HL Deb 27 July 1807 vol 9 c927
Lord Holland

rose to ask, whether it was the intention of his majesty's ministers to make any communication to parliament on a circumstance which was at present the subject of much conversation, he meant the report of hostilities having actually commenced be- tween this country and the United States of America? He should rejoice to hear that the report was untrue; and if that was the case, he was sure the noble lord on the opposite side (lord Hawkesbury) would be glad to have this opportunity afforded him of contradicting it; but if so great a calamity had really taken place, he trusted that his majesty's ministers would lose no time in laying before parliament the grounds of the dispute between the two countries. Indeed, he trusted that parliament would in this case insist upon having full information, and that so unfortunate an event had not occurred without ministers having done every thing in their power to avoid it.

Lord Hawkesbury

said, that the only answer he could give was, that he had no authority to make any communication at present on the subject to which the noble lord had alluded. That noble lord, however, did him no more than justice when he supposed that every thing had been done on the part of his majesty's ministers to avoid so unfortunate a result as hostilities between this country and the United States of America. No one could lament that event more than he would, if it should take place; but in that case he should certainly feel it his duty to lay before parliament, at as early a period as possible, every information which would be necessary for them to form an opinion on the subject. Their lordships, however, he was sure, must be sensible of the impropriety of any premature communication, and therefore would nut expect any from him at this moment.

Lord Holland

in explanation observed, that it was not his wish to urge his majesty's ministers to any premature communication. He was only anxious to take the first opportunity of expressing his sense of the calamity which was said to have occurred, and his hope that parliament would not separate without receiving full information respecting its cause.