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Mr. Fox, adverting first to the Yes: but that is no reafon for not relast part of Mr. Wyndham's speech, moving their juft greunds of comsaid, that, if members of that house, plaint. Mr. Fox ridiculed the lewhen they charged ministry with neg- cretary of war's question, how could lecting the defence of the country, we possibly be invaded, having a suwere to be considered as holding perior naval force? when the subout an invitation to the enemy to ject propose:for inquiry was, how invade the country, they had better, we came actually to b? invaded ? at once, put an end to the forms, as Without exprefliny diffatisfaction they had done to the substance, of at the conduct of admiral Colpoy's, the constitution. The right honour- he said, we onght to have had a able gentleman has talked of“ two- second fleet at home, ready to fail edged tools.” In a fiate of war, from Portsmouth, as soon as news every complaint against administra- of the French fleet reached Engtion must be of the nature of a two- land. edged tool. A complaint of weak- Mr. Sturt said, that the repeated nels conveys information to the ene- insults offered to our coafts fully my. To whom then am I to make justified the inquiry moveci for. He my complaint? and to state my opi- asserted, that admiral Colpoys's ship, *nion? I wife to know whether mi- notwithftanding the positive affernisters are the only persons to be tion of Mr. Dundas to the contrary, permitter to give advice? If what did, in fact, come into port, for lack Í hear be true, Ireland is, at this of provisions; particularly of fuel, moment, more discontented than be- which was as bad as any want : fore the attempt of an invasion. for, he did not think that the treaI suppose I Mall now be told, that surer to the navy would like raw I am holding out an invitation to beef any more than the failors. But the French. No, fir, I am not in- he was astonished at nothing that viting the French: I am inviting this gentleman affirmed: fo great his majesty's ministers to take mea- was his boldness, confidence, and sures for removing that discontent assurance. His whole statement of which the enemy may regard as an the security of Ireland was a milinvitation. But we find that Ireland statement; in proof of which he is divided into two parts: the con- read a letter. He hoped in God tented and discontented. Upon that he would not much longer have the subject we shall hear more in future: direction of naval or other affairs. but let not the right honourable “ He inight wriggle and grin, (Mr. gentleman, who spoke laft, state his Dundas Thewing lymptoms of unopinion as ours. I have said, that easinėss) and twist and toss his head the Catholics were in a state of un- about as much as he pleased; but just exclufion; but I never have he hoped it would foon be twilted said, that the protestants had no fomewhere else.” . reason for complaint, and that they Mr. Pitt, after applauding and were not excluded from the essence confirming all that had been adand fubftance of the British consti- vanced by Vir. Dundas, than which tution. But, the right honourable he thought there was nothing more gentleman says, " may not men have necessary to be urged in the preunreasonable grounds of complaint" tent queftion, observed, that the ge
neral question was this, whether or and failed in the fame expedition, not fufficient preparations were as well as other captains of the fieet, made by the admiralty to be ready had, from the fame causes of weather, against any polible expedition, never been able even to join it. which might be fitted out in the Admiral Colpoys fleet was ports of France. It was admitted, state and condition to follow the he laid, that either Portugal or enemy, and the papers offered to Ireland was the point of aitack: be produced would prove it. Mr. the one, our faithfulally; the other, Pitt concluded his speech, on tiis as dear to us as Great Britain itself. occasion, by complaining of Mr, What was the nature of our pre- Fox's manner of speaking, concernparation ? Why, we had our fleet ing Ireland, which he considered as actually watching the enemy on violent and infiammatory. their coasts, and ready to follow division of the house, ou Mr. Whitthem wherever they might go, in bread's motion, the previous quelcase the weather had perunitted that tion, against it, was carried by 201 we could have known their direc- against 62. tion; and we had another fleet in On the same subject; a motion such a forward state of prepartion, was made, on March 16, in the as to have been ready to have fail- house of peers, by, the earl of ed in five days after we knew that Albemarle. Before he proceeded, the Brest fleet had failed, had the however, he assured the house, that wind been fair. Had either one fleet he did noc mean to offer, or even or the other been so fortunate as to hint, the smallest disrespect, either have met the enemy, what prodigies to any of the gallarit officers emof valour might we not have expect- ployed in any of our fleets, or to ed? In relpect to the navy of the admiralty. The only object he fi eat Britain, it ought to be re- had in view was, an inquiry. It collected, how many and various was the universal opinion that blame objects, and what rich and, im- lay somewhere. It was only ne. portant pofleffions, it had to pro- cellary for him to remind their lordtect. This circumstance must lessen ships, that ministers must have been our fuperiority in fome points, el informed, even long before the pecially, when the enemy had, so meeting of the present parliament, lately, been reinforced by the fleets that an invasion, of either Ireland of Spain.
What more could be or this country, or both, was indone than to have one fleet on the tended. Why, then, was no fleet French coasts, and another ready of ours stationed on the coast of for sea ? Having no positive informa- Ireland for its protection. This tion of the destination of the enemy's question appeared to him to be of fleet, occasioned by the mere cir- ftill greater importance, from what cumstance of fogs and tempestuous had fallen from the first lord of the weather, was it extraordinary that admiralty, who had declared, his we should have been so long in the belief, “ that if the thing was to be dark, and unable to find out their done over again.” Lord Albemarle place of rendezvous, when the then entered into a circumstantial French admiral and general Hoche, review of the whole proceedings of who were in possession of the secret, the enemies of our own fleets. The
following following are the the most striking carried, lord Bridport might have of his observations and arguments. been off Bantry-bay two days founer On the twentieth of December, than he was. Another thing, which news arrived, in England, of the appeared very extraordinary, was, French fleet having left Brest; on
that after the noble admiral had the twenty-second, orders were sent found that the whole of the enemy's to lord Bridport to fail immediately, fleet had left the Irish coast, he ftill with the fleet under his command: continued to cruize off Bantry-bay, and, by a letter from his lordship during a day and a half, before he to the admiralty, then on the table, proceeded any where in quest of it appeared, that lord Bridport them. Lord ‘Albemarle then adcould not fail till the twenty-fifth, verted to the fituation of the fleet on account of some of the ships of under admiral Colpoys: many of his fquadron not being ready. He whose nips were in great want of arrived, however, with his quadron, those ellential articles on thip-board feventeen sail of the line, and some water and fuel. When the fog frigates. The French feet confift- cleared away, and it was discovered ed of eighteen sail of the line, fe- that the French armament had fet veral frigates, and numerous trans- fail, ermiral Colpoys had immediateports, all full of troops. Lord Brid- ly farled, with his squadron, for the port, after cruizing in quest of the Lizard, as the most likely place for enemy, finally returned to port, gaining intelligence of the enemy: without having fallen in with, or but, when he came thither, he found feen, a single snip of the enemy. several of his ships so much in want The French fleet had remained at of essential neceflaries, and the anchor, in Bantry-bay, some of them weather such that he could not produring a period of eleven or twelve vide them froms other; and, after days. On account of adverse winds, sending away first one and then anand very stormy weather, the great other, had aftewards found it most eft part of it was dispersed: but advisable to return with the whole. had a force of only five or fix And, he actually arrived in port on thousand men been able to effect the very day that lord Bridport a landing, it was very probable, failed. It appeared very strange, from the internal state of Ireland that lord Bridport had not, much at the time, that Cork, with all its sooner than the twenty second of itores and provisions, must have December, been ordered out, with fallen into their hands. The earl a fleet sufficient to have replaced all of Albemarle faid, that he had no thofe thips, under admiral Colpoys, doubt of the great anxiety of lord which were in want of neceflaries, Bridport to fail as speedily as pof- and taken the rest under his com- : fible. He had been told, however, mand, to have continued on that that our fleet was never known to station, while other lips were fent have carried so little fail: from out to him as they could have gat whence he could not but suppole, ready. It was clear, from the that this mode of sailing down the whole face of the tranfactions that channel was adopted in consequence had palled, that, if admiral Colpoys of orders received from the admi- had found his fleet in a fuitable conralty. If sufficient fail had been dition to have proceeded directly
to Ireland, he must have fallen in that that fleet was not forced to with the French; and what account come into port by a want of necefhe would have given of them, in saries, but that it was driven up the fuch an event, no body would be channel hy tempestuous weather. at a loss to guess. Had lord Brid- After the French fleet had eluded port failed, even with nine fail of the vigilance of admiral Colpoys, the line, when he first received to whom he wished to give every orders so to do, nothing could have degree of credit, for his active and prevented his falling in with a very enterprizing services on his station, great part of the enemy's fleet, and, he had adopted the wiseft course it thereby, totally annihilating all their was posible for him to take. His hopes of any successful attempt at lordnip next proceeded to vindicate invasion. The earl of Albemarle the conduct of the fieet under lord concluded with expressing his firm Bridport. As soon as the admiralty persuasion, that the faêls to which received intelligence of the failing he alluded, and the particulars he of the French fieet, orders were had mentioned, were amply fufti- fent lord Bridport to prepare for fea, cient to induce their lordships to with all poflible expedition. The enter on the inquiry he was about thips under his command, howto propose. He thould, therefore, ever, could not be got ready till move, " that a committee be ap- the twenty-fifth of December, five pointed to inquire into the measures days after the date of the order. which had been taken by govern- The earl Spencer read extracts ment for the naval defence of Ire. from several letters from fir Peter land when an invasion was at- Parker, the port-admiral at Spithead, tempted."
the substance of which was, that the The earl Spencer said, it was im- fhips, destined to joined lord Bridpossible for any government to ob- port, at St. Helen's, could not fail tain, at all times, correct informa- on account of the adverse winds. tion respecting the plans and designs From all these circumstances, it so of an enemy. In the present in- happened, that lord Bridport could stance, the admiralty had acted ac- not put to sea till the third of Janucording to the best of their infor- ary; and it so happened, also, mation. With respect to admiral that the enemy eluded his vigilance: Colpoys squadron being long at sea, he could by no means allow, how he confessed, that lie was friendly to ever, that Ireland owed its safety the system of making fleets frequently to the winds; on the contrary, it change their station ; in the present was the winds, and the winds only, .case, however, the squadron, under that prevented the French fleet the command of that gallant admiral, from being destroyed, either by had been kept out of port longer admiral Colpoys or lord Bridport. than usual, in consequence of fir Having entered into this explanaRoger Curtis, who had gone in tion, he was persuaded their lordquest of admiral Richery, and who hips would consider the paper upon was to succeed admiral Colpoys on their table as superceding the necesa the Brest ftation, being a fortnight fity of any inquiry. He should thereter of arriving in port than was fore give his decided negative to the pected. He affirmed, however, motion of the noble lord,
The earl of Carlisle did not think abled him to face the French with that the selected documents on the ta- complete luccels. Even after admira ble could communicate the fatif- Colpoys's return, why were not such faction which was required. He la- thips as werefit for service again sent mented that ininisters had not come out to re-enforce lord Bridport? The forward with them sooner, and offer marquis of Abercorn, after severely their explanations when it might arraigning the total negligence of have been possible to collect infor- ministers to take any measures for mation from other sources, and espe- the defence of Ireland, said, that, in cially when they had an opportunity order to establish the juftification of of hearing what the noble lord who ministers, the papers on their lordcommanded the feet knew on the thip's table ought to have proved subject. He wished to håve it fatif- four points: that this country had a factorily explained, why ministers, fufficient feet, ready for sea; that when ihey had information of the admiral Colpoys's 'fleet was sufpreparations made by the enemy and ficiently strong to keep the fea; that the failing of the Brest fleet, had not admiral Colpoys was fufficiently provided a force, under lord Britl provided with stores and provisions; port, sufficiently strong to have been and that he had received particular fuperior to the consequences of two orders to turn his attention to Irefhips (the Prince and the Sanspareil) land, and to proceed to that ißand, running foul of one another, and as soon as he fould have rewhich would have guarded against ceiver intelligence that the French the delay wrich such accidents had fleet had failed. None of these occasioned? ile wished likewise to points, however, appeared from the know why it was four days before papers. On the contrary, it was the fleet was ready to fail, after the proved, that admiral Colpoys's fleet news of the French fleet being at had been too long at lea; that it fea had arrived? Why, too, ministers was not sufficiently provided with had not given admiral Colpoys fpe- stores and provisions; and, above cificorders to make Ireland the chief all, that no particular aitention had object of his regard? It was the duty been paid to Ireland, nor any pofiof ministers to watch over the fasety tive orders given to admiral Colpoys of Ireland with the same care which to make its fatety his principal obwas demanded for the safety of ject. Under such circumstances, Great Britain. When they knew the marquis could have no hesitation the designs of the enemy to be to vote for the inquiry. pointed against that country, why The earl Spencer, with respect to was not admiral Colpoys fent direct- admiral Colpoys, would only fay, ly for its defence? Had they given that if his fleet, together with that of such a positive order to admiral Col- lord Bridport, had gone to Ireland, poys, there would have been no oc- the channel would have been left cafion for any delay in lord Brid- open to the Dutch fleet. One of the ports sailing; because, in proceed- causes of lord Bridport's fleet not hav. ing directly to Ireland with the force ing been ready in time was, the he could muster, he must have fallen damage which leveral fhips suftainin with some of admiral Colpoys's ed in a hard gale of wind in the fquadron, which would have en- channel.