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ing, and those which may be collect- I his Majesty's government ought to remain ed from them in conversation and dis-alone responsible. It is not on this accussion, will be best understood by re- count less the duty of ministers to resort to ference to lord Chatham's evidence; lord the advice of professional men, and to Chatham says that his opinion was never avail themselves of their experience and given formally as an officer, on the information, but certainly this duty canExpedition to the Scheldt, and why? Is not be executed in the best practical manit to be supposed that lord Chatham was ner by calling on persons of that descripnever consulted upon the Expedition; or tion to answer dry and imperfect cases will it be imagined that lord Chatham stated in writing. It is the same in other did not approve of the Expedition ? No, professions, for instance in that of the law, it was because his Majesty's government the title of an estate may be open to obhad the advantage of lord Chatham's opi-jections, and yet those objections may be nion in a better and more satisfactory of such a nature as not materially to de mode. If it were the object of a govern- tract from the value of the property; if ment to protect themselves against re- the case on such a title were referred to sponsibility, then assuredly they would counsel, his answer on strict legal grounds not move a step without formal' written must necessarily be that the title is not a opinions, but if without desiring to avoid good one; nevertheless speaking practithe responsibility which belongs to their cally he might not hesitate to represent situations, and from which it is their the purchase as eligible, or even to befirst duty not to shrink, they wished only come himself the purchaser of the estate, to obtain military information, there is against his own professional opinion.— In no mode less likely to afford it, than the present case, where suppositions are that of calling for written opinions, nor put to general Calvert, of the works at any method better calculated to produce Antwerp being imperfect, or the garrison it, than those conversations in which mi- inadequate, and he is asked how far his litary men, divested of responsibility, will judgment of the probability of success freely detail all the grounds on which was influenced by those circumstances, their sentiments and views are founded. his observation immediately is, “ those The distinction here taken must be obvious: are considerations for the government to when a military case is put upon paper judge of, with which as a military man it must be stript of all probabilities and I can bave nothing to do, my military contingencies, and stated in as strict a opinion can only be founded upon the manner as a legal case would be stated supposition that the place is in a proto a lawyer. Can it be supposed that the per state of defence, adequately garrivarious circumstances upon which the soned, and that the governor and garrison policy, or impolicy of a military operation will do their duty. Having stated to the hinges, can be ascertained with such House, the reasons why I should not accuracy previous to a decision on its have felt it necessary on any general expediency as to admit of their being ac- principles of ministerial practice to call curately detailed and enumerated as pre- for written opinions from the military mises from which a conclusion is to be officers who were consulted, I must now drawn; either the case must be stated state the special grounds, upon which I only upon such facts as are known upon was induced to do so in the present inclear and positive information, and the stance. The attention of the governanswer to it must consequently exclude ment had been directed for a considerable all probabilities and contingencies; or time to the growing naval power of the what is merely probable and contingent enemy in the Scheld; in considering must be assumed as certain, in wbich case the lines of operation by which it might the opinion would be given upon errone- be assailed, two only suggested themous data, and would probably be falsified selves for decision, viz. either a moveby the event. It has therefore been my ment across Flanders to Antwerp, after official practice, so far from endeavouring landing at Ostend, or a conjoint Expeto shift responsibility upon points of this dition by the Scheldt with a view of nature from my own shoulders, to relieve landing a considerable force higher up officers as far as possible from any parti the river as near to Antwerp as possible. cipation in it; the responsibility of the In the many conversations which took execution belongs to them, but for the place on this subject previous to a depropriety of embarking in the undertaking cision, it seemed indisputable that considerable difficulties must attend either of 21st of June. It is true that on the 14th these operations, but it appeared that the of June his Majesty's authority was reimpediments to that by which the army ceived for bulding the force in readiness must cross Flanders from Ostend, were for immediate embarkation, orders for the more serious, if not absolutely insur- which were signified in my letter to the mountable; to bring the question dis- commander in chief of the 18th of that tinctly to a point, I thought it material month, but it was not until the decision of to obtain the professional opinion of the admiralty of the 19th of June upon the the commander in chief upon this landing at Santfleet was received that the part of the subject, in order that (if | final determination of ministers was taken adverse) the admiralty might proceed and submitted to the King.-In referring on their part to form a decisive opinion to these opinions, that of the Commander how far the conjoint operation by the in Chief naturally first attracts attention, Scheldt, which depended on the power not only as coming from a person in high of the navy to land the army at Sanifleet, official situation, but as carrying with it was, or was not practicable. The answer great authority from the military reputaof the commander in chief, which may be tion and character of the individual by considered as conclusive against the ope- whom it was given. It is natural for those ration by Ostend, was received by me on who argue against the expediency of this the 3d of June, and was immediately com- operation to contend that ministers onght municated to the admiralty for their con- to have been discouraged by the opinion sideration, this produced their memoranda in question, but admitting all the weight of the 9th and 19th of June, in which the to which the sentiments of the commander naval lords declare their professional opi- in chief are entitled, I am prepared to nion and undertake to carry the armament maintain that this is not the conclusion up the West Scheldt, to land the army at fairly to be drawn from his opinion.Santfleet and to bring it off again, provided After examining the objections to the one bank of the river should be in our pos- operation by Ostend, he proceeds as folsession. It may be necessary here to oblows. “ It therefore appears that the adserve, that my letter of the 29th May only vance through Flanders is attended with called for the opinion of the commander very great difficulties, and that at any in chief, and that it was at his instance, rate a return by the Scheldt is most expeand not at mine, that the opinions of the dient and eligible, it would follow also officers of his staff were obtained.—How that the attack should be directed from far these opinions were intended to be that side, and be a combined naval and official and to be of a produceable nature land operation, the detail of which must it is not for me to say, but I certainly am be well considered and arranged by both extremely happy, that they have been services.”-I must stop here to observe brought into view, as they have served to that it is not possible to conceive if the put the question upon its true issue at the operation, alluded to, had been consideroutset, and have shewn that this was not an ed by the Commander in Chief as either operation which his Majesty's ministers impracticable in itself or inconsistent with thought themselves entitled to undertake the principles of military prudence, that he in contemplation of certain and complete would have been disposed to point it out success, but an attempt which they consi- as requiring consideration and arrangedered themselves bound in duty to prose- ment, it would have been more natural for cute upon a balance of its advantages and him to have applied to it tijat language of risks. — The officers who gave their opi-disapprobation and of protest, which chanions appear by the evidence to have deli- racterizes the former part of his opinion vered them under the impression that an relative to the march from Ostend, and I Expedition to the Scheldt had (in prin- certainly feel myself entitled to state, u ithciple at least) been previously decided out throwing upon the Commander in Chief upon; a mistake into which ihey may the smallest responsibility, with respect to very naturally have fallen from observing the policy of the late Expedition ; that in the preparations for service that were in none of the various communications held progress, and from the earnestness with with him by me on this subject, did I underwhich the investigation of the subject was stand him professionally to remonstrate pursued, but I can assure the House that against it, as an operation, in which the the Expedition was not finally determined force of the country would be improperly upon by the King's government till the exposed. With respect to the particular

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hazard which the armament might incur, i prudence. After disposing of the project the Commander in Chief proceeds to ob- of operating by Osteori, Colonel Gordon serve, “ In whatever way Antwerp is to proceeds to state

11 pode for be approached or taken, the service is consideration is the mari ime operation one of very great risk, and in which the for acting with our land force from our safe return of the army so employed may ships of war on the banks of the river be very precarious from the opposition Scheldt. It is imagined to the disem. made and the length of time consumed barkation of the troop: m :hte preserved in the operation, which enables the ene- as high as Sandvliet, which is within 20 my to assemble in a short time a great miles of Antwerp, if his colluc force from every part of the Netherlands and a landing in some force effec'ed at and Holland, and even from Westphalia Sandvliet, it might be possible to mar by the course of the Rhine as well as from direct upon Antwerp, at the same time the frontiers of France.”—Here the risk that a corps endeavoured to take posses. in the contemplation of the Commander sion of the foris and balteries upon ire in Chief is obviously depending altogether river, and that the boats of the fleet well upon the means which the enemy might manned, armned, and wwing launches possess of assembling a force upon Ant. with troops proceeded with the ide werp during the progress of the service. direct to the city. Thit this would be a What these means were, did not constitute a most desperate enterprize cou'd not be question to be decided by professional doubted, and that in the attempt wheiher judgment, but could only be collected successful or otherwise a verv irge profrom the information received concerning portion of our naval and miliary means the number and description of troops would be put to imminent hazard, but it. which the enemy then had in the coun. appears to be an enterprize of less risk, tries adjacent to the Scheldt; it was and one which could b-brought to an earfor government and not for the Com- lier issue and attended wih less e

expence mander in Chief to decide on the nature than that which has been considered in and authenticity of that information. I the first part of this paper." Now I beg shall be prepared to contend hereafter leave to contend hit colonel Gordon's that the enemy's force was not such during snggestion of the enterprize being desany period of the operation down to iis perate is referable to his own plan of close, and even subsequent to the time operations as suggested in this paper, and within which the accomplishment of all not to that which it was in the contemplaour objects might have been reasonably tion either of his Majesty's minisers or of expected, as could have essentially en- those who were charged with the conduct of dangered the safety of the army em- the operation, to carry into effect. I ployed. I trust therefore it will appear perfectly concur with colonel Gordon that the only remark in the report of the that the project of embarking a force in Commander in Chief which can be con- launches, and endeavouriiig 10 pass them sidered as adverse to the undertaking re- with the ride up to Antwerp with a view fers entirely to a contingency, which of taking that city by storm on the side never actually existed during the late ser- of the river, before the works were either vice, and that it cannot therefore be taken carried or on the point of being carried as an authority against the juilgment by an army on the land side, would have formed by the King's government upon been not only a desperate, but an almost this subject. The next opinion which impracticable undertaking, more especihas been relied upon as decisive against ally in the state of the enemy's defences the undertaking, is, that of colonel Gor- between the forts of Lillo and Liefkendon. In any comment I have to offer shoeik, but it would be doing great inupon that opinion, I wish to speak of it justice to colonel Gordon's military opiwith the respect I entertain for that offi- nion, to suppose, that he meant to assert, cer; I consider the same observation to independent of all considera ion of relabe applicable to his opinion which I ap- tive force, that the landing a considerable plied to that of the Commander in Chief, corps at Sandvliet with a view to an aul. viz. that he would hardly have wasted his vance by land on Antwerp must necessamilitary ingenuity in contriving modes by rily be a desperate enterprize; that such which the government might be enabled would not have been the case has been esto carry forward operations, which badtablished by the evidence of every offdefiance to all known maxims of military cer examined before the Committee ; sir William Erskine is the only officer who movement from thence to the point of atcontends that a landing so late even as tack.”-I must also observe that both gen. the 25th of August" would have exposed Brownrigg and gen. Hope in their opinions the army to risk ; all concur in opinion bring strongly into view the advantages to that an advance on Antwerp early in Au- which the effort might lead, even without gust might have been effected with per- attaining complete success; viz. those of $ect facility, and without the enemy's a diversion in favour of Austria, and the having the power to assemble any con- capture of Walcheren, on the importance siderable force to oppose us in the field ; of which I shall have to speak hereafter. how long the operation might have been - In quoting and reasoning upon the opiprosecuted and with what prospect of nions of these distinguished officers, I beg success it would have been attended are it may be considered that I do not refer 10 distinct questions, which I shall have to them as giving such countenance to argue hereafter; but that this enterprize the undertaking as to bring upon them would have been in its nature most des- the slightest professional responsibility; perate is refuted by the whole current of they felt it to be their duty, as no the evidence, and is pointedly denied by doubt it was, to point the attention of the quarter master general of the army government to the difficulties of such in his answer to the following question an attempt. With such opinions before put to him on that subject. “Q. Supposing them, from quarters so respectable, it the operations of the army to have been became the duty of government fully to conducted with the due precautions, do weigh the nature and magnitude of the you consider that the security of the army difficulties with which they would have to was improvidently hazarded from the combat. It rested with the King's ministers nature of the enterprize itself ?-I do not.” upon their own responsibility ultimately to It is impossible then to understand colo- appreciate and decide on those difficulties. nel Gordon's reasoning to apply to the Ministers did not disguise from themselves case upon which the House has actually that the obstacles to success were serious to decide.-Colonel Gordon was called in their nature, but at the same time they upon for his ideas upon the subject by could not consider them as insuperable, or the Commander in Chief, and has sub- such as in their judgment should preclude mitted to him a suggestion on which the attempt.-It cannot be expected that he reasons ; his reasoning appears ge

at this distance of time I should furnish nerally correct, as applied to the view the House with detailed statements of all of the question which he was induced to the proceedings adopted by government take; but it can by no means be consi- with a view to the investigation of the subdered as having any just application to ject; but it will be recollected they bad that upon which the Expedition was the advantage of two professional opinions ultimately undertaken, I shall not think within the cabinet, they had repeated it necessary to detain the House in com- communications with professional authomenting minutely upon the threeother mili- rities in both services, they were possessed tary opinions; viz. those of gen. Calyert, gen. of much information respecting the state Brownrigg, and gen. Hope; it is enough of the enemy, and I therefore contend to remark, that as gen. Brownrigg and that they were justified in forming their gen. Hope both contemplate a coup-de- own decision upon the subject, and that main against Antwerp under certain fa- I am entitled in defending that decision vourable circumstances as possible, their to consider the question as not disposed opinions can scarcely be relied upon as of upon the authority of written opinions, conclusive against the practicability of but as still remaining open to fair exsuch a measure ; neither can gen. Calvert amination. That it has not been the pracbe considered as so stating it, who sums tice in former times for ministers to frame up his opinion in these words, “ The ser- their decisions in all cases upon written vice would be hazardous and the troops opinions, and to consider themselves as employed in it be exposed to considerable precluded from all defence of their conrisk, but I humbly conceive the operation duct unless they could produce opinions in this point of view does not present the of that description in justification of their same insuperable difficulties which I must measures, I apprehend may be established be of opinion would attend an attempt to from a reference to the history of every perform the same service by a debarkation former administration. In support of this at or in the vicinity of Ostend and by a position, I should wish to refer the gentle

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men on the other side of the House to the 10,000 men, in the river Plate, for the experience of their own administration, as purpose of effecting not the deliverance, likely to bave most weight in their judg- but the conquest of that great portion of ment. I beg it may be understood that in the continent of South America ? And referring to their military operations, I do when with similar views they sent a not wish to do it invidiously; whatever dif- corps of not half that strength to circumference of opinion may have prevailed on navigate the globe, to reduce Chili, and those subjects at the time, and whatever to open a military communication across may have been the merits or demerits of the Andes with the force which was to those measures, I am perfectly prepared to carry on its operations on the side of admit, that errors into which they may Buenos Ayres. Was all this undertaken have fallen, can form no justification for upon precise information previously obmy conduct, or that of my late col- tained, and were military men previously leagues, and I certainly do not wish to consulted upon the practicability of such advert to their failures as giving me any an attempt? If so, I should be glad to claim to forbearance on their parton see the written opinions upon which these the present occasion. I feel the less operations were undertaken. I am not disposed unnecessarily to urge any per- aware that such opinions as I have desonal argument with respect to the right scribed, exist, and certainly never found hon. gent. opposite (Mr. Windham,) as any such in the records of the department I know no individual in the contests of which I lately filled. It is not my inpolitical life, who is himself a more ge- tention to contend, that the absence of nerous opponent. He is entitled to the such sanction establishes the impolicy more consideration from the line of of the operations alluded to, I only refer conduct which he has pursued on re- to that circumstance as an illustration of cent occasions, when although acting in the practice of government upon the subopposition to the government, he did ject, and lay in my claim to have my not hesitate to do justice to those trans- conduct judged of by its own merits, actions, which were connected with the and not to be condemned because I have fame and glory of the country in war, not considered myself as fettered by a and which being praised and honoured system which I am persuaded never can as they deserved were calculated to be strictly pursued without the most esexcite and augment the military ener- sential prejudice to the interests of the gies of the empire. But I should wish public service. I must also contend to ask the right hon. gent. whether the against the principle which has been government of which he formed a part, maintained in argument, that government when they determined upon the Expe- cannot be justified in undertaking any dition to the Dardanelles, had previously operation, the practicability of which received the written opinion of the illus- has not been previously established on trious person then at the head of the a full and minute examination at home of, army, or of other military authorities, in all the possible circumstances on which favour of the practicability of such an success may turn. I apprehend that operation? Am I to understand that full this never has been, and never can be information had been in that case pre- a wise principle of conduct for any great viously collected of the precise amount country to act upon, least of all for Great and condition of the force from which Britain, whose prospects of advantage in opposition might be expected ? of the war so peculiarly rest upon the energy exact state of the enemy's works? of the and enterprize of her operations. I am sure position of the arsenal of Constantinople that such was not the rule ofaction by which of the difficulty of passing and repassing the late lord Chatham was guided in the Dardanelles ? And that upon the any of the expeditions undertaken by him case so stated, ministers had received the during the conduct of that war, which sanction of professional judgment for raised the military glory of this country sending a naval force unsupported by an to so high a pitch. In order to shew that army, to undertake the service in ques- lord Chatham considered the practicabition. Will the right hon. gentlemen lity of an operation to be a point, which have the goodness to inform the House, might often most properly remain to be under the sanction of what military opi- decided on the spot, by the judgment and nion they acted, when they employed a observation of the officer, to whom the corps of British troops, not exceeding command was entrusted, I shall read to

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