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of influence from an occurrence of mighty promise, which had a short time before taken place at Rotterdam. Before he would relate that occurrence, it was necessary to state that it was furnished by His Majesty's government, to prove that they had justifiable reasons for expecting that there existed at that period, in Holland, a strong inclination to actual resistance against the tyranny of France. --- What, then ! was this event so replete with public hope? It was the rescue by a mob, of some boys brought up in a poor-house in Rotterdam, from a party of French soldiers, who were hurrying these boys to the army. . Was it possible that any government could think of sending out an expedition of forty thousand men upon the futility of such intelligence as that? There was also some comments on the report of the secret committee upon the information received from a person described to be a young man, of the state of Antwerp, in the year 1803. There was one proof of the accuracy of that source of information, for the same individual, though he acknowledged to have passed through Breda, upon an inquiry whether works were erected there, stated, that if there had they had escaped his observation.
Was it, he would appeal to the House, consistent with the duty which statesmen owe that country whose interésts they are bound to protect, to hazard its honour and its secu-. rity by equipping a powerful armament, and destining it to a most unfortunate point, upon such intelligence as has been described ! It might be perfectly true, that, on the 17th of July, Antwerp might not have had a very considerable garrison; but that, on the 8th of the succeeding August, such a force might have been collected from nineteen garrison towns in its vicinity, as would have insured the complete defeat of your army. This was an inference not founded, as the noble lord would have it, upon the nature of the project, but resting upon the nature of the evidence elicited at the bar. For what confidence can that House now place in the communications upon which ministers acted, when every stage of the expedition confirmed their falsehood. Cadsand, they were told, was without troops, and Lillo not in a state of defence. Lord Huntley found in Cadsand 2000 men to oppose his debarkation, and heard that the whole force of the enemy amounted to 7000. What said Sir Richard Strachan at the bar? He told you that, with respect to the state of both, he found himself deceived. It was true that, with respect to Antwerp, General Brownrigg had endeavoured to prove the project practicable, by showing that, under circumstances, he could have carried it into execution. But in answer to this alleged practicability, he would ask why, if the attack upon Antwerp was thus easy and obvious, was not Lord Chatham brought to trial for the failure? How was it that, if 17,000 men could succeed against the fortified town of Flushing, containing a garrison of near 10,000 men, an army exceeding 20,000 men, could fail in their attempt upon Antwerp, without a garrison, with guns dismounted, and perfectly unaware, as ministers say, of the invasion of an enemy? Was it to be understood that the local difficulties were to swell into importance, when they were to justify the retreat of the army, but were to dwindle into trifles when brought forward to exonerate the minister? Upon what fair presumption then can the minister call upon that House to regulate its decision by a reliance upon evidence which it knows to be false, and to neglect evidence which it must feel to be true. It must feel that it has been proved, that, in every part of the proposed arrangement, the result falsified the intelligence upon which the attempt was made. But whilst it falsified the grounds upon which the minister rested, it realized every prediction of the men who predicted it.
The history of that expedition, though short, was lamentably decisive. It sailed at the period, when, as predicted by Sir Home Popham, the foul weather began, and the elements were in hostility. It sailed after the armistice had been concluded between Austria and France; at a time when the fortune of war had decided the fate of your ally; when, if they had had the calamity of lending an ear to your recommendation to renew hostilities, the measure of her miseries would have been filled up, and the hopes of her recovery blasted for ever. Why should this country have put to hazard even the accidental revival of her unfortuntate ally? With what consistency can the right honourable gentleman defend this diversion, which they say afforded to Austria the chance of recovery from its misfortunes, at the same time, and in the same breath, that they argue against the propriety of having sent a force into the north of Germany, with a view of assisting the numerous insurgents then in arms? Why, say they, should we here encourage those to an ineffectual resist
power of France, only to subject them to more aggravated oppression ? Why then endeavour to allure Austria after her fall to the renewal of a struggle which would have for ever sealed her subjugation? Behold then the prospects under which this most calamitous armament left your ports. The season changed; the elements adverse; your ally, for whom the diversion was to be made, discomfited and ruined; and suing for terms of peace with the conqueror in their capital, whilst pestilence and plague were awaiting the arrival of your armada, to commence with ravenous appetite their contagious
ance to the
warfare against our gallant defenders. But the authors of these calamities contend, that this House should not try, by mechanic rules, the unmeasurable spirit of the British heart. They appeal to the feats of our ancestors, and to the glories of our history, to palliate the effects of ministerial temerity and ignorance. Do they forget, that when that spirit was excited, when those glories were displayed, they were directed against the ancient enemy of their name? It was in the hardfought battles with battalions of France or-Spain, that Britain obtained her proud pre-eminence, not in the inglorious strug gle with pestilence and plague. Shall, then, a ministry, responsible for such calamities, find excuse in an appeal to the history of our courage ? Is this excuse to be allowed to men who continued, amidst disease and putrefaction, an army of twenty thousand men, at the very same period that they had advices, that in another quarter of the world, in Spain, the ranks of our heroes were hourly thinning by the progress also of an epidemic malady? In my conception of public delinquency, there can be no conduct more reprehensible, than that of His Majesty's ministers, except indced the conduct of this House, if it should be so forgetful of its duties, as not to condemn them. This House has lately censured Lord Chatham, for an attempt to set aside the responsibility of ministers; let it then take care, that its conduct upon this occasion does not tend to establish ministerial impunity. Decided as I feel upon their misconduct, I give my most sincere support to the resolutions originally proposed by my noble friend.
The debate was then adjourned to the 30th, on which day it was resumed, and Lord Porchester's motion was supported by Sir Thomas Turton, Sir Francis Burdett, Mr. Windham, Mr. Tierney, and Mr. Brougham. It was opposed by General Loftus, Mr. Bathurst, the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Percival), Mr. R. Dundas, and Mr. Robert Peel. They represented the possession of the Island of Walcheren as an object of great importance, that it was necessary to make a diversion in favour of the allies, so as to draw off the French forces from Germany: the sickness occasioned by the climate, was a calamity against which no'ministers could provide. The House then divided on Lord Porchester's resolutions : for the resolutions 227, against them 275; Majority 48. A division took place on the resolution of General Crauford, Ayes 272, Noes 232; Majority 40.
Another division took place on the last resolution of General Crauford, declaratory of the approbation of the House in the retention of Walcheren, and consequently approving the conduct of ministers in that respect : Ayes 253, Noes, 232; Majority for ministers 21. Tellers for the Ayes, Sir George Hill and Mr. Wallace.
Noes, Sir George Warrender and Mr. W. Wynne.
TITHES IN IRELAND.
MR. PARNELL MOVES FOR A SELECT COMMITTEE, TO INQUIRE INTO
THE STATE OF TITHES IN IRELAND.
April 13. 1810.
MR.PARNELL desired, that the petition presented to the House
against tithes, in 1808, might be entered as read; he then stated the grievances occasioned by the system of tithes in Ireland; he complained of it as injurious to the clergy, and as unjust towards the people; he conceived that tithes were in a great degree the cause of the disturbances which had taken place in Ireland. The people of Ireland were led to believe; that relief from tithes would have followed the measure of union. Mr. Pitt held out this, as an inducement to the people of that country to submit to the measure. He (Mr. Parnell) recommended the minister not to suffer their hopes to be disappointed ; but to show them, that England was ready to fulfil the engagements, by which the measure of union was carried. He moved, “ That a select Committee be appointed, to enquire into the manner in which tithes are collected in Ireland; and such other matters relating to the levying and collecting of tithes in that country, as they shall judge it proper to direct their attention to, and to report their opinion thereon." The measure was opposed by Mr. Wellesley Pole, Mr. Leslie Foster, Doctor Duigenan, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, (Mr. Vansittart,) and Sir George Hill. It was supported by Mr. Hutchinson, Mr. Wilberforce, General Matthew, the knight of Kerry, (Mr. Maurice Fitzgerald, Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald, and Sir John Newport, who said, that if expectations of remedy for such grievances had not been held out at the time of the union, that measure would not have been so easily accomplished. A commutation of tithes had been promised at that period; there had been no written bond, but there was that which was an equivalent in the mind of men of honour: prospects were held out in various directions, and promises made by the highest authority, that a commutation of tithes would be one of the first consequences of the union. These promises he could assert had reconciled many to the adoption of that measure. The same miserable expedient, however, might be attempted, with regard to tithes, as had been resorted to with respect to the Catholics. He could prove at the bar, as he had before offered, that those pledges had been actually made ; he could indeed show, by irrefragable testimony, how the noble lord (Castlereagh) had managed the business; how the Catholics had received a solemn promise in one room, while a different promise was made to the Protestants
in another; and how the promises to both had been grossly violated. How the noble lord
Kept the word of promise to the ear,
And broke it to the hope.” Mr. GRATTAN said, that he had for a considerable time entertained the same opinion upon the oppressive nature of levying tithes in Ireland, and that he had not in all that time heard one argument that could prevail on him to alter that opinion. He was more and more convinced of the propriety, of the necessity, and of the practicability of a commutation. It was not the commutation that was impracticable, but it was the strict levy of the tithe that was so. The Irish clergy ought not to attempt to levy a tenth of Irish produce, because the measure itself was an impossibility : they could not do it; and what was more, they would destroy themselves by attempting it; the attempt would involve their destruction as a corporation. But were it practicable, would it be expedient ? Let the church take the tenth of the national wealth, and what do either the country or the corporation gain? The church may become too rich for devotion, and then a comparison will naturally grow out of the wealth of the established clergy, and the poverty of the tolerated; the one will have its odium, and the other will have its praise; the odium and the praise being both popular, may be equally excessive, but not, on that account, the less mischievous. He did not wish to touch the present income of the church; he would make it the basis of any arrangement that was to be proposed.
Tithes, though abolished, would not affect an income de. rived from a different source. The country was able to provide for their established clergy; unless gentlemen would say that it was easy to provide for the moderation of the Catholic clergymen, but impossible to provide for the hungry ambition of the Protestant, who would listen to no other commutation than that of a tenth for a tenth. But that would not be said; he would not say it; for he could speak from knowledge in testimony of the moderation of the majority of the Irish Protestant clergy. There were a few whom he found to be sufficiently acúte, furnished with a quick scent in the pursuit of clerical profits. They were, however, but few; the generality were of a different order. But the tithe-proctor was of another species, and another stamp, a public factor of public rapine; he extended beyond himself the infamy of his galling and griping character. The church suffered from the officious ministry of those sordid harpies. The tithe-proctor cannot