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On the opening of the campaign have found an advantageous opporin that country, our situation be- tunity of bringing Soult to action ; came totally different from what it but he was under the necessity of had been at any time before, since marching northwards, in order to the commencement of the war. meet Marmont, and protect the Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajos were fortresses of Almeida and Ciudad reduc and these advantages were Rodrigo. If at this time there had accompanied with an extraordinary been a sufficient force to keep in failure in the means, and relaxa- check the army of Marmont, as sir tion in the efforts of the French. R. Hill had before done that of Nothing could be more contemp- Soult, this necessity would have tible than the central government been prevented. Here then was a of Joseph ; and in the army, there case in which a small addition of was no mutual assistance or co- men and resources would have oboperation between the commanders viated the loss of a most favourable of the north and the south. The opportunity. - British system, therefore, should The Marquis then proceeded to have been, to have had a force able the next stage, when the British to maintain active operations in the general was called to the north. field, and another competent to After victualling Ciudad Rodrigo, keep in check the main body of which operation required the whole the French army. The important force of his army, he advanced to crisis was now come, in which the Salamanca, where he was again grand effort was to be made for encountered with inefficiency of the redemption of Spain. A coma
He was opposed by Marparison of the exertions made, with mont, who had been joined by the nature of the crisis, was the Bonnet, and he had heard nothing next point to which the marquis of the Sicilian expedition, on the would direct their lordships' at- co-operation of which he mainly tention; and it would be his en- relied. He found it necessary to deavour to show, that in every in- retreat-not a feigned movement stance in which the campaign had to deceive the enemy, but a plain failed, and the expectations from and real retreat. During this opesuccess been frustrated, it was ow- ration, an accidental opportunity ing to the insufficiency of the enabled him to attack the enemy means afforded to the general. He at an advantage, and convert rehad abstained from holding any treat into victory; but he could correspondence with his noble re- not convert a system of retreat to a lation on the subject, and professed system of advance; and instead of to know nothing but what the rest being at liberty to pursue the van. of the public know. He began quished enemy, he was obliged to with the sequel of the reduction of turn his attention to the corps of Badajos, when it might have been Joseph, reinforced from the army expected that lord Wellington of Suchet. He entered Madrid, would have seized the French dé- and if he had possessed the means pôts at Seville, and destroyed the of keeping Marmont in check, he main foundation of their power in might have pursued Joseph, and that part of Spain, and perhaps united with the English army at Alicant, but he was obliged again could have been sent to lord Wel. to turn northwards. As to the lington's assistance ? Secondly, siege of Burgos, if its success was were there financial means for the important, and its failure was supply of specie? Of the detail through want of means, whose was which followed we cannot pretend the fault? Here was again ground to give a summary. It was confor inquiry.
cluded with an animated appeal to Their lordships had been told the feelings of the House, against from the opposite side, that the ob- the defence which he supposed ject of the campaign was, to coma ministers would make, that our pel the French to evacuate the resources and means were exhaustsouth of Spain, and that this had ed, and we had done all that we been effected; but did it enter could do. He then moved, " That into the object of ministers, that a committee be appointed to in. in forcing them to evacuate the quire into the circumstances and south, we ourselves should be result of the last campaign in the obliged to evacuate the whole of peninsula of Spain.” Spain? Was it necessary for this Earl Bathurst rose to reply to that our army should advance to the noble marquis. He began Burgos? The evacuation of the with saying that lord Wellington south had been already effected, himself had voluntarily expressed and it must be with a view of his satisfaction with the conduct some ulterior operations that the of administration during the last advance was made to Burgos. campaign ; but he admitted that Lord Wellington was first com- this alone was not a sufficient rea. pelled to withdraw from thence son against the proposed inquiry. through apprehension for the safety He then went to an examination of sir R. Hill's corps ; and the of the arguments and assertions force opposed to him in front then of the marquis; and he first conbecame so much superior, through tended that the campaign, instead the junction of the French army of being a disastrous one, had from the south, that the retreat of powerfully aided the common the whole allied army was rendered cause by the diversion it gave to necessary, which, though not in- the French arms. He made reglorious, terminated the campaign plies to the particular charges on in a manner highly detrimental to the ministry respecting the supthe cause of Spain and Europe, posed deficiency of force which preand the character of our arms. vented the advance to Seville, the
The Marquis then went to the want of co-operation by the force next part of the question, which from Sicily, the failure of the siege he said was merely practical, of Burgos, &c. He affirmed that showing the actual force, which, in during the course of the year, very his opinion, would have averted all nearly the number of troops for these misfortunes, and which he which the marquis had expressed a stated as low as 12,000 infantry, desire, had been sent to the Peninand 3,000 cavalry; and he would sula, and that, from the disturbed inquire, first, was there a force in state of this country, more could zhe country to that amount which not have been spared; and he ad
verted to the disproportionate in- there were, Contents, 39; Note crease of foreign expenditure in contents, 115; majority against consequence of the course of ex- the motion, 76. change.
Connected with the preceding Earl Grey, in a long speech, discussion in subject, as relating to supported the statements and rea- a part of the conduct of the war, soning of the marquis, and de- was an inquiry into the naval ad viated to other charges against the ministration, particularly with reministry.
ference to the war in which the The Earl of Liverpool said, that country is involved with the United of all the motions which he had States of America. heard in that house, the present On May 14th, the order of the rested on the slightest grounds, nor day being read in the House of did he ever hear a case for in- Lords, the Earl of Darnley rose to quiry more weakly made out. He call the attention of their lordships asserted that the campaign, instead to our naval disasters. He had of being a failure, was the most hoped that during the interval bebrilliant achieved by the British tween giving his notice and bringarms during a century. He asked ing forward his motion, something what would have satisfied us in would have occurred to compenJanuary 1812, as the result of the sate the past disasters ; but, on the impending campaign and was it contrary, another unfortunate event
? not more successful than could had been reported, attended with have been expected by the most circumstances still more melansanguine? He then adverted to choly than the former ones. He the particulars which had before alluded to the action between the been touched upon; and added, British sloop of war Peacock, and that the great object to which they the American brig Hornet, of equal had been looking was, that the force. He should not now enter whole force of Spain should be upon any question concerning the placed under the command of one course or policy of the war, but it individual, who should be the Bri. could not be disputed that ininistish chief commander, which had ters must have been long aware been accomplished by the events that war, sooner or later, must of this campaign. He denied the take place. This being the case, possibility of sending out the force how were we prepared to meet it? required by the noble lord at the With respect to Canada, the events time when he stated it to be there had greatly added to our minecessary; and affirmed that we litary reputation, but they were had upon the Peninsula a larger events entirely unexpected. It was, force than could ever have been however, with regard to our naval expected, and that a greater would force that he should confine his only have been an incumbrance, inquiries. It appeared that from unless the means of supplying it April to July in the last year, there were at hand; and that they were were on the Halifax station, under Dot, was no fault of the ministers. adm. Sawyer, exclusive of smaller
The Earl of Durnley spoke in vessels, one ship of the line and favour of the motion; after which five frigates. That such a force a division took place, in which only should have been stationed there, when a timely reinforce- action, were circumstances surely ment might have achieved the deserving of inquiry. His lordship most important objects, loudly then called the attention of the called for inquiry. He was well house to the manner in which informed that with five ships of the our trade had been left exposed to line, 17 frigates, and an adequate the depredations of the enemy; number of smaller vessels, on that and be strongly reprobated the listation, the whole coast of the çences given by government for the United States might have been importation of American cotton, blockaded. It had been said that thereby favouring their commerce à sufficient force could not be to the detriment of our colonies. spared for that purpose ; but by He then touched upon the missending to sea vessels which were management in our dock-yards ; lying useless, and taking one ship and upon the whole he contended from each of the blockading squa. that a case had been made out drons, this might have been effect- loudly demanding investigation. . . ed. It might be asserted that the He concluded by moving, "That a force already on the Halifax sta- select committee be appointed to tion was equal to that of the Ame- inquire into the circumstances of rican navy; but it had long been the war with the United States, a matter of notoriety, that the and more particularly into the American frigates were greatly su- state, conduct, and management perior to ours in size and weight of our naval affairs, as connected of metal. If the war was inevi. with it. table, it was very extraordinary The motion was seconded by that government did not give or- earl Stanhope. ders for the construction of vessels Lord Melville then rose and said, able to cope with our antagonists. that though the conduct, and not It would only be necessary to refer the grounds of the war was the to dates to prove the criminal neg- matter now to be considered, yet ligence of ministers. War was de- there was one circumstance conclared on the 18th of June, and it nected with the declaration of it was not till October 13th that let- on which it was necessary to say a ters of marque and reprisal 'were
few words. Although the governissued;
and more than two months ment of the United States had for longer elapsed before the Chesa- some time before been in such a peake and Delaware were declared frame of mind as ultimately led to to be blockaded. Certain other hostilities, yet a general opinion ports were declared to be block. prevailed that the revocation of the aded on the 13th of March last, orders in council would have paci. but Rhode Island and Newportfied it. He protested against the remained open, and in the last the noble earl's proposition, that it was American frigate was refitted that the duty of ministers always to took the Macedonian. In all the have kept there'a 'fleet sufficient to unfortunate cases, the cause was blockade all the parts in America.. the same; the superior height of - There were other important the enemy, and their greater weight branches of the service to which of metal, by which our ships were their attention was called, and our crippled and dismasted early in the force on other stations was no more
than sufficient, the blockading force part was his reference to the conin many places being less than the trivances of Mr. Fulton for blowing force blockaded. He had never up ships under water, whose of met with a naval officer who en fers, he said, bad been rejected by tertained the opinion of the noble Bonaparte, but had been accepted mover respecting the possibility of by Mr. Pitt and lord Melville, completely blockading the Ame- who after his failure at Boulogne, rican ports. As to what he had made a compromise with him for said relative to the ships which had a considerable sum, with which he been opposed to the Americans, went to America. Earl S. said, he lord M. observed, that we were had given a plan to the admiralty not to alter the classes of ships in for preventing the effect of his inthe British navy merely because ventions, which he thought of a there were three American ships formidable nature. of unusual dimensions. All naval The Earl of Galloway entered officers agreed in the opinion that into some professional remarks reit was not proper to multiply the specting the naval disasters of the classes of vessels; and it was far American war, which he attributed better to send out 74's than to set very much to the power of the about building ships only fit to enemy to man their few large fricope with the American navy. gates with prime sailors; whereas the The advice to diminish the num- great demand for men in our navy ber of small vessels was one in had rendered it necessary to admit which no experienced person could a large proportion of an inferior concur, since these were peculiarly class. He touched upon
prorequisite to protect our tradeagainst pensity of our seamen to desert, the enemy's privateers. The ba- which he thought might be best lance of capture was so far from obviated by an increase of petty being in favour of the Americans, officers made from the best among that it was the reverse. With re- them, and by more liberal remuspect to not sooner issuing letters neration. He was also of opinion, of marque, the delay was for the in opposition to lord Melville, purpose of knowing the reception that ships of precisely the same given by the Americans to our pro- kind with those of the Americans posals of accommodation. As to should be built, in order to contend the charge of mismanagement in with them. He asserted that he the dock-yards, measures had been should have approved of the motaken to remedy defects. Some of tion had its objects been, not cenour ships, it was true, had under- sure, but inquiry. gone a rapid decay, through haste Earl Grey began with adverting in the building ; but it was neces- to the contract of the admiralty sary that our exertions should keep with Mr. Fulton, and the compace with those of the enemy.- promise which he himself had neFor all these reasons he should gociated, in the conviction that give his vote against the motion. his invention would not prove of
Earl Stanhope made a speech the smallest utility. He confessed, chiefly relative to his own plans however, that such was his disfor the improvement of naval ar- like to this mode of warfare, that chitecture. The most remarkable he had passed many uneasy nights