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the motion of his honourable and learned / opposition to that motion than the learned friend.
gentleman, with the whole force of his Lord Temple said, if he had had any doubts eloquence. The learned gent. had asked, as to the propriety of granting the paper whether there was any precedent of a sia moved for by the hon, and learned gent. Inilar paper, when moved for, having been when he had given notice of his motion on refused ? but he should ask that learned a former day, he felt that those doubts gent. for a precedent of a similar paper would have been greatly removed by the having been asked to be produced ? Many speech of the learned gent. himself, and orders of council had, on different oceaof the noble lord who had just sat down. sions, been called for; but this was the Nothing could be more hostile to the con- first time in which an order of council had stitutional principle than what had been been called for immediately after it was stated by the learned gent. as the ground made, and before it could be known what of his motion; nothing more hostile to the effect it would produce. It was agreed on feelings of that house, or to the interests all hands, that this country possessed the of the country. It had always been his right of retaliating ; but the question was, opinion, that it was the daty of that whether it would be politic in us to exerhouse to watch the conduct of his majes-cise that right to its full extent? The noble ty's ministers; that it was the duty of the lord seemed to think it a great object to house to give them its confidence, until it prevent her colonial produce from reaching should see some sufficient ground for with- France; and the learned gent. had stated, drawing it, and to carry up advice to his that if that were effected, it would raise the majesty with respect to the great concerns price of our colonial produce in France. of the government. But this was the first He adınitted that such an effect would be time in which it had been proposed to re-the consequence. But was the noble lord commend to his majesty from that house a aware of the consequences that would regreat measure of warfare. This was the sult to the commerce and manufactures of first instance of the house baving been cal- this country, if the neutral colonial trade led upon to go to the foot of the throne to were done away? The exports from this. tell bis majesty, that the house, not appro- country amounted within the last year to ving of a particular war measure, recom- 24 millions, which, he admitted, had unmended another to be adopted in its place. fortunately not all been exported in British If the house was of opinion that the war vessels : 11 millions of these had been exhad been improvidently conducted by mi- ported to America, a small portion of which nisters, it was their duty to state to his ma. were for the American consumption, and jesty, and to the house, that circumstance: the rest were disposed of in payment for that they had forfeited their claim to con- colonial produce, which was afterwards fidence, and to address for their removal brought to Europe. The utmost produce of from office. But he looked upon the pre- the l'rench colonies in one year, did not exo sent proceeding as being most unconstitu- ceed 4 or 5 millions, so that the whole of tional as it was most unprecedented, inas- the remainder must have been the produce much as it had for its object to force govern- of the British colonies. The effect of putment to alter the measures it had adopted ting a stop to the colonial trade, therefore, with respect to the neutrals of our allies, be- would be to diminish the amount of the fore it could be known what effect they would exports from Great Britain. The exports produce. If the ground of the learned gent.'s to America had sunk considerably during motion were admitted, it would prove in the last peace, because the trade which the jurious to this country, and favourable to Americans had enjoyed exclusively bethe enemy. The learned gent. had made fore, was then carried on by the mother an attack on his bon. friends for their op- countries. Another objection that appear. posing this motion. But he could have ed to him against measures of rigorous wished, that the learned gent. had called retaliation was, that if American trade tò to remembrance his own conduct, when French ports were to be stopped, according he (lord T.) and some friends of bis who to his apprehensions, the interruption disapproved of the treaty of Amiens, had could not be extended to their trade to supported a motion for some papers relao friendly neutral ports. The result thereting to that treaty. It had then been objected fore would be, that French colonial proto them, that the treaty was concluded, duce would be spread by the Americans all and
person had given a more decided over Europe, and by meeting our own colo
PARL. DEBATES, FEBRUARY 4, 1807.-Order in Council [648 nial produce in every market diminish its va. Lord Howick, although he felt it almost lue. The learned gent. had expressed some unnecessary to add any thing to what had satisiaction that the right had not been coo- already been offered upon that side of the ceded, though he could not conceive how question which it was his wish to defend, the right could have been reserved if not yet he could not recoucile it to himself to acted upon; certainly it could no other- give a silent vote, and therefore is no one wise be a right reserved them by not being among those with whom he had the honour acted upon, viz. a right dormant until an to act, seemed disposed to address the occasion should occur for exercising it. house, he could not forbear to request its The hon, and learned gent. had recon- indulgence for a few moments. As to the inended as a substitutc for the present mea- grounds upon which he tell it his duty to sure, to compel Americans to touch at resist the produc ion of the document alBritish ports, before they should be allow- luded to in the motion, and which grounds ed to proceed to the ports of France. This were not correctly stated by the mover, he appeared to him a most extraordinary pro- would take occasion to state them shortly position, that French colonial produce to the house. Those grounds were, that should be warehoused as British stores, and unless a parliamentary ground were laid pay duties in this country. After the state for the production of any public document, ment of his learned friend, it was not neces- it was not usual to grani it; therefore it sary to go more at length into this question. was by no means a matter of course to ac
Sir Thomas Turton expressed his surprise cede to such motions. And in opposing that any reluctance should be betrayed to the learned gentleman's motion, he felt grant papers, for the production of which the that he was supporting a constitutional most constitutional parliamentary grounds principle of that house, so far as it regarded could be urged: that at least was his opi- the regularity of its proceedings. He nion, and he did not despair of being able to could not assent to the production of this înaintain it. The paper that was moved for, paper, precisely for the reason which the bore upon the face of it every possible mark learned gent. was so often forward to asof imbecility and indecision. All the com- sert when on his side of the house ; namely, mercial towns in the kingdom, indeed the as be before said, until a parliamentary whole country, considered it in that light, ground for its production was made out. and lamented the want of that vigour and Why, then, if such an objection were conenergy which should characterise the mea- formable to the usage of the house, and tbe sures of a British Administration. The suggestions of common sense, it was for house was told, indeed, that to push mea- the house to examine the nature of the sures to a proper degree of retaliation ground alleged for such a motion, to enwould be to act in a manner not only in- quire whether it would be consistent with jurious to neutral powers, but prejudicial to its duty, with the interests of the country, the interests of our own commerce. He and the confidence fairly due to his majeswas at a loss to see any satisfactory proof ty's government to enter into the discussion. of such an assertion. In bis mind, the real — With respect to the learned gent.'s cause of this pusillanimous forbearance, was charge, that he had manifested a disposition the fear of offending America, the dread of to desert the general principles which, breaking off the treaty lately pending while on another side of the house, be between this country and the American was very tenacious of asserting, he challen. government. That was the pistol held to ged the learned gent. to make out that the breast of ministers; and this their charge. In what instance, he would ask, great anxiety to ward it off. He was had he ever maintained that that house, to happy, however, to learn that ministers whom it belonged to enquire, deliberate, did not mean to stop here, and that the and decide, upon every proposition subpresent measure was only an experiment. mitted to it, was bound, as maiter of course, If any thing farther was done, the country to agree to the production of any paper of would be indebted for it to the motion made this nature that might be called for? Unless that night by the hon. and learned gent. the learned gent. could shew that he had Mr. Pe ceval); for without such incite upon some occasion supported this extrament he was sorry to observe, that mi- ordinary doctrine, the charge he had hanisters seemed of themselves little disposed zarded must fall to the ground. Indeed, to adopt any thing like vigorous and ener- the learned gent. himself confessed, soon getic measures.
after he had made his charge, that it was
not tenable ; for he stated that he remem- ships. Now, surely, the learned gent. bered no precedent in which a similar paper would not, as to the first part, recommend was refused, which formed a pretty strong that we should seek to retaliate upon those evidence that none such was ever applied unfortunate states which were subjugated for by the party with whom he had the by the arms of France ; that those who honour to act; although a tolerably nume- were entitled to all the forbearance and rous list of orders of council were issued moderation which the strong should grant during the period in which that party oc- to the weak, should become objects of our cupied the bench upon which the learned resentment, for an act of submission to gent, now sat.—Having stated that there which nothing but their weakness could rewas no precedent whatever for such a pro-duce them. What did the learned gent. ceeding as the learned gent. would per- mean by asserting that we had not taken a suade the house to adopt, be had no hesita- measure of complete retaliation? did he tion to add, that the reason was obvious. mean to say, that because the enemy was For such a proceeding would be nothing guilty of violence and injustice, we ought more nor less than to supersede the functions to imitate him? There was a maxim in po. of the executive government, while it litics which he was almost ashamed to be would call on the house to judge upon a under the necessity of maintaining on this subject, with regard to which it would be occasion, that every right is subject to conincompetent to decide without information siderations of political expediency. which it would not be consistent with the deed, if it were not so, there were many public interest to grant. He apprehended rights which would become burthensome. that the case to which the motion referred Taking this maxim, then, into considerawould appear to be precisely of that sort tion, would the learned gent. himself mainwhich it would not be proper for parlia- tain, that we ought to go to the full extent ment to discuss, for such discussion must of our right in this instance ? We had a amount to a direct and prejudicial interpo- right to confiscate all the French property sition with government in the conduct of to be found in England, in the funds or the war, upon a measure just in its pro- elsewhere ; we were entitled to call upon gress, and upon the propriety of origi- every man who had property in the funds nating, or the means of executing wbich, it in trust for any Frenchman, a subject of would be impossible to form a fair and ade France, lo declare upon oath, and to surquate opinion without insormation, such render the amount of that property. But as it would be highly imprudent to make would the learned gent. advise the exercise public; such indeed as could not be called of that right? (Here Mr. Perceval expresfor, or at least such as he believed had sed his dissent.) The learned gent., added never been called for before. Now, then, the noble lord, seemed to revolt at such a what was the state of the case as to the proposition. Why, then, the question under learned gent.'s argument? Why, that be consideration came to be regulated upon cause the French government had issued a grounds of political expediency, and upon decree, not less remarkable for impotericy those grounds the learned gent, would call than for its injustice and extravagance; upon the house to decide as to a measure that because it proceeded upon the most which his majesty's ministers felt it their fallacious and mischievous principles ; that duty, after the best deliberation in their because it proclaimed a threat which it had power, to adopt. He submitted, wbether, not the power to execute, and which was if these ministers were deserving of the only to be paralleled by another decree, confidence of the house, and he would ask issued some years back from the same na- no unreasonable confidence for them, it tion, we should be called upon to discuss would be right to entertain a discussion as the question as to the propriey tof retaliation to the propriety of their conduct at present, The learned gent. must recollect that the particularly as the order referred to in the recent decree of the enemy was two-fold; motion, being a question of political expethe first part related to the confiscation of diency, must depend upon the considerasuch articles of British produce and manu- tion of various points which it was quite facture as might be found in those countries impossible that that house could at present on the continent, which might be subjected consistently touch. Into this part of the by their arms; the second part referred to subject his learned friend (sir John Nicholls) the confiscation of such British goods as had already entered, and had left little for might be captured at sea on board neutral any man to add. But there were two or
three points connected with the subject of|tion was proper in the one case, if some efthe order referred to in the motion, which fort to retaliate was to be culpable in the he could not forbear to mention, because other, because that effort did not go to the they would serre to shew what kind of in- extreme of an indiscriminate retaliation! formation must be laid before the house, He did not put this from any wish to find in order that it should become competent fault with the conduct of ministers i 1798. to decide upon the question which the On the contrary, he believed their forbearlearned gentleman would urge the house to ance wise, although the power of the eneinvestigate. Now, first of all, it would be my to execute his menaces was, it would necessary to shew tle nature of our com- be recollected, materially greater in 1798, munications and relations with other powers, than it was at present; for at the former how far they concurred in the matter of the period his maritime strength was considerorder alluded to; how it was likely to affect able. The battle of the Nile had not then them; also, how it was to affect ourselves ; been fought.-On the whole, the noble how it might, notwithstanding the rigour lord declared that he could not see any reaof the French decree, operate to promote son to warrant total forbearance in 1798, our commerce; how, in fact, it was likely if it were inconsistent at all to forbear in to become a great means of sustaining the instance under consideration. But as and advancing that commerce. Would tlieto the manner in which the French dehouse desire that such communications cree of 1798 had been executed towards should be published ? Certainly not. For neutral powers, the noble lord (Case these circumstances were such as could not tlereagh), he cbserved, dwelt particularly be made known without exposing some vul- on the circumstance of its having been reverable points on our part, and on that of pealed with regard to America, and the nothe enemy, and defeating the ends which ble lord seemed very jealous lest the Anieri. we had in view.-With these observations cans should be exempted from the operabe thought he might very well close, fully lion of the late decree also. Indeed, the satisfied that the justice of the cause lie noble lord had stated, that he understood supported was fully established; but there the resolution to relax this decree with rewere a few remarks from the noble lord spect to America, had been already com(Castlereagh), which he felt it proper to municated to the American minister here. potice. That noble iord bad asserted. that Where the noble lord had obtained that in. the French decree of 1799, relative to our formation, he could not pretend to say. commerce, did not go so far as that to certainly the noble lord was better informwhich the order of council alluded. But cd than be was; for be had heard of no the noble lord was niistaken: for the former such thing, but he was authorized to say, decree condemned to confiscation both the that the American minister had received ship and cargo, if any portion whatever of no official communication of any such naEnglish commodities were found ou board; ture. But supposing that a relaxation of *bile the latter only condemned the cargo, this decree in favour of America had acand not the ship, as the hon. and learned tually taken place, and admitting all that baronet (sir T. Turton) had ignorantly the noble lord had stated to be really true; stated. And as to the noble lord's allu what course would the noble lord recomsion to Portugal, there was no material mend to us in consequence? Would he difference with regard to us between the advise, that because America was exenipconnection with France, in 1798, and that ted by France, from the operation of a wbich she had at present. But to return measure hostile to all neutral powers ; that to the decree of 1798 : it surely could because our commerce and manufactures not be pretended that there was such were allowed the opportunity of conreya difference between the relative circum- ance in American ships, to that part of the stances of that country and this, at that continent, our direct intercourse with which time and the present, as to justify the the enemy had it in his power to obministry of that day in thinking that this struct, we ought to declare war against decree required no measure of counterac- America ? In truth the whole amount of ţion whatever, if the present ministry were the noble lord's argument, seemed to be to be condemned for not going the full this, that as America was exposed to the length of imitating the wildness and extra- injustice of France, she ought to be expoyagance of the enemy. How was it to be sed to farther injustice from this country. made out that total abstinence from retalia- -With regard to our treaty with America, he could not conceive the grounds upon and moderation which we had heretofore which the learned mover of the proposition pursued, and to which those Aourishing before the house could warrant his very circumstances which the noble lord so of frequent allusions to that treaty. It was a ten brought forward his numerous accounts subject that he dared not enter into, because to prove, were so materially attributable. this house would not allow it; but yet, he That by continuing this system, we should was perpetually nibbling at ji; aware that continue to prosper, he had not the least ministers could not consistently answer his doubt, notwithstanding the violent decree insinuations. The learned gent. had sta- of the enemy, unless it were determined, ted that the existence of the non-importa- by adopting the learned gentleman's adtion act rendered it degrading in us to en-vice, to assist the views of that enemy ter into a negociation with America. But for the destruction of our commerce, to this he would only say, that whether Really, he kuew nothing to which to comit was right or not to enter into the ne- pare the learned gent.'s advice on this gociation, or what the circumstances were subject, but to an old story he had once under which it commenced, were questions heard of a poor man who wished to get which he should not much-enquire about, some cocoa-nuts. So he sat about throwe if the treaty should be found such as con- ing stones and rubbish at a monkey which sistently with the honour and interest of be perceived in a cocoa-tree, and the little the country ought to have been conclu- animal in revenge flung the cocoa-nuts at ded. If, however, the learned gent. thought him. So the learned gent, in revenge for the commencement of the negociation so the provocations of Buonaparte would fling very disgraceful to the country, why did the commerce of England at him, Vader he nut last session of parliament, wben he all the circumstances of the case before the liad not so much inforınation upon the house, the noble lord trusted that the consubject- as he had at present, move an duct of ministers would not be judged of address to his majesty for the removal of upon imperfect evi::ence, ançi that they those ministers, who could have involved would not be called upon to assent to the the country in a proceeding so dishonour-production of a public document, upon such able as to treat with a nation which held grounds as had never before been recognia hostile tone?But to return to the mea-zed or assented to. He demanded, on the sure of forbearance and moderation in the part of ministers, no more confidence from order alluded to ju the motion, and of parliament thau was necessary to enable which the learned gent. so loudly com- them to execute the duties of their offices. If plained; he would again seriously ask they were undeserving of that confidence, bim, whether he would prefer the coud- they were unwortby of those offices, and try to retaliate any proceeding of the ought to be removed. To make a motion French government which might be dic-at once to that effect, would, in his judgetated by hostility to us? If so, he must ment, be a more fair and manly. mode of be betrayed into gross inconsistency, and attack than to submit such a motion as something more, for he must recollect that before the house, and to such a disthe decree, of 1798, already referred to; cussion wbich the mover professed to have but still more, he must recollect the san- in view. The noble lord concluded with gụinary decree issued at the early part disclaming the construction applied by the of the revolution, ordering that no quar-hon. baronet (sir T. Turton) to the words te should be given to English soldiers, of his learned friend (sir John Nicholls), and that no retaliation was attempted to namely, that he had stated ministers to either. Where, indeed, could the man have an ulterior measure in view, upon be found in this country, capable of pro- the subject of this order. He did not ynposing reprisal for the latter ? Nothing of derstand any such thing from his learned the kind was ever mentioned in this coun- friend. All he had said was, that if the order try, and it was found in France that the referred to in the motion should be found order could not be reduced to practice. not to answer the end in view, further meaSuch also, he had no doubt, would be the sures would be resorted to; and no doubt fate of the decree under discussion, and they would. There could be no reason that the commerce of this country would to apprehend that his majesty's ministers be the best consulted, and its prosperity would hesitate to adopt any measures that most securely preserved, by a perseverance should be thought necessary, from the on our part in that system of forbearance fear of any government whatever.