« AnteriorContinua »
brave officers at home, who would have equally signalized themselves, had they had the same opportunities.
The wisdom and magnanimity displayed by the Emperor of Russia, and the vigour and firmness of the Ottoman Porte, were, he faid, bighly important, and he congratulated the House on the almost universal appearance of the same dispositions in the different nations now struggling under the yoke of France, which muft neceffarily afford a powerful encouragement to other nations, and convince them that it was the only line of conduct confiftent with honour and security. In every view of vigilant perseverance, of undaunted bravery, of consummate 1kill, our admirals, officers, and seamen had fet so glorious an example to the universe, and had rendered such eminent fervice to their country, that it went beyond the power of human panegyric to do justice to their merits. It called for the beartfelt gratitude of every man who had British blood in his veins, or British interests at heart. And he trusted that Parliament would feel it to be iheir duty, whenever the time should come that the services of those brave and distinguished men should no longer be necessary, or that age should make it detirable for them to retire, that such becoming and ample provision should be made for them as would shew that the nation were not un mindful of the benefits they had derived from their courage and exertions. His Lord'hip complained of being prevented from expre!ling a variety of other sentiments, which he had intended to state on the present occafion, by a severe indispolition, under which he laboured, and therefore would content himself with moving the Address, which he read, and which was an echo to the Speech. Before he fa: down, however, Lord Darnley faid, he must take notice of one matter which he had accidentally omitted to touch upon, viz. that part of his Majesty's Speech in which the pleasing information was given of the flattering fate of our Resources, of Public Credit, and of the Trade and Commerce of the Country; this, in the sixtiz year of an expensive war, compared with the miferable fitua, tion of the resources and commerce of the enemy, who were 110f only destitute of public credit, but had nearly exhausted the whole of the means of carrying on the war, which they had hitherto drawn from general rapine, and a species of robbery and conduct equally unparalleled in history, and repugnant to all laws human and divine, must exait the isopes of all who heard him, and afford rational expectations of our speedily ohtaining that defirable object, a safe and permanent peace. He could, he declared, with confidence affure his Majesty, that he might safely rely on the real and loyalty of his Pailinment, and
the spirit and good sense of the nation; as that House had in the course of the war afforded repeated instances of their zeal and attachment to the Crown and the Constitution ; and he was persuaded there was scarcely one individual in the country, who would not manifesi his spirit and good sense by chearfully bearing his share of the burthens, which the exigency of affairs might render it necessary to be imposed, to support and preferve the inestimable blefings which they enjoyed under his Majesty's mild and beneficent government.
Lord Craven seconded the motion. Nothing, he said, could afford more sincere pleasure, or inspire more pride in the heart of a man, than the description which his Majefly's gracious speech had given of the present condition of this country. After being delerted in the course of the war by the Allies whose cause we had come forward to efpoufe, it was gratifying to see the noble stand that we had inade, and the success we had ohtained against the common enemy of inankind. By our fingle exertions the navy of the French Republic was annihilated. Her boasted Army of England had already lost it's title, and every enterprize the had undertaken against us was completely defeated. Not only our coasts at home, but our most valuable poffeffions abroad were fecured ; domestic treason, aided by her means, was quelled, and the progreis of her ambition abroad was checked, if not destroyed. Through the vigilance of our marine, of all the squadrons which the French häd fent out for the infidious purpole of aflifting the rebellion they had created in Ireland, but one had reached the place of it's destination, and even that had failed of withstanding the efforts of his Majesty's well directed force. He heartily concurred, therefore, with the noble Earl in the just eulogium he had paid to the virtue and gallantry of our naval officers and fcamen, whose services demanded every return of gratitude from their country. He concurred allo with the noble Earl with regard to the advantages which would naturally flow froin the recent fucceffes. There was but one branch of commerce which this country did not before almost exclusively poffels, namely, that of the Levant, and of that trade France would now be totally deprived, and this country would reap all the advantages which had here: tofore belonged to our enemy in that quarter, and which alone contributed to the maintenance of her navy. The prefent fituation of Buonaparte was also an advantage of the victory of the Nile. Cut off from all means of retreat, and beset on every fide with obstacles. And this was not all these fucceffes had already given spirit and alacrity to several of the foreign Powers, who had unequivocally expressed their deterinination to join
against the common enemy. Rufiia and the Ottoman Porte had already declared themselves, and he had no doubt but that Austria, though unwilling, would find it her interest to join in the great united exertion which the example of our Government had recommended to all Europe, and without which it would be vain to look either for security or peace.
The Marquis of Lansdown faid, My Lords, I never had the honour to join my feeble voice with that of Noble Lords who went before me with more pleasure, than I now join in the just tribute of gratitude and applause that has been paid to our gallant navy for their wonderful, glorious, and patriotic exertions in the service of their country. I thould have particular delight in dwelling on their merits, if I could hope to add any thing to what has been said so ably and so sensibly by the Noble Lords who have
The merits of the brave and gallant Officers who atchieved them, have been done ample justice to by the Noble Mover and Seconder of the Addreis.
Those Commanders so warmly commended this day, have done their duty, and done as much as inen could do for their Country; but there remains a duty for us to do at home -a duty which we are bound to perform, viz. a duty which will reft upon the King's Ministers and upon your Lordships to perform, the duty of drawing from those victories the advantages they are calculated to secure, and to see that a proper use and a right application is made by his Majesty's Ministers of the glorious events which have been dwelt on with so much rapture this day. Every wise man knows, that the greatest victories are but fleeting objects unless properly used: and however fascinating at the first view, will pass away and give room to new events without turning to any folid advantage, unless they are made the ground of obtaining that most desirable of all acquirements, which I have again and again recommended in this House-a safe and honourable peoce. All, who felt a true love for their country, would think the service they were able to renderit, best repaid, by knowing, that they had materially tended to procure the ceffation of hoftilities and the restoration of Peace; and I have no doubt, but that Lord Nelson, would greatly prefer the satisfaction of learning that the victory he had obiained, has produced fuch important and beneficial confequences, far above any personal compliment that could be paid him. Indeed a great victory is of little use to any country unless it is made to answer a purpose of a still greater national impor. tance; it is therefore, with real forrow, that instead of finding, as I had expected to do, fome expresons, in the speech of this day, that afford a hope that his Majesty's Ministers mean ta make use of the victory of the Nile, to which I have pointed, and which might lead to Peuce, the language of it holds out a far less pleasing promise; it plainly states a call for new exertions, and a design to continue the war. I cannot
with the noble mover of the Address, in thinking, that the Address ought to be a close echo of the Speech; a different tone and style ought, in my opinion, to have been adopted in both the one and the other. And in what manner is it recommended to continue the war? By again combining with the European Powers, with whom this country has already been engaged in a league, and by every one of whom she has been abandoned, and entirely deserted." I am sure, my Lords, that I thall speak the sentiments, not only of that great man, Lord Nelson, but of every distinguished officer in the service who has contributed to the astonishing glories of our naval campaign, when I say that they will feel disappointed if their triumphs shall not prodace the advantage to Great Britain which with wise management they are calculated to confer. When I say this, my Lords, I desire to be rightly understood. I am fatished that it is of consequence, not only to the repofe and security of Great Britain, but of the world in general, to check the progress of the French Revolution. It is not necessary, nor is it confiflenë with sound policy to load with opprobrium even the enemy; but it is impoffible, my Lords, to speak of the conduct of the French without using the language of the most unequivocal re* probation; their course of havock and devastation, their unprincipled and detestable tyranny,' corruption and baseness, must excite in every bofom that cherishes the principles of liberty as the supreme good, and the happiness of human kind as the end of every rational Government, a steady resolution to check their carcer, and to save the world from the horrible calamity to which they dcoin it. I have no hesitation, my Lords, in faying, that this is my feeling. They have provoked it by their rapacity, by their treachery, and by the horrors they have spread around them; and I rejoice to see that it is the prevailing sentiment and feeling of the world. No humane inan who has observed the progress of their arms, and examined the spirit of their designs, but must join in the indignation which I express. But, my Lords, it is another thing how the progress of their atrocity is to be checked ; and here it is that I request your Lordships to pause and to enquire, if you are in the right course. The question is, have we the power to accomplish it by the means which we have taken ? Have we not the experience of five years to prove to us, that we have undertaken the talk in a way not calculated to obtain the end. What likelihood is there that we shall be more profperous for the future than we have hitherto been. I confess to you, my Lords, that here I find myself disappointed : I do not see the means of obtaining the end specified and set forth in his Majesty's speech. I flattered myself that I thould have heard of a great and well organized plan, going directly to the object in which all the great Powers of Europe had concurred, and in which all other views and purposes were to be laid aside; and, my Lords, it never was denied, it never could be denied by any inan that the Powers of Europe would have been at every period of the French Revolution, and are at this moment able to check and put an end to their career and mischief, provided that they would go to the talk with honelt intentions; provided that their confederacy was not distracted by views of a mercenary kind, by plans of rapine and aggranuisement, by feelings of jealousy and diftruft, and by the intervention of all the little despicable intrigues which ought never to be suffered to enter into great combinations. It niever, I say, my Lords, was denied but that if at length a sense of general danger should bring the Powers of Europe to a league upon honest principles, they must prevail over the revolutionary system, and it was my hope that his Majesty's Ministers had improved the late victory of the Nile to this great purpose ; that they had displayed to them the advantages of magnanimity, and before they came to Parliament to announce the continuance of war, had incorporated those Powers in a great and disinterested league, in which, instead of disgracing themselves by looking to this country for fubfidies, they had resumed the dignity which became them, and had at length resolved on going directly to the object of restoring security to Europe, withou: secking in it's disorders their own temporary profit. My Lords, I am disappointed to find none of this in the speech from the Throne ; I see nothing held out to me upon which I can repose ; I hear no account of returning wisdoin or of returning magnanimity. Who, that knows the jealoufies that sublift between the great Powers of Europe, can flatter himself that, until they are done away, any system of co-operation can be successíul against France. Every person who has ever had an opportunity of mixing in society, every boy who has ever been upon the continent of Europe in the tour of his education, must have seen that the rooted enmity between Auftria and Prussia descends even to the private soldier, and actuates the very ranks of their armies. And unless I fall see that a conviction of common danger Mall make them enter into a more generous vnion of effort than any that they have hitherto done, I confess to you that I thall not form any fanguine Vol. I, 1798. с