§ Lord Mulgrave
said, he was commanded by his Majesty to lay before the house copies treaties entered into between his majesty and the king of Sweden, and the emperor of Russia, and also of the accession thereto of the emperor of Germany and Austria. He wished there had been a fuller attendance of their lordships in order that he might have fully explained the reason of expediency and necessity, which he conceived to exist, for withholding certain articles which formed parts of those treaties. This explanation he should, under the present circumstances, reserve, until the remainder of the documents should be laid on their lordships' table. He thought it his duty, however, to state now to their lordships, that to the treaty of St. Petersburgh, as it now existed, or at least as it came to this country, there were attached fifteen supplementary articles; of these, the tenth article was never ratified; it was of course, therefore, nugatory, and of no validity: of the remaining articles, the second, third, seventh, and ninth, contained recitals, the publication of which might be injurious to the welfare or the safety of other nations; and, therefore, it had been thought expedient to withhold them. He could, at the same time, assure their lordships, that the articles had just alluded to, were merely conditional and prospective, and did not bear upon any of the points of the question respecting the late transactions upon the continent, which their lordships would have to discuss. With respect to the propriety of withholding these articles, he was convinced no other motive could be imputed to himself, 74 and those with whom he had the honour to act, than a desire to do nothing that should be in the least detrimental to any of those powers to whom the treaties referred. They could, indeed, have no other motive, as those who, in all probability, would shortly succeed to the offices occupied by himself and his colleagues, would have an opportunity of investigating the documents themselves, and of judging whether or not his majesty's present ministers had been actuated by a proper caution in withholding them. With some of those noble lords, who would probably soon succeed to office, he had not the honour of being personally acquainted; with respect to others, he could rely most confidently upon their candour and justice; and even if they should be convinced that his majesty's present ministers had been too cautious in this instance, he was satisfied they would do ample justice to the purity of the motives which actuated himself and his colleagues, when they inspected the documents which were now withheld, and which would then come into their possession. He was at the same time most anxious that every document which could with safety or propriety be produced, should be laid before the house, in order that the whole of the late transactions on the continent might be fully developed and laid open for discussion. He was ready to admit that the unfortunate issue of the late events on the continent, that that unfortunate transaction which put a period to the hopes derived from the employment of vast resources, demanded investigation; but he was equally ready to declare that his Majesty's ministers did not shrink from the discussion, that they wished to meet it fairly and fully in every part. It was still more his anxious wish that the discussion might take place, in order that the character of that illustrious statesman, that earnest and anxious patriot, whose loss they all deeply deplored, might be fully cleared, as it undoubtedly would be, from any imputation arising from the contemplation of the late unfortunate events on the continent. He was fully convinced, that the result of a such discussion would be a thorough justification of the plans of his majesty's ministers, and a complete refutation of every attack made upon that illustrious statesman, in consequence of the unfortunate issue of a well-concerted plan. He should decline entering into any farther discussion of the subject at present; when the papers were printed, a day would pro- 75 bably be fixed for the investigation of the subject, when he should enter at large into its consideration. The papers were then ordered to lie on the table. The duke of Norfolk urged the necessity of their being printed. Lord Hawkesbury replied, that being laid before the house by his majesty's command, they would be printed by the king's order.