§ Mr. Whitbread
wished to ask the noble lord opposite, whether there was any probability, that the public would be gratified with the publication of any part of sir John Moore's dispatches. From what fell from the noble lord on a preceding evening, he was taught to expect there would be no objection to publish certain parts of these dispatches. He had looked with great anxiety to Saturday's gazette, and was disappointed to find they did not appear in it.
observed, that the hon. member had anticipated what he intended to mention before he sat down. The purpose for which he chiefly rose was to ascertain from an hon. member, on the opposite bench, the nature of the motion respecting Spain of which he had given notice for Monday se'nnight. The period of discussion being so remote, it was very desirable for both sides of the house to be put in possession of all the preliminary information that was necessary. They would be the more competent to come to a fair decision, by possessing those instructions on which the campaign was carried on. On the part of government, there would be no objection to granting copies of these. The only restriction they wished to make related to pending instructions; and copies of these he hoped to be able to lay before the house while the other papers were preparing. Ministers were as anxious as the hon. member for the discussion; and as it would much forward the busi- 209 ness, if the necessary information were obtained, he trusted that the hon. member would frame a motion with a view to that object. He would be happy to communicate in private with him on the subject, and to facilitate his object by every means in his power.—Wiih respect to the question put to him on the subject of sir J. Moore's dispatches, he regretted that it was not possible for him to gratify the hon. number's curiosity. Those dispatches he considered as private and confidential. They were marked so on the back of the letter; they were so declared to be in the body of the dispatch. It was distinctly left to the discretion of ministers to publish such parts of them as they pleased, or to withhold them altogether. It certainly was the wish both of himself and his colleagues to gratify the public and the friends of that gallant officer with extracts from the dispatches, but they found it so difficult to select such parts as it would be prudent and proper to publish, that they were under the necessity of wholly relinquishing the design. After the letter relating to the last event in Spain, there was nothing in sir J. Moore's dispatch necessary to be made public in the gazette. Upon mature consideration, he was convinced that it could not, with any propriety, be brought forward as an insulated production. He wished, however, to gratify the friends of that gallant officer as far as possible. Their object, he presumed, would be obtained if the dispatch should become public in any way. He had no objection that it should be produced as part of the correspondence necessary for the discussion of the conduct of the war in Spain, though he must still adhere to his objection of publishing it in the gazette.
had no objection to state the general purport of his motion. It would be for a general inquiry into the conduct of the government with respect to Spain, and the manner in which the compaign had been conducted in Spain. If the noble lord conceived there were any papers that might render further inquiry necessary, it was within his discretion to move for their production.
§ Mr. Whitbread
said, after what fell from an hon. general on a former evening, and what was known to be the wish of the friends of sir J. Moore, he had been induced to entertain hopes that certain parts of his dispatches would be published. At the same time, his agreed with the noble 210 lord, that it might be improper they should appear in the gazette. He was happy, however, to hear from him that there would be no objection to their being produced in another form.
stated, that sir J. Moore, in delivering his dispatches to him, observed that they were private and confidential; but that ministers were at liberty to publish any parts of them they might think proper.