§ The order of the day being read for resuming the adjourned debate on this subject, several members rose. The Speaker explained the usual practice of the house with regard to the preference to be given to the member who rose the last to speak when the debate wag adjourned, which he said belonged to the right hon. gent. (Mr. Windham,) who was upon his legs when the adjournment took place; that gent. however, having waved his right,411
§ Mr. Raine
rose. He began by apologising for preventing any gent. from being heard, but upon so momentous a question he was anxious to deliver his sentiments at as early an hour as possible, being conscious that when the patience of the house was at all exhausted, he could not hope to engage that attention, which others of greater experience and known talents could command at any period of the-debate, however advanced. Although the right lion. gent. who opened the debate, and those who followed him in support of the address, had thought fit conveniently for the purpose of their argument, to consider this question as embracing only one topic of discussion, to those who attentively considered it, as it appeared to him, it must obviously present itself in two points of view; the one, whether supposing an apparent ground of complaint to have been laid, under all the circumstances of the case, it was consistent with sound policy to involve this country in a war with Spain; the other, whether the manner of commencing hostilities can be justified. The latter, with the leave of the house, he should take the liberty of examining first, as being by far the most important, in as much as it involved in its consideration up less a question than that of national honour. And he must confess, that so far from thinking the mode in which hostilities were commenced justifiable, he alluded of course to the attack upon the Spanish frigates, to him it appeared little better than an act of piracy. This was no doubt a grave charge, and ought not to be imputed on light grounds, but if he had the good fortune to convey intelligibly to the house that which had impressed complete conviction upon his own mind, viz. that it was not warranted by any sound precedent to be found in all political history, that it was a violation of the national faith implicitly pledged, and that it was contrary to, the express letter and spirit of the law of nations, he should go pretty far towards proving, if not the whole length of proving, that the act was little better than piratical. With regard to the precedents, he believed he might safely challenge those who supported the other side of the question to traverse the whole range of universal history so far as regards the practice of civilized nations; certain he was, he could boldly defy them to ransack our own history for a single instance of acknowledged authority upon which the act in 412 question, either in the comparison of circumstances, or upon the ground of analogy, could fairly be said to be justified. He was not unmindful of the several oases, cited by the hon. and learned gent. (the king's advocate) from the history of the last century. But, in the first place, not one of those cases which could be said in its circumstances to resemble this was considered as incorporated into the code of nations for acknowledged law, but was reprobated at the time as a flagrant breach. of that law; in the next place, they were all cited by the hon. and learned gent. himself, for the purpose of establishing, in point of fact, a principle which he (Mr. R.) was not at all interested or inclined to dispute; viz. that a formal declaration of war is not always necessary previous to the commencement of hostilities. This principle was extracted from Bynkershook, a writer upon the law of nations of undoubted authority, who, in the chapter upon this head, enumerates a variety of cases in which a formal declaration of war was not deemed necessary. But that writer does not lay it down as a principle, that in no case shall it be deemed necessary, On the contrary, Vattel, whose authority is relied upon by the hon. and learned gent. himself, does expressly state, that a declaration of war is necessary, and that, too, in a case which he should hereafter shew was analogous to the case now before the house. But, he was confident the hon. and learned gent. with all his research, could not produce, either from Bynkershook or any other writer upon whose authority he was prepared to pledge his own high character, a principle like this; viz. that during a negociation you may commence hostilities without a declaration of war; and yet that principle must be established, before you can be said satisfactorily to have justified the manner in which hostilities were in this instance commenced. There was an instance in our history which, in many respects, bore a striking resemblance to the case now under consideration; he meant the attack of the Dutch Smyrna fleet by Holmes, in the time of Charles II. But, as that was one and not the least of many measures of infamy, for which the cabal of that day deserved and obtained the execrations of posterity, he presumed no well-constituted govt. would justify itself upon such a precedent. There, too, after the hostile blow was struck, certain grievances were discovered as affording a pretext for 413 that aggression—for pretences are never wanting where the stronger power seeks to oppress the weaker. Among other things was alleged a supposed indignity offered to the British flag by the Dutch fleet, through which a British yacht was sailing—a ground of complaint, by the way, which the wisdom of modern times has taken effectual care shall never exist again—how honourably to those who sacrificed this proud distinction, or how advantageously to the country he would not here stop to enquire. But, bad as that case was, it was in one respect not so bad as the case now before the house. No points in difference were at the time under discussion between the two countries, so that the Dutch were not deluded by a shew of negotiation when the attack was made. The recal of Temple, who they knew had too much honor to lend himself as an instrument of treachery to any government, and other circumstances, had warned them of a growing indisposition towards them in the British councils; so that so far from being taken by surprize, they were prepared to encounter an enemy, and the treachery of the attack was in a great degree, and indeed almost altogether defeated. We had, indeed, in this case, the advantage of success, if that success can be counted an advantage which is obtained at the expence of national honour.—Before he quitted the subject of precedent, he could not help adverting to a paragraph in the declaration on the table, which he owned had not a little surprized him. It is stated that the arrival of the treasure ships is "an event which has more than once in former times, become the epoch of the termination of discussions and of the commencement of hostility on the part of Spain." If because upon other occasions war has sometimes broken out soon after the arrival of the treasure ships from Spanish America, it be meant to be insinuated, that you have a right arbitrarily to intercept their treasure when it may suit your convenience pending a negotiation between the two courts, he denied the inference as utterly unfair and unjust. Indeed, the proposition was upon the most cursory view obviously untenable. If it were only intended to state, that, in point of fact, war had heretofore followed hard upon the arrival of the Spanish treasure, the remark was surely rather too uninteresting to deserve a place in so grave and solemn a state paper. But he had stated this act to be a 414 violation of the national faith implicitly, pledged. In support of this proposition, he contended it to be a general principle, that when a negotiation is opened between two states for any purpose, but above, all for the adjustment of differences, the negotiating parties are mutually pledged each to the other, to a forbearance from all hostilities until the discussions are finally closed. This principle he should, with the leave of the house, at present take for granted; being prepared hereafter to prove it by the highest and most indisputable authority to be found in the circle of the law of nations. That a negotiation was begun and continued until our minister quitted Madrid, the volume of documents on the table abundantly proved. In the midst of these discussions, which were calculated to lull them into a state of perfect security, whilst the relations of amity were supposed to be still subsisting, your ships received with hospitality in their ports, and the ships of Spain navigating the seas in the full persuasion of that security which nations not at war are intitled to enjoy, you take a treacherous advantage of their confidence, and commit that which is nothing short of an act of open war. You amuse them with a mockery of negotiation, for it is no other than a mockery, if whilst they are lead to indulge a hope, which to the last they reasonably may, that the discussions may ultimately terminate in the complete re-establishment of a good under-standing between the two countries, without any previous intimation to them you send out a hostile squadron for the purpose of attacking an armed force of Spain. The honest satyr in the fable would not endure a guest who had taught his breath to blow both hot and cold; but you commence hostile operations at the very moment when you pretend to be negotiating in the character of a friend; you abruptly cut the kno: which you affect a willingness to untie; you invite them to a parley and you fire upon them under a flag of truce. But here he was encountered by various positions in the Declaration which it might not be improper to notice. There probably would be no difference of opinion upon the effect of the treaty of St. Ildefonso abstractly considered. He could not, however, subscribe to the assertion, that Spain entered into it "for the avowed purpose of endeavouring to subvert the government and destroy the national existence of G. Britain." During the last war indeed, it might be 415 said to have this country for its particular object, but in the contemplation of future wars, the intention must have been to secure to each other a pledge of mutual assistance against any power with whom either of the contracting parties might happen to be at war. But if you think fit to wave that right which the treaty gave you, unless disclaimed, you cannot afterwards in fairness insist upon it, having once elected the line of forbearance. It is stated, that "the groundless imputations in the Spanish manifesto are built upon the foundation of this forbearance alone." He saw no contradiction in this; and here he could not help noticing the manner in which the noble lord (Castlereagh) had misrepresented this part of his hon. friend's (Mr. Grey's) argument. The noble lord had represented his hon. friend to be at variance with himself, because he who, on the one hand, so strenuously contended for the preservation of the neutrality of Spain, on the other hand violently pushed things to the last extremity, by insisting that the treaty should have been considered as a just cause of war. Nothing, however, was more unfounded. His hon. friend's argument amounted to this. The treaty of St. Ildefonso, if acted upon in any manner hostile to G. Britain, if you wish to be inter apices juris, strictly speaking, affords you a just ground of war, subject, however, always to the question of expediency. But you are not justified in suspending this right with an intention of insisting upon it at some future period, you. cannot keep it in petto producible at pleasure when it may suit your own convenience. How is the British envoy instructed to act? Not to make the manly and ingenuous communication in what light the treaty is viewed by his court, but in the cant of special pleading he is directed to protest against the convention. Now is this special pleading reserve, this "pro-testing always" and that too, upon the matter immediately in issue, fit to be introduced into a great political question where the point in issue between two independent nations is no less than that of peace or war? To a question put by M. Cevallos, whether a continuance of the pecuniary succours would be considered as a ground of war, he says "he is authorized so to declare it, and that war would be the infallible consequence." This is categorical and definitive enough. In the very next paragraph, speaking of discussions 416 which took place at a subsequent period, he says, that until the stipulations of the convention between France and Spain are communicated to him, "he could give no positive answer whether the pecuniary succours would be made a cause of war or hot." Now, what is Europe to think of the wisdom of your councils, when there is upon the face of your proceedings so much fluctuation, indecision, and uncertainty, when they see that you have not even the wit to state your own case with consistency? On the 18th of Feb. the British minister declares, that all further forbearance on the part of England must depend upon the cessation of all naval armaments and a prohibition of the sale of prizes in their ports. On the latter of these points a satisfactory answer was given, and as to the former, there was no appearance of naval preparations at that period whatsoever, and it was also very worthy of remark that there was long afterwards as little appearance of naval armaments, as would appear by referring to a dispatch from Mr. Frere to lord Harrowby, dated so long ago as the 5th of July. In the month of Aug. the British chargé d'affaires is stated to receive advice from admiral Cochrane, of reinforcements of soldiers and sailors arriving through Spain for the French fleets at Toulon and Ferrol. Possibly there might be some arrivals at Ferrol, but in the papers on the table there is no trace of any reinforcements reaching Toulon, nor indeed did it appear how they well could through Spain, so that Toulon, it should seem, was ^introduced merely as an elegant expletive. Again, it was stated in the declaration, that towards the end of September, information was received in London from admiral Cochrane, of orders having been given by the court of Madrid for arming without loss of time in the ports of Ferrol, Carthagena, and Cadiz, and the packets as in time of war. In consequence of this intelligence the British minister is directed to remonstrate and demand explanations. Now, the order of the admiralty under which the Spanish frigates were attacked, bore date Sept. the 18th, so that you issue a hostile order to your fleets at the very time when you direct your minister at Madrid to remonstrate and demand explanations. But, what was he directed to demand? "Above all that their armaments should be placed on the same footing as before the commencement of hostilities," not the period of the con- 417 vention, or agreement or understanding, by whatever name it was to be called, as had been conceded to M. Cevallos by the British chargé d'affaires. Now, as this had been conceded, and the British court could not now disavow the acts of their own minister, it was much to be lamented that a condition disclaimed by their own minister should still be insisted upon in the declaration, as it afforded a ground to the court of Madrid to charge the British govt. with a breach of good faith. Again, he was directed distinctly to state the orders of his court to its commander to prevent Spanish ships of war from sailing to or from Petrol—Not a word about the treasure ships—Lord Harrowby's excuse to the Spanish ambassador seemed perfectly unsatisfactory. If intelligence could not have been conveyed by the court of Spain to the commanders of their treasure ships, the communication from our court would have been useless, and, if it could, the order would have been rendered nugatory. For this mode of reasoning applied with precisely the same force to the other Spanish ships of war of greater force; nor could any sound distinction be drawn between them and the treasure ships. Another ground of complaint alleged in the Declaration was, the removal of Spanish ships out of dock to make room for French men of war. Of this it would be sufficient to say, that the papers on the table furnished no proof of the fact. But it was stated that the govt. of Spain "contemplated from the beginning of the war the necessity of making itself a party to it." The Declaration in the Spanish manifesto is, that from its relations with France it must have with difficulty refrained from taking part against injuries offered to its ally. Whilst they were stating the difficulties they had to struggle with in avoiding offensive operations against G. Britain, was it fair to interpret this into an admission on their part, that they were from the first unavoidably identified with France in the war against us? But "the detention of the treasure ships formed no part of the motive of the previous hostile character manifested by the court of Spain." If any previous hostile disposition existed, that undoubtedly could not be influenced by an affair which took place afterwards. Then it was asserted, that the state of war must have arisen had the detention never taken place. But how did this appear? Other points in difference 418 might possibly have been adjusted, but a breach of faith, and an insult offered to the flag of a generous and high minded nation, do not so easily admit of atonement.—The hon. and learned gent. said, he had dwelt the longer upon the Declaration, because that was the instrument which, ministers had offered to the world, and by that they must stand or fall as the justification of their conduct in involving their country in a war with Spain—and how vague and unsatisfactory the apology was, he trusted he had sufficiently shewn. But he had undertaken to shew that the attack upon the Spanish frigates, pending a negotiation, was against the express letter and spirit of the law of nations. For this he should rest upon no less reverend an authority, than that of Grotius himself; who, though the first to reduce that valuable science to a system, sprung as it were at a bound to the very top of his art. He says, "sic et qui colloquium aut postulat aut admittit tacité pollicetur collocutoribus id innoxium fore." He then, as is his custom, adduces his instances, and in the very first says, "per colloquii speciem jus gentium perfidyé violari." Here, then, it was expressly laid down, that during a negotiation you are pledged to do no act of violence to the party with whom you negotiate. Vattel, also, in the case of a contested right says, "after an ineffectual endeavour to obtain justice by conciliatory measures a declaration of war ought to follow, and not pretended reprisals, which, in such a case, would only be real acts of hostility without a declaration of war, and would be contrary to public faith as well as to the mutual duties of nations."—Now, if reprisals in such a case be pot admissible, still less can you resort to an act which has in its nature more of violence and outrage than are to be found in any case of reprisals whatsoever. But the character of this measure is not that of hostility, but merely an act of detention. He believed it was the first time that detention had been used to describe such an act since it was first imported into the English language. Here was a regular-action between two opposite squadrons of equal force, in point of numbers, in which 3 ships are taken, a fourth is blown up, and upwards of 300 lives are sacrificed! Yet in the Declaration, and in that house, it was resolutely maintained to be merely an act of detention. Lord Harrow by, indeed, with a manly candour honorable 419 to his character, described the affair in its true colours, speaking of it in his dis-dispatch to Mr. B. Frere as a hostile action in which one frigate was blown, up and 3 were captured. The noble lord in another part of the same dispatch also admitted, that it was foreseen by ministers that the expedition might possibly be hostile and provoke resistance. This furnished matter of grave charge against them for not sending out a larger force so as to preclude the possibility of resistance altogether. As it was, however unequal the conflict might be to any nation encountering us with equal numbers at sea, the Spanish commander, not merely from a sense of honour, but as he valued his own personal safety, was absolutely compelled to fight; for he must indisputably have been shot if he had submitted to such a force without resistance. But what would have been said, if, in the interval between the date of the admiralty order and the time of our minister's quitting Madrid, complete satisfaction had been obtained from the court of Spain? Restitution would have been made! As to restitution of the treasure that was lost, with an overflowing treasury and a bank full of specie (as it must be, for it pays none) perhaps there would not have been much difficulty in settling that account. As to the ships, those that were, taken might be restored, and for that which was lost, we would build them a better, and so that account also would be settled. But there was another account not quite so easy to adjust. Can the sea yield up its dead? How can you make restitution to the king of Spain for the loss of so many valuable subjects, or to the numerous families bereft of so many valuable relations by this rash act of violence and outrage? So much for restitution and detention—a detention which is destruction, and a restitution, an offer of that which cannot be restored. But the outrage was not sufficient: after all, Spain was: to be wounded with that cruel and insulting assurance in the Declaration repeated in that house, that the conduct of G. Britain towards her was that of moderation and tenderness.—As to the other view of the question, viz. the ground of policy, he could not help thinking that, the war might have been avoided, consistent with the honour and the best interests of the nation. If the friendly disposition of Spain towards this country wagged confirmation, that confir- 420 mation was abundantly afforded by those papers, for a knowledge of which, the house and the public were indebted to the exertions of his hon. friend (Mr. Grey) who moved for their production. (Here Mr. R. read the concluding part of the extract of a dispatch from Mr. Frere to Ld. Hawkesbury, dated 9th Oct. 1803, being No. 8. of the papers delivered to the house 2d Feb. beginning "Your 1dp. may rest assured," &c. and so on to the end of the extract, see p. 179.) Nor did it appear that this friendly disposition had ever been weakened. The pecuniary succours paid by them to France could not be considered as voluntary; they consented to pay them as the price of their neutrality. Still less could they fairly be urged against them by us as a just ground of war, who connived at the same payments made by the Hanse towns, and even by Portugal, our close ally. If we knew them to be oppressed by the domineering influence of France, the comity of nations, and even common humanity should have induced us to consider their embarrassing condition with an eye of indulgence, and should have dictated to us the obvious policy of forbearance and moderation. And if ever there were a period when more than at another, it was our duty and interest to conciliate the powers of Europe by a religious observance of good faith, and of the law of tuitions, this was unquestionably that period. For, able as we were, and he trusted ever should be, to defend ourselves alone, if we hoped to set any bounds to the gigantic and overgrown power of France, that could only be effected by the co-operation of the continental powers, which must arise from the conviction alone that our cause was just. And even if the justice of our cause were mote indisputable than he feared it could be made to appear, we had made an impression upon the nations of Europe highly unfavourable to our honour by the mode in which we had commenced; hostilities, shewing that we were actuated by a sordid thirst of lucre rather than a generous resentment of supposed wrongs.—On every ground, therefore, both of the impolicy of the war and the injustice with which it was commenced, the amendment of his hon. friend had his cordial support.
§ Mr. Bankes
expressed his determination, to vote for the address, and wished shortly to detail his reasons to the house. He could not discern those breaches of good 421 faith upon bur part with which the proceedings of this negotiation had been reproached. The relative situation of the two' governments required vigilance, discrimination, and jealousy on our part, and on the part of Spain candour and openness of communication; we discharged our duties, but Spain failed in hers. Charges had been made of long lapses on the part of our govt. during which nothing was done, nor any instructions sent to our minister at Madrid; but it appeared to him, that on the contrary, a regular system was laid down at first, which was followed up from beginning to end, notwithstanding the different hands into which it came, with as little variation as possible. With respect to the treaty between France and Spain, it was evidently pointed against England; it was evident that Spain by that treaty was placed, if not in an actual state of hostility with this country, in a state very near it, and that she could scarcely maintain a qualified neutrality. The refusal to communicate the provisions of that treaty to us rendered it evident that there was something hostile to this country; why should they refuse to make that communication, if they did not know that, from the conditions of that treaty, they must be immediately involved in war? Besides, the subsidy furnished was larger than the force to be supplied, and was evidently meant for the annoyance of this country. Our govt. acquiesced for a time: but it was expressly stated that such a system could not be allowed to be permanent. He did not blame the mode of terminating that discussion, as we certainly had a just ground for war, however some might say that the grounds had been altered. He could not, however, discover any abandonment of our positions, after the war with France, or any agreement that Spain should enjoy the neutrality which she proposed. There was only this, that when our minister confined himself to two specified conditions of neutrality on the 10th of February, Spain might say that every other point was given up, and in this view of the subject he wished that this sort of interpretation had been protested against on our part. He wished that when Mr. Frere found the sense in which his propositions were taken he did not immediately afterwards explain precisely in what sense he meant, them by which all future cavil would have been avoided. The learned gent, had quoted, several authorities, but 422 he wished to know where that learned gent. had discovered that the suspension or no usage of a right extinguished that right; he contended that the direct reverse, was the truth. The subsidy, as he before said, exceeded the contingent; the1 amount of the subsidy might be known by our ministers; but the secret articles of the treaty could not; these were carefully concealed, and for what purpose? was it possible that if it was merely to substitute a subsidy for a contingent, there was any occasion for all this mystery. It would have been an easy task to calculate the sums which ought to be paid for any ships, or regiments, in reals or dollars, but by this denial of communication, Spain confessed that she paid more than her contingent. France, indeed, had given Spain no option, and consulted her own convenience by having the money brought to Paris, where a loan was negotiated for the purpose. The armaments in the ports of Spain had been denied in that house, but were they denied by the Spanish minister? on the contrary, the armaments in Sept. though denied in that house, were not denied by the minister at Madrid, or the; Spanish minister here. They said they were not directed against this country; but we had aright to doubt and to require a different statement of the grounds of these armaments. If they were intended to transport troops from one province to another, why not inform us? Was there any doubt that armaments in Spanish ports might be converted in the hands of France into engines of hostility against this country, and particularly those at Ferrol, and if our minister had not remonstrated against them, would he not have grossly failed in his duty? The ships besides that were used were of a sort never used to transport troops, and in the provinces to which they were said to be destined, there was no convenience for landing troops. These naval preparations on the part of Spain were not deified by the Spanish ministers. But if these measures rendered measures of precaution necessary on our part, this country was not answerable for the consequences; and as to the objection, that a larger force ought to have been sent out, it should be remembered that the treasure was expected to come home in single ships, and that the force sent was amply sufficient to prevent all resistance from a single ship. If it were necessary to stop ships, it was right to use every necessary means to stop 423 them. It had been said that when lord Harrowby came into office, he thought of nothing but the treasure ships; but, if our enemy annoyed us by treasure, it was necessary we should deprive her of those means. Our whole conduct towards Spain had been dictated by fairness and moderation, and we had been gainers by not taking advantage of extreme rights. We were at war, not for any fault of ours, but of Spain. There had been, on her part, a continual denial and refusal of fair and candid explanation. He repeated, that the refusal on the part of Spain to communicate the conditions of the treaty to us, was evidence of its being inimical to this country, which was confirmed by the French general Bournonville refusing permission to communicate it. It were to be wished that a greater force had been employed, but it had been supposed that the Spanish treasure would have been sent in single ships. The question, however, was not altered by that consideration. If it was right to stop the ships, it was necessary to use the force by which they were to be stopped. He considered the detention of the treasure as the act of a wise statesman; that the writers upon the law of nations justified it; and that the refusal of Spain to give the satisfaction required was the cause of the war. By our conduct in not proceeding to those extremities which we should have been justified in recurring to, we had given the world a proof of our moderation. Upon the whole, lie was of opinion that nothing had been done by which the character of this country had been compromised. The hon. gent. concluded by expressing his unqualified approbation of the address.
§ Mr. Johnstone,
in opposition to the hon. gent. who had just sat down, though t the character and the honour of the country deeply compromised in the discussions, the official documents of which were now under the consideration of the house. He would maintain this opinion, although he was ready enough to believe, that the greater part of the country was fond of a war with Spain. The idea of being at war with a power vulgarly imagined to be possessed of immense treasures, was congenial enough to popular sentiment; but he trusted that that house would not allow itself to be hurried away by any such delusion, but examine with the strictest scrutiny the papers before them, ere they ventured to concur in the address proposed by the right hon. the 424 chancellor of the exchequer. He was not unwilling to allow that the treaty of St. Ildefonso might constitute a ground of war for G. Britain against Spain; yet such as it was, it was little more than a transcript of the ancient treaty call the Family Compact, which had subsisted between the different branches of the house of Bourbon silting on the French and Spanish thrones. The articles were of a similar tendency, and yet when this country went to war with France in 1778, this treaty was not considered a sufficient ground to induce hostilities with; Spain, nor to provoke us to take measures such as we lately had recourse to. It was decidedly his opinion, that in the relative situation of the two nations it was clearly the policy of G. Brit, to cultivate a good understanding with Spain, and lord Hawkesbury should certainly have employed some gent. of high birth and conciliatory manners for that purpose. When first the French demand for pecuniary succours was communicated to the British court no expression of their disapprobation followed, and in his mind it would have been much more expedient to allow Spain to pay this subsidy than to force her into a war. He denied the position of the right hon. the chancellor of the exchequer, who seemed to think that the deduction of one million from the three agreed on for the purpose of paying debts from France to Spain, was immaterial. That right hon. gent. had likewise not fairly estimated the equivalent which this sum bore to the contingent stipulated for. One million was at most not too much for the expences of 15 sail of the line, and the other million which was left for the equipment and support of 24,000 troops was not adequate to the purpose. G. Brit. could not maintain them for twice as much. How was this arrangement at that time viewed by England? Will any roan assert, that it was then the intention of govt. to do any thing more than protest? Govt. had principally argued the point on the instructions and dispatches that passed between our minister at Madrid and his court at home; and not as they ought to have done on the notes and letters that passed between Mr. Frere and the court of Spain. From the tenor of such of Mr. Frere's letters to M. Cevallos, as had been presented to the house, he conceived that that gent. had received his instructions from the right hon. the chancellor of the exchequer, rather than from the noble sec. of state.—The hon. gent. here criticised several of Mr. Frere's 425 notes, both on account of the manner in which they were composed, and of the matter which they contained, particularly one of the 2d Jan. M. Cevallos might well require explanation, as it was written in the most barbarous French he had ever met with. In his note of the 18th Feb. Mr. Frere drops the subsidy, and confines himself to the two points of the armaments, and the sale of prizes in the Spanish ports. After M. Cevallos had twice demanded explanation on this point, its not being pressed is an absolute and unequivocal abandonment of it, and on the 22d of March, M. Cevallos states, that he considers the neutrality of Spain admitted. He was at a loss to conceive on what ground Mr. Frere had couched his note of 18th Feb. in such strong terms. He certainly acted in direct contradiction to his authority; for lord Hawkesbury, in his instructions of the 21st Jan. recommends him carefully to avoid bringing the negotiation to an abrupt termination. It was evidently the system of the then govt. of G. Brit, not to enter into a war with Spain, on account of her subsidy to France. Spain is said never to have given official communications with regard to that treaty; true, but the progress of it was well known, and had been stated in every stage of it by Spain. With respect to verbal communications; if we admit accounts of the conferences between the prince of peace and Mr. Frere, we must also admit accounts of those between our court and M. d'Anduaga. When the right hon. the chancellor of the exchequer asserted, that the dispatch of the 29th Sept. afforded full evidence of a determination to revive a subject that had so long lain dormant, it appeared to him to be merely an assertion of the difference between a weak and puerile administration, and that of the rt. hon. gent. Compare these dispatches with those of May, in which our govt. clearly abandoned the subsidy as a cause of war, provided no armaments provoked them to hostility. But, say they, armaments did take place. If they were directed against England, it would require no argument to prove the unqualified right of England to make them a ground of war. What reply, however, did the governor of Ferrol make to the representations that were addressed to him on this subject? That the armament is destined for a secret purpose, but that it needs not excite the jealousy of any European power, the ships being but hall manned. If 426 Spain were disposed to contravene her engagement with this country, French finesse would have suggested a happier mode of concealment. Accompanied as this answer was by the want of preparation in every other port of Spain, its truth could not be doubted. On M. d'Anduagua's being questioned by lord Harrow by, he professes utter ignorance of the subject, and two days after brings an officer belonging to one of the regiments composing the armament at Ferrol, with letters stating that the object of it was to quell the insurgents in Biscay. This, Mr. Frere, in a subsequent dispatch, confirmed, and expressed his conviction that such was the fact. Some of the minister's arguments operated in two contrary directions and destroyed each other. If the agreement to suspend hostilities were advantageous to France, she would not have instigated Spain to break it; if war with Spain were more advantageous to France, we shall be losers by precipitating ourselves into it. It was inexplicable how, on such instructions as were contained in lord Harrow by's dispatch of 29th Oct., Mr. B. Frere could judge himself warranted in making the communication of the treaty with France, and the reduction of all armaments in Spain an ultimatum. The hon. gent. severely reprobated a passage in one of Mr. Frere's notes to M. Cevallos, as being justly offensive to the court of Spain, and disgraceful to the court of G. Brit. It mentioned the influence of France on the Spanish councils, asserted the dependence of Spain on that power, and insinuated the consequent distrust of England. These circumstances were true, but this rendered it more improper to hint at them, and he was well assured that this conduct of the British charge d'affaires was strongly reprobated by the whole corps diplomatic of Europe. But this was nothing to a subsequent part of Mr. Frere's proceedings. He censured the letter of Mr. Frere of the 18th Feb. to the Spanish minister M. Cevallos. He considered it a disgrace to the person who wrote it, and such as never before had been, or ever again he hoped would be, sent by the minister of one great nation to that, of another. Having read it, he said he considered it was a wanton insult of the strong against the weak. Such conduct he knew met the reprobation of those who were best acquainted with the language of diplomacy in Europe. He wished the right hon. 427 the chancellor of the exchequer to consider how he would feel, if such language were held forth to him by the minister of a foreign power; No man was more proud than the right hon. gent. none had more right to be so, because none possessed in a more eminent degree those qualities which raised erne man above another, than that right lion. gent.; but he would venture to ask what would have been his feelings, if any minister had addressed him, as Mr. Frere had addressed the minister of Spain in the letter alluded to? He then proceeded to observe on the inconveniences we had brought upon ourselves by the principal measures we had taken or this occasion. Had we conciliated Spain, its neutrality might have continued, and with a favourable opportunity it might have risen into consequence in the states of Europe; it might have become a powerful, a proud, and independent state, and might have assisted us in humbling the pride of France, but now we had furnished France with, an excuse for overturning Spain with her armies, and, perhaps, destroyed the Spanish monarchy, besides, the consideration of what was due to our ancient ally, Portugal, which by this measure might also be over-run and destroyed, a thing now to be expected. He concluded by saying, that no part of our conduct with regard lo Spain redounded to our honour, on the contrary to our disgrace, such as was regarded by the most intelligent persons on the continent with utter reprobation, for which reasons he must protest against it, and vole for the amendment.
§ Mr. Hiley Addington
could not refrain from expressing the greatest salivation at being able entirely to concur in opinion with the hon. gent. who had spoken second in order in the debate of this evening; he wished, however, to add one or two observations to those which that hon. gent. had made on the statements of the learned gent. who had preceded him, and who commenced the discussion of this night. He should avoid adverting to the speech of the hon. gent who had just sat down, not out of the slightest disrespect to that gent. but because to all his arguments, complete answers would be found in the statement made yesterday evening by his right hon. friend near him, and he was, very unwilling to certain the house long, anxious as they necessarily must be, to hear the opinions of so many great and distinguished characters among them, who had not been 428 afforded an opportunity of expressing their sentiments on this momentous subject. With regard to the analogy which the learned gentleman (Mr. Raine) asserted to exist between diplomatic proceedings and the occurrences of special pleading, and with regard to the construction which he had attempted to put on the different passages that he had quoted from various writers on the law of nations, he would not enter into any dispute with the learned gent. conscious as he felt of his own in competency to the task; otherwise he would not hesitate to acknowledge that the passages so quoted conveyed to his mind a very different meaning, and led to very opposite reasonings. The learned gent. although he allowed that the unexplained treaty of St. Hdefonso afforded a complete justification of war with Spain, yet seemed to wish that something more decisive had appeared in the conduct of the British; govt. to Spain, on the breaking out of the war with France; and that, instead of the forbearance and moderation which had distinguished the conduct of our court to that of Spain, and by which we had vainly hoped to secure the neutrality of that power, we had directed a message to the Spanish govt. requiring a categorical answer, containing a complete explanation how far Spain conceived herself to be bound by the treaty of St. Ildefonso, In this wish he must totally dissent from the learned gent. What would have been the result of such a proceding? What answer should we have received from that court? And what impression could have been made by a demand, calculated to irritate and provoke those whom the learned gent. admitted (and in this point he perfectly agreed with him), it was our true policy to soothe and conciliate. Should we have attained our object? Should we have received a decisive negative or affirmative? The probability is not. The government of Spain would have replied "we have no desire to act up to the conditions of the treaty, we rather wish to avoid doing so, and we ask for time to enable us to concert the best measures for eluding them." Then, had his maj's ministers received such an answer, would the learned gent. have been prepared to advise them to deny the Spanish application for a prolongation of the demand? He rather thought not. He rather thought the learned gent. would have seen nothing in such an answer, but a request from a weak 429 and oppressed govt., which it would have been the highest cruelty to refuse. The result, would thus have been similar to what it had been in the procedings adopted by the British cabinet, with the inconvenience superadded of having causelessly agitated a question, which motives of humanity and prudence imperiously demanded should be suffered to lie dormant. He confessed that he was one who had waited with excessive anxiety for the production of the documents from which alone it was possible to form an accurate judgment of the conduct pursued by the two administrations who shared in the discussions which had taken place with Spain. He felt inexpressible satisfaction in stating, that through the whole course of them, he found the same uniform tone of lenity and forbearance towards Spain. He traced it though all the dispatches from his noble friend Lord Hawkesbury. He traced it in the instructions which proceeded from the late noble secretary of state. He traced it in those emphatic words to our minister at Madrid to "make one more effort if possible to preserve a state of peace with Spain." Deeply sensible as he was of the truth of the facts which he had stated, be humbly presumed to implore the house to pause before they gave their votes for the amendment offered to them. He could not say what were the real motives of the hon. gent. who had proposed it. He had no doubt that they were pure, but be loudly called on the house not to agree to a motion replete in its consequences with injury to G. Britain, to a motion which, if it were adopted, would lower this country in the estimation of all Europe, would lower the spirit of the inhabitants of this country, would unbrace the nerves of every British soldier and sailor now engaged in the protection of Old England, and induce them to believe, that instead of fighting for their country, they are contending in the defence of the most lawless and dishonourable outrage.
§ Dr. Laurence
said, that it was his intention last night to have noticed, in a few sentences, what had fallen from his hon. and learned friend (sir John Nicholl). Had be done so, at that period of the night, and exhausted as he and the house in general were, he should have confined himself merely to two or three points which had been touched on by his learned friend. Having, however, this night witnessed 430 the cofident tone in which an hon. gent. who sat beside him (Mr. Bankes) had addressed the house, in a speech almost every word of which was built on bold and glaring misconception; when he heard it stated that govt. had acted throughout with humanity and moderation, yet with vigilance, alacrity, and firmness, and, therefore, that gentlemen were not to satisfy themselves of the truth of such allegations, lest they should damp the public spirit, he felt himself called on to enter more at large into the subject, and in the first place to inquire if this was really the situation of that house, that if Ministers chose to plunge into a war on unjustifiable grounds, they were not entitled to inquire into the causes of it, lest in so doing they should damp the spirit of the country! He would never sit tamely in that house and bear it asserted, that we should not disapprove the proceedings of an administration, lest such disapprobation should humiliate the country in the eyes of Europe, and unnerve the arms of our brave countrymen who were engaged in espousing our quarrel. He would tell the right hon. gent. (H. Addington) that the avowal of error, instead of being humiliating, was highly honourable, and that little dependence could be placed on the valour of men who fought blindly, without having entered into the merits of the dispute, and to whom the contest for right or for wrong was equally desirable. He owned he felt the greatest indignation when he heard such doctrine introduced into that house, and he could not refrain from openly avowing that indignation. He would not be deterred from expressing his undisguised sentiments-on this subject, by being told that a Spanish war was popular in this country. He had no doubt that it was popular. He had no doubt that an enemy, rich in pillage, and weak in power, was a popular enemy; but surely, these were not facts to be stated in that house, as arguments to convince them that they ought to connive at fraud and outrage, and abstain from censuring the perpetrators, because their measures were popular. If this was really so, he should wish to be informed for what reason they sat there, and what was the meaning of the bundles of papers in the hands of the members, and lying on the table of the house? The discussions by which this war had been preceded, were said by those who dis- 431 approved of the way in which he thought, to hive been marked by uncommon forbearance, and at the same time, by vigour and energy. There was, however, within the last century, but one war in which this country was engaged in which the integrity of G. Brit, had been questioned, and that was a war against Spain. From this very reason ought we to have been particularly cautious of commencing hostilities against her, unless on the clearest and most undeniable grounds, lest our motives should be questioned. Spain was at the time to which he alluded a more powerful nation than she was at present, and the more were we called on to guard against our integrity being suspected. When a country, like Spain, rich in pillage and weak in power, was seen about to engage in war with a powerful state, it was natural to feel suspicious that her riches and weakness might have contributed to involve her in that situation: and if so, was it not for the honour of the country that the causes of the present contest should be investigated, and our integrity established? When the last treaty of peace was concluded, he had unequivocally stated as an objection to the recognition of it, the subsistence of the defensive treaties between France, Holland, and Spain, and had submitted how far, while such treaties existed, we could, in case of a new war with France, regard those other two powers as in a state of neutrality. Ministers then made light of that objection, but they themselves started it in the beginning of the present discussion.—The hon. and learned gent. then went through different points which had formed the subjects of discussion in the course of the correspondence, and contended that on none of them had our govt. put things in so clear and regular a state, as to make them the legitimate subjects of war. By the wavering policy of the late administration, or by their weakness and imbecility or by what other name the present ministers chose to term it, the country had unquestionably been placed in a disagreeable situation, But had the present Ministers extricated themselves or the country out of it, or had they not rather added to the ambiguities and doubts which formerly existed, others of a more extraordinary and more fatal kind? The hon. and learned gent. then made some observations with regard to the dispatches which passed between. Mr. Frere and his May's 432 Ministers, the object of which he could not see, unless it was for the purpose of at once entering into acts of open hostility. He could not help observing a phrase which had been inserted in the declaration: it was agreed, that war was to be declared, in case a French army entered Spain. The word "army" was struck out of the declaration, and "troops" inserted, for the purpose, he supposed, of ministers having some shadow of pretence for the conduct they had been guilty of.—He then alluded to Mr. Frere's want of instructions, which he said, were, in fact, nothing, until the very period of seizing on the Spanish frigates. One of the demands made by our ambassador to the court of Spain was, that English ships of war in Spanish ports should be treated in the same manner as French ships of war. This, he said, was agreed to; and, though he did not wish to stand on words, yet, when he saw a demand made and agreed to, he thought it should be binding. It was stated, that, in a preceding war, ships had been taken before the formal declaration; he acknowledged that to be a fact; but it did by no means determine the question, as that very circumstance alluded to, had since been condemned by every man of common understanding. He was sorry to hear so many instances recounted of hostilities being commenced before the declaration of war, as he was perfectly well convinced in himself, that in almost every one, the proceeding was blame able. The hon. and learned gent. then took a review of the law of nations, on declaring war, and quoted several passages from Grotius and other writers. He said, it had been urged, that ministers were justified in going to war on account, of the breach of the condition on the part of Spain. As to that point, he thought the breach must be perfectly clear, which was not, even by the ministers, said to be so in this case; they only said the condition appeared to be broken; but suppose it had actually been the fact, suppose the condition had been broken, every circumstance should have been strictly examined before any steps were taken, or at least, any other than those which were absolutely necessary. He said, the greatest possible argument that could be offered against the war with Spain was, that France would derive the greatest possible advantage from it; she would have under her command, not only the navy and army, but half the revenue of Spain,, all of which 433 would contribute to make her still more formidable than she was at present. The armament at Ferrol, of which we complained, consisted of three ships; the order for fitting them out was received on the 7th, and on the 15th they were countermanded. This was the great and alarming measure, which was to excite so much fear for our safety, and called for immediate reparation and redress. There were, indeed, other armaments that might have proved a just subject of com plaint, and justified strong measures on the part of the British govt. He meant the armaments at Carthagena and Cadiz, and yet there was not a word of alarm respecting these two ports. No orders were dispatched to prevent the armaments from sailing out of the ports of Cadiz and Carthagena. To Cadiz, indeed, 2 frigates were sent to make prizes of vessels that might wish to go into it; but not a word was said of any armament coming out; and, as to Carthagena, no measure whatever was deemed necessary. It was curious to see, out of three cases, two of them thus entirely omitted, and all the fear and Apprehension confined to one. If Spain had a naval war in contemplation, was it probable that she should be totally unprovided with the means of carrying it on? that she should have no timber at Cadiz, until the very last moment? yet such appears to have been her real situation in that particular. So far from having her arsenals filled with naval stores to an extent which the consumption of war might require, she had no timber at Cadiz, but such as was barely sufficient for immediate purposes totally unconnected with the warfare. She had no contracts for naval stores, no provision was made that could indicate an hostile intention. Even Mr. Frere himself had borne testimony to these pacific appearances on the part of Spain, as in one of his dispatches he stated, that from all the information he had received from the coast, it did not appear that there were any armaments going forward. He admitted, at the same time, that another dispatch shortly after announced preparations in the port of Ferrol. He would ask, how were these discordant reports to be reconconciled? The pacific disposition of Spain, if left to herself, was universally acknowledged, and her hostile conduct imputed entirely to the domineering influence of France. But, was it possible that the overbearing influence of France should be so unsteady in its operation, as not to be able 434 to exist ten days together without interruption? It was strange, if warlike preparations were making at any time under the influence of France, always so uniform and steady in her enmity to England, that they should proceed only by starts, and be liable to such interruptions. The al-ledged destination of those ships at Ferrol has also been adduced as a proof of insincerity on the part of the Spanish govt.; and the answer of the Spanish commander, stating that they were destined to convey troops to quell the insurgents in Biscay, has been argued upon as pregnant with internal evidence of falsehood, and totally inconsistent with truth. The subsequent march of the troops for that purpose, by land, was relied upon, as a proof of the fallaciousness of that explanation; but he did not think it deserved so much weight as was attached to it. Although troops were afterwards sent to Biscay, by land, it did not follow but that it might have been thought advisable to have sent troops also by sea, and it was very possible that it might have been in the contemplation of the Spanish govt. originally to send those very troops by sea, which they afterwards marched by land into Biscay. He did not profess an accurate knowledge of the coast of Spain in that quarter disturbed by insurrection; but he could conceive it very possible that it might have been deemed advisable to attack the insurgents at the same time by land and sea; and although there might not be a very deep and commodious harbour on that part of the coast, yet troops might have been very well landed by boats from the shipping at a convenient distance. As a farther proof of the innocent intention of the armament in Ferrol, admiral Cochrane asserted, that the three ships composing it were only half manned. This is at once evidence of the fair intention of the Spanish govt. and of the weakness of the fears which the armament excited. That three ships, half manned, should be a force competent to produce such serious apprehension as would not allow his maj.'s ministers 24 hours time for deliberation, he could not conceive. If they were fitted out for an hostile purpose, and if they did threaten mischief, where was our vigorous and efficient administration of whom we had heard so much? Were they so limited in their means, that they could not afford to send out three ships to prevent any urgent danger to be feared from these three half-manned Spanish vessels? Admitting, 435 however, every possible appearance of hostility to attach to the armament at Ferrol, still it was possible that the object was innocent, and might possibly receive a full and: satisfactory explanation; but, under these circumstances, what course did ministers pursue? They adopted a course that precluded the possibility of all explanation. They sent out orders to the West Indies to Capture Spanish vessels; orders that could not be recalled in time, even in case of a subsequent satisfactory explanation, and were consequently so far final and decisive. In fact, no demand of explanation was made of M. d'Anduaga until the orders were sent off, and explanation must have come too late to prevent their being carried into execution. Leaving the question of explanation, however, aside, he Contended that the Measures adopted by our govt. Ought to have been commensurate with the danger, if any such really existed, and ought not to have exceeded the necessity of the case. Consequently, the act of hostility to which we had recourse, having gone far beyond that necessity, was utterly indefensible. But then we are told that French soldiers and sailors were marched across the Spanish territory to mail the French vessels at Ferr'ol, and that this was an unquestionable breach of neutrality, if put as an abstract, general case. But what were the particular circumstances under which it occurred in the present instance? The Spanish minister declared in his letter, that gen. Bournonville had obtained leave to march 1600 men across the Spanish territory. And Mr. Frere had written to lord Hawkesbury, communicating the circumstance, without receiving in answer any instructions to consider it as an act of hostility. In that light, however, it was afterwards thought fit to view it, for the measures adopted by our govt. in consequence, could be considered as nothing else than acts of hostility. It is idle to call our conduct a system of precaution; it was actual hostility, and is entitled to no other name, Mr. Frere's departure from Madrid was in the same spirit. He was not justified in coming away when he did, as his own dispatch admitted, that the Spanish minister had expressed his hope to be able to shew that the object of the armament was perfectly innocent in relation to this country, and the sincerity of this declaration was the less to be suspected, as Mr. B. Frere had expressed, in one of his letters, his belief that the armament was destined against the Biscayans. 436 With these reasons against an Hostile construction upon the proceeding, and to induce a favourable interpretation, Mr. Frere had no right to take a strong ground, and say to Spain, you shall not move even a single ship out of one of your own ports, even to chastise your rebellious subjects, as if it were impossible that such could be the real object. His own dispatch evidently implied a possibility that an innocent cause might be made out; and if so, he had no right to take a definite and decided step, in opposition to any such possible case. But what followed? Lord Harrow by, in his conversation with M, d'Anduaga, declared that the capture of the Spanish treasure was only a measure of precaution. Was it then right, he would ask, that we should proceed in every part of the world, taking Spanish treasure, although it appeared that the armament was innocent? An expectation, it is said, was entertained that the treasure would Come home from America in single ships, and this had been relied upon as an answer to the objection to the force of the squadron that engaged the Spanish frigates off Cape St. Mary, but the reverse he would venture to state was the fact. Several months prior to that event, information was received, that the Spanish treasure ships would sail in company. An accurate list, containing their names, &c. was published, from whence it appeared, that 5 were to sail together from Lima; and yet, with the advantage of all this knowledge, a squadron of only four frigates was employed to intercept them. So much for the expectation, that the treasure would be brought home in single ships. Let no man suppose that this disparity of force upon the present occasion was a matter of little importance. The honour of the flag is dear to every maritime nation, and, perhaps, there is nothing so likely to involve two countries in hostilities as any insult offered to it. The hon. and learned gent. condemned the conduct of the administration in the most pointed manner, and availed himself of every Opportunity that the papers afforded him to censure their proceedings. When we called upon the nations of Europe to support whatever of civilization there was remaining in Europe, it was necessary that we should endeavour to keep our own conscience free from any acts that could weaken our appeal. We should not seek to relax the ties by which men were hitherto bound to the principles 437 of rectitude. We should not seek for precedents of wrong, nor make cases to justify our own violations. In common matters he would not go against the sense of the house, but in cases like this, it was for the house to consider, whether it would become it to decide without hearing all the arguments that could be offered; for himself, nothing should deter him from saying what his duty and his judgement dictated on an occasion which so deeply involved the honour and character of the country.
The Master of the Rolls
said, he would confine himself to the topics which were most important, and which bore most on the issue of the question, without going into the variety of details foreign to the main point into which other gentlemen had entered so much at large. There was much in the conduct of administration, and in the mode in which this business had been managed from the commencement, that might afford room for a great variety of opinions without bearing at all on the main question; but which might yet if much enforced in debate, have great influence on the decision as to that question. These points were certainly much connected with the question, but they ought not at all to enter into the decision upon it. Neither could he see how the dispatches in the early part of the negotiation could be made to enter into the consideration. The war originated in a remote cause, which was the unrenounced treaty of St. Ildefonso, and in a proximate cause, which was the intelligence of the preparation of armaments, and the refusal to explain the objects of these armaments. He conceived we had a right to demand an explanation of these objects on several considerations. First, our situation was to be considered, involved as we were in a war with France. Then, how far our situation with Spain was changed by this war with France, Then, what engagements we had entered into with Spain, whether by agreement or convention, for the name was immaterial, in order to ascertain what we gave to Spain, and on what conditions. Then, whether these conditions were violated, and what consequences, in point of right, resulted from such deviation. Afterwards, the consequences of the claims of explanation, and the amount of the satisfaction given. He understood his learned friend to say, that the treaty of St. Ildefonso did not carry on the face of it a 438 ground of war, if it was not renounced (Dr. L. said, no;) he was happy to find he Was mistaken, and that all were agreed as to the offensive nature of that treaty. According to the law of nations, no treaty was binding, which would bind the contracting party to an unjust war, and the sense of the party was the only thing that could decide as to the justice or injustice. In the Family Compact there was a right of examination and inquiry, but in that of St. Ildefonso, no such right was allowed, This, therefore, was merely an offensive treaty, even according to the opinion of the hon. gent, who had moved the amendment, and a cause of war if it should not be renounced. The mode of proceeding under these circumstances, was to put it to the govt, of Spain, whether it would renounce the treaty or not, and if it did not we would have a just ground of war. There was no difference whether the succours were given in kind or by a pecuniary compensation; our right was the same in both cases, and we were not bound by any agreement between the parties. Nations were not bound to exert their right at all times, or under all circumstances. Considerations of prudence and policy might intervene. This country might not consider it politic to go to war with Spain; and, in fact, the policy of evading a war with Spain when we were engaged in a war with France was recognised, provided we could be sure of a fair neutrality. It was remarked, however, that there was no instance, for near a century, of a war between this' country and France, in which Spain did not sometime or another take a part. Even in the American war, which began in 1778, and was the most unlikely that could be imagined to engage the cooperation of Spain, as being totally foreign to all the principles of interest and policy, she was at length induced, though her ministers at first declared how contrary it was to prudence to make herself a party. The opposition of the time arraigned, ministers on this occasion, for their blindness in not foreseeing that Spain would ultimately take part with France, and for their misconduct in not forcing her to an, explanation. There was nothing that that administration had been condemned for omitting that the present administration had not done. The present treaty between France and Spain was more overbearing than the Family Compact. Ministers had, therefore, taken a distinct line from the begin- 439 ning, and had expressly declared to Spain, that if she executed that treaty, she could have no peace with us. Then it came to the question of the precise amount of the succours. The ambassador was instructed to come to no precise determination on this point, but to take it, as there were many instances in history, of ambassadors being instructed to take the answers given to them on particular points, ad referendum, for the consideration of his court. It would indeed, be too much to give the ambassador himself the power of determining at once on war, or of giving a decisive answer as to the future relations. Here he called the attention of the house to the discussions with Spain in 1761, when our ambassador was instructed to demand a copy of the Family Compact. Lord Egremont, then secretary of state, instructed him at the same time, that if the copy should be refused, but an assurance given that it contained nothing hostile to England, he was to take that answer ad referendum, and to transmit it for the consideration of his court. He never heard lord Egremont censured as incapable or indecisive for this conduct, or because he did not give precise instructions to the ambassador to bring the matter to a decisive issue at once. He already stated; that the substitution of a pecuniary contribution left our right of war unimpaired, Spain preferred that mode of giving her succour in the expectation that the amount would be reasonable, and when France demanded 24,000,000 dollars, the claim was disputed, and its justice calculated by a computation of the expence of the contingent. The demand was however peremptorily insisted on, and being complied with, our right remained the same This Mr. Frere repeatedly impressed when he informed the Spanish govt. that however a small and temporary contribution might be allowed in the hope of new situation of things, which would give room for a real neutrality, in room of the nominal one that now existed, no permanent or unreasonable contribution could be permitted. Was this a ground for conceiving our right abandoned, and for establishing the most dangerous doctrine that had ever been heard, that if a country had a right of war it should immediately go to war to avail itself of that right, and that it was not at liberty to take the chance of events for avoiding the war altogether Mr. Frere held out no hope to Spain but 440 on the conditions which were thought necessary to assure us. In his dispatch of the 24th Julie, he mentioned, that G. Britain had even then the right of commencing hostilities. The learned gent. here went through the particulars of the discussions between Mr. Frere and M. Cevallos, in which the conditions of an explanation of the terms of the treaty with France, the cessation of armaments, and the prohibition of the sale of captured British ships in the Spanish ports were made the primary conditions of our forbearance. He allowed, that if the conditions proposed were acceded to, it amounted to an agreement. The change of the word to convention, gave rise to an argument which he did not think material. The thing was the same whatever name was given to it. If a word of larger meaning were, after the agreement, substituted by either party, for a word of mere limited meaning, that meaning should be corrected by a reference to original terms. He then proceeded to shew that Spain had not adhered to the conditions proposed by us. He did not contend for any such thing as a reserved right of war to break out at pleasure, and the hon. mover of the amendment was not right when he imputed such an intention to lord Hawkesbury. The letter of that noble lord to Mr. Frere, of Nov. 24, expressed an intention of this kind; but it gave time, and if that time should have elapsed without altering the circumstances, notice was to be given that we could forbear no longer; that we should have a war or a fair neutrality. His hon. and learned friend, who spoke last, had said, in the course of his argument, that it was incumbent on his maj.'s ministers to keep up the good faith for which this nation had ever been so deservedly celebrated; and particularly in its relations with the Spanish govt. He would certainly be at all times a most strenuous advocate for keeping up the good faith and honour, as well as justice, of the nation; and, in the present case, that point had been most scrupulously adhered to. In the course of the negotiations relative to this treaty, we exact two conditions, on the exact fulfilment of which by the Spanish ministers, the whole basis or strength of our agreement, or convention, or compact, for he believed it had been alluded to by all these terms, was to rest. It was necessary, he thought, in this place, to state exactly whit we had obtained from Spain, in order 441 that she might keep out of the war which had just been commenced between France and this country. In the first place, then, Spain was to restrain itself from any appearance of hostile armament. Here again it may, perhaps, be asked, what it was that should be deemed to be such? Mr. Frere, he said, always desirous to do away every doubt that might take place on the subject, had brought it to a more certain point, and, to avoid every probable chance of any mistake, he expressly says, that the court of Spain must abstain from all armaments. This shewed most clearly, that the measure was adopted in consequence of an express agreement on the occasion, which no neutral power could require; as such, lord Hawkesbury, in his dispatches to Mr. Frere, said any armament whatsoever will be a cause of jealousy; and why? for this obvious reason, that if they had any armament at all, it might at any time be brought to act against us. It was hot, he said, by any means his intention to say that we ought to tie Spain down to the Strictest possible performance of that condition. He was far from wishing to infer that Spain should not be allowed to equip any ships, for the purpose of any internal service that might actually require it; such as the conveyance of troops to quell any insurrection or rebellion, or any such a similar service of real necessity. It would first require proof that such armament as that described was wanting; and there could be no doubt, but on the necessity and advantage being made apparent, the king's minister at the court of Spain would readily give consent to every requisite adjustment that the court of Spain could desire. Here the hon. and learned gent. alluded to M. Cevallos's letter, of the 1st of April, in which he states, that his maj. has acceded to the conditions demanded by Mr. Frere; and on the 8th June, Mr. Frere states the conversation he had had with M. Cevallos on the subject. The next proof is M. Cevallos's note of the 29th Oct. in which it is stated, that England agrees to the neutrality of Spain, on condition that she shall cease all armaments whatever, according to the true intent and meaning of the convention. M. d'Anduaga, in his letter of the 22d of Dec. states, that England had agreed to a neutrality on condition that they should cease from all ulterior armaments. Here seemed to be an ambiguous variation of the language in these two let- 442 ters, that of the 29th of Oct. stating, that, in return for the condition of neutrality, Spain was to cease from all armaments, according to the tenor of the convention, whilst that of the 22d of Dec. says, all ulterior armaments. There certainly was a difference in the wording of the two notes, which, with other circumstances, induced a suspicion that the Spanish ministers wished to introduce a phraseology that would bear a difference of interpretation. It has been said by his hon. and learned friend, suppose Spain had occasion to equip ships, in order to suppress a rebellion in any of the provinces: she must not be allowed to equip one for even such a purpose. The hon. and learned gent. denied this, and said it would be unreasonable. It never could be the wish of this country to put Spain into such a situation; but, if Spain were to attempt to fit out any extraordinary armaments, we should certainly have a right to act hostilely towards her. Our situation would certainly not be secure, if Spain were allowed to arm at any time, without explaining. In this view of the subject, he thought he might avoid many of the very minute matters, which the hon. and learned gent. who had just sat down, and some others who had spoken on the subject, had particularly adverted to. His chief object being to impress it on the mind of the house, that we had acceded to a neutrality or forbearance, on the express condition, that Spain should cease from all armaments whatever; and if they broke through that condition, or materially infringed it, that would be a good and sufficient cause of war. We had, in the first instance, it good cause of war in the treaty of St. Ildefonso itself; but as Spain thought they were not bound to act by that treaty, they were strictly bound to fulfil the condition on which they had obtained a stipulated forbearance on the part of this country. How then did the matter stand after this? Mr. Frere received intelligence from admiral Cochrane, that great numbers of French soldiers and sailors were suffered to pass through Spain for the purpose of manning and equipping the French ships of war lying in the port of Ferrol; and further, that Spain was also arming and equipping several ships not only in that port, but in the ports also of Cadiz and Carthagena. The hon. gent. who moved the amendment, had, last night, stated, for what reason he was at a loss to guess, that any 443 intelligence on this subject, coming from that gallant officer, should not be relied on with too much confidence. Why? He thought it, in every respect, to be implicitly relied on. Did it not agree with the account contained in the letter of the capt. gen. of Gallicia, who allows that these are the exact number of ships which have been attempted to be armed, as described by admiral Cochrane, viz. 3 ships of the line. That was, beyond a doubt, a very mysterious armament, and altogether of that kind or description, which Spain, from the nature and spirit of the agreement, then recently entered into with this country, was not, in any manner, warranted to make or attempt. We had a specific agreement, that Spain should not arm at all. An armament is however set on foot. On Mr. Frere's inquiry into the cause of it, he is told that it is for the particular purpose of quelling a rebellion which had broken out in the province of Biscay, and lie thought lord Harrowby was perfectly right, when he said, he did not think it possible that a satisfactory answer could be given on that subject. When Mr. Frere first made the enquiry, no such reason was pretended. He was told, that the armament was entirely laid aside, but that, such as it was, it was never meant with any view whatever that was in the most distant degree hostile or inimical to G. Britain. The first hint which was ever given of its being intended to quell the rebellion in Biscay, appears in the note of M. d'Anduaga here, who suggests, that he cannot conceive for what reason it was made, unless it was to convey troops more speedily and conveniently to the province of Biscay, in order to quell the rebellion then raging there. Here then, the hon. and learned gent, contended, was not only aright to declare war, but a good and sufficient cause of war also, for Spain had procured from you a neutrality, or forbearance, or an express stipulation and condition that she shall positively cease from all armaments, and that condition being once broken in upon, or infringed in any degree, you are in all respects completely justified in issuing the orders of Sept. for the seizure and detention of the Spanish frigates. The hon. and learned gent. went even further, and said that your causes of war were so palpable, that you would have been completely justified in issuing immediate orders for capture in the first instance, which of course includes 444 detention. He did not mean, however, that the measure should be absolute, provided the Spanish court would consent to give a proper satisfaction, and an assurance that it would hereafter scrupulously adhere to the conditions on which the neutrality or forbearance on our part was granted. The hon. and learned gent. fully defended the measure of seizing and detaining these frigates. Yet, he said, it was always intended by his maj.'s ministers as a measure of precaution, though our cause of war was so notorious, for in a few days after the order was issued for their detention, there was another issued for their restitution. Mr. Frere was desired not to consider this step as absolutely rendering it necessary to quit Madrid, but to try every means of convincing the Spanish govt. that we did not wish to break with them if we could possibly avoid it. The hon. and learned gent. insisted that we only wished to detain these frigates as a pledge or hostage till Spain should give us satisfaction on particular points. All the instructions given to the commanders and officers of our own ships clearly proved this; and those commanders and officers had acted with the strictest attention to the orders they had so received. The utmost delicacy was used in the act of communicating those instructions to the captains and commanders of the Spanish frigates; and, whatever melancholy circumstances have ensued were not owing to our officers, but to the obstinate determination on the part of the Spanish commanders, not to submit to the detention, though urged with every degree of humanity and respect; that any lives had been lost, he allowed, was deeply to be regretted; but, under all the circumstances, no blame could therefore be thrown with fairness and candour, because they had taken every precaution to guard against any such melancholy consequences. When the whole conduct of the Spanish govt. is impartially and coolly considered, it will be found that our minister had just cause to be alarmed. The treaty of St. Ildefonso itself was certainly an offensive one, and, as such, gave us a good cause of war in the first instance, even the first moment we found ourselves engaged in hostilities with France. He would, however, suppose, for the sake of argument, that the conduct of the court of Spain only entitled us to make a demand of explanation. Surely, if Spain acted with, due re- 445 gard to the treaty of neutrality or, forbearance, We would not be induced to suppose there was any thing in the treaty which the Spanish govt. wanted so carefully to conceal. But if she gives us reason to suppose that there is any thing concealed, we have an undoubted right to a communication of the terms of that treaty, in order to be certain, and to have it ascertained that nothing injurious to our interests is contained therein. It actually became necessary to know whether the accounts received by Mr. Frere relative to the armaments were true or false. M. Cevallos states, that all armaments against G. Brishall cease, whereas by agreement, all armaments whatever were to cease, and it would be utterly, and to all intents and purposes, impossible for us to know the intentions of the Spanish govt. unless she should give us some information relative to the stipulations contained in that treaty, and therefore you get nothing by the treaty more than you always have had with all neutral nations. The hon. and learned gent, begged the house to recollect that on the 3d of Nov. 1804, M. Cevallos gives in his ultimatum as an answer to Mr. Frere's two notes in the following words:—"Sir, I have received the two notes which you were pleased to address to me, dated the 20th of Oct. last, and the 2d inst.; and having given account to the king my master of their contents, I have the honor to declare to you, that Spain has given constant proofs of good correspondence with G. Britain; of her fidelity in observing the treaty of neutrality (called by you a suspension of hostilities, though they have not disturbed the state of peace since the treaty of Amiens), and has completely done away the apprehensions which England founded upon vague accounts of armaments which neither did exist, nor, if they had existed, had any tendency prejudicial to the tranquillity of G. Britain. And although these three points are satisfied in my note of the 29th of Oct. last, still his maj. is willing to make a fresh sacrifice to peace, carrying his royal condescension to the point which you desire, and ordering me to satisfy your questions, as I do in the most unequivocal manner, saying—"To the 1st, That Spain, in consequence of the treaty of neutrality concluded on the 19th Oct. 1803, will make no agreement contrary to the said convention. To the 2d, That there is not a greater number of ships armed than there 446 was at the epoch of the said convention. To the 3d, That no change infractory of the neutrality shall be made in the distribution of the ships already armed; nor is it likely that there should be any need to change the said distribution, under the supposition of neutrality. To the 4th, That the treaty of subsidy with France contains nothing offensive to our neutrality with G. Britain, and that the subsidies are equivalent to what would be the expence of the naval and military succours, stipulated in the treaty of alliance with the French Republic. As my answers are not less distinct than satisfactory, for they have been formed in no other style than that, of good faith, I think I have a fresh right to be satisfied by you in regard to the measure taken by the British cabinet in ordering that the commander of its forces before Ferrol should prevent the entrance of Spanish ships into the said port; a complaint I have not had the honour to see satisfied by you, as becomes a measure which carries with it a mistrust of the Spanish govt. and offends its honor and dignity, by shackling the exercise of its domestic authority."—By this it appears that Spain, in consequence of the treaty of neutrality, will make no armament contrary to the said convention; this was the explicit language used by M. Cevallos on the 29th of Oct.; but he became more mysterious and ambiguous in the language of his note of the 3d of Nov. which gave Mr. Frere great reason to believe that there was some secret engagement between France and Spain, which rendered it doubtful Spain could not consistently enter into any with Great Britain. That would in itself be a good and sufficient cause of war; they tell us there is nothing in the treaty contrary to the terms of the neutrality with G. Britain, though we have nothing more to depend on respecting this, but their own construction of their own treaty, which they have uniformly refused to let us see, and on which, after the experience we have had, we may well suppose there is no reliance to be placed. Mr. Frere afterwards pointed out, wherein it was, that they might give the satisfaction required in the following terms, in his note of the 30th of Oct.: "true it is," says he, "that his Britannic maj. has received vague assurances as to the amount of the sums paid to France, but these assurances are insufficient to enable him to decide upon the 447 nature of the permanent relations which should subsist between him and his Catholic maj.; especially, as, should these assurances be exact, no reason remains to refuse the communication of the treaty, since your excellency has assured me, that it does not contain any stipulations hostile to G. Britain." Thus, by a full and clear explanation, they might have satisfied his maj.'s ministers, and kept entire those peaceful relations, to keep and maintain which it had been the constant wish of his maj. and the uniform efforts of his ministers. By the conduct of the ministers of Spain, we have had a palpable breach of a particular agreement, made for the express purpose of enabling Spain to enjoy a state of neutrality or forbearance, or rather, as Mr. Frere says, a suspension of hostilities, which is an immediate cause of war; and that event having happened, you had an instantaneous right to detain, or even capture, their ships, without any formal declaration of war taking place. An hon. gent. had characterised the detention of the frigates as nothing less than piracy. But till some new code was established among nations entirely different from that which now existed, he would maintain, it was an act exempt from censure. The non-performance of the condition required, precluded all necessity of a declaration. War was declared by the agreement, on the deviation from the terms. If there was not therefore a right of war on the general ground, there would have been by the convention. It was said, we knew, the contents of the treaty with France. It was true we had reason to presume what the contents were, and the reluctance to disclose them was an additional reason to suppose them hostile to us. Intimation of the general tenor of the family compact was given by the ambassador Stanley very early, but the conditions of it were not made known so soon, and when they were, they were found less hostile than was expected, because they did not involve Spain in the war then existing. There was in both cases a right to demand explanation.—Having touched on the most important points, he now, from a regard to the time of the hour, abstained from entering on many, which he would have wished to remark on, as they did not bear much on the main question. He concluded with saying, that laying his band on his heart, he thought the government and the country fully justified in the steps that had 448 been taken; that there was no breach of faith, no violation of the law of nations; but that the honor and character of the nation had been preserved and maintained throughout. He should therefore give his vote in approbation of the conduct of his maj.'s ministers, and he thought they would have been guilty of a breach of the trust reposed in them if they had acted otherwise.
§ Mr. Fox
then rose. He began by observing, that it was the less necessary for him to occupy much of their attention, since the arguments urged by his hon. friend who moved the amendment remained completely unanswered; and the hon. and learned gent, who had just sat down had not at all succeeded in overthrowing the doctrine laid down in the speech of his hon. and learned friend near him (Dr. Laurence); a speech not only replete with good sense, but what was not less valuable, with the most enlightened and liberal maxims of policy. But what still further superseded the necessity of his going into any length of discussion was, that the hon. and learned gent, had not, in the course of his reasoning, attempted to uphold the distinction betwixt a suspension of hostilities and a system of neutrality, by which we were to be placed in a more favourable situation, and enabled to take whatever advantage we thought proper, whenever a convenient opportunity offered itself. He confessed that the language he had heard on this subject from the right hon. gent. who opened the discussion, and other gent. on the same side, struck him with astonishment. It was neither more nor less than the language of gross fraud. When he heard the right of putting an end to neutrality asserted, just at that period when we could take the greatest advantage of the state with which the neutrality previously existed, he could not help considering it as altogether monstrous. He was happy to find that the hon. and learned gent, had not attempted to support such a doctrine as this, that we should be justified in entering into an implied agreement with another power, by which that power conceived itself safe from attack, merely with the purpose of renewing hostilities, at the moment when they were least expected. He was glad to find, at the same time, that the learned gent. was not disposed to deny the existence of that agreement which some other gent, seemed so anxious either to deny altogether, or to misrepresent its nature and 449 extent. He hoped the house would hear no more of the idea of appearing to acquiesce in an arrangement, and afterwards disclaiming its existence, when some sinister or criminal purpose was to be promoted. He had read in an ancient tragedy of one of the characters expressing a wish to Jupiter, that, for the purpose of preventing the effects of deceit, man had been provided with two voices, the one for the utterance of truth, and the other for the utterance of falshood. It had not, indeed, pleased the governor of the world to form such an arrangement, but if there was not an actual difference of voice, there was an eternal difference of language, and if there was any dictionary for this language it would be important to have it understood, that 'to pass over' was not 'to acquiesce in;' that to wave the exercise of a right was merely to wait for the convenient moment to employ it with greater effect. If he had understood the hon. and learned gent. he confined his grounds of the war chiefly to two circumstances. The first of these he had styled the remote cause, and the armaments in the Spanish ports he had described as the proximate cause of the renewal of hostilities. With respect to the remote cause of the war, he had no difficulty in saying, that if the treaty of Ildefonso was an offensive treaty, and he had also as little hesitation in adding, that he did consider it in that light, its existence was unquestionably a clear ground of war against Spain. The hon. and learned gent. had stated, that this treaty was still more hostile to this country than the Family Compact, as the succours stipulated were to be given without any right to ask for explanation, as to the grounds of the war in which they might happen to be employed. He was not quite sure that in the Family Compact there was an absolute clause to this effect, but certainly this peremptory power of demanding the succours had always been urged as one of the most powerful arguments against that treaty. However this might be, it was not very material to the present argument. But, though he coincided entirely with the hon. and learned gent. as to the right of this country to compel Spain to renounce the treaty1 of Ildefonso, or to declare hostilities against her, he took up his grand objection to the conduct of ministers, in not coming to an immediate explanation on the subject as soon as ever hostilities were renewed between this country and France. 450 Admitting our right to declare war, it became a question of policy whether some arrangement could not be formed by which the good understanding betwixt the two countries might be preserved. Such an arrangement, he confessed, appeared to him consistent with a liberal policy, and ministers appeared to have entertained a similar opinion. When war with France became inevitable, it was easy enough to foresee that Spain must, from her engagement with France, soon he brought into a disagreeable dilemma, and what he complained of was, that no steps were taken by ministers to make provision for the consequences. In the first letter of lord Hawkesbury, he found our minister at Madrid ordered to make the strictest inquiries respecting the views of the court of Spain, and afterwards it did not appear that he ever came to any explanation on the subject. An hon. member on the same bench (Mr. Bankes) had, in his speech, attempted to point out what were the relative duties of the two countries in rather a novel style. He had stated, that frankness, openness, and candour were required of Spain; that vigilance, circumspection, and jealousy were the duty of this country. He confessed he had ever conceived that frankness was a quality which could only be mutual. If we wished others to be frank, we must first be frank ourselves. If we expected full and candid explanation, it was first incumbent on us to exhibit, in our own conduct, proofs of openness and integrity. These observations were founded, not in the laws of nations, or the customs of England, but in the constitution of things, and the laws of our being. Till he had perused the papers on the table, he had not conceived it possible that any lines but two could have been pursued. The first was a determination for instant war. If, on the contrary, a different course was to be attempted, that no time would be lost while the disposition of the Spaniards remained amicable, to conclude any arrangement by which their neutrality might be preserved. What, then, was it that ministers had done to accomplish this most important object? In the month of June, lord Hawkesbury had given our minister at Madrid no powers to form any arrangement; and five months elapsed during which nothing was done, and that when ministers could not be ignorant that French intrigue would be sufficiently active in instigating Spain to act up to the terms of the subsidiary treaty. During all this 451 period there is no communication made, no explanation authorized, no intelligence given to the Spanish court of the objects, views and dispositions of our court. What was here to be concluded, but that ministers believed that Spanish neutrality was intimately connected with the dictates of policy, but had left the whole matter wholly to chance, which every man of common sense saw to be full of difficulty and embarrassment? Not only do five months elapse without any remonstrance or explanation, but this silence is observed at a time when the hope of successful negotiation was by far the most natural. Spain did not attempt to conceal her real situation. She disclosed the demands which France was making, and if we were unable to yield her assistance, she had at least a right to look for our advice for the establishment of her future relations with this country. But what rendered the conduct of ministers the more inexcusable was, that though they knew as far back as the 12th of Sept. and were again assured on the 24th of the same month, that a subsidiary treaty was actually negotiating, they did not make even one effort to prevent such an arrangement from taking place. Under all these circumstances, Spain was now attempted to be calumniated for commuting the treaty, by which a contingent was to be given for a subsidiary agreement. Much stress was also laid on calculations that the amount of the subsidy was greater than the amount which by the treaty of Ildefonso they had agreed to furnish to France. This, however was nothing to the purpose. It was very material, so far as respected France and Spain, though not this country and Spain. The question was, had or had not Spain reason to suppose that the commutation as the contingent for a sum of money would be more agreeable to this country? and had she not acted on the idea that the change would be desirable. Spain took the method of relieving herself from her embarrassments which appeared the most unexceptionable; and if ministers here who were apprised of the step she was about to take, disapproved of it, why did they not remonstrate on the subject? But it was clear, from the language of lord Hawkesbury, that he did not consider the commutation as in, the least objectionable. In one of his dispatches he instructs Mr. Frere, that if on inquiry he finds that the court of Spain had determined on giving the contingent, immediately to demand his pass- 452 ports and quit Madrid; but that if he should find a proposition for a commutation treaty, he should take no steps on the occasion, but report to his court. Was not this a decisive proof in what light ministers viewed the commutation treaty? But now Spain was traduced for subsidising France. The hon. and learned gent, had allowed, that ever, since the family compact there was always a slender prospect of the continuance of peace with Spain, while hostilities existed betwixt this country and France. He had even mentioned that the administration of 1778 had been censured for not foreseeing and providing against such an, event. He thanked God that sooner or later the sentiments of opposition had full justice done them, and he was happy that the opposition of 1805 had left future oppositions an example by which to form an estimate on this subject. He certainly thought that the administration of 1778 was very short-sighted not to provide against the probability of a rupture with Spain. But how much more short-sighted and culpable were ministers now, when the great difference in the state of Spain was considered? Formerly the control experienced was the control of the govt. of France over the govt. of Spain, but was not a control arising from the wishes of the people or the apprehension of a French army taking Madrid. Now, it was the apprehention of being overrun by the French troops, that rendered every act of the Spanish court absolutely dependent. Formerly, there might have been a presumption of a hostile mind. Now, there was not the least room for such a suspicion. It was ridiculous to think of Spain wishing now to share in the conquests of France, or the glories of her chief. The events which had lately happened in Europe, must, he hoped, have cured the inferior states of this triad ambition. But as ministers must have foreseen the probability of a rupture, as they were apprised of the arrangement of Spain to ward off this calamity by a subsidy to France, the question arose out of the extent of this pecuniary sacrifice. Now, it was saying nothing, to say that its amount was larger than the amount of the contingent, because Spain being forcea to have recourse to this expedient, could not prevent this result from taking place. It was well known that the person commuting a contingent for a sum of money, was, to a 453 certain degree, at the mercy of him by whom the commutation is to be received. This was precisely the situation of Spain, but Spain could not in justice he blamed for a circumstance necessarily arising out of her dependant situation.—The hon. gent. after again expressing his indignation at the idea of keeping back grounds of offence, went on to comment on the agreement of the 28th of Jan. and confirmed by another letter of the 18th of Feb. by which the payment of the subsidy to France was acquiesced in as a temporary expedient. It was true that Mr. Frere thought proper to deny that there was any agreement, and though it is positively referred to in M. Cevallo's letters, he says his only reason for not protesting against its existence was, that no part of his conversation countenanced the idea. But, surely, this was a curious reason, that Mr. Frere, because he found M. Cevallos labouring under an error, would take no trouble in correcting the mistake. M. Cevallos continues to believe in the existence of the agreement. M. d'Anduaga expressly mentions its existence to lord Hawkesbury, and his lordship never drops a hint of there being no such arrangement. Was it fair, he asked, betwixt man that such an agreement should have been understood to be in existence for a number of months, that the Spanish court should have uniformly acted on it, and that when it suited our Ministers it should be denied? M. Cevallos, in his letters, asserts the existence of the agreement, and explains the two conditions on which it is to continue in force. As to the sale of prizes in the Spanish ports, there were no difference of opinion. The order respecting arnaments was also acceded to, though certainly M. Cevallos contends, and not without great reason, that the armaments should refer to such as were meant to succour France, or to act hostilely against this country.—Here the hon. member argued on the state of the enemy's preparation, which never could have excited serious apprehensions. The armaments at Ferrol were quite inconsiderable. They never exceeded three sail of the line, only half manned. They were sufficiently fitted to convey troops to Biscay, and however absurd it might be represented, even Mr. Frere himself, who was not the most disposed to put a favourable construction on the views of the court of Spain, allowed that 454 this was their destination. The orders for sailing from the outer to the inner harbour, were given on the 7th of Sept. and on the l6th they were again ordered to be laid up in ordinary. Here, then, only 9 days elapsed before every source of apprehension from these preparations was removed. No man could seriously believe that Spain had hostile intentions. If any thing had been wanting to convince us of her pacific intentions, her conduct on this occasion ought to have removed all ground of suspicion. He condemned ministers most warmly for issuing those orders which had produced such unpleasant and unfortunate consequences; which had plunged in war two countries having no cause of hostility to each other, without inquiry into the information which admiral Cochrane had transmitted from Ferrol. He meant no reflection on the character of that gallant officer, but he had transmitted erroneous information, both as to Carthagena and Cadiz, in none of which ports were there the least symptoms of preparation. The pacific views of Spain were, indeed, manifest to all Europe, and it was the height of absurdity to talk of her armaments. It had been said by the hon. and learned gent. that the armament at Ferrol was at least mysterious, and remained so. On the contrary, there appeared every reason to believe, that Spain considered that armament no violation of the existing agreement; and indeed its being so speedily countermanded most clearly evinced that it could never have been undertaken on any system of hostility to this country. With respect to that armament, however, lord Harrowby, in his second letter, admits that it might not only be capable of satisfactory explanation, but might even be such as this country would approve its continuance. Much had been said about the refusal to communicate the treaty of subsidy, but, in fact, from what appeared in the papers, no formal official demand of its communication had been made till Oct. just before Mr. Frere's departure from Madrd. Nor was this, in all probability, an accidental omission; for the circumstance had frequently been the subject of conversation, particularly on an interview with the prince of peace, when the latter referred Mr. Frere to the Secretary of state for Foreign affairs, M. Cevallos; and though Mr. Frere had resolved to demand a conference, in order to state the question to 455 the secretary, it seemed that no such conference ever took place. Nor was it perhaps a matter of blame that the official demand of this communication was deferred, because ministers might have seen that, there was no immediate occasion for it. The certainly had it in contemplation, on the recal of Mr. Frere, to send a person every way qualified for the station, Mr. Wellesley, to negociate on the whole state of our relations with Spain; and if that recal was proper, for the sake of avoiding prejudices that might Lave been hurtful to the success of any negotiation in the hands of Mr. Frere, after the difference with the prince of peace, it surely would have been proper also to have recalled his brother, whose connection was calculated to keep alive those very prejudices which the recal of the former was intended to prevent. The demand of the treaty, however, was at last made officially just before Mr. Frere left Madrid, and at a time when it must have been manifest that war was resolved on; although indeed there was nothing in lord Harrowby's instructions that authorized Mr. Frere to leave Madrid, if in the first instance the claims he had been directed to insist on were not granted in all their extent. Besides, though not formally communicated, it was pretty evident that ministers were acquainted with the terms of the treaty, and perhaps too from confidential communications by the Spanish govt. Yet even the refusal of the communication of the treaty could not be considered a justification of the war, so far as the capture of the frigates was concerned, because that refusal was subsequent to the order which produced the capture. It was said, however, that at the period when that order was given, we would have been justified in going to war, and of course were justified in every measure that was short of war. In what light then was the capture of the frigates to be viewed? Was it of war or precaution? If, it was as a precaution, it was to be remembered that there was a most important distinction between detention of property in our hands and an attack on the royal flag of another nation: In the One case property might be restored, but in the other an apology, perhaps of a humiliating kind, might be necessary to v give satisfaction, not to mention the lamentable and unnecessary sacrifice of human lives. The measure, however, seemed to have been considered rather 456 as an act of war than of precaution. What dreadful consequences then must follow, it on the alleged violation of a constructive agreement, loosely worded, actual war were to be commenced? If it was a measure of war, to what purpose instruct Mr. Frere to negociate on the footing of tranquillity, still existing? To what purpose labour lo prolong peace, when war was actually begun? It was like saying when a man had already been hanged, let him still have a fair trial to see whether there was reason to hang him or not. Indeed, there was something in this transaction that equalled in bad faith any of the most perfidious acts of the worst of governments in any age. What instance, unreprobated and uncondemned by history, could be found to justify it? Suppose that discussions existed between any govt; that a public minister was directed to negotiate for the removal of any obstacles that might disturb the existing tranquility: suppose that with much address he had prevailed upon the pride of the other govt. lo submit to concessions, that he had brought them to a temper of conciliation; a post arrives from his court, and those with whom he had negotiated, then imagining that they were to reap the fruit of their concessions, when, instead of the confirmation of peace, it is announced that acts of open hostility had been committed while negotiations were going on upon the footing of actual tranquillity. What must be the feelings of such a govt.? What would be thought of any public minister who could lend himself to such a scene of fraud and duplicity? Is it possible that any person in the rank of a gentleman could descend to play so unworthy a part? Yet, what was the fact here? Had not the Spanish frigates been captured, and was not Mr. Frere instructed to negotiate as on the footing of uninterrupted peace, and to bring matters to an arrangement, altogether keeping out of the view hostilities committed? He had no doubt, therefore, that Mr. Frere must have been imposed upon when employed to carry on a negotiation, concealing from Spain so important a fact as the capture of their frigates by an act of open hostility. What could have been the avail of any arrangement concluded while, that fact was unknown? Must it not have broken up what had been done? Was it not, therefore, in itself nugatory, and to the Spaniards most insulting, to negotiate with them, conceal- 457 ing so important a circumstance? Were similar treatment to be experienced by this country from an ambassador negotiating in such a situation, it would be doubtful whether the ambassador, to use a phrase of Mr. Frere's, would escape with impunity, from the more liberal spirit of the mob. Was there any good precedent for such a proceeding, and if there was any but those accursed precedents already alluded to, let it be pointed out? If it was a measure of war then that the Spanish frigates were captured, it was in pursuance of a system of policy altogether irreconcileable to good faith. If it was a precaution, it was not a measure that partook of the nature of precaution, because measures of precaution were directed only against particular dangers, but the danger from the Spanish treasures or Spanish power, were dangers not existing at particular moments merely; but dangers of that sort that were to be removed not by precaution, but by war It appeared, too, as if ministers had felt some remorse for what they had done; for they gave orders not to attack merchant ships carrying treasure or stores, though if it was necessary for our self preservation to prevent stores and treasure reaching Spain in king's ships, it was equally necessary to prevent their being conveyed in merchant's ships. What was called indulgence, therefore, was only a modification of what was felt to be unjust, in order to mitigate its odium. With respect to the necessity of declaration of war, though wars had been commenced without declaration; yet, the best authorities stated it to be most eligible to declare war first; and there was an instance at the commencement of that glorious war which began in 1702, that the govt. then, by a public proclamation in the gazette, ordered all ships seized and detained previous to the declaration of war, to be released, as was stated in the proclamation, "in pursuance of the law of nations."—There was only one more observation he had to make, and it was on the menace or caution to the opposition, not to damp the courage and zeal of the public, by censuring the conduct of govt. or arraigning the justice of our cause! But if those on his side of the house were not convinced (and it was not in a man's own power to be convinced) of the wisdom of administration, or of the justice of the war, what was he to do? Were they to speak and vote against their opinion, to be silent, or to leave the house? Had not his majesty by submitting the papers to their 458 consideration, called for their fair unbiased opinion; and such an opinion they were bound to give. The reputation of parliament was of the first importance to the public interest, and that reputation could only be maintained while parliament continued the faithful council of the king and the upright guardian of the state. What could tend more to damp the national spirit, and to make them question the resolves of parliament, than a supposition that they did not speak or vole as they really thought, but were influenced by patriotic fears of making unfavourable impressions on the public mind? As, however, both in public and private life sincerity was the source of confidence, and in order to convince men of one's sincerity it was necessary to be sincere, he conceived it his first duty to declare his real sentiments, and to lay before his majesty his real opinions. Thinking the administration culpable in the conduct of the negotiation, and in the war with Spain, he saw no reason why be should not by his speech and by his vote express those sentiments; he should therefore give his most hearty assent to the amendment.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer.
—After the length of time, sir, which this business has already taken up, and more especially after the able and luminous point of view in which my opinions on this subject have been placed by my hot), and learned friend (the Master of the Rolls), the impression of whose speech I hope still remains with the house, notwithstanding the attempt which has been made to destroy it, I do not see any necessity for troubling the house much farther in detail. Yet, late as is the time to which the discussion has been protracted, I trust I shall meet with the indulgence of the house, while I shortly advert to some leading points that have been brought forward relative to the conduct of govt. some of them referring personally to myself. The first point, then; to which I would turn the attention of the house is, the attempt which has been made to represent my hon. and learned friend and myself as differing somewhat in our opinions relative to the commencement of the war with Spain, whereas, in fact, no difference ever existed; and my hon. and learned friend has only rescued the arguments which I made use of from the vulgar and wretched misrepresentation to which they have been exposed. An attempt has been made to prove that I and lord Hawkesbury were so mad as to say to Spain, "we shall forbear to exercise our rights 459 against you for a time, and at any subsequent period, we shall, when we find it convenient, commence hostilities without any further notice." We said no such thing. If we had, then we should have deserved all the abuse and derision which have been so liberally poured upon us. But as we never did, all the abusive, and vulgar terms employed against us may be retorted on those who could be guilty of so glaring and so gross a misrepresentation. This, sir, was what I advanced: I said that though the sum paid by Spain to France was enormous, yet we had maintained a system of forbearance for a time, reserving however to ourselves, at any future period, to consider the subsidies as a cause of war. This was certainly fair and just; but did I ever say hostilities were to be commenced, in the above case without notice? No; we said this to Spain: "when you tell us that you wish to gain time, and have some hopes that you will speedily be in a situation to maintain a strict neutrality, we shall forbear for a time, that your chance may be allowed you, and every opportunity of keeping out of the war granted." But when we had given them this advantage, and when they had this opportunity long enough, then we say this, "thus far shall our forbearance go, and no farther; and now we tell you that from this hour that forbearance is at an end." But while I beg that this may be considered as my opinion, do not let it be understood that Spain was harshly limited in point of time. For when the above declaration was coupled with a condition, who could deny that the violation of the condition constituted a good ground of war without farther notice? We said to Spain "we forbear in order to afford you an opportunity of maintaining your neutrality, if any possible change should enable you to do so; but if, in the mean time, you go on with ally armaments, then this will be considered as tantamount to a declaration of hostilities." If, then, the Spanish govt. violated the conditions upon which our forbearance was founded, can any one here to-day tell me, that in that case a fresh declaration was necessary? This, sir, is what I said, and do still say. Even allowing it to be only our simple declaration, the question is still the same. Our right, whether she liked it or not, remained equally entire. But, in addition to this, they declared their intention to accede to these terms; and if any thing 460 could strengthen my case, it is that circumstance. From the discussion of this point, and others equally important, gentlemen start to find fault with the conduct of their country. I have no objection to the quarrels with these papers, and the causes of the war. Let them proceed in their own way; no one has any desire to stop them; but I do say, that they have uttered sentiments unfavourable to their country, founded on nothing else than the miserable and wretched confession which they attempted to produce in our statements. Whether or not this is a conduct consistent with their duty to their country I call upon that country to judge. These mild advocates for peace, these pretended enemies of war, have little or no hesitation in adopting any mode of argument or making any assertion, provided they succeed in thwarting the measures of govt. or in censuring the conduct of those entrusted with the direction of public affairs. That system of patience and forbearance, which, in my opinion, in this instance, is so honourable to his majesty's servants, has been the subject of irony and ridicule with gentlemen on the opposite side of the house. But that forbearance we had resolved to carry to a certain extent, and no farther. We had given intimation to this effect to the Spanish govt. and we consequently were not to blame for acting as the emergency required. We had frequently apprised them of the danger of forcing us to a rupture; and his maj.'s servants shewed a degree of forbearance which evinced their wishes to prevent the effusion of blood, by recommending a strong adherence to the conditions of the neutrality; they certainly deserved praise, not censure. Whatever gentlemen might allege, the Spanish govt. by a violation of those conditions, had rendered themselves liable to our explanation of their conduct, consequently to all the consequences of a rupture, should that be deemed unavoidable. After the warnings which we had given the ministers of the court of Spain, they were at last subject to our discretion. That lenity and moderation, however, which had marked our conduct towards Spain, continued till our interest and honour were endangered, and thence arose the war, and from, thence we may date all its consequences. When I find the hon. gent, and his friends endeavouring to circulate topics of detraction on this 461 occasion, it is necessary for me to set myself right against such misrepresentations. The cause of this war has been denied. That cause, however, was very obvious, and the agreement or condition of neutrality having been once violated, that circumstance formed the basis of the war. What were the conditions? The arguments of my hon. and learned friend have so clearly defined them, that to go over the same grounds would only serve to weaken their effect. The hon. gent, has insinuated that my hon. and learned friend argued only from a loose conversation. That gent. is not very apt to argue from such weak materials; and, therefore, I must take the liberty of denying the truth of his allegations. The conditions of the neutrality to which I am obliged so often to recur, are so clearly expressed, that little or no doubt can be entertained on the subject. They positively declare that there shall be no armament, as an armament would be considered a sufficient cause for war. If there were no conditions expressed or understood, as the hon. gent. has maintained, any argument on that head would be ridiculous in the highest degree. It was also stated, that should there be at any time a violation of the conditions of neutrality, that would not only be a cause for war, but for an immediate war, if decreed necessary, and that no declaration would on such an emergency be requisite. Mr. Frere therefore found himself necessitated to give intimation to the court of Spain, that, until a satisfactory explanation should be given, the alternative of war must be resorted to. Gentlemen are therefore mistaken when they suppose that we have been guilty of any act of precipitancy towards Spain. She had sufficient notice of our resolution to proceed to war, unless prevented by a satisfactory explanation. But it was not only evident that such an armament as that alluded to was preparing with every expedition, but that it was destined to unite its strength to that of the enemy. As the British govt. had warned Spain of the consequences if she persisted in those hostile preparations, the latter was therefore responsible for all the calamities which might ensue. We had something more, substantial than mere appearances; for to have acted on mere appearances, without the best and most convincing proofs, would have been childish in the extreme, and justly deserving of the ridi- 462 cule and indignation which the hon. gent. on the opposite side bestowed on the supposed errors of govt. The gentlemen on the opposite side, have denied that there were any good grounds for the military contingency of which govt. complained. They admitted that in Biscay troops had been sent by land, but then the cause assigned for the assemblement of these troops was the insurrection in Biscay. It was curious to see how the gentlemen changed their opinions concerning the information which they received. Whenever it was convenient, they denied the validity of the intelligence received through the medium of adm. Cochrane, but admitted that of Mr. Frere. The adoption of this principle arose from their sometimes finding that Mr. Frere's information made for their argument, and that adm. Cochrane's made against it. It was thus they pretended to disbelieve the facts advanced by the latter respecting the armament. The gallant adm. gave this notice to govt. when stating the existence and nature of this armament: "most of the crews live in the vicinity of Ferrol; and they have, it is said, leave granted until the 15th of next month. I must, however, remark, that they can be assembled at any time within a few hours." Was not this ample evidence of the armament? It was pretended never to have been fitted out against us, although no other explanation has ever been since given. Another point put by the hon gent. is upon the situation of Spain. He asks whether we can believe that Spain would go to war at a time when she was smarting under all the miseries of pestilence and famine? The hon. gent. observes, that on the subject of the Family Compact their rights were concerned, and they had an object to look to, and that they might adopt the views of France, but now they have no such motive, but on the contrary they are suffering from French connection; that they now dread France; and which I believe they do, as much at least, if not more, than they hate her. Do we know so little of the conduct of the govt. of France as to suppose-that the inconvenience, the distress, or the misery of Spain would be a reason that would operate in the councils of France against her passion, her caprice, and her inordinate and extravagant ambition? She felt that circumstances gave her an opportunity of indulging either. Are we so lost to all means of conjecturing how she would 463 conduct herself towards others, when their blood or their treasure was at stake, when we know how little regard her chief has for either the treasure or the blood of the people of France, when any favourite plan is within his view? Are we to suppose, therefore, that he would be tender of the blood and treasure of Spain, when on so many occasions he has been so wantonly prodigal in the expenditure of the blood and treasure of France, to accomplish any favourite object? To think so, would be singular indeed; but gentlemen say, that France had already got the use Of all the money of Spain, and therefore she would not take her contingent also; and the hon. gent, did allow the possibility of this, although he thinks it a very extravagant supply. Perhaps, says he, you may say France may desire to have the command of both. Why yes, sir; we may say that perhaps she may desire to have both; and the more especially, at the very time when this negotiation was depending. And here I would ask gentlemen on the other side, if France thought that in a few weeks she might strike a blow, by which she might gain a temporary advantage against this country, or an expected advantage over our squadron, then blockading her port, by forming a junction between that of Spain and her own, would they believe that she would forbear doing so on motives of tenderness to Spain? But the hon. gent. endeavours to anticipate this observation, and to obviate its force by asking, how can you think so, when the treasure ships of Spain were then on the ocean, and when a junction, or an attempt to gain an advantage over us, would be putting the treasure of Spain, so much wanted by France, in jeopardy? It does happen that some of them had arrived, with the treasure consigned to France; and that a few more were expected soon to arrive. As we were very near the place of their ultimate destination, and apprised of the supposed time of arrival, we thought there was a chance of their not reaching their port without our interception of them. We knew the chance was small; but small as it was, we thought it worth the trial, and accordingly an order was given that the trial should be made. It was made, and it was successful; for they were met within sight of the harbour of Cadiz, and if we had been 24 hours later, they would have arrived safely in their destined harbour, and then, in addition to 464 the armament which the hon. gent. would have us suppose was not intended against us, under all the circumstances of the case, France would have had these million's of money in her coders. They expected to arrive safely, but fortunately, by extraordinary exertions, we were too quick for them, and we did prevent their going into harbour by taking them.—Next then, sir, the hon. gent, comes to a statement of that which has been fully discussed already, by others as well as by myself; namely, the circumstances under which we had taken this measure of precaution, and on which I say we have proved that our right to intercept these ships was legal. The hon. gent. attempts to deny this, by saying it was a measure of absolute war and not a measure of precaution. Now, I say, that if it were not a measure of precaution, but of absolute war, as the hon. gent. states, his conclusion would not follow, because I contend we were justified in taking a measure of absolute war, and this indeed seems to be admitted by all the gentlemen on the other side; but it is contended, that although we were justified in taking a measure of absolute war, yet in doing something short of it, we were not justified. Now, I would ask, is there any thing repugnant to common sense in the principle which says, that if you are justified in going to the last extremity, you may do something short of that extremity? The hon. gent. insists, that we are not to take reprisals without a declaration of war. Here the whole point turns on the application of the term, reprisals. If he means taking property, wrongfully, that is, without a right of proceeding to hostilities, he is right. The taking the goods of an enemy, after that enemy has taken our goods from us, is properly called reprisal; but the taking of our goods before they fall into the hands of your enemy, is not a reprisal, and here, I believe, the hon. gent. will find, under the authority of Vattel himself, that keeping reprisals as pledges for a security against supposed hostilities, is lawful; that is, security against the supposed intention of the enemy. There, are cases in which the highest authorities state, that the forcibly taking them back before the adjustment of disputes, is a justifiable cause of war; but here we may dispense with the whole of that part of the argument, because we gave a regular notice of, war, and said, that unless the conditions were observed, we should take every mea- 465 sure either of war or precaution, reserving to ourselves which; but the hon. gent. says, that the Spanish court never could suspect we should have detained their property. Why? What should make them think we should not, after the notice they had, and after they had afforded and were continuing to afford to France such enormous pecuniary succours, in addition to all the naval force she could command; thereby carrying on against us a double warfare, contrary to all the rights of neutrality. Now, if one of these be sufficient to entitle us to proceed to war, it will hardly be contended that uniting both together will take away our right. Could it then be matter of surprise to Spain, that we should have taken the measures of precaution we did? Will it not be admitted that it was a duty we owed to ourselves to intercept this treasure; for can any one in this house be ignorant that it is by means of dollars from South America, that Spain affords pecuniary succours to France? As to what they thought of that succour, it is a matter about which it is not our business to enquire. But the matter does not rest there. When we were reasoning on the treaty of St. Ildefonso, I think in the month of July 1803, when Mr. Frere was stating to the Spanish minister the forbearance of this country, what did he say to the Spanish minister? He desired him to mark the generosity of his maj. in not claiming their treasure, as he might have done, but that he let them receive it, at that time it being understood that they would act with more strict justice to the system of neutrality. What was the answer of the Spanish minister? The answer was in substance an acknowledgment of his. maj.'s lenity and generosity, and this is now turned against us, and because an end was put at last to such generosity and forbearance, in consequence of several breaches of the conditions on which only it was to be continued, and of which due notice was to be given to Spain, our measure of just and necessary precaution is termed a breach of faith; by turning round as it is called upon Spain, and attacking her when she was unprepared. Among the grounds of uneasiness which Spain expresses in the months of Feb. and March, is the inconvenience and hardships they suffer on account of their apprehension for the safety of their treasure ships coming from South America; then, how could they say they were taken by surprise, since they were apprehensive at 466 that early period that to this our attention would be directed, if ever their breach of the conditions should induce us to proceed to hostility against them, or to take any measure of precaution for our own security; and after such notices and violations of the conditions of his maj.'s lenity and forbearance, will any man in this house deny we were entitled to proceed by force, even if attended, as it was unhappily attended, by the consequences of battle? Was not the notice, that if they committed: any further breach of the condition of such lenity and forbearance we should declare war, sufficient to put them on their guard? And was it not milder in his maj.'s govt. in taking these few ships of force, than if it had taken all the merchantmen to be found on the seas belonging to the court of Spain, the right to which is unquestionable? Then the matter comes to this, that having a right to make war, yet his maj. true to the principles of lenity and forbearance which had so long distinguished his conduct towards Spain, had not at last recurred to the full exercise of his right, but only took, measures of prudent and necessary precaution; that is to say, measures to prevent the situation of England being worse, and France better, during the interval of a negotiation, and by which war might after all have been avoided; but the hon. gent. says, that this negotiation was a mockery, and that the measure, which we call a measure of precaution, was an act of perfidy. The hon. gent, insinuates, that we are ashamed of our own act, and that we should have proceeded at once to war, instead of this measure of mockery of moderation and lenity, if we found that we were entitled to do so; that is, in other words, that what we have done for the preservation of our national interest, is worse than actual hostility and open war. If this be true, I shall beg the hon. gent; to consider how valuable a discovery he has made by finding out that it is less dangerous to plunge a nation irretrievably into the calamities of war, than to afford it a chance of averting them by an adherence to justice. The hon. gent, blames us for believing hi the truth of the account we had of the preparations of the enemy, and on the evidence we had to support the credibility of that account; but if any thing came afterwards, to corroborate what happened at the time we had said we would not make use of the information we received, I wish to know whether gentlemen on the other side would 467 adhere to the rule of justice on which they now wish to proceed? Suppose we had acted as they say we should have done; suppose we had permitted this half-manned fleet at Ferrol to come out; suppose we had suffered these two millions of treasure to go into Cadiz, and from thence, as of course it would, to the coffers of France; suppose the two fleets of France and Spain had joined; suppose, what indeed is not probable, but still possible, that being so joined, and superior in force, they might have defeated our blockading squadron, or had by winds favourable to them, and adverse to us, they might have crossed the channel, and had brought a large fleet of transports, and, proceeding in an expedition against Ireland, had eluded the vigilance of our fleet, and that, under a junction of favourable accidents, had been able to effect a landing there; and suppose it had been our case to day, with the intelligence of Admiral Cochrane, which is now condemned by the gentlemen on the opposite side, to have appeared in parliament, after neglecting the precaution, and after suffering the serious and alarming evil to have reached us, by waiting for the explanation from Spain which the hon. gent. recommended, and which would take six weeks, or two months to have arrived, when, in the meantime, the enemy had executed partly his purpose of invasion; suppose we had come to parliament to be excused for having relaxed our efforts, and laid our case before these friends of humanity, these advocates of energy and vigour, what would have been the language of these gentlemen if we were to throw ourselves on the lenity on the house? The case is, however, thank God, at this time, very different indeed. It is owing to that vigilance and activity which the hon. gent. and his friends have so severely condemned. It is to that spirit and energy that we are at this time to attribute the independence, if not the salvation of our country. I now, without further discussion of the causes of the war, submit the case to the judgment of this house, to the judgment of the country, and to the judgment of the whole world.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer
declared that he was fully satisfied with the explanation, and wished the argument there to rest between them.—The house then divided, when there appeared,
For the original question, 313 For the amendment, 106 Majority 207
§ Adjourned at six o'clock on Wednesday morning.
|List of the Minority.|
|Adair, R.||Johnstone, George|
|Althorpe, Lord||Knight, R. Payne|
|Andover, Viscount||Ladbrooke, Robert|
|Anson, Thos.||Latouche, R.|
|Aubrey, Sir John||Latouche, John, jun.|
|Bagenel, Walter||Laurence, French|
|Bamfylde, Sir C.||Lawley, Sir R.|
|Barclay, Sir Robert||Lloyd, J. M.|
|Barclay, George||Macmahon, J.|
|Berkeley, Hon. G. C.||Maddocks, W. A.|
|Best, W. D.||Martin, R.|
|Bligh, Thos.||Milner, Sir W.|
|Bouverie, Hon. E.||Moore, G. P.|
|Brooke, Charles||Moore, P.|
|Calcraft, J.||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Cavendish, Lord G.||Morris, Edward|
|Cavendish, W.||Newport, Sir John|
|Caulfield, Hon. H.||North, Dudley|
|Chapman, Charles||Northey, Wm.|
|Coke, Thos. Wm.||Ord, Wm.|
|Combe, H. C.||Osborne, Lord F. G.|
|Cooke, Bryan||Ossulston, Lord|
|Courtenay, John||Palmer, John|
|Creevey, Thomas||Pierce, Henry|
|Curwen, J. C.||Pelham, Hon. C. A.|
|Daley, D. Bowes||Paxton, Sir R.|
|Douglas, Marquis||Petty, Lord Henry|
|Dundas, Hon. C. L.||Plumer, Wm.|
|Dundas, Hon. G. H. L.||Poyntz, Wm. S.|
|Dundas, Hon. L.||Proby, Viscount|
|Durand, J. H.||Pytches, John|
|Ebrington, Lord||Raine, Jonathan|
|Elliot, Win.||Russell, Lord Wm.|
|Erskine, Hon. Thos.||St. John, St. And.|
|Fellowes, Robt.||Scott, Joseph|
|Fitzgerald, Hon. J.||Seudamore, John|
|Fitzpatrick, Rt. H.R.||Shelly, T.|
|Folkestone, Viscount||Sheridan, R B.|
|Fox, Hon. C. J.||Smith, Wm.|
|Foley, A.||Sommerville, Sit M.|
|Francis, Philip||Spencer, Lord R.|
|Geary, Sir William||Stanley, Lord|
|Grenfell, Pascoe||Symonds, T. P.|
|Grenville, Rt. Hon. T.||Temple, Earl|
|Grey, Hon. Charles||Townsend, Lord|
|Hamilton, Lord A.||Tyrwhitt, Thos.|
|Harrison, John||Walpole, Hon. G.|
|Heathcote, John||Ward, Hon. J. W.|
|Hippisley, Sir J. C.||Western, C. C.|
|Holland, Henry, jun.||Whitbread, S.|
|Hughes, W. Lewis||Windham, Rt. H. W.|
|Hulkes, James||Wynne, C. W. W.|
|Hutchinson, H. C. H.||Wynne, Sir W.|
|Jekyll, Joseph||Young Sir W.|