§ Earl Temple,
in rising to submit the motion of which he had given notice, observed, that, now the cabinet ministers had laid all the documents upon the table, on which they wished the house to decide upon their conduct, in the management of the most important trust that had ever been confided to any ministers, in direction of the most powerful resources which had at any period of our history been placed at the disposal of the government, for the purpose of assisting to promote the greatest object that had ever, in modern times, been presented for accomplishment, he conceived it to be his duty to call upon parliament for a distinct opinion upon the case: and though he should be short in what he had to say, yet he felt that he should stand in need of the whole, indulgence of the house. Whilst they had to lament that the efforts of the country had failed in the course of the campaign, they had, in the documents before the house, enough to satisfy them, that such failure was not attributable to those, to whom the immediate conduct of its operations had been confided. Upon these, that house had already conferred the highest honour which it was possible for a grateful country to bestow. To those, too, who fell in the contest, they had raised the proudest monument, the most lasting and enviable memorial, that a just sense of the most distinguished merit could dictate, or the most eminent services deserve. On the conduct of such persons, therefore, the house was not in this instance, to pronounce judgment. They were to decide upon those persons only whose incapacity and misconduct were the cause why even 440 British valour had failed of success; why the energies of freedom, and the spirit of freemen, had been ineffectual in the arduous contest in which the country had engaged—by whose misconduct, the last brilliant spark that lingered of the spirit of Europe, had been stifled and extinguished. It was not to the army, then, that they were to look for the cause of the failure, nor to the commander in chief of that army; for upon him they had bestowed the proudest monument of his conduct whilst living, and most exalted tribute to his memory when dead. And justly had they done so. Had they neglected thus to record the memory of his splendid services, they would have left to the enemy the grateful office of rearing a monument to his illustrious fame, on that field in which he gloriously fell in battle at the moment of victory, whilst combating under disadvantages against a superior force. But it was not to the cold marble; to the still honours of the tomb; to the lifeless monument which may have been erected, or to the distinguished inscription it may bear, that they were to look for the character of sir John Moore. His monument was the ground upon which he fell. That it was which bore the brightest testimony to his immortal fame. But he had a still more enviable living monument in the breasts of those brave troops, among whom as he had ever fondly lived, so he had bravely terminated his glorious career. It was not to his actions, then, that they were to look for the cause of those disasters which had unfortunately attended the progress of the campaign; over his actions the tomb had closed, and who should venture, with unhallowed hands, to tear open the sanctuary of the tomb? Who should dare to rake up the ashes of the illustrious dead, for the purpose of patching up a lame and impotent justification for the errors, incapacity, and misconduct of the guilty living? If any attempt of that description should be made, he trusted, that the house, in justice to the memory of that illustrious officer, and the generous feelings of his grateful countrymen, would treat it with merited reprobation. But when acquitting the general and his brave army of any share of blame for the unfortunate issue of the campaign, the house must bear in mind, that there were two other parties to the transactions: his majesty's ministers, who had directed the operations of the campaign, and the allies at whose solicitation 441 it had been entered upon: those allies, with whom his majesty's ministers, when they knew all the extent of the calamities in Spain, but the fatal consequences of the affair at Corunna, had concluded a treaty of alliance, without stipulating any one condition of reciprocity in favour of this country;—a treaty by which we had bound ourselves to wage war for them, and to acknowledge the sovereignty of any man they might elevate to the throne, even should the supreme power be vested in the hands of him against whom we were now fighting;—a treaty unexampled in the annals of European diplomacy. But they were not then to discuss the merits of that treaty, nor whether it was not right that this country should have afforded all the assistance which her means enabled her in the support of the Spanish cause. If these allies were incapable by their own councils to guard their own interests, his majesty's ministers should not have submitted to them the direction of ours, nor concluded such an alliance under such circumstances: it was not to these allies, then, that the house was to look as the source of the disasters which had befallen us. There was indeed, one excuse which might be urged in defence of his majesty's ministers; that the disasters which took place had been the result of events which it was not within the compass of human power to resist, which no foresight could anticipate; no possible combination guard against. But, if he could demonstrate that they had been the inevitable consequence of their incapacity and mismanagement; if he could prove that these disasters had arisen from any other cause, and this he pledged himself to do from the documents they had themselves produced, then their excuse would fall to the ground. If blame attached any where, it was either to them, or to our allies; and ministers were so circumstanced, that they could not undertake to justify themselves, unless by an attack upon these allies, or their own friends. If so, he should leave it to the country and to the world to decide what credit ought to be given to those who, after having so conducted, should so defend themselves. After the hurricane, that had laid Europe prostrate, had nearly completed and confirmed the destruction of the nations of the continent; when the clouds that accompanied it were even bearing towards our own shores, the Spanish revolution presented a bright and unexpected gleam of 442 hope and restoration, not like the meteor which shines with temporary splendour, but like the clear and steady ray that is the harbinger of an opening auspicious dawn; not like the volcano which spreads terror, ruin, and desolation around, but like that heavenly fire which cheers the gloom of despair, and lights the way over the wilderness. Then a new day-star seemed to have arisen, the auspicious omen of deliverance to Europe;—and but one wish pervaded the country—to promote the generous cause; but one regret was felt—that we could not all participate in the glorious struggle. When under such circumstances his majesty's ministers undertook to assist Spain, if there had been any man in the country base enough to regret that the task had not been left to their political opponents, or to wish, from such a feeling, that the sanguine prospects then contemplated should terminate in disappointment, his revenge was complete. The first act of this unfortunate campaign consisted in the expedition to Portugal—that specimen of the noble lord's power of combination, in which general had been sent after general, in such unaccountable but rapid succession, when neither was acquainted with the plans or instructions of the other, and when the manner in which the whole had been concerted and executed had made us a mockery even to the enemy whom we had beaten. This was the first effort of his majesty's ministers; the second was the direction of the British army towards Spain. And here he must observe, that those who could not justify, but wished to excuse the Convention of Cintra, founded their excuse upon the necessity of expdeiting the march of the British army to Spain. Even sir A. Wellesley had asserted that if the army had been detained by the prosecution of military operations against the enemy in Portugal, it could not be ready to march into Spain before December. Yet it was somewhat curious to find, that, notwithstanding that very Convention, which was thus justified on the ground of expediting the march of the British army into Spain, it was not till that very December that the British army was able to act, in Spain. Thus it appeared, that what was apprehended as the consequence of protracted warfare in Portugal, had actually resulted from the inactivity, the want of all energy, and the gross want of foresight, on the part of his majesty's ministers. By this they had shewn, that they were 443 as little capable of gathering the bright harvest of laurels arising from conquest, as they were of gleaning benefit by experience from the barren field of disaster. The only proof they had given of their vigour, was the conveyance of 22,000 French troops from Portugal, to a port of France much nearer for their co-operation with the French army in Spain. If Spain was to have been the ultimate object of the expedition, Portugal was not the point to which it should first have been directed; because Junot, who had no means of sending troops to suppress an insurrection at Badajoz, as appeared by the intercepted dispatches, could not march to the assistance of the French in Spain; and if our expedition had been sent directly to Spain, we might afterwards have accomplished our object in Portugal, without the blood it had cost in the actual accomplishment. The British army might have been more beneficially employed, conjointly with our maritime force, on the flanks of Spain, in Catalonia and in Biscay, where it might have occupied Barcelona and St. Sebastian, in which case it might have prevented the escape of Joseph Buonaparté from Spain; or the British troops should have been sent to the south of Spain, where they might have taken post with the Sierra Morena in their front, the Guadal-quiver on one flank, and the arsenal and fortress of Cadiz in their rear, besides our own impregnable position at Gibraltar. It appeared that ministers had sent the army to the south when they ought to have sent it to the north, and to the north when they should have sent it to the south. His object, therefore, was to prove, as he should do satisfactorily from the papers on the table, that they had shewn themselves unable to execute even their own projects. They seemed to have been altogether inattentive to the situation of affairs in Spain, until the occasion had gone by for promoting her cause with any prospect of success. So early as May, applications for assistance had been made by some of the provinces; Dupont had surrendered in July, and about the 1st of August Joseph Buonaparté had been obliged to withdraw from Madrid. On the 4th September, too, the emperor Napoleon, not disguising his views, had declared, in his message to his senate, his intention to conquer Spain, and thanked his God, his fortune, and his star, that the madness of the British cabinet had sent an army to encounter him in that country. The French ruler then 444 poured in his troops, in one continual uninterrupted stream, from the Rhine and the Vistula, into Spain. It was not, however, till September, that his majesty's ministers first communicated their intention to sir Hew Dalrymple to inarch a British force into Spain. If they had been deceived by diminished statements of the French force, and exaggerated accounts of the Spanish armies received from Spain, they might have had some excuse for their conduct at that period; but the contrary was the fact, as appeared from the first dispatches from lord William Bentinck, of which ministers were in possession before they ordered any troops to proceed to Spain. They had equally correct information in the dispatch of general Broderick. There were only two men, Morla, who had sold the Spanish cause, and Buonaparté, who resolved on the conquest of Spain, who could wish an English army at that precise period to advance into Spain under the actual circumstances; that Morla, whose intrigues for the surrender of Cadiz, and the fleet and arsenal, to the French, were now well known, and who had shewn an invincible jealousy against the presence in the south of Spain of a British force which might watch, and be a check upon, his traitorous motions.—Lord William Bentinck, in his first dispatch, stated that the Spanish armies were disorganized; that the Spanish government had not taken the first and most necessary step of placing them under the command of one general, and that they were all separated, and the several corps inferior to the divisions opposed to them by the French. Such was the account which lord W. Bentinck gave, and it was confirmed by that of general Broderick. There was, therefore, no one account in which ministers could plead even the miserable and lame excuse of having been deceived by those whom they employed. But notwithstanding the warning which had been given by Buonaparté of his intentions respecting Spain in the early part of September, and though the British army had been completely released in Portugal, it was not till the 26th of September, that lord Castlereagh wrote to sir Hew Dalrymple to prepare the army to advance into Spain, or to sir John Moore to place himself at its head. On the 28th, orders were sent to sir David Baird to proceed from an English port to Corunna. Yet it was not till the 14th of October (the day after he arrived there) that lord W. Bentinck, at 445 Madrid, was made acquainted by a courier from sir John Moore, with the circumstance of its being the intention of government to send sir David Band to Corunna. General Leith, it appeared, received orders about the same time to prepare for the reception of the British force at Corunna, but to make his preparations as secretly as possible. What could have been the meaning of such an injunction? Was the noble Secretary afraid of rousing the Spaniards or gratifying their feelings by rendering notorious the arrival of a large auxiliary force. He wished perhaps toDo good by stealth, and blush'd to find it fame.It did not please the noble Secretary previously to apprize the Spanish people of the blessings he intended for them, but suddenly to surprize them with his kindness. His kindness, however, was very incomplete. For, lest the combination of errors, incapacity, and mis-management, should not be carried to its fullest extent; cavalry, that arm upon which the result of the whole campaign was to depend; cavalry, which every commanding officer they had employed, and every Spanish officer that applied to them, had called for; cavalry, which lord William Bentinck, general Broderick, the Spanish Deputies, sir J. Moore, and that other great military authority Mr. Frere, thought most essential; cavalry was the very last thing that ministers thought proper to turn their attention to. Although they found sir John Moore saying, that with 7,000 or 8,000 cavalry, he could have done much in that country effectually to withstand the enemy; yet the noble lord opposite writes to him, that it would be time enough to send cavalry when he had sent the transports back from the Tagus to Great Britain, and that, too, at that time of the year when such a voyage was likely to be protracted by an inconvenient season. One would have thought that ministers would have been most anxious to shew an activity in the conveyance of cavalry beyond all other species of force; because it must be in the recollection of the house, that when the noble lord came into office, he made a charge against former ministers, for not having prepared cavalry transports. But the noble lord, who was so anxious to burthen the country for the multiplication of cavalry transports, when unnecessary, could find none, when the public service called for them. No doubt the noble Secretary could say a great deal upon this 446 subject, as to the expence, amount of tonnage, &c. and had his pockets stuffed with calculations of that description. But the arrangements of his majesty's ministers had been of a piece and perfectly consistent throughout. About the same time sir David Baird was directed to send his transports to the Tagus to convey the infantry which they supposed sir John Moore might wish to dispatch from Lisbon to Corunna; thus so curiously did they dovetail their combinations, that transports were to be sent in October from Corunna to the Tagus for infantry, while transports were to come from the Tagus to England for cavalry, before we could have an effective army in Spain; in that country, which so early as May we had been earnestly solicited to assist. When the determination to send a British force to Corunna had been formed, one would have thought that ministers would have paved the way for its landing at that port. But no such thing: no communication had been previously made to our commissioners; no arrangement entered into with the Junta of government; and sir David Baird at his arrival at Corunna not only found himself without money to pay his army, but was actually refused permission to land by the Junta of Gallicia. When at length the army was permitted to land, the last division did not enter Corunna till the 8th of November, only two days before two of the Spanish armies had been annihilated, and twenty-four before Buonaparté entered Madrid. No information had been previously sent even to lord William Bentinck, as to the destination of the army of general Baird, and upon this point he had remonstrated. But, to shew that the noble lord had not a patent for want of information and want of foresight, Mr. Secretary Cooke, who replied to this remonstrance, stated, that government had had no reason to believe, from captain Kennedy's letters, that there would have been any difficulty as to the landing of the army; and yet, strange to state, on the very day this answer was dated, Mr. Secretary Cooke had received a letter from captain Kennedy, stating the difficulty that the Junta would place in the way of the landing of the army. How different was the conduct of the enemy! Buonaparté always flew to his object upon the wings of the eagle; whilst the noble lord crept upon the, back of a tortoise to oppose him. And lest the eyes of Europe should not be open to the tardy character of his measures, the noble 447 lord, as appeared by one of the documents upon the table, started suddenly from his freezing career, and abandoned for the moment the snail-like sinuosities of his course: for on the 2nd of November, the noble lord wrote to sir John Moore that some mighty exertion was to be made for Spain, and that Buonaparté's preparations were only to be met by correspondent efforts; and this he wrote on the day that Buonaparté commenced his career on the Ebro with 120,000 men; and only a few days before all the Spanish armies were destroyed. The disembarkation of the troops under sir David Baird did not commence before the 26th of October, and before the whole of his army was landed, the French had acquired such an ascendancy in Spain as to render the success of the campaign hopeless upon our part. But it was not alone the want of wise arrangement or of judicious combination in their military measures, that proved the misconduct and incapacity of ministers; they shewed themselves equally culpable and no less incompetent in having sent sir John Moore upon this arduous and important service without any settled plan of operations. The noble lord, indeed, (Castlereagh) wrote to him on the 26th of September, telling him that he would be in great good time; that he should himself try to form a plan, and that he could consult upon that subject with the Spanish general. It was not till the 14th of November, however, that the noble lord began to recollect himself in his office in Downing-street, that something like a plan was necessary. He then wrote to sir John Moore on the necessity of adopting a plan from the situation in which he would then find himself, but yet without suggesting any thing as to the amount and situation of the Spanish armies with which sir J. Moore was directed to act. The only plan suggested by the noble lord was, that if he (sir J. Moore) found the Spanish armies headed by one individual, he should place himself under his command, and on the contrary, if under the command of many, he should act in concert with the officers commanding the armies in his neighbourhood. In this communication of the noble lord, the most important part was that which required sir J. Moore to place himself under the commander who might then be entrusted with the conduct of the Spanish armies.—There were many instances on record of British troops serving under foreign officers; their names, however, were always 448 known before-hand, and they were well ascertained previously to be men of established reputation. He was prepared to admit too, that there were still in Europe many foreign officers, under whom a British army might be safely and successfully employed. But this was the first instance of a British army being sent on a foreign service, and ordered to be put under the command of any person, whoever he might be, who should chance to be at the head of a foreign army. It would be fresh in the recollection of hon. gentlemen, that in the administration of Mr. Addington, when a charge had been made against ministers of having not done sufficient for Portugal at that period, it was answered by the present lord Liverpool, that the Portuguese would not in the first instance agree to put themselves under an officer even of known abilities; and this answer was received by the opposition as a sufficient excuse. The instruction therefore given by the noble lord to sir John Moore, to place himself under the command of any general that might be appointed to the command in chief of the Spanish armies, though he was only to act in concert and communication with the Spanish generals if they commanded separately, was a most extraordinary measure. The times of revolution usually raised up men to such stations who were often not competent to fill them. It was by such a popular impulse that Castanos had been removed from the head of the army in order to appoint the duke del Infantado; and Don Palafox raised to the command in chief in Arragon. The merit of these two illustrious individuals did not alter the nature of the case. Had fortune been as blind as the noble lord, it was unknown into what dangers this instruction might have led sir J. Moore. Morla was then in the government of Spain, and might with as much facility be placed at the head of its armies. Had he been so, and had he peremptorily ordered the advance of sir J. Moore to Madrid, sir J. Moore could not, without violating his directions, and being guilty of insubordination, refuse to comply with those orders from a person whose object was evidently not to save, but to sell the interests of his country. Were such to have been the case, sir John Moore with his army, would infallibly have fallen into the snares of the enemy by pursuing the instructions given him by the noble lord. Under these circumstances, sir J. Moore found himself at 449 Salamanca.—He now came to that part of the scene in which Mr. Frere cut a conspicuous figure. He hoped the country would now be enabled fairly to appreciate the services of that gentleman. He trusted also that gentlemen on the other side would not forget the various ways in which they had endeavoured to conceal the evidence on this branch of the case: how it had been wrung from them like drops of blood; and the twists and turns and shifts after which it had at length been extorted from them. First they did not know of such a correspondence; then it was private. Would any of those gentlemen, with unblushing front, now assert that any of these letters were private? Had they the mark "private" upon them; and even if they had such a mark, could any man suppose that they were any thing else than a public record of the business of his mission? They were not only public, but were meant to be so. Then they were said to be of no consequence; they had nothing to do with sir J. Moore's retreat, and very little with his advance; and if produced, they would not answer the purpose for which they were called for; as they contained no information that would be of the smallest advantage to the discussion. Were they really unimportant? On the contrary, were they not the sole and only cause of that gallant and lamented officer's advance? It was solely on account of them that he found it his duty to make that advance. On the 13th of November sir John Moore found himself at Salamanca. Of the Spanish army he knew nothing, of the French army he knew as little; and, after advancing as directed, he found himself in front of the French army, his own forces being divided. He trusted he should hear no more blame imputed to that brave officer, as if it proceeded from some fault of his own that his army had been divided into two corps. He did not expect that the gallant officer whom Mr. Pitt regarded as one of our greatest military men, should have been one of the first on whom gentlemen on the other side would transfer blame from their own shoulders. When he recollected the auspices under which the right hon. gent. (Mr. Canning) had commenced his political career under Mr. Pitt, he indeed would be surprised to find him casting the blame from himself upon that officer, who enjoyed Mr. Pitt's unlimited confidence, therein following the example of his colleagues, who shifted the blame uniformly 450 upon the officers they employed. The gallant commander had only one alternative, either to go by sea, which was hardly possible at that time of the year, besides that he might not have been allowed to land, or to go by a road, by which his army could not pass without being divided. It was, therefore, no fault on his part that he had been exposed to this inconvenience. If they told him that the French army was destroyed and annihilated, was it his fault if he afterwards found them in front of him? Were they to throw blame on him on account of their own information to him? Finding himself in this situation, he wrote a letter to Mr. Frere, remonstrating on the way in which he had been deceived, upon his want of information from the Supreme Junta, and that he had no communication with the Spanish commanders. Mr. Frere on receiving this letter gave in a remonstrance upon it to the government; adding a little asperity of his own, in language little suited to the character of a minister at a foreign court. Sir John Moore finding himself in this situation, the Spanish cause nearly ruined, but wishing to assist them if possible, follows the advice of Mr. Frere. Mr. Frere, in his letter to sir John Moore, advises him to advance, and to join his troops to the Spaniards, informing him that by doing so he would prevent an irruption of the French into Spain, and save the capital. This he writes on the very day when one of the entrances to the town was seized on by the French; Buonaparté himself was then only 17 miles from Madrid, and the next day was at the gates. He was not surprised that the right hon. gent. (Mr. Canning) wished to conceal such letters as these, so derogatory to the character of the person by whom they were written, though on his own account he might wish to shew that there was another person who had the same lack of information, and the same ignorance as himself—There was, however, another reason which might induce the right hon. gent. to wish to conceal the letters. He might be averse from having it known that there was another person who possessed the qualification of writing in the same tone with himself; and he might be afraid to shew how nearly the pupil had approached to the perfection of the master. Sir John Moore, however, disregarded the rhapsody of Mr. Frere, and wisely commenced his retreat, in consequence of the information he had received 451 from the marquis Romana. Two officers had also arrived from the Junta, requesting of him to advance and take possession of Somosierra, not knowing till he informed them that it was already in possession of the enemy. Morla, too, wrote, requesting of him to advance towards Madrid, the Spaniards being resolved to fight to the last extremity in defending the city; and yet that very day he was capitulating with Buonaparté at the gates of Madrid. So it was plain that this person, who had sold his country to Buonaparté, wanted to entrap sir John Moore and the British army into his hands. But this was only an attempt by a traiterous member of the government of Spain. It remained for Mr. Frere to assist in a similar design. He sends a third time by a messenger, M. Charmilly, declaring it to be the resolution of the Spaniards to perish under the ruins of the capital; and also sends an angry letter to sir John Moore, dated Dec. 3, pressing him to advance. He had heard suspicions expressed on the subject, not having investigated the matter accurately, however, himself, he should not assert it of his own authority, but it seemed extremely likely, from every part of the transaction in which he was concerned, that Charmilly was, if not a spy, a dupe, and that he had involved Mr. Frere in his dupery. If he was so, he had pretty high authority in the same line. If he was a dupe, he was the dupe of Morla, and Mr. Frere the dupe of Charmilly. Was it to be believed, that Mr. Frere would, if Charmilly had not been recommended to him by ministers, have entrusted to him, a stranger and a Frenchman, so important a mission? If he was recommended by ministers, the blame must fall on them, if not, on Mr. Frere. Mr. Frere had even presumed to appeal to the army, and to Charmilly against the decision of sir John Moore. He presumed to interfere in that which was not entrusted to him, and to press on sir John Moore his advice. His language was most unbecoming and indecent. His lordship did not suppose he meant to betray his country, but it was to be lamented, that the enemy should find that even British honesty was now no longer proof against the arts of the enemy, and that the incapacity of such a man as Mr. Frere gave him similar advantages, to those which he was accustomed to derive from dishonesty and treason.—Notwithstanding all the difficulties against which sir John Moore had to contend, 452 notwithstanding he had received no instructions from his government, or information from its agents, and although he had been deceived by the account of the Spanish officers, yet he was determined to pat himself in the way of fortune. The march to Madrid was impossible, after the French had seized the pass of Somosierra; but still he conceived it would be a most important diversion for the cause of Spain, and give the patriots of the South time to prepare for fresh exertions, if he were to make a movement against the enemy in the North. This movement he made, and it produced in a great degree the effect that was calculated from. This movement was attended with considerable danger, and the rapidity of the retreat alone secured the remains of the army. It appeared that ministers at that time had never thought of Ferrol, the second naval arsenal of Spain; and the great accession of naval strength which the enemy had gained by that conquest was owing to the remissness of our ministers. The battle of Corunna, indeed, afforded a brilliant instance of what British valour could do under every possible discouragement. The troops, though broken down and disorganized by misfortune, supported the military character of the country. It was to the ministers of this country alone therefore that we must look for the causes of the failures in Spain, for, as if intending to fill up the chapter of ignorance, his majesty's ministers shewed that they were even ignorant of the number of our own troops employed in that country. The noble lord opposite had written to sir J. Moore, that there was no use in his talking of 26,000 men, he must have had 42,000—In the commencement of the business, when our hopes were young and yet gilded by the sunshine, the noble lord had told us there should be a combined effort of the British and Spanish armies against France; that the assistance which would be given should be such as would be most favourable, and agreeable to the Spanish interest, and that the operations should be only collaterally directed to objects peculiarly British. How were these measures executed? The first by bringing up our forces after the enemy had commenced his operations, and the Spanish armies had been dispersed; the second by taking no measures to secure the Spanish interest after the retreat. And the third by the loss of 8,000 men, eight millions of money, and one of our most gallant officers. If 453 the house felt it right to visit those calamities on their authors, and by so doing; to prevent their recurrence, his Resolutions would be acceded to. If, on the contrary, it was intended to overlook those failures and disasters, to negative those Resolutions would produce the effect.—The noble lord concluded a long and able speech, by moving the following Resolutions:—
"That it appears to this house, after an attentive consideration of the various documents which have been produced, that the spirit of resistance to the unprincipled aggression of France, manifested in Spain, was neither seasonably, vigorously, nor efficiently seconded, by the arms or the counsels of Great Britain; that time was allowed to the enemy to collect and receive large reinforcements, and to advance into the heart of Spain, before the British army was placed in a situation and condition to oppose their efforts; that when arrived, it was not sufficiently provided with the description of force, or with the proper supply and equipments, most essentially requisite; and that no plan of operations was arranged, by which it might have been enabled, in concert with our ally, to act with effect in the common cause.
"That it appears to this house, that no proper measures were taken, either by his majesty's government, or by his majesty's minister in Spain, for enabling the Commander in-Chief of his majesty's forces in that country to combine his operations with those of the Spanish nation; or for furnishing him with the necessary advice and information respecting the number, situation, and movements, either of the French or Spanish armies.
"That it appears to this house, that the loss of the Spanish fleet in Ferrol, and the addition made thereby to the naval power of the enemy, is, in great part, to be ascribed to want of foresight in his majesty's ministers, and to their neglect in not taking measures of timely precaution.
"That this house, deeply lamenting the disastrous issue of the late campaign, is of opinion, that by the neglect, improvidence, and rashness, of his majesty's ministers, the hopes of the nation have been disappointed, the means and resources of the country have been wasted, and above 7,000 of his majesty's brave troops, together with their distinguished Commander, have been sacrificed in an enterprise, un- 454 dertaken without that combination and foresight which the nature of the service so manifestly required, and without which no reasonable expectation could be entertained of ultimate success."
§ On the question being put,
rose to reply, and observed, that if any complaint could be made by his majesty's ministers against the noble lord, it certainly could not be for the manner in which he had conducted the attack he had this night made, except indeed for the generality with which he had conducted that attack, accusing them of the want of all that ability, that foresight and vigour, for which his lordship's colleagues were so eminently conspicuous during the period they were in office. Certainly, his majesty's ministers stood in need rather of excuse than apology, on account of the extent and range of information which they had afforded for the purpose of the present investigation; but they considered that, upon a cause so grave and interesting, it was impossible they could stand right with the country, if the principles upon which they had acted were not fully explained: and if they did not put parliament and the country in possession of all the facts of the case; if they did not meet boldly all that ingenuity could suggest against them, and justify their conduct as far as the complicated nature of the transactions could admit of; transactions, upon which he could not but consider the attack just now made, the most futile, vain, and unfounded that ever was attempted. The noble lord appeared to him to have adopted, not only various, but some not very consistent grounds, upon which to form that attack; in the first place, he complained of their acting without that due and necessary information which would justify their proceedings; and he therefore contended that they were answerable for all the consequences that had followed, and that they ought rather to have waited for such knowledge and details of circumstances, as would have guided them successfully in their subsequent proceedings. But if ministers had waited in a state of inactivity until they had obtained that full knowledge, deemed so requisite, this would have afforded a well-grounded charge of the most culpable tardiness on their part; for how could anyone suppose they could act with any effect under such a system?—It was made another ground of attack, that ministers had not sent out any 455 plan upon which our operations were to be conducted. Upon this subject, he could not conceive any thing so preposterous as sending out any plan in detail. The thing must appear in itself such a downright absurdity, when the remoteness of communication was considered, that he should apologise to the house, for having mentioned it. If it were possible to be effected, the dangers resulting from such an interference would be fully apparent from the effects produced by the Aulic Council of Vienna having interfered with the operations of the Austrian armies. What right could we have to direct the operations of a campaign in which we were only the auxiliaries? It the noble lord, however, meant that they had no general nation of the part of Spain in which the British army was to be employed, he was mistaken. They had long before laid it down that the north of Spain was the advisable place for them to act. In this not the British government alone, but every Spanish military authority whatever concurred. The marquis de la Romana at St. Andero, gen. Castanos at Madrid, and sir H. Dalrymple at Lisbon, all agreed in this; and the only persons who seemed to dissent from it were the politicians of London. He know there was an opinion entertained by a military officer of high character in this country, (earl Moira) that the proper situation for us to have occupied would have been the Pyrenees, but as that point was not now argued, he should not touch on it. The noble lord seemed to have chalked out for himself an intermediate campaign, taking St. Sebastian and Barcelona for his scene of action. He was afraid, however, the noble lord must soon have gone to the Pyrenees, as he could not long have held out at St. Sebastian. The advantage which would arise from going to Barcelona had not escaped his majesty's ministers. A provision had been made to that effect, without frittering away the force necessary to accomplish the main object in view. Directions had been given in July to air John Stuart to co-operate from Sicily on that side, which that brave and enter-prizing officer would have done, were it not for the threatened invasion of Sicily from the side of Italy. The exertions or the views of government were not confined to Spain as a separate country; its cause was connected by them with that of Europe. It also materially affected the British interests beyond Europe, as it delayed the intended operations against the 456 British possessions in India. We had also benefited the interests of Austria, by drawing forth a larger force of the enemy than it would be necessary for him to employ, had we made no efforts on the side of Spain. The resistance the enemy had met with in Spain made it necessary for him to send an army of 200,000 men into that country, whereas, had it not been for the assistance received from this country, Spain might have been over-run by the troops which Buonaparté originally had there. The whole course of our policy went not only to rescue Spain, but the world, by resisting the attitude in which France stood at that period against the continent. As to all that had been said respecting the tardiness, of their measures contrasted with the dispatch and rapid execution of those of the enemy, he begged the house to reflect for a moment, upon the vast superiority of means possessed by the enemy, for carrying their various operations into effect, by requisitions and the other instruments of arbitary power. It certainly was no ways surprising that France, with all her means of conscription at home, and requisition abroad, should be enabled to assemble an army on the Ebro, before the British troops, who united all the difficulties of a march from Lisbon with those of an equipment, which could not be assisted by those requisitions by which the enemy was aided, could arrive at the scene of action. Dispatches had been at an early period sent to sir H. Dalrymple, directing him to proceed to the north of Spain, without waiting for specific orders from home. Those dispatches arrived after the Convention of Cintra had been concluded, so that they could not have influenced that measure in any manner. The same order had been given towards the close of September, to sir David Bard. The reason why the troops released by the termination of the Campaign in Portugal, were not put in motion sooner, was, because sir Hew Dalrymple (which was also approved of by the government at home) had determined not to do so till a Central Government was established in Spain. This event was not known at Lisbon till the 4th or 5th of October, and the army was positively in motion three days after. There could, therefore, be no blame on this head attached either to the officers in Portugal, or to the government of this country. Sir John Moore was to act upon no other authority than that of his own govern- 457 ment, and the dictates of his own judgment, and it was a satisfactory reflection that there was no complaint of any want of cordiality having existed between sir John Moore and the officers of the Spanish army. He insisted that no person could have suggested a more judicious line of conduct to be preserved by us towards the Spaniards, than that which had been pursued by government. The noble lord accused them of not having made a provision for the reception of the army sent to Corunna; to this charge he could only answer, that unless he had been able to borrow the prophetic fire of the noble lord, which saw every thing so distinctly after it had taken place, he could not by any means have anticipated any difficulty on that point, as it was obviously more the interest of Spain than of Great Britain, that no obstacle should be interposed. The amount of force sent was precisely what had been demanded by the Gallician Junta, and as soon as advices were received from lord Wm. Bentinck from Madrid, on the 29th of September, the whole plan of military operations was notified to him in order to ensure the making of every necessary preparation.—He might, indeed, support a tolerable case, even had no preparation been made at all by government for the debarkation of the force at Corunna, as till they heard of the cause of the delay, and the delay itself, it was not possible for human ingenuity to have anticipated such an event. But they had taken every step that prudence and fore sight could suggest, to prevent any mistake taking place. On the same day he had written to direct the advance of sir John Moore, he had written to the Gallicias to prepare for the reception of general Baird's army, and also to general Broderick, or the officer acting for him in the commission at Corunna, to take measures preparatory to that event. No disinclination to their debarkation had been evinced till their arrival, when the letter from captain Kennedy informed the government of this country of that circumstance; and the reason why they were not permitted to land for some time was only owing to an official omission in sending the order by the Supreme Junta. There never was an objection to their acting in the north of Spain, and the whole of the noble lord's argument on this point fell completely to the ground. The noble lord also accused his majesty's ministers of a surprizing want of combination, in sending general 458 Baird to Corunna, and Romana to St. Andero.—But how could it be guessed, à priore, that the Convention of Cintra would be concluded, and our transports employed in carrying the French army from Portugal? It was pretty creditable to government, that even after transports for the conveyance of 25,000 French troops were employed, as many still remained in the Tagus as were capable of receiving 12,000 of our own troops, and bearing them to the north of Spain, had that mode of conveyance been deemed expedient. The movement by land was not therefore adopted from necessity, but from an opinion of the commander of the army in Portugal, that it was most advantageous. Allowing, as he did, that the misfortunes of the campaign were, in great measure, owing to the differences subsisting among the Spanish generals, to the division of the Spanish armies, and to their want of a commander in chief, he could not yet agree with the noble lord, that it was proper for this government to suggest to the Junta the appointment of any such officer. It followed, therefore, of course, that no other instructions, but those that were given, could be given to sir John Moore on this head; namely, to act on an equality with all the Spanish generals. With regard to the charge against himself, that he knew so little of the numbers of our own army, as to suppose it amounted to 40,000, while, in fact, it consisted of only 28,000 men, if was grounded on that disrespect to dates which the noble lord had shewn throughout. The return made by general Clinton, containing information on this point, which he was accused of having overlooked, was not received till long after the letters passed between him and sir John Moore. It was not at all surprizing, therefore, that he should suppose the army amounted to the number he had stated, as 23,000 men had marched from Lisbon; there were 13,000 under sir D. Baird, and all the men in Portugal, excepting eight regiments, had been ordered, on the 11th of October, to proceed to join sir J. Moore, and it was but fair to conclude that they would, by December, have arrrived in the line of his march to the amount of 5,000. Some, however, had been retarded by the disturbances at Oporto; general Stuart's division by the want of corn; and there were 4,000 sick, none of which contingencies could have entered into any calculation made in this country, and yet 459 after all, sir J. Moore had 34 or 35,000 men, although they were not immediately in the field. It was true at the same time, that sir John Moore, as a military man, could not acknowledge having more men under his command, than he could bring out to meet the enemy. The movement to Salamanca, and the advance into Gallicia, he approved: nothing could have done more for the Spanish cause, or made a more powerful diversion for the southern provinces, by which they were saved for three months from the advance of a victorious enemy. The noble lord had inveighed, in terms somewhat severe, against the advance of the British troops, and their subsequent retreat, and had even asked, whether sir John Moore or Mr. Frere was the author of those movements? A more judicious movement than that of marching into the north of Spain, could not have been devised by any man. It inspired the natives with confidence, and gave them two months to recruit their exhausted armies. If by it our army had suffered considerably, it ought also injustice to be stated, that the enemy had suffered very severely. Those who knew sir John Moore when he was alive, would pot very readily believe, that on military matters he, as commander in chief, would be influenced or directed by any diplomatic character. They even had the gallant general's own acknowledgement that he undertook the movement entirely upon his own authority, and that he had applied to Mr. Frere for information, not for judgment. He had determined to advance, he says, in his letter of the 9th, from a combined view of the advantages and disadvantages which would result from it to this country and to Spain.—Sir J. Moore had acted on just political grounds, and to shew the Spanish nation that if they did perish, it should not be without our risking every thing to save them. He did not mean to say that the opinions of Mr. Frere had no weight; but it was evident sir John Moore acted on his own judgment, in advancing to Valladolid, after the fall of Madrid, which he determined on doing upon the 10th of December, three days before the letter from Mr. Frere, containing the strong expressions so much commented upon, could be received.—Setting Mr. Frere, therefore, out of the question, the movement of itself must alone be examined, and it had been adopted by one of the best military officers this country ever produced. The noble 460 lord had not dwelt much on the retreat of our army; but in that little he had exaggerated our loss. This loss he lamented as much as any one; but it ought always be considered that it amounted to no more than 7,000 men, including casualties (which, if the army had staid at home, would have amounted to 3,000) including also the consequences of two general actions, and many of smaller note, and the whole period from the time general Spencer left Gibraltar in the preceding winter to the end of the campaign—a campaign which had added to our military renown, our reputation, and our national character, and, from the experience it had afforded, been the school of many heroes in the British service, who would hereafter still further extend our glory. The real loss of men sustained by the country was not so great, therefore, as had been stated, and if it were compared with the military glory derived from it by the country, it must appear very small indeed. He was confident such would have even been the opinion of that gallant officer, whose loss they all must deplore.—It was true he had formerly blamed the administration, whereof the noble lord who moved the Resolutions had formed a part, for their want of foresight in providing transports, and utter neglect of cavalry; but that was under very different circumstances. They, it would be recollected, dismissed the transports when they were just wanted, and they neglected to send cavalry at the very time they were promising them. Now, he would inquire, if that was the case, when the troops were sent to Spain? When the house should bear in mind that 9,000 horses had been sent to Spain and Portugal with the late expeditions, perhaps it would not be said that the present administration deserved any similar censure. The horses were not all caralry; indeed, some of them were artillery horses, and some belonged to the royal waggon train, and the staff; under these circumstances, he trusted that the same reasons did not exist for blaming the present administration for not succouring our allies, which then existed against his majesty's late ministers. No country ever gave a greater manifestation of energy than Spain, at the beginning, of the insurrection, and government was fully justified in having offered them every assistance in their power. It was true, indeed, that in some places there was a miserable want of public spirit when our army was there, but the general dispo- 461 sition of a nation could never be properly known from the behaviour of the inhabitants who lived near a large army. People were not friendly to an army, from the inconvenience which attended it necessarily.—Upon the whole, he thought the conduct of administration perfectly correct; if they had done more, they might have acted imprudently; and if they had done less, they would not have done their duty. He trusted the house would be of opinion that the noble lord had laid no good grounds for his Resolutions, but contended from false colouring and mistaken notions. Ministers had done every thing possible in exertions to carry the wishes of the British people into effect, and make a great military effort, rapidly and efficiently, in the cause of Spain. However that exertion had succeeded, they had at least this consolation, that in all they had done there was not a stain on the good faith, honesty, and generosity of Britain. They had conducted this arduous and delicate matter in a manner so as to secure the exaltation of the national character, without committing the power of the country. With all the past to blame, the noble lord had not ventured to point out a better line of conduct which ought to have been pursued. They had done their duty with honour and integrity to preserve the Spanish nation from the usurpation of France; they had done every thing possible to preserve the integrity of Spain. If any charge could be brought against them, if must be rather for exceeding than keeping within the point of prudence, in conforming to the wishes of the country, and he trusted their exertions would yet be crowned with success. He concluded by calling on the house to give a decided negative to the motion.
said that the noble lord had begun his speech by censuring that of his noble friend, as being too succinct and concise, and therefore but ill suited to a subject upon which the noble lord had satisfied the house, it was possible to be diffuse, erratic, and tedious. The noble lord, too, had condemned the speech of his noble friend for being so destitute of point. The speeches of the noble lord himself abounded so much in pith and point, that the charge acquired additional force in coming from him; the speeches of the noble lord at least generally abounded in something or other, and he would not take upon himself to decide whether they were right who thought that some- 462 thing abounded alike upon all occasions' and was neither more nor less than pointless prolixity. The noble lord had said a vast deal upon what he no doubt thought a very fruitful theme, the character of the government as affected by the Resolutions proposed. He would not now stop to enquire what that character was: but let it be what it might, it certainly was upon all occasions the same, and entitled to the same weight with the country; for whether they had to resist Buonaparté, or contend with Mrs. Clarke, their measures appeared to be suggested by the same spirit of wisdom and crowned with the same, sort of success; so that he apprehended that the character of the government was by this time pretty well established. But the noble lord had taken great pains to identify the character of the government with the spirit of the people; no two things could be more materially different, more substantially distinct. The spirit of the country had indeed, been high, generous, and enthusiastic in the cause of Spain, but did it follow that the government was to suffer itself to be blinded by that enthusiasm, instead of calling forth all the aids of sage counsel to give that enthusiasm direction and effect? But, said the noble lord, what did not the people expect from the government? Why, a great deal was unquestionably expected:—the subject was of a nature to excuse a generous people from expecting so much hum such ministers—it was pardonable at such a time to indulge in such extravagant expectations.—They expected their government would have been vigilant in the cause they had so sanguinely espoused—that they would have been prompt and vigorous in the measures they resorted to—but such an expectation was not to justify that government in their rashness, folly, and precipitancy. But, among the causes assigned by the noble lord for the sanguine hopes then entertained of ultimate success, was the circumstance of the preparations at that time making by the court of Austria, to taka advantage of that opportunity, and enlarge her military means to the greatest extent she could. If this was the case, he thought the noble lord had been imprudent in uttering that fact in his place in that house as a minister of the country; such a statement coming from a minister would go to give a sort of colour to the charges that appeared in the Manifesto of the emperor of France, not that he thought that those 463 charges were founded in fact; far from it; but still he did think, that such a statement was calculated to give colour to those charges, and therefore was of opinion, that the noble lord had been indiscreet in mentioning that fact, if it was a fact, as he had done.—With respect to the Portuguese expedition, he condemned it as most ill advised; there was no man who must not condemn it, and for the plainest of all possible reasons; that had it succeeded, even its success would have had no material effect upon the fortunes of Spain, whereas, if Spain was once delivered, Portugal would thereby he secured. But what he particularly blamed ministers for was, their not taking proper precautionary measures to ascertain the real state and temper of Spain before our army had been embarked. That they had not done so was sufficiently clear from this one instance, were there no other—the division under sir A. Wellesley sailed on the 15th July, and the first step taken by ministers to ascertain the real state of Spain, and the sentiments prevailing there, was not resorted to until the 4th of August following; but the strangest amongst all the strange arguments of the noble lord was that, by which he endeavoured to shew that, on account of the great interest taken in the co-operation of the British army by the Spanish government, our government was acquitted from all responsibility. This would be a sweeping argument to indemnify all ministers in all cases of alliances with foreign states; for it would not be denied, that in each of them the respective government of each power would have its due portion of interest. But, notwithstanding this extraordinary interest which the Spanish government had taken, and which was to indemnify our own, it did not appear that this interest had produced any extraordinary co-operation; for when the North of Spain had been fixed upon as the scene for British service, and sir David Baird had reached Corunna, ready to disembark his troops, it was in the memory of the house what delays he had to encounter before he was permitted to land—at one time upon one pretence, and at another time upon a different one; but the real cause, according to sir David Baird's own letter, was an objection upon their part to admit our troops to land there on account of the difficulty of supplying them with provisions, &c. And here the noble lord teemed to expect that his mere letter 464 would be instrumental in effecting a junction between the British and Spanish armies. The noble lord, in this, was more poetical than practical. With the enthusiasm of the poet, he expected toSpread the soft intercourse from soul to soul, "And wait a sigh from Indus to the pole.He expected to transport his force instantly to the place in which it was necessary to have it actively employed, without any previous arrangement or previous approach. The noble lord said that his noble friend had arraigned him unjustly, in saying, that the march of sir John Moore, or his subsequent retreat, was influenced by his and Mr. Frere's correspondence. With respect to Mr. Frere, he observed that he (lord Castlereagh) had said nothing in his defence, leaving that perhaps to another advocate more competent to defend him; but after the angry, mandatory, impatient, reproachful and upbraiding dispatches which sir John Moore received from that gentleman, no one could say that sir John Moore's conduct was not influenced by him; besides, could the noble lord forget his own Instructions to sir John Moore? He cautioned him to pay the "utmost deference and respect" to his communications; and after this, did he mean to argue, that the letters of Mr. Frere had no influence upon the conduct of that officer? It was said, that sir John Moore in his dispatches took but a mere dry military view of the question; but his view was as comprehensive as it ought to be, and no man would agree with the noble lord in that opinion of him. The noble lord had also said, that a great consolation remained to us yet—that what they had heard of the coldness of Spain in her own cause, was untrue. In the particular part to which the army was sent, he admitted that this coldness might have existed, but no where else.—in no other portion of the country, according to his representation, was zeal or spirit wanting. This was certainly a most extraordinary circumstance, that when an army was sent, which was ready to die for the inhabitants at the time and in the place to which it was sent, the impression should be weakest amongst them, and the principle of resistance most difficult to discover or to inspire. The noble lord, in stating this, had the merit of introducing a perfect novelty to the house. The noble lord admitted, that we experienced sows loss, though he says it was much less than was generally represented. For himself, 465 he had such a veneration for the soldiery of this country, that he could not contemplate the death of one without painful emotions. But they were told, that in the present instance the loss was not without its consolation, for it had brought an addition of character to the country; it had proved to the world, that we fought the cause of Spain alone; that we did not pursue any little hidden interest made under the sanction of her name and the justice of her cause. This certainly was true: it was manifest to the world that we afforded Spain a generous assistance; but was this a matter for ministers to make a boast of? Were they to take the credit of it to themselves? Would the noble lord have ventured to advise his majesty to a contrary conduct? He would not. So that the only merit he could claim was that of having forborne to do what neither he nor any other man alive would dare to do. The noble lord said, that every step was taken that could be taken to procure information; but here the noble lord pronounced his own panegyric. What did sir John Moore say on the subject? Their accounts differed as much in this as in the amount of the army. Sir John Moore stated that he got no information at all—two persons were sent to him, old men, or rather old women, to consult with him, but such was the ignorance they displayed, that he entreated to be troubled with them no more; yet his lordship called this snaking provision for the information of the army. The noble lord had been standing up in his own defence, and never man in such a situation was so little cheered by his friends. He could not assert that the Spanish government had acted rightly in every thing. He feared it resembled the noble lord too much; both would come in for a share of the credit of the Campaign. But as he was of opinion that much the larger proportion was due to the noble lord, he should give his hearty support to the Resolutions of his noble friend.
Mr. Secretary Canning,
without meaning any disrespect to the noble lord who brought forward this question, said, he could not have thought it possible for the gentlemen opposite, provided with so numerous a band ready to undertake their cause, to have pitched on one who would have supported it on such objectionable grounds. The noble lord had, however, been followed in his arguments by the right hon. gent. who spoke last, who 466 though he had added nothing in substance to his reasoning, had done much in eloquence, and had introduced at least a poetical, if not a very apt illustration. At the end of his speech, too, the right hon. gentleman had been very happy in hitting upon a new method of rousing the flagging attention of his hearers. In the drama, and even in oratory, it was allowed to give as much eclat as possible to the conclusion; and improving on this principle the right hon. gent., who had been uncheered through the whole of his eloquent speech, had, by a very delicate mode of applying the observation to another, conveyed a reproof to his own friends for this omission, and taught them how they ought to have received the declaration of his opinion (Laughter). He had succeeded in his aim, and procured a cheer; contented with which, he hastened to a conclusion, without hazarding another effort (Laughter). Leaving the right hon. gent. then to his fame, he would proceed to the matter before the house. It was usual on so great an occasion as the present, for those who attacked, as well as for those who defended, to allow the importance of the subject. But deeply as this question affected the government and the country, it derived still greater importance from the principles on which the arguments and criticisms of the noble lord had proceeded; arguments which, if allowed, must not only have the effect of cramping the efforts, and palsying the energies of the country, but of rendering it impossible for any government to sustain the charge intrusted to them, or conduct the national affairs with success, by risking a little for the good of the whole. The noble lord took possession of a fine elevated and superior point, from whence he could survey he past, the present, and, in imagination, the future, from which he could contemplate the nascent cause, and the matured effect. He forgot, however, that during he whole time these events were passing, all this information was concealed, and government were deprived of the means of arguing from the past (Hear hear!) There was a work which they had all lately read, the production of that able statesman who for many years stood at the lead, and directed the operations of the gentlemen on the other side (Mr. Fox). It contained an observation (as indeed it was more famous for observation than for throwing any new light on history), that there were periods when persons might 467 take a stand, survey the surrounding scene, and calculate abstractedly on events and the probable effects most useful in history, and that one of the greatest proofs of practical political wisdom, was to trace future results from present causes, to look with a philosophic eye to the operation of measures, to reflect upon their probable effect, and above all to judge of their propriety, not by contingent results, but by the justice and the policy which recommended their adoption. This was true, and if the noble lord had been arguing philosophically, or as a statesman, he might have been justified in drawing conclusions from effects, and particular facts which he chose to examine. But when crimination, and not speculation, was his object, he could not have practised a more unfair and unjust mode, nor could the house for a moment give countenance to the uncandid use he had made of it. It might even be allowable on ordinary occasions, but could not be resorted to on an occasion like the present, which was without precedent, and such as it was impossible to lay their hand on any period of history to parallel, either from its importance with regard to individuals, to this happy country, and to Europe, or the difficulty that arose from there being so little knowledge to guide their steps, in the actual scene of their operations. Why should government be ashamed to say they wanted that knowledge of the interior of Spain which they found no one possessed? With every other part of the continent we bad had more intercourse; of the situation of Spain we had every thing to learn. What, then, was the general feeling which burst forth at that time in this country? He called on gentlemen to recollect their own sentiments of admiration and of surprise. It was now unjustly said that government were too rash, but were they not then accused of being too tardy? Did they come early to parliament and ask for support? No, they had been reproached for not doing so. Why had they abstained but because they hoped the result from Spain would enable them to call for a decided opinion from the people? If the house would recollect the sentiments delivered from the throne at the conclusion of last session, they must acknowledge that they had not out-gone, but kept within the wishes of the people. Was it to be supposed that government was therefore callous or insensible? He trusted there was nothing in their conduct 468 or their nature which warranted such a supposition. They wished to see how the affairs of Spain proceeded before they called on the people for their decided opinion; and though the noble lord seemed to think the question which was agitated near the close of last session right, at the time it had been discountenanced by the hon. gentleman near him (Mr. Whitbread) on the same grounds he now maintained, that matters were not mature enough for a decision. The noble lord had stated three promises, which he supposed to have been made on that occasion. The first, that a combined effort was to be made with Spain he denied, as not true in fact. There had been no such promise; no such intimation, nor were there at that time any thoughts of sending an army into Spain. It was impossible that the assistance alluded to could have been of a military kind, as it was declared, none such would be sent without a specific call from a Central Junta. The noble lord was correct with regard to the second promise he mentioned, that the assistance to Spain should be of the kind most agreeable to her wishes. This promise had certainly been given, and as certainly, most punctually and invariably observed. As for the third promise, that the operations of the campaign should be directed to British objects, here the noble lord was again wrong. In the statement he (Mr. Canning) had the honour to make to the house, he had declared on the part of his majesty's government that the consideration of British interests would be postponed, and their only object would be to promote the interests of Spain; that the wishes of Spain should be their rule of conduct; and that of Spain the profit and advantage should be exclusively considered. (Here lord Temple signified that this was his understanding of the point.)—If that was the sense in which the noble lord understood the British interest was promised to be pursued, on what plea, then, could he now say that ministers had forfeited that interest at Ferrol?—(Hear, hear!) It was for Spain, not for the British government, to decide on that subject. These two things we were supposed to disclaim; the separation of the colonies from the mother country was not to be thought of; and we abjured the idea of stealing ships either under the pretence of placing them in safety, of restoring them to the lawful sovereign of Spain, of keeping them for the use of the Spanish people, or under any other ex- 469 cuse.—Having refreshed the recollection of the noble lord on both these points, he should proceed to consider the justice of the accusation made by the noble lord as connected with them. The sum of the noble lord's observation was this, that his majesty's government set out upon the principle of rescuing Spain from the oppression of France, and therefore that an indictment laid against them for not having brought away the fleet from Ferrol. He saw the view which the noble lord took of the subject. The noble lord would have been willing to have had all the varnish of generosity in the first instance, and ail the profits of the seizure in the last. In the first instance, the noble lord would have maintained the high character of the country; in the last, he would have availed himself of the opportunity of pillage, when the interest of the country appeared to demand it. The noble lord having contended that it was bad to send an army to Spain, and that the conduct of that army in Spain was also bad, maintained, that it was worse not to aggravate the mischief which he had denounced by refraining from bringing away the Ferrol fleet. To have brought away this fleet might have been justifiable, had the behaviour of Great Britain towards Spain originated on other principles than those on which it did actually originate. It was perfectly true, that in the contest between Spain and her oppressor, Great Britain was not originally bound to defend the former. The British government might have said to the Spanish nation, on its application for assistance, "No, you have been the vassals of France, you have filled the coffers of France, you have nerved the arm of France against Great Britain. We always told you that the time would come when in common with other nations of Europe you would be punished for your conduct; and we rejoice that that period has arrived. What have you done to entitle you to our aid? We have a right to take an advantage of your destruction; and while France is shaking you to dissolution, we have a right to pick up your scattered limbs, and unite them to our empire."—This was the language which, in conformity to the practice of nations, and in conformity to the principles of justice, might have been held towards Spain; but fortunately for the credit, and for the real interest of this country, other sentiments prevailed. In adopting the universal feeling of the nation, the British government shared in 470 that universal feeling of the nation, and having once acted upon the principles of liberality and sound enlightened policy, it was indispensible that their conduct should be tried throughout upon the same principles. But suppose the noble lord were to answer "Yes; I allow that you ought not to have done any thing violently to hurt the feelings of the Spanish nation; but I contend that you ought to hare made by effectual and urgent representations, such an impression on the Spanish government as would have induced them to permit you to do that which your mutual interests required." In the first place, what was or might be the ultimate interest of both countries on this point could not yet be said to be determined. The period had not arrived for the British government to call for an examination into the conduct of the war;—to decide whether or not they had acted wisely, and brought the great contest in which they had engaged to a happy termination. When that time should come, and the whole of the conduct of his majesty's government should be before parliament and the public, he trusted she result would prove, that they had, in the whole of their measures, wisely consulted the real interest of their country. It was material to distinguish the period, when a government, having terminated a course of operations, laid its conduct open before parliament, and called for a decision upon it, from the period when it was attempted to obtain a forestalled decision upon its conduct at what might almost be called the commencement of its course of operations. It could not be expected that a government should be enabled, to use the words of Addison,To crowd an Iliad into one campaign.It was a statement founded upon parliamentary principle and usage, that a case voluntarily offered for examination must be differently considered from a case the premature examination of which was demanded. The noble lord, however, fixing himself particularly on this subject of Ferrol, had quoted dates without any due observance of places. He had stated it to be absurd, that while the fleet was not secured from the French at Ferrol, at that very time a treaty was signing in London for keeping them out of the power of the French. The same confusion of time and place prevailed throughout the whole of the noble lord's speech. The noble lord had asked, why his noble friend had on the 14th of November written instructions 471 to general Moore to take the course which be in fact had determined to take, and on the identical day actually adopted? This certainly was not prescience on the part of his noble friend, because it was a knowledge of something contemporaneous; but surely it was no impeachment of the discernment of a government, that it provided at home for that which at the very same instant was taking place abroad. When the noble lord had given his notice of the present motion, he had promised that a great part of his industry and eloquence should be employed on the treaty concluded between Great Britain and Spain; on which treaty, however, the noble lord had contented himself with making a single observation. This observation proceeded on the principle that the noble lord condemned the provisions being only for probable and contingent cases. But it should be considered, that it was intended in that instance to take a comprehensive view of the interests of the two countries. The period was not favourable for negociating an instrument so extensive as that must have been which would have provided for every possible relation. It would not have been fair to Spain; for either Great Britain must have conceded gratuitously to Spain, or she must have asked in return what Spain had not at that time the power to give. Still, however, connected as the two countries were, was it not right that there should be a recorded document of that connection? The relations of Great Britain to Spain were meliorated by this document. She was before bound to an indefinite extent to assist Spain, and to a definite extent to abstain from demanding a remuneration. It became absolutely necessary, with a view to our own interest, in some degree to define the principle of the connection between the two countries. When the—he did not know what to call it—a revolution, he thanked God, it was not; an insurrection it certainly was not, for it was against no legitimate authority; but on the glorious breaking out in Spain of the determination to resist French oppression, a British Order in Council was issued, declaring peace established between the two countries, and prohibiting any further captures from the Spaniards. He believed that every man in the country felt this to be a wise, just, and honourable act. But, at the same time, the British government had a right to say, that this abstinence from captures must be reciprocal. Nothing was more fit for them to ask, nor 472 more honourable for Spain to grant. Was this concession nugatory? The fact was singular, that the only two cases of capture which had occurred, were captures made by Spain from Great Britain.—To proceed with the consideration of the Treaty; the articles by which Great Britain was bound to acknowledge Ferdinand VII. or any subsequent legitimate sovereign of Spain, had been idly supposed to bind her to carry on the war for Ferdinand VII. or still more strongly to acknowledge Joseph Buonaparté, should he become a successful usurper. The only object of the article in question was the possible case of the extinction of the present royal branch of Spain, in which case it might become a doubt, in consequence of the Salique law, whether the Neapolitan branch, or the princes of Brazil should ascend the throne. It was not for this country to decide such a point, and it was therefore sound policy for this country to provide against the contingency of making the election. The next article in the Treaty was that by which Spain engaged to take precautions that her fleet should not fall into the hands of the enemy, and by which Great Britain engaged to assist her in that object. Amidst all that Spain had felt and suffered from French oppression, the Spaniards had never been disposed to admit the British troops or fleets into their naval arsenals. The offer had more than once been made by Great Britain, but in conformity to the principles on which the government set out, never in a tone of coercion. It had been declined; and that refusal had been received by government, not with ill humour; with great regret, but with a just deference to the judgment of those from whom it proceeded. It was held by the Spanish government, that standing as they did on the basis of public opinion, they might by the admission of the English into their ports, have given occasion to the common enemy to say, that the English, according to their usual practice, were availing themselves of the distressed state of Spain to seize the Spanish navy. It was on this ground, frankly stated by the Spanish government as likely to mislead many of their countrymen, that they declined an offer in which they allowed they did not see any thing dangerous or dishonourable. But a much more important consideration than even the principles on which this instrument was founded, was the relative situation in which the events at the close 473 of the last campaign left the two countries. He would not enter into a critical examination of every military movement of the last campaign. Such a retrospect would be very painful, and certainly was not necessary on that occasion. But it was necessary, and would be his duty, to follow the noble lord, when he attributed a part of the operations of the campaign (which he believed the noble lord considered to have been misconducted, but which he himself did not think had been misconducted) not to the free will of the general who commanded, but to the improper interference of his majesty's ministers in Spain. This was a question which it would be difficult completely to decide, it both the individuals who were concerned in it were members of that house, and if, fortunately, both were alive, capable of stating the facts to parliament, and of rendering further service to their country. It was distressing, therefore, to come to the discussion under the difficulties which existed upon it. When the individual, in whose defence it was probably expected he should speak, though living, was not present, and when the other individual, for whose memory he entertained the highest respect, was no more, he would freely acknowledge, that even if the error imputed were an error of great magnitude, the battle of Corunna ought to obliterate it; but he imputed no such error. He would say, that on a fair examination of the evidence, with as much impartiality as he could assume, and on a free comparison of his own sentiments, with those of others, be believed in his conscience, that the fact of sir John Moore's advance (so much condemned by the noble lord) being attributable to the interference of Mr. Frere, was not true. If he thought otherwise, he should by no means be disposed to shield Mr. Frere from the responsiblity of it; for considering the advance in a military point of view, in his poor judgment he could not but think it a wise measure; but in every view which ennobled military objects by exalting military character, he was sure it was a perfectly wise measure. So far, therefore, from shielding Mr. Frere from the responsibility attached to this forward movement, he should rather hail it for him as a most meritorious act. But truth compelled him to declare, that although he did not think it a blameable measure, the merit of it was not Mr. Frere's. Of this he 474 was convinced, that if the gallant general, whose loss the country had to regret, was present to state his own case, the house would never have heard from him one word of the tendency of the noble lord's observations. To this conviction he had not brought his mind on light grounds. It was founded on the fact, that sir John Moore had not transmitted his correspondence with Mr. Frere to government.—Did the noble lord mean to attribute to sir J. Moore, that having made a movement, by which the existence of the British army was endangered, he withheld from government any knowledge of the motives on which he had acted? This would be to prefer a serious charge against that gallant officer, who, he dared to say, had never been wanting to his duty, but who would have been wanting to his duty had he so conducted himself.—So much for that view of the subject in which the public was materially concerned. The rest was between individual and individual; and he confessed that he did not think the time of the house properly employed, or the feelings of the house properly excited, when such a transaction was made the subject of their solemn discussion. It was not a useful employment for parliament, and he trusted that there was no man to whom the agitation of such a question could be a matter of satisfaction or delight. He had been taunted the other day, as if his private regard was to influence him to protect a public offender. He hoped he should never assume such a privilege. His private regard would induce him to speak a few words upon the subject, but his public duty would induce him to make those words, that he should say upon it, as few as possible. He had no hesitation in saying, that there were parts of Mr. Frere's correspondence which he did not like. There were parts which he did not approve, and of which he had not advised his sovereign to express his approbation. The specific point to which he alluded, was the demand made by Mr. Frere, that the individual by whom the letter from the Junta of Madrid was conveyed to sir J. Moore, should be examined before a council of war. His opinion was, that it was Mr. Frere's duty to convey to the General every information in his power; to transmit to him the communications of the various local governments; to accompany those communications with his own honest opinion of their value; and to enforce that opinion with the best arguments that oc- 475 curred to him; but there he conceived that his province ended, and that he ought not to prescribe, that, which depended en a military decision. He hoped, however, he might be allowed to say in extenuation; he could not affirm it, for he had not the means of information; that probably Mr. Frere's letter was not written in the sense in which it was taken by sir John Moore. It was no unusual thing for a minister in a foreign country to transmit information to a general, and to recommend to him an examination of a particular person before a council of war, as the best mode by which suspicious intelligence might be detected.—This led him to a circumstance on which great stress had been laid, namely, the character of the gentleman by whom Mr. Frere's letter had been conveyed to sir John Moore. Of this gentleman he knew nothing; he had never seen him; he did not believe that Mr. Frere had seen him before this transaction; he had not been selected by Mr. Frere for the purpose of conveying information to sir John Moore; he had not been sent out from this country recommended to Mr. Frere; but he believed that alter Mr. Frere went to Spain, M. Charmilly passed through Salamanca; that he was not ill received at head-quarters; and that having been at Madrid he called on Mr. Frere, at Talavera on his way to Salamanca, with a letter to sir J. Moore from a member of the Junta at Madrid. Mr. Frere, of course, thought it his duty to forward M. Charmilly to sir J. Moore, by every means in his power. With respect to the character of M. Charmilly, although he believed that many of the charges made in another place against him were wholly unfounded, and others egregiously discoloured, yet he must observe, that Mr. Frere had no more to do with the character of M. Charmilly than he would have had with the character of a common postman. M. Charmilly was the bearer of a message from the Junta of Madrid to sir John Moore, and Mr. Frere could by no means be responsible for the selection of the messenger. But, whatever might be thought on this point, he trusted that there could be but one feeling on the sentiments expressed by Mr. Frere, when he declared that he did not despair of a cause which it was his bounden duty to support and encourage. He had before observed that the advance of sir J. Moore (which advance he deemed perfectly justifiable) could not be ascribed to the correspondence of Mr. Frere with sir J. Moore, 476 because sir J. Moore had not transmitted that correspondence to government as the cause of his movement. But not only did sir J. Moore not transmit his correspondence with Mr. Frere as the ground of his advance; he ascribed it to other grounds. In his dispatches he stated it to have been resorted to "in consonance with the general opinion, and also with that of Mr. Frere."—On what principle of justice, then, could it be said that this determination to advance arose solely from the solicitation of Mr. Frere? With respect to the tone of Mr. Frere's letters, although he confessed, that in the course of them there appeared something of apparent exasperation, he could yet readily conceive, and any man must be convinced who had read the letters which Mr. Frere received, that they were occasionally calculated to produce feelings not of the most pleasant description. But he had not stated all the grounds for his conviction, that sir John Moore's advance was not to be ascribed to Mr. Frere's interference. Previous to that advance, sir John Moore wrote to his noble friend near him, inclosing a letter of Marshal Soult, in which he was represented as critically situated, and liable to a successful attack. On the information contained in that intercepted letter, sir John Moore expressed his determination to advance. With respect to the advance itself he would say, that with all its consequences and disasters he preferred it to a retreat, at the moment of Mr. Frere's remonstrance. Of those disasters he would not say a word. He would not charge any thing. The battle of Corunna covered every thing; but the retreat itself, and the precipitancy of it he could never cease to regret. As for the advance, government were not responsible, so were they neither responsible for the subsequent transactions. The only way in which any responsibility could for a moment appear to attach to them, was from the circumstance of the transports not being at Corunna when the British army arrived there; but any one who read sir John Moore's dispatches must be immediately convinced that it was not the fault of government that the transports were sent to Vigo, and not to Corunna. He was far from wishing to speak of the disasters of war as the subject of anything but lamentation; yet, however deeply he regretted the severe loss which the British sustained at the termination of the Spanish campaign, he could not but consider that termination as most honourable and advan- 477 tageous to the country. He hoped he was not less sensible than others to the value of military services and military men; he hoped he did not feel less admiration than others, who had been in company with our naval and military heroes, of that glory before which all other glory became obscured. By the consent of all other ages, and notwithstanding the arguments of philosophy, and the deductions of reason, the military character stood pre-eminent in the world. Reverting to the state of Spain, he asked, whether because she had not yet been able to throw off the yoke of France to re-establish her independence, and achieve her liberty, he was therefore to consider her cause as lost? He trusted that many, very many, more efforts would be made ere that melancholy result would ensue. He trusted that by the desultory mode of warfare now adopted, the Spaniards would gradually diminish the forces of their oppressor, and render their country a conquest which it would be difficult to make, and which it would be impossible to retain. In consistency with the principles hitherto acted upon by the British government, it was not intended to dictate to the Spaniards the line of conduct which they ought to pursue, but he trusted that it would not be long before we should learn, that they had adopted a system by which the force of France would be turned against herself with accumulated violence. Till that period, the universal rising in Spain against the scattered forces of the enemy, might prevent any great advantages being gained by them. These hopes he should not have been able to entertain, nor endeavour to inspire, had it not been for the experiment under discussion; had not military aid been afforded to Spain, and that in such a mode as to shew that Great Britain felt an earnest desire to encounter every peril, and to share every danger, of that nation whose cause she so warmly espoused.
§ Mr. Tierney,
although he was not quite so sanguine as the right hon. gent., did not yield to him in good wishes for the Spanish cause. The difference between them was not as to the principle of assisting Spain, but as to the mode of acting upon that principle. All the papers confirmed the opinions which had before been given from his side of the house. Mr. Frere had, at last, found a friend; and certainly no one ever stood more in need of one. But though Mr. Frere had found a friend, the noble lord (Castlereagh) had 478 lost one; for the right hon. gent. had not in any part of his speech, undertaken to defend the general management of the campaign. The defence with respect to Ferrol was no defence at all. The Spaniards refused our offer, it was said, to garrison their naval arsenals. But were it not for the expedition to Copenhagen, there would have been no difficulty on that head. Arrangements might, however, have been made, by which the object might have been effected, had it not been that no such idea entered the heads of ministers till too late, and the favourable opportunity was lost. An article had been introduced into the Treaty, relative to the fleet at Cadiz. Why did not ministers act upon this idea sooner, with regard to the fleet at Ferrol? He contended that it was imprudent to enter into a treaty of the nature of that now concluded, with a Junta which had concealed information, the want of which placed the British army in the greatest danger. Some of the Junta had turned out to be traitors, and he thought that consequently, his majesty's name ought not to have been so rashly and formally committed as it was in this treaty.—He then adverted more particularly to the conduct of the campaign, and said, that it was matter of substantive charge against ministers, that they had so long delayed to send troops into Spain; that they had spent the time in writing dispatches while Buonaparté was marching his troops. They should have sent troops at an earlier period, if they thought it fit to send them at all.—He next adverted to the state in which the army found itself when it arrived in Spain. Lord Wm. Bentinck, whose good sense he commended, had given notice as early as the 14th of November, of the probable motions of Buonaparté, and particularly requested that cavalry might be sent. The noble lord did not send cavalry in sufficient numbers, and to that, according to the statement of sir John Moore, was to be ascribed many of the disasters of the campaign. Sir John Moore had said with justice, that the British army had never reached Spain till the Spanish armies had been defeated and their cause lost. The noble lord had besides so contrived it, that the army was in three divisions, and consequently inefficient as an army till it was too late. All this was owing to the delay of ministers.—Mr. T. then expressed his regret, that he should be obliged to say any thing respecting Mr. Frere, that might hurt the 479 feelings of the right hon. gent. But as much regard was due to the memory or sir John Moore as to the feelings of Mr. Frere. General Moore had been instructed to receive the Communications of Mr. Frere with respect. Mr. Frere gave it as his opinion that sir John Moore ought not to retreat. Then he sent Charmilly, of whom nobody said any thing that was good. Mr. Tierney denied that Charmilly had been sent to general Moore by the Junta, for the dispatches of the Junta had gone by a different road, and, in fact, had arrived before Charmilly.—He then dwelt upon the impropriety of the language of Mr. Frere to sir John Moore, and the manner in which he bad required that Charmilly should be examined before a council of war. He read some extracts from the papers, in order to shew that general Moore had been influenced in the first place to suspend his retreat, and afterwards to advance towards the north, by Mr. Frere. But in order to confirm this, he quoted an extract from a private letter, which sir John Moore had written to sir David Baird, and which had been sent to lord Liverpool (Mr. Canning said he knew nothing of it). Mr. Tierney observed, that he could not have believed that there had been such a want of communication, and cordial co-operation among ministers. But such was the fact, and there could be no doubt that the disasters of the campaign were in a considerable degree, to be ascribed to Mr. Frere's interference.—Mr. Tierney then adverted to the distressing situation in which sir John Moore had been placed, owing to the negligence of ministers, and dwelt upon the admirable manner in which he had conducted himself on his retreat. He could not, however, help saying that there appeared among ministers, something like a disposition to keep the merits of sir John Moore from the public view. He would ask whether an order had not been sent to the Drury-Lane Company by the Lord Chamberlain, not to continue the recitation of a monody to the memory of sir John Moore, composed by a member of that house? The gentlemen at Lloyd's, too, had proposed, at one time, to expend something in honour of the memory of sir J. Moore; but they had afterwards discovered that they were not sufficiently rich for it. This was very extraordinary. Though they were too poor to honour the memory of sir John Moore, they were rich enough to reward sir Home Popham (A laugh). He 480 concluded by observing, that from the evidence now before the house, it was manifest that the noble lord opposite was not to be trusted with the management even of a corporal's guard. Unless parliament consented to pass a vote of censure upon the conduct of this campaign, the house would be responsible for whatever mismanagement might in future take place by the noble lord's means.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
did not think it necessary to go at any length into a question, which had been already so much and so fully discussed. But he wished to know from the right hon. gent. who spoke last, whether he meant to arraign ministers for having sent an army into Spain too soon, or for not having sent it sooner; for from his speech it was difficult to collect which was the charge. But whatever course ministers took, the right hon. gent. was resolved to blame them. If, however, ministers had not sent an army, the gentlemen on the other side would have had much better ground for censure. If, instead of the exertion that had been made, no army had been sent, what would now have been the state of Spain? Had it not been for the diversion made by the British army, the French would have got possession of the south as well as of the north of Spain, and the cause would now have been indeed rendered hopeless. He blamed the gentlemen on the other side, for not pointing out any other course of proceeding, which either with a view to expedition or diversion, would have been better than that which had been actually adopted. With respect to the fleet at Ferrol, he denied that Spain had been prevented from admitting a British garrison into their arsenals, owing to any consideration connected with Copenhagen. Spain, perhaps had felt some jealousy with respect to the views of Britain, from the operations of the French, and of those who echoed French sentiments. But as Spain was unwilling to, accede to any proposition of this kind, it was impossible, under the circumstances, to press the subject further than the naked offer. He contended that it was impossible that general Moore should have acted contrary to his own views of what was proper. It was injurious to the memory of sir John Moore to say that he had acted merely upon the advice of Mr. Frere. He further said, that Mr. Frere had not impertinently obtruded his advice, for that advice had been solicited by sir John 481 Moore: but the retreat to Corunna was judiciously chosen by sir John Moore, for it was, in the circumstances in which he stood, the most beneficial measure for the Spanish cause that could have been adopted. With regard to M. Charmilly, if Mr. Frere had known all that the gentlemen on the other side suspected, it would have been improper in him to have employed him. But there was no evidence that Mr. Frere knew any thing of all this. He affirmed that there had always been a disposition in the government to do justice to the merits, the services, and character of sir John Moore. About the order respecting the monody, or the compliment at Lloyd's, he knew nothing. He could scarcely believe that the Lord Chamberlain could have sent the order alluded to. He concluded by observing, that it sir J. Moore had been alive, he himself would, in looking at Spain, have been convinced that the salvation of that country had been the consequence of the step which he had taken in retreating through Gallicia.
spoke in favour of the motion. He did not see what ministers could have expected, to induce them to hazard such an army in such an expedition. They took credit to themselves for the diversion effected in favour of the Spanish cause. But looking at the subject in another view, it was no merit of their's that the army had escaped at all. He was of opinion that it would have been better to have retreated to Portugal; and he thought it impossible for any candid man to read the papers, and not to be convinced that sir John Moore had been induced to adopt the measures which led to the disastrous retreat, by the interference of Mr. Frere, whom he understood as speaking the sentiments of ministers.
§ Lord H. Petty
adverted to the extraordinary sort of defence made by the noble lord, when he said, that the most extraordinary exertions had been made by the French. The noble lord might have calculated upon that, for many of his failures had been owing to the same cause. In remarking upon the conduct of ministers to sir J. Moore, he mentioned an observation of cardinal du Retz, who said that men might be placed in situations in which, turn how they would, they must Commit a fault; but that fortune never placed them in such situations, which were only the effects of their own errors. In such a situation had sir J. Moore been placed by the ministers.
rose, amidst loud cries of Question, and in a short but animated speech contended; 1st, that Mr. Frere had displayed such a want of temper and capacity, as to render him unfit for any diplomatic situation whatever; next, that the ministers had not acted fairly by sir J. Moore; and, in the next place, that M. Charmilly was a person unworthy of any confidence, from every thing that he had heard of him.—He wished principally to know, whether, as Mr. Frere was understood from report to be superseded by a noble marquis, he was to be appointed to any other situation, as report had also sent him to Constantinople. This, notwithstanding the defence made for him, he thought highly improper, as he had, in his mind, evinced himself disqualified for any situation. The conduct of M. Charmilly he equally reprobated, and painted in very disadvantageous colours, as having been first known as a revolutionist in St. Domingo; from thence coming to France, where he had attempted to raise an insurrection; after that, retiring to this country, where he was successively known as a coal merchant, a distiller, an usurious money lender, and a bankrupt. These were facts which he said, could be proved. He had afterwards, he understood, applied to ministers to be sent out to Spain, and was refused; yet he was since found employed by Mr. Frere, though said to be unknown to him, as a confidential agent to sir J. Moore.
§ The house growing impatient for the question, a division took place on the first Resolution, which was negatived: Ayes, 111; Noes, 230; Majority, 119.—The other Resolutions were negatived without a division; and the house adjourned at five o'clock on Wednesday morning.