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given of him by the right hon. gentleman ; | Lindsay as a proof that a view to prospecit was, because he had the singular good tive services had not solely governed the fortune to have given a successful proof of measure ; because, though sir Joho Lindhis extraordinary bravery, and his extraor-say's friends must ardently wish his recodinary skill in Louisbourg harbour; and the very, they could not hope for it with any reason he would assign to the other captains great degree of confidence. He paid sir for not making them admirals was, because John's character encomiums, and said, if they had not bad the good fortune to distin- he could be swayed by personal feelings guish themselves. If the present motion in his arguments, he should not have menwere not carried, the late promotion to tioned sir John Lindsay, since he was a the flag would operate as a damper on the man for whom he entertained a very sincere service, and do infinite mischief, by check friendship, and was, beside captain Laforey, ing the ardour and quenching the spirit of the only naval officer with whom he lived our officers. It would be saying in direct in a very considerable degree of intimacy. terms to those who endeavoured to dis- --The right hon. gentleman, in the course tinguish themselves, that they would do it of his speech, had taken no notice whatto little or no purpose. It would be like ever of one case, that, in his mind, lay addressing them thus: “ Fight your ship heavy on the first lord of the Admiralty; bravely; do your utmost to prove your and this was the case of captain Bray. courage ; sink, burn, and destroy; show The hon. gentleman who made the motion yourself an extraordinary good officer : we had told them that captain Bray applied will commend you ; you shall have the for his flag ; that lord Howe advised him, thanks of the King; you shall have the at his time of life, to give up his claim to thanks of the House of Commons, and rank; that he instructed him in what every distinction ; but when the hour of manner to apply for his superannuation ; promotion arrives you shall lose your rank, that captain Bray abandoned his claim to you shall have no flag, you shall stand de rank in consequence, and applied for his graded in the eyes of your profession, and superannuation, when he was told that it you shall find that your fame is a mere could not be granted him. A transaction bubble. But, if you have parliamentary so cruelly delusive deserved inquiry in interest, if you have parliamentary con that House. He wondered, therefore, nexions, if you can get a small feet to after such a charge had been made in the command, you may then show yourself a House of Commons, that the friends of good officer with some prospect of reaping the noble viscount should feel it their duty honour and emolument for your pains; if to resist an inquiry, which could alone you are a member of the House of Com- clear his character. They must have felt mons, so much the better, your success it a painful duty indeed, and the noble will then be the more certain.”. He was viscount must feel unhappy when he should aware, Mr. Fox said, that it did not always know that such a charge had been brought follow, that he who had shown himself a against him, and that the means of progood soldier would make an excellent bing it were denied. He wondered the officer; and he knew that a good captain right hon. gentleman had not felt this might not always make a good admiral pointed circumstance.--Mr. Fox took noand commander. He was convinced that tice of that part of the Chancellor of the these things were possible ; but the con- Exchequer's speech, in which he had entrary presumption was strong; and it was deavoured to defend captain Laforey's more likely that he who had distinguished being passed by, while sir Charles Middlehimself greatly in one military situation, ton, standing precisely in similar circunwould also distinguish bimself in another. stances, had received his rank. In going The office of an admiral might be con. into so many minute details of dates in sidered in two views; and the right view this part of his speech, and labouring at undoubtedly was to prospective service, trifling distinctions, the right hon. gentle and an eye to selection was most proper man seemed conscious that he had by no and justifiable. But it might be considered means been able to satisfy the House remerely with a view to honours and respecting a transaction so glaringly partial wards retrospectively and for past services. and unjust. The right hon. gentleman In the latter view the late promotion could had admitted that there were three disnot be defended a moment; because, so tinctions, upon each of which the case considered, it was most scandalously par- might be argued ; first, that sir Charles tial and unjust. He mentioned sir John Middleton did not come within the rule, and that captain Laforey did ; but, in the broke out in our navy in the course of first place, he would ask, was the com- / last war, and declared the observation had missioner of Plymouth yard, with a mili- not afforded him much satisfaction; let tary commission besides, a post to be the House recollect, that the cause of that holden not as a military man? Mr. Fox matter originated in its being conceived mentioned the cases of sir Richard Hughes that the administration of our marine was and lord Hood, who had both been come in bad hands, and merit not protected as missioners; and though he would not, heit ought to be. Let them beware that the said, compare the men, it was impossible same opinion did not again go forth among not to see that the rule, as it was called, the navy. was as applicable to their case as to that Sir Peter Parker said, that when a noble * of captain Laforey. He reprobated Mr. earl, so much to his own honour and the Pitt's argument to persuade the House advantage of the service, presided at the that they were not competent to judge head of the Admiralty, the glorious action upon the partiality or impartiality of the of the 12th of April 1782 took place, and late promotion : if it meant any thing, most of the important services had been he observed, it went directly to the an- effected by the oldest admirals. He paid nihilation of the whole of the consti lord Howe a compliment, but said, he saw tutional powers of cognizance and control no reason for selection at present in a proof that House. In like manner, they motion to the flag. Formerly, when we might be told, when a complaint was urged had only nine admirals, a selection was against the conduct of a judge, “ Do not indispensably necessary; but now, when pot inquire. What do you know of law? the list of admirals was fifty-seven, surely Leave it to the chief justice, and the a sufficient number fit for any service courts below. They alone understand might be found at all times. He spoke of the subject." He could not help re- the peril and fatigue of a naval life, and marking, he said, that, on this occasion, said, if neither honours nor femoluments those gentlemen who were against appeal were given to officers who had hehaved ing to the House of Commons were its | meritoriously, and gallantly distinguished members, and those who wished it were themselves, he feared the thanks of the the military men themselves. He asked, | House would be considered only as an whether, by so many of them dividing in empty compliment. support of the last motion, they seemed Mr. Dundas opposed the motion, as it sorry that it came before parliament, and would, if carried, produce these two bad whether they had thereby manifested a consequences: first, that all future promowish that it had been referred to the deci. tions must be by rotation and seniority; and sion of one man only, who would have next, that no first lord of the Admiralty opposed their own opinion? The right would in future subject himself to such an hon. gentleman had said, “ would any inquiry as that now proposed, which of little inconvenience weigh against the mis necessity would make him prefer a prochiefs that might arise from the discussion motion by seniority to responsibility, and of such matters in parliament?” Mr. Fox de- the certainty of disobliging. He justified clared, that he felt his share of concern, that lord Howe's conduct by saying that no such questions and considerations should person had imputed a corrupt or sinister ever come under parliamentary agitation ; motive to the noble viscount, and it was but, was the inconvenience likely to arise natural for him who was responsible for little? Was the casting a damper on the the officers he employed, to make those whole service of the navy; was the showing captains admirals, in whose hands he could that merit, however successful, however trust his character with the greatest conbright, however illustrious, however glo

fidence. rious in a captain, was no recommendation Sir James Johnstone said, it was a ques. to the flag, a little inconvenience? He tion of feeling, but he felt not for the first conjured the House not to set a precedent lord of the Admiralty, nor for all the lords that would destroy all enterprise, but by of the Admiralty, but merely for the poor agreeing to the motion for a committee, captains. He complained of the general to restore confidence to the navy, and neglect of the service, and said, even the increase ardour by reviving hope in the poor office of vice-admiral of Scotland was breasts of its officers. Mr. Fox took some not given to a seaman, but was held by notice of what Mr. Bastard had said con- lord W. Gordon, the deputy ranger of St. cerning the epidemical distemper that had James's Park.

· Mr. Sheridan would not have risen, had oppressive. He said he liked the minishe not heard it asserted that no one captain ter's argument of responsibility, but be had been promoted but such as the first lord feared it would not much hurt them, as could have a confidence in. That was he observed it always came from them. the only consistent reason that had been selves. Their responsibility was to confess given for the promotion. Mr. Sheridan that they were responsible, but to stop all went into a statement of the number of inquiry, and prevent the House from deadmirals on the list; and after having riving any benefit from their responsibility. "mentioned the various different descrip. He differed a little from his right hon. tions, declared, that when the promotion friend, as to that House only having a power took place, there were 24 admirals at least to interfere with the executive departas able in body and spirit as those last ment for the purpose of censure or punishmade. To what, then, was the last pro- ment. He agreed with lord Kaims, wbo motion to be ascribed ? Was it done in a had well observed, that there was nothing time of war? No; but on the mere rumour like abuse, or even suspicion of abuse, in the of a war. A right hon. gentleman had executive departments of Government, of asked, would that House pretend to judge which that House could not take cogniz. of the qualifications for admirals? They ance. That House had a right to interwould not pretend to judge of the qualifi fere whenever it thought necessary, and to cations for admirals, but of one thing they go to the Crown with wholesome admonisurely could judge, and that was, whether tion. The promotion, if not inquired into the Admiralty acted in their promotions would break the heart of the navy, and to the flag consistently with their own perhaps ruin the service. . rules. The fact was, they had not done Lord F. Campbell said, that if the motion this. In the case of capt. Laforey, the was carried, it would not merely be the Chancellor of the Exchequer said, that complaint, that four or five officers had the first lord had laid it down as a rule, been ill-used, but they must inquire into that officers taking a civil employment the claims of the whole 36. It was better, during hostilities, abandoned tlieir preten- therefore, at once, to negative the motion. sions to military preferment. He admitted Mr. Pitt explained the case of captain it was a good rule. Another rule was, i Bray, declaring that when lord Howe adthat no person of bodily infirmity was en vised him to apply for his superannuation, titled to promotion ; that was a good rule the noble viscount knew not that he was likewise. Again, any officer who had not positively precluded from having it by the been at sea in the course of the preceding order of council of 1747, which expressly war was not to be promoted to a flag; and excepted captains who had not been sent this was a third good rule; but their rules to sea during the war. and their conduct did not agree, Capt. Captain Macbride said, that his hon. Laforey was set aside and sir Č. Middleton friend who had brought forward the motion promoted, though both holding civil em- had so ably argued it, that he would ployments, taken by each flagrante bello: merely touch on one part, that had not Sir John Lindsay for it was necessary to yet been much touched upon, and that speak out, though a most respectable offi- was the case of capt. Bray, who had been cer, laboured under such bodily infirmity, set aside from his superannuation, because that it was not likely he should go to sea he had not been at sea, though he had again; while capt. Robinson, one of lord served his country as essentially by going Rodney's captains, who lost a leg in the upon the impress service, and raising 6000 action of the 12th of April was suffered men, 5000 of which were seamen, enough to limp away from the Admiralty without altogether to man 24 sail of the line. He employ, though otherwise hearty, and as enlarged on this circumstance, and spoke fit for service as ever. As there were 24 of the difficulty, the disagreeableness, and admirals on the old list fit for service, and the great importance of this line of service, no service very likely to be wanted soon, which, after what had happened to capt. the late promotion could not be justified Bray, who had lost his rank by it, none on the principle of state necessity, and the but a mean scoundrel would ever venture moment that this principle was abandoned, upon. in came the principle of honorary rewards Mr. Marlin reprobated pressing, and and emoluments, under which construc- heartily wished the practice were abolished. tion the late promotion fully merited the He said, he understood that the promotion charge of being partial, capricious, and of the officers whose names had been so often mentioned would have only put they had the happiness to have received that public to the expense of a few thousand evening in the House, the purport of which pounds. He sincerely wished, therefore, was, to inform him, that the secretary of that it had taken place. He condemned sir James Harris, our minister at the Hague, the enforcing economy too scrupulously had just arrived with the treaty of alliance with respect to our navy; it was the service concluded with the United States, and in deservedly a favourite with that House, the negociation and effectual conclusion of and one to which the House was always which that very able minister had the merit ready to act with generosity and spirit. of being principally instrumental. To that He was sorry to observe, that a preference minister the country was under the highest appeared to be given to the other branch obligations, and therefore, in the very moof the military, the land service. Means ment of the most satisfactory conviction of of economy suggested themselves to his the successful efforts of sir James Harris, mind, which, if adopted, would save more he hoped the hon. gentleman did not mean than the promotion would have cost. He to state it as a matter of serious complaint mentioned the application of the income that the expense of the establishment of a of the vacant Mastership of the Rolls in minister, whose services to his country, Ireland to the naval service, and also were inestimable, was too much for the stated the propriety of our not sending public to bear, or that it was altogether persons of higher rank as British ministers unnecessary. to foreign courts, than foreign powers sent Mr. Martin had not the most distant : to our court. He spoke in particular of intention of saying any thing the least disthe Dutch envoy, who had lately arrived; respectful of sir James Harris, but had and asked, while the United States only merely thrown out a hint that the purposes sent an envoy here, what occasion there of economy might be better answered by was for us to maintain an ambassador at a abridging the expense of such ministers large expense at the Hague ? He observed abroad as were not absolutely of any great also, that we had a minister at the court service, than by stinting the distribution of Florence, where he did not conceive of honours and rewards to meritorious and there was much necessity for us to main- deserving naval officers. tain any minister.

Captain Berkeley contended, that there Mr. Pitt was anxious to speak to two must be a discretion lodged somewhere as facts touched upon by the hon. gentleman to the choice of captains thought fit for and respecting which he should be ex command; and where ought it to be tremely sorry if a false impression went lodged but in the Board of Admiralty? abroad. The first of these was the hon. That Board, had the responsibility, and gentleman's assertion, that a preference were to answer for the officers they ap. was given to the army, and that the navy pointed to serve ; but how was it possible was governed by too rigid an economy. for them to answer for their appointments The reverse of this was the fact, and if unless they had the power of exercising gentlemen would look to the sums voted their discretion? If the motion should be for the navy, that year, they would find carried, no power of selection would exist the total exceeded by some hundred thou- hereafter; but every officer, however upfit sand pounds, the sums voted for any former for command, must become promoted to peace establishment of the navy. With the flag in rotation. , If, on the other regard to the expense of our ministers at hand, the motion should not be carried, foreign courts, he hoped the hon. gentle. the power of the Board would be fortified man did not consider that, on which, by a precedent; and if any officer in equally with our navy, the safety and tran- future should be passed over in a promoquillity of the kingdom depended, as a tion to the flag, and he applied to the first waste, or a needless expenditure of the lord to assign the reason, no reason would public money. It was on the laudable be given him, but he would be told that exertions of our ministers abroad, in for the Journals of that House would afford warding and negociating treaties of alliance him proof, that the Board had it at their with such powers as would be most effec-option to exercise their discretion in the tual auxiliaries in case of a war, that the selection of captains to be promoted.'' peace and defence of the country depended Sir Richard Hill said, that however the almost as much as upon the strength and question might be worded, the plain indiscipline of our marine. It so happened ference and meaning of it amounted that he held in his hand a paper which he merely to this : ought the House to inter(VOL. XXVII. ]


fere in the promotions of captains to the Proceedings upon the Impeachment of rank of admirals ? He thought they ought Sir Elijah Impey. ] April 28. The House not; and for this plain reason; if they having resolved itself into a Committee of did, there would be no end to applica- the whole House, to consider further of tions for them to exercise the right of the several Articles of Charge of High interference, and no possibility of their Crimes and Misdemeanors against sir avoiding it with any sort of consistency. Elijah Impey, It would not be merely the military pre-! Sir Gilbert Elliot rose and addressed ferments, but the preferments of the

the Chair as follows: clergy, the law, and every other profession. If the House once interfered in Sir Godfrey Webster; It is usual for matters of Executive Government, there those who are to treat of any great affair, would be no drawing the line, or saying to begin by magnifying the importance of where they ought to stop

their subject. If I refrain from this pracSir George Collier hoped, that some tice, I trust, however, I shall hardly be new rule would be established to govern supposed, to account the matter which I future promotions to the flag, that brave am to lay before you of a mean or trivial and meritorious officers might know that nature. The contrary opinion is, indeed, extraordinary merit would not be over my principal reason for abstaining from looked. With regard to the House's in- this accustomed exordium ; 'and I am too terfering in the promotion and rewarding strongly impressed with the dignity, and of military officers, it was not an unpre- the interesting nature of my subject, to cedented circumstance. In the reign of entertain a doubt of its affecting this asqueen Anne, complaint had been made of sembly, as deeply as myself, or not to the conduct of commodore Carr; an in- | know, that every topic, to which I might quiry had been instituted, and the com- resort for the purpose of raising an inteplaint having been proved to be founded, rest in their hearts and imaginations, must the House addressed the Queen to punish have been long since anticipated and exe the commodore, and he was punished ac- hausted. cordingly. It was evident, therefore, that Indeed, Sir, if this subject does not the House had exercised its inquisitorial already rank in this House, amongst the power in respect to the conduct of an most important, and the most interesting, officer, and he hoped, it would not be that ever exercised the judgment of this, thought unconstitutional or improper to or of any other national assembly, I may do so, in á case where important services not only be silent on that head, but I may were admitted on all hands to have been as well retire at once from your presence, performed, and those services had proved and abandon as desperate, both the preineffectual claims to the sort of honour, sent and every other undertaking, of a and reward to which every officer natu. public or a generous kind. You are al rally looked up as the certain acquisition ready acquainted with the nature, and of extraordinary bravery, and singular the objects of this proceeding;--you know and successful skill.

that on one hand, the fame, the fortune, Sir G. P. Turner said, that from what the liberty of an individual are at stake; he had heard in the course of the debate, that this individual is one, who has filled a he was convinced the House ought not to station amongst the most eminent; and, exercise their right of interfering.

surely, amongst the most venerable, that After a reply from Mr. Bastard, the exist in human society. These conside House divided :

rations are powerful calls, I admit it, on Tellers:

the gravest, the most scrupulous, I will

even say, on the most tender exercise of Yeas Sir James Erskine ...

the judicial and deliberative faculties, of { Captain Macbride

any public body. On the other hand, I Mr. Yorke

have a right to remind you, that the

.... NOES 3 Mr. Steele

150 . .

weight of an accusation, and its claim, - $

not to your lasty, passionate, wanton, or So it passed in the negative. As soon even unfeeling decision, but with every as the House was resumed, Mr. Bastard due allowance of personal indulgence and gave notice, that he would again bring sympathy, which must ever form a feature, the question under discussion in another in the character of all tribunals composed shape.

of men, that its claim on your diligent,

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