HC Deb 28 June 1815 vol 31 cc1033-6

The House haying resolved itself into a committee, to take into consideration his royal highness the Prince Regent's Message, recommending a Vote of Credit,

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that he did not anticipate any objection to the proposition which he was about to make to the committee. In the present state of public affairs, no one could deny that great exertions, and consequently great expense, were indispensably necessary. It was certainly peculiarly desirable, at the present critical moment, to arm the Crown with the power to make efforts commensurate to the occasions that might arise. There was only one observation to which he conceived that the motion with which he should conclude was at all liable, namely, that the recent and extraordinary success of the British arms did not render it necessary to vote so large a sum. On this subject he felt differently from those who might make such a remark. That success had proceeded in a great measure from the liberality with which Parliament had afforded the means of exertion, and thus pointed out the sure way by which its continuance might be rendered certain. Until the object of the present contest should be obtained by the establishment of a secure and honourable peace, true economy dictated that Government should be put in possession of ample means of maintaining it. The committee would also recollect, that any sums thus placed in the hands of the Crown, must subsequently be accounted for by ministers, and that it would be their duty, at the commencement of the next session, to show how the whole, or a part pf those sums bad been applied, as well as the necessity that required their application. He concluded, by moving as a resolution, "That a sum, not exceeding six millions, be granted to his Majesty in Great Britain, and 200,000l. for Ireland, to enable his Majesty to take such measures as the exigency of affairs may require, and that such sum of six millions be raised by Exchequer-bills in Great Britain, to be charged on the first aids to be granted in the nest session of parliament."

Mr. Whitbread

said, he should not oppose the motion, conceiving, that under the present circumstances it was material that the Crown should be provided with powers capable of meeting any exigency that might arise during the recess. He hoped that before the re-assembling of Parliament the blessings of peace would be restored to the country. Whatever difference of opinion might exist with respect to the original justice of the war (and no change whatever had taken place in his opinions on that subject), there could be but one sentiment on the splendour of our recent success; which, however, he trusted would not induce his Majesty's Government to go in pursuit of objects utterly foreign to our true policy. It was impossible to foresee what events might speedily occur. If the noble duke, who with his glorious army had achieved a triumph so memorable, should reach the' metropolis of France, he trusted that his protecting arm would avert the horrors which might otherwise be produced by that event. A vigorous effort had been made by his Majesty's Government to crush the resistance of the enemy. He congratulated them on their efforts having produced a result far exceeding the most sanguine expectations. He hoped that they would not now make a turn, and engage in the pursuit of objects, which, in his opinion, would be calculated to protract the existing warfare. There was one part of Europe in which he trusted no part of this vote of credit would be applied—he alluded to Spain. A great suspicion existed among those Spaniards who had escaped from the yoke which it was attempted to impose in that country on all that was liberal and enlightened, that ministers had assisted the government of Spain in their nefarious designs. He hoped and believed that this suspicion was unfounded, for he could conceive no appropriation of the public money so highly reprehensible.

Mr. Wynn

declared, that he could not allow the present question to pass without expressing his entire approbation of the proposed grant. He trusted that his Majesty's ministers would not be misled by the recent success of out arms, glorious as it had been, to relax in their efforts to obtain that which should be their sole object—a secure and honourable peace. It was his strong conviction, that however desirable the establishment of a legitimate government in France might be, it was not so much to any particular form of government in that country that Great Britain ought to look, as to depriving France of the power of further disturbing the peace of Europe, by taking further securities than had hitherto been afforded.

Mr. Bennet

hoped the noble lord would disavow, on the part of his Majesty's Government, the report, that money and arms had been furnished to the King of Spain, to enable him to carry on a war with the inhabitants of South America.

Lord Castlereagh,

said he could assure the hon. gentleman that the conduct of Government had been strictly conformable to the principle which they had originally laid down for themselves of abstaining from any interference whatever. In the pursuit of that conduct, as they had incurred the reproaches of the Spanish government, so now it appeared that they were subjected to the jealousy of those against whom the operations of that government had been recently directed.

The motion was then agreed to, and the House having resumed, the Report was ordered to be received to-morrow.