« PreviousContinue »
€ H A P. II.
Motion in the House of Commons for Papers respecting the Evacuation of
Egypt negatived. - Motion for the fame Purpose in the House of Lords negalired.-Motion in the Houfe of Commons for a separate Peacenegatived. - Motion in the same for a Difinissal of his Majesty's Ministersnegatired.--Navy and Army, and other Eftimates.-Supplies granted for three lunar Months.-Ways and Means.- Army Returns.-Army and Navy Sedition Bill. --Sufpenfion of Habeas Corpus.-- Alien Bill.-Prorogation of Parliament.- Proclamation respoiling the Composition and the Meeting of the Imperial Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. -- New Arrangements required by that great Event.
N the 13th of November, 1800, those counsels which opposed the between his majesty's minifters and ing army, presented a very serious the French government, respecting obstacle to the conclufion, and eren overtures towards opening a nego to the negotiation of a peace. Of tiation for peace, * were presented the two points most infifted on by to the house of lords by the secre- France, and which operated as imtary, lord Grenville, and to the pediments to peace, one was the house of commons by Mr. fecretary demand of fending fuccours to Dundas.-On the 18th, as no mo- Egypt; and it remained for the tion had been made by ministers house to inquire, why that difficolty for taking that correspondence into had not been precluded, by acceptconfideration,
ing the terms of the convention Mr. T. Jones begged the atten- agreed on, by general Kleber and tion of the house to the subject of the grand vizier, and guarantied by the evacuation of Egypt; a subject the lanction of a general officer, to which he had already called that Mr. Jones, after six motions that attention last session, and which he had made on the 23d of July, had now become, by the incapacity last feflion, on the subject of the of his majesty's ministers, the bone evacuation of Egypt, were read by of contention between England and the clerk, faid, that the object of France, and the ftumbling-block his motion this day would be, the of peace. From the correspondence production of a letter, on the subon the table, it was evident that ject of which almost the whole
The substance and result of that correspondence is given in our last volume, History of Europe, p. 213: and the correspondence itselt in the Appendix.
of the voluminous correspondence duty at Cyprus? What was the which he held in his hand turned. confequence? Did not eigh or Having read a number of extracts nine thousand of our good alies frown the correspondence, and par- perish in the field? Was not the ticularly lord Grenville's instruction very existence of the Ottoman goto Mr. Hammond, for holding a vernment threatened at its cenre ? conference with Mr. Otto, on the In Mr. Hammond's letter to 'ord fubject of the proposed armistice Grenville, alter the conference vith between Great Britain and France, Mr. Otto, which letter referred, alke-aiked if fir Sidney Smith was not moft in every line, to Egypt, flere joined with his brother - Mr. Spen- was this particular allertion, " Mr. ces Smith, as joint plenipoten- Otto added, that he would not ontiary of Great Britain at the court ceal from me, that the reinfore. of Conftantinople?. Had he not ment which France intended to power to treat at Acre ? Did not send to Egypt amounted to 1200 mm, ministry know that, in conjunc. and that the supplv of military stoes tion with the bahawi. Glezzar, fir confifted chiefly of 10,000 muskes. Sidney offered to convey the French The language of Mr. Otto, in tis out of Egypt, individually or in the part of our conversation, and of aggregate Did his majesty's mi- Mr. Talleyrand's letter, appeaed nitters, previous to January 24, to me to be fo decitive, and peremp1800, counternuand the orders under tory, that I was induced to alkof which, it was prelumed, he acted him, distinctly, whether I was la from the beginning of May. in the underftand, that this ftipulation vis preceding year, as if not warranted a point from which the French pin his conduct? Did they, to pre- vernment would not recede? N. rent a repetition of such conduet, Otto replied, that, in his opinio, express their anger within the eight the French government would nt following months, or even fome recede from it.” Mr. Jones hatime after he had acceded to the ing recapitulated the whole of te convention? Did not lord Elgin, correspondence, moved, “ That te belore and fince the prelent year, letter alluded to in general Klebe's intirea fir, Sidney Smith to get the letter to the Kaimakan of the luFrench eat of Egypt by all posible lime Porte, be now laid on the tale neatis ? Was not the intention of of that honse.” the courtof London, not to ratify Mr. Pitt replied, that it would e the original treaty, fent immedi- hardly pollible for his majesty's inairly 1o general Kleber in the first nifters io comply with the objet instances Ought it not to have of the prefent motion. It woul beta tent to the French general be a very difficult thing for through fir Sidney Smith ? Ought ment to undertake for the produnot our ally, the Ottoman Porte, to tion of a letter referred to in æ bave had the earliest notice? And, from general Kleber 10 the Kaim fanther, did not La Constance gal- kan, even fuppusing the reprefe. ley deliver the letter of lord Keith, tation given of it to be true, ad firit to Kleber, at Alexandria, and the description of it in the mi then proceed with the fame inftruc- tion proper, which it was not sons 10 fir' Sidney, who was un But the answer he had to giveo
the reasoning of the honourable gen- mies pursued their operations against tleman was exceedingly short. The them: and thus, it was evident that motin appeared to be altogether France fet great value on reinunnecessary. He was not aware of forcing those places, which we had any good end that could be an- an equal interest in preventing them Tweed, nor of any blame that could from doing. As we had, fince the be ixed on ministers, in confe. convention of El-Arilh, taken Malta quence of a French general being from the enemy, we were in a degree referred to a letter, which, evi- proportionate to the importance of derly, on the face of the transac- that island, masters of preventtioi, must have been written be. ing them from sending any reinfor government was acquainted forcements to Egypt, the maritimo wih the convention alluded to hav, places of which were, besides, ing been tigned by any British of- blocked by our fleets. So far then ficr. The letter therefore could it was plain, that, in respect to no state any new fact: nor had Egypt, France was not on higher M. Jones offered any thing in ground, now that we were in pofadition to what he had urged un selfion of Malta, than it was at the fucessfully in the last sellion of time when general Kleber first enpaliament. As foon as it was tered into the capitulation. And knwn in England, that the French he could not conceive what it was geeral had the faith of a British that gentlemen thought they could ofter pledged to him, and was complain of. When parliament dibosed to act upon it, instructions considered the conduct of his mawre sent out to have the convention jesty's ministers, in refusing to acexcuted, though the officer in quiesce in a convention which they qestion had, in fact, no authority did not know to have had the sancto sign it. The contents of lord tion of a Britil officer, it should Kith's letter were far from being discuss that conduct with a reference a :cret. It was printed, quoted, to what was the state of Kleber's arl universally known in July last, army at the time; with a reference wen Mr. Jones brought forward a to the condition of the war in Italy, qeftion on the same lubject, which at the beginning of the campaign, ti: house thought proper to nega- when it was extremely doubtful tie. The next thing for the house whether the issue might be favourtoconfider, was, in what manner able to one side or the other ; and tk present subject was connected most of all in this doubtful state of wh the late correspondence be- the termination of the conteft, with treen France and this country re- a reference to the effect which such lave to an 'armistice. By the ob- a reinforcement as that of the army lerations accompanying the motion, of Egypt might be likely, under all ilvas shewn, that, in making the the circumstances, to bave on the ppofal, the French government war on the continent. mant to derive great advantage Mr. Grey, in answer to these frm, the reliet it might be ena- pofitions, respecting the position of bid to fend both to Malta and Kleber's army, the state of the bel. Eypt; a relief which it could not ligerent armies in Italy, and the hoe for, while our fleets and ar- existing circumstances of th
all together, said, that the present either general or admiral, was emmation did not preclude the con- ployed, to take it for granted, that lideration of any of these topics, but whatever such an officer did in only asked for such information as name, and on the behalf of the would enable the house to judge country he served, was done acof admiral Keith's instructions. It cording to his instructions, until was not to be supposed, that the the contrary was proved ; otherpresent motion would stand alone; wise, nations could never conbat, if carried, be followed by fide in any proposal. Mr. Tierney others of a more comprehensive said, that it was a part of the national nature. With respect to fir Sidney compact to regard officers under Smith's powers, it was not necel government, abroad upon service sary for him to be specially instruct. in time of war, as having a certain ed, either to fanction or to reject portion of power, to be exercised a convention. Sir Sidney was the according to their difcretion, for the British officer commanding on the purpose of alleviating, or perhaps spot. And nothing was more un- putting an end to, the horrors of deniable, than that every military war. What was observed by Mr. commandant had power to accept Hobhouse, had a reference to what any ftipulations, which bis prudence had been asserted by Mr. Pitt, who might direct him to agree to with had spoken a second time in explathe enemy, without having any nation, on the present subject. Mr. fpecial authority for the purpose. Pitt, laid, that, before the order to On such occasions, government lord Keith went out, there was no were bound, in good faith, to admit supposition that fir Sidney Smith what their officers ftipulated : and, was then in Egypt, nor that he if it were otherwise, the conse. would be a party to the treaty bequences would be subversive of tween the Oltoman Porte and the thole principles on which war was French general. When he did take now conducted between civilized a part in that transaction, it was not nations. On these and other a direct part. He did not exercise grounds, Mr. Grey. defended. the any direct power: if he had done propriety and the necessity of the so, he would have done it without motion which he considered as a authority. He had no such power preliminary step to farther inquiry from his situation: for he was into the the conduct of ministers on not commander-in-chief. Large this important and interesting fub- powers, for obvious reasons, must jea. Mr. Grey's observations on be given to a commander-in-chief, the powers of fir Sidney Smith, subject to the discretion of the per were fupported by Mr. Sheridan, fon with whom they were intrusted, Mr. Tierney, and Mr. Hobhouse. But that neither was nor ought to Mr. Sheridan, observed, that the be the case with every officer of house of commons could not, with inferior station. Such person, howa out a neglect of its duty, omit en- ever great his talents, thould not tering into an inquiry into the mat- go beyond a specified point ; for ter before them : for he held it as otherwise he might treat for whole a principle, which should never be provinces, and counteract his fuper lost fight of, that when an officer, iior in commad. But Mr. Hobi
house oblerved, that if even a fub- them hy lord Keith, had done no. ordinate officer, intrusted with the thing to break the treaty. The direction of a particular enterprise, English committed no act of hoftientered, as fir Sidney Smith had done, lity. But the French, on receiving into a convention, which, frialy the communication from lord Keith, Speaking, he had no powers to con- had cholen to break it themselvesa ciude, many examples could be If there was any breach of faith, it found, of cases in which the com- was on the side of the French. When mander-in chief thought himself government heard that the French bound to ratify what the fubordi had trusted and acted on the belief nate officer had done, and in which that this country would consent 10 government had ratified the conthe convention, it sent out orders lent of the commanding officer. Was not to ratify, but to respect ita not this the case at Cape Nicola With regard to the motion before Mole, when general Whitlock, the house, he could not recollect though a subordinate officer, with that he had ever heard one fupport out any specific, powers, and with-ed by less argument. He readily out the consent of the commander- allowed, that the publication of a in chief, agreed to a convention letter was not a suficient means of which general Williamson, the con- information for the purpose of founde mander-in-chief, afterwards thought ing on it any specific motion. Buty himself bound to ratify, and which if this was the intention, the fupe was afterwards ratified by govern- porters of the motion ought to have ment? An objection had been argued from the contents of the made to the form in which the letter, that it would afford ground on motion was worded. This, indeed, which to rest a motion. Mr. Hobhouse did not think quite Mr. Jones, as a proof that this fo accurate, and recommended. it country was a party in the convento his honourable friend to make tion of El-Aril, stated, that it was some alteration in it.
an article in this, that patsports Mr. Yorke, after observing that fould be given to the French by the motion was not of a parliamen. the Porte, and by its allies, Rusia tary form, because parliament could and England. As to the form of have no power over a letter which the motion, said Mr. Jones, I am must be in the poffeffion of general prepared. On such occafions as 'Kleber, exprefled bis aftonithment thele, I generally go doubly armed, that any one could have the confi- and now move, “ That an humble denie to say, in that house, that the address be presented to his majesty, Britifla fleet was in the leatt degree that he will be graciously pleafed to injured by that which took place, on give direcijans, that copies of all our behalf, in Egypt; and that the letters from the commander-in-chief more especially after, we had been of the fleet in the Mediterranean to in poflefiion of the intercepted general Kleber be laid on the table French correspondence on that sub- of this honse.” This motion was ject. thus is whers. rejected by 80 noes against 12 Mr. Percival said that the Enge ayes. lith, after the orders from govern- The repeated miscarriage of Mrs ment had been communicated to Jones's motions, in the house of