Imágenes de página

it was not his intention to obtrude upon strengthening Macoa, and enabling it to the House any detailed observations on the resent and resist any insult or attack, value and importance of the trade which which the French might make upon it. we now carry on with China; it would be to the Chinese authorities the gallant sufficient for his present purpose to re- admiral also represented, that animated mark generally, that there is no branch of by similar feelings of friendipsh and our external commerce which, for its regard towards the Emperor of China extent, contributes so abundantly to the and his subjects, the British government revenues of the state, or in which the had entrusted him with the command of a great mass of the population of this em- mixed force for the double purpose of pire may be supposed to take so deep and frustrating and defeating the views of the $0 anxious an interest. And, therefore, French tyrant upon the island of Macoa, he humbly conceived that any course of and of scouring the Chinese seas of the operations calculated to place so valuable piratical fleets of Ladrones, which had of a branch of our trade in jeopardy, and late infested the coasts and interrupted eventually to deprive us of it altogether, the commerce of China. The Portuguese was not only a fit subject for the House to Governor besitated not a moment to deentertain, but one which called most se- cline the proffered aid, which he resisted riously upon every gentleman who heard on the double plea of his conviction, that him (and he lamented the number was his acquiescence in such a measure would not more) to give to it his most mature and awaken the jealousy and excite the resentdeliberate consideration. How far this ment of the Chinese, and that it would hazard has been encountered, and to likewise expose him (the governor) to the what a perilous dilemına have our interests displeasure of the governor of Goa, and in China been reduced, it would be com- of his more exalted superiors in Europe petent for the House to form an estimate, and the Brazils. To this reasoning the when the papers relative to this ill-fated gallant admiral opposed the very concise expedition should be laid before Parlia argument of “ if you won't, you must” ment.--Mr. Prendergast then said, that by and there was nothing left for the gover. his information it appeared, that no sooner nor in his weak and feeble situation, but to had the information reached India that the oppose the only resistance which was court of Portugal had removed under the competent to him to offer, namely, a forprotection of the British flag from their mal and solemn protest against the meaEuropean possessions to the Brazils, than sure, as being entirely unnecessary, un. schemes of ambition and conquest appear just, and oppressive. It must be observed, to have opened themselves to the view of and he intreated the House to attend to our rulers in that quarter. An immediate the circumstance, that, although the galdetermination seems to have been formed ) lant admiral when he first communicated to possess ourselves of the island of Macoa, bis overtures to the governor, represented on which the Portuguese had for a series himself as having been sent in the purest of years been permitted, under circum- spirit of amity and good faith towards the stances of singular restriction, and obvious Portuguese, which induced a belief that jealousy, to form a small establishment. he came as the friend, and his troops as An expedition, consisting of a formidable the auxiliaries of a faithful ally; nevernaval and military force, was ordered to be theless, when by the arm of power he had assembled, and the conduct of it was overruled the objections of the governor, placed under the command of his excel- he landed luis forces with all the pomp and kency, rear admiral Drury, by order of ostentation of victory and conquest, and the governor-general in council. His in- with every ceremony usually accompanyformation did not enable bim to state the ing the character of a conqueror, he triexact period of the embarkation of the umphantly hoisted the British flag, and troops, or of the sailing of the expedition; possessed himself of the Portuguese authohowever, it did enable him to state, that rity on the island. Remonstrances and the gallant admiral reached his port of protests poured in from all the Chinese destination about the end of September, governors and Mandarins, and the viceroy 1-808. On bis arrival he represented to at Canton, in pursuance of the usual Chithe Portuguese governor, that in the nese policy on all occasions of discontent spirit of pure friendship and faithful against foreigners, issued a proclamation, alliance, he was dispatched with a respecta interdicting all intercourse with the Enable military force, for the purpose of glish, and coromanding all Chinese sub

[ocr errors]

jects serving English masters, in any ca- “command justice.-Admiral Drury also pacity, to withdraw, under pain of death,“ directs, that all English vessels should from their service. The gallant admiral “ be prepared to drop down the river with having established his government at Ma- " as little delay as possible. I regret that coa, proceeded with his squadron, in com- " it should be expedient to adopt any pany with the supercargoes, to the an- “ measures that must occasion inconvenichorage-ground in the river Whampoa, "ence to many; but, rely with confi. without any previous permission had, or “ dence upon every person's complying obtained from the Chinese government, “ cheerfully with what is likely to prove which was deemed the most flagrant insult " of public utility, and which the present and indignity that could in possibility be " state of affairs renders unfortunately neoffered to the Emperor, and his govern- cessary, assuring them at the same time, ment; and from this anchorage.ground, " that every attention will be paid to he commenced a fresh written negotia- " the preservation of British property. tion, expressed in stronger language than" (Signed) J. W. ROBERTS. Canton, had been used during his stay at Macoa.“ 21st Nov. 1808.". To all arguments urged by the gallant It is difficult for the subjects of this free admiral, whether mild or intemperate, the land to imagine the scene of confusion and uniform reply of the viceroy was “strike alarm, to which this portentous order gare “your flag-withdraw your troops from rise amongst the British inhabitants at Can“ Macoa, and take them and your ships of ton. These unfortunate victims, to the " war away and the relations of com- impolicy and extravagant fancy of our "merce and amity shall be renewed.” rulers, having scraped and scrambled toImpatient of further delay, the gallant gether as much of their devoted property, admiral ordered his boats to be manned as the hurry and danger of the moment and armed, and proceeded on the 8th of would admit, were compelled to abandon Nov. 1808, to Canton, with the manifest their homes and concerns, and to seek, view of intimidating the viceroy, (who with the utmost precipitation, shelter refused to see or receive him) not only under the British flag. It might have into the measure of personal conference, been supposed, that the failure of the galbut into a full compliance with the ulterior lant admiral's first vain attempt, by his objects of the expedition. The viceroy, personal appearance at Canton, to oversteady to his purpose, disregarded the awe and intimidate the viceroy into an blusterings and vauntings of the gallant acquiescence with his objects would have admiral, and persevered in his refusal to served as a wholesome caution to guard see him, and also declined to receive fur- him against exposing himself, his people, ther written communications from him; and the British flag, to a repetition of siand at the expiration of two or three days, milar insults, derision, and contumely, as the gallant admiral was compelled to attended that wild and ineffectual experiwithdraw to his fleet, covered with shame, ment; but, in an evil moment, he deter. and carrying with him the obloquy, odium, mined otherwise. The proclamation, which and execrations of all the inhabitants of was issued on the 21st. of Nov. drew all Canton. In a short time after this notable the British subjects together at the anchoreffort on the part of the admiral, advices age-ground (distant from Canton about reached him, that a large military force 25 miles) on the 23d; and it appears, that was collecting near Canton, and appre., the gallant admiral, doubtful what course hensions were entertained as to the safety to adopt, remained inactive until the 28th, of the British subjects in that city. In when again he gave orders for manning this state of things, the gallant admiral and arming all the boats of the fleet, and, directed the chief supercargo to proclaim with a much stronger force than he had the following order to the commanders of formerly carried with him, shaped his all the British vessels at the port of Can- course towards Canton. When the ad. ton.

miral's fleet of boats had proceeded within “ Gentlemen, I am directed by his three miles of this city, a considerable excellency rear admiral Drury, to ac- body of armed persons was seen assem

quaint you, that every British subject bled at a small fort, which commanded the “ should quit Canton in forty-eight hours river; and no sooner had the gallant ad" after this date, as the refusal of the Chi- miral approached within range of shot, "nese government to listen to his most than a brisk fire of round and grape was

friendly entreaties will compel him to opened upon him. Various efforts were


made by the admiral to enter into expla- that, if any objection should exist on the nation, but all proved ineffectual. The ground of expence, he was ready to deonly reply he could obtain to his profes- fray all such charges out of his own sions, and protestations of amity and good pocket, rather than the House should be faith, was, from the mouths of their can- kept uninformed on a subject of such senon; and, at length perceiving that his rious importance. He felt no inclination situation, already dangerous, might become to detain the House longer than to offer critical, he once more determined to re. the expression of his grateful acknowledge pair to his ships, under circumstances of ments for the indulgent attention with disgrace, obloquy and execration, easier which he had been honoured, and he to be conceived, than described. Mr. should, therefore, proceed to submit his Prendergast here begged permission of motion. the House to state a circumstance which 1. “ That there be laid before this occurred in the course of this fatal and House, copies of all dispatches, with their mistaken experiment, upon the nerves respective dates, which have been received of the viceroy, and the fears of the Chic by the right hon. the lords commissioners aese. It was alleged that, during the of the admiralty, and by the court of ditime that resistance was offered from the rectors of the East India company, relafort, an attempt was made by a body of live to the late expedition, sent under the Chinese to seize and detain one of the command of his excellency, rear admiral English boats, in wbich they succeeded so Drury, against the island of Macoa, in the far as to have taken possession of her. Chinese seas. 2. Copies of all orders and An immediate order was issued for the communications which the right hon. the recapture of this boat, and in the course of lords commissioners of the admiralty, shall this duty, his information stated, that 25 | bave transmitted to rear admiral Drury, Chinese were killed, and several others on the subject of such report or reports as wounded. He humbly maintained that, that officer may have made to their lordif this ill-fated expedition involved no ships, respecting his proceedings in the other circumstance of interest, or concern, late expedition against Macoa. 3. Copies than the loss of so many lives, in a course

of all orders and opinions, which may of proceeding which he had endeavoured have been transmitted by the hon. the to describe, and which appeared, to his board of commissioners for India affairs, judgment, to have been a series of aggress or by the court of directors of the East sion and injustice on the part of our com- India company, to the right hon. the mander, in every stage of it; if we took governor general of India, or to the comno other interest in this extraordinary ex- pany's supercargoes at China, relative to pedition, than that which the loss of so the late expedition against Macoa, or to many lives, in such a manner, was calcu- any other operations or plans which may lated to excite, still, he contended, that have had for their object the capture, or there was, in this unfortunate result, abun- occupancy of that island, by a British dant ground, not only to justify, but to force, or by the troops of the East India demand of the justice of parliament, that company. enquiry should be had, and eventually Mr. R. Dundas said, the detail of the that punishment should be inflicted. An- course of the expedition was .correct, as ticipating, however, the possibility that far as it went; but circumstances had been the papers might be refused, for which omitted which altered the complexion of he was about to call, either on a plea of the case. When there was reason to ap. their being so voluminous as to impose prehend that the British would be exextraordinary trouble on the clerks of the cluded from the Portuguese ports before departments in which those papers were the removal of the royal family of Pore deposited, or on the plea of the expense tugal to the Brazils, orders had been sent which might attach to the printing of out to to take the Portuguese settlements them, he begged leave to submit to the in the East, (afterwards countermanded) House, that he was willing, with a view by force, if necessary, except Macoa, to obviate either, or both of these objec. which was not to be taken without the fions, to be one of a Committee to exa- concurrence of the Chinese, and it was mine and select such papers as might be imagined that the Chinese would willingly deemed necessary to the establishment of accept of our assistance to repel a hostile his case, which might be, in his opinion, attack of the French on the settlement, if reduced to a very few in number; and that should be attempted. The governor In the present

general was apprized by the Committee calculated to promote the ends of justice, of supercargos at Canton that the French or to satisfy the reasonable expectations were preparing to aitack the place, and of the country, that he (Mr. P.) considerthat it might be taken possession of by us, ed the course which had been taken, and with the concurrence of the Chinese as he the decision which had passed, as tending understood. It was necessary to act im- to invert and violate every principle of mediately, without waiting for further justice and equity. He contended, that orders, and the governor sent admiral the principle which had been adopted, Drury, who acted in concert with the su and acted upon in the course of this propercargoes, till they were convinced that ceeding was, in spirit and effect, precisely further perseverance would be useless. analogous to the unfair; oppressive and He conceived that no blame attached to scandalous decision which was past by the the governor-general or the admiral. He court of directors last year, against some agreed with the hon. gent. as to the im- of their innocent, but helpless and depenportance of preserving our Chinese com- dant writers and cadets. merce--but under all the circumstances, case, as in that just alluded to, punishment he thought there was no occasion for these appears to bave been inflicted upon the papers, which were very voluminous, and innocent, whilst the guilty were upheld, he would therefore oppose the notion. complimented, and extolled.-It must be

Mr. G. Johnstone disapproved of the in the recollection of gentlemen, how zea. occupation of the territory in question.lous and active were the exertions of the The island was 100 miles in circumference, honourable gentleman, (Mr. C. Grant) and the Portuguese did not occupy ten miles his friends in the direction, to restore to in circumference of it; the Chinese only their body the individual, whose patronage allowed them one week's provisions at a had been abused, and who alone was respontime, so that we had no occasion to dread sible for the trespasses which had been the French getting, or if they did get, committed; whilst they visited, with a rataining possession of it.

merciless hand, an unmerited measure of Mr. Wallace thought that no sufficient punishment upon innocent, unoffending case had been made out to induce the youths, because they could do so with House to order such a mass of papers to impunity. In the same spirit of oppresbe produced.

sion and injustice, the directors had, in Sir H. Popham thought if there was any the case before the House, by the declainconvenience in producing all the papers 'ration of the hon. member, (Mr. Grant) called for, there could at least be no ob singled out as the victims of their wrath jection in producing those which related and displeasure, those who could not, in to the supercargoes, the marine service, possibility, be held responsible for the immd the commander in chief.

policy, the mischief, and disgrace of this Mr. C. Grant declared that in the mea- mad and improvident undertaking; whilst sures which had been pursued by the they now defend, and acknowledge lately court of directors, in consequence of this to have complimented, those to whom the ill-judged expedition, the court had ac- responsibility actually belongs, and to quitted the governor general, and the ad- whom must, of consequence, attach all the miral of all blame, and had punished the guilt of this disgraceful transaction. He guilty by dismissing the supercargoes would put it to the hon. gentleman, and from their offices; a measure of punish- to the House, whether the supercargoes, ment, which must be considered very se- who are now stated to have been degraded vere, since it not only deprived those gen- aud dismissed from lucrative offices, for tlemen of large emoluments, but degraded the share they had taken in advising this them in the eyes of the world. In con- measure, were, or could, in justice, be clusion, he appealed to the candour and beld so culpable as the person who order. liberality of the hon. genti whether all had ied, or the commander who executed this nou been done to answer the ends of jus- rash and ill-fated expedition ? Will it be tice, which could have been done. contended, that the supercargoes possess

Mr. Prendergast had no hesitation in re-ed the power to order or direct an expeplying to the appeal made to his candour dition of this nature, for which they must by the hon. member who had just sat be held responsible ? Mr. P. maintained down, or in stating it as his firm and deo that they were invested with no such 26cided opinion, that so far was the pro- thority; that it was only competent to ceeding described by the late chairman them to submity in the most humble tone,

their suggestion to the governor-general, , the Committee. The resolution of the
who, alune, possessed the power to ac- House ought not to interfere with the con-
cept, or to reject such propositions. It struction of the existing law, and if the
bad been urged by a right hon. gent. that directors had acted contrary to the law,
the expedition was impolitic, unjust, and it would be for a jury to say so. When
disastrous, that as the governor-general the West India Dock bill was passed, the
had appeared to have acted from the best property-tax was not in existence. He
intentions, he ought not to be held blame- moved that the debate should be ad-
able ; but he (Mr. Prendergast) saw no journed for six months.
reason to determine why the governor- Mr. Baring thought the subject should
general should have credit for purer in- be followed up either in the manner his
tentions than the supercargoes; and as the hon. friend had proposed, or in some other
former was responsible to that House and which might appear more eligible to the
the country, whilst the latter were altoge House. The opinion of the bon. and
ther unknown in any character of respon learned gent. opposite would doubtless be
sibility to either, he contended, that no anxiously looked to by the House as to
decision which was confined exclusively the possibility of setting the question to
to the punishment of the supercargoes for rest in a court of law. If a better way

a transgression of this nature, could prove proceeding were pointed out by gentle-
satisfactory to the country. He concluded men on the other side of the House, he
by conjuring the House to insist upon the should bow to their decision; but if they
production of the papers, which would did not do so, he should vote for the reso-
shew where the blame did actually attach; lution.
and, in the persuasion that there existed Mr. Marryatt observed, that the West
abundant cause of dissatisfaction some- India planters were materially interested
where, he would persist in demanding the in this question. According to the act

originally constituting the West India The motion was negatived without a Dock Company, the proprietors were to division.

share 10l. per cent. upon their capital, (West INDIA Dock COMPANY.] Mr. and it was stipulated, that upon the surBurham addressed the House on the sub- plus profits amounting to a certain fund, a ject of the conduct of the West India proportionate reduction should take place, Dock directors, respecting the dividends in the rates payable at the Docks. Now made upon their capital. The hon. gent by the system to which the resolution recontended, that by the act of the 39th of ferred to, the 10l. per cent. being taken the King they were restrained from mak-undiminished, the income tax being paid ing a dividend above 101. per cent. In entirely out of this reversionary fund, that point of fact, however, they had divided stipulation of the Company was not at10l. per cent. clear, paying the property tended to. Therefore he thought the retax out of the public funds of the com solution right and reasonable, and he pany. This was in effect to divide eleven hoped it would serve to produce a difper cent. contrary to the act he had be- ferent arrangement in future. fore alluded to. He felt it therefore his Mr. Hughan opposed the resolution. duty to move “ That it is the opinion of The Attorney General said, the Comthis House, that the West India Dock pany had a right to such profits from the Company, in dividing clear 10l. per cent public as would make up a dividend of upon their capital, without previously de- | 101. per cent. ; but when their profits ex, ducting the due proportion of the pro- ceeded that, the residue was to be applied perty-tax from the whole of their profits, to the public service. Wishing well, as did exceed the extremne rate of interest he did, to the Company, of which no one which they were empowered to divide by had spoke too highly, he thought they the 39th of the King.'

should be called upon to declare what Mr. Hibbert observed, that the Commits would be their conduct in future. If they tee had reported that the affairs of the would not submit, the public had a reCompany had been generally well con- medy, though to apply it might be trouducted, and in a manner greatly to the blesome. From the construction be put public benetit, but they gave their opi- upon the act he thought the surplus apnion as to the law on this particular point. propriated to the public ought not to be Now it did not appear to him necessary burthened with the property tax on their for the House to reiterate the resolution of profits. That ought to be paid out of the

* 1


[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »