HL Deb 24 March 1808 vol 10 cc1248-50
The Earl of Suffolk

rose pursuant to notice, to move for the Correspondence which had passed between his majesty's ministers and Mr. Garlike, respecting the hostile designs of the court of Denmark against this country, which it had been asserted, were made evident by that correspondence. It was desirable indeed that satisfactory evidence should be laid before the house, in proof of the expediency or necessity which induced ministers to embark in such a violent and unwarrantable measure as the attack upon Copenhagen. He had as yet heard no argument or explanation to satisfy his mind on these points. He was therefore anxious, that some proof might be adduced that would demonstrate that necessity, and rescue the name and character of the country from the shame and degradation which that ill-starred expedition must otherwise fix upon them. It was, moreover, necessary to vindicate the individual character of Mr. Garlike, with whose dispatches ministers had taken a liberty unauthorized by any practice of parliament with which he was acquainted. The noble lord concluded with moving an Address to his majesty, praying that directions be given to lay before the house such Correspondence as had taken place between Mr. Garlike and the Secretary of State from Nov. 1806 to July 1807, respecting the designs which, in conjunction with Russia, Denmark was supposed to be entertaining against tins country.

Lord Hawkesbary

observed, that if the noble earl had attended former debates, he must have known that the Papers he now moved for had already been refused, and that the motion, the object of which was to have them produced, had been negatived, after a mature and long discussion: such Papers having been produced in another place, was no reason why they should be laid before their lordships, the more so, as no special grounds had been stated for producing them, and as the subject to which they related had long since been thoroughly investigated and solemnly decided on. As no necessity whatever was shewn for the production of such papers at the present moment, he thought himself perfectly justified in opposing the motion which had been proposed by the noble earl.

Earl Grey

argued in support of the motion. When these very documents were moved for in another place, they had been refused on the plea that the production of them might be detrimental to the public interests; yet, when the same papers were afterwards moved for in order to vindicate the character of an individual, all apprehensions of public danger vanished, and in order to clear the character of that individual, the correspondence was produced. The noble lord concluded with a warm panegyric on the conduct of Mr. Garlike, which in all the situations that gentleman had been placed in, was uniformly marked by ability, integrity, and zeal.

Lord Hawkesbury

most cheerfully coin- cided in every praise that could be bestowed on Mr. Garlike, of whose merits he had long been so convinced, that he had omitted no opportunity of recommending him for promotion to his majesty. As to the Copenhagen Expedition, every thing that had since happened, only confirmed him in the opinion of the expediency, indeed the absolute necessity of that expedition.

Lord Grenville

supported the motion, contending that the house were still very imperfectly informed upon this subject. He did not approve of making public a whole series of diplomatic correspondence, of that they had in one instance experienced the ill effects, but in this case he thought it important that the information asked for should be granted, in order that the house might be better enabled to discuss these points immediately connected with it.

Lord Mulgrave,

conceiving that the noble lord had alluded to the correspondence laid before parliament when he (lord Mulgrave) quitted the foreign office, entered into a justification of his conduct upon that occasion, and said, that if there was any thing to blame in that transaction, noble lords ought to have made it the subject of inquiry. In the course of his speech he alluded to the appointment of Mr. Adair to Vienna, and to the rumours respecting the supposed secret mission of that gentleman upon a former occasion to St. Petersburgh, which probably a noble lord on the other side (the relation of the person who sent him) could explain.

Lord Holland

rose considerably agitated by the allusion reflecting on the conduct of Mr. Fox, in a transaction which happened nearly 20 years ago, and of which he was certainly too young at the time to know the circumstances. The insinuations upon it, however, had been so repeatedly proved to be absurd, that nothing but the perverse spirit which had been manifested that night, could have again brought it up. The noble lord had said, that if the conduct of the ministers who had made the coalition that ended so fatally for Austria was criminal, it ought to have been questioned. To this lord Holland replied, that probably his friends ought to have instituted an inquiry into it. Their motives of forbearance, he thought, would have been obvious to every noble lord, viz. that as the administration who bad made that coalition, had lost the person who was most distinguished for talents, they thought it illiberal to pursue the rest of the body.

Lord Mulgrave

disclaimed the slightest intention of wounding the feelings of the noble lord.—The question was then put, and negatived.