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portion of two to one. While, discipline, the judgement, and glory therefore, we, view the fplendour of fir John Jervis--for glory, I of this victory with every degree of maintain, fir, does not always conadmiration, and joyful exultation it fift in fuccess----What would they fo eminently deserves, it becomes have faid, if, in defiance of all thole us ferionfly to consider, whether superior abilities for which the chathe circumstance alone does not racter of the Britis officers and lealoudly call on us to institute an in- men are so eminently confpicuous, quiry into the conduct of the first the reverse of the pleasing picture lord of the admiralty, for his neglect of this brilliant victory had this night of reinforcing the squadron which been held up to us, and we had was in a service fo distant as that of been told that sir John Jervis had the Mediterranean, when he knew been defeated, in consequence of, that the Spaniards added to the list the immense superiority of numbers of our naval adverfarics. In my in the fleet which the enemy brought opinion, in the fame degree of pro- into action against us? I have no portion in which we praise and ad- doubt, fir, but the voice of the mire the glorious victory which sir country at large would undoubtedly John Jervis bas obtained--a victory, and inevitably have called loudly the consequences of which must be and universally for an impeachment fo valuable and imporlarit to the of the first lord of the admiralty. I first interests of this country; in an think, fir, that this house would, equal degree ought we to afix in such a cafe, have been pretty blame and culpability for so gross ready to join the voice of the people, and glaring a neglect as that of and to second them in so necessary leaving him with tuch a prodigious a measure. The unparalleled fucinferiority of force. We are told, cels which has attended the skill sir, by the right honourable secre- and bravery, of our fleet, by, no tary of state, in the detail which he means alter the state of the question. has just given the house of this for- It was the duty of the first lord of tunate and gallant atchievement, the admiralty, and of his majesty's that with filteen ships fir John Jervis minifters in general, to have taken has defeated a fleet of the Spaniards, care that our flect thould bear fome which consisted of twenty-seven degree of proportion to that of the line of battle ships, of which he has enemy; and, therefore, it evidently taken four. Fortunate and glorious appears, that the inferiority being as this action has proved, to the re- fo
very great, it is high time an in. putation of the British navy, and quiry into the conduct of ministers those who command and conduct it, thould immediately take place, I we cannot help calling to mind how hope, sir, the time is not far distant, dreadful it would have been the nay, I flatter myself it is very near, reverse of the fate of that memora- indeed, when this house will think ble day, had victory declared itself it recessary to go seriously and acin favour of the enemy. What, fir, tively into an extensive and deep at this moment must have been the inquiry into the nation at large. fenfations of the people of this such an inquiry has long been country? What would they have wanted. The very momentous in.: faid, if, in spite of the bravery, the formation which has been laid be
fure the house, and which has en- like an adequate force for her degaged their most serious and deli. fence: not more, if so many, as berate, as well as anxious consider- three thousand regular troops, to ation, since Monday laft, shews, be- oppose to the whole force of the yond a possibility of doubt, the ine- French. The city of Cork was, vitable necessity of inquiry, upon" therefore, in danger of falling into the broadest and most efficacious their hands, with all its stores bafis.” Mr. Whitbread proceeded and provisions : to the amount of lo notice the melancholy change nearly, if not quite, a million and that had taken place in the aspect a half. Mr. Whitbread, after of public affairs in the space of one these and other observations, went week: public credit taken to its through a regular statement of the foundation. The mismanagement, numbers of the French fleet, and he said, of his majesty's ministers, those of our own, from the time of had become notorious to every be- the enemy quitting the harbour of holder, and the cry of inquiry into Brest, and a short time before. On their conduct was not now con- the twenty-first, the enemy caft fined to the members of opposition anchor in Bantry-Bay; so that they in that house alone, but was echoed were at lea, and on the coast of back upon them from every corner Ireland, from the eighteenth of of the kingdom. Having touched December, to the fixth of January. on the expences of the war, and on the twentieth of December, the numerous captures of news arrived in England, that the merchant ships, though we had a French fleet had quitted Brest. fleet of more than five hundred From the twenty-third to the twenthips of war, of various denomina- ty-fifth, the wind was favourable tions, he came to speak of that par- ' for the squadron, under the comticular neglect and misconduct, mand of lord Bridport, to have failwhich more immediately gave rise ed. It continued nir on the twento the present motion. The first ty-fixth and twenty-seventh, after intimation, on authority, he said, which it came a-head, and the fleet which that house received relative could not fail for fi me days. On to the intention of the enemy to in- the thirty-first, intelligence came vade this country, was conveyed by to this country, that the French his majesty's speech on the opening fleet was off the coast of Ireland; of the present session of parliament. and, on the same day, exactly, adInformation had been received, miral Colpoys, with the fleet under through various channels, that Ire. his command, arrived at Portsmouth. land was one object of the medi- The reasons given for his return, tated attack. Yet it appeared from with this fquadron, are various and a letter from general Dalrymple, contradictory. One was, that his that, instead of any effectual means force was not sufficient to encounter having been previously taken for those of the enemy. If that was a an efficient defence, every thing true reason, it furnisies an additional remained to be done, even after cause of inquiry into the conduct of the appearance of the enemy in' ministers, and of the firht lord of the Bantry-Bay: in which part of the admiralty in particular. What, country there was not anything when they had received information Vol. XXXIX.
of the active and extensive prepa- Whitbread then said, I cannot con rations going forward at Brest
, shall clude in more apt or proper terms, we be told, after the large fums than by using the words of a celeconsumed in secret service-money, brated predecessor of yours, fir, in and with the immense navy in our that chair, who, after the failure of posleflion, they ought not to have the fleet, in 1744, when he present out fresh ships to reinforce that sented the bill of supplies, told the squadron? It is abfurd on the face highest authority in this country, of it. Admiral Colpoys, however, “ that in circumstances fo dismal must have received intelligence of and distressing, the house ought to the failing of the Brest fleet. Did he exercise the best, and the dearest of fail in pursuit of them? Did he fail their privileges, that of inquiring towards the coast of Portugal after, into the application of every part of where it might, perhaps, have oc- the supplies." I therefore move, curred to him they were gone? No. fir,
" that it be referred to a comDid he sail after them towards the mittee, to inquire into the conduct coast of Ireland ? No: he failed of ministers, with respect to the late directly for Portsmouth, where he attempt of the French, in the invaarrived on the very day that infor- fion of Ireland.”-To the charges mation was brought they were on of Mr. Whitbread, it was answered the Irish coait. Another reason by which has been given for the re- Mr. Dundas, who said, that it was turn of this squadron into port was, impossible to decide, whether the obthat it was short of provisions. In ject of the French fleet was Ireland every view of every reason for its or Portugal. It was the wifeft return, the most glaring misconduct measure that could be adopted, to and culpability stare us in the face. divide our fleets, ftationing one off Is it poflible to conceive, that in all Brest, for the purpose of watchthe time admiral Colpoys lay with ing the enemy, and intercepting his squadron off Brest, either fresh the failing of the expedition, and fhips, properly victualled, could not the other at home, to relieve it, have been sent to relieve him, or if necessary. A fleet, under for transports, with provisions, have Edward Pellew, was appointed been forwarded to re-victual his to cruize off Brest, and did actufleet? The question answers for it- ally cruize there. But notwithfelf. Numerous, as well as various ftanding the diligence and skill of are the objections which have, from the adıniral, and the experience time to time, been made to any and and courage of fir Edward, their every species of inquiry, pending a exertions were in vain; for the
Notwithstanding all this, we state of the weather was such that have an instance, said Mr. Whit- it was impoffible for the admiral bread, of an inquiry having been to keep his own fleet under his granted, towards the close of the observation, and the air was so last war, in which the right honour- hazy, that the fog-guns were conable gentleman opposite to him, tinually fired. Could any (Mr. Pitt) acted a very confiderable doubt fir Edward's inclination to part, in moving for various papers, have given, if possible, the intelli
, in fupport of the motion. Mr. gence to the admiral, that the 8
enemy had put to fea; or that ad- miralty on the twentieth of Demiral Colpoys was not desirous to cember; and on the twenty first see it? Was it likely we thould he received information of the saila be unwilling, when he had a fleet, ing of the French fleet from Brest, under his command, so superior to and immediately returned for anthat of the enemy? It was the fwer, that all the fieet would be wisest resolution he could take, not ready four days after, namely, the to follow them to Portugal, or Ire- twenty-fifth. [Here Mr. Dundas land, till he knew their certain read the orders of the admiralty, destination; and he kept his station issued on the twenty-first, and anfor the chance of intercepting all, other order issued after, counteror part, of the fleet, in case of acting some part of them, and dedispersion by a storm ; he recol- firing hiin to proceed off Cape lected also, that the circumstance Clear immediately.] He willed of their having failed would be it to be observed, that, although known to the admiralty, and, by the French fleet arrived off the remaining where he was, he should coast of Ireland on the twenty-first receive such authentic intelligence of December, intelligence of them as he could not otherwise expe&t was not received, in this country, to obtain. With regard to the till the thirty-first. The admiralty charge of the want of provisions, had taken the chance of finding Mr. Dundas could not but admit admiral Colpoy's on the station the squadron had remained longer where they expected him to have on its station than was at first sup- beer, off ihe Lizard, in case of posed neceffary, and not relieved any adverse winds removing him as soon as the admiralty had in- from the French coast. Lord Bridtended; the reason was, fir Roger port had always been not only a Curtis should have been in port gallant but a success!ul admiral ; , the beginning of November, and yet it fo happened, that, although did not come till the eighteenth. admiral Colpoys had been hoverHe had been appointed to cruize ing, with his squadron, off Brest, to off Rochford, where he remained intercept the enemy upon their a fortnight longer than was ex- leaving that harbour, although lord pected, to intercept the return of Bridport afterwards proceeded off Richery's squadron from Newfound- Cape Clear and the Irish coast with land.
the fame design ; and although the Sir Roger's squadron consisted of Duke and the Majestic, with two feven fail of the line, and was to other ships of war, were sent in have been sent to the relief of the search of them, they were so cofleet off Breft; but the wind was vered by the fog, and protected by fo adverse as to rendei it impol- furtune, as to elcape them all. The fible for them to come to Spithead honourable gentleman, Mr. Whitbefore the eighteenth of Novein- bread, had laid, that Ireland was ber. As to the interval which saved by the elements; but he took place between the arrival of should have remembered, that the admiral Colpoys and the failing of fame wind which dispersed the lord Bridport, the instructions of enemy, prevented our fleets from fir Edward Pellew reached the ad- meeting them,
Mr. Dundas considered invasion the admiralty ought to be ime as nothing but a bugbear; yet did peached for not having a fleet mot with us to relax in our pre- ready to fail on the twenty-second. cautions on the one hand, or to Mr. Wyndham affirmed it to be despond on the other. Exclusive impossible to keep a fleet, for any of our naval forces in the East length of time, in such a state of and West Indies, the North Seas, preparation as to be ready to fail and the Mediterranean, we have at a moment's warning, and that had, fisty fail of the line for the de- it would have been rashness to have fence of Britain and Ireland, and sent lord Bridport out with an inupwards of two hundred thousand ferior fleet, when government did men under arms. Hitherto both not know but that the French were the government and force of this out with fixteen fail of the line. country had been calumniated; he He denied the possibility of Cork hoped he had proved, fatisfactorily, falling into their hands, even had that no blame was imputable to the enemy landed; complimented the admiralty, or to the officers, the inhabitants of the fourthern though he by no means wished to parts of Ireland on their loyalty; and prevent inquiry; their conduct, cbserved, that it was singular that he thought, could well sustain the those very men who were supposed test.
the most oppressed, in that kingdom, Mr. Grey took occasion, from had manifested the most firm attachMr. Dundas's bugbear, to animad- ment to government; while those rert, with great severity, tliat is, in the north, who were not said to the severity, not of expreffion, but have any cause of complaint, had of truth, on the versatility of minif thewn a disposition to insurrection. ters in conjuring up, and magnify, He thought this went a good way ing, dangers, or in deriding real towards proving, that it was poffible dangers as phantoms, just as it for men to make groundless comfirited their purpole; whether to plaints against those by whom they gain confidence, or provide for were governed. He did not abtheir own falety. He then ob- folutely charge the opposition with ferved, that in the place where an evil intentions, when they talked of attack of the enemy was apprehend- those parts of his majesty's domied, and where it was actually made, nions most liable to attack, but he there was neither a cavalıy, nor a wished them to recollect, that obsupplementary militia bill; in a place fervations of this kind partook of the where there was no apprehention nature of a two-edged sword; they of an attack, there were both.- - might happen to convey informaWith regard to the instructions fent tiou to the enemy what place might to lord Bridport
, to put to sea im- be most successfully attacked, as mediately, Why did he not do so, well as expose the negligence of when the wind was fair, on the ministers. Mr. Wyndham insisted, twenty second, twenty-third, and on the whole, with the greatelt twenty-fourth of December! It was confidence, on the impoflibility of no excuse to say, that his squadron our being invaded, when we were was not ready, or that admiral Cur. in pofleffion of so great a fuperiority tis had not returned from his cruize: of naval force,