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gentleman, Mr. Whitbread, had said, the right honourable 'gentleman that Ireland was saved by the ele well enough; but when it was such ments; but he should have remem- as to make his adherents think it bered, that the same wind which dis- proper to inquire into the conduct persed the enemy, prevented our of administration, it became essential fleets from meeting them.
to do it away as soon as possible. Mr. Dundas considered invasion as But to pursue the idea of the nothing but a bugbear; yet did not “bugbear,” intasion, Mr. Grey obr wish us to relax in our precautions served, that in the place where an on the one hand, or to despond on attack of the enemy was apprehendthe other. Exclusive of our naval ed, and where it was actually forces in the East and West Indies, made, there was neither a cavalry the North Seas, and the Mediterra. nor a supplementary militia bill; nean, we had fifty sail of the line for in the place where there was no the defence of Britain and Ire. apprehension of attack, there were land, and upwards of two hundred both : the place against which it was thousand men under arms. Hither. not expected to be made was to be to both the government and force defended in an extraordinary man. of this country had been calumni- ver, and the place where it was ated; he hoped he had proved sa- likely to be made left perfectly detisfactorily that no blame was imput- fenceless! And he would say, that able to the admiralty, or to the of the enemy's not succeeding in Ireficers, though he by no means Jand, was not owing to the wisdom wished to prevent ipquiry; their of his majesty's ministers, but to the conduct he thought could well sus, interposition of Providence. tain the test.
The right honourable secretary Mr. Grey observed, that ministers had stated, that on the 21st of De. had for a long time laboured to cember instructions had been sent create an alarm in that house, and in to lord Bridport to put to sea iininethis country; they had so far suc- diately. Why did he not do so, ceeded as to secure the confidence when the wind was fair, on the of a majority of parliament, who 22d, 23d, and 24th? It was no exupon all occasions during this war cuse to say that his squadron was had uniformly voted against any in. not ready, or that admiral Curtis quiry into their conduct; but they had not returned from his cruize: had abused that confidence so much, the admiralıy ought to be impeachand had brought the country into so ed for not having a fleet ready deplorable a state, that even their to sail on the 22d. Mr. Grey asmost confidential friends and adhe. cribed it wholly to the neglect of rents began at last to speak of the administration, that the enemy's necessity of inquiry: how far they feet had remained fourteen days were sincere would be seen by their unmolested off the coast of Ireland; votes. But ministers now began to there was no adequate force in that be alarmed for themselves; that part of it to oppose them. The was, for their own safety; and, to expedition had been considered as a restore confidence, they found it fortunate event, as it had proved necessary to do away the alarm the loyalty, of the Irish in that themselves had created : whilst it quarter. Their loyalty, indeed, he continued it suited the purpose of said, was meritorious in proportion
to the few obligations which they partook of the nature of a tvo. were under to their government: edged sword: they might happen he condemned the restriciions on the to convey information to the ene. catholics, aud insisted that noibing my wbat place might be most succould add more to the discontents cessfully attacked, as well as expose of Ireland than the neglect which the negligence of ministers. the people of that country had met Mr. Fox took up this part of the with at different periods from admi- speech first. It was, he said, a stale nistration.
aod profligate argument always used Mr. Wyndbam, in reply to the against those who bad opposed the last speaker, stated, that general measures of administration; and presumptions of neglect were suf- when ministers were charged with ficient causes for inquiry, but those neglecting the defence of the coup. presumptions ought tirst to be sub- try, the real patriots were considered stantiated. He vindicated the con- as holding out an invitation to the duct of the admiralty, affirmed it enemy to invade us. If this were was impossible to keep a feet for true, we had better at once put an any length of time in such a state end to the forms, as we had done to of preparation as to be ready to sail the substance of the constitution; at a moment's warning, and that it and, instead of making members would have been rashness to have take the oath against transubstantiasent lord Bridport out with an infe- tion, let no man enter the house rior feet when government did not who would not previously declare know but that the French were out that he would never in any way say with sixteen sail of the line. He any thing against the conduct of the denied the possibility of Cork fall. executive government. ing into their hands, even had the I n a state of war every complaint enemy landed; complimented the must be of the nature of a twoinhabitants of the southern parts of edged instrument. If we point out Ireland on their loyalty, and ob- that one part of the country is weak, served, that it was singular those we may be told, it is communicat. very men who were supposed the ing to the enemy which is the least most oppressed in that kingdom defensible side of the empire. But had manifested the most fim at- to whom is this complaint to be tacbment to the government; while made? Are ministers the only perthose in the north, who were not sons permitted to give advice in such said to have any cause of com- exigencies? plaint, had shown a disposition to Ireland, Mr. Fox said, was die insurrection. He thought this went vided into two parties; the content. a good way towards proving that ed, and the discontented: tbe cait was possible for men to make tholics were in a state of unjust groundless complaints against those exclusion; but he was far from afby whom they were governed. He firming, that the protestants bad go did not absolutely charge the oppo- reason for complaint, or that they sition with evil intentions, when were not shut out from the essence they talked of those parts of his and the substance of the British majesty's dominions most liable to constitution. He conceived the • attack, but he wished them to re- north, the south, and the eastern collect, observations of this kind part of Ireland to be in such a state,
that if a speedy remedy were not ap- when the subject of inquiry was plied, the minister would not do jus- how came the enemy actually to intice to the British empire.
vade us? Without expressing disThe grievances of Ireland were satisfaction at the conduct of admireal, deep, and well founded : but ral Colpoys, he said, we ought to whether they were so, or not, we have had a second fleet at home, heard the people in the south were ready to sail from Portsmouth as loyal; yet all the reward they ob- soon as the news reached England. tained for their loyalty was not Mr. Fox ended his speech with strea redress of grievances, not a ces- nuously maintaining, that it was the sation of exclusions. No! it is duty of that house not to take the empty praise, and barren testimony! words of one set of ministers in deHe admired the conduct which they fence of another. It might be inhad manifested upon the late occa- jurious to the reputation of lord sion, and he should have expected Spencer, as it had been to his preit would have been deemed an un- decessor, lord Chatham ; for the answerable reason for giving the former had a majority of the compeople, without delay, those privi- mons in his favour, when an inquiry leges to which they were entitled was moved to examine his conduct, by justice. No such project, how- and yet shortly after he was comever, had yet been adopted, and pelled to resign his office of first lord that country remained in the same of the admiralty. state in which it was at the recal of Mr. Sturt complained of the relord Fitzwilliam. He left them af- peated insults offered to our coasts, ter having had the authority of go- which he insisted fully justified invernment for their tantalizing ex- quiry. Admiral Colpoys' ship came pectations, and the cup of happi- into port short of provisions. He ness was on a sudden dashed was astonished at nothing which Mr. from their lips. Would the right Duncas asserted, well knowing his honourable gentleman assert, that boldness, confidence, and assurance: those who supported lord Fitzwil. his whole statement of the security liam were inclined to Jacobinism, of Ireland was a mis-statement ; he of which the true patriots of Eng. read a letter to prove it; and he land had been so often accused ? hoped that the present ministers Look, continued Mr. Fox, to men would not much longer have the di. of as great respectability, and of as rection of affairs. splendid talents in that country as Mr. chancellor Pitt re-echoed all any in this : look to the name of that his friend Mr. Dundas had Grattan, and say whether Ireland said--affirming, that nothing more has no grievances! But perhaps I could have been done than to have shall be told I am holding out an in- one fleet on the French coast, and vitation to the French; far from it: another ready for sea. The French be was inviting, he said, his maadmiral and general Hocbe, he jesty's ministers to remove that dis- said, who were in the secret, and content, and to redress those evils sailed in the same expedition, as of which the Irish bad so much well as other captains of the fleet. Teason to camplain. Mr. Fox ri- had never been able to join it from
diculed the secretary at war, who the same causes of weather. lle ex. had asked how we possibly could be patiated on the prodigies of culour invaded, having a superior force, which might have been expected, had
pur fleets been so fortunate as to have summoned having been read, for met the enemy! He much com- an inquiry into the naval defence plained, at the conclusion of his of Ireland, during the lale attempt speech, of Mr. Fox's inflammatory at an invasion ; the earl of Albelanguage respecting the state of re- marle rose to make the motion of land especially of the catholics, which he had given notice on a who never had had more indulgen- former day, assuring the house, ces granted them than within these that he did not mean to hint the few years, and the allegation he smallest disrespect to the officers, or declared was untrue, that they had to the admiralty. The object he been oppressed under the present bad in view was inquiry. The government.
opinion that considerable blame lay Mr. Whitbread animadverted on somewhere was universal : it was the arrival of admiral Elphinstone in necessary to ascert in' where, and Ireland, whilst the French squadron to whom imputable. The great was in Bantry bay ; which as he af- importance of Ireland, as a compoforded no assistance against tbem, nent part of this empire, admitted demanded explanation.
no doubt: ministers must have Lord Keith (late admiral Ephin been informed long before the stone) said, he had always discharged meeting of the present parliament, his duty to the best of his abilities, that an invasion, either of this counand for the service of his country. Iry, or Ireland, or both, had been If he conducted bimself ill as an meditated by the enemy. It is evi. officer, he was amenabļe to a court. dent they did know this, from the marțial; if he had offended as a language they held forth to the member of parliament, be professed public in the commencement of the himself ready, on any proper occa- present session. How came it then, sion, to answer any inquiry which that with a perfect knowledge of this might be demanded of him. . intention so early as September last,
Mr Whitbread disclaimed the when an armament of the enemy least intention of thowing out insi. was openly preparing at Brest, no puations against the character or ser fleet of ours should be stationed vices of the gallant admiral, for whose on the coast of Ireland for its provalour and merits he professed vene tection? ration. The circumstance which Facts attested, that the French he had slightly mentioned inciden-' feet consisted of eighteen sail of the tally occurred among other facts ļine, several frigates, and numerous which he thought it is duty to bring transports, all full of troops, acforward, without personal censure tually sailed from Brest, anchored in to the admiral, who was clear Bantry Bay, remained there, some from all blame in the transaction of them during eleven days, and af. alluded to.
terwards (with inconsiderable loss, The house divided on the pre- the whole of which was owing to vions question-For it 201, against storms) returned to their own ports į 62.
without falling in with a single ship The same subject was brought of the English navy to impede or under the consideration of the up- molest them. His lordship said he per house on the 10th of the same did not doubt the anxiety of admiinonth. On that day, the order of ral lord Bridport to sail as soon as the day for their lordships being possible, and therefore his sailing
down the channel must have been sary ; though he did not mean in consequence of orders received to reflect upon the gallant comfrom the admiralty. Another thing mander. After vindicating the conwhich appeared extraordinary, was, duct of lord Bridport, who could that after the admiral had found not, he said, know that there were the whole of the enemy's fleet had seven ships of the enemy in Bantry left that coast, he still continued bay, por put to sea owing to adcruizing off Bantry bay for a day verse winds, he gave his decided and a half, before he proceeded any negative to the motion of the noble where else in quest of them. It lord. here struck him forcibly as negli- The earl of Carlisle and the margent and blamable, that, after mi quis of Abercoro voted for the inbisters had so long been informed quiry; the latter observing, that of the armament at Brest, the feet for the justification of ministers under lord Bridport was not more four points ought to be proved :numerous, and all ready. He then first, that this country had a suffi. adverted to that under admiral Col- cient Aeet ready for sea ; secondly, poys; many of his ships were in that admiral Colpoys' fleet was want of those essential articles on strong enough to keep the sea ; that ship board, water and fuel. Lastly, it was provided amply with stores ; he adverted to the squadron under and fourthly, that he had received admiral Elphinstone, which, instead particular orders to turn his attenof joining the squadrons then at sea, tion to Ireland, and proceed thither came to St Helen's the very day lord as soon as he had intelligence that Bridport left it. He moved an in the French fleet had sailed. None quiry, therefore, into the measures of these points had been proved of government for the defence of but, on the contrary, it was evident, Ireland, when an invasion was at- a sufficient fleet was not ready; the tempted by France.
ajmiral had been too long at sea; he Earl Spencer replied, in vindica- was not provided with stores; and, tion of the admiralty, that a govern. above all, no positive orders had been ment might sometimes have too given him to make the safety of Iremuch as well as too little informa- land his principal object. tion respecting the plans of an ene- Earl Spencer considered an inmy-and when, from different quar- quiry as a censure on the admiralty ters, they derived different intel. board, to which no blame was imligence, it became a matter of un- putable. If admiral Colpoys' fleet, certainty how they were to act. together with lord Bridport's, had He confidently affirmed, they had gone to Ireland, the channel would acted in the best manner from the bave been left open to the Dutch information they had received. He fleet, in which case the noble mardenied that the fleet of admiral Col. quis would not have spared the poys was obliged to come into port lords of the admiralty. He confor want of necessaries; it was tended that a discretionary power driven up the channel by tempes- ought to be vested in those who had tuous weather. Water, indeed, they the management of naval affairs in had not in any great abundance; this country. but in some ships more was used The earl of Moira said that the than in others, and in this man- generosity of the noble earl had inDer more consumed than was neces- yolved and perplexed his own de