HC Deb 30 November 1812 vol 24 cc50-111

The Speaker acquainted the House that that House had been in the House of Peers, where his royal highness the Prince Regent had delivered a Speech to both Houses of Parliament, of which, to prevent mistakes, he had obtained a copy. [See p. 12.] After the Speaker had read the Speech,

Lord Clive

rose to move an Address in answer to the most gracious Speech of his royal highness the Prince Regent. In the liberty he then took of offering himself to the notice of the House, it was not his intention, nor would it be necessary, to trespass at any length upon their indulgence. With respect to the first part of the Speech, he felt confident that every person in that House, and in the country, lamented not less than himself the situation of the illustrious personage to whom it alluded. There was no one who could avoid feelings of the most lively regret when he reflected, that a life spent, as that of his Majesty had been, in the practice of every virtue that was honourable to our nature, that could adorn or dignify the man or the sovereign, and which had rendered him dear to the hearts of his subjects, should, towards the close, be deprived of that rest and of that repose which were due to his merits and to his virtues. The next point in his Royal Highness's Speech to which he would allude, was one of sincere and heartfelt gratulation, the successful resistance that had been made in the Peninsula by our gallant countrymen to the encroachments of France. Often as they had had occasion, within the last four years, to commemorate the achievements and applaud the distinguished conduct of the general, and the army employed in the protection of Spain, yet in no instance since the commencement of that struggle, was skill or valour so greatly displayed as in the decisive and glorious battle of Salamanca. The consequences of that victory were as sudden and important as ever followed from conquest. The siege of Cadiz was raised; Madrid was evacuated by the enemy; all the south of Spain was relieved from their oppressions; and what was a yet more important consequence, lord Wellington was raised to the rank of generalissimo of the Spanish forces. This was the most important result of all. If any thing could tend more powerfully than another to give vigour and success to the exertions of the Spanish people, to render effectual their efforts for their own deliverance, it was thus placing their resources at the disposal of a person so well able to guide them, and vesting so skilful a commander with the controul of their armies.—He would next take the liberty of congratulating the House on the relation in which they stood to Russia, and in general on the new connections which had sprung up between Great Britain and the northern powers of Europe. The circumstances of Russia, he was happy to say, were such as left no ground for despondency. The Russians, it was true, had met with some reverses, but they were not sufficient to damp their ardour, or quell that enthusiastic love of country, which should animate every bosom. That spark of resistance, which had been lighted up in Spain, they had the satisfaction to behold rapidly spreading over Europe, and already extended to the extremity of the north. He was doubtful to which part of the prospect, now held out by Russia, he should first call the attention of the House; whether to the spirit and decision of the emperor himself, or to the skill of his generals, or to the sacrifices so cheerfully made by the nobility, or to the valiant men who fought under their command; but to whatever part of the picture they directed their attention, whether to the magnanimity of the emperor, the talent of his generals, the bravery of his troops, or the devotion of his subjects, they would find abundant matter for exultation. On these topics it was unnecessary to dwell. They were the admiration of every person who could know and appreciate them. From one end to the other of that vast empire there seemed to be only one object in view, and that object was resistance to the enemy. From one end of it to the other, there seemed to be only one subject of contention, and that was who should contribute most to the defence of their laws, their religion, and their country. Such were the men whom for their bravery and their zeal, the oppressor of Europe would stigmatise with the name of Barbarians. If enthusiasm in the protection of every thing that was dear to our nature could merit the name of barbarism, he, for one, would wish to know where patriotism was to be looked for, and must express a hope that such barbarity might never be removed by civilization. But this was not the first time that a conqueror, when he found himself unable to combat the difficulties that opposed his progress, endeavoured to load with the same stigma the persons who had the boldness to resist him; in which a disgraceful attempt was sought to be covered under the offer of indignities to a gallant people. Alexander the Great, under much the same circumstances, chose to designate as robbers and barbarians, the ancestors of these very Russians who had the courage to oppose his encroachments. To such language they answered as they ought to have done, "that not to them who defended their country, but to him who came to despoil it, the appellation of robber was applicable;" and he would ask, might not the Russians now exclaim to Buonaparté, as their ancestors did to Alexander the Great, 'At tu, qui te gloriaris ad latrones persequendos venire; omnium gentium quos adisti, latrones.' Might not Russia with great truth thus address Buonaparté, "By what right do you designate us as barbarians; why cast upon a nation whom you are wantonly attacking, the stigma of being robbers? How are you rendered so equitable a judge as to be competent to form an estimate of us? What have we done to deserve this stigma?—nothing but what you yourself have done, and are still doing by stealth, for our only crime was a wish to trade with Great Britain. But is there any crime in which you have not wallowed, even without the excuse of provocation? What has been the practice of your life for the last twenty years? Is there a corner in Europe, Asia, or Africa, that has not witnessed your contempt of every thing that is sacred among men? Hare you a single Russian of whom you can boast that he has deserted the cause of his country to join your standard? On the other hand, have you not carried your oppressions so far as to render them intolerable even to your own family? Has not the brother whom you set as a king over the population of Holland abdicated his situation to avoid your tyranny? Has not another brother thrown himself into an enemy's country, where he finds that security and that protection which you refused to give him? Which, then," might the Russian exclaim with triumph, "is the greater barbarian, I who defend my country from unjust hostility, or you who wantonly attack it? And yet you call us barbarians! You, Napoleon, whose practice has been throughout your career "Auferre, traducere, rapere!"—He would now beg leave to call the attention of the House to that part of his Royal Highness's Speech which referred to Sicily, and he could not but congratulate them upon the result of a negociation with that power, which was likely to prove equally serviceable to both countries. One effect of that negociation would be, to organize a much more powerful force than before existed for the defence of that island, and disposable for the promotion of the common cause. Every person, he was sure, would rejoice on hearing that the Regent was desirous of bringing Sicily into such a state as would be most conducive to its own interest, and to that of Great Britain.—While every one must agree with his Royal Highness in regretting, that all our efforts to stand in those relations of amity with America which could be wished, had proved ineffectual, it was nevertheless a subject of high satisfaction to contemplate the valour and loyalty displayed in our transatlantic territories. The steady zeal and warm attachment to the mother country, lately evinced by the people of Canada, was a subject for congratulation which he could not pass over upon the present occasion. They had withstood every attempt which had been made by America to seduce them from their allegiance, and the efforts to invade their territories were equally unsuccessful. In the first attempt at invasion the whole American force surrendered to much inferior numbers; and in the second, even the prisoners taken exceeded the British army employed against them. Wherever the British troops were employed, whether in Europe or in America, they never failed to display that bravery for which they were always distinguished. They required nothing but opportunity to display their intrepidity and firmness, and victory was sure to follow; and these instances of success in America he was happy to hail as the earnest of future glory, when our fellow subjects in those parts would meet the foe and earn fame to themselves and honour to their common country.—With respect to the renewal of the East India Company's Charter, it would not now be necessary for him to enter upon that subject at present. When the proper time should arrive, he believed the House would be fully prepared to take that important question into their serious consideration.—Allusion had been made in the Speech from the throne, to the late unfortunate disturbances that prevailed in some parts of the country. He was happy to see that these disturbances were now put to rest by the salutary measures to which the government had found it necessary to resort.—Such were the principal topics of the Address which he meant to propose to the consideration of the House before sitting down. He could not, however, but once more congratulate them upon the favourable change that had taken place in the affairs of Europe. How different was the prospect now to what it was at the meeting of the last parliament! He might say that Great Britain was at that period alone and unaided in the contest. The influence and the arms of France were felt almost without resistance in every part of Europe. There was hardly any part of Spain in which its power was not then felt. The great resources of the enemy were then unbroken. He had a mighty and victorious army on foot, commanded by men of the first character for military talent, Portugal was then robbed of the greater part of her territory; and Russia and Sweden were neutralized by intimidation and the threats of Buonaparté. But how greatly were things altered for the better. Russia was now up in arms against her oppressor, and Sweden was not unfriendly to her cause. She had driven from her territories a numerous and powerful host that threatened her with ruin; and Buonaparté, so far from realizing the high and boasting promises with which he had entered that country, was now endeavouring, after defeat and disgrace, to save himself by flight and secure a retreat to Poland. In Spain also, lord Wellington had beat one of the most numerous and best equipped armies the French had ever brought into the field, and obliged them to draw together all their disposable forces and evacuate the southern provinces for the purpose of opposing his victorious progress. What was there, he would ask, they might not hope from such a state of things? When the spell was broken and Europe was at length convinced that Buonaparté and his armies were not invincible, was there not reason to expect that the nations oppressed by his power would rise to assert their rights, and recover that honour they had suffered him to tarnish? Was there not reason to expect that the descendants of the great Frederick would again come forward to oppose, as he had often done, the devouring power of France; that they would again come forward like the brave people of Russia, and exclaim, "We also are men, and will not submit any longer to the encroachments of our oppressor." Was there not reason to hope that the words of a great departed statesman would be realized, and that they should live to see that "Britain had saved herself by her firmness, and that Europe would also save herself by following the same course." He would not trespass any longer upon the time of the House, but should conclude with moving,

"That an humble Address be presented to his royal highness the Prince Regent, to thank his Royal Highness for his most gracious Speech:

"To assure his Royal Highness, that we most sensibly share in the deep concern which his Royal Highness has expressed at the continuance of his Majesty's lamented indisposition, and at the diminution of the hopes which his Royal Highness bad so anxiously entertained of his recovery:

"To express our cordial participation in the satisfaction derived by his Royal Highness from the improvement of our prospects during the course of the present year:

"That we have observed, with the utmost satisfaction, the valour and intrepidity displayed by his Majesty's forces, and those of his allies in the peninsula, on so many occasions during this campaign, and the consummate skill and judgment with which the operations have been conducted by general the marquis of Wellington, and which have led to consequences of the utmost importance to the common cause:

"To congratulate his Royal Highness on the glorious and ever-memorable victory obtained by that illustrious officer at Salamanca, by which great achievement, and by the other operations which have transferred the war into the interior of Spain, he has compelled the enemy to raise the siege of Cadiz, and the southern provinces of that kingdom have been delivered from the power and arms of France; that while we regret that the efforts of the enemy, combined with a view to one great operation, have rendered it necessary to withdraw from the siege of Burgos, and to evacuate Madrid, for the purpose of concentrating the main body of the allied forces, it is satisfactory to reflect that these efforts of the enemy have nevertheless been attended with important sacrifices on their part, which we trust will materially contribute to extend the resources and facilitate the exertions of the Spanish nation:

"To assure his Royal Highness, that we are determined to continue to afford every aid in support of a contest which has first given to the continent of Europe the example of persevering and successful resistance to the power of France, and on which not only the independence of the nations of the peninsula, but the best interests of his Majesty's dominions essentially depend.

"To return his Royal Highness our humble thanks, for having been graciously pleased to direct copies of the Treaties between his Majesty and the courts of Saint Petersburgh and Stockholm, to be laid before us, and to assure his Royal Highness that we participate in the pleasure expressed by his Royal Highness at the restoration of the relations of peace and friendship with those courts:

"That we have observed, with sentiments of the highest admiration, the resistance which has been opposed by the emperor of Russia to so large a proportion of the military power of France, assisted by its allies and by the tributary states dependent upon it, in a contest for his own sovereign rights, and for the independence of his dominions: by his imperial majesty's magnanimity and perseverance, by the zeal and disinterestedness of all ranks of his subjects, and by the gallantry, firmness, and intrepidity of his forces, the presumptuous expectations of the enemy have been signally disappointed: the enthusiasm of the Russian nation has increased with the difficulties of the contest, and with the dangers with which they were surrounded: they have submitted to sacrifices of which there are few examples in the history of the world, and we indulge the confident hope that the determined perseverance of his imperial majesty will be crowned with ultimate success, and that this contest, in its result, will have the effect of establishing, upon a foundation never to be shaken, the security and independence of the Russian empire:

"That we learn with peculiar satisfaction the proof of confidence which his Royal Highness has received from his imperial majesty, in the measure which he has adopted of sending his fleets to the ports of this country, as well as the determination expressed by his Royal Highness to afford his imperial majesty the most cordial support in the great contest in which he is engaged:

"That we rejoice to find that his Royal Highness has concluded a Treaty with his Sicilian majesty supplementary to the treaties of 1808 and 1809, and to return our humble thanks to his Royal Highness, for his gracious intention of laying a copy of this Treaty before us as soon as the ratifications shall have been exchanged; and that we trust the object will be attained which his Royal Highness has had in view, of providing for the more extensive application of the military force of the Sicilian government to offensive operations against the common enemy:

"That whilst we learn from his Royal Highness, that the declaration of war by the government of the United States of America was made under circumstances which might have afforded a reasonable expectation that the amicable relations between the two nations would not long be interrupted, we participate in the regret expressed by his Royal Highness, that the conduct and pretensions of that government have hitherto prevented the conclusion of any pacific arrangement:

"That we rejoice to learn, that notwithstanding the measures of hostility which have been principally directed against the adjoining British provinces, and the efforts which have been made to seduce the inhabitants of them from their allegiance to his Majesty, his Royal Highness has received such satisfactory proofs of loyalty and attachment from his Majesty's subjects in North America, and that the attempts of the enemy to invade Upper Canada have not only proved abortive, but that by the judicious arrangements of the governor general, and by the skill and decision with which the military operations have been conducted, the forces of the enemy assembled for that purpose in one quarter have been compelled to capitulate, and in another have been defeated with considerable loss:

"To assure his Royal Highness, that we fully rely on the exertion of his best efforts for the restoration of the relations of peace and amity between the two countries, but that until this object can be attained, without sacrificing the maritime rights of Great Britain, his Royal Highness may rely upon our cordial support in the vigorous prosecution of the war:

"To return our humble thanks to his Royal Highness, for having directed the estimates for the services of the ensuing year to be laid before us; and to assure his Royal Highness, that we will readily furnish such supplies as may be necessary to enable him to provide for the great interests committed to his charge, and to afford the best prospect of bringing the contest in which his Majesty is engaged to a successful termination:

"That we will not fail to take into our early consideration the propriety of providing effectually for the future government of the provinces of India, and that in considering the variety of interests which are connected with this important subject, our best efforts will be employed in making such an arrangement, as may best promote the prosperity of the British possessions in that quarter, and at the same time secure the greatest advantages to the commerce and revenue of his Majesty's dominions:

"That we sincerely participate in the satisfaction expressed by his Royal Highness at the success of the measures adopted for suppressing the spirit of outrage and insubordination which had appeared in some parts of the country, and at the disposition which has been manifested to take advantage of the indemnity held out to the deluded by the wisdom and benevolence of parliament: we trust that his Royal Highness will never have occasion to lament the recurrence of atrocities so repugnant to the British character; and that all his Majesty's subjects will be impressed with the conviction that the happiness of individuals, and the welfare of the state, equally depend upon a strict obedience to the laws, and an attachment to our excellent constitution:

"That his Royal Highness may be assured, that the same firmness and perseverance which have been manifested on so many and such trying occasions, will not be wanting at a time when the eyes of all Europe and the world are fixed upon us; and that fully convinced as we are that, in the exercise of the great trust reposed in his Royal Highness, he has no sentiment so near his heart as the desire of promoting, by every means in his power, the real prosperity and lasting happiness of his Majesty's subjects, he may at all times rely on the loyalty of the people, and the zealous and cordial support of this House."

Mr. Hart Davis

said, that in rising to second the Address, it was not his wish or intention to trespass long upon the indulgence of the House, by a protracted notice of the topics which it contained. They had been so ably elucidated in the Speech itself, and the noble mover had so well and so clearly detailed the reasons that operated upon him in proposing the Address, that he should have little occasion to detain them long. Though unwilling to intrude upon their attention, he could not however resist the motives that induced him to second the Address. At a moment like the present, when Europe looked up to this country as the principal source from which resistance to the power of France was to be expected, and all eyes were turned upon us as the source whence the liberation of Europe was to flow, it was superfluous to state that his Royal Highness was called to the government at a most important crisis. In reviewing the events that had taken place since his accession to power, it was impossible not to dwell with hope and with pride upon the splendid success which had attended the British arms, in every part of the world in which they were employed. Spain had witnessed that success, almost in every one of its provinces. It was not necessary for him to recur to the bravery by which Badajoz had been relieved, or to the splendid victory at Salamanca, or the consequences that followed from that victory. Wherever British soldiers were brought into action, they displayed prodigies of heroism that must have filled every person who heard him with exultation. But, cheering as was the prospect which Spain held out, he was happy to say that the prospect was not less cheering in the north of Europe. When Buonaparté entered Russia, regardless of the lives of those whom he led to conquer it, and of the rights of those whom he invaded, he flattered himself that he could, after entering Moscow, dictate a peace to the Russians with the same insolence as he had before done to the Austrians at Vienna; but Russia, with a degree of firmness and self-devotion almost unexampled in history, had sacrificed a capital to save an empire, and by that means defeated the proud designs of her invader. He was now farther than ever from the attainment of his object, for scarcely had the despot time to ruminate amid the ruins of Moscow when he was obliged to have recourse to a disgraceful and disastrous retreat. The emperor of Russia had shewed that he was not a person to be intimidated by threats, or deceived by negociation. In France he had found an implacable foe; in Britain a friend, upon whom he could place a steady reliance. Of his reliance upon British honour he could not give a stronger proof than his determination of sending his fleets into the ports of this country.—With respect to America, every person must lament that the endeavours for bringing about a peace had been unsuccessful. The removal of the Orders in Council naturally induced an expectation, both in the House and in the country, that America would embrace that opportunity of removing whatever causes for hostility existed between the two countries, and contribute her assistance against the common foe of Europe and of the world. The event, however, unfortunately, did not justify such expectations, and the American government had thought proper to commence hostilities. War was, he would confess, a thing always to be deplored, but as the endeavours to avoid it had been unavailing, he willingly anticipated on the part of this country, that union and energy in the prosecution of it, which the enemy would not fail to employ on their part. He doubted not but the voice both of the House and of the country would concur in the determination to prosecute it with vigour. With respect to the troubles that had lately prevailed in the northern parts of the country, he could not but congratulate the House upon their removal, which was to be attributed to the mild and early measures adopted by the government. The time was now, he hoped, arrived, when a more vigorous resistance might be expected to the power and the encroachments of France. It was by a resistance strong and persevering, and by such resistance only, that they could hope for a lasting and honourable peace. Such a peace was only to be won by impressing upon the enemy a conviction of their power to resist his efforts; and it was only by such a peace that they could give to the exhausted powers of Europe, safely, independence, and prosperity.

A pause of some length here ensued. The question was put, and was about to be carried without discussion, when

Mr. Canning

rose, and spoke to the following effect:

Sir; I have no intention to interrupt the unanimity with which the question in your hand seems about to be carried. I have waited until the very last moment in the expectation that the rumour which has been so currently circulated of an amendment to be proposed from another quarter, would be realised; having myself no amendment to offer; and wishing for the convenience of the order of debate, to follow rather than to precede the speech of the hon. gentleman who was expected to propose one. But no such preposition being made, and the question being put from the chair, I cannot allow it to pass without explaining the grounds on which I concur in the Address that has been moved, and the qualifications with which I feel my self bound to accompany that concurrence.

Sir, whatever amendment, if any, had been proposed, I should have felt, that under the circumstances of the time, and under the circumstances in which the House and the country are placed, it would have been desirable, in making our decision between two different forms of address, to decide in favour of that which would least pledge our judgment, and would allow the greatest freedom to our future deliberations. In the first session of a new parliament,—a parliament too in which there is a greater infusion of new members than is ordinarily seen on a change in the representation; in a state of public affairs so complicated as that in which the country is at this moment placed,—when we are called upon to answer a speech from the throne, embracing so many important topics, upon many of which enquiry and information may be requisite, it would have been highly undesirable that this House should pledge itself, in any way, by a precipitate decision; and as any amendment that could have been proposed, would in all probability have been more precise than the Address moved by the noble lord, I should undoubtedly have preferred the original Address to such an amendment. The Address, so far as I have been able to collect its tendency, very properly abstains from pledging the House to any thing farther, than that to which every individual in the House, and every individual in the country, must be ready to testify an instant and cordial assent, namely, to the affording every possible support to the executive government in the great contest in which we are engaged. It goes no farther than to rejoice at the fortunate, and to lament the unfortunate, occurrences of the last six months; to promise every aid that may be necessary to improve the former, to repair the latter, and to bring the whole to a happy issue. In these pledges, Sir, I trust that every man who hears me, and I am confident that an incalculable majority of the country at large are prepared, without hesitation, to concur.

But, if the Address proposed by the noble lord, however unexceptionable in its general tenour, had been allowed to pass without comment or observation, it might possibly be inferred that every man who had concurred in it was bound to approve the details of every measure referred to in it, and that all enquiry was precluded by this unanimous and approving vote, on points which might hereafter appear to require further illustration. It is merely to guard myself against such a sweeping conclusion, that I presume, Sir, at the present moment, to detain you and the House for a short time, while I explain my sentiments on several of the topics comprehended in the noble lord's Address.

Sir, the general view of our situation naturally divides itself into domestic and foreign; and the foreign portion of that view into the contemplation of three distinct wars, in which we are principals or accessaries.—The first is the war in the north of Europe, which we are cheering with our encouragement, animating with our applause, and following in its progress from day to day with our fondest hope" and most lively anxieties; but with respect to which our situation is that of deeply interested spectators rather than of active partisans. The second is the war in the peninsula, carried on principally from our own resources, aided however in some degree by those of the allies whose cause is immediately concerned; and upon the measure of whose co-operation, therefore, our success must in the same degree depend. The third is the war with the United States of America, in which we are engaged alone, and in the conduct of which, therefore, our government is exclusively responsible.

With respect, Sir, to the war in the north of Europe, it was well said by the noble lord who moved the Address, that it is the child of that great effort in the peninsula, which has enabled Europe to reflect on its condition, and has roused it to a struggle for emancipation. There can be but one feeling—that of unbounded admiration—at the great efforts which Russia has made; Noble indeed has been the struggle, and glorious beyond anticipation the results in that quarter;—there—even there, where the tyrant of the world doubtlessly anticipated an easy victory, and concluded, from former experience, that one decisive battle would be the precursor of an abject peace—there, where thinking that he knew his man, and that he should have only one man to cope with, and to cajole, he found what he had forgotten to take into his estimate, a nation;—where imagining that, having issued a bulletin and taken a fort, his work was done, he unexpectedly found a countless population thronging to the standard of their sovereign, prepared for exertions and for sacrifices such as the world has seldom, if ever, witnessed before; and opposing not merely with the arms of a disciplined soldiery, not merely with the physical mass of impenetrable multitudes, but with famine and with fire, with the voluntary destruction of their own resources, and with the conflagration of their own homes, the progress of his desolating ambition. Sir, there is no man who can contemplate the recent occurrences in the north of Europe without feeling his heart burn within him. There is no man who can contemplate them without exulting at the defeat of those principles of false philosophy which, having first misled the world, have at length deceived those by whom they were originally asserted. The invader of Russia flattered himself, as the noble mover of the Address has justly observed, that a nation, to which he affixed the appellation of barbarous, and which he pictured to himself as in a condition of degrading and disheartening servitude, could entertain no generous and patriotic sentiment. He had yet to learn, that there is a principle of instinctive patriotism, which prevails even over the vice of positive institutions; he had to learn that in spite of the doctrines, and it may be added of too many of the events of the last twenty years, it is not an universal truth that before the people of any country determine to resist an invader, they coldly speculate on all the possible improvements to be made by regenerating laws in the actual condition of their society, that they refuse to draw a sword in defence of their altars or their fire-sides, until they have weighed well the question, whether they be worth defending, and entered at full leisure and with all imaginable research into a comparative anatomy of various political constitutions. Sir, the invader of Russia has found that the natural feelings of man, the sacred attachment to home, the ties of custom, of family, of kindred, are enough to arouse resistance to a foreign invader, come though he may with splendid promises of freedom and improvement; that he may be resisted, and gallantly and effectually resisted, by those whom he proposes to regenerate, not merely because it may be apprehended that he might not realize those promises, but simply because he is a foreigner and an invader. Sir, if this were to be the sole result of what has taken place in the north, it would be an invaluable addition to,—or rather it would be a timely and salutary revival of, those ancient maxims of national independence, which the convulsions of the modern world have almost buried in oblivion. But is this all? Can any man who looks at the present condition of Buonaparté, with what wonderful ability soever he may have rescued himself from former difficulties, (and I am sure, I am not disposed to deny him the possession of stupendous ability) but can any man look at his present condition, and so chastise his feelings as not to entertain a sanguine hope of events most decisively favourable to the general cause of Europe?

This, Sir, is the view which I at least take of this subject. So far as I can be apprised of the circumstances, I give full credit to ministers for the conduct which they appear to have pursued towards Russia—in what regards the commencement of the war, and for (what I take for granted to be) their intention to give to the emperor of Russia every possible aid in the prosecution of the war, when once begun. I understand them to have abstained from any advice or interference tending to urge the emperor of Russia to embark in a war, which, had it been carried on with ordinary means, or in an ordinary spirit—had it not been national—had it not been a war of the people as well as of the government,—must ere now have led to his ruin. I give them credit at the same time for having hailed with admiration and delight, the first symptoms of such a determined spirit on the part both of the government and of the people of Russia, as has been exhibited in this unexampled campaign; and for having endeavoured to aid a contest begun (without their advice) by Russia, for Russian objects, and conducted by Russian councils, with purely Russian energy and zeal, as warmly, as if it had been commenced at their instigation.

But here, Sir, a question arises, respecting which some future explanation seems to me indispensable. How has it happened, that having made a treaty of peace with Sweden, upon which we are called upon to congratulate the Prince Regent; and having for the last six months heard notes of preparation in every port of that kingdom, how happens it that the power of Sweden has not been brought to bear in aid of the Russian cause, at a moment when, if ever, the interposition of a third power might have been decisive of the contest? To this question I do not desire an immediate reply; but I cannot vote for an Address containing a congratulation on the conclusion of a treaty with Sweden, and at the same time observe Buonaparté retreating, and in a situation which an effective attack on his rear might render doubly perilous, without asking, what impediment prevented the co-operation of Sweden, and whether that impediment was indeed such as it was not in human foresight to anticipate, or in human wisdom to remove? The treaty with Sweden is not before the House; I can therefore argue upon it only from the general information, which every one possesses. But, it ought not to be forgotten, that in concluding this treaty, the court of St. James's and that of Stockholm, did not stand on an exact footing of equality. We had a boon to grant, for which we had a right to require an equivalent. At all times, the acknowledgment of a new dynasty (to say nothing of an usurpation) is counted as a concession for which, if necessary or desirable, a compensation may be demanded. In the treaty with Sweden, we began with the acknowledgment of a new dynasty, and incidentally of the Frenchman who is now the crown prince, and eventually heir to the throne. That an equivalent for this acknowledgment should have been required merely for the sake of maintaining the principle and the right, I am not so pedantic or so scrupulous as to pretend: but with Russia in the situation in which she was, I think our right ought not to have been improvidently waved, if we could have stipulated any thing for her benefit. That such a stipulation must have been in our contemplation when we made peace with Sweden, there can be no doubt: it remains to be explained, how that stipulation has been missed, or has been rendered inefficient.

In considering the war in Russia, as arising out of the war in the peninsula, (the view of it taken by the noble lord), a new question arises. Hitherto we have carried on the war in the peninsula, with no relation to any other nations than those which inhabited the peninsula itself. But our efforts in the peninsula are no longer to be considered as devoted exclusively to the interests of Portugal and Spain; it is not for their sakes, or for our own and theirs, alone, that we were under an obligation to prosecute vigorously a contest, on the faith of the vigorous prosecution of which Russia involved herself in hostilities with France. I have already said, that judging what must probably have been the language held by our government to Russia, I entirely and unequivocally approve it. I believe our government to have said to the court of St. Petersburgh, "if you engage in a war with France with a view to your own interests, we will help you as far as we may be able; but depend not on our direct and immediate aid. Our principal efforts must be made in the peninsula, and in making them there we shall do more towards your assistance than by any pecuniary or military support that we should be able to afford you." That, I take, Sir, to have been the language held to Russia; and it was wise language. Having held it, it behoved us to strain every nerve in the peninsula, to make good the expectations which we had raised.

While, therefore, I cordially join in every word of the Address which congratulates his Royal Highness on the splendid exploits of our army in the peninsula, and of their gallant and immortal leader, if I am called upon to declare that the result of those brilliant exploits, such as we now see it, has satisfied the hope and expectations of the country, I must beg leave expressly to guard myself against being supposed to concur in that interpretation of the Address. Do I, therefore, count the victory of Salamanca as nothing, even if its consequences terminated on the plains upon which it was fought? Certainly not. I, who held up the barren laurels, (as they were often described), of Talavera, to the admiration of the country, can hardly be suspected of a disposition to withhold my applause from the splendid achievement of Salamanca, even had no result proceeded from it but the acquisition of national glory. But, Sir, I am compelled to compare the hopes which the victory of Salamanca inspired, with the situation of our affairs in the peninsula presented to us at the opening of the present session. It is impossible for any man not in an official situation, actually to demonstrate that we could have made greater efforts in the peninsular war, or, if we had made greater efforts, that they would have been successful. On a former occasion—an occasion which occurred not in this House, but in the course of transactions which took place last year, and which became matter of publicity—I mean, Sir, during the negociations last year for the formation of a new administration, I studiously and explicitly declined giving a decided opinion myself, or concurring in an opinion given by others, (with whom in most points of public moment I did concur), that the scale of the war in the peninsula had not been as great as our means might enable us to make it. I had not then the materials for forming a confident, much less a criminatory judgment upon that point. I have not those materials now. It would require a detailed knowledge of the state of the military, and the pecuniary means of the country, which, out of office, and without any official information as yet laid before parliament, I do not pretend to possess. But this information must be laid before us. And in the mean time I cannot hesitate to allow, that the primâ facie case of such successes, terminating in such a retreat, does call for explanation. I cannot hesitate to say, that if there be in the power of ministers any means yet untried—any effort yet unattempted—any resources yet unexplored—any accumulation of force yet omitted—any increase of energy yet delayed—not only such additional exertion ought to be immediately made, but that it ought to have been made long ago. If a reinforcement can be sent out now, it is for ministers to prove that it could not have been sent out before. If any measure can now be adopted by which the disposable force of the country may be augmented, the burden is on ministers to prove that such a measure could not have been taken six months ago; when, instead of retrieving reverses, it might have ensured a continuance of success. If ministers have it in contemplation at present to call on the country to make any extraordinary effort, why was not that call made in July last? Why was not the last session of the last parliament prolonged for that purpose? I can, therefore, concur in the implied approbation of the conduct of the war in the peninsula, only on the understanding that it shall be hereafter shewn that government did not possess the means of making any additional effort, to bring the contest to a favourable termination. The higher we estimate lord Wellington's merit, and no man is disposed to estimate it more highly than myself, the more should we regret any misplaced economy, any shrinking from exertion that had a tendency to cripple his operations, and prevent him from attaining those important objects which his great mind had in contemplation. It is difficult, as I have already said, to prove to a demonstration that more might have been done. But if I were put to the question, I must say, that I believe that greater efforts might have been made, and I believe, that if those efforts had been made, they might have proved eminently, nay, perhaps conclusively successful.

To those, Sir, who habitually despond of the means and resources of the country; who think that she has taken her stand too high among the nations of the earth, and that she ought to return to her proper level, to shrink into her shell, I may expose myself to the imputation of insanity, when I talk of extending our military exertions. But I will ask those gentlemen, whether if the efforts which we have lately been making had been predicted ten years ago, the prophecy would not have been received with absolute derision. But whether it be true or no that the resources of the country are, (as I believe the spirit of the country to be), adequate to an extension of our exertions in the peninsular war, must, I allow, be matter of discussion hereafter. This, at least, is certain, that the imagination of man could hardly devise a situation of affairs in Europe so favourable to a great effort as that which has recently occurred. Since the commencement of the present war, since the commencement of the revolutionary war, the power of France was never so thoroughly occupied. Never has "he played so deep a game; never has her hazard been so mighty; never has her ruin been so near its accomplishment. While the strength of France was withering in the north, Oh! that we had had the means of pushing to a successful extent our efforts in the peninsula! With such a general, and such a cause, what might we not have justly expected!—a general of whom it is not too much to say, that whatever might have been the scope of action opened to him, he would have made it one continued scene of glory to himself and his country. Looking at what he has already done, with means comparatively so limited, is it extravagant to presume, that with an increase, even a small increase of force, he might have occupied Madrid, not merely as the extremity, but as the centre of his operations? Considering the present state of France, and the general discontent that must pervade that country, considering the situation of Buonaparté, struggling with unexpected and unprecedented reverses, war and famine wearing down his exhausted legions in the north, might not lord Wellington before this time, instead of retreating within the frontiers of Portugal, have been advancing to the boundaries of Spain, and hovering from the brow of the Pyrenean mountains over insurgent provinces of the French empire?

But however questionable it may appear to some gentlemen, whether such an extension of our military efforts was indeed within our power, clear at least, I apprehend it will be admitted to be, that our power alone ought to have been the limit of our exertions;—the principle at least will be admitted, that an economy in war which restricts and husbands our efforts, is the worst description of economy; and that a great exertion, tending to a sudden decision of the contest, at an opportunity peculiarly favourable, although it may be accompanied with twofold cost,—is best calculated to bring a contest to a speedy and honourable termination, and therefore most congenial to the interests as well as the character of the country. And however it may be doubted whether this doctrine could be practically applied to the contest in the peninsula, no man, I presume, will deny it to have been both within our power to apply, and peculiarly applicable to that third contest in which we are exclusively engaged—I mean the war with America. I will not detain the House with expressing what every man in the country feels in common with myself—an anxious wish that two nations, bound to each other by so many ties of consanguinity and interest, should remain in a state of amity. But, Sir, with America as with any other country, when once the die was cast, when once war was manifestly inevitable, it became us to be prompt in our measures, and, by vigorous proceedings, to bring the contest to a speedy and succesful termination. The Address moved by the noble lord states, that we learn from his Royal Highness, that the declaration of war by America was issued at a time when circumstances led his Royal Highness to hope, that the disputes between the two countries might be amicably arranged. If, Sir, the Address had stated that as our opinion, I could not have assented to such a statement. In receiving the opinion from his Royal Highness, we must presume his Royal Highness to speak from sources of intelligence not open to us. From any observation which I had the means of making at the time, I must say plainly that, when the declaration of war reached this country from America, (I believe it reached us on the day on which the last parliament was prorogued) I did not entertain the slightest expectation, nor was there on the face of the document, the slightest justification of any expectation, that what had been done in this country would remove the causes which had induced America to go to war with us. For in that declaration, the demand for the rescinding of the Orders in Council, which had hitherto been insisted on by America, and still more by those who argued in favour of America on this side of the water, was studiously postponed to many other grievances. If America had ever intended to close with us on the Orders in Council, she had evidently reviewed that intention, and had come to a deliberate determination to go to war with us unless we should likewise make every other concession that she demanded. It was evident, then, that the revocation of the Orders in Council alone could not restore peace; and therefore, Sir, until I obtain better information than that of which I am at present possessed, I must continue to think that, war having been declared by America, all that remained to this country was, to determine how the war could best be carried on. The best way to carry on any war is the way that will lead soonest to peace; it is by vigour, not by forbearance and hesitation; it is by exertions calculated to make an enemy feel and dread our power; that such an enemy as America, an enemy making a war of experiment, of experiment on her own force, and on your patience, would be soonest, and most effectually brought to reason. Sir, I would go to the extreme verge of concession to preserve peace; but when the preservation of peace becomes hopeless, I would not dilute my measures of hostility, I would not by a series of maukish palliatives, convert war, which is naturally an acute distemper, into a chronical one; and incorporate it with the habitual system of the country.

This war with America, which a prompt exertion might presently have subdued and swept away, has been nursed up by this petty policy, until it is probably fastened upon us for a considerable period. I will ask any man, whether, if two years ago, in the contemplation of a war with the United States of America, it had been prophesied to him, that after six months of hostilities, the only maritime trophies gained in the contest would be on the side of the United States, and our only consolation that we had not been conquered by land, he would not have treated such a prediction as an insult to the might, the grandeur, and the character of this country? It is true, Sir, we have not been conquered by land. I am sure, I am disposed to pay my tribute of admiration to our gallant troops in Canada, and my tribute of regret to their heroic leader, with as mach sincerity of feeling as any man; for individual heroism and self-devotion, under any circumstances, are glorious; but really, Sir, what has happened in Canada is not a matter of great triumph. I really never did suppose that we should be conquered. It never entered into my mind that we should be compelled to seek for such a consolation. It never entered into my mind that the mighty naval power of England would be allowed to sleep while our commerce was swept from the surface of the Atlantic; and that at the end of six months war it would be proclaimed in a speech from the throne, that the time was now at length come, when the long-withheld thunder of Britain must be launched against an implacable foe, and the fulness of her power at length drawn forth. It never entered into my mind that we should send a fleet to take rest and shelter in our own ports in North America, and that we should then attack the American ports with a flag of truce.

When his Royal Highness tells us that, at the period of the American declaration of war, there were circumstances which led him to believe that peace might be restored, it must be that those circumstances were of a nature of which we and the public are wholly ignorant, but which in due time may, perhaps, be disclosed, and may then bear out such a belief. But certainly, on the face of the American declaration, any man must observe a studied mind to prevent pacification, or at least to defer it; and as to Canada, the desire entertained by the American government to possess that province, is not much frowned upon even by those Americans who are the best disposed towards this country. As an additional proof of the true tone and character of the American declaration, let it not be forgotten, that immediately after the promulgation of it an ambassador to France was appointed, who traced the steps of the Gallic conqueror, through the realms which he had devastated. A republican ambassador, bearing the homage of a free state to the conqueror (as he was taken for granted to be) of independent Russia, and authorised to sign, amidst the smoking ruins of Moscow, a treaty of hostility against the liberators of Spain! With such an exhibition of republican virtue and republican love of liberty before my eyes, faint, I confess, were the hopes which I could cherish, of a disposition on the part of America to conciliate Great Britain. Much has been said indeed, and too much cannot be said, or felt, of the natural affection that ought to subsist between the two countries; of the force of kindred blood, of common interests, of common language. But, Sir, we are told by natural historians, that affection descends; that parents love their children more than children love their parents; and I would ask of those who, in this country, speak of America with parental affection, whether they do not begin to apprehend that they may have counted a little too much on a reciprocity of feeling on the part of their transatlantic offspring.

Before, however, I quit that part of the Address which relates to Canada, let me again guard myself against the possibility of being supposed to undervalue the heroism there displayed, or not to set its due value upon that exemplary loyally in his Majesty's Canadian subjects which is stated in the Speech from the throne to have remained proof against all temptation. Most cordially do I concur in that sentiment of approbation, and, adverting to a vote which I had the honour of proposing to the House last year, in favour of his Majesty's Roman Catholic subjects, let me remind the House that these provinces of Canada, so assailed, and so attempted to be seduced, and so inaccessible to seduction, constitute the single specimen in the British empire, in which the Catholic is allowed to sit side by side with the Protestant in the legislature, as well as to fight side by side with him in the field!!

But to return to the war. For this system of forbearance—of mitigated and half afraid hostility, we are told there is a twofold reason. We are told that we have friends in America whom we should endeavour to conciliate by mildness, and that we should be careful to put ourselves completely in the right. No man can subscribe more readily than I do to the latter proposition. So much so, indeed, that I confess, I should contemplate the most splendid victory that ever decorated the historic page with little admiration, if it were gained in a cause essentially unjust. It may also be wise to do whatever may depend upon us, to forward the political views, and political preponderance of the party in the United States;—I will not call it the English party, for that would be unjust;—but that party of good Americans, who loving their country, and consulting for her good, maintain the opinion that an alliance with England is preferable to an alliance with France. But, Sir, are we sure that by this system of restricted and inoffensive hostility we are really playing the game of the party friendly to us? I doubt it. Here is a country divided into parties, one of which, to deter their countrymen from war, predicts the evils that must follow hostility with England: I cannot conceive a mode better calculated to diminish the influence of that party, instead of upholding it, than that of rendering their prophecies comtemptible, and enabling those opposed to them in politics to appeal to experience against their forebodings. But is this an ideal picture? By no means. I found the other day the report of a speech made by one of the party in America, whom we are told we ought to conciliate by forbearance. This gentleman (gen. German) endeavoured to divert the senate of the United States from its warlike resolutions, by an anticipation of the evils which Great Britain could inflict upon America the moment that war was declared. He observed, "that the first consequence of the maritime superiority of Great Britain, would be the loss of New Orleans, from which the English could not be dislodged without a great sacrifice of blood and treasure; that they might then pass northward along the American coast to Charleston and Norfolk;" and he asked "if they thought it possible to defend those places, or that they would not be in the possession of the English in six days?" He assured the senate, "that if they calculated on the forbearance of the English, they would be deceived;" and to ridicule the notion, that, after the decisive step of declaring war had been taken, any thing would postpone for a day the vengeance of Great Britain; "You are not to imagine," says he, "that England will complaisantly wait till you are prepared to repel her attacks. She is not so simple in her enmity."—Alas! Sir, gen. German gave us credit for a promptitude which we did not possess; for a quicker sense of insult and injury than belongs to us—we have shewn ourselves more simple than the orator supposed us. We have waited till America is prepared. The decisive step of war was taken, and our vengeance yet sleeps. Nothing has happened in consequence of the American declaration of war, except that America has captured our ships and attacked our provinces. But as for the prophet of our resentment, his influence is lost for ever. This injurious mode of backing our friends by falsifying their arguments has probably silenced the advocates for peace with England, and left us without a prediction in our favour on one side of congress, or an apprehension of our vengeance on the other.—Tremendous must have been, even among the stoutest-hearted of the advocates for war, the notion of the mischiefs which we could inflict upon the coasts and navy of the Uuited States. How they must now laugh at their own apprehensions! Tremblingly as they approached to the first acts of war, what have we not done to re-assure their nerves, and to take away from them every reason to wish for the discontinuance of hostilities?

If, however, any man can show me, that six months spent in impotent hostility, and that to negociate with an enemy's fleet instead of capturing it, are the modes "of making a cause just, I submit. But, Sir, if it be so very desirable to put ourselves in the right, surely there was a shorter way. The declaration of war on the part of America was received about the end of July. It imputed to us, beside the Orders in Council (which have been sufficiently discussed here to render any further observations upon them necessary), other substantive grounds of quarrel. This document, in the face of the world and of posterity, remains unanswered!—Is it not the custom of European diplomacy, when a declaration of war imputes to one nation provocations to hostility, for the nation so accused to answer that declaration? If, then, it was so desirable to be in the right, why were not means resorted to by the executive government to rebut the attack? Why is there not on the table of this House, and why was there not dispersed through Europe a distinct and satisfactory refutation of the charges preferred by the American government?—If it is answered that the hopes of pacification were not abandoned by us, I reply, that such a refutation was rendered even more desirable by the supposed probability of an immediate restoration of peace. For had peace been concluded, then it would have been too late: the accusation would have been recorded, and no public answer to it would have been in existence.

One of the imputations, for instance, contained in the declaration is, that we had demanded of America that she should force our produce and manufactures upon France. Such a demand would have been most unreasonable and unjust. I have no doubt that it was never made. But it was highly important that such an accusation should be refuted. Another imputed cause of war is, that in 1809, when we were engaged in an amicable negociation with America, an emissary was sent by our government into the territory of the United States to dismember the union, and to stir up I know not what disturbances. That, Sir, is a charge which ought for our own character, to have been directly contradicted by our government in the face of Europe. I speak the more anxiously and earnestly on this point, because it is one upon which I might be supposed to have something to answer for individually, inasmuch as I had the honour unworthily to hold the seals of the Foreign Office in 1809, at the time when this transaction, if it took place at all, must have originated. For myself, I solemnly declare in the face of the whole world, that if such a mission was dispatched, I had no knowledge of it; I was no party to it; I never heard of it, until I saw it imputed to the British government in the American declaration. The indignation which I feel on my own account at this accusation, I likewise feel for my sovereign and for my country.—I hope and trust that every member of the administration of the time, can disclaim all knowledge of any such transaction as confidently as I do. But, Sir, such a disclaimer ought to have been made without loss of time. It is not indifferent to the cause and character of this country that it should have lain six months under such an imputation. It may not be inoperative as to the prolongation of the war: for the American people may be better satisfied with a war which they think has its grounds in justice: and unrefuted calumnies must pass with them for substantiated charges.

In both views, both for war and for peace, I could have wished that the experiment had been tried of a system the very reverse of that which we have adopted; that we had been prompt in refuting the accusations of the enemy, and in retaliating his aggression; instead of leaving him by our silence and our inactivity at once satisfied of the justice of his attack upon us, and fearless of its consequences.

Sir, with respect to the internal situation of the country, I have no occasion to trouble you with any remark. I have nothing to qualify in my assent to that part of the Address. There is only one point, a point not slated, but omitted in the speech, upon which I think it necessary to say a few words. I allude to the Catholic question. Sir, I impute no blame for the omission of this subject in the speech, because I do not conceive that the operation of the Resolution which I had the honour to propose last year, and which this House adopted, was to impose on the executive government the duty of originating the consideration of the Catholic question. I originally had in contemplation a motion which would have imposed on the executive government such a duty; but as objections were made by gentlemen whose support I wished to secure to transferring the care and guardianship of this important question from parliament to the executive government, I contented myself with moving a resolution declaratory of the determination of the House of Commons. This resolution being laid at the foot of the throne, did not, as I think, impose on the executive government the duty of originating the question; it did impose on them the duty of making up their minds to meet the discussion to which this House thus pledged itself. When that discussion shall come, I shall be satisfied if I find that government have made up their minds to meet it in a manly manner. Those who remember the occurrences of the debate which took place upon that motion of mine which pledged the House to consider the subject this session, will recollect that at the suggestion of the right hon. gentleman opposite (Mr. Ponsonby), seconded by the recommendation of the hon. gentleman near him (Mr. Whitbread), I most willingly consented to surrender the further conduct of the discussion upon the Catholic question into the hands of that venerable individual (Mr. Grattan), who has so frequently brought it forward in this House, and whose experience and ability and eloquence are so well calculated to do it full justice. I was myself perfectly prepared to follow up my motion by bringing the whole subject this session in a specific and practical shape before parliament. But, considering the prior claims of that right hon. gentleman, I did not think it right to resist the appeal made to me in his behalf, for the restitution into his hands, of a question so peculiarly his own. Into his hands I cheerfully resigned it. In his hands I most heartily wish it success. So far as the general principle of his measure goes, he may be assured of my humble, but zealous and hearty support and co-operation. Unacquainted as I am with the nature of the plan which he may have in contemplation, I of course must not be considered as pledged to its details. I must reserve to myself the right of acting upon them to the best of my own judgment and discretion; but I shall be deeply disappointed indeed if they should be such as to create any material difference of opinion.

Sir, with the qualifications which I have stated, I cordially concur in the Address so far as it goes to pledge with heart and soul all the means and resources of the country to the prosecution of the several contests in which we are engaged. In my conscience I believe that there are no present means of terminating them with safety and with honour. I am persuaded, (in the spirit of the observations made by the seconder of the Address,) that the greater the vigour with which we carry on the war, the nearer shall we be to the attainment of peace. It is not by hesitation and indecision that we can hope to attain that object, but by manly and indefatigable perseverance; by strenuous and unrelaxed exertion.

The Speaker again put the question, and no member on the opposition bench shewing a disposition to rise,

Lord Castlereagh

said, that as the only task apparently to be imposed on ministers this night, was rather to give explanation on points which might call for further investigation hereafter, than to meet opposition on any of the political features of the government, or of the subjects contained in the Prince Regent's Speech, he should not find it necessary to enter very minutely into the consideration of the various matters which had been touched upon. Considering what had fallen from the right hon. gentleman who spoke last to be calling for explanation, rather than as differing in opinion from those who had preceded him, he (lord C.) had waited in the expectation, that if any hon. gentleman on the opposite side had further information to require, that they would state what such information was, and thus enable him at the same time to reply to them, and endeavour to satisfy the right hon. gentleman. It was no small gratification to the country, and to the Prince Regent's ministers, at this momentous and difficult crisis of the world, to find, on the opening of a new parliament, that the only claim upon them was for an explanation of the general principles of policy by which their future actions were to be regulated, and that there appeared no ground for censure, no cause for complaint, and no source for apprehension or discouragement. It was indeed evident that the prospects of the country were improved, for if this had not been broadly founded in fact, he would this night have had made upon him, demands of a very different nature from those which had been made. The right hon. gentleman had with perfect propriety divided the consideration of the subject before the House into two parts, connected with the external and internal situation of the country, and had applied himself generally to the former. This in itself was another source of gratification to him, and must, he was sure, be equally satisfactory to the House, when they considered the state in which they were placed about the period of the end of the last session of parliament. When they reflected on the condition of some of the counties at that time, they would be inclined to think that his Majesty's ministers had a very difficult task to perform, and would agree in what had been so ably stated by the noble mover and honourable seconder of the Address, that there was great cause for congratulation in the termination of those difficulties, by the means which parliament had provided—means devised in the spirit of conciliation, although calculated to repress the system of insubordination that then unhappily existed. In the administration of those laws with which they were armed, it was pleasing to him and to his colleagues to observe, that there was no insinuation of an abuse of power; and it was equally gratifying to him to have to state, that the people themselves by their own good sense and allegiance had retraced their mistaken steps, and that their regeneration had grown more out of their own disposition than out of the efficacy or enforcement of the legislative provisions which had been resorted to. In looking to the larger branch of the question to which the right honourable gentleman had directed his attention—larger as it affected the security and destinies of the world, he must trespass at somewhat greater length upon the patience of the House, in order, not to discuss fully the several important propositions started, but to record What might be the grounds on which ministers would meet these various enquiries, and, if necessary, defend themselves from attack, should they be made matter of accusation. His task in this would have been infinitely narrower if the right hon. gentleman had not built much of the reason for his reserve in cordially agreeing with the Address that had just been moved, on assumptions entirely inapplicable to ministers, and without foundation in point of fact. This the right hon. gentleman had done in the absence of that information which it was impossible for any person not in the administration of the government to possess, but which he would, in so far as was consistent with his public duty, and what he owed to his own and to other countries, endeavour to produce. In looking to our external relations, the right hon. gentleman had first brought before them the most important state of affairs in the north of Europe; he had, secondly, directed their regards to the war on the peninsula, in which we were interested in common with other powers; and, in the third and last place, had alluded to that contest in which we were engaged alone, and which might therefore be considered as more peculiarly within our own province, namely, the war with America—a war which he would ever continue to think most unfortunate and afflicting, however unavoidable and necessary. In endeavouring to follow the right hon. gentleman over these grounds, he would beg leave to vary a little the order in which he had considered the several topics. He would take the war on the peninsula in the first instance, and this he might the more naturally do, because the right hon. gentleman had spoken of it as the point on which they ought, by the ordinary course of policy, to make their effort as a diversion in favour of Russia, since it could not be expected of this country, that it was able at one and the same time, to make a proper exertion in that quarter, and nerve the arm of Russia in the north, by furnishing her with men or money. He begged to assure the right hon. gentleman and the House, that ministers would not be inclined to rebut any censure that might be applied to them, on the ground of relaxation in their efforts to carry on most vigorously the war in Spain; there had been no relaxation on their parts; neither had they neglected any means by which it was possible for them, by previous provisions, to obtain possession of a greater dispose-able force. They would not therefore found their justification on any grounds of postponement, or inclination to delay executing that which was in their power. He also rejected in their name the defence that might be set up for not calling earlier on parliament to furnish them with more extended means. The ministers of the Prince Regent were prepared to defend themselves on the exercise of the means they actually did possess, or could possess, and their having employed the resources entrusted to them to the utmost, without draining the country beyond that pitch which no nation could sustain or support. Whatever might be the right hon. gentleman's opinion on this head, ministers certainly could not have been expected to make these unnatural attempts (now suggested as necessary and defended as politic) by gentlemen on the other side; by those who had ever inculcated upon their minds the necessity there was for husbanding our resources, and, even on the peninsula, keeping our exertions within bounds of the strictest moderation. It was not his intention to throw out any invidious reflection on those who had maintained these opinions, and all he wished to do at this time was, to lay in his claim to the grounds on which he should be prepared hereafter to combat any attachment of blame to his Royal Highness's advisers on this subject. Indeed, it was obviously impossible for ministers to enter on an ample elucidation of the measures respecting which doubts might be thrown out, on a night like the present, when all the numerous points of policy connected with the country were thrown open for partial discussion, and their attention was not confined to a single object, though many of those alluded to were sufficiently intricate and important to require of themselves the utmost diligence and powers of enquiry possessed by parliament. He begged leave to caution the House against being, as it was apt to be, led to expect too much from successes, or to despair at reverses, even though they might be such as placed the allied forces in the lines at Torres Vedras. It was neither one disaster, or one victory, that could decide the fate of the peninsula, and it was a dangerous feeling to indulge, which would be elevated beyond correct views even by such a victory as would shortly call for the thanks of the House; or to be depressed beyond occasion by every failure of complete success that might attend our exertions. When by the most consummate generalship, that victory, unparalleled in the history of the war, and as glorious as ever adorned the British name; when that victory made the enemy feel its effects to the utmost extremities of his force, and dislocated his armies; because our illustrious and excellent commander had accomplished this, had they any reason whatever to suppose that the entire French power on the peninsula would be at once extinguished, and the allies enabled to march to the Pyrennees? The public mind was apt to run into a course too sanguine, and to believe any statement which might pretend that the effect of a defeat like this would be the total extinction of the enemy in Spain. But when the House reflected that at the commencement of the campaign, the French force on the peninsula amounted to 200,000 men, which was perhaps reduced by detachments sent to the north to 150,000, at the period of the battle of Salamanca, they would be inclined to take a different and move correct view of the subject. They would observe that such a force, when spread over the face of Spain, might maintain the possession of the country, by keeping down the spirit of its population, which they were now unable to do when collected into two great masses. After the memorable battle of Salamanca, they were rendered too feeble to keep possession of Spain, and instead of driving the British into the sea, as they had often vainly threatened, they were driven by the British. But when they gave up the provinces and became a concentrated army, any man looking with a soldier's eye, might be able to see, that even after the battle of Salamanca, the marquis of Wellington had a heavy task to perform to drive the French from Spain. They might worship the spirit of the people of this country, whose exultation on the triumphs of their gallant countrymen in Spain was so great as to induce a sanguine feeling, not warranted by the actual state of the case. But whatever expectations the people built upon, as far as lord Wellington with his knowledge and information went, his prospects had been largely and liberally accomplished. He could assure them, that lord Wellington had received supplies and reinforcements to a greater extent than ever. In the course of last year, 20,000 men had been sent to join him, and he (Lord C.) should be able to contend, that though large reinforcements had not arrived since the battle of Salamanca, this arose from the impossibility of sending men sooner than had been done. The exertions of the government, and in a peculiar manner, of his royal highness the Commander in Chief, to bring regiments to such a state of efficiency as to render them fit for foreign service, had been incessant and strenuous. And he had to apprize the right hon. gentleman, that on the wisest principles the grants from the militia had not been available as a regular force, earlier than the month of May, and that neither the internal state of the country, nor of Ireland, would, at a former period, admit of those forces being spared which might now be united to their gallant comrades in the glorious task of delivering the peninsula. He again repeated, that the greatest possible efforts had been made for an active campaign; and he trusted what he had said on this point would be received as a fair and candid solution of the doubts thrown out by the right hon. gentleman. Thus far he had rather opened the matters at issue between the right hon. gentleman and himself. He perfectly agreed with him, that the aid to Russia ought to be given in Spain; and he was also ready to admit, that as the north opened prospects of greater success, insomuch ought they to make more strenuous efforts on the peninsula. With respect to the war in the north, the right hon. gentleman had laid what was necessary for him to advert to, into a narrower compass, as he had not made any charge in so far as Russia was concerned. He and all the world must feel, and none felt it more than the illustrious person at the head of that vast empire, who was so likely to ameliorate the destinies of the world, that it was not to be expected from this country to make larger sacrifices, or in other quarters, than those in which she was engaged. That great monarch did not call on us for pecuniary support. He said, "you are fighting my cause and the cause of the world in Spain, and there it is that your efforts will be most available and efficacious." His imperial majesty felt this to be the common policy in the common cause, and instead of looking to us for aid in the north, he had looked to a far surer and nobler source—he had looked to the patriotism, the liberality, the unbounded liberality, the spirit, and the loyalty of his people, to uphold him in the great struggle for independence, in which he is engaged, and to us he had looked for the effectual carrying on of the contest in Spain. Of Sweden, to which the right hon. gentleman had alluded, it was more difficult to speak. Without divulging any of those secrets which belong to the cabinet of this or of other countries, he might however state that Sweden as well as Russia had received injury from France, and both had felt it. Russia had taken the field to resist the aggressions of her adversary, and therefore there could be no impropriety in speaking openly of her measures; but as Sweden had not yet taken a step so decided, he hoped the House would be of opinion that he had a duty to perform, which rendered it very difficult for him to make any very open or explicit statement on this point. Yet without exceeding discretion, he might say, that if the exertions of Sweden, necessarily smaller than those of Russia, had required the pecuniary aid of this country, to cause a diversion in the rear of the French armies, ministers would have been ready to have assisted her operations to that extent. He declined entering further into this matter at present. France had committed an unqualified aggression on the Swedish monarchy, which had as yet been only met by a somewhat qualified resistance. What were the motives for collecting the force upon her coasts, it would not be expected for him to explain; but it would be seen with a feeling of hope and exultation, that between these great northern powers, for they were both great, out of their late contention, which had led to the dismemberment of the province of Finland from Sweden:—out of that contention a system had arisen, which happily had not prevented their being linked together in the bonds of the closest friendship and alliance. This fact appeared to be obvious from the very commencement of the campaign, when it was easy to perceive that a perfect understanding existed between the countries. It was evident that Russia reposed confidence in Sweden from the withdrawal of the mass of her troops from their cantonments in Finland. But those who were not satisfied with this demonstration of friendship, must have every apprehension relieved by the event of the personal interview at Abo, after which 18,000 men from the port of Swinburgh were dispatched to Riga, where they arrived in time to join general Wittgenstein at the critioal period which enabled him to turn the scale of the war in that quarter, and defeat the object of the enemy's right wing. He might also be permitted to say, that if there had not been any actual military exertion on the part of Sweden, yet that much benefit had been reaped from the posture which she assumed. He called upon parliament to take sober views of these questions. However much we might wish other powers to enter into resistance against the enemy with as great energy as ourselves, when we considered, that not possessing the advantages of our insular situation, they were not so safe and remote from danger as we were, we ought to look with forbearance to their measures, and not run them down, or impute want of virtuous feeling to them, because they might not embark in hostilities with the avidity we desired. The position assumed by Sweden had the effect of detaining two corps of the French army from active operations, and which were left in the confines of Denmark. These corps amounted to 60,000 men. The most advanced, that of Victor, the enemy had not Ventured to use till after the battle of Borodino; and in fact it had not advanced till September, when it proceeded by detachments to join the main army. The other corps, that of Augereau, was still more retired in Germany, and completely withdrawn from hostile operations. Having observed this much, he was satisfied he had said enough, without disclosing the councils of the state, to shew that Russia had a well-founded confidence in the amity of Sweden, and that the demonstration made by the latter power, had paralysed 60,000 of the enemy's force. On these grounds ministers would be prepared to meet any future discussion that might be thought necessary. With respect to the third subject on which the right hon. gentleman had animadverted, America; on this branch, he had an additional task of explanation imposed upon him, from the right hon. gentleman's assuming too much in point of fact, which he was compelled to deny. He agreed with him that in negociation too much forbearance had been shewn towards America: and had this not been so, he could not believe ministers would stand so well with the House and the country as they would do if they had not shewn (whatever America did), that they were most unwilling to depart from old principles and feelings. But he denied that the war, after it had been commenced, was carried on with greater forbearance than was indispensably adopted from a consideration of the other contests in which the nation was unhappily engaged. They would justly have drawn down the vengeance of many, and of no one more than of the right hon. gentleman, had they withdrawn a force from the peninsula for the purpose of originating belligerent measures against America. He maintained and would at any time be prepared to shew that they had done all they could. The right hon. gentleman expressed himself at a loss to conceive how ministers could expect any thing pacific from America, after the promulgation of her Declaration to which he referred. He was ready to consider that document in the same point of view with the right hon. gentleman, as containing in it demands which, if insisted on by America, would preclude for ever any prospect of peace. But the Speech, in its allusion to this topic, referred to the state of America at the period when this declaration was issued. Ministers had never assured the House, nor the country, whatever had been done by others, that the concessions required to be made to America would lead to peace; on the contrary, when the repeal of the Orders in Council was discussed, they said, in answer to those who contended that if these were surrendered peace would be the consequence, that the claims relative to blockade and impressment would disappoint their expectations. It was not till after the war broke out that the American government alleged other grounds of war than the Orders in Council, and the system of blockade. The matter of impressment was previously only urged as an angry point of discussion. With respect to the course taken by ministers when they acquired a knowledge of the actual commencement of the war, they had done that which was tantamount to complete hostility, and it was not from forbearance, but from considerations of other circumstances of the country, that they had refrained from the immediate issue of letters of marque and reprisal, and from publishing to the world their case against the United States. But although letters of marque and reprisal were not issued, war was as effectually waged in another mode; and this was done from a desire to keep the councils of the government ready to meet any disposition that might arise on the part of America towards peace. Had they not acted in this manner, they would have justly had to experience the censure of gentlemen opposite, if America had, on the receipt of the intelligence from this country, withdrawn her declaration, and restored the British property that had been seized, and they had been unable to meet this pacific disposition with correspondent restitution, without coming to parliament to vote that sum which had found its way into the coffers of the captors of American ships. With respect to time, the moment the declaration of war was ascertained, and that the Americans had proceeded to the condemnation of the British property seized and refused to ratify the armistice concluded between them and the governor of Upper Canada, with admiral Sawyer, that moment the letters of marque and reprisal were issued. The right hon. gentleman had truly said it was an extraordinary thing that no answer had been published to that Declaration which could be so readily refuted, and that the onus was thrown on the government, to shew that grave and weighty reasons existed for not taking that official step. But neither the House nor the right hon. gentleman were to learn, that though we were actually at war with America, yet negociations had not absolutely terminated. A mission had been entrusted to admiral Warren, and a proposition submitted by him to the American government, to which no answer had been received up to this day. This proposition was intended to have been made through Mr. Foster; but as he had left the country before the dispatch arrived, the business had of necessity devolved upon the admiral on the station. Under these circumstances, waiting for the reply of the American government (though he did not mean by this to lead the House to any sanguine expectation as to the result), he was sure the House would feel that ministers would have more consulted their feelings than their judgments, had they hastily put forth the answer they felt themselves so competent to give to the assertions and claims of America. He hoped, therefore, that on this subject also he had laid sufficient general grounds for meeting any inculpatory observations to which it might give rise hereafter. The right hon. gentleman had touched on one or two other points which required little notice. It was true, as he stated, that the British government had never endeavoured to force through neutrals their manufactures into France. With regard to the mission of Henry, he did not think it necessary that ministers should publish any disavowal of it now. They had disavowed it in their places in parliament, as the right hon. gentleman had done to-night, and like him declared they never knew of it until published by the American government. That the hon. gentleman opposite (Mr. Whitbread) had not pursued his charge upon it with greater eagerness, was a pretty strong proof that no blame could be thrown on ministers on that account; and besides all this, he had to assure the right hon. gentleman, that government had disavowed it to the American cabinet, to satisfy whom they had sent over all the papers with which they were acquainted on the subject. He was not aware that he had occasion to trouble the House at any further length, though he would be happy to give every information in his power. It was with extreme pleasure he found, that instead of the usual opposition on such opportunities as the present, the object of all seemed rather to be to join in gratulations on the prosperous stale of affairs, and the general improving aspect of Europe. (Here some disapprobation was evinced on the Opposition bench). He challenged the House to say when a Speech was delivered on the opening of parliament, which contained so bright a catalogue of success, or displayed a more marked prospect of amendment or advantage to the country. (Hear!) If they could not say that the enemy was altogether discomfited, and finally and effectually repressed, yet they never before could say that they saw him so dangerously involved in two great wars in the opposite extremities of Europe. These were wars in which he was not merely committed against the governments of countries, but in which the nations were arrayed against him. They were not, as heretofore, wars productive of means to recruit his resources, augment his forces, and from his conquests reap the sinews of extended conquests. Though he could drag his tributary states into the field, and amass a powerful force from those whom he had already overcome, yet in the great scale on which he was engaged, he met with no aids to enable him to carry on the war vigorously; he only met with national resistance, and was obliged to bring his supplies with him, and exhaust his resources from the people over whom he exercises his rigorous sway, for he could not find them in the country he invaded. In Russia the spirit of desperate opposition to his aggressions was, as noticed in the Speech, unparalleled in history. The people of that country had been spoken of as barbarians, and as being a century behind other nations in civilization, but could they find in any country a resistance to invasion equal to that glorious spirit which was now displayed, firing every rank and description of men in the vast Russian empire? Nor was it for courage alone that the Russians had shone conspicuous during this contest; that heroic valour, for which they were famed on former occasions, was not now their only praise. The military councils and skill of the commanders also shone pre-eminently; and the whole conduct of the campaign proved them to be equal to the most difficult situations and trying emergencies. The retreat of the numerous great bodies of troops from the Niemen to Moskwa, and the able and judicious manner in which it was conducted under pressing circumstances, was scarcely to be equalled in the history of the most celebrated transactions of that kind. The retreat of Moreau, on which his highest fame rested, no military man would say could come into competition with this in Russia. When so many armies had marched over 500 miles of country before they united into one mass, invariably baffling the immense force of their enemy, fighting various battles, and never putting it in the power of that enemy to say that he had dispersed a single regiment, or captured a single gun or baggage waggon; so excellently executed a movement was not surpassed in the history of the world; and had evinced, on the part of the Russian commanders, the utmost skill and ability, which, with the known valour of their troops, added fresh hopes to those already entertained of the deliverance of Europe. The interests of this people were now identified with our own in the most gratifying manner, by their fleets approaching our harbours; an action on the part of our ally which was calculated to make the French feel that even the loss of another capital would not involve the loss of their fleet, or be considered any more than the former as involving the loss of the country. In this the emperor Alexander had shewn a glorious example of what a monarch ought to be, and of the true policy of a monarch, which, had it been acted upon by others, Europe would not have been in its present state. He had not placed his strength in a capital city, but trusted to the spirit of his country for the pledge to stand by him, and repel the invaders, and in this he had not been disappointed. His lordship concluded by saying, "Thus in every quarter our prospects are most bright and happy. I have endeavoured to explain every thing that may appear doubtful, and congratulate the House and the nation, that from the state in which the country is on the opening of this new parliament, there is not a topic for condemnation, though there are so many for cheering us in our exertions, and encouraging us to hope that every thing will prosper to our wishes."

Mr. Whitbread

said, if the right hon. gentleman who spoke last but one had alluded to him as the person who was understood to have prepared an Amendment, he was correct in that allusion; but at for the period of the evening at which either the right hon. gentleman or the noble lord opposite might expect him to deliver his sentiments, in this he was sorry to disappoint them, though he begged to say that he considered his time for speaking was entirely at his own selection. It was true he was the person who had prepared an Amendment; but before he expressed his own he wished to hear the sentiments of the right hon. gentleman as well as those of the noble lord who had just sat down. He was particularly desirous of hearing the right hon. gentleman's opinion of affairs at this time, for the right hon. gentleman in his answer to his constituents at Liverpool, said it was his own fault if he was not now minister. However, he did not rise to-night to dwell in contention with him, as he might have done at former periods, but to deliver his sentiments on what he conceived to be the present state of the country. In his opinion, there were great omissions in the Speech of the Prince Regent, or rather of his Royal Highness's advisers. The Speech had professed to give, as it ought to give, ample information to the House, on the existing situation of the country, on the events that had occurred since the sitting of the last parliament, and the subject of our foreign relations, but there was no information with respect to the dispute with America; and with respect to Spain, there was nothing which could in anywise enable them to form a judgment as to what was the cause of the late losses which the country had so much reason to deplore. He found himself, therefore, bound to call for information on these subjects. If ever there was a time when enquiry and information were called for, it was the present, when topics of so great and vital importance came before them for discussion and decision. He would ask whether the House recollected the lamentable situation in which the executive government was placed? Were they not informed that the recovery of his Majesty was hopeless; and that the frequent paroxysms to which he was subject rendered his life so precarious, that the existence of the present parliament was likely to be of very short duration, unless the noble lord should think proper to propose, what he had heard was his intention, early in the present session, namely, an Act for the continuance of its sitting notwithstanding the demise of his Majesty? Whether so bold an experiment was to be tried he knew not; but if such an infraction of the constitution should ever be attempted, he would oppose it, if alive, to the utmost of his power. If, however, such a proposition was not intended to be made, the tenure of their existence was necessarily precarious, and it behoved them therefore to take the earliest opportunity of applying to the Prince Regent, for information on the state of affairs. He did not believe that even the noble lord wished to stifle all inquiry into the transactions of Spain, or the negociation with America: for even now the noble lord had said that a negociation was on foot with America. Why should not the House be made acquainted with the steps that had been taken with respect to that country. He trusted that this flimsy pretence would neither be offered or received as a ground for withholding that intelligence from parliament which he contended to be so indispensable to their taking a right view of the political interests of the country, externally and internally.—There was another topic on which the Speech had not touched, at which he for one could not help expressing his astonishment, the more especially when he called to mind the debates and resolutions which had taken place upon it in the last parliament. He alluded to what was commonly called the Catholic Question. He wished to know why the noble lord had not counselled the Prince Regent, who was known to have once entertained sentiments favourable to the Catholics, after the debates which had taken place in that House, and the small majorities which had been obtained, to take notice of the claims? Why he had not advised his Royal Highness to introduce into the Speech one small paragraph about Ireland, the omission of which could not but be a subject of mortification and indignation to the inhabitants of that country?—There were other circumstances intimately connected with our continental connections, which, in his opinion, ought to have formed a prominent part of the Speech, instead of being as they were, studiously avoided. One of these was the depreciated state of the currency of the country. If he was not grossly misinformed, such was the absolute want of specie, that the officers of that gallant army which had achieved those glorious victories of which we so deservedly boasted, were even unable to provide themselves with any of the comforts of life—at least, that no subaltern was enabled to provide himself with any other means of subsistence or additional comfort of life beyond the rations which he obtained from the commissariat.—From the same causes the debt of that gallant army was very great, and increasing from day to day, whereby its operations were crippled and frustrated. When the noble lord took a view of the manufactures of this country, was there nothing to make him pause before boasting of the present as the proudest period of the English annals? The right hon. gentleman (Mr. Canning) had mentioned our three wars. It was, unfortunately, but too true, that an acquisition of two of these wars had been made since the last session. In Russia we were accessaries after the fact. To that power we had not made subsidies as we had formerly done to other continental powers frequently with great profusion. Of the ability to act in that way we were now deprived. In the third war, which was with America, we stood in the character of principals and alone—a war the most disastrous and calamitous that ever was waged, and the existence of which cut up the sinews of the resources by which our other wars could be carried on. This was the proud, this was the unparalleled situation in which the country was placed, so much the subject of the noble lord's exultation. In his opinion, it afforded only grounds for apprehensions, and abundant reasons to dread the most serious calamities. But the noble lord looked at these things with a soldier's eye. He talked of the masterly retreat of the Russians, which he thought superior to that of general Moreau. While the noble lord dwelt too with exultation on the achievements in Canada, he overlooked the capture of the Guerriere by the American frigate the Constitution. He took only the fluttering points into his picture, but it became the House to take every feature into their view. It was their duty to look at the situation in which lord Wellington was now placed since his abandonment of the siege of Burgos. The noble lord had thought proper to suppose that my lord Wellington might even be obliged to retreat to the lines of Torres Vedras. Lord Wellington himself, in his dispatches, said that the enemy were in great force, that they had received considerable reinforcements; and that it was with the greatest mortification and regret, that he saw himself obliged to give up an object which, if obtained, he considered the success of the campaign certain. They were told, that when pursued by the French army he was pressed hardly; and when at Rueda, that he could not make a stand there. But then they were told that the prosperity of the country was improved, and that the nation was in a glorious and grand situation. Why? Because Buonaparté was on his retreat to his resources;—his force not annihilated, though certainly in great danger. This was what the House were to congratulate themselves on, and for which they were to go to the Prince Regent with an Address, on the prosperous state of the country! If this situation of affairs on the continent was good for any thing, it was this; that the emperor of France, having failed in his object, an opportunity was now offered, when it would not be inglorious, and when it would certainly be highly useful to propose to the enemy some arrangement for peace.—The noble lord had by no means satisfactorily answered the question put to him by the right hon. gentleman respecting Sweden. It was, indeed, surprising that this country should become so easily the dupe of every state with which it happened to be allied. Great expectations were entertained by the government of this country from Sweden; but he saw nothing in the connection but fresh sacrifices and fresh disappointments. The rear of the enemy was to be harrassed by the Swedish army, under that great French captain, as he was called, the Crown Prince of Sweden. Now the noble lord says—Aye, you see we were right in our expectations—Buonaparté was obliged to leave two grand corps behind him, for fear of the Swedes. But yet some how or other, it would seem that Buonaparté was soon relieved of all apprehensions from any diversion in his rear, and availed himself in proper time of these two corps, so said to be kept in check by the Swedes; for the fact was, that under Victor and Augereau they had actually united themselves with the grand army against Russia.—As to the state of Russia itself, and the result of the present campaign, he differed altogether from the noble lord with respect to the resources and population of the Russian empire, and with respect to the view which had been taken of that horrible fact, the conflagration of Moscow. The noble lord had applied to Buonaparté the epithet of devastor of Moscow. Now, it appeared that Buonaparté was anxious, and did all that was in his power to be the preserver of Moscow, as he had preserved Vienna, Berlin, Rome, Madrid, Venice and Milan, into which he had entered as conqueror. This act, the burning of Moscow, which he could not sufficiently deplore, had been represented by the right hon. gentleman, and by the noble lord, as a proof of the spirit which animated the Russians, as a sacrifice they were willing to make to the safety of their country; nay, the noble lord had regretted that the example set by Russia, in the destruction of their capital, was not earlier made, and he chose to describe that event as an evidence of the temper of the Russian people, as if they had been perfectly willing to surrender their wives and children, their sick, wounded and dying, to the destructive flames which laid the city in ashes. But this was by no means the case. It was well known that Moscow was burnt by military command, and that the inhabitants had no will in its execution, and no power to prevent it. The people whose property and dearest connections fell a prey to the devouring flames were not consulted in the execution; they had no will in the matter; and now they had no refuge, no shelter to fly to; and whether the act were justifiable or not, it was certainly not voluntary on their part, but a penalty inflicted on them by their government. The right hon. gentleman wished he could know what were the real feelings of the Russian people with respect to that event, and had delivered a splendid passage and drawn a highly coloured picture from the stores of his imagination on the instinctive love which every people possessed for their native soil. This he believed to be true, they might love their country; but to suppose that the people of Russia could love their government, or to talk to them of the laws and constitutions of their country, which they were called on to defend, was altogether ridiculous. It was said, that the population of the empire was every where rising spontaneously round the French armies for the purpose of exterminating them. But where, he would ask, was the evidence of this? That the Russian army was now, as it always had been, famous for its valour and discipline, and for its implicit obedience, could not possibly be doubted. They were well known to pay implicit obedience to all the commands of their superiors without hesitation, and would probably act now as they did formerly, when on the death of their monarch, they changed sides, and fought to-day on the side against which they had fought the day before. They were known to obey without reflection and without hesitation the commands of their superiors with the prospect of certain and immediate death before them; but to expect public spirit from such a people was carrying too far even the power of the most brilliant fancy. Yet it was in this situation of affairs that the noble lord thought proper to compare the retreat from the Niemen to Moscow, with the well-known retreat of Moreau. But in what respects could they possibly be compared together? General Moreau executed his retreat when he was far into the enemies' country, and when he was pursued by powerful and warlike hosts; while on the other hand the Russians retreated into their own country, in consequence of plans which it was said had been long digested by them. They were to stop at a certain point, where they had their magazines and entrenched camps. But was it ever in contemplation that they should retreat to Moscow, before fighting the enemy, and afterwards burn Moscow? It was preposterous, therefore, in the noble lord, to speak of this retreat as a great military operation. If, however, the efforts of Russia had been great, as great they certainly were, how stupendous must have been the power and the efforts of the emperor of France, who, without being necessitated to carry his arms into Russia, and having the war of Spain already on his hands, began that great undertaking, penetrated to Moscow, and would, in all probability, have accomplished his purpose, but for the awful act by which it was frustrated.—With respect to the state of affairs in the peninsula, it was generally known to the credit of lord Wellington, that he did not court the battle of Salamanca; but that the French commander being too secure of calling lord Wellington off, laid himself open to attack, which that great man, with his accustomed vigilance, immediately laid hold of. By following up his victory, he took possession of Madrid, and afterwards advanced to Burgos. He was willing to pay the highest deference to the opinion of lord Wellington, and to suppose that in acting as he did, he judged perfectly right; but the plan of his campaign, as he himself had acknowledged, had been utterly defeated from the want of means. But then the noble lord enlarged on the great good produced by having weakened the French, and prevented them from carrying on offensive operations, and contended, that even if lord Wellington should be again obliged to fall back on Torres Vedras the same glorious consequences would follow which had already taken place. But if he might be allowed to ask the question, what had the Spaniards been doing all the time? How were the Spaniards seconding the efforts of the great commander? It was true, as the noble lord had stated, that the French had left the south of Spain, and been obliged to evacuate Madrid, and that lord Wellington had been received there and every where with an enthusiasm approaching to idolatry. In his letter after entering Madrid, he said, he hoped the inhabitants of Madrid would in future do a little better than before. But after the last evacuation of Madrid, he said a very small French force took possession of the Retiro. He was appointed generalissimo of Spain; and the very first order which he issued in that character to general Ballasteros, one of the Spanish commanders, who had been more than usually successful in his operations against the enemy, was refused to be executed by him. It was true that that general was cashiered, and that his army was given to other hands; but be very much doubted, whether the feeling which seemed to have actuated general Ballasteros was not too prevalent in Spain, to admit of any advantage being taken by lord Wellington as commander of the forces of that country. The noble lord said that Russia would be satisfied with our utmost exertions in the peninsula, as likely to be more useful to her than any pecuniary or military aid we could afford her elsewhere. He could not think that these exertions had been such as either Russia or this country had a right to expect. Shortly after the glorious victory of Salamanca, lord Wellington was obliged, from want of means, to abandon his conquering career, and to retreat before the enemy he had previously beaten; he was forced to give up part of his late conquests; nor did the Spaniards avail themselves of the moment of respite the bravery of our troops had procured for them, to improve their means of defence against the common enemy. The cause of Spain, therefore, seemed not so hopeful as the noble lord had chosen to represent it. With regard to the efforts which had been made in the prosecution of this war, he had to observe that when war was carried on in any country, there was not a doubt that the most vigorous efforts were the most likely to lead to a speedy termination. There was this difference between an offensive and a defensive war, that an offensive war ought always to be a war of spirit. When vigorous efforts, therefore, were resolved to be made in Spain, there ought to be no limit to that vigour. Let an application, therefore, be made to the Prince Regent, to know from him whether the greatest possible use had been made by ministers of the means with which they were entrusted for carrying on the war, before coming to a decision on the merits of ministers, or the probability of the war being in future carried on with success.—He was far from wishing to refuse ministers the means necessary to carry on the contest in which we were engaged to a successful issue; but feeling for the people, groaning under accumulated burdens, and threatened with the financial abilities of the right hon. gentleman opposite, he thought the last resources of the country should not be granted without secutity that they should be properly applied.—After some observations on the miserable state of the manufacturers of this country, and their gloomy anticipations with respect to the ensuing Budget, he observed that the right hon. gentleman in his speech did great injustice, in his opinion, to America, on the subject of which he (Mr. W.) still retained the sentiments he had before manifested, namely, that this country had done every thing to drive her into a war, and made concessions too tardily to avert that evil. The right hon. gentleman indeed, in his usual metaphoric way, had talked of the law of nature, by which affection descended, and not ascended, and observed that children were seldom known to have the same affection for their parents which their parents felt for them; he thought that great parental affection had been shewn here; and very little filial love had been shewn there. Now, to judge from the correspondence which had Taken place between Mr. Munro, Mr. Pinckney, and the right hon. gentleman himself, who according to his own metaphor was the father and they were the children, he would say, that he had lashed them most unmercifully, and that they had borne their castigation with all the meekness of filial submission. He was not, however, ready to condemn ministers without proof, and one of the objects he expected from his Amendment was, to obtain information on the conduct of the negociations with America.—The hon. gentleman then reverted to the state of our manufactures, which were such, that the little work which kept the manufacturers from starving, especially at Birmingham, was the manufactory of arms, and he deplored that ever the people of this country should be reduced to such employment for support.—After commenting on the taunt, as he asserted it to be, respecting the American ambassador, Joel Barlow, laying the liberties of the republic of America at the feet of the devastator of Moscow, and making several observations on the relations between this country and America, the hon. gentleman concluded with saying, that under all these circumstances he was desirous of imploring his Royal Highness to take into consideration the measure of inquiring whether or not it was at present possible to bring about a pacification. We now stood in a situation in Spain glorious beyond example, in so far as related to the splendid achievements of our armies, though, with respect to the main object, the expulsion of the French from the peninsula, we were not so near our object as many people supposed. The emperor of Prance was at present in great difficulties. He had indeed succeeded in one way beyond the expectation of all those who saw him set out. An unexpected event, however, had foiled him, and involved him certainly in great difficulties for the present; and though from these difficulties he might ultimately extricate himself, there must be a considerable interval during which battles could not take place.—He knew be should be told as he had always hitherto been on making such a proposition, that the interference of parliament on such a subject would cramp the powers of the executive. But when he saw that one ministry after another took no advantage of any favourable conjuncture offered them for the accomplishment of this object, and that the moment a victory was obtained, instead of considering it as instrumental in leading to peace, the end of all war, they seemed to be immediately filled with the most frantic and unreasonable hopes, he was convinced that no ministry would ever voluntarily enter upon negociation, and that the House were therefore now called upon to interfere, that an event might at last be brought about of so much importance to this country, and to the world. With these impressions, and considering, lastly, that in tenderness for the Spaniards, our allies, we should allow them some time to settle their form of government; he had no hesitation in saying that, without debasing the dignity of the country, we might take some steps to ascertain whether or no France was disposed to listen to pacific overtures. The hon. gentleman then moved the following Amendment:

"That an humble Address be presented to his royal highness the Prince Regent, to thank his Royal Highness for his Royal Highness's most gracious Speech from the throne, in the name and on the behalf of his Majesty.

"To assure his Royal Highness of the inviolable attachment of his Majesty's faithful Commons to the persons of his Majesty, and of his Royal Highness; to his Majesty's government, and to the principles which seated his Majesty's royal family upon the throne of these kingdoms.

"To convey to his Royal Highness the expression of our sincere condolence, on the continuance of the affliction with which it has pleased God to visit his Majesty; whereby the recovery of his Majesty's mental powers appears to have been rendered hopeless, and the sacred life of his Majesty, from the frequent repetition and violence of the attacks, to have become alarmingly precarious.

"To represent to his Royal Highness, that in such circumstances, the existence of this new parliament is, of necessity, likely to be of short duration; and that it, therefore, behoves his Majesty's faithful Commons, to seize the earliest opportunity of submitting to his Royal Highness their view of the general situation of the country, and of laying before his Royal Highness the manifold griefs of his Majesty's faithful subjects, praying that his Royal Highness will take such steps as to his wisdom shall seem best calculated for their relief; and, at the same time, to promise our most dutiful and cordial co-operation.

"To express to his Royal Highness our hearty congratulations on the great successes obtained by his Majesty's arms, under the distinguished command of general the marquis of Wellington; and particularly on the glorious victory of Salamanca, prepared by the vigilance, decision, and skill of that great commander; and achieved, through the favour of Providence, by the consummate valour of his Majesty's troops, under his command.

"Nevertheless, to represent to his Royal Highness, our deep disappointment and concern, at finding that an event, which was followed by the evacuation of Madrid by the French, its occupation by the British commander in person, the withdrawing of the French garrisons from many of their military posts and fortified towns, the relief of various parts of Spain from the presence of the enemy, and the victorious advance of the British general into the heart of that country, has not been followed by such exertions on the part of its inhabitants, as might have been expected to spring from those feelings of abhorrence of French domination, and gratitude for British aid, by which his Majesty's faithful Commons have been informed, under the sacred authority of his Majesty's name, and they are still willing to hope, pervade the universal Spanish nation.

"More especially, because, at the same period, the power of France has been distracted by warlike operations, proceeding on the most stupendous scale, in a remote quarter of Europe; and, for the second time since the horrible and violent aggression of the French emperor, he has been prevented from directing his undivided resources to the subjugation of Spain.

"To assure his Royal Highness that we will with all diligence, as in duty bound, proceed to enquire, with the assistance of such information as we have no doubt will be furnished by order of his Royal Highness, into the causes of the reverses which have so soon and so unexpectedly led to the retreat of the marquis of Wellington before the French force, the unresisted re-occupation of Madrid by the enemy, and their unobstructed progress in pursuit of the allied army; for the purpose of ascertaining whether these disappointments have arisen from weakness of counsel at home, and want of such support as it is in the power of the country to afford to the contest in which we are engaged; or are attributable to causes irremediable and inherent in Spain herself, and that we will lay before his Royal Highness the result of our inquiry, with such advice thereupon as to us shall seem expedient.

"To express our thanks to his Royal Highness for the intimation his Royal Highness has been graciously pleased to give, that he will cause to be laid before the House of Commons, copies of the Treaties lately entered into with the sovereigns of Sweden and Russia, and of the additional Treaty entered into with his Sicilian majesty, and our hope that the stipulations contained in those Treaties, and the obligations incurred thereby, may prove advantageous to the general interests of this empire and of Europe.

"To convey to his Royal Highness our heartfelt sorrow, that the measures advised by his Majesty's ministers, towards the conclusion of the last session of parliament, were not taken sufficiently in time to prevent a declaration of hostilities on the part of the United States of America, and that no course has been subsequently found practicable for averting the heavy calamity of war with that power, consistently with the honour and dignity of his Majesty's crown and the welfare of the state.

"To pray his Royal Highness will be graciously pleased to cause all the correspondence which has passed between the ministers of the crown, and the persons authorized, on the part of the American government, to be laid before this House, in order that we may be enabled to form a just and well-grounded opinion on the conduct of his Majesty's ministers, in the progress and termination of a negociation, which has ended in a manner so deeply to be deplored.

"To assure his Royal Highness that we shall apply ourselves with anxious attention to the important interests of Ireland; and that we will redeem the pledge given by the last House of Commons, at the conclusion of its last session, and will, early in the present session, take into our serious consideration the state of the laws affecting the Roman Catholics in Great Britain and Ireland; with a view to such final and conciliatory adjustment as may be conducive to the peace and strength of the United Kingdom, to the stability of the Protestant establishment, and to the general satisfaction and concord of all classes of his Majesty's subjects.

"To assure his Royal Highness that we will resume the consideration of the causes of the increasing depreciation of the paper currency of the kingdom, and the state of the law respecting the metallic currency, which instead of answering its intended purpose, appears to have created a still greater scarcity of the precious metals, and recommend such measures as shall appear to us the best adapted to retrieve the credit of the country, and to remedy the numerous evils to our national prosperity with which the extension of this system is fraught.

"That we will apply ourselves with all diligence and sincerity, to the great work of retrenchment and reform, so loudly demanded by a suffering people, and so essentially necessary to our preservation as a great and independent power.

"To assure his Royal Highness that we are determined to support the honour of his Majesty's crown against all aggressions, and by every needful sacrifice; but that when we are called upon to impose fresh burthens upon the people of these kingdoms sinking under an accumulation of taxes, and oppressed by circumstances of unusual privation and distress, we do implore his Royal Highness, at the conclusion of the nineteenth year of this most extensive war, which has for so long a time, almost uninterruptedly, desolated every part of Europe, to take such measures as to his Royal Highness's wisdom shall appear best, to ascertain whether it be not possible to procure the restoration of the blessings of peace. To state to his Royal Highness that it appears to this House that, at a moment when the glory of the British arms transcends the glory of all former periods, in the situation of the contest between Russia and France, there can be nothing derogatory to the honour of his Majesty's crown in a proposition made directly to all the belligerents on the part of his Majesty, for a general pacification of Europe."

Mr. Bathurst

spoke in favour of the original Address. As a right hon. gentleman (Mr. Canning) had rightly stated, the merit of this Address consisted in its giving such general assurance of support, as could be denied only in extreme cases, and avoided entering into a detailed opinion on subjects which would be more properly discussed on future occasions. With respect to the Amendment moved by the hon. gentleman, he could not think that that hon. gentleman seriously expected the House to adopt it, but merely intended to have his opinions recorded and circulated on the several subjects to which he had alluded. It was not to be supposed that the House could now dispose of those questions which related to such a variety of matter, on which they had not yet received the necessary information. He was at a loss to know on what principle the hon. gentleman thought this the proper time to apply for peace. He had spoken, it was true, of Buonaparté as having been defeated in his object with respect to Russia, and he had stated, that the time most proper for endeavouring to obtain peace, was, when affairs were in a prosperous condition, while at the same time the tendency of his speech was to prove that the condition of lord Wellington was not prosperous. The hon. gentleman had, nevertheless, confirmed the Speech from the throne in its most material parts, for, notwithstanding his opinion as to details, he admitted that the enterprize of the enemy against Russia had been hastily conceived and badly executed. Were these the grounds on which we were to sue for peace? Did he suppose that this House would go to the foot of the throne, and recommend negociations for peace without knowing more of the real state of the belligerents? One of the arguments used by the hon. gentleman appeared to him very novel indeed, namely, that we were to propose peace to the enemy in order to give Spain time to choose a government for herself. To him it appeared, however, that the Spaniards must first repel the aggressor, and drive the enemy out of the country, and having done this, they might then choose their own government. The hon. gentleman had complained of omissions in the Speech, and particularly with respect to the war with America. The information given by his noble friend on this subject was quite satisfactory, and stated that a proposition for peace had been made to America, to which no answer bad yet been received. It would certainly be improper, and had never yet been looked for, on the first day of the meeting of parliament, to state all the negociations that had been carried on. His noble friend had expressed the pacific disposition of this country, by declaring that it had borne more from America than it would have borne from any other country. He thought this feeling, which he had no doubt was general, would have prevented any farther discussion on this subject. At any rate, this certainly was not the time to lay before the House any negociations that might have taken place, and it would be time enough afterwards to enter into discussions of this sort, when the documents should come in a regular way before them. The hon. gentleman, by the public prints, had given them before now an opportunity of knowing his sentiments on these subjects; and the present Amendment he had proposed was merely a repetition of them. He appeared anxious that this parliament should do something, because he thought it would be of short duration, owing to the circumstance of the King's health, and had hinted at some imaginary measure which he fancied to be or have been in contemplation unconstitutionally to lengthen the limits and enlarge the powers of parliament, but ministers had given no ground for such a supposition. This was a conjuration of the hon. gentleman's own, and having formerly made it the ground of a long advertisement, he had now made it the subject of his amended Address. Thus the hon. gentleman was either premature or unfounded in bringing forward his several points. He would have time afterwards to propose any motion on these subjects; but it was not to be supposed that on an Address, which ancient usage had made it customary to be an echo of the Speech from the throne, they were to discuss the whole state of the country, and anticipate the whole business of the session. And as if they had not enough on their hands, the hon. gentleman proposed also the present state of our currency as one of the subjects of address. This subject had been before the last parliament, and it must be recollected, that nobody had then proposed a remedy, whatever might be the extent of the evil. This might be again a subject of future inquiry, but why incorporate it into the Address, if no remedy was yet pretended to be found. Then the hon. gentleman came forward with a proposition for peace, for peace on any terms. He had brought in the war in Russia as an argument for peace, but this was the best thing that could have happened, to shew that there was still a power in Europe that not only dared to resist the conqueror, but to turn back his tide of success. This, however, was not a war in which this country was concerned as a principal. There was nobody here responsible for it, or answerable for its results. The hon gentleman therefore had better have gone into the war in Spain, for there were persons in England responsible for that. The hon. gentleman had descanted at some length on the burning of Moscow, and had represented it as pretended on our part, that the people had set fire to their own houses. Nobody, however, had ever stated, that the people had set fire to their own houses; the general feeling of the Russian people had only been adverted to as willing to submit to any sacrifice, and shewing their Jove of their own government, and their detestation of the enemy in all their towns and villages, by their continued and increasing exertions. The hon. gentleman had denied the similarity of the Russian retreat to that of Moreau; but if the Russians had retreated on a settled plan before a superior force, where was the dissimilarity? With respect, too, to the cavil at that passage of what had fallen from the noble secretary (lord Castlereagh) on the subject of the war in Spain: his noble friend had only spoken of Torres Vedras by way of comparison, and not as what was likely to happen. The hon. gentleman had also misrepresented our connection with Sweden. Much advantage had been gained by that alliance, and Russia had been thereby enabled to throw a strong force into Riga, which not only checked the progress of the enemy, but occupied a very considerable portion of his attention. With respect to the siege of Burgos, he could not see that government was to blame. It was the spontaneous act of the general alone, and a very natural consequence of the result of the battle of Salamanca. With regard to America, it would not be fair to discuss that subject, nor could it be expected by the House to have laid before them and the public the necessary information respecting the negociation, till ail hope should be lost of reconciliation. It was enough to say, that the necessary means had been taken to have a sufficient naval force in that quarter, and that, at the present moment, there were four times the number of British frigates on the American coast, that there were of those of the enemy. Some allusions had also been made to our military warfare in that quarter; but no man would say, that in the present circumstances, we should divert our military means from Spain to increase our force in Canada. At present, such a measure appeared unnecessary. As to Ireland, he should merely remark, that as the Prince Regent could only notice what had been done in parliament, mention of that subject would have been unnecessary, and on the subject of peace in general, all must know, that a proposition to that effect made to the enemy, if not attended with good, must lead to incalculable mischief.

Sir Gilbert Heathcote

, who had seconded the Amendment, now shortly stated his reasons for supporting it. He thought that the gallantry displayed by our troops in Spain was highly creditable; but he deeply regretted that no negociations for peace had been entered into. He was the last man that would think of a dishonourable peace: yet while we went on with warlike preparations, and opposed an undaunted front to the dangers which surrounded us, a desire of peace should animate and direct all our actions, and always be the leading principle of our conduct. The effects of the battle of Salamanca were to put lord Wellington in possession of Madrid. But the Spanish Cortes, then, instead of deliberating on measures for the welfare of the nation, were employed in re-establishing that detestable court, the Inquisition. The advantages of continental alliances had often been questioned; but it remained for our days to see this country make itself the principal in a continental war: and to find the war continued for the purpose of supporting our revenues by the increase of our maritime commerce. To him measures were every thing, men nothing; although there were certainly persons beside him for whose abilities he entertained the very highest respect. The present war, which had driven the middle ranks of society from the parlour to the garret, was now about to attack the rich; but he thought a favourable opportunity for peace presented itself, of which he trusted due advantage would be taken.

Mr. Ponsonby

, thinking he had been alluded to by a right hon. gentleman on the floor (Mr. Canning), when he spoke of an intended Amendment, assured that right hon. gentleman and the House, that he had no knowledge whatever of such Amendment, until he heard of it in his place this evening; and that it had never been his intention to offer any proposition of that kind. The Address proposed by the noble lord, was, as usual, a mere echo of the Speech; but the Amendment proposed by his hon. friend was of a nature widely different, it embraced a variety of topics, unconnected with the Speech or Address, and among other things, requested the Prince Regent to make propositions of peace to the enemy. This was by far the most important part of the Amendment. But before he came to it, he wished to make a few observations on the other subjects to which the hon. gentlemen who had preceded him in the debate had adverted. As to America the noble lord opposite to him had said, "that he was sure the gentlemen of the other side could not blame ministers for not having at once exerted the whole power of England against America, as, during the whole of the last session, they had not ceased to recommend conciliatory measures towards that country." If the noble lord meant to include him in those insinuations, he did not accurately recollect what he (Mr. P.) had then stated. When the noble lord came down to the House with his numerous evasions and tergiversations about the Orders of Council, wishing to retain them one day, to modify them another, to suspend them the next, and, lastly, consenting to revoke them, he had then clearly stated, that he was apprehensive those delays would prove fatal to the concession itself, which perhaps could no longer avert the threatened hostilities. He believed others had expressed the same opinion, but he was certain that he had. Some gentlemen had even gone further, and had said, that America, wearied by long refusals, would insist on her own terms; in which case he had declared that he would resist any pretensions contrary to the acknowledged rights and to the prosperity of England; that opinion he did not wish to retract; but before he expressed any opinion on the subject, he wished to know what had really passed in our negociations with America. He did not wish to praise or censure ministers without proofs. He had disapproved of their former conduct; it was with gladness he had heard them profess their conciliatory dispositions, and he would not now pass condemnation upon them without evidence. The noble lord opposite, adverting to the situation of affairs in the peninsula, had asserted, that surely ministers could not be censured if the exertions they had made had kept pace with the resources of the country; he was one of those who had repeatedly asserted, that Spain could not be saved by British but by Spanish troops. He had always thought, that the mode in which we assisted the Spaniards was injudicious, and he was still of the same opinion; if he was wrong, if the system adopted by ministers was preferable to his suggestions, how could they stand justified in having carried on so ill, a better system, that no lasting advantage had been derived from it? How stood government in the present instance? A most brilliant victory had been obtained by the marquis of Wellington; a victory owing entirely to his own genius, for, from what he had learned from good authority, there never was a victory which depended less upon chance, and the probabilities of which had been submitted to stricter calculations. Yet what was the result? The gallant chief had been obliged to evacuate Madrid, which he had wrested from the foe; he had been forced to raise the siege of Burgos, for want of sufficient means, pursued by that very army which had yielded the palm of victory to his superior genius. The noble lord had stated that Russia had demanded neither money nor military assistance from this country; and this he believed, for he saw no recommendation in the Speech to provide for assistance of that nature. Russia had not demanded of us to make any exertion in her behalf in the north; no, but in Spain, as exertions made by us there would be more beneficial to her and to Europe. Had, then, the noble lord and his colleagues done in Spain all that the resources of England allowed them to do, and still were our prospects in the peninsula no brighter than they have represented them to be? If so, it was useless to carry further an unprofitable contest; it was useless to waste the blood and the treasures of England for an object unattainable; and it became proved, that the power of England was not competent to drive the French out of the peninsula. But, on the other hand, the noble lord had asserted that the power of England was fully adequate to the task; if so, ministers alone were to blame if the French were not driven out of the peninsula. If to comply with the earnest wishes of Russia they wanted additional means, they were highly blameable in not asking them before the end of the last session of the last parliament. He did not wish, however, to condemn ministers without proofs, nor would he attach the foul blame to them until he was convinced they had deserved it. With regard to Russia, he professed to know nothing. They might be a barbarous, a semi-barbarous, or a civilized people, as they had been variously represented; but of this he was sure, that they had evinced feelings of which every civilized nation ought to be proud; feelings which neither philosophy nor refinement could teach, an invincible attachment to their native country. He could not forbear, on that head, paying his just tribute of applause to the Russians of all classes; to the government, to the army, and to the people; for all had vied with each other in sacrificing every thing for their country. How the contest might terminate he could not foresee, and, perhaps, he was not so sanguine as other people in his hopes of a successful issue; but this he was ready to acknowledge, that Russia had done more than was expected from her. She had done enough to disappoint sorely the invader, and to exceed all expectations which had been formed from the bravery of her hardy sons.—On the question of peace, as proposed in the Amendment, he was sorry, as he was at all times, to differ from his hon. friend. He was as desirous for peace as any man in England, could he see any way by which it could be attained; but the proposition of his hon. friend, if adopted, would go to put that desired blessing still farther from our reach; it would naturally raise the demands of the enemy, especially as the sufferings of the people formed the principal reason his hon. friend adduced to support his proposition. France would then say, the English government does not wish for peace, but the House of Commons forces them to it, owing to the misery of the people—let us keep up our demands, and we must have them on our own terms. He believed there was scarcely an instance, except during the American war, where parliament interfered, and made a peremptory call on government, or on the ministers of the crown to offer terms of peace. But these things did not stand on the same footing then as they did in the present instance. The war was not then a war between two independant countries, but between this country and a distant part of her own possessions, the inhabitants of which were anxious to procure their independence; and by acceding to whose wishes, our monarch must have alienated a great part of his own sovereignty. He doubted much if a king could make such an alienation of his territorial dominions, without the advice of his parliament. An alienation of territory naturally and necessarily required the advice of parliament, to give it validity; and he did not believe that any minister would have ventured on such a measure, without the advice and consent of parliament.—But he would detain the House no further on this subject. As to the other objects of the Amendment, to obtain information on the different topics in the Speech, he thought this might easily be obtained in a less objectionable way, and on the whole he should vote against the Amendment. All the objects referred to in the Speech, and in the proposed Address of the noble lord, would require, and would undoubtedly receive further discussion and enquiry; and he hoped to see his hon. friend employ those great abilities he possessed, in the investigation of each individually. The state of our relations with America, and the causes which had led to it, particularly; and also the Treaty with Sweden, he hoped to see discussed in their proper place. This day, however, he saw no reason why the Answer to the Speech from the throne should not be as usual; and, in so doing, he repeated it, he thought we were more likely to attain peace, than by adopting the way pointed out by his hon. friend.—Adverting lastly to the Roman Catholic question, he observed, that certainly the executive government was neither bound nor pledged to introduce that subject in the Speech. Considering, however, how connected that question was with the vital interests of the empire, it would have been wise in ministers to advise its being mentioned. Although not mandatory upon them in consequence of what had passed in the last parliament, yet it would have been politic and prudent to bring the matter forward under the sanction of government. From their silence, however, he concluded that they were still hostile to it; and the omission of that subject in the Speech, afforded him a proof that they did not intend to bring the subject forward. Inconsequence of this, and as a right hon. gentleman (Mr. Canning) who had last session made a motion in favour of the Roman Catholies, had now deposited his trust in the hands of a right hon. friend of his (Mr. Grattan) so properly qualified, he would now in the name and at the express desire of that right hon. friend, give notice to the House, that shortly after the Christmas recess, he would submit a motion to the House, on the necessity of repealing the disabilities under which the Roman Catholics still laboured.

Mr. Elliot

followed, and took up nearly the same grounds. He was happy to understand, that it was not the intention of his hon. friend to push his Amendment to a division. Had he been forced, however, to give a vote upon the subject, it must have been against the Amendment; because he thought that an Address, founded on the distresses of the country, and recommending the adoption of measures for procuring peace, would have the effect of retarding, rather than of accelerating that object—if, by a peace were meant the advantages which ought necessarily to result from the accomplishment of such a measure.

Mr. Vernon

also expressed his satisfaction, that the Amendment was not to be pressed to a division, as he must have been under the necessity of voting against it. Before parliament addressed the crown on the subject of peace, he thought they ought to be satisfied of two things, first, that peace was attainable; and secondly, that the mode pursued was the most likely mode of attaining it. In the present instance he was convinced of the reverse of both of these being the case; and besides such an Address at the present moment would be unwise, as tending to infuse a distrust of our sincerity into both the Spanish and Russian governments,—peculiarly unwise at the present moment, when we had been obliged to allow the capital of Spain to fall again into the hands of the invaders, and when the emperor of Russia had evinced his sincerity in the contest, by sacrificing his own capital to his political honour.

The question being called for, the Amendment was put and negatived, and the Address carried without a division.