« ZurückWeiter »
of which one is the medium; but exhibit the state of the cash and these being decyphered in the same bullion; the average of bank notes manner, it appears that the real dis- in circulation; the discounts and ounts on the 26th of Feb. amount- advances to government during d to no more than 2,904,0801. the several periods which it em nd the following table will at once braces.
Cash and Bullion Average of Bank
on Notes circulated.
Average Advan. to Government.
December 1794. March
December 1795. March
December 1996. March
June , September
December , 1797. Feb. 26.
3,508,000 | 11,963,820 4,817,000 8,735,200 4,412,000 | 12,100,650 5,128,000 9,434,000 6,836,000 10,938,620 2,065,000 9,455,000 7,720,000 10,967,310 1,976,000 8,887,500 8,608,000 111,159,720 2,908,000 8,494,100 8,208,009 | 10,366,450 3,263,000 7,735,800 8,096,000 10,348,940 2,000,000 6,779,800 7,708,000 10,927,970 1,887,000 7,545,00 7,940,000 | 12,432,240 2,287,000 9,773,700 7,356,000 10,912,680 3,485,000 10,879,700 5,792,000 11,034,790 1,887,000 | 10,197,600 4,000,000 11,609,670 3,109.000 10,863,100 2,972,000 | 10,824,150 2,820,000 | 11,351,000 2,582,000 | 10,770,200 3,730,000 11,269,700 2,532,000 9,720,440 3,352,000 9,901,100 2,508,000 9,045,710 3,796,000 9,511,400 1,272,000 8,640,250 i 2,905,000 | 10,072,490
From these documents it will apo parison with the immense capitals pear that our observations in the which are annually turned over in beginning of this chapter are strict our different manufactures! ly correct; and that the importance The truth is, the trade of Great of the bank, as a public institu. Britain is chiefly carried on, inde. tion, has been unwarantably mag- pendent of the bank, by a kind of nified. If we compare the sum of barter, traffic or circulation among 12,000,0001. which has in general the traders themselves, who accept been the extent of the bank-notes and receive private bills of exin circulation, with the whole trade change to an infinitely greater of Great Britain, as estimated by the amount than the whole circulation of custom-house reports, how insig- the bank of England. The bank. nificant will it appear. And if we paper is chiefly confined in its circonsider that the assistance which culation to the inetropolis; and the this institution has afforded to com- assistance which it extends to indimerce has seldom exceeded three or viduals is principally extended to four millions at any given time, the merchants and traders of the how triffing must it appear in com- metropolis. It quickens perhaps,
jhd preserve*,' in some degree, the tital energy in that part which may be considered as the centre of commercial action; thus far, it is of use and importance, but this is the utmost limit of its utility; and it mint be a consolatory reflection to Englishmen to know, that the trade
and manufactures of the country can be affected but in a very slight degree by the prosperity or misfortunes of the bank.—They happily rest on a firmer basis—on the genius, industry, and spirit of the people.
C H A P. Vt.
State of Ireland with respect to France.—Observations on the abortive Attempt of General Huche. —Becomes the Subject of Debate in the British Parliament.—Debute in the House of Commons on Mr. Whitbread's Motion relative to the Invasion of Ireland.—Debate in the House of Lords on the same Subject.—Earl of Moira's Motion on the State of Ireland— negatived.—Mr. Fox's Motion in the House of Commons on the same Subject—also negativtd.
clamatiohs in execution. That attempt, fortunately for Britain, was ill-planned. The whole conduct of the expedition was intrusted to one man, without even an abl» second in command, who was properly instructed tci supply his place, should any accident prevent the co operation of the comrhander-i*chiel: the consequence was, that the troops and seamen who first made their destined port, were without a leader, and incapable of acting. The directory, too, appear to have been unaccountably ignorant of the state of the country, which it was their object to subdue, since late events have shewn that the descent was not made in the most vulnerable part, nor was the factiou itself, which was expected to aid the design, apparently apprized of the enterprize, or prepared to cooperate. Had they acted in concert, and had the force of the French been directed to several points of M 2 the
the island, it is more than probable that this valuable appendage ot' the British empire would have been for ever separated from the parent land; a revolution, more sanguinary, perhaps, and certainly more disastrous in proportion to its nearness, than the American revolution, might probably have been effected. Providentially for this island, as well as for Ireland itself, the design was frustrated by the weakness of its projectors, and by the rigour of the season and the elements; and we may venture to predict, that a second opportunity equally favourable will not occur, and that Ireland will never now be reduced under the Gallic yoke.
To enter into the causes of disaffection which concurred to produce the late unhappy ferment in that kingdom, would at this season' be obviously improper; and to extend these observations further would be to anticipate much of that matter which we shall, in the course of this chapter, have an opportunity of giving upon superior authority. Let it suffice to say, that the exposed situation of Ireland, and the supposed neglect of the admiralty, with respect to observing the motions of the Brest fleet, were made the subject of a motion in the British house of commons on the tliird of March. The opening of this interesting debate was intrusted to Mr. Whitbread, who enlarged much on the want of precaution in the ministers in general, and on the inactivity of the admiralty in particular. Information, he said, had been received through various channels, that Ireland was one great object of the meditated attack of the enemy. Had any measures then been taken towards the defence of .that country, when the attack was
actually made? He intreated the attention of the house to its situation when the enemy was on the. very coast; from the letter of the commauder-in-cbief in that quarter (general Dalrymple) it appeared, that, instead of any effectual measures having been previously adopted for its defence, every thing remained to be done. After mentioning the appearance of the enemy in Bantry Bay, the General says, that he will proceed to put every thing into the most proper train for defeating their designs.
Was this, continued Mr. Whitbread, a proper defence against so active and enterprising an enemy a» we have to contend with? There was not at the time more than three thousand regular troops to oppose the whole force of the French; the city of Cork in particular was in the most imminent danger of falling into their hands, had not that God alone, who has so often favoured and protected this country, prevented it. In Cork were contained stores and provisions of various kinds, to the amount of a million sterling in value; amongst these stores were the whole of the provisions intended for the use of th* British navy for the following year, so that, had they been taken or destroyed, our navy would have been, for a year to come, annihilated. He proceeded to state the motions of the French fleet, and of our own, from the time of their quitting Brest. Admiral Colpoys, with a fleet of fourteen or fifteen sail of the line, was lying oft" Brest harbour for some weeks; the French fleet, however, in defiance of this, sailed from Brest on the 15th of December; on the 20th they arrived ou the coast of Ireland, and some of them dropped anchor in Bantry Kay; previous previous to that,- and during the time lhat admiral Colpoys was with his squadron lying off Brest, admiral Richery, with six French ships of the iine, passed our squadron and got sale into Brest; so that the enemy were at sea, and on the coast of Ireland, from the i8th of December to the 6"tb of January. On the 20th of December news arrived in England that the French fleet had quilted Brest, and on the 3lst that it was off the coast of Ireland. On the same day, exactly, admiral Colpoys, with the fleet under his command,arrived at Portsmouth: the reasons given for his return with his squadron are various and contradictory; one was, that his force was insufficient to encounter that of the enemy. If this be the real cause, said Mr. "Whitbread, it furnishes additional reason for inquiring into the conduct of ministers, and of the first lord of the admiralty in particular.
There was another circumstance which had occurred very remarkable: admiral Elphinstone arrived in Ireland, in the Monarch of /'* guns, accompanied by a frigate. He gave notice to the castle of Dublin, that be with the ship under his command, and with the frigate, was ready to join any other force that Eight be allotted for the purpose of going in search of the enemy. Admiral Kingsmill also issued orders for several frigates to sail on the •ame errand; yet on the 3d of January admiral Elphinstone arrived it Spithead with the Monarch, without having seen any of the enemy's fleet. Lord Bridport, who sailed the same day from thence, and went ■first to Brest, and then shaped his course to Ireland, returned to Spithead equally unsuccessful; and the desijus of the enemy were only
frustrated by the winds, and the safety of Ireland entirely abandoned to the chance of the elements.
Another reason assigned for the return of admiral Colpoys' squadron into port was, that it was short of provisions; but, continued Mr. Whitbread, is it possible to conceive, that, in all the time it lay off Brest, either fresh ships could not have been sent to relieve him, properly victualled, or transports have been forwarded to re-victual the fleet? When information had been received of the active and axtensive preparations going forward at Brest, after the large sums consumed in secret service money, and with the immense navy in our possession, shall we be told they ought not to have sent out fresh ships to have reinforced that squadron? He concluded by moving, "that it might be referred to a committee to inquire into the conduct of ministers respecting the late attempt of Lb* French to invade Ireland."
Mr. Dundas replied to Mr. Whitbread in a speech of some length. He exonerated the admiralty from any want of foresight, or failure of duty; said it was impossible to decide whether Portugal or Ireland was the object of the French fleet j asserted that it was the wisest measure our government could adopt, to divide our fleets, stationing one off Brest to watch the enemy and intercept the sailing of the expedition, and the other at home, to relieve it if necessary, or join it if expedient. He contradicted a statement that had gone abroad, that no frigate or squadron had been appointed by the admiralty to watch over the enemy in Brest harbour, and give an account to admiral Colpoys as circumstances should require. Sir Edward Pi;llew vuu appointed, pointed, and did actually cruize" there. But notwithstanding the diligence and skill of the admiral, and the experience and courage of sir Edward, their exertions were in vain: for the state of the weather ■was such, that it was impossible for the admiral to keep his own fleet under his observation, and the air ■was so hazy that the fog-guns were continually fired. ' Could any man doubt sir Edward's inclination to have given, if possible, the intelligence to the admiral, that the enemy had put to sea; or that admiral Col. poys was not desirous to see it? Was it likely he should be unwilling, ■when he had a fleet'under his command so sjuperior to that of the enemy? It was the wisest resolution he could take, not to follow them to Portugal or Ireland, till he knew their certain destination; and he kept his station for the chance of intercepting all, or part of the fleet, in case of dispersion by a storm; he recollected also, that the circumstance of their having sailed, would be known to the admiralty, and by remaining where he was, he should receive such authentic intelligence as he could not otherwise expect to obtain.
Respecting the charge of the want of provisions, Mr. Dundas could not but admit the squadron had remained longer on its station than ■was at first supposed necessary, and not relieved so soon as the admiralty had intended; the reason was, sir Roger Curtis should have been in port the beginning of November, and did not come till the 18th. He had been appointed to cruize off Rochefort, where he remained a fortnight longer than was expected, to intercept the return of Richery's Squadron from Newfoundland. Sir Roger's squadron consisted of seven
sail of the line, and was to hav^ been sent to the relief of the fleet off Brest; but the wind was so adverse as to render it impossible for them to come to Spithead before the 18th of November. As to the interval which took place between the arrival of admiral Colpoys and the sailing of lord Bridport, the instructions of sir Edward Pellew reached the admiralty on the 2i!th of December; and on the 2' st he received information of the sailing of the French fleet from Brest, and immediately returned for answer, that all the fleet would be ready four days after, namely the 2Sth. [Here Mr. Dundas read the orders of tho admiralty, issued on the 21st, and another order issued after, counteracting some part of them, and desiring him to proceed off Cape Clear immediately.] He wished it to be observed, that, although the French fleet arrived off the coast of Ireland on the 21st of December, no intelligence of (hem was received in this country till the 31st; the admiralty had taken the chance of finding admiral Colpoys on the station where they expected him to have been, off the Lizard, in case of any adverse winds removing him from the French coast. Lord Bridport had always been not only a gallant but a successful admiral; yet it so happened, that, although admiral Colpoys had been hovering with bis squadron off Brest, to intercept the enemy upon their leaving that harbour, although lord Bridport afterwards proceeded off Cape Clear and the Irish coast with the same design, and although the Duke and the Majestic, with two other ships of war, were sent in search of them, they were so covered "by the fog, and protected by fortune, as to escape them all. The honourable gentleman,