as the understanding, the hon. Baronet manifefted not only that fincerity and frank nefs which is the general characteriftic of the profeffion of which he forms fo bright an ornament, and which never fails to intereft any man capable of feeling, but also a confiderable share of acutenefs and judgment he made fome very pertinent remarks upon the nature of those gun-boats which feem to be fuch favourites of the right honourable Gentleman who brought forward this motion, but of which the hon. Baronet don't appear at all to approve; and, from my own obfervation, I certainly am difpofed to agree with that hon. Baronet, who is much more competent to judge upon the fubject than the right hon. Gentleman or any other ftatefman. I am not furprised that thefe gun-boats thould be treated with fo much contempt by naval men. I have happened to fee fomething of them myfelf, by accident, in the course of the last war, on the South coaft, and they really appeared to me to be quite unfit to render any material service in the way of attack or defence; indeed fome of them were incapable of firing a fhot. It is known that out of the 120 gun-boats which the right hon. Gentleman had in commiflion at the clofe of the laft war, there were scarcely any retained as at all useful, and that 62 of them, which were purchafed from contractors, were much the worft. Enough has been faid by the hon. Baronet of the kind of veffels which contractors generally built and without referring to the fhips of the line, of which the honourable Baronet has taken notice, in proof of the badnefs of their materials and the inferiority of their workmanship, I fhall only remark on thefe gun-boats. I do not, indeed, like to dwell on the mifconduct of inferior officers in any department. I do not wish to hear of fuch perfons in this Houfe; we fhould always look to the heads of thofe departments as the perfons anfwerable to us. The Navy Board may be fufpected of having played into the hands of the contractors during the laft war; and perhaps,' to that was owing the great inferiority of the right hon. Gentleman's gun-boats-an inferiority which was certainly very glaring, for out of the 120, 87 were fold, after advertifement, for almoft nothing; fome which could not be difpofed of were retained, and fix were fent to Jersey, which were found fo utterly ufelefs, that Captain D'Auvergne knew not what to do with them. He, however, fent five of them home fome time after, and was obliged to fend fome of his beft cruifers to tow them fafely. Yet this is the kind of force which the right hon. Gentleman would recommend

recommend in preference to any other to defend our coaft. It reminds me of an anecdote of the right hon. Gentleman's Administration, when three men of war were fent to this country from Portugal, which was our ally; those ships were found to be incapable of giving us any affiftance, but, on the contrary, were to little fea-worthy, that it was determined to fend them home, and it became abfolutely neceffary to dispatch one of our frigates with them as a convoy. Such fhipping would of courfe be rather an incumbrance to us; and the gun boats, to which the right hon. Gentleman is fo partial, would, from all that I have heard abroad, which is corroborated by the hon. Baronet this night, be rather injurious on the fcore of expence, and the number of men they would neceffarily require, than likely to be ferviceable.-An hon. Admiral on the lower bench (Admiral Berkeley) has, in the courfe of a very extraordinary speech, ftated that he had delivered in a plan to the Admiralty, which, if acted upon, muft effectually fecure our own coaft, and completely deftroy the flotilla of the enemy. The gallant Admiral has detailed to the Houfe fome parts of this plan; but he has not told us whether it was the production of his own brain or that of fome other perfon, and doubtlefs it would be, from the fpecimen he has given us, a strong proof of his own gallantry to own it (a laugh). Without pretending to much nautical knowledge, one might, I think, queftion the correctnefs of the hon. Admiral's ideas upon this project, for the practicability of making ufe of gun boats to annoy the flotillas on the French coaft is denied by every intelligent naval officer; but whatever is their ufe in the hoals along that coaft, they furely are incapable of any degree of utility, comparable to that which may be derived from large thipping upon our own coaft. Wherever the latter can be employed, the former muft be comparatively ufclefs. It is notorious that, all along from Pevenicy to Dungeness, a man of war can anchor close in fhore, fuch is the depth of water. This, therefore, is the defcription of force upon which I would place my confidence either for attack or defence. As to the former, who can entertain a doubt that, if the French gun boats fhould venture out, and the flightest breeze fhould arife, that Captain Markham, whom I mention not as a Member of Parliament, for that I know would be irregular, but as a naval officer, that Sir Edward Pellew, Sir Thomas Trowbridge, or in fact any officer known in our naval records, would, with a fingle 74, fhoot through and fink a crowd of that contemptible

contemptible craft? With respect to the number of feamen and marines now employed, it has been stated by the right hon. Gentleman on the Treafury bench, that there are 98,000, which is only 2000 fhort of the whole amount voted. But the honourable Gentleman who spoke laft is ftill diffatisfied. He fays that there ought to be more men. He does not seem to recollect that the vote of the House limited the Admiralty; and that it was at the time that vote was made the hon. Gentleman's objections would have been moft timely and proper. That was the period to confider the amount of the force neceffary to maintain the war. The Admiralty had thought 100,000 men fufficient, and it appeared that they were right notwithstanding the hon. Gentleman's difapprobation. They had, and it was not the leaft of their merit, collected this vaft force in the fpace of twelve months, notwithstanding the number of our other defcriptions of force, and without interrupting the active employment of our population in the various avocations of commerce, manufactures, and agriculture. To the obfervations of the right honourable Gentleman, on the propriety of building fhips in the merchants' dock yards, I truft enough has been faid by the hon. Baronet (Sir Edward Pellew), at whofe prefence this night the Houfe has reafon to rejoice, to convince the right hon. Gentleman of his error, and alfo to fhew him that his partiality to gun boats is not quite fo judicious as he imagined. After what the hon. Baronet has urged on this point, I fhould hope the right hon. Gentleman will no longer attempt to maintain his argument, unlefs he be influenced by fuch magnanimity that he would not with to oppose the French gun boats by any but their own matches. (A laugh.) I have heard a right hon. Gentleman on the lower bench (Mr. Windham) often deplore that the age of chivalry was gone;" but furely that complaint can no longer be repeated if the right hon. Mover of the propofition before the Houfe fhall continue to manifeft a with rather to oppofe gun boats to thofe of the French, than to fee a crowd of them run down by an English 74. This would be fomething like the feeling which I am fure would influence the right hon. Gentleman on the lower bench, if, in paffing through the ftreet, he should happen to fee two men engaged of unequal fize and ftrength. The right honourable Gentleman would immediately intereft himself for the weaker party, and call into action that fcience for which he is fo diftinguifhed, to elease, and perhaps to avenge, hita. (A laugh.) To be

ferious :

ferious: it is abfurd to fay, that we fhould at once give up that formidable defcription of naval force, in which we have always found our strength and our glory, and take up another which is condemned not merely by the experience to which I have already referred, but by the judgment of the most refpectable naval officers. That this change too fhould be chofen, as the right hon. Gentleman recommended, merely in order to reduce us to a level with the French boats, for no other argument to fupport the choice has been advanced; really furprifes me. It is fomething like this, that if we had a ftone wall to defend us against the thot of an enemy, it fhould be recommended to us to throw down the wall and fling ftones at our affailants. An anecdote has been very generally mentioned with refpect to the right hon. Gentleman who commenced this debate: it is faid that he propofed this fentiment "The volunteers, and a fpeedy meeting with the enemy on our own fhores." This toaft, I understand, was propofed among a number of volunteer officers above fix months ago, at a time when the volunteers, upon whom we are fo much to rely for our fecurity, could not be much acquainted with difcipline, if, according to the right hon. Gentleman's affertion, they are even now very defective in that refpe&t. I am as ready as any man to pay a juft compliment to the right hon. Gentleman's active endeavours to promote the improvement of the volunteers. I acknowledge that his folicitude for their advancement and glory is confiderable, and probably he withes to remove any impediment in their way. His defire is, perhaps, that they thould have a full opportunity of diftinguishing themfelves pursuant to the toaft I have quoted. If fuch be his view, he certainly could not accomplish it by better means than by contriving to have the defence of our country committed to his favourite gun boats, inftead of men of war. Independently of the other objections I have offered to thofe gun boats, there is one which occurs to me of too much strength to be omitted. If they were of the fame kind as thofe of laft war, any defcription of men would be good enough, or too good, for them; and if good men were required for them, they could not be had without deducting from the number neceifary for our important fhipping. Why, then, join with the corrupt band of detected peculators in cenfuring the Admiralty for not paying all the attention which the right hon. Gentleman defired to thefe gun boats? A little confideration ought to be fufficient to prevent any man from complaining of that refpectable Board;-that Board

which is refpectable in the estimation of all men but mistaken partifans or fraudulent contractors;-that Board which has had fuch numerous difficulties to encounter, alt incurred by a folicitude to expofe and punifh fraud-to recover and to fpare the public money. Has the right hon. Gentleman read the five reports from the Commiffioners appointed to inquire into the abufes committed in the feIveral branches of the naval department? If fo, has he not there feen the foul corruption, the abominable artifice, with which the Admiralty has had to ftruggle? Has the right hon. Gentleman obferved the frauds expofed in the fecond report the block and coopers' contracts, where 20001. have been paid for work proved not to be worth 2001.? Has he read the defcription of the plunder practifed on feamen by prize agents; and if fo, can he, can any man who loves the friends of his country and virtue, refufe his gratitude and admiration to the Firft Lord of the Admiralty who originated this inquiry? an inquiry which has irritated against him a hoft of enemies; they are enemies, however, which that noble Lord muft defpife. It was but the prejudice of defeated vice against triumphant virtue. It could not dif turb the noble Lord's mind. While he was only affailed by thofe worms who had fed and fattened upon the corruption of the navy-while he had only to reckon as his foes thofe who had proved themselves hoftile to honour and juftice, who had enriched themselves on the fpoils of their country-while fuch only were his enemies, the noble Lord would proceed in his courfe of glory as he did in the victory on the memorable 14th of February 1797, difdaining and declining to retaliate their attack; but when the right hon. Author of the motion before the House becomes his affailant, the noble Lord muft feel furprised. Even that right hon. Gentleman, however, cannot injure him. His fame ftands too highhis character is too firmly eftablished to be hurt by the affertions of any Member, and I have no doubt that the noble Lord will be ever found entitled to the applaufe and protection of his country.-With regard to the right hon. Gentle man's recommendation, that ihipping fhould be built in the merchants' dock yards, I fhall only refer him to the thips mentioned by the honourable Baronet, and alfo to the cafes defcribed in the reports of the Commiffioners of Naval Inquiry, particularly to the cafes where it appeared that the perfons who received payment for the hips built in merchants' yards, were cleiks in the King's dock yards. Is it poffible to fuppofc that collufions

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