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led on, year after year to support it ;-and of the gross and criminal mismanagement that appeared in every branch of administration, and particularly in the marine department. To the negligence and incapacity of the minister at the head of that board, Lord Sandwich, he ascribed the loss of the army under Lord Cornwallis. Mr. Fox concluded a speech of great length and commanding eloquence by observing, that in his opinion no address whatsoever should be sent up to the throne, until they had an opportunity of going down to their constituents, and consulting with them on the matter. He finally proposed an amendment which would give His Majesty the assnrance of their loyalty and zeal; and would promise, in a more effectual way, to support the essential rights and permanent interests of his empire.-Mr. Rigby having animadverted on the desire expressed by Mr. Fox, and others, to take counsel from their constituents, which he considered unconstitutional, if not illegal,
Mr. SHERIDAN rose. He reprehended Mr. Rigby for the contemptuous manner in which he had spoken, and always did speak, of the constituent body of the country. He defended the honorable member, Mr. Fox's, ideas on the subject; and argued very forcibly on Mr. Rigby's declaration, that the house were in possession of all the sense of the country. Mr. Sheridan then adverted to the arguments that had been urged to claim the confidence and support of the house at this juncture, which, he said, all went to prove that ministers were entitled to the support of the country, in proportion as they shewed themselves unfit to govern it. He was particularly happy in his manner of handling what Lord George Germaine asserted, that he still continued to regard America as the brightest jewel of the crown.
The house divided on the amendment; Ayes 129-Noes 218. The original address was then agreed to.
MR. BURKE'S MOTION TO ENQUIRE INTO THE CONFISCATION AND DISPOSAL OF THE EF
FECTS, &c. OF THE INHABITANTS OF ST. EUSTATIUS, CAPTURED BY ADMIRAL SIR GEO. RODNEY AND GENERAL VAUGHAN.
Mr. SHERIDAN said, he was very unwilling to trouble the house at so late an hour; but he
thought it necessary to ask one plain question; and that was, Did the honorable admiral (Sir George Rodney) and the honorable general (Vaughan) consent to the proposed enquiry or not? For if they had no objection to it, and they neither of them had hinted any thing that might lead the house to believe they had, there certainly would be no opposition to it. The noble lord (North) in the blue riband could not possibly be so good a guardian of their honour, as the commanders themselves. He therefore desired to know if the honorable admiral and general had any dislike to the enquiry; and if neither of them gave any answer, he should take it for granted that they had not.
Upon a division there appeared for the motion 89; against it
FEBRUARY 7, 1782.
NAVAL AFFAIRS OF 1781.
In a Committee of the house to enquire into the causes of the want of success of our naval force during the war, and particularly in the year 1781, Mr. Fox moved the following resolution :—“ That it appears to this committee, that there was gross mismanagement in the administration of naval affairs in the year 1781."—In the course of the debate, Lord North admitted "that many of our best officers were unemployed and disgusted; but that it by no means appeared they had any just cause for their disgust.”
Mr. SHERIDAN spoke with great energy, and commented on what had fallen from Lord North; particularly in the expression, that though there were many of the best officers disgusted, they had no cause for disgust. He condemned the noble lord, in pointed terms, for expressing such language, at a time when that house, and all the world, knew and felt the treatment which the veteran commanders of the fleet had experienced. The honorable gentleman, with most forcible expression, declared his abhorrence of language so disrespectful and unbecoming, after their shameless behaviour; by which
their country had, in its worst moments, lost the benefit of assistance from such distinguished characters as a Keppel, a Howe, a Barrington, a Parker, a Harland, a Pigot, a Byron; and all who had been driven into retirement. He repeated many of the gallant actions of these men, and spoke in high terms of the just influence which they possessed in the navy, and the credit which they had with the people. The present was a time to speak out. Men must not now, from false motives of personal prudence, keep from the knowledge of their country, the reasons which induced, or which constrained them to relinquish the service. There were several of these officers then present in the house; and he hoped they would now rise, fired at the insult offered them by the expression of the noble lord in the blue riband, and explain fully and clearly the reasons which they had for withdrawing. One of those admirals (Keppel) had given that explanation. His reasons had been too evident to require disclosure; but there were other distinguished admirals in the house who had not been so explicit; and of whom all the world entertained the highest opinion. From their accounts the house would see whether there was either decency or modesty in the language of the noble lord; and also whether, after such behaviour to men so eminent, it would be either just or prudent to suffer the Earl of Sandwich to continue in place; for he was a man born for the destruction of the British
For the motion 183; against it 205.
MR. FOX'S MOTION, 63 THAT IT APPEARS TO THIS HOUSE THAT THERE HAS BEEN GREAT MISMANAGEMENT IN HIS MAJESTY'S NAVAL AFFAIRS IN THE YEAR 1781."
Mr. SHERIDAN said, he was surprised to hear gentlemen differ on the present question. The public
notoriety of our failure at sea, spoke at once for the motion; and to hear gentlemen urge, that if they voted for this motion, it ought to be followed by the dismission of Lord Sandwich; was exactly similar to that which must for ever appear a disgrace to us, viz. voting that "the influence of the crown had encreased, was still encreasing, and ought to be diminished;" and negativing the very first motion afterwards, grounded on that resolution. Surely, he said, we were not going to fall into the same error now. It had been strongly urged, that the reason why Lord Sandwich should not be removed now was, on account of his having laid his plans for the ensuing campaign, which would be all frustrated, if he did not continue in office. Good God! what good could be expected from the future plans of a man that had planned so badly before? Certainly nothing; and if that was to be the case, why was there a new secretary appointed a few days back? Had not the late one formed his plans? Surely, if it would hold good in one, it would in the other; but he wished there had been no plans formed by the late American secretary; for he dreaded to see the day, if ever the army should return from America ;-it must be an awful day to England. No man could foresee the consequence of what might happen on the return of a large body of men, who had, for a series of years, been unnaturally employed to shed the blood of their fellow-subjects. He was heard throughout with great attention, and concluded with saying, that he dreaded making a peace till the marine of France was humbled. If peace was made while the house of Bourbon was equal in marine force to this country, he feared there would be an end not only to the commerce and prosperity, but also to the civil liberties of the kingdom.
For the motion 217; against it 236.
END TO OFFENSIVE WAR IN AMERICA.
In the course of the debate Sir William Dolben having intimated his intention of voting against the motion, although he had voted in favor of it on a preceding evening, Mr. Sheridan, in a most admirable piece of satire, ridiculed the strange conduct of a man who was the representative of one of our universities, and who, from his erudition and character, was supposed to have an influence on country gentlemen. He reprobated the paltry subterfuge of ministers, in their having expressed and wished for a truce; and was confident that every thinking man in the house would see through it, and not be led into the snare so artfully laid for them. An adjournment was moved by the Attorney General; but, on a division, the minister had a majority of 9 against him; and the original question was afterwards put and carried without a division.
MOTION, BY LORD JOHN CAVENDISH, OF CENSURE ON HIS MAJESTY'S MINISTERS.
Mr. SHERIDAN (who had risen several times before, but had resumed his seat, to give way to other speakers) said, he should not have risen again, not having met the speaker's eye before, but that he thought the learned lord (the Lord-Advocate of Scotland) and the right honorable gentleman (Mr. Rigby) who had followed him, had led the argument to such an issue, that it was impossible for any one who had a respect for the constituent body of the country, not to wish to give his sentiments on the extraordinary arguments they had used. He meant to speak to the purpose; but he wished not to be judged by the test laid down by the right honorable gentleman (Mr. Rigby) for he meant to give no offence in what he should say: though it was true, the rule had been proposed from high authority; for undoubtedly, if the degree of offence which speeches gave, was to be considered as the criterion of eloquence, the right honorable gentleman must be