Page images
PDF
EPUB

King's servants a communication of the papers has denied, I still affirm that it was the word he described in the motion, and I am persuaded made use of ; but if he had used any other, I am that the alarming state of facts, as well as the sure every noble Lord will agree with me, that strength of reasoning with which the noble Duke his meaning was exactly what I have expressed has urged and enforced that necessity, must have it. Whether he said course or train is indifferbeen powerfully felt by your Lordships. What ent. He told your Lordships that the negotiaI mean to say upon this occasion may seem, per- tion was in a way that promised a happy and haps, to extend beyond the limits of the motion honorable conclusion. His distinctions are mean, before us. But I flatter myself, my Lords, that frivolous, and puerile. My Lords, I do not unif I am honored with your attention, it will ap- derstand the exalted tone assumed by that noble pear that the meaning and object of this question Lord. In the distress and weakness of this counare naturally connected with considerations of try, my Lords, and conscious as the ministry the most extensive national importance. For ought to be how much they have contributed to entering into such considerations, no season is that distress and weakness, I think a tone of improper, no occasion should be neglected. modesty, of submission, of humility, would beSomething must be done, my Lords, and imme- come them better ; " quædam causæ modestiam diately,' to save an injured, insulted, undone desiderant."2 Before this country they stand as country; if not to save the state, my Lords, at the greatest criminals. Such I shall prove them least to mark out and drag to public justice those to be ; for I do not doubt of proving, to your servants of the Crown, by whose ignorance, neg. Lordships' satisfaction, that since they have been lect, or treachery this once great, flourishing intrusted with the King's affairs, they have done people are reduced to a condition as deplorable every thing that they ought not to have done, and at home as it is despicable abroad. Examples hardly any thing that they ought to have done. are wanted, my Lords, and should be given to The noble Lord talks of Spanish punctilios in the world, for the instruction of future times, the lofty style and idiom of a Spaniard. We are even though they be useless to ourselves. I do to be wonderfully tender of the Spanish point of not mean, my Lords, nor is it intended by the honor, as if they had been the complainants, as motion, to impede or embarrass a negotiation if they had received the injury. I think he which we have been told is now in a prosperous would have done better to have told us what train, and promises a happy conclusion. care had been taken of the English honor. My

[Lord Weymouth.—I beg pardon for inter- Lords, I am well acquainted with the character rupting the noble Lord; but I think it necessary of that nation—at least as far as it is representto remark to your Lordships that I have not said ed by their court and ministry, and should think a single word tending to convey to your Lord- this country dishonored by a comparison of the ships any information or opinion with regard to English good faith with the punctilios of a Spanthe state or progress of the negotiation. I did, iard. My Lords, the English are a candid, an with the utmost caution, avoid giving to your ingenuous people. The Spaniards are as mean Lordships the least intimation upon that matter.] and crafty as they are proud and insolent. The

I persectly agree with the noble Lord. I did integrity of the English merchant, the generous not mean to refer to any thing said by his Lord. spirit of our naval and military officers, would ship. He expressed himself, as he always does, be degraded by a comparison with their merwith moderation and reserve, and with the great- chants or officers. With their ministers I have est propriety. It was another noble Lord, very often been obliged to negotiate, and never met high in office, who told us he understood that with an instance of candor or dignity in their the negotiation was in a favorable train. proceedings; nothing but low cunning, trick,

(Earl of Hillsborough. I did not make use and artifice. After a long experience of their of the word train. I know the meaning of the want of candor and good faith, I found myself word too well. In the language from which it compelled to talk to them in a peremptory, dewas derived, it signifies protraction and delay, cisive language. On this principle 1 submitted which I could never mean to apply to the pres- my advice to a trembling council for an immeent negotiation.]

diate declaration of a war with Spain. Your This is the second time that I have been in- Lordships well know what were the consequenterrupted. I submit to your Lordships whether ces of not following that advice. Since, how. this be fair and candid treatment. I am sure it ever, for reasons unknown to me, it has been is contrary to the orders of the House, and a thought advisable to negotiate with the court of gross violation of decency and politeness. I Spain, I should have conceived that the great listen to every noble Lord in this House with and single object of such a negotiation would attention and respect. The noble Lord's design have been, to obtain complete satisfaction for in interrupting me is as mean and unworthy as the injury done to the crown and people of Enthe manner in which he has done it is irregular gland. But, if I understand the noble Lord, the and disorderly. He flatters himself that by break- only object of the present negotiation is to find ing the thread of my discourse, he shall confuse a salvo for the punctilious honor of the Spanme in my argument. But, my Lords, I will not iards. The absurdity of such an idea is of itsubmit to this treatment. I will not be interrupted. When I have concluded, let him an

a Some causes call for modesty. swer me, if he can. As to the word which he

3 In 1761. See p. 63.

self insupportable. But, my Lords, I object to country ever produced (it is hardly necessary to our negotiating at all, in our present circum- mention the name of Sir Walter Raleigh), sacristances. We are not in that situation in which ficed by the meanest prince that ever sat upon the a great and powerful nation is permitted to ne- throne, to the vindictive jealousy of that haughty gotiate. A foreign power has forcibly robbed court. James the First was base enough, at his Majesty of a part of his dominions. Is the the instance of Gondomar, to suffer a sentence island restored? Are you replaced in statu quo? against Sir Walter Raleigh, for another supposed If that had been done, it might then perhaps, offense, to be carried into execution almost twelve have been justifiable to treat with the aggressor years after it had been passed. This was the upon the satisfaction he ought to make for the pretense. His real crime was, that he had morinsult offered to the Crown of England. But tally offended the Spaniards, while he acted by will you descend so low? Will you so shame- the King's express orders, and under his comfully betray the King's honor, as to make it mat- mission. ter of negotiation whether his Majesty's posses- My Lords, the pretended disavowal by the sions shall be restored to him or not?

court of Spain is as ridiculous as it is false. If I doubt not, my Lords, that there are some your Lordships want any other proof, call for important mysteries in the conduct of this affair, your own officers who were stationed at Falkwhich, whenever they are explained, will ac- land Island. Ask the officer who commanded count for the profound silence now observed by the garrison, whether, when he was summoned the King's servants. The time will come, my to surrender, the demand was made in the name Lords, when they shall be dragged from their of the Governor of Buenos Ayres or of his Cathconcealments. There are some questions which, olic Majesty ? Was the island said to belong sooner or later, must be answered. The minis- to Don Francisco Buccarelli or to the King of try, I find, without declaring themselves explic- Spain ? If I am not mistaken, we have been in itly, have taken pains to possess the public with possession of these islands since the year 1764 an opinion, that the Spanish court have con- or 1765. Will the ministry assert, that, in all stantly disavowed the proceedings of their gov- that time, the Spanish court have never once ernor; and some persons, I see, have been shame- claimed them? That their right to them has less and daring enough to advise his Majesty to never been urged, or mentioned to our ministry? support and countenance this opinion in his speech if it has, the act of the Governor of Buenos from the throne. Certainly, my Lords, there Ayres is plainly the consequence of our refusal never was a more odious, a more infamous false to acknowledge and submit to the Spanish claims. hood imposed on a great nation. It degrades For five years they negotiate ; when that fails, the King's honor. It is an insult to Parliament. they take the island by force. If that measure His Majesty has been advised to confirm and had arisen out of the general instructions congive currency to an absolute falsehood. I beg stantly given to the Governor of Buenos Ayres, your Lordship's attention, and I hope I shall be why should the execution of it have been deferunderstood, when I repeat, that the court of red so long? Spain's having disavowed the act of their gov- My Lords, if the falsehood of this pretended ernor is an absolute, a palpable falsehood. Let disavowal had been confined to the court of me ask, my Lords, when the first communica- Spain, I should have admitted it without contion was made by the court of Madrid of their cern. I should have been content that they being apprised of the taking of Falkland's Isl-themselves had left a door open for excuse and and, was it accompanied with an offer of instant accommodation. The King of England's honor restitution, of immediate satisfaction, and the is not touched till he adopts the falsehood, delivpunishment of the Spanish governor ? If it was ers it to his Parliament, and adopts it as his own. not, they have adopted the act as their own, and I can not quit this subject without comparing the very mention of a disavowal is an impudent the conduct of the present ministry with that of insult offered to the King's dignity. The King a gentleman (Mr. George Grenville) who is now of Spain disowns the thief, while he leaves him no more. The occasions were similar. The unpunished, and profits by the theft. In vulgar French had taken a little island from us [in 1764] English, he is the receiver of stolen goods, and called Turk's Island. The minister then at the ought to be treated accordingly.

head of the treasury (Mr. Grenville) took the If your Lordships will look back to a period business upon himself. But he did not negoof the English history in which the circumstan- tiate. He sent for the French embassador and ces are reversed, in which the Spaniards were made a peremptory demand. A courier was the complainants, you will see how differently dispatched to Paris, and returned in a few days, they succeeded. You will see one of the ablest with orders for instant restitution, not only of men, one of the bravest officers this or any other the island, but of every thing that the English

subjects had lost.5 * History confirms this statement. Adolphus says

Such, then, my Lords, are the circumstances that when Lord Weymouth inquired "whether Grimaldi had instructions to disavow the conduct of • A similar measure of spirit was adopted by the Buccarelli, he received an answer in the negative." same minister with the Spaniards, who had driven -Vol. i., p. 431. It was not until January 22d, 1771, our settlers from Honduras, to whom fourteen days nearly three months after, that the disavowal was had been allowed; upon which, all was instantly made. See Adolphus, i.. 435.

and amicably adjusted.

I very

of our difference with Spain ; and in this situa- | Spain. My Lords, I disclaim such counsels, and tion, we are told that a negotiation has been I beg that this declaration may be remembered. entered into; that this negotiation, which must Let us have peace, my Lords, but let it be honhave commenced near three months ago, is still orable, let it be secure. A patched-up peace depending, and that any insight into the actual will not do. It will not satisfy the nation, state of it will impede the conclusion. My Lords, though it may be approved of by Parliament. I am not, for my own part, very anxious to draw I distinguish widely between a solid peace, and from the ministry the information which they the disgraceful expedients by which a war may take so much care to conceal from us.

be deferred, but can not be avoided. I am as well know where this honorable negotiation will tender of the effusion of human blood as the noend—where it must end. We may, perhaps, be ble Lord who dwelt so long upon the miseries of able to patch up an accommodation for the pres- war. If the bloody politics of some noble Lords ent, but we shall have a Spanish war in six had been followed, England, and every quarter months. Some of your Lordships may, perhaps, of his Majesty's dominions would have been glutremember the Convention. For several success- ted with blood—the blood of our own countryive years our merchants had been plundered; no men. protection given them; no redress obtained for My Lords, I have better reasons, perhaps, than ihem. During all that time we were contented many of your Lordships for desiring peace upon to complain and to negotiate. The court of the terms I have described. I know the strength Madrid were then as ready to disown their offi- and preparation of the house of Bourbon ; I know cers, and as unwilling to punish them, as they the defenseless, unprepared condition of this are at present. Whatever violence happened country. I know not by what mismanagement was always laid to the charge of one or other we are reduced to this situation ; but when I of their West India governors. To-day it was consider who are the men by whom a war, in the Governor of Cuba, to-morrow of Porto Rico, the outset at least, must be conducted, can I but Carthagena, or Porto Bello. If in a particular wish for peace? Let them not screen theminstance redress was promised, how was that selves behind the want of intelligence. They promise kept? The merchant who had been had intelligence: I know they had. If they had robbed of his property was sent to the West In- not, they are criminal, and their excuse is their dies, to get it, if he could, out of an empty chest. crime. But I will tell these young ministers the At last, the Convention was made ; but, though true source of intelligence. It is sagacity. Saapproved by a majority of both houses, it was gacity to compare causes and effects; to judge received by the nation with universal discontent. of the present state of things, and discern the I myself heard that wise man (Sir Robert Wal- future by a careful review of the past. Oliver pole) say in the House of Commons, “ 'Tis true Cromwell

, who astonished mankind by his intelwe have got a Convention and a vote of Parlia-ligence, did not derive it from spies in the cabiment; but what signifies it? We shall have a net of every prince in Europe : he drew it from Spanish war upon the back of our Convention." the cabinet of his own sagacious mind. He obHere, my Lords, I can not help mentioning a served facts, and traced them forward to their very striking observation made to me by a noble consequences. From what was, he concluded Lord [Granville), since dcad. His abilities did what must be, and he never was deceived. In honor to this House and to this nation. In the the present situation of affairs, I think it would upper departments of government he had not his be treachery to the nation to conceal from them equal ; and I feel a pride in declaring, that to his their real circumstances, and, with respect to a patronage, his friendship, and instruction, I owe foreign enemy, I know that all concealments are whatever I am. This great man has often observ- vain and useless. They are as well acquainted ed to me, that, in all the negotiations which pre- with the actual force and weakness of this counceded the Convention, our ministers never found try as any of the King's servants. This is no out that there was no ground or subject for any time for silence or reserve. I charge the minnegotiation. That the Spaniards had not a right isters with the highest crimes that men in their to search our ships, and when they attempted to stations can be guilty of. I charge them with regulate that right by treaty, they were regu- having destroyed all content and unanimity at lating a thing which did not exist. This I take home by a series of oppressive, unconstitutional to be something like the case of the ministry. measures; and with having betrayed and delivThe Spaniards have seized an island they have ered up the nation defenseless to a foreign enno right to; and his Majesty's servants make it emy. a matter of negotiation, whether his dominions Their utmost vigor has reached no farther shall be restored to him or not.

than to a fruitless, protracted negotiation. When From what I have said, my Lords, I do not they should have acted, they have contented doubt but it will be understood by many Lords, themselves with talking about it, goddess, and and given out to the public, that I am for hurry about it.” If we do not stand forth, and do our ing the nation, at all events, into a war with duty in the present crisis, the nation is irretriev

ably undone. I despise the little policy of conThe Convention here referred to was the one cealments. You ought to know the whole of made by Sir Robert Walpole in 1739, which Lord your situation. If the information be new to the Chatham at the time so strenuously resisted. ministry, let them take care to profit by it. I mean to rouse, to alarm the whole nation ; to teen thousand men. Add to these the number rouse the ministry, if possible, who seem to newly raised, and you have about twenty-five awake to nothing but the preservation of their thousand men to man your fleet. I shall come places—to awaken the King.

presently to the application of this force, such Early in the last spring, a motion was made as it is, and compare it with the services which in Parliament for inquiring into the state of the I know are indispensable. But first, my Lords, navy, and an augmentation of six thousand sea- let us have done with the boasted vigor of the men was offered to the ministry. They refused ministry. Let us hear no more of their activity. to give us any insight into the condition of the If your Lordships will recall to your minds the navy, and rejected the augmentation. Early in state of this country when Mahon was taken, June they received advice of a commencement and compare what was done by government at of hostilities by a Spanish armament, which had that time with the efforts now made in very warned the King's garrison to quit an island be similar circumstances, you will be able to delonging to his Majesty. From that to the 12th termine what praise is due to the vigorous operof September, as if nothing had happened, they ations of the present ministry. Upon the first lay dormant. Not a man was raised, not a sin intelligence of the invasion of Minorca, a great gle ship was put into commission. From the fleet was equipped and sent out, and near double 12th of September, when they heard of the first the number of seamen collected in half the time blow being actually struck, we are to date the taken to fit out the present force, which, pitiful beginning of their preparations for defense. Let as it is, is not yet, if the occasion was ever so us now inquire, my Lords, what expedition they pressing, in a condition to go to sea. Consult have used, what vigor they have exerted. We the returns which were laid before Parliament have heard wonders of the diligence employed in the year 1756. I was one of those who urged in impressing, of the large bounties offered, and a parliamentary inquiry into the conduct of the the number of ships put into commission. These ministry. That ministry, my Lords, in the midst have been, for some time past, the constant top- of universal censure and reproach, had honor and ics of ministerial boast and triumph. Without virtue enough to promote the inquiry themselves. regarding the description, let us look to the sub- They scorned to evade it by the mean expedient stance. I tell your Lordships that, with all this of putting a previous question. Upon the strictvigor and expedition, they have not, in a period est inquiry, it appeared that the diligence they of considerably more than two months, raised had used in sending a squadron to the Mediterten thousand seamen. I mention that number, ranean, and in their other naval preparations, meaning to speak largely, though in my own was beyond all example. breast I am convinced that the number does not My Lords, the subject on which I am speakexceed eight thousand. But it is said they have ing seems to call upon me, and I willingly take ordered forty ships of the line into commission. this occasion, to declare my opinion upon a quesMy Lords, upon this subject I can speak with tion on which much wicked pains have been knowledge. I have been conversant in these employed to disturb the minds of the people and matters, and draw my information from the great- to distress government. My opinion may not be est and most respectable naval authority that very popular; neither am I running the race of ever existed in this country-I mean the late popularity. I am myself clearly convinced, and Lord Anson. The merits of that great man are I believe every man who knows any thing of the not so universally known, nor his memory so English navy will acknowledge, that without warmly respected as he deserved. To his wis. impressing, it is impossible to equip a respectdom, to his experience and care (and I speak it able fleet within the time in which such armawith pleasure), the nation owes the glorious na- ments are usually wanted. If this fact be ad. val successes of the last war. The state of facts mitted, and if the necessity of arming upon a laid before Parliament in the year 1756, so en- sudden emergency should appear incontrovertitirely convinced me of the injustice done to his ble, what shall we think of those men who, in character, that in spite of the popular clamors the moment of danger, would stop the great deraised against him, in direct opposition to the sense of their country? Upon whatever princicomplaints of the merchants, and of the whole ple they may act, the act itself is more than faccity (whose favor I am supposed to court upon tion—it is laboring to cut off the right hand of all occasions), I replaced him at the head of the the community. I wholly condemn their conAdmiralty, and I thank God that I had resolution duct, and am ready to support any motion that enough to do so. Instructed by this great sea- may be made for bringing those aldermen, who man, I do affirm, that forty ships of the line, with have endeavored to stop the execution of the Adtheir necessary attendant frigates, to be properly miralty warrants, to the bar of this House. My manned, require forty thousand seamen. If your Lords, I do not rest my opinion merely upon neLordships are surprised at this assertion, you cessity. I am satisfied ihat the power of im. will be more so when I assure you, that in the pressing is founded upon uninterrupted usage. last war, this country maintained eighty-five it is the “consuetudo regni" (the custom of the thousand seamen, and employed them all. realm), and part of the common law prerogative

Now, my Lords, the peace establishment of of the Crown. When I condemn the proceed. your navy, supposing it complete and effective ings of some persons upon this occasion, let me (which, by-the-by, ought to be known), is six- do justice to a man whose character and conduct

have been most infamously traduced ; I mean ice shall accept of the command and stake his the late Lord Mayor, Mr. Treacothick. In the reputation upon it. We have one ship of the midst of reproach and clamor, he had firmness line at Jamaica, one at the Leeward Islands, and enough to persevere in doing his duty. I do not one at Gibraltar! Yet at this very moment, for know in office a more upright magistrate, nor, aught that the ministry know, both Jamaica and in private life, a worthier man.

Gibraltar may be attacked ; and if they are atPermit me now, my Lords, to state to your tacked (which God forbid), they must fall. NothLordships the extent and variety of the service ing can prevent it but the appearance of a supewhich must be provided for, and to compare rior squadron. It is true that, some two months them with our apparent resources. A due at- ago, four ships of the line were ordered from tention to, and provision for these services, is Portsmouth and one from Plymouth, to carry a prudence in time of peace; in war it is necessity. relief from Ireland to Gibraltar.

These ships, Preventive policy, my Lords, which obviates or my Lords, a week ago were still in port. Il

, avoids the injury, is far preferable to that vin- upon their arrival at Gibraltar, they should find dictive policy which aims at reparation, or has the bay possessed by a superior squadron, the no object bat revenge. The precaution that relief can not be landed; and if it could be land. meets the disorder is cheap and easy; the rem- ed, of what force do your Lordships think it conedy which follows it, bloody and expensive. The sists ? Two regiments, of four hundred men first great and acknowledged object of national each, at a time like this, are sent to secure a defense in this country is to maintain such a su- place of such importance as Gibraltar ! a place perior naval force at home, that even the united which it is universally agreed can not hold out fleets of France and Spain may never be masters against a vigorous attack from the sea, if once of the Channel. If that should ever happen, the enemy should be so far masters of the bay what is there to hinder their landing in Ireland, as to make a good landing even with a moderate or even upon our own coast? They have often force. The indispensable service of the lines made the attempt. In King William's time it requires at least four thousand men.

The pressucceeded. King James embarked on board a ent garrison consists of about two thousand three French fleet, and landed with a French army in hundred; so that if the relief should be fortuIreland. In the mean time the French were nate enough to get on shore, they will want eight masters of the Channel, and continued so until hundred men of their necessary complement. their fleet was destroyed by Admiral Russel. Let us now, my Lords, turn our eyes homeAs to the probable consequences of a foreign ward. When the defense of Great Britain or army landing in Great Britain or Ireland, I shall Ireland is in question, it is no longer a point of offer your Lordships my opinion when I speak honor; it is not the security of foreign comof the actual condition of our standing army. merce or foreign possessions; we are to con

The second naval object with an English min- tend for the being of the state. I have good ister should be to maintain at all times a power- authority to assure your Lordships that the ful Western squadron. In the profoundest peace Spaniards have now a fleet at Ferrol, completeit should be respectable ; in war it should be ly manned and ready to sail, which we are in formidable. Without it, the colonies, the com- no condition to meet. We could not this day merce, the navigation Great Britain, lie at send out eleven ships of the line properly equipthe mercy of the house of Bourbon. While I ped, and to-morrow the enemy may be masters had the honor of acting with Lord Anson, that of the Channel. It is unnecessary to press the able officer never ceased to inculcate upon the consequences of these facts upon your Lordminds of his Majesty's servants, the necessity of ships' minds. If the enemy were to land in full constantly maintaining a strong Western squad force, either upon this coast or in Ireland, where ron; and I must vouch for him, that while he is your army? Where is your defense ? My was at the head of the marine, it was never neg- Lords, if the house of Bourbon make a wise and lected.

vigorous use of the actual advantages they have The third object indispensable, as I conceive, over us, it is more than probable that on this day in the distribution of our navy, is to maintain month we may not be a natien. What military such a force in the Bay of Gibraltar as may be force can the ministry show to answer any sudsufficient to cover that garrison, to watch the den demand? I do not speak of foreign expemotions of the Spaniards, and to keep open the ditions or offensive operations ; I speak of the communication with Minorca. The ministry interior desense of Ireland and of this country. will not betray such a want of information as to You have a nominal army of seventy battalions, dispate the truth of any of these propositions. besides guards and cavalry. But what is the But how will your Lordships be astonished when establishment of these battalions ? Supposing I inform you in what manner they have provided they were complete in the numbers allowed, for these great, these essential objects? As to which I know they are not, each regiment the first-I mean the defense of the Channel would consist of something less than four hunI take upon myself to affirm to your Lordships, dred men, rank and file. Are these battalions that, at this hour (and I beg that the date may complete? Have any orders been given for an be taken down and observed), we can not send augmentation, or do the ministry mean to conout eleven ships of the line so manned and equip- tinue them upon their present low establishment? ped, that any officer of rank and credit in the serv- When America, the West Indies, Gibraltar, and

« PreviousContinue »