Слике страница

Motions respecting the Danish Expedition.


find, les of genoccasion

sions protests were entered, signed by 29 peers, at the head of whom was the Duke of GLOCESTER. On such an occasion it must fill the mind of every friend to the principles of genuine christianity and sound morality with horror, to find, that not one of those termed spiritual lords, not one christian bishop of the established church expressed his disapprobation of this atrocious proceeding! It affords us, however, a trifling degree of consolation to find so respectable a minority, hy their votes and their protests, reprobating this violation of all those principles of justice and equity, by which the British nation has professed, at least, to distinguish herself from other nations, and from her eneiny France more particularly. The minority in point of numbers in the Lords appears to have been as respectable as on almost any question on which the house has divided during the present session. In the house of Commons. Mr. SHARP on the 21st instant, after an admirable speech on the subject, in which he reprobated the accursed expedition in the language it so justly merited, moved the following address to his Majesty, which as it comprises an admirable statement of the principal arguments which have been urged against the conduct of ministers in the business alluded to, we have thought proper to present it verbatim to our readers.

“ That an humble Adilress be presented to his Majesty, subiuitting to his Majesty, that we have attentively considered all the information before us, respecting the late attack on Copenhagen, and the war in which we havc consequently been involved; and that we deeplý lument to have found it imperfect, contradictory, und unsatisfactory in all its parts.

" That respecting a transaction in which both thc honour and the inte rests of our country are so deeply concerned, we had hoped for the fullest explanation,

“ That the principles of our constitution, and the uniform practice of his Majesty and the Sovereigns of his illustrious house, require that parliament should be distinctly apprized of the true grounds of entering into new wars, and especially in a situation of the country so extraordinary and unprecedented as the present.

“ That bad Deumark been a party to any hostile confederacy, either for menacing his Majesty's territories or invading his maritinic rights, our rea sistance would have been necessary, and our warfare legitimale; aod that min under such circumstances, this house would only have had to regret that his Majesty should have been advised so lightly to abandon the ports and arsenals of that country; for, that had the alleged danget been real, the possession of those ports during the war would have afforded the best security against that danger; whereas the abandonment of their tas non left us niore than ever exposed to it.

But that we can entertain no doubt, that instead of engaging in bostile leagucs, Denturk wished only to maintain her neutrality; that this fact is proved even by the imperfect documents which have been laid before us; and is distinctly acknowledged in the proclamation issued by his Majesty's commanders immediately before the attack.


xlvi Motions respecting the Danish Expedition.

"That not only was Denniark no party to such a Icague, but we see rio ground to believe that she was privy to it ; and the very fact of its'existence is, to say the least, in the highest degree questionable.

." That the conclusion of any secret articles at Tilsit, affecting the rights or interests of this country, appears to have been upifornily denied, botla by Russia and France ; and that the correspondence of his Majesty's secretary of state, and thic dates of the transactions, prove, that if any such articles did exist, his Majesty's ministers ucre not in possession of them, when the attack was ordered against Copenhagen..

“That his Majesty's ambassador at St. Petersburgh, in an official note, rested the defence of that measure, not on the hostile purposes either of Denmark or of Russia, but solely on designs which it was said the French government bad long been known to entertain. I “ Avd, That bis Majesty's ministers not only advised his Majesty to abstain from those measures of hostility against Russia, which it was their duty to have recommended, had they really believed in the existence of such engagenients; but they actually solicited her mediation to extinguish that war, and her guarrantee to defeat those projects, in which it is now pretended she was known to have been a principal and contracting party.

-" That allegations thus inconsistent with themselves, and contrary to admitted facts,rather weaken than support the case to which they are applied.

"That, with respect to the pretended necessity of the casc, we beg leave respectfully to assure his Majesty, that we cannot think so meanly of the power and resources of his empire, of the spirit of his people, or of the valour and discipline of his fleets and armics, as to admit that such an act would have been required for any purpose of self-prescrvation.

" And that, whatever temporary advantages the possession of the ships and stores taken at Copenhagen may afford, have been more than counterbalanced by the increased dangers arising from the manner in which they have been shtained.

“ That this measure,so highly objectionable both in policy and in principle, kas augmented the number of our enemies ; has animated aguinst us the passions of whole nations, who before were amicably disposed towards us, and has, above all," shaken our own reliance on the justice of our cause ; the only sentinient which has hitherto upheld us in all our difficulties ; commanding the respect of other nations, and inspiring our own people with a confident expectation, under the blessing of Providence, of a successful termination of a long and arduous contest. So That we are ever unwilling to pronounce definitively on a measure, the whole grounds of which are not before us : But that, in a case which above all others required ihe clearest proof, we have the deep mortification of being compelled to acknowledge, that every presumption is against us; and that no evidence has yet been addụced on which we can safely rest the defence of our country, from accusations the most injurious to our national character.

After a long debate the house divided-For Mr. SHARP's moțion 64 Against it 224. Mr. STUART WORTLEY, then moved a resolution “ highly approving" the means made use of for securing the Danish feet and arsenals. The house 'again divided; Ayės 216

Noes 61. It is much to be regretted that the numbers on the part of opposition should, on a subject in which the character of the

Motions respecting the Danish Expedition. , xlvii nation is so deeply involved, be so much less than on former occasions. It is somewliat 'remarkable that although a list of the minority on all the other motions respecting the Danish expedition' has been published, in the present instance it should be carefully concealed. The ministerial prints, however, have given us some information, which, paivful as it may prove to the friends of the parties, and it can scarcely be more so to any than to ourselves, must ** not pass unnoticed. Amongst those members who have long been regarded as the uniform friends of the principles of justice and equity, but who have strangely deviated from those principles by their approval of the Danish expedition, we perceive the names of Mr. WILLIAM SMITH, member for Norwich, and the Hon. THOMÀS BRAND, member for Hertfordshire. The former, it appears, could not muster up sufficient courage to express openly before the world, his approbation of the conduct of ministers, and therefore absented himself before the divisions took place. How Mr. SMITĦ can reconcile his conduct on this and on other occasions to which we have alluded, with his professions and practice both in private and public life for these twenty-five years past, it is impossible for us to imagine. If we are not nuistaken, this question will be seriously put to him by his constituents, who, it must be recollected, are so laudably watchful over the conduct of their representatives, that at the last general election they rejected one of their former members, Mr. FEL-, LOWES, for having given one inconsistent' vote on a subject of importance, and chose in his place, Mr. SMITH, as a gentleman in whom they could place superior confidence. Mr. BŘAND has gone still farther than Mr. SMITH; not content with expressing his approbation of the Danish expedition in the circle of his friends, “ he “ voted” (so the Morning Post triumphantly informis the public) “ with ministers upon both the Copenhagen questions;" against Mr. SHARP's address of censure, and for Mr. WORTLEY's motion expressive of " high approbation" of their conduct. We are, however, confident that Mr. BRAND as well as Mr. SMITH, would, so far * from “ highly approving” of the principles which dictated the Copenhagen expedition, as rules for their conduct in private life, absolutely shun the company of any man who would openly avow such principles : but it is their public conduct which will most assuredly be noticed. We know that many of those who have repeatedly ranked amongst the warmest of Mr. BRAND's friends, are so indignant at his recent conduct, that unless he has infinitely superior reasons to allege in justification of those scenes of conflagration, masacre, and plunder, which have disgraced the national character, 'than any of their defenders have yet been able to produce, they are determined never to vote for him at any future election. At the present moment his constituents are contrasting his

farther of the Dariorning Le Copenloader: WORT We are, d, 80 fe

xlviii Motions respecting the Danish Expedition. conduct with that of their late long-tried, uniform, consistent meinber Mr.PLOMER; and are deeply regretting the circumstances which occasioned him to retire from their service.

There was one speaker on the side of administration, on Mr. SHARP's motion, whose principal argument was quite novel, and which considering the quarter from whence it came deserves peculiar notice. Mr. ROBERT THORNTON said, “his Majesty's ministers knew that they had a MORAL DUTY to perform ; they were sworn to perform it, and they would have been responsible to their coun" try for neglecting that duty, had they not acted in the manner " they did respecting the Copenhagen expedition !" This gentleman has usually been classed with the evangelical party, and indeed he seems to have been their mouth on the present occasion; as Mr. WILBERFORCE, and the THORNTONS, together with soine gentlemen who profess themselves to be protestant dissenters, all voted their approbation of the horrid deed. What a picture does their conduct, together with that of the episcopal bench, give us of the depravity of the religious world at the present period ! It naturally reminds us of the Jewish church in its most corrupt state, as described by the ancient prophets. Whilst its members were most strict in their orthodox professions, and in their observance of ceremonies, their hands were full of blood, their religious services were hateful, and their prayers were an abomination to the Lord!

It redounds to the honour of those members of the senate who have reprobated the Danish expedition, that their arguments have been founded on the grand principles of religion and morality, the system in particular, laid down and enforced in the Gospel of Christ. Mr. Whitbread declared “ that he still adhered to the old « morality, and that the very corner stone and foundation of his “ conduct was the sound christian principle to do to others as he would wish that others should do to him.” This “ old system" has been ridiculed, and with perfect consistency, by ministers and their supporters in all the debates on the Danish expedition. .. Dr. LAWRENCE when alluding to the conduct of ministers on this subject, as well as on the orders of council asked—“ If justice and ge“ nerosity were at an end, but (some of the members shewing their "contempt by coughing,) he immediately begged pardon for using “ unparliamentary language, for justice and generosity did not * seem to be well understood by the majority !" Mr. SHARP observed, that “ he knew his course on the present occasion was an un“ popular one, for the country and the house too, liked better to “ be told of our power, than our duty; but this was neither in “the line of safety or honour. Of late, and he was happy to say, ," it was very lately, a disposition had appeared in the public, and "pot a little in the house, to consider morality as a play-thing not

[merged small][ocr errors]

fit for statesmen and politicians. He, on the other side, agreed “ with that man whose opinions carried much more weight than '"any thing he could say, Mr. Burke, who had declared,--That "justice is the standing policy of society; and any eminent departure therefrom, is a strong indication of its having no policy at " all. The new school of morality;--the prevailing heresy preached “ from the pulpit of the universities, had been sanctioned on the re“ sponsibility of ministers by the highest authority, and written in “ blood at Copenhagen!"

After the language held by ministers and their friends in the senate in justification of recent measures, we need not be surprised at the sentiments advanced by their supporters out of doors. Strangers would, by some of their language, be apt to imagine that we were a nation of infidels, atheists, profligates, — any thing but christians! Those despicable hireling writers in the fashionable ministerial print, The Morning Post, to shew their hatred to the best and noblest of principles, have characterized them under the opprobrions terms--Political Methodism,-Factious Philanthropy, Hypocritical Benevolence ; and our Saviour's sermon on the Mount has been made the subject of open profanation and 'ridicule!,

It is however highly consolatory to reflect, that let unprincipled statesmen, venal senates, and servile majorities act and vote as they please, they cannot pluck the Almighty Ruler of nations froin his throne, nor overturn the foundations of justice. The cause of injured DENMARK is in his hands who has declared Vengeance is mine, I will repay! !

[ocr errors]


LORD LAKE'S FAMILY. On the meeting of the new parliament last year, ministers in order to persuade the people that they were the friends to those principles of economy professed, and set on foot by their predecessors, thought proper to introduce into his Majesty's speech delivered by the lords commissioners, the following declaration.--" His “ Majesty bearing constantly in mind the necessity of a careful, and “ economical administration of the pecuniary resources of the “ country has directed us to express his hopes that you will pro" ceed without delay, in the pursuit of those inquiries connected “ with the public ecouomy, which engaged the attention of the last “ parliament.” In our remarks on this passage, we declared our conviction, “ that the professions of the present ministers on the “ subjects of economy, and inquiry into abuses, were like their pro“ fessions on the subject of religion, mere hypocrisy:"# The man

* Pol. Rev. Vol. II, p. viii..

« ПретходнаНастави »