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the enemy:

the House an extract from the instructions | both seem of opinion, that it is possible, prepared by that great man, under which from the nature of the navigation to Rochthe Expedition to Rochiort in the year fort, the fleet may be detained even in 1753 was conducled. And whereas we sight of the coast of France for a week or are persu ded, hat nothing in the present ten days, without being able to get into situation of affairs, can so speedily and the Road, or off the Isle d'Aix, during. essentia ly amy and distr: ss France as a which time an alarm will necessarily be successiul enterprize against Rochfo:t: given in those parts; this conjuncture and our will and pleasure is, that you do at- situation, if it should happen, appears to tempt, as far as shal be fou'd practicable, me so very delicate, and equally so to the a descent with the forces under your com- other general officers on the expedition, mand on the French coast, at or near who may, by accident, succeed to be first Rochfort, in order to attack if practicab.e, in command, and come to be under the and by a vigorous imp:ession force that saine difficulty, (the success of our underplace; and to burn and des:roy to the ut- taking depending, as I apprehend, on the most of your power, ili docks, mag.izines, suddenness of its execution) that I should arsenals, and shipping, that shall be found be glad, if it is thought proper, to have a there, and exert such other etforts, as you direction, how I am to act in that case."shall judge most proper for annoying Mr. Pitt's reply is in the following words:

After the attempt at Roch- “ With regard to the supposed case as fort shall either have succeeded or failed, stated in your letter, I am commanded by and in case the circumstances of our forces the king to signify to you his majesty's and fleet shall, with prospect of success, pleasure, that you, or such other officer, still admit of further operations, you are

on whoin the command may devolve, do, next to consider Port L'Orient and Bour. in conformity to the latitude given by his deaux as the most important objects of majesty's instructions, judge of the practiour arms on the coast of France; and cability of the service on the spot, accordour will and pleasure accordingly is, that ing as contingent events, and particular you do proceed successively to an attempt circumstances may require; the king on both or either of those places, as shall judging it highly prejudicial to the good be judged practicable; or on any other of his service to give particular orders place, that shall be judged most advise- and directions with regard to possible able, from Bourdeaux homeward to Havre, contingent cases, that may arise.”—The in order to carry and spread with as same principle will be found to have gomuch rapidity as may be, a warm alarm verned lord Chatham's conduct in all along the maritime provinces of France.” the operations of the subsequent year,

- The House will here observe that the viz. those against St. Maloes, against expression if practicabr' occurs in Cherbourg and St. Cas. Neither lord every point of the instructions, and in Chatham's principles nor failures ever order more distinctly to shew, how fatal excited the animadversion of parliament. in lord Chatham's judgment it would prove Lord Chatham's conduct was never questo the welfare of the service, if ministers at tionell, he was not considered as having home were bound to foresee and to decide acted unwisely in sending forth expedi. upon all the possible contingencies inci- ditions which though unsuccessful were dent to operations abroad, I shall take calculated to dis ress and annoy the enemy, the liberty of drawing the attention of the and to diyert their force from oppressing House to an extract from a letter from our allies. The conduct of sir J. Mordaunt sir J. Mordaunt, the commander in chief Wis arraigned both before a court of inof that expedition, to lord Chatham pre- quiry and a court martial, but that of lord vious to its departure, in the answer to Chatham, or of his colleagues, was never which, not without some degree of rebuke once quest oned in the partiament of that to that officer, lord Chatham's opin ons in day. In what I have hiherto submitted this question are distinctly laid down. to the House, I do not feel that I have The extract from sir J. Mordaunt's jenter yet estab ished any thing in favour of the is as follows.--" I must also big eave policy of the con luci pursued; my object to trouble you further on a number which has been merely to rt but those inferences, occurs to me relative to the service I am which would deprive me of a fair hearing; going upon; which is, that having s nce and as I conceive I have satisfactorily my arrival here conversed with sir Edward proved that there is pothing in the miliHawke and vice admiral Knowles, wau tary opinions before the House, when

carefully examined and fairly understood, ciency of the armament itself has ceased which can justify any man in bringing to be matter of controversy. It has also them forward as couclusive in point of au- been established in evidence, that all the thority against me, so, I trust, I have also equipments of the army were complete, shewn, that the course pursued by govern- that every man proceeding on the Expedi- . ment in investigating and deciding upon tion was effective and fit for duty, and the present Expedition, has been con- that at no former period of our history sistent with the best practice of the best has an armament been assembled for times, and that if it varies from that prac. service more perfect in all its parts, or, tice in any respect, it is rather that the

one reflecting more credit on all the de present Expedition has been taken up, partments employed in its preparation. upon a more deliberate examination of it has further been distinctly proved, that circumstances, than has marked former to no other quarter than the Scheldt could enterprizes, in which the arms of the the efforts of our arms have been directed country have been engaged. I hope with any thing like the same prospects of therefore, that I may be permitted to enter advantage, either to our own interests or without prejudice into a fair examination to those of the common cause. -I am par. of the grounds upon which the govern- ticularly anxious to point the attention of ment acted. I desire only that the the House to this part of the question, as opinion of the House may be formed upon they must be aware that a great portion a true balance of all the advantages which of the dissatisfaction which has been ex. we were reasonably intitled to expect, pressed against the measure, has proceeded weighed against the risk and expence from persons who were induced to bewhich we were called upon to contem- lieve, either that in sending an Expedition plate. It is upon this comparison fairly to the Scheldt, we deserted the interest of made, that the judgment of every rea- the Peninsula, and thereby failed to carry sonable man ought to be founded, and into effect the objects for which we were I hope in examining the subject, I shall contending in that quarter; or that we not appear to the House either to evade the neglected to turn our exertions to the difficulties of the question, or to undervalue north of Germany, where the dispositions the weight of those arguments against of the people presented a field for .exerwhich I shall have to contend. In arguing tion, which under proper management the grounds upon which the Expedition might have enabled us to press more se to the Scheldi was undertaken, I must verely upon the enemy, and would have protest against the attempt which has opened the most enlarged prospects of been made to confine them to the single co-operation with Austria. In order the object of destroying the enemy's naval better to elucidate this important branch resources in that river. The determination of the question, I was induced to call for of government was taken upon more ex- the Austrian correspondence, to mark the tended views, they had a duty to perform more distinctly the quarter (viz. the north not only to their own country, but to their of Germany) to which that power wished allies, and the motives arising from either our exertions to have been directed.--I of those considerations made it in their wished to shew, that if her demands of judgment a matter of paramount obliga- succour were not complied with in the tion to engage in the enterprize however form in which they were expressed, the arduous. But before I argue in more de- failure of compliance on our part was not tail the grounds upon which they acted, I a matter of choice, the military policy of wish to observe, that the inquiry which the demand never became a question for has been gone into has had the good effect discussion, as the means of compliance of stripping the question of much ex- were not within our competence. - To estraneous matter. It is no longer to be tablish this I examined the late secretary contended that the Expedition could have of the treasury, Mr. Huskisson ; Some bern prepared to act before the time at gentlemen seem to have been most unne, which it was actually sent forth. It has cessarily alarmed at the nature of the evibeen proved, that the utmost exertions dence he has given, and to imagine that in were unremittingly employed to prepare the facts stated by him, an unwise disclothe army for service, and that neither sure has been made of the weakness of the army itself, nor the means of trans- our resources, but those who recollect porting it, could possibly have been ready that our means of foreign expenditure have at an earlier period. The power and sufti- always depended upon the state of exVOL. XVI.


changes, and the supply of foreign coin with whom we were connected; but I do to be purchased in the market, and those persuade myself that I have proved to the who remember that Mr. Pitt during the conviction both of this country and of the late war on more than one occasion justi- continent, that we had no choice in point fied the limited extent of our subsidiary of fact, that we could not embark in opeadvances to our allies on the continent, rations upon a larger scale than those acupon the difficulty experienced in sending tually undertaken, and that in determinremittances abroad, will easily under- ing to direct the exertions which we were stand, why it was not in our power to em. enabled to make (in addition to those then bark in the extended expenditure which in progress both in the Peninsula and in would have been occasioned by a cam- Italy) to the most vulnerable point of the paign in the north of Europe ; and will enemy's dominions, we were fulfilling our admit that such temporary inability by no duty to the continent in the most liberal means tends to bring into question the so- and effectual manner.--- Independant of the lidity of our resources at home, or indi- | pecuniary impossibility of engaging in cates any failure in the strength or credit operations in the north of Germany with of the country.-In truib I believe since the amount of force then at our command, the period of which I am speaking, much the House must be aware how unjust it of the difficulty bas been removed by im- would have been to the gallant people in portations of silver from South America; that quarter, who might have been disthis, however, was a resource too uncer- posed to rise in defence of their own litain in its nature, to justify the government berties, had we selected that point for the in relying upon it as the ground of their seat of our operations without possessing proceedings. -Mr. Huskisson's evidence adequate means to give effect to their exestablishes beyond a doubt, that is no ertions and to equip and arm them for the quarter of the continent, neither in Italy, field.--Had a British army disembarked nor in Spain, nor in the north of Ger- in the Elbe and Weser, without the means many; could the pecuniary means have of creating a great native army to support been procured for equipping and maintain their operations, menaced as they must ing the army then disposable for a can. have been upon the left by the Danish paign, that our exertions were necessarily force in Holstein, how would it have been limited to an operation on the enemy's coast possible for them to hare moved even to a to be carried on by our own resources alone, small distance from the coast? Such a corps and in connection with our shipping, and could have occasioned but little apprehenthat our only option was between an effort sion or embarrassinent from its own exers in the Scheldt (which combined a power- tions to the French armies acting upon the ful diversion with a prospect of striking a Danube; the enemy might safely hare blow of the utmost importance to the im- postponed his measures for opposing mediate security of Great Britain) and a us, till the fate of his main operation desultory attack on some other less im. was decided, when he would have had portant point of the enemy's coast, which it in his power to send without inconve

could have presented neither of those ob- nience, an army more iban susficient to jects in an equal degree. I have felt it overwhelm or expel the British force. the more essential to present this view To have continued a corps of British of the subject; supported as it has been troops in the north of Germany on the by Mr. Huskisson's official opinion, not approach of winter, when the navigaonly to this country, but to Europe; be- tion is interrupted and consequently the 'cause I am aware that endeavours have means of retreat are at an end, would been made to give to the decision of go. have been inconsistent with every mivernment the appearance of a desertion of litary principle upon which we have the interests of the continent, and to re- hitherto acted, or could be justified in present us as having basely turned aside acting. On former occasions when a at a moment the most critical to the fate British army bas been committed in opeof Europe, in the selfish pursuit of sepa- rations on the continent, it has been emrate interests. Such a charge I should ployed in a friendly country, and in concert indeed feel to be of the most heavy and with the army of some of the great contidegrading nature, the conduct imputed nental powers. Its resources have been sewould have been as derogatory to every cured to it upon the faith of some exist. thing we owed ourselves as it would have ing government, its rear was always open been injurious to the safety of those powers and consequently the practicability of



its retreat ascertained; but in the case That the employment of a British army now in contemplation, a British corps of 40,000 mnen in the then state of would have been committed on the con- the continent and in a quarter where tinent, not for definite and limited pur. the vital interests of France, as well as poses, but to carry on a campaign in a the pride of that state, must be so imhostile country surrounded by powers with mediately affected by an attack, was an whom we were at war, and unsupported useful measure, seems hardly to require by any one continental state, with whom argument. If we recal to our recollection, we could come in contact, or with whose the nice balance in which the contest at force we could unite our

I do that time was suspended upon the contitherefore trust that it never can justly nent, the uncertainty which hung over the be imputed to the councils of this coun- destinies of France after the battle of try, that in determining to direct the Aspern, the hopes which animated every laie armament to the Scheldt, we have part of Europe, and which were progreseither been unmindful of continental sively calling forth the dormant energies interests, or have shrunk from the per- of Germany in support of the Austrian formance of the duty which we owed to arms, we cannot wonder that at such a the continent, looking as we were bound moment the British government should to do, at the cause of the other European feel itself compelled by the strongest powers as identified with our incitements of duty and interest, to strain And if we reflect upon the painful ne- every nerve, and to exert every effort in cessity, that might have compelled us, aid of that power, on the success of whose after exciting a continental insurrection, struggle for independance, the fate of the to have withdrawn the British army, we world might be deemed to depend. When shall not be disposed to regret, that a sys- tre advert to the numbers by which the tem of measures so full of dilliculty was battie of Aspern was fought, recollecto not hastily engaged in. In establishing ing that the Austrians had not above the absolute impracticability of carrying 75,000, men and the French not more on continental operations on a large than 100,000 immediately in the neighscale with the means we possessed at that bourhood of Vienna at that period (above moment, I am aware that the disclosure, 40,000 of which were either killed or although pregnant with no other incon- wounded in that memorable action) where venience, must prove fatal to the various is the man that will form so despicable schemes of the military projectors of the an opinion of the military power of day. An hon. general (gen. Tarleton) this country, as to suppose that at such will find that the campaign in which he a moment and under such circumstances, had indulged his fancy in Italy, was in its a British force of 40,000 men nature as well as in iis object utterly not calculated to animate the impracticable. There are other authorities tions of the continent, and to have that have suggested the policy of employ- a powerful influence the general ing the whole of our disposable force in scale of the war? That such a force arthe north of Spain, they also must now be riving in the Scheldt, so immediately in the convinced that their military dreams neighbourhood of one of the principal could not be realized, and as the oppo- naval arsenals of the enemy, and upon nents of the measure cannot rationally the very confines of France, must at once suggest a single operation in competition compel the enemy, in vindication of his with that which was adopted, I trust that insulted coast and in preservation of his the discovery which these projectors naval power, either to direct without delay have made on the present occasion will a large portion of his exertions (to the teach them as well as others, before they prejudice of other objects) towards their again reproach his Majesty's government defence, or in despair to abandon them for not extending the scale of their efforts, to their fate, seems obvious. It has been first to inquire whether they really pos. asked whether we can prove that France sessed the means of doing so. I am to has been obliged to withdraw a single argue the question now upon two grounds; regiment from the Danube in consefirst as a diversion in which the interests quence of this Expedition ; to which I of the continent were concerned, and se should reply, ibat in order lo establish the condly as an effort, in the success of fact of a diversion, it is not necessary to which, the most important interests of make out that troops have actually been the British empire




involved. withdrawn from the Danube, it is enough


to shew that a force has been detained for England that Austria had been compelled the defence of the Scheldt, which might to accept an armistice, but still that armis. otherwise have been applicable to the re. tice was only concluded for a definite inforcement of the principal French ar- time, the effects of the battle of Wagram mies.-Inconsiderable in number and de- were understood to have fallen with as fective in quality as the force was, which much severity on the troops of France as France was enabled ultimately to assem- on those of her opponent; the revival of ble for the defence of Antwerp, it was the war was looked to as a probable only produced by recalling regiments event, a probability which was subsethen on their march to the Danube, by quently strengthened by the communicamoving from Paris, the few troops sta. tions made to this government and to the tioned there, and by bringing from the British general supposed to be serving in Rhine a force which might have been the North of Germany, as appears from otherwise employed against the Aus- the enclosures in my letter of the 21st trians; we also find that the alarm of the August to the earl of Chatham. Would British debarkation compelled the Dutch it have become the British government corps under gen. Gration to return from under these circumstances to arrest such Stralsund, the Westphalian army had an armament as had then been prepared, orders to fall back from the interior of upon intelligence received on the very Germany upon the Scheldt, and such was eve of its departure ; intelligence which the alarm produced by our attack, that in some views might increase the import. the enemy had actually ordered the ance of its arrival to the interests of French troops to evacuate the Prussian the Continent? Such were the inci. garrisons in Silesia and to proceed by dental circumstances connected with the forced marches against the British Army. operation to the Scheldt, the direct and If such was the obvious and inevitable immediate object of which was the deconsequence of this movement, even at struction of the enemy's naval power in the period at which it took place; when that quarter; and here I must protest the unfortunate result of the battle of against that mode of arguing the question Wagram had compelled Austria to solicit which assumes, that unless his Majesty's an armistice, and had thereby damped the ministers could look with confidence and rising hopes and prospects of Europe, certainty to the accomplishment of all what might not, nay what must not have the objects to which the effort was di. been the result, had our armament reached rected, that they could promise nothing to its destination, while the spirit of re- themselves, but total failure and disapsistance was abroad, and when the influ- pointment; on the contrary I must conence of France was dissolved and its iend that various stages of success prepower disowned throughout the Northern sented themselves to their view, rising in parts of Germany. When the temper importance one beyond the other, the whole of Holland was such as to require the pre. furnishing a combination of objects, the sence in that country of its own troops most important to which the arms of the to uphold the authority of its government, country had ever been directed, but each and when, as we have since learned from in succession holding out, even in its parthe proceedings of the French govern- tial accomplishment, advantages of no inment, some even of Buonaparte's own de considerable moment. The several objects partments were not exempt from indica- to which the Expedition may be consitions of disaffection, if they did not ex. dered as directed were ;— Ist, The reduchibit symptoms of actual revolt. Could tion of the isle of Walcheren, with a view he under such circumstances have col to the occupation and eventual destruction lected his scattered forces to oppose us of the port and naval arsenal at Flushing. without augmenting his difficulties in some -2dly, The capture or destruction of the olher quarter, and might we not fairly in enemy's ships afloat then stationed in the such a state of things have flattered our Lower Scheldt, before they could secure selves either that we should be success- themselves beyond Lillo, and the deful in our immediate object, or that the fences in the higher part of the river, and enemy in order to frustrate our hopes 3dly, the destruction of the arsenal at Antwould be compelled to weaken himself werp, of the ships building, and those materially in the other quarters, in which afloat, if they should have succeeded in he was contending. It is true that before effecting their retreat. The House will the Expedition sailed it was known in best be enabled to estimate the importance

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