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fuch services nd dirty manner bruary, 1797, thent.
able Member had stated the precedent of the Duke of Marlborough, which none had presumed to controvert. Now, after this exploit had been spoken of in such terms, what ought not the House to feel when they heard the Chancellor of the Exchequer talking of anniversaries, and referring to dates a twelvemonth back? How ought his Majesty's Ministers to blush at their conduct, in procrastinating the reward due to such services, and then in bringing forward the business in the scandalous and dirty manner they had ? To mark their proceedings on the 14th of February, 1797, this gallant victory was achieved by the arms of Lord St. Vincent. On the 3d of March a proposition was made for an Address of Thanks to the Admiral, the Officers, and Seamen ; at the same time it was said, that it would be the more proper way to leave to the Executive Government the task of remuneration. It was hinted that something was intended to be done. He knew, that prior to that time it was in agitation to have rewarded him with a barony, for his services in the Mediterranean; but this exploit seemed to have merited a peerage, which was immediately conferred on him. On the uth of October the victory of Admiral Duncan took place. It was inviduous to draw comparisons between the merit of the two exploits. No man estimated more than he did the brilliancy of each, but if he might be allowed to compare them, he would beg leave to call to the memory of the House and the Committee, that the victory of Lord St. Vincent was one which certainly was unparalleled in the annals of the navy. It was a victory gained over the ene. my with an inequality against the British fleet of fifteen to twenty-five. Ministers themselves had acknowledged it to be the greatest action ever fought. He scorned to make invidious comparisons ; but he could not avoid remarking, that from the time the pecrage was conferred, no further mention was made of the name of Lord St. Vincent. A peerage was also conferred on Lord Duncan for the signal victory he had obtained ; and before he could well know the road to the House, a message was brought from his Majesty, that some pecuniary recompence was to be conferred. Then so late as Monday last came the Chancellor of the Exchequer to the House, and with a sort of cold-blooded recollection, as if he had considered that something else was required to be done, put off the motion to confider of the message till this day, in order to have an opportunity of making another, which he had recollected was necesfary, at the same time.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer had acted with more than his usual ambiguity and duplicity on this occafion, and his conduct had the effect of conveying a mean, dirty intinuation, thae in consequence of the proposition in favour of Lord Duncan, an application had been made on the part of Lord St. Vincent or his friends for a similar remuneration. It was so contrived, that it might seem as if something had intervened, which made it necessary to think of Lord St. Vincent-then came down the meilage. He should take no notice of its being couched in the same terms as that respecting Lord Duncan, though it must be obvious that the legal operation of the grant must be very different with regard to the two persons. If the grant to Lord St. Vincent appeared to be the same as that to Lord Duncan, in point of fact it was very different. True, it met the ears a precisely similar, but so did it not the understanding. Lord St. Vincent had no children on whom his title could devolve. In this situation stood the complaint he had to urge, as to the gross and manifest partiality of Ministers to one in preference to the other. They had brought forward a proposition in favour of Lord Duncan in the course of three months, and then came the cold blooded after thought of Lord St. Vincent, making him follow in the wake of Lord Duncan. See the policy of such a system, and the effect it would have on the navy. What would be the sentiments of the admirals, captains, and officers of the navy, when they perceived a low, paltry, party spirit preventing the rewards and honours due to meritorious and valorous achievements. Thus much as to the manner in which the business had been introduced, then as to the time. It was brought forward at a period of national distress and bankruptcy, unequalled in the history of the country. The Minister called upon the House to vote a sum of 2000). or 4000l. annually, at a moment when the pecuniary embarrassments of the country exceeded what were ever known ; at a moment when it was admitted the funding system was obliged to be abandoned ; at a moment when begging-boxes were hung up in every street, for the purpose of scraping guineas and half guineas from the hands of menial servants, merely to support Ministers. (Repeated acclamations of heur ! hear!) Certain he was, Ministers were never better pleased than when by such delusions as they had practised, they could extort money from the people. Mr. Jekyll said, he knew the Noble Earl well whose cause he was pleading, and well he was persuaded, that at a period of public distress like the present, he would be the last to ask for pecuniary recompence, even though he were sure of finding, in every one of his Majesty's Ministers, a relation to forward his request, especially if those Ministers had been the means of bringing the country into its present situation. He was persuaded of this, because he knew the Noble Lord was too virthous a character to seek pecuniary remuneration by any such in
direct methods. He understood the Peerage had not been applied for by Lord St. Vincent. With respect to the honour of Peerige, no man venerated it more than he did. It was an honour which he always wished to fce reserved for heroes, and truiv glorious characters. He wished not to see it proftituted, by being beítowed on vile fycophants, ministerial jobbers, and mikrable borough-mongers. On the ground of this business being brought forward at a time when the country could not bear it, and from the manner in which it was done, evidently to cast a llur uçon Lord St. Vincent, by suffering it to lay a iwelvemonth in obscurity, and then taking it up, he could not but condemn it. From whatever quarter such proceedings originated, he must say that they reflected great dishonour on his Majesty's Ministers. They had conducted themselves in a manner scandalous to themselves, disgraceful to Lord St. VinCent, and he trusted their conduct would meet with the disapprobation of the House.
The Chancellor of the Excheqi!er said, he ought to make an apology to the Committee for taking any notice at all of the Honourable Gentleman's fpecch. It was a speech of a nature so fingular, that he really was at a loss how to begin. The Learned Gentleman had stated he had becn pleading the cause of Lord St. Vincent. It however happened, fortunately for Lord St. Vincent, that his distance from this country fccured him from the imputation of having retained him. Confident he was the Learned Gentlemen had not, by his pleading, acquired any fee which he could contribute to the bogging-box of which he had spoken. As to the extent of the Learned Genileman's contributions for the benefit of his country, he was himself the best judge. It had been stated that this measure was brought forward too late. With respect to Lord Duncan, he took Thame to himself that he had suffered so long a period as four months to elapse, but the great preffure of public business has prevented him from bringing it forward sooner; and with regard to Lord St. Vincent, the circumftances that rendered it necefsary to make a similar propofition, were unknown to him till within twenty-four hours previous to its being mentioned in the House. Was this annuity to be granted, because the House thought a pecuniary remuneration neceffary, in order to add lustre to those great characters, whose exploits had entitled them to the gratitude of the country? Admitting that a pecu. niary reward was something better than an honorary title, was the peerage depreciated, because it was necessary to give something else? It must be obvious that a peerage ought not to be conferred where there was not a sufficiency of property to enable the person ennobled to support the high rank he was called to ;
at least such was the principle in ordinary cascs; but where, for splendid exertions and magnanimous exploits, by which the country had benefitted, it became necessary' a man should be advanced beyond that rank he was born to ; in such case, if, from his former situation in life, he had not been able to raise a fortune sufficient to enable him to support a station to which the voice of the country called him, then, the rank being given, it became necessary for the public to inake provision to maintain it. Thus it was with respect to Lord Duncan. He knew it was fo. As to Lord St. Vincent he did not, nor did any of his Majesty's Ministers, till a very short period before the business was brought forward, know that his situation re. quired it. i The Honourable and Learned Gentleman had affected to be the friend and advocate of the Noble Lord; but his real object was only to have an opportunity of making an illiberal, indecent, and unwarrantable attack on his Majesty's Ministers. Such was the object of the Honourable Gentleman, and such was at all times the object of those who acted with him. From the style which he had assumed, it seemed as though he cared not how much he endangered the interest of his own friends, io he could thereby attack those whom he called his enemies. It was not till a very late period he knew that the situation of Lord St. Vincent was such as to leave him with an income as little adequate to support his title as Lord Duncan. The Honourable Gentleman had bewildered himself about the affair of the Baronetcy and Earldom ; he had thought proper to infer, that the honour was not conferred on the Noble Lord for his services in the Mediterranean. Now the fact was, that when the Baronetcy was offered him, it was offered previous to the 14th of February, on the grounds that his former services had been so meritorious. When the news of that celebrated victory arrived, his Majesty, unsolicited by him, unfolicited by any of his friends, unsolicited by any volunteer counsel, offered not only the Baronctcy, but the further honour of a Peerage. What there was illiberal in the manner in which the Peerage was bestowed, he would leave to the Honourable Gentleman to determine. The Peerage was bestowed spontaneously by his Majesty, and unalked by Lord St. Vincent, and it was objected to, because the pecuniary remuneration did not come sooner, though the circumstances that rendered it neceflary were unknown.
The Honourable Gentleman had observed respecting the manner in which the business was brought forward, that it had a tendency to sow diffentions in the fleet, by the invidious comparison it held forth between the two admirals. He also
had stated, it was brought forward at a moment when the lituation of the country, and the distress of the times were such, that the people could not bear it. Such were the insinuations by which he pretended to serve his country, and the interest of his friend. As to the invidious comparison made by the manner of bringing forward the business, it was what no one could seriously attend to. The two glorious achicvements were in themselves so much alike, that it was impoffible to draw any comparison between them; and sure he was no officer of either feet would infer any that were invidious. The Honourable Gentleman had exerted all the powers of his cloquence, not to exaggerate the exploits of Lord St. Vincent, for they were beyond his ability to exaggerate ; but to depreciate ii ofe of Lord Duncan; but it must be felt, that no dilter.ction ought to be made between two persons who, under circumstances very different, both contending with an encmy of greater superiority, in point of number, and of great resolution, as appeared by the actions, had rendered services to the country as splendid as any that were to be found in its naval annals, at the brightest period of its history-Actions which were both eminent, and both unrivalled, compared to any period to which he could allude. But having said the action of Lord Sr. Vin. cent, on the 14th of February, was unrivalled, the Honourable Gentleman was extremely indignant that it should in fix months' after be foilowed by another, which had so rivalled it, that it might be placed on the same footing with it. This was a curi us figure in rhetoric, a sort of anachronism, by which the Honourable Gentleman would prove, that an action in the beginning of the year which was meritorious, cealed to be so, because it was rivalled in fix months after. The Charcellor of the Exchequer faid, the Honourable Gentlemao would not have the reward he expected. He would not have the thanks of Lord St. Vincent; and if he hoped to raise a jealousy between such characters as Lord St. Vincent and Lord Duncan, he would find that their superior minds could possess the feelings of a noble emulation without jealousy, and of equality without envy ; and all men who were capable of being their admirers, must, at the same time, be incapable of admiring the conduct of the Honourable Gentleman, who, by his insinuations, was attempting to low diffentions in the fleet, at the very time too when he was loading others with the imputation of so doing. . When the Honourable Gentleman reflected on his conduct this day, he would have no reason to be proud of it. As to the particular distress of the country, the Chancellor of the Exchequer admitted that the public expences were heavy. No one could doubt it; but the circumstance to which