquence against him? Was it the noble lord himself? Was it the earl of Liverpool? That surely could not be the case, as that noble lord was put upon record as being totally disqualified for the department of foreign affairs. Whom, then, were they to give confidence to? He had heard much in that house of confidence. Mr. Pitt's friends called for it over and over again. It was his misfortune not to agree with them, but Mr. Pitt had some claims to confidence. There was something in the greatness of his character, in the boldness and magnitude of his views, and in the splendour and fascination of his eloquence, that might have warranted confidence. But if they were to give it to the present government it would prove that they gave confidence, not to Mr. Pitt, but to a thing called an administration. This conclusion must necessarily follow, if they went to vote upon the principles recommended by the noble lord.

General Stewart

did not at all mean to reply to the speeches made by the hon. gentlemen opposite, but wished to allude to one or two particular points. The right hon. gent. had said, that the march of the British troops from Portugal to Spain was by the direction of his majesty's government. It was pretty well known to all the officers who had been with that army, that that was not the case, and that that course had been concerted between the Supreme Junta of Spain and sir John Moore. The hon. gent. had also said, that the commissariat was badly constituted, and the troops ill supplied. He declared, that as long as he had been with gen. Hope, which was during a march of near 1,000 miles, nothing could be more complete than the supplies afforded. Much had been said of the danger to which both corps were exposed by that under sir John Moore having marched by land to Spain from Portugal, whilst sir David Baird's corps was landed at Corunna; but the junction of sir John Moore and sir David Baird was not at first critical, though it afterwards became so in consequence of the defeat of Castanos. As to the loss sustained by the British army, he was still of the same opinion, as when he stated its amount to the house, and he was convinced that his statements would be borne out by the returns, that it did not amount to more than 5,000 men: but let the loss be what it might, the advantage to our army in the experience upon a large scale which they had acquired was incalculable, and would be most evident, should they ever have to encounter the enemy on our own shores.

Mr. Colborne

rose to express his dissent from the hon. gent.'s motion, as also from many of the sentiments uttered by the right hon. gent. who had spoken last but one; and he particularly blamed that part of his speech, where he made use of expressions calculated to inflame the army, a flame which the right hon. gent. himself had so justly anticipated. He, therefore requested the attention of the house only for two moments, for which time only he would be disposed to divert the storm of eloquence which the right hon. gent. justly apprehended. [Mr. Secretary Canning had twice offered himself to the house.]—He could assure the house, that if he thought inquiry were necessary, he should not disapprove of it, and that he had no wish whatever to withhold from the public any information on a subject, in which they were so strongly interested. He was glad to find, that whatever difference existed as to the mode in which Spain had been assisted by this country, there was no variety of opinion as to the propriety of the assistance itself and he could not but regret that the hon. gentlemen opposite had not paid their tribute of applause to the promptitude with which that assistance had been afforded. The accusation of failure made by the hon. gentlemen opposite, came with a very bad grace from individuals whose administration was a succession of failures. That administration had attempted to bring about a peace, and the attempt had ended in a more rancorous war; they had carried on war in a manner even worse than they had conducted their negotiation. The hon. gent. then contended that by the occurrences in Spain we had gained no trifling advantages; we had given to our army experience, we had shewn to the eyes of Europe, and to the world, that we were as formidable by land as by sea; we had taught the enemy to respect our military force, and to acknowledge that we possessed commanders who could vie with the titled minions of Buonaparté. The hon. gent. had said that we had done nothing. Was it nothing to gain the Spaniards that time which their situation de- manded? Was it nothing, to afford them an opportunity of collecting their dispersed armies? Was it nothing, by creating a powerful diversion, to allow them the means in another part of the kingdom to combat with success the common enemy? Had we not gained a national military character by our conduct? And, though our loss was considerable, was it not less than, that which we had sustained on our former less glorious campaigns? The honour which the British army had gained in Spain, by raising its character, had done more than all the plans which had been or could be devised for giving facilities to the recruiting of that army. The hon. gent. had not shewn any ground for the motion which he had submitted to the house; in his opinion it would tend only to paralise the country, and he therefore felt himself bound to vote against it.

Lord Milton

observed, that the hon. gent. who' had just sat down, had given rather a singular reason for having approved of the campaign in Spain, namely, that it would facilitate the recruiting of the army. The noble lord opposite (Castlereagh) would, he believed, not be disposed to thank the hon. gent. for the compliment to his administration of the army contained in that observation. It was the opinion of the hon. gent. that the inquiry moved for would only tend to paralise the efforts of the country. It was his firm conviction, on the contrary, that the country was desirous, and parliament was bound to make inquiry into the recent failures in Spain: and for his own part he should not hesitate to declare, that whether his friends were in power or out of power, he should at all times be a strenuous advocate for the necessity of vigilant inquiry into the conduct of public affairs. He would have been glad, if such an inquiry had taken place in former wars. Had the Expeditions to Ferrol and the Redder been inquired into, they should not now have to regret the failures to which the motion referred. Instead, therefore, of the inquiry proposed paralising the efforts of the country, it would give to the parliament the confidence of the public. The object of the expedition had been the establishment of the Spanish Monarchy, and to drive the French army out of that country. Now, in spite of all the vigour and activity of the noble lord, instead of Buonaparté having been driven back to his own territory, and the whole of the Peninsula re- covered from his forces, his brother Joseph had been crowned at Madrid, and our army obliged to withdraw precipitately from Spain. Were not these circumstances that called for inquiry, and was parliament to he told that no such inquiry was necessary? If they were to say that they would not go into the investigation, the nation would decide that they had no pretensions to occupy the situations they held as representatives of the people.

Mr. Secretary Cunning

expressed his satisfaction that he had not spoken when he first offered himself to the attention of the house, but that he had given way to the three successive members who had favoured the house with their sentiments, and to whom he felt himself under considerable obligation. To the gallant general near him, because he was now able to avail himself of that gallant officer's authority, in support of some very important facts—to his hon. friend who followed, for the ability with which he had refuted the arguments of the right hon. gent. opposite—an ability, the display of which had afforded him the highest pleasure, and from which the presence of his hon. friend alone prevented him from declaring how much he still expected. To the noble lord he was also under obligation; because, standing as the noble lord did, in so high a station in the country, and possessing, as he presumed he did, the hopes of the opposite side of the house, he was glad to find that the sum of what could be said on such an occasion, by such an individual, was so small. Amongst all the reasons,' which had been urged for inquiry, misrepresentation had held the foremost place in the speeches of the right hon. gentlemen opposite. They had endeavoured, by a series of the grossest misrepresentations that he had ever witnessed, to pervert fact, and to mislead the judgment of the house. The right hon. gent. by whom the debate was commenced, had taken a general and comprehensive view of the subject, and his misrepresentations were as general as comprehensive. The right hon. gent. who followed him, had contented himself with a more particular field, but that field he had filled in detail with misrepresentations, if possible, still more flagrant: the former had dealt in misrepresentation with a view to his argument; but the latter had presented all his facts in a more discoloured and distorted shape, than in the course of his experience he had ever known, and this, too, whilst he gave to himself the character of a plain, blunt man, addressing to the house stout and subborn facts in plain and simple language, and having truth alone in view. Certainly, the right hon. gent. was a plain, blunt man; and he could have wished, that he had completed the picture and only spoken the truth. (A cry of Order! order!) It was matter of surprise, he confessed, to him, that that right hon. gent. had ventured to state as facts, what he knew only from report, and to give to rumour the credit of undoubted authority; but in ten minutes he should shew that all his statements were unfounded. The statement of the right hon. gent. that night began with the army, when, after the campaign in Portugal, it became disposable, and proceeded to Spain. His first accusation against his majesty's ministers, was for the manner in which they had assembled that army: and upon this point the right hon. gent. had asserted, that nothing could exceed the absurdity, as he termed it, of dividing the army into three separate columns, and of extending those columns over many miles of country, so as to make it impossible for the centre column to go to the left without abandoning the right column, or to go to the right without abandoning the left column. Now, with respect to that arrangement, whatever merit or demerit it might have, it was not the arrangement of government. The right hon. gent. had said, that every twelve hours there had been a change of system and measure, in which case it would have been absurd to dictate any course of proceeding for the army in its progress in Spain; so that taking his own premises for granted, his conclusion would not follow, and his argument fell to the ground. His majesty's ministers had not been absurd enough to dictate from home the precise instructions, under which the British army was to act in all circumstances. They had suit out general instructions to the Commander in Chief, when the army was proceeding from Portugal to Spain, and at the same time informed him that they intended to dispatch a considerable force to Corunna, and that the transports which took that force out, were to proceed to the Tagus to he placed at his disposal. The option was thus left to the general, whether he would proceed to Spain by sea or by land. The adoption of the latter course had been the choice of sir John Moore, as would appear by one of the papers that would be laid on the table, which the right hon. gentlemen might have had produced, if they had thought proper to more for it, and had not preferred darkness to light. It was not because sir John Moore could not proceed by sea that he had adopted that course, but because he thought it better to proceed by land. What, then, was to become of the fact of the right hon. gent. that this arrangement was a military blunder of his noble friend? The division of sir John Moore's army into two bodies was not the act of his majesty's ministers. The sending of the infantry by one route, and the cavalry and artillery by another, was solely the adoption of sir John Moore himself, and had not arisen from any want of communication or knowledge, but was resorted to in consequence of communications with a Spanish general officer sent by the Central Junta, to arrange the line of march of the British army with sir John Moore. This was a specimen of the facts of the right hon. gentleman: "ab uno "disce omnes."—But as the right honourable gentleman had already in one part of his speech retracted a part of his accusation, he would, he was sure, upon finding that his charge was unfounded, retract the remainder. Could the right hon. gent. believe it possible, that any administration, even the administration which preceded the present, would be so weak as to send orders to any general upon foreign service, to divide his army into two distinct parts, the one composed of infantry, the other of cavalry and artillery, and that each should advance by a different route against the enemy? He did not mean to find fault with this arrangement; but it was the arrangement not of government, but of sir J. Moore, and he had no doubt that the arrangement had been adopted on sufficient reasons. What those reasons were he did not know; but whatever they were, they were distinctly that gallant officer's own reasons; nor were the operations undertaken without any concert with the Spanish government; on the contrary the whole course had been arranged upon a distinct communication, and in concert with an officer from the Central government of Spain. The right hon. gent. was not either more fortunate or more accurate in his account of the operations in Spain. For variety sake, he supposed, the right hon. gent. had stated one fact correctly. He had sated that sir J. Moore, on hearing of the defeat of the three Spanish armies, had it in contemplation to fall back upon Portugal, and sent orders to sir David Baird to retire also. But for fear that he should have one incontestible fact in his statement, the right hon. gent. drew this false inference, that therefore sir John Moore must afterwards have advanced against his will. Here, again, the right honourable gentleman was totally mistaken.—The fact was, that sir John Moore had been informed of the determination of the inhabitants of Madrid to defend that city to the last extremity, and had suspended his retreat in consequence. This information he had received from those whose duty it was to direct the efforts of the people; a communication to the same effect had been made to him by Mr. Frere; and he was convinced that the inhabitants of Madrid had been at that time sincere in their determination of defending their city, or burying themselves under its ruins, if they had not been frustrated in their intentions by the weakness or the treason of some of those in whom they had confided, particularly of that rough honest man Don Thomas Morla, who had distinguished himself by his patriotism in the early period of the Spanish struggle. Sir John Moore might have questioned the courage of the inhabitants of a luxurious capital; but informed as he had been of their determined resolution, and by his majesty's accredited minister to the Spanish government, he might have expected Madrid to follow the example of Saragossa, and its inhabitants to emulate the intrepidity of the compatriots of the gallant Palafox. It was not his intention to blame sir John Moore for the course he had pursued: on the contrary, he should have thought him blame-able, if he had not adopted it; and he should not think well of the heart of any gallant soldier, who, upon such assurances of the determined resistance of Madrid, would have declined availing himself of the favourable opportunity it afforded for making a bold and enterprising effort against the common enemy. Here then the agency of Mr. Frere ended; and he must be allowed to add, that nothing had been done by that gentleman, but what was calculated to raise the character of this country in Spain, and to conciliate the attachment of that country to Great Britain. But the chief reason for sir John Moore's advance was not founded on any external agency. It arose out of information received through an intercepted letter from Berthier to Soult, directing that general to be at a particular place on a par- ticular day, and promising reinforcements; which letter led him to hope that by advancing he should be able to cut off that general's corps. At that time he had been joined by general Hope, and expected shortly to be joined by sir David Baird, and in consequence sir John Moore advanced to Sabagun. In this movement he, acted as a statesman no less than as a soldier; because, even though he might fail, he must have gained an advantage for the south of Spain, whose exertions had never been relaxed, by drawing off the French army from Madrid, and the prosecution of operations against the capital and the southern provinces. The right hon. gent. had complained that no force had been sent to support the army at Corunna, and that troops, which had been on board transport, had been re-landed. The fact was true, but the right hon. gent.'s inference, as to the re-landing these troops, was unfounded. They had been re-landed in consequence of a distinct requisition from sir David Baird, that he wanted a certain number of transports, and the transports from which these troops had been disembarked, were sent out pursuant to that requisition. It was an afflicting circumstance that it should have been necessary to re-land these troops, and to send out empty, for the purpose of bringing off the British army, those transports which had been filled for the purpose of reinforcement and assault. Would the right hon. gent. say that, at this distance from the scene, his majesty's ministers should have refused to send out these transports? He could assure that right hon. gent. that the sending the transports empty from this country, had cost his majesty's ministers a severe pang. Amongst all the decisions to which he had been a party, in the course of his life, no one had ever occurred which gave him more pain than this: every dictate of the head was tortured, every feeling of the heart wrung by it; but his majesty's ministers had no choice; they were compelled to submit to the hard necessity. He felt that it would excite dissatisfaction in England, and excite dismay in Spain; yet painful as it was to re-land the troops and send out the transports empty, his majesty's ministers had no alternative.—He was not aware that there was any thing more in the right hon. gent.'s speech, which it would be necessary for him to reply to particularly. He could not, however, pass from it without, noticing the animation, rather more than usual with the right hon. gent. with which he began; no less than the indignation which pervaded the middle of his speech, and the reprehension of his majesty's ministers, with which it ended. But there was one point more to which the right hon. gent. had adverted, when he asked why sir David Band had been sent out without instructions, which it might be desirable for him to notice. Sir David Baird's force had been sent out as part of sir John Moore's army; and consequently he was to take his instructions from that officer. As to the question why a force had not been sent out to meet the British army on its return to Corunna, it would be a sufficient reply to state that the dispatches from sir John Moore mentioned his intention to retreat upon Corunna or Vigo; the transports, too, had been ordered from Corunna to Vigo, and the distance between these places was considerable, so that his majesty's ministers could not know whither to send a force to meet them.—Without meaning the smallest disrespect to the right hon. gent. (Mr. Tierney) he should here quit his rougher draft, and pass to the more comprehensive statement of the right hon. gent. who preceded him, which, if it had only the quality of truth, he meant of foundation in fact, would have been a most distinguished specimen of eloquence. But that right hon. gent. had employed the same guide as his right hon. friend, the misrepresentation of facts, to describe the conduct of the government of this country to Spain. It would be recollected that the feeling of that house, and of the world, upon the first ebullition of the national spirit in Spain, was, that the government of this country had but one course to pursue. It had been argued by the right hon. gent. that before the assistance of this country had been given to Spain, it ought to have been ascertained whether or not the Spaniards were instigated by the monks; whether they were encouraged by the higher ranks, or animated by popery; whether they were wedded to their ancient institututions, or disposed to shake off the oppression of their former government, to abjure the errors of a delusive religion, or prepared to forswear the Pope and the Grand Inquisitor. These were questions better suited for the employment of a period of learned leisure, than for the hours of action. The right hon. gent. in tracing the limit which he pointed out, had drawn a line of insularity round us, which would separate us from the rest of Europe, even more than our insular situation, and leave us to defend ourselves. The policy of his majesty's government was different; they felt that the Spanish nation wanted other and more aids than lectures or municipal institutions; they were content that a British army should act in Spain, though the Grand Inquisitor might have been at the head of the Spanish armies; though the people might have been attached to their ancient monarchy, and with one hand upheld Ferdinand VII, whilst with the Other, they worshipped the Lady of the Pillar. To assist t he patriotic efforts of the Spanish nation was the sole object, and they did not wish to inflict upon that country any change as the price of that assistance. God forbid! that we should ever be so intolerant, as to make a conformity to our own opinions the price of our assistance to others, in their efforts for national independence; or to carry the sword in one hand, and what we might choose to call the Rights of Man in the other! If the principle upon which government had acted was not sound, if the measures resorted to had only paralized the efforts of the Spanish nation, for God's sake, let the administration of the government be trusted to more enthusiastic and abler hands. But the enthusiasm of the Spaniards was not pretended; what they had in their mouths, they felt in their hearts; they were enthusiastically determined to defend their country to the last extremity, or to perish under its ruins. The language held by his majesty's government to Spain, was not that no assistance should be afforded till a Supreme Government should he established; but whilst the assistance was sent to every part of Spain, we called upon that country to collect its authority in one Supreme Government, not in order to obtain our assistance, but to induce other nations of Europe to join in aiding their exertions. Until this Supreme Government had been established, no accredited minister could be sent to Spain; but at an early period of the national ebullition, agents had been sent by his majesty's ministers to all parts of Spain, and from the information collected from these gentlemen, they were enabled to judge for themselves. The right hon. gent. had objected to the appointment of any other than a military man on a mission to Spain: but as the objects of the right hon. gent. were of a philosophical nature, military men would not have been the most proper persons to be employed to accomplish them. But was there no other way of knowing the state of the country than by the barren reports of the agents, who might be sent thither? If one were desirous of knowing what was passing in England, would he not ask whether such or such a person, who might have been known in Europe, to he connected with public at fairs, had any share in he passing transactions? This source of information was open to us in pain, and the men connected with the national struggle afforded the best illustration of die principle, and the best comment upon the cause. In Catalonia, Espeleta, who had been Governor of South America, and President of the Council of Castile, took the lead. In Castile, Cuesta was at the head of the army. In Murcia, the venerable Florida Blanca, the ablest statesman in Europe. Besides these and others, there were Saavedra and Jovellanos, the former an able minister for Foreign Affairs, the latter distinguished in the Home Department, whose connection with the popular ebullition was a fortunate omen of its success, and a distinct proof of its extent. Morla too was active in his country's cause; which, alas; he had since betrayed. But these were not all; amongst those who attended their sovereign to Bayonne, and who took the earliest opportunity to join their country, were Don Pedro Cevallos and the Duke d'Infantado. When the hoary wisdom of age, and the ardent enthusiasm of youth; when the whole mass of the population, and the distinguished individuals of every rank, were associated for the common defence of their country, who could doubt of their cause? This was a state of things which his majesty's ministers could easily discern, without the aid of the spectacles presented by the right hon. sent. The military part of the transaction might have disappointed expectation, but the cause was not desperate. The soldiers who conquered at Baylen, and those who rallied alter the defeat of Rio Seco, those who defended Madrid before they were soldiers, and drove the French out of Castile, were still staunch in the cause. The spirit of the people was unsubdued; the boundaries of French power were confined within the limits of their military posts; the throne of Joseph was erected on sand, and would totter with the first blast; and Buonaparté, even should he succeed, instead of a yielding and unreproaching ally, would have an impatient, revolting, and turbulent nation to keep down. In this stale of things he could not admit that the cause of Spain was hopeless. Austria and Prussia had sunk under the fortune of Buonaparté; but though his career had not been stopped, it had been interrupted by the unarmed population of Spain. The cause of Spain and of Europe was not therefore desperate, because our army of 30 or 40,000 men had been obliged to withdraw iron Spain; and it was not just to the country, or to the army, which he hoped would again prove the stay and bulwark of Europe, to assert, that its honour was in consequence gone for ever. All the energy of liberty, and all the sacredness of loyalty, Still survived, and the Spanish revolution was, he trusted, destined by Providence to stand between posterity and French despotism; and to shew to the world, that amidst the paroxysms of freedom a monarch might still be loved. If they could shew that these were the. feelings by which they were influenced, and that they had acted up to those feelings,: heir justification would be complete; and he was convinced hat the liberal and disinterested measures of his majesty's government towards Spain were more congenial to British feeling, and more honourable to the national character, than if they had set out in their career of assistance by picking up golden apples for ourselves. For himself, as an humble individual of his majesty's government, and having a share in these transactions, the recollection, whatever might be the vote of that night, would be a source of gratification which he should carry with him to the grave Such had been the cause, in which his majesty's ministers had embarked.—Such the principles, upon which they acted; and such the objects which they had in view. He could not admit, though the result of the Campaign had not been such as they all would have wished, that therefore disgrace had been brought upon his majesty's arms, when every operation of that campaign had proved so glorious for the character of the British army. If we had been obliged to quit Spain, we had left that country with fresh laurels blooming upon our brows: and whatever failure there had been upon the whole, he trusted might still be repaired. If that was to be brought forward as the ground for accusation, he stood there for judgment, and should submit with cheerfulness and patience to whatever sentence it might he the pleasure of the house to pass upon him. The object of the right hon. gent's motion was obviously calculated to take the reins of government out of the hands of those who at present held them; and upon that ground he desired that the present ministers might be judged by comparison. Was it the pleasure of the house that the cause of Spain should be abandoned? Was it a principle agreed upon that the direction of the affairs of government should be committed to other hands? If a new course was to be pursued with respect to Spain, undoubtedly the direction of affairs must be put into new hands. Was it then a settled opinion, that there was something fatal in the will and irresistible in the power of Buonaparté; and was the world to submit to his tyrannous resolves as to a divine infliction? When he compared the present situation of Spain with what it was when the French were in the undisturbed possession of Castile, Catalonia, Biscay and Portugal, he could not discover any grounds for despondency. The French had now Gallicia but they had not Portugal, so that upon the whole the situation of Spain was not as unpromising as in June last. Why, then, should its cause be despaired of, unless gentlemen had their minds tuned to despair? Whatever might be the fruits of Buonaparté's victories, in other respects, the spirit of the Spanish nation was yet unsubdued. His fortune, no doubt, had been augmented: but still it was fortune, not fate; and therefore not to be considered unchangeable and fixed. There was something unworthy in the sentiment that would defer to this fortune, as to the dispensations of Providence, looking upon it as immutable in its nature, and irresistible by human means. Te Nos facimus Fortuna Deam, cœioque locaraus.— The right hon. gent. concluded by stating his intention to give his negative to the motion. [A cry of Fire! fire! frequently interrupted the latter part of the right hon. Secretary's speech, and Mr. Sheridan, in a low tone, stated across the table, that Drury-lane theatre was on fire.]

Mr. Windham was about to reply, when lord Temple suggested the propriety of adjourning the debate, in consequence of the extent of calamity, which the event just communicated to the house, would bring upon a respectable individual, a member of that house.

Mr. Sheridan

observed that, whatever might be the extent of the individual calamity, he did not consider it of a nature worthy to interrupt their proceedings on so great a national question.

Mr. Ponsonby

acknowledged it was not a parliamentary cause, strictly speaking, for adjournment, but it was evidently the cause of much and deserved anxiety; and of a nature sufficiently powerful to induce an adjournment.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

observed that the cause, however to be lamented, was no reason for interruption of the debate, as it should be recollected by the house that there was no exhibition this night at the Theatre, and therefore there was no ground for apprehension for the safety of any of their friends or relatives.

General Mathew

declared he did not envy the right hon. gent. his feelings on the occasion, particularly when he reflected, that half London might be burned down while they were debating. He therefore moved the Question of adjournment.

Mr. Herbert

seconded the motion.

Mr. Wilberforce

stated, that if their adjourning would have the effect of putting out the blaze, it would be good to do so. But what an exhibition would it hold out to the world to say, that on an alarm of fire, they had adjourned a debate of such importance. Considering, therefore, it would answer no good purpose, he should oppose the adjournment.

Mr. W. Smith

also opposed the adjournment.

The Motion was at last withdrawn, with the concurrence of both sides of the house; and

Mr. Windham

was determined to confine what he had to say to the objects of the inquiry, and in that case should pass by four-fifths of the speech of the right hon. gent. However able the speech of that right hon. gent. it had been very little to the purpose. It was an odd moment for the right hon. gent. to express his hopes, and an odd quarter from which such hopes proceeded, when our army had been withdrawn from Spain, when we had left the Spaniards to fight their own battles. This had something so ludicrous in it, that he wondered it did not remind the right hon. gent. of the very pleasant lines, He fled full soon On the first of June, And bad the rest keep fighting. When we had damned their cause, it was no time for us to give the Spaniards lectures upon national energies and perseverance.—But, to go soberly to the consideration of the plan of the campaign: it had been agreed, on all hands, that the crisis was one of the most important, and that a greater hope had never been opened for the salvation of Europe. The spirit of the country had been exulted to the highest pitch; every nerve had been braced, and ail classes of the community concurred in encouraging and supporting ministers; yet the event had shewn that there had been an universal failure. When the greatest stake the country ever had was lost, either by ill fortune, or by the mismanagement of ministers, and of those ministers to whom the greatest means were entrusted that were ever entrusted to any ministers, it was full time for inquiry.—There were two things to be considered: first, the propriety of sending troops to Portugal: secondly, the mode of sending them from Portugal to Spain. It would be necessary to ask ministers why they did not send out any force before the 12th of July? and why, after they knew that Junot's retreat was in a manner cut off and that he could not join Dupont, they, sent troops to Portugal? If they were resolved to send troops to, Portugal, it appeared as if it would have been better to have waited till the reinforcements joined; for, as it was managed, it appeared a 'doubtful thing which of the two armies would have beat. Junot was as confident of success as sir Arthur Wellesley; and between two such generals, and such armies, there was as glorious an uncertainty in war, as in law. But, supposing even that sir Arthur might feel confident of beating Junot, yet it was not to be calculated that Junot must of his own accord come down to be beaten. "Come down and be hanged, master Barnadine!" It appeared evidently that he could not be compelled to do so; for if, after having been beat, he was able to protract, for many months, a defensive war, he could certainly have done that, just as well before he was beat. Although we were the victors, yet, from an unfortunate arrangement made by ministers at home, the conquering general was superseded, and the fruits of the victory were lost. It was the effect of military councils at home, by which sir John Moore was placed in such a situation as made it necessary to fall back upon Corunna, and to execute that retreat with such rapidity as necessarily exposed our troops to great loss, and risked the capture of the whole army, if by any shift of wind they had been prevented from embarking. Our expedition to Spain was managed in such a manner, as Sot only to do no good, but to do what was much worse than nothing. We held out to Spain the disheartening example of what we called our best army, retreating from the field without striking a single blow, and on the mere rumour of the enemy's advance. When we left the field in this manner, it was in Vain to tell the Spaniards, "Do von go on fighting, my brave fellows, and never mind us." We showed them, by our example, that our best troops could do nothing, and therefore that there was little chance of their undisciplined peasantry succeeding better. It appeared a great fault of the military councils of this country, that upon the 12th of July they were so very badly informed of the situation of Portugal, a country where every man was our friend, where information would issue from every pore, that they supposed there were but 5,000 French in that country, when in fact there were 25,000. If Spain had I been assisted in the best manner, there was every reason to suppose that our assistance would have been effectual, a Spain had, besides her mass (a species of force common to every country) several armies, tolerably well organized, and led on by skilful commanders, he had been often reproached for not expressing as high an opinion as other gentlemen, of a I rising in mass. He should, however, again repeat, that it would be quite idle and childish to expect the Spanish mass, or the mass of any other country, to stop the course of Buonaparté's army, or of any considerable division of it. Let the force of the mass be what it would, be the medium more dense or more rare, the army would pass through it nearly as a cannon ball would pass through the air, without any regard to its density or rarity. An army went where it listed, and was not to be stopped in its course by peasantry. He did not know that the Spaniards assembled at Bayonne were quite as great traitors has they were represented. If they saw, and were perfectly convinced that Spain could offer no effectual resistance to Buonaparté, they might, without much treachery to their country men tell them they were unable to resist, and that it was better for them to submit at once without drawing all the evils of war upon their heads.—This was a question not unfit for our government, too, to consider; and if it was decided, as he (Mr. W.) thought it was rightly, that a chance did exist of the emancipation of Spain, and that no effort should be spared to assist that chance on the part of this country, then the only inquiry was, what force shall we send? and in what manner shall it he applied? And here it was impossible not to he struck, not only with the total want of plan, But with the total want of all right conception, in the hon. gentlemen, of the very nature of the great work in which they were about to engage.—There were evidently two courses to he pursued; either to strike a stroke in the part that first presented itself, namely, on the Ebro, and to endeavour to drive the enemy out of Spain, by attacking him instantly, while his force was small, and when his views upon Austria, or his jealousy of what Austria might design against him, kept his attention divided, and made it impossible for him much to augment his numbers; or, giving that attempt up as hopeless, to proceed at once to what ought to be the general plan of the campaign, with a view of affording to Spain any hope of final deliverance. On the former of these modes of proceeding, though the most tempting, and that which ministers had been most blamed for not endeavouring, he should give no opinion; because, few but those it office could have the necessary means for judging. It was a very nice question, depending on information of the force which the French actually had, and then the probability there might be of their being able to send large reinforcements, in case they should have reason to think, from observation of our armaments, that we had an intention of acting upon that quarter. There might be danger in that case, not only of the enemy's force becoming so great, as to destroy the hope of our forcing them from the Ebro, but also of their falling in by the way with some of our columns, and of destroying them before we could form a junction with our allies. The lime, too, was short, the execution must be prompt, and there was all the difficulty of sending a large force into any of the Northern ports of Spain, at a period of the year at all late. This difficulty had not been bund insuperable, as had been seen in the case of the marquis de Romana's army, nor did the probability seem great, that Buonaparté; having once disposed his troops, and settled his measures for a war with Austria, could have suddenly reversed his plans, and transferred his forces, so as to have arrived in Spain by the time our troops had begun to act. It was not true, either, that the one plan created any necessity of giving up the other. If the force sent to the Ehro had, as it ought to have been, been chiefly cavalry, the force namely which the Spaniards most wanted and which we had most ready and could best, spare; such a force, even if found in the event insufficient for its immediate object, could still have been able to take care of itself, and to have retired in safety through Spain, a country of friends and allies, to that part of the peninsula, where, at all events, and in every view, the great I mass of our force should be collected. This part was no other than the Southern provinces, the neighbourhood of Cadiz, and Gibraltar. The reasoning that determined this choice was really little short of demonstrable. Whatever force you send into Spain, small or great, can you be sure, even with all the aid that the armies, or masses of Spain can give you, that it will be able to resist the hosts, that Buonaparté can pour in against you, having for his supply nothing less than a sort of inexhaustible ocean, the whole population of Europe? Undoubtedly, the means possessed by Buonaparté were such as to leave but little hope of escape at any rate: yet some there must be, otherwise why did we send any troops at all, or encourage the Spaniards to resist? No one, however, could feel confident or at least certain; and therefore if we send any army into Spain, great or small, we must think of the means, in case of extremity, of bringing them away. The inference drawn; by the hon. gentlemen from these premises seemed to he, that we ought to send only a small force: much upon the same principle which we heard of on a former occasion, when bad horses were sent, and horses unfit for the service, because they would be a less sacrifice if lost: But, great or small, the necessity of a retreat being provided seemed lobe nearly equal. If the army was large, the stake was greater: and if small, the chance was greater of losing it. Now, there was in all Spain, including Portugal, that is, in the whole peninsula, but two places, and those in the same quarter, from which a large body of troops, when pressed by a superior army, could hope to get away, viz. Cadiz, and Gibraltar. There was, therefore, no other part of Spain, where an army from this country, large enough to be of any use, and not a mere flying corps, could with propriety be trusted, except in the neighbourhood of Cadiz and Gibraltar, or in such circumstances as to have its retreat' upon one or other of those places always would have collected not only a large army, but the greatest force, that the country, in its then state of zeal and ardour, could by possibility have furnished. There was no reason, why instead of the 30,000, (which those who like at times to dwell so much upon the means of Buonaparté, think at other times would be sufficient) we might not have had an army of 100,000. No one disliked more than he did, the practice of recruiting from the militia: but bad as he thought that, when meant as part of a general system of recruiting, and great as he thought the objections to it at all times, he was still of opinion that there were occasions when such objections must be made to give way; and if ever such an occasion did, or could exist, unquestionably the present was one.—The effect of such an army, ably conducted, was not to be spoken lightly of. He was not prepared to say, that, it would have succeeded. Who shall say that any thing would succeed? But as its chances would be better, so would its risks be less. A hundred thousand men with Gibraltar to retreat upon was a far less risk to the country than 30,000 in the situation where the hon. gentlemen had placed them; nay, than 30,000, in the very situation spoken of; because, a general must be very deficient in knowledge of his business, very different from the hon. general opposite (sir A. Wellesley), who, in such an abundant country, and with such a fortress behind him, would with an army of that amount suffer himself to be prevented from making good his retreat, by any army which the enemy could bring against him.—For, when we talked of Buonaparté's numbers, we must recollect where these numbers were to act. To meet in the South of Spain a British force of 100,000, Buonaparté must bring over the Pyrenees a force of not less than 200,000; to say nothing of the demand that would be made upon him by the large Spanish army, that might be raised in that part of Spain to co-operate with the British, and which the presence of such a British force would help to raise. Buonaparté would have a whole kingdom which he must garrison behind him, if he would either be sure of his supplies, or make provision against total destruction in the event of any reverse, he must fight us at arms length, while our strength would be exerted within distance, with an impregnable fortress at baud, furnishing at once a safe retreat in case of disaster, and a source of endless supply by means of its safe and undisturbable communication with this country.—And let it not be said, that while the army continued in the south, Buonaparté might continue master of the north: what mastery could he have of an part of Spain, while such an army could keep on foot in any other r And why in case of success, did the security of its retreat require that it should never advance? He (Mr. W.) should be willing to compromise for that result to Spain, which would enable us and the Spaniards to retain an army in that country, which Buonaparté should not have the means of dispersing.—There was never any thing so demonstrable, therefore, as that the only way of carrying on effectually a campaign in Spain, whatever else you might have done, was to collect your army in the south. Consistent with that, you might have made the trial, if these who had the means of judging should have found it adviseable, of driving the French from the Ebro; and the complete success of that attempt might have spared the necessity of actually landing at Cadiz or Gibraltar, though still always keeping those fortresses in view, in case of being overpowered by numbers. Consistent with that, yon might, as was even still more evident, have prosecuted your designs on Portugal, though in a different manner and with different views. If the object was not, as was now described, to get Junot out of Portugal upon any terms; even upon those of removing him, through the medium of our disgrace, into Spain; but to destroy or render captive a French army, then, instead of the sort of predatory desultory excursion on which the hon. general was employed, why not send a full and competent portion of the force destined to be collected in the South, so as to have proceeded to their destination through Portugal, and to have swept off Junot in their way? A force raised to the greatest possible amount to which the mind and means of the country,—then elevated above itself and exalted to something of a preternatural greatness, (majorgue videtur, nec mortale sonuns)—could have carried it, should have been placed in Spain in a situation, the only one which the country afforded, where it would have been safe from the risk of total loss or capture, and would not have been kept down by the idea, that the deposit was too great for the country to hazard—This should have been the great foundation, the base line, of the plan of the campaign. On this the country might have given a loose to ail its exertions, with the consolatory reflection, that the greater its exertions the greater its security, the more it made its preparations effectual to their purpose, the less was the risk at which it acted. From this, other operations might have branched, out indifferent directions, as circumstances pointed out. It was scandalous that nothing had ever been done to assist our friends or to annoy our enemies on the east side of Spain, where to a power having the complete command at sea the finest opportunities were presented, and had been most unaccountably neglected. The history of the campaign to the east, which presents nothing but one universal blank, was one of the parts of this most miserably conducted business for which the ministers could least set up any excuse. It seemed to have been total neglect and forgetfulness. They forgot that there was such a coast as the Eastern coast of Spain; that it was accessible every where to our ships, placed as the high road for the entry of troops from France, inhabited by the race of men, who fought at Gerona and Saragossa; and on the other hand, that we had a large army doing nothing in Sicily, or who, if we were to attempt to employ them where they were, must be employed in worse than nothing. For all operations in this quarter of Spain, Gibraltar afforded the most marked facilities. With a large army stationed in the South, the enemy could never know what detachments we were slipping out behind us, nor with what descents they might be threatened in their rear or on their flanks. The army need never have been idle; nor, what was hardly less advantageous, need never be supposed to be idle.—One general consequence resulting from a station, where an army might have been assembled really worthy of the cause and of the country, and whose utility would have been apparent and striking, was, that it would have given us an ascendency in the Spanish councils, highly advantageous to them, and such as with tolerable good conduct, might have been made not less popular.—There was no one who would deprecate more than he should any meddling spirit of interference in their internal concerns, or any assumption of a right of control: but the existence of an authority arising from merits and services, from the value, of what was done, and the evidence of what was intended, and which should be applied only to the healing dissensions, discouraging factions, and affording a common centre of appeal to all the upright and well Mentioned, was perhaps just the happiest thing that could happen in their circumstances, and such as every honest and intelligent Spaniard must hail with delight—He could not help perceiving in the conduct of this war, and certainly in much of the language held about it, a certain mixture of that error, which, prevailed in many years of the last war, of encouraging sanguine expectations of what was to be done by Austria and other powers, and looking to them for what in many instances ought to have been our own work. Something of that sort prevailed here. With all our talk about Spain, We did not set our shoulders to the wheel, as people would, who felt that they had nothing to trust to, but their own exertions, and who estimated truly what the exertions of this country could do when fairly put forth.—But, the great and pregnant source of error in the conduct of the hon. gentlemen, besides the fault of not knowing better, was that which they had in common with many other ministers, and which he had signally witnessed in some of his own time, of mistaking bustling for activity, and supposing that they were doing a great deal, when they were only making a great deal of noise, and spending a great deal of money. While ministers were writing long dispatches, issuing orders in all directions, keeping up the clerks to unusual hours, covering the roads with messengers, and putting the whole country in a ferment, they were very apt to fancy that the public service must be making prodigious advances. And their purpose, the purpose of the ministers themselves, might, very possibly, in the mean while be answered; for the error here stated was not a disinterested one and one without its design. It was thus, perhaps, that an administration was to acquire the character of vigour! The ministers looked at every measure not with a view to the effect which it was to produce abroad, but to the appearance which it was to make at home: they were more intent upon the richness and costliness of the handle of their weapon than upon the keenness and temper of the blade. The public joined them heartily in the delusion; and as long as that was so, we must expect to see the interests of the country and of the world sacrificed to such misconduct, as was exhibited in the history of this campaign in Spain.—There was another topic upon which he felt it necessary to touch. It had been represented, that throughout the North of Spain there was the greatest possible apathy and want of zeal, and that the marquis de Romana had confessed it. Now, to say nothing of the gross breach of confidence in quoting what the marquis de Romana had said, if he had said it in private, or the gross fallacy of quoting what he might have said in a proclamation in a moment of spleen or anger, and for the purpose of stimulating the inhabitants of those provinces to greater activity, he must utterly deny the expressions quoted. There could be nothing more fallacious than to estimate the feelings of a country towards any cause, by the feelings excited in that part of it, which should be exposed to the immediate pressure of an army. If the scene of war, for instance, lay in England, and we had an army of allies, Germans or Russians, or even an army of our own countrymen, acting for our defence, they would not, he apprehended, be very popular, in the places where they were; and there would not be wanting complaints among the farmers, whose provisions were consumed, whose henroosts were plundered, whose furniture was stole, whose ricks were set on fire, and whose wives and daughters might not always be treated with perfect decorum, that the French themselves could not do them greater mischief! Now, if this were true, as it infallibly would be, of English troops upon English ground, might we not suppose that a good deal more of the same sort would happen, both as to the provocation given and the imitation excited by it, when English troops were to be placed in these circumstances on Spanish ground, and where every cause of dissatisfaction must be aggravated a thousand-fold, by difference of habits and manners, and the want of any common language, by which the parties might understand one another. It must be confessed, too, he was afraid, that we were not the nation who accommodated ourselves best to strangers, who knew best how to conciliate their good-will; and when to all this were added the circumstances in which our army was placed, that we were a retreating army, and an army compelled to retreat with extraordinary rapidity and much consequent disorder, it would not be very surprizing, if neither we appeared to the people nor they to us, in form the most advantageous, or such as to render the inhabitants of the towns and villages on the line of our march, a very fair representation of the feelings and sentiments of the mass of people in Spain. On many occasions, from the fault of the commissariat, or from other causes, the soldiers, when they came in at the end of a long march, had nothing provided for them to cat; and were obliged to help themselves. The inhabitants, in their terror, whether they staid or had tied, had locked op their houses, and nothing was to be got but by breaking then open; and it was easy to understand, that when once soldiers, whether from necessity or otherwise, began to break open houses, further irregularities, without disparagement to the discipline of the army, or character of the men, must he expected. The kingdom of Gallicia in. general, was probably a very unfair specimen, as to what was to be looked for from the rest of the country, not so much, perhaps, from the character of the inhabitants, as from the state of society there, where the gentry were few and of little influence; and where there was almost a total want of those classes which might direct and methodize the exertions of the lower orders, or make them sensible even that such exertions were necessary.—To talk of the Spaniards generally, as wanting in zeal or courage or determination to defend their country, was more than any one would venture, alter such examples as Saragossa; where a defence was made so far exceeding what was to be expected from a regular army, that one might conceive a general made a peer in this country, for having surrendered Saragossa, in circumstances far short of those in which its inhabitants defended it.—The right hon. gent. concluded with expressing his determination to support the motion for an Inquiry.

Major Allen

spoke in favour of the landing of the troops in Portugal.

Mr. Bathurst

said that the house and the country had surely a right to call for some information upon what ground an enterprise like this had been undertaken; an enterprise as distressing, if not as disgraceful, as this country was ever Engaged in. He was at a loss to know what prevented our armies from pursuing their object. Three months ago papers had been moved for of the Instructions given to our generals; but no such papers had appeared. He therefore contended that we had a right to be informed with what view our army had been sent there, and upon what information this measure was undertaken.

Lord Castlereagh,

in explanation, said that the reason why the papers moved for, and alluded to by the right hon. gent. were not produced, was owing to their being extremely voluminous.

Earl Percy

said it was universally admitted, that this army was the finest ever sent from this country, and whether they had failed in their object through the misguidance of their generals, or the mismanagement of ministers, alike demanded that the people of this country should have the best information upon the subject. He should therefore vole for the original motion.

The Hon. Christopher Hely Hutchinson

rose to put a question to the right hon. gent. (Mr. Canning), which he hoped the house would not find him disinclined to answer; he understood him to say, when adverting to the decision taken by sir John Moore, to advance from Salamanca towards Saldanha, in search of marshal Souk's corps, that he had resolved on this forward movement, having received a letter from Mr. Frere, the British minister, informing him of the enthusiasm which had burst forth at Madrid; it was known that the gallant officer had, previous to the receipt of this information, ordered a retreat. Should it appear that this after determination to advance had been the result of his own reflections, he would be the last man in the house, or in the country, to dispute the wisdom of this decision, from a conviction that it had been formed on the soundest political and military considerations; but it occurred to him as very possible, that this letter of the British minister did not contain simply a communication of the fact, the popular indignation of the moment on the part of the inhabitants of Madrid against the French, and their resolution to defend their capital, but that it might have been written in the spirit of violent remonstrance against the general's known determination to retreat, Cautioning him in the strongest language as to the probable disastrous result to the allies from this resolution, and reminding him that the army he commanded had been sent to assist Spain, to which nation and his own, he would be held responsible, did he decline advancing; Mr. Hutchinson knew well that Mr. Frere or any other man would not have dared to have written to sir John Moore an insulting letter; but should this in question turn out to be of the nature he alluded to, the house and the public would perceive how little the gallant general had been left in this instance to his own free agency. What he therefore wished to know, especially from the Secretary of State, was, Whether Mr. Frere's letter was of this dictatorial nature, or one solely mentioning the circumstance of the enthusiastic spirit of the people of Madrid; and secondly, Whether gen. Moore had not reluctantly determined on moving forward in consequence of this letter. He was confident that the house, to whom every thing connected with the character and fame of the gallant general was justly most dear, would be anxious to receive the answers to these questions, and he hoped that the right hon. gent. would place on the table of the house a copy of Mr. Frere's letter, as also all the dispatches which had been received from sir John Moore. He had desired not to have given a silent vote on so momentous a question as that before the house; but he apprehended the effect of provoking the amiable irritability of gentlemen, which at so late an hour, seldom failed to he conspicuous!

Mr. Canning

stated that the decision was made not in consequence of a letter to Mr. Frere, but in consequence of an intercepted letter to Soult, directing particular movements.

Mr. Ponsonby,

in reply, said, he was at a loss to understand what the right hon. gentlemen opposite could mean by the manner in which they had replied to his motion. The motion he had submitted was, That an Inquiry-should be gone into. His motion had nothing to do with the precise mode in which that inquiry should be pursued. The noble carl who had just spoken, appeared to have seen it in its trun light A noble lord had said that the government of Spain considered its salvation to depend upon the appearance of an English army in Spain, and yet he gave no reason for the extraordinary delay in sending that army; or when it did arrive at Corunna, that that government had given no orders for its landing! Was this true? was it possible? If so, such a government was a curse! Could the right hon. gent. be serious, could he be rightly informed, or was this a story picked up by chance? To keep an army waiting 10 or 15 days, what could be expected but defeat and disgrace? The right hon. gent. had thought proper to pass over his speech in silence, he did not reply to one of his arguments, or those of his light hon. friend; he therefore supposed he had prepared his speech, before he heard either what he or his rt. hon. friend had to say. The right hon. gent. had said, he could espouse the cause of the Spaniards although he could not agree with their religious opinions; and had talked about the Lady of the Pillar. For his part, he could also agree to fight under that Lady's banners, were she young, though he might not be equally inclined, were she an old dame. But this had nothing to do with the question fur Inquiry. As to the cause of the retreat of sir John Moore, as he was dead, and could not make his own statement, every one who esteemed his memory must be anxious for the inquiry, lest his memory should meet with unmerited reproach. But it had been argued, that the real question was not for inquiry, but whether his majesty's ministers should be removed. This was not, however, the case. If it should appear upon inquiry that his: majesty's ministers were not adequate to the situations they filled, then their removal might become a question. The right hon. gent. had said, if the house were desirous to abandon Spain, then remove his majesty's ministers, for they would never consent to abandon her. But, he would ask, who had said a word about abandoning Spain?—Mr.Ponsonby then alluded to his having hinted that the Spaniards had refused to admit our troops into Cadiz, and although he had entertained a doubt upon the fact, yet the answer of his majesty's ministers convinced him he was right. He then denied the charge of either his right hon. friend or himself having spoken disparagingly of the British army; on the contrary, they had spoken of it in terms of admiration. He concluded by saying, that if ministers were sanctioned, and their counsels approved by the house, they could expect in future nothing but similar results.

The question was then loudly called for, and a divisor] took place, when there appeared—

For Mr. Ponsonby s Motion 127
Against it 220
Majority in favour of ministers 93

Adjourned at half past three on Saturday morning.