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preceding the bombardment of Copenhagen,-" The increased in“ Auence of France, rendering it impossible for Denmark, though “ it desired to be neutral to maintain its neutrality.”* This pre.. tence was not long deemed sufficient: a second, and one somewhat of a more specious nature was offered immediately after the perpetration of the villanous act. In “ the frank exposition of their “ inotives” to the different courts of Europe, they declared that “ his Majesty had received the most positive information of the “ determination of France to invade Denmark, and to seize the “ Danish feet and arsenals for the purpose of invading Great Bri“ tain and Ireland.”+ As this assertion was as positively contradicted by the Crown Prince of Denmark, and by the French Emperor, and ministers were challenged to produce evidence for the truth of wliat they had advanced, they in their answer to the declaration of the Emperor of Russia proceeded a step farther. They not only declared that “ they were not unaware of those secret en“ gagements which had been imposed upon Russia in thc copfer-, “ ences at Tilsit," but rested the justification of the Danish expedi-., tion on those “ secret engagements, one of the objects of which “ had by that expedition been happily defeated !” It is a common observation that persons addicted to falsehood had 'need of good memories; and never was the justice of this observation more forcibly illustrated than in the present instance. There needed not the strong, the flat contradictions which have been given by the parties to the treaty of Tilsit, the Emperors of France and Russia, to these assertions. No: the very ministers who made them had previously asserted the direct contrary. In an official dispatch dated August 5th. addressed to M. Alopeus the Russian ambassador, signed by Mr. Secretary Canning, that minister declares “ the per“ fect readiness of his Majesty the King of Great Britain to enter “ in concert with his august ally, into any negociation which the " Emperor of Russia might think it expedient to open for the resto-.. * ration of a general peace: that these sentiments, and this dispo- . “ sition his Majesty continues invariably to maintain.” The Bri- .. tish Secretary farther assures the Russian Anibassador, “ that his “ Majesty waits with the utmost solicitude for the communication * of the treaty concluded at Tilsit ..... trusting that the charac“ ter of the stipulations of the treaty of Tilsit may be found to be "" such as to afford his Majesty a JUST HOPE of the attainment “ of a secure and honourable, peace. The conduct of ministers towards the court of Russia at this time was conforunable to these sentiments. Russian vessels of war passed with safety even through
the right lead to a safe and is engagements entered inte ST HOPE
the very fleet destined to attack Copenhagen. Thus at the moment they were professing their friendship for his Majesty's “ august ally," the Emperor of Russia, and expressing “ the JUST HOPE “ they entertained that the engagements entered into at Tilsit “ might lead to a safe and honourable peace," they were planning the invasion of Denmark, the robbery of ber feet and arsenals, in consequence as they alleged of the information they had received respecting those very engagements !!!!!!
After the self evident contradictions which run through the official documents respecting the tragedy of Copenhagen, can any one be surprised at the wretched figure which ministers have cut in the recent parliamentary discussions. They have been compelled to abandon their former ground, to confess their utter ignorance of every one of the secret articles of the treaty of Tilsit, and to rest their justification on some pretended infornation of which they refuse to give any account, but of the nature and validity of which wu may form a tolerable judgment, from their own description of the channels through which they profess to have received it--the disaffected in Ireland ! The last stupid falsehood on this subject is that detailed in some of the ministerial prints, in which we are gravely informed, that certain noble lords and gentlemen have assured the senate," that the French Emperor at a PUBLIC LEVEE in August last,
asked the Portugueze and the Danish ainbassadors whether they “ had transmitted his orders to their respective courts to have their “ Aeets in readiness for the invasion of Ireland by the 1st of Sep-, “ tember !” The ministerial editors who give us this curious information have the modesty to add, that owing to the burry of the parliamentary reporters, they forgot to mention this circumstance. Whether there was such an ideot in either liouse as to utter such nonsense we do not think it worth while to inquire. · Deprived of every solid ground of justification, abandoning all the principles of equity and humanity, openly ridiculing the universally professed laws of nations, and those principles of religion and. morality which have been the peculiar boast of this country, ministers and their apologists are at length compelled to fly to the old SĄTANIC plea of “ necessity to excuse their Devilish deeds !"“ The ties of relationship, (says our late ambassador to the court of Petersburgh) “ which unite the two courts of London and Co“penhagen, would have inspired the king with the desire of avoid“ ing such a painful extremity, and of respecting as far as depended “ upon himself the interests of Denmark ; but his duty called “ equally for measures adapted to ward off a danger which threat" ened not only the welfare of his people but the EXISTENCE OF “ HIS CROWN !"* What! after all our proud boasting of the
* Lord Gower's letter to Mr. Canning, Sept. 2. P. R. Vol. III. p. 70.
sovereignty of the seas, and although we have a fleet superior not only in number but in every other respect to all the fleets of Europe united, are we to be told that “ our welfare as a nation," that “ the existence of his Majesty's crown” depended on our plundering a neutral state of its fleet ; on the possession of a dozen Danish vessels ! Had not this language appeared in the official dispatch of a British ambassador there would have been but one opinion of it entertained throughout the country. - Every tongue would have pronounced it a scandalous libel on the character of the British nation!
Our parliamentary reporters have represented Mr. Secretary Canning as assigning the following reasons to prove the “ necessity" of our attack on Denmark. “ Mr. Garlicke, the British resident at “ Copenhagen, had written bone in December, 1806, that the “ French had entered Hamburgh, and published a decree against “ commerce, and that there was considerable danger of a proposal “ being made to the Danes by the French respecting the dock-yards “ and the ships at Copenhagen.”—The right hon, secretary is likewise charged with declaring in the house of Commons, that “ had “ we not possessed ourselves of the Danish fleet, it probably would, “ either now, or in the course of next summer have been employed “ against England.” And these are the reasons which constitute the grand plea of “ necessity” for the late horrible proceedings. Without inquiring why the whole of Mr. Garlicke's letter has not been given to the public;, hoping that gentleman, as his friends complain of his sentiments being much misrepresented, will in justice to himself publish it, we are willing for the sake of allowing ministers every advantage that can arise from this their only plea, necessity, to allow that there might be “ considerable danger of si proposals being made to the Danes by the French respecting their “ fleet,” and that “ now or next summer attempts might have been “ made on the part of France to accomplish her project :”, and had not we a right to expect in such a case that we should have been amply prepared, and fully able to defeat such a project? We refer our readers to the remarks which have been made in parliament by those who are well acquainted with the situation of Zealand, and who have given it as their firm opinion, that it would have been scarcely possible for France to have seized the Danish fleet. To pass over the probability of Denmark defending her neutrality agreeably to the expressed determination of the Crown Prince, how various are the means, we may ask, which might have been pursued by ministers to prevent the apprehended seizure? We have in our own seizure had sufficient evidence of the levgth of time absolutely necessary for the purpose even when there was no opposition : six weeks were scarcely sufficient. Aod, we may further demand.--was this country tamely
Inquiry respecting the Danish Expedition. to look on, whilst France was accomplishing such a project? But our ministers seem to have judged that there was no medium between indifference, supineness, and inaction on the one hand, and conflagration, murder, and rapine on the other. To use the language of the Lord Chief Justice of the court of King's Bench on this subject “ The name, character, and honour of the country had been more “ completely sacrificed in the transaction alluded to, than in any re“ corded in the annals of our history. It was a transaction which it “ was impossible to reprobate too severely. The measure had been “ attempted to be justified on the ground of its necessity : but no “ necessity for it existed, except indeed that kind of necessity which “ was often pleaded at the Old Bailey !""* Considering this horrid transaction with all its circumstances, and the various pretences which have been set up in its defence, we have no scruple in affirming, that its authors stand convicted before the whole world, of injustice the most flagrant, cowardice the most base, cruelty the most diabolical, hypocrisy the most detestable, and falsehood the most wilful!
So far from the plea of necessity being available on the present occasion, we aver that the most imperious necessity demanded a line of conduct diametrically opposite. Our character as a nation, the preservation of the neutrality of Denmark, the opinion of all Europe, were considerations which ought to have prevented our ministers, however strong their inclination, from commencing their career of injustice. We have before proved in our remarks on this subject, “ that the God of truth and righteousness never made villany nece:“ sary.”+-The consequences of this act we tremble to contemplate. To use the energetic language of Mr. WINDHÂM—" What shall we
think when we find that we have created the hatred of nations for “ generations yet to come, who will remember our misdeeds when' “they behold the monuments of our ravages,—when they point at “ the sad memorials of their destruction,—when they see the remains © of their public edifices,--of that beautiful church which was the “ pride of their capital, an awful ruin,—when the recollection of our “ bombardment is rendered perpetual by the melancholy sentiment “ inspired by the eternity of the tomb! The church may fall, but “ ruins remain, to be viewed by all the inhabitants, and to be exhi“ bited by them as a spectacle to travellers and navigators for their “ execration of those who committed the ravage, their scorn of their « proffered alliance, and their pity for the unfortunate sufferers !"
The right hon. gentleman might well add “ that under all circum“stances of the case, he would sooner have seen the Danish fleet in “ the hands of Bonaparte than in ours."
1 * Lord Ellenborough's speech, Feb. 19, as reported in the Morning Post. * † P. R. Vol. II. p. lvi.
to him the natia o wipe of she Danish
xxiv Inquiry, &c.—Lord Hutchinson's Conversations, 8c.
As ministers have refused all information on the subject, and as it is evident from their shuffling and contradictory statements that they are incapable of alleging any excuse for their conduct which can possibly be satisfactory to any friend to the principles of morality and justice, it is the bounden duty of those who have so honourably distinguished themselves in reprobating the Danish expedition, to persevere in their endeavours to wipe off, as far as in their power, this foul blot cast on the national character. The next step which we perceive is to be taken, is to move a direct vote of censure on the authors of the expedition: although it may fail of success, yet it will cause a farther investigation of the business, and those members who have any regard left for their characters as the friends of national . virtue, may have another opportunity of expressing their sentiments, and of giving their votes. The lists of the minority on these occasions, we make a point of recording. We wish we could give lists of the majorities; but as these are not published, it is natural to suppose, and we are glad to find such a sense of shame left in the bosoms of those who compose such majorities, that they “ do ill by “stealth, and blush to find it fame !" As the opposition in both houses proves so respectable in point of numbers, as well as in other 'respects, it is absolutely inexcusable in the people at large, if they do not give them all the support in their power. We should have been better pleased with the numerous Yorkshire petitioners for (peace, if, whilst they were lamenting the melancholy consequences of the war respecting themselves, they had in their resolutions reprobated the injuries inflicted on Denmark. We do not approve of marking public men, except on 'extraordinary occasions : but iudividually, we solemnly declare in the presence of the great God of heaven and earth, that no consideration shall ever induce us, in the exercise of our elective franchise, to vote for a man who has given his sanction to the conduct of ministers towards Denmark: we believe there is no act of public wickedness which such a man is not capable of supporting, and that he is therefore absolutely unfit to be the representative of a free or even a civilized people. The exercise of the privilege of choosing our representatives is the principal and most forcible way by which our countrymen can express their opinion ; and it is their most incumbent duty to bear in mind that sentiments and professions are of no service, nor any proof of sinceritys. unless followed by corresponding conduct. ; LORD HUTCHINSON'S CONVERSATIONS WITH THE
EMPEROR OF RUSSIA.. In one of the late debates on the subject of the Danish expedition, Lord HUTCHINSON detailed some conversations which he held with ' the Emperor of Russia. Those conversations being of considerable importance, some of the parliamentary reporters have it is under