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Address to his Majesty, moved by Mr. Canning (in lieu of that proposed by the Hon. Mr. Lambe, and ultimately carried) in Answer to the Speech from the Throne, Dec. 19, 1806.


HAT an humble address be presented to his majesty, to return his majesty the thanks of this house, for the most gracious speech which the lords commissioners have read to us by his majesty's command; to assure his majesty, that it is with increased affection, attachment, and loyalty, that his majesty's faithful commons meet his majesty in this ninth parliament of his majesty's assembling. And that amidst all those evils and pressures of war, and those tremendous and unparalleled successes of a formida ble and unrelenting enemy, which render the present crisis peculiarly awful and alarming, the first and most fervent prayer of his majesty's faithful commons is, that it may please Divine Providence to grant to this favoured country the prolonga. tion of a life and of a reign, the value and the blessings of which, each succeeding year teaches us more highly to appreciate. And to express to his majesty our unshaken determination to stand by his ma jesty throughout all the difficulties and dangers of the times; in defence of the laws and liberties of

this realm; in defence of his majes ty's sacred person and government; and of a throne endeared to all classes of his majesty's subjects by the virtues of the sovereign who adorns it. To offer to his majesty our humble and affectionate condolence on that share of the public calamities of Europe which has come home to the personal and domestic feelings of his majesty and his royal family, by the death of that gallant and illustrious prince the late duke of Brunswick, a prince connected by such near alliances with his majesty's royal house, and with the throne of these kingdoms. That while we most sensibly participate in the deep and poignant grief with which his majesty contemplates the issue of the late campaign on the continent, we studiously abstain from suggesting to his majesty, as a topic of consolation, what we well know his majesty's intelligence and magnanimity would disdain te receive as such-the interruption of his majesty's intercourse with the court of Berlin during the last eight months, which precluded his majes ty from any knowledge of those counsels by which the war between Prussia and France was so unfortu. nately precipitated. Satisfied as we are of the justice of the original grounds of his majesty's complaints against Prussia, we are yet unable to refrain from deeply deploring

their consequences. We are not furnished with any means of judging how far those complaints were capable of being adjusted, without recourse being had to actual hostilities; or how far any discussions, which may have taken place subse quently to his majesty's gracious message of the 21st of April, were directed to that object. But we cannot but lament, that the obvious artifice of the common enemy, in making a fraudulent and nominal transfer of his majesty's electoral dominions to the king of Prussia, should have been so far crowned with success, as to have involved his majesty in war with the only state in Europe whose resources were yet unimpaired; and whose arms might, at some happier hour, have been employed with effect in a new confederacy against France; and that the too successful policy of the enemy in amusing this country with an insincere and protracted negociation, should have obtained for France the opportunity of goading Prussia (by unmeasured and accumulated injuries) to that premature, unconcerted, and unassisted effort, which has terminated in the overthrow of that powerful monarchy, and in the complete subjugation of its dominions. We cannot but express our regret, that the policy which appears to have been ultimately adopted towards Prussia should not have been recognised and acted upon until the occasion was gone by; and that his majesty's plenipotentiary should have ar. rived only in time to be an helpless witness of that prodigious ruin and destruction, which a more timely interposition of his majesty's advice and assistance might possibly have averted or alleviated. To acknow

ledge his majesty's goodness in ba ving directed to be laid before us the details of the negociation so long carried on at Paris. We en. tertain the fullest conviction, that the just and moderate sentiments, by which his majesty has proved himself to have been animated in the several preceding negociations for peace with France, have alike actuated his majesty on the late occasion: and while we look with anxious interest for the develope. ment of those circumstances which can have deferred for so long a period that termination of the ne gociation, which it is evident, as well from notorious facts as from the language of his majesty's declaration, the artifices and pretensions of the enemy rendered, from the beginning, almost certain and un. avoidable; we doubt not but we shall see, in the whole course and tenour of the proceedings on the part of his majesty, fresh instances of that desire for peace, and of that sincerity and good faith in the pursuit of it, which have so often been frustrated by the ambition of the French government; as well as fresh proofs of the expediency of adhering to the policy of treating for general peace, and only in conjunction with our allies. That we receive with the utmost satisfaction the assurance of his majesty's unin terrupted concert and good understanding with the emperor of Russia; trusting, that neither in war nor in negociation, his majesty's councils will be separated from those of our ally, distinguished alike by perse. verance and good faith. The continued prosecution of the war being necessarily imposed upon his ma jesty, we rejoice in the assurance that it is intended to prosecute it

with vigour; earnestly imploring his majesty, that no apprehension of embarrassing the conduct of a negociation by acquisitions made during its progress, may ever again be suffered to relax for a moment the military and naval operations of this country. That if we have not the triumph and satisiaction, as in former years of war, of offering to his majesty our congratulations on any signal and decisive victory by sea, we nevertheless reflect, with just pride and acknowledgement, on the several distinguished instances in which the skill, valour, and intrepidity of British officers and seamen have been displayed in their usual lustre, and with their accustomed success, over equal or superior squadrons of the enemy. But we cannot help lamenting, in justice to the naval service, as well as to the interests of the country, that supineness or mismanagement, by which the predatory squadrons of the enemy have been permitted to range, unchecked, among our West-India colonies, and to escape with impunity; and by which our commerce has been exposed to a degree of annoyance highly injurious to the interests and discreditable to the maritime superiority, of Great-Britain. With equal sorrow, and with no less astonishment, we have observed those delays and uncertainties, and that apparent perplexity and fluctuation of councils, which have marked the conduct of the war department of the state, which have hitherto prevented the execution of those measures which ministers persuaded the late parliament to enact, and upon which they themselves professed so greatly to rely for the internal defence of the empire; and delays

which have so long confined our expeditions within our own ports, and have rendered the military preparations of this government at once ineffectual to the annoyance of the enemy, and a just ground of dis satisfaction and disappointment to the nation at large. We rejoice in the opportunity of congratulating his majesty on the capture of that valuable and important settlement, the Cape of Good Hope, by those distinguished officers, sir David Baird and sir Home Popham. We have, however, the consolation and gratification of being able to recall his majesty's attention to acquisitions and achievements in the course of the present year, by which, notwithstanding the apparent inactivity of his majesty's present servants, the credit of his majesty's arms, by sea and land, as been sustained in the different quarters of the globe. We congratulate his majesty on the signal advantages obtained by his majesty's arms in the expedition under sir H. Popham, and general Beresford, against the Spanish settlement of Buenos Ayres; advan、 tages which, if seasonably supported and diligently improved, must be in the highest degree valuable to this country, opening fresh channels of commercial enterprise, and affording new and increasing encouragement to British manufactures and navi. gation; advantages doubly important at a moment when the other markets of the world are attempted to be closed against us. We enter, with heartfelt exultation, into the senti ments so justly expressed by his majesty, on the brilliant victory obtained on the plains of Maida, by his majesty's land forces, under the gallant and able conduct of sir J. Stuart, over a French army supe


rior in numbers. We feel, with his majesty, the full value of the sea. sonable check given, by this splen. did achievement, to the overweening confidence of the enemy; and of the proof which it affords that the character and constitution of the British army were not inadequate, upon their ancient footing, to maintain, unimpaired, the lustre of the British name, and the military glory of our ancestors. That we shall nevertheless examine, with due at tention and solicitude, into the effect of that new system which the late parliament were induced to adopt, for improving the character, as well as augmenting the amount, of his majesty's regular forces; willing to hope that we shall have the satis. faction of discovering an improve. ment so striking, and an augmentation so rapid and abundant, as at once to have supplied all the deficiencies arising from the disuse of such measures as have been either abolished or suspended, and to compensate for the certain, permanent, and large addition which they have necessarily occasioned to the military expenditure of the state. We shall investigate with equal care, the state of our other military esta. blishments, and particularly that of the volunteers, the cheap, efficient, and patriotic defence of the united kingdom; we trust and believe that we shall find them, in spite of all discouragement and discountenance, neither abated in zeal, nor, as yet, materially reduced in numbers, at a period when it appears but too pro bable that their services may be more than ever essential to their country. That we are fully sensi. ble of his majesty's paternal affection for his subjects, manifested in the regret which he expresses at

being compelled to call upon them for sacrifices of so great an extent as may be necessary in the present crisis of affairs. That however painful the duty of imposing fresh burthens upon the people, we shall, however, not shrink from discharging it; satisfied as we are of the prevailing determination of all ranks of the community to submit with cheerfulness to the indispensable necessity of providing means for the continuance of a contest, in the issue of which public safety and pri vate happiness are alike inseparably involved. That it is a consolation to us, as to his majesty, under the pressure of this inevitable ne. cessity, to learn the flourishing state of public credit, and the produc tiveness of the several branches of the revenue: and that we agree entirely with his majesty in attri buting these salutary effects in a great measure to the system so wisely begun, and so properly persevered in, of raising a considerable proportion of the supplies within the year; a system which has happily disappointed the predictions of the external and internal enemies of his majesty and his government. That we earnestly wish it were in our power to close our address here. But we feel that we should be wanting as well in duty to his majesty as in fidelity to that people, in whose name and on whose behalf we are proffering sacrifices unexampled in magnitude and inde. finite in duration, if we were to disguise from his majesty the deep and general sentiment which prevails respecting the measures which preceded and accompanied the late general election. Far be it from us to question his majesty's undoubted prerogative. But we cannot reflect


without concern and disapprobation upon the circumstances of sur. prise and deception which attended the sudden exercise of that prerogative in the dissolution of the late parliament; and particularly of his servants to mislead upon the irreverent use of his majesty's royal name in a proclamation summoning the late parliament to meet on a fixed and no distant day, issued at a period, when the measure of dissolving that parliament must already have been in contemplation. Connected also with this subject, we cannot forbear to notice rumours which strongly prevail throughout the country, of the most improper and unconstitutional interference of his majesty's ministers in the course of the late elections; rumours at once highly discreditable and injurious to his majesty's government, and to the independent character of parliament. We hope that upon enquiry and examination they may be proved to be utterly unfounded. But, convinced as we are, that the tendency (though we trust not the effect) of such interference, as is alledged, must have been to revolt and disgust the well-affected part of the community, and to sow distraction and discontent in place of that unanimity which is so loudly called for, at a moment when the prosperity of the British empire depends upon the consenting and cordial co-operation of all orders and descriptions of the people; convinced also, that it is our peculiar duty, as it is the common interest of all those who prize, as it deserves, the inestimable blessing of a free forin of government, to mark with our strongest reprehension a perversion of power which would be too well

calculated to favour those delusive and dangerous theories which stigmatize the house of commons as an inadequate representative of the people. But while we feel this most unpleasant duty forced upon us, in vindication of our own independence, and of the rights of those whom we represent, we humbly and earnestly entreat his majesty to be persuaded, that neither this, nor any other misconduct of his ma. jesty's ministers, can essentially af fect the firm and settled purpose of this house, and of the great body of the nation, to unite in that general cause, and against that common danger-in, comparison to which all other considerations, however important in themselves, are at the present moment, unfortu nately, inferior and subordinate. And we venture confidently to assure his majesty, that great and unexampled as are the difficulties and dangers which surround us, his majesty possesses in the wealth and prosperity of his dominions, in the loyalty and firmness of his parliament, in the bravery of his fleets and armies, and in the affection, zeal, and courage of his peopleresources, which, if wisely called forth, and diligently and judici ously applied, are yet amply suf ficient to ensure the safety and honour of the British empire; and to maintain the only remaining hope, under Divine Providence, for the restoration of the liberties and happiness of mankind."

Resolutions of Finance moved by Lord Henry Petty, in the House of Commons, Jan. 29, 1807. [See also p. 680.]


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