Slike strani
PDF
ePub

and characters at a distance from home in | rendered it many important services, it the service of their country. It was by had so happened that honour had been his that sort of protection and justice that only harvest, and he had not been able officers were encouraged to exertion, and to acquire that handsome provision which that their country might expect to reap an officer of his high character and imthe advantages of their future services. portant service was entitled to, and gene

Mr. James Luttrell said, as the House rally supposed to obtain. He therefore were now proceeding to vote their thanks thought it became the House then, while unanimously to a gallant officer for most sir George's merit was warmly acknowsignal and important services, he hoped ledged by every gentleman, to proceed a they would not stop there, but would keep step further, and to save the gallant adthat officer's present merit in their eye. miral from the hazard of his being neglectThat they would not suffer his character ed, or his services forgot in consequence to be hereafter trifled away. That they of some future misfortune; he therefore would go with him to Gibraltar ; go with threw it out to the House, whether it him to the West Indies; and that they would not be proper to address his Mawould watch him every where, and keep jesty, that he would be graciously pleased his honour and his reputation alive effec- to bestow some high post of honour on tually and substantially, by taking care sir George for his late signal services. that he should not be sent.to be a sacrifice, He was the farthest in the world from but should have a force equal to the ob- wishing to encroach on his Majesty's prejects he was sent upon; that they would rogative, but he could not refrain from strengthen him with ships whenever he mentioning that there was a post now vashould have occasion for more. He was cant, which was generally bestowed on now, it was generally understood, going to gentlemen in the navy, who had distinthe West Indies. Let the House send guished themselves, and risen to high chahim ships equal to those of the enemy in racter, and that was, the post of Lieutethat quarter of the globe. He, for one, nant General of Marines. would vote him ships, his thanks were not Lord North said, that no man had a worth the gallant admiral's acceptance. stronger sense of the great merit and high

The motion was carried nem. character of sir George than he had, nor While the above conversation passed, was there any who would be more willing

Admiral Keppel was not in the House, than he that sir George should be most but coming in soon afterwards, he took amply rewarded; but he could not but an early opportunity of rising, and after submit it to the House, that the motion asking pardon of the House for getting hinted at by the hon. gentleman was altoup in a disorderly manner said, it was to gether unprecedented, and that if it were express his sorrow at not having been once agreed, to follow a vote of thanks present when the thanks of the House had with an immediate address to his Majesty been moved. He did assure the House, for a reward, that so coupling the two that one only instance excepted, he never matters, would in future subject the House felt more sincere satisfaction at the thanks to great difficulty, and establish a preceof the House having been voted. Sir dent which they would hereafter have George had rendered his country most cause to repent. important services, services which he Mr. T. Townshend, upon this, charged would venture to say, were not more sig- ministers with having neglected to reward nal in themselves than well performed. their officers, and asserted, that sir George He thought it incumbent upon him to give in particular had been neglected and ill. his testimony in that House to the merit treated by them. In proof of this asserof an admiral, who deserved every honour tion he declared, that after the taking of in the power of his country to bestow. Martinico sir George was neglected.

Mr. Charles Marsham said, as the House Greenwich-hospital, indeed, was given had done sir George the honour to vote him, but it was taken away from him by him their thanks, he thought it incumbent the present first lord of the Admiralty, on on them to do something more; and he sir George's being sent to the West Indies the rather thought so, as he believed it with a command. General Monckton was pretty generally understood that the also, who shared with him in the glory of gallant admiral's finances were not in the taking Martinico, was neglected, and was best condition, and that although he had a considerable time before he obtained served his country for many years, and that, which admiral Rodney had again

con.

and again applied for. It was of late years very likely to neglect him, because, exso much the practice of ministers to give clusive of his perfect sense of his exalted up their officers, to whisper away their merit as an officer, that his late signal sercharacters, and to suffer them to be run vices could not be too highly rewarded, down upon the least change of fortune, and that they well deserved not only the the least bad success, covering their own thanks of that House, but of the country blunders under the ruin of officers' cha- at large, he was intimately acquainted racters, that he was happy the hon. gen- with, and had the strongest personal esteem tleman had made so proper a motion. and regard for him. At the very mo

Mr. Marsham declared he would per- ment in which, for the reasons he had sist in his motion, if he did not hear a more stated, he declared he must oppose the satisfactory answer from the noble lord, motion, he begged leave to assure the or unless some promise were given, that House, that he was far from thinking the the admiral should be taken care of. place of Lieutenant General of Marines

Lord North said, that it would be ex- by any means more than equal to the adceedingly irksome for him to oppose the miral's high deserts. form of a motion, the substance of which Mr. Marsham said he rose with great he was as much inclined to carry into ef- pleasure to withdraw his motion, because fect, as any man; but, if the motion were in the noble lord's speech there were persisted in, he should be under the ne- many kind expressions, which convinced cessity of opposing it, merely for the sake him that sir George would not be neg. of parliamentary precedent. He had al- lected. ready declared, that coupling a vote of Lord George Gordon reprobated the thanks with an address for a reward, proposal of giving away a sinecure place. would subject the House to very great He declared he was ashamed of having difficulty in future, and would establish a acted so long with men, who could be precedent, which they would hereafter guilty of such glaring inconsistency; that have occasion to repent; it was on that he was as tired of their conduct, as that grouod, and that ground alone, that it be- of the Treasury-bench, and that there was came his duty to oppose the motion. not a place in that House, in which he Another hon. gentleman had charged mi- could feel himself happy, except only in nisters with having neglected sir George. the Speaker's chair. He was for abolishHe begged leave to say, the fact was not ing all sinecures, and not for giving them 80: admiral Rodney, during a peace, had away. Admiral Rodney was poor ; let been given Greenwich-hospital. It was the King give him money. The people true, indeed, it was afterwards taken from gave the King an enormous civil list. Let him, but that was, when at his own desire his Majesty make sir George a handsome he had been given a command in the West present-many thousands of pounds, Indies; and though it might be urged, twenty thousand pounds at least—that that there had been a precedent of an offi- would be a kingly gift.

Poor as he was, cer's having a command and holding he would part his last shilling with sir Greenwich-hospital, yet it was very far George to save him from being sent to from usual that an officer should have the gaol. hospital and a command on a foreigo sta- The motion was then withdrawn. tion at the same time. Besides, when admiral Rodney went out last, he was Debate in the Lords on the Vote of rear admiral of England. The hon. gen. Thanks to Admiral Sir George Rodney.) tleman who had proposed the motion had March 1. The Earl of Sandwich moved, said, sir George's finances were low; they “ That the thanks of that House be given were not very high he believed when he to admiral sir George Bridges Rodney, took his present command, but he hoped for the very important advantages he had that difficulty had been lessened by his gained over the fleet of Spain on the 9th, successes. At present sir George had re- and 16th of January last.' After shortly ceived the thanks of that House, and pointing out the singular merit of that whatever the hon. gentleman might think, gallant commander, he observed, that a the thanks of that House were in them- circumstance attended it, which had disselves a very high reward. But exclusive tinguished it from any other almost in the of that, he really saw no reason why gen- annals of this country; that was, the captlemen should assume that sir George ture of five ships of the line belonging to would be neglected. He was not himself the enemy, besides those destroyed.

The Marquis of Rockingham rose to se- ment could be more deservedly bestowed. cond the motion : he passed several warm The Duke of Grafton pressed the gecompliments on the skill and bravery of neral argument of reward very strenuously, sir George, and said the nation was highly and the particular mode of rewarding sir indebted to the admiral ; little was due to George, in the way hinted by the noble the Admiralty-board, for it clearly ap- marquis, in terms equally warm. He peared, that so far as ministers were con- said he was much surprised not to hear cerned, our good fortune was purely ac- from the noble earl at the head of the cidental. The relief of Gibraltar and Admiralty something specific on the subMinorca were, he allowed, necessary ser-ject, not in the shape of a motion, as that vices; that was the sole object of the ar- would be informal, but in a general intimaments. In the performance of that mation that his Majesty would follow up service, fortunately for this country, sir the present vote with a reward suitable to George met the enemy, and like a spirited the eminent services the admiral had renand meritorious officer availed himself of dered his country. The admiral, he unthe opportunity; and by his skill and gal- derstood, was destined, as soon as he fullantry, had rendered the public the most filled the object of the primary part of his eminent service. He had heard, that in instructions, for the West Indies: if any another place, where the same subject accident in his way thither, or after he was yesterday under consideration, it was should arrive there, should befal him, in proposed, to follow the vote of thanks all probability his present merit would be with some mark of more substantial fa- forgotten. Experience had already proved vour, and he thought very properly so, how admirals and commanders were treatfor no man deserved it better; and he ed, when they proved unsuccessful.

He confessed, that he did expect before the would not say that any officer since the noble earl who made the motion sat down, commencement of the present war, had that he would have given some intimation been so successful ; but this he might asof such an intention. He understood, sert, that several great and able officers that the main object for which sir George had been employed, and having from the was dispatched to Gibraltar, being by tliis defeat of the plans under which they time attained, his instructions were to acted, or from other circumstances ori. proceed to the West Indies ; if, therefore, ginating from causes for which they were in the performance of the other part of his by no means responsible, not answered instructions any accident should happen, the expectations of the public; it was he thought no time should be lost in con- well known what arts, both within and ferring on him an immediate reward. He without doors, were used to whisper had an additional reason for urging this away, insinuate, or directly depreciate, matter now; because this gallant officer the characters of those very deserving, had once before been thanked by that though unsuccessful men. If, in the House, yet was afterwards shamefully course of the admiral's further operations neglected; so much so, that there was an any thing should happen which might imanecdote current about town that had not pede his success, he made no doubt but been as yet contradicted, that we should the same arts would be employed against have been deprived of this gallant officer's him; and that every effort would be made services, but for the almost unexampled by administration, as in the instances al. generosity of a French nobleman (the luded to, to throw the blame upon him, duke de Byron) who not only relieved him and blast his well-earned laurels. For from his immediate distresses, but enabled these reasons he urged the noble lord, to him once more to return to his native give their lordships some pledge, that sir country. He did not wish to point out George's eminent services would meet the particular mode of rewarding sir with an immediate and suitable reward. George, but he understood there was a The Earl of Effingham said it was post of considerable consequence now va- no secret that sir George was ordered out cant (Lieutenant General of the Marines) with an intention, after effecting the rethe institution of which was purposely to lief of Gibraltar and Minorca, to proceed reward men of merit in this line of service; to the West Indies; it was equally well and as he knew no man more deserving of known, that no more than three, or at that post, and as promoting him to it most four ships of the line, were to prowould create no additional expence to the ceed with him to the place of his destioapublic, he did not see where that appoint- tion. Under these circumstances, what

ܪ

might be the fate of sir George? but war, it was impossible to lay previous esthat overpowered by a superior force, ad- timates before the House, because every ministration, to cover their own bad ma- part of tlie public expenditure could not nagement, would endeavour to throw the possibly be foreseen, and depended upon blame upon sir George, and cancel the events as they rose; with regard to the · obligations his country owed him, by im- enormity of the expence, that was like

puting his former successes to accident, wise in some degree unavoidable, from or a superior force. He therefore anxi- the very nature of the case. He wished, ously wished that some immediate reward however, as heartily as any one,' to give were bestowed on the admiral.

the public the fullest satisfaction that the The Duke of Bolton extolled the pro- money was duly applied to their service, and fessional skill of sir George in very strong he heartily wished that also some method terms. He fully acquiesced in the senti- could be devised for stating and settling ments of his noble friends, that some sub- the public accounts in such a manner, that stantial reward ought to be bestowed on the numerous balances upon each head of him, and that none was more proper than expence, might be brought forward more the one mentioned.

speedily, and in consequence be the sooner The Earl of Sandwich said, it was the applied to the public service. Various peculiar province of the crown to distin- methods had been hinted at for effecting guish and reward those who had served it this purpose; the method he should proably and faithfully ; that it would be pre- pose would be by a Commission of Acsumption in him to undertake or say what counts; and the reason why he thought a his Majesty might or might not, or ought commission better than a committee of acto do; that it would be a direct invasion counts, was, the former would have many of his prerogative to prescribe to bim on advantages over the latter, as it might be such an occasion ; that graces and favours, strengthened with powers, with which it such as those described, were the proper was not competent to the House to invest a gift of the sovereign ; that he never wish- ' committee of accounts, such as the power ed their lordships to entrench on this ex- of calling for papers of all sorts, examinclusive right; and that as to any promise, ing witnesses upon oath, &c. &c. Comit would be indecent to make it in or out missions of Accounts wbich had in former of that House: but it was, he believed, times been instituted, it had been truly rewell known to be one of the leading cha- marked, had proved of little use. This racteristics of his Majesty's reign, to re- was easily to be accounted for, and as ward such of his subjects as seemed wor- easily remedied. The fault lay partly in thy of his favour and protection.

the cause of instituting those commissions, The question was then agreed to nem. partly in the forn and extent of their in

stitution. his intention was to move for

leave to bring in a bill for appointing a Lord North opens his Plan for a Com- commission of accounts. Former commission of Accólints.] March 2. Lord missions had merely been anthorized with North said, he had a proposition to open a retrospective view; he meant to carry to the House of an important nature, but the present idea much further. He deas he did not wish to take up the time of signed that the Bill should expressly autho. the House upon it then, if when he had rize the commissioners not only to enopened it, any gentleman had an objection quire into the accounts of the past expento it, he would not put it as a motion, but diture, but into the current accounts, and wished to have it understood merely as a farther to direct them to consult, prepare, notice that he should make such a motion and report to the blouse what should upon at an early day. There had been, hvis due cxamination and consultation appear lordship remarked, a great deal said in to them to be a more easy and speedy various conversations and debates that had mode of keeping the public accounts, and taken place of late, respecting the great settling them so that their true state might increase of the public accounts, and against from time to time, as near as possible, be the voting for such parts of the public ser- laid before the House when called tor, and vice for which estimates could not be pre- the various balances in hand be immediateviously produced. He had then to say ly brought forward, and applied to the serwith regard to the latter, what he had vice of the ensuing year. When be was often said before, that in many instances, lately called on for assistance by an hon. while we were engaged in an expensive member who had urged the necessity of (VOL. XXI.]

[L]

[ocr errors]

enquiring into the public accounts, he had parliament he believed there was no in. declared his readiness to assist as far as he stance of a similar transaction. He had could, but it had afterwards been stated, a few days since told the House, that he that his sincerity was to be doubted ; that had a plan to propose for an investigation what he had said was plausible enough, of the public accounts. He had called but was it not a mere parliamentary trick; upon the noble lord to know whether he was it not an attempt to throw dust in the would assist him or not, because he was eyes of the public? An attempt to gain a conscious that it was impossible without momentary popularity by affecting a rea- the power of a minister to penetrate the diness to do that, which he had no real in.. arcana and come to the bottom of many tention to come into ? Such remarks, he matters, which loudly demanded enquiry. owned, were not a species of comment The noble lord now, without consulting or very welcome to him, nor very candid in advising with him, came with a proposal themselves. He was determined, there- of his own; he had stood between an obfore, to seize the earliest opportunity of scure individual, and the little ray of sungiving the House indisputable proof of shine, which he had attempted to draw his real sentiments, and he now came pre- upon him, for honest purposes only. His pared either to move for leave to bring in scheme was founded on a wish to serve a Bill to carry the proposition he had open- the public, to check the lavishness of those ed into effect, or, he was content, if the who managed the public expenditure; the House rather chose it, that what he had strong arm of the minister had wrested it said upon the subject might be considered out of his hand and had put an enn to his merely as notice that he would, on a future labours, to the produce of many watchful day, move for leave to bring in a Bill. hours, and many sleepless nights. Not, An hon. gentleman had thrown out, that (added the colonel) that I speak the lanit would appear from the sort of committee guage of complaint'; if the noble lord car. to be appointed, whether he was sincere, ries his purpose into effect, and attains that or whether the whole enquiry was to be end, which I was humbly endeavouring to a farce and a mockery. In order to put reach, for the benefit of my country, tamen that matter out of doubt, and to obviate ego gaudeboin God's name let him have the various objections that would in all all the merit of it! Having said this, he probability be made, from persons being informed the House, how far his labours appointed of the committee, either from one had proceeded, and assured them, that side of the House or the other, he should though the object was the same, his plan make it a provision in the Bill he meant to was of a different and less expensive nabring in, that the commissioners be respec. ture than that proposed by the noble lord. table, intelligent, and independent gentle. He then went on to show that a comunismen, who were members of neither House sion of accounts was by no means wanted, of Parliament. This, he hoped, would that the greater part of the accounts, they wipe all suspicion away, and give satisfac- would find it necessary to advert to, were tion to all parties. His lordship said a already on the table, and that the chief few words to the general effect the com- business that remained to be done, in mission would have, the superior ease with order to come at the knowledge in queswhich it might be conducted, from its being tion, would be to call for such other papers of the constitution he had stated, and the as might be wanted. With this view he facility with which it might proceed from had framed two motions, which he had being able to sit at all times, without being brought down with him, having intended engaged and harassed by the intervention to open his plan that very day, but hearing of parliamentary duty; after which his on his arrival at the House that the noble lordship read what he intended to be his lord had a plan of his own to propose, it motion whenever he made it.

was now no longer necessary, though he Sir George Yonge said, that unless the should certainly make his motions, as well noble lord declared whether he meant to because the papers they called for were move now or at another time, the House necessary, as in order to convince the would be at a loss how to proceed.

House that he was serious in what he said Lord North said, as he saw it was like- respecting his intended plan of enquiry. ly to provoke debate, he should not move The noble lord, he declared, had, as soon then, but wished what he had said might as he came down, called him aside, and be considered merely as a notice. shewed him his motion, asking him if he

Col. Barré said that in the history of had any objection to it. He had read it,

« PrejšnjaNaprej »