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sure an unprecedented action, and consequently of a different nature to those usually so honoured under the conduct of Admirals and Captains; it was an action wherein the task at once devolved to a single individual both to plan and to execute. He recapitulated the various services of Captain Faulknor in the West Indies, both on board the Zebra and La BJanche, as they have formerly been detailed in the Gazettes, and expatiated largely on his gallantry. He had no doubt, he said, but that there were hundreds of officers, who in equ-d situations would display an equal degree of patriotism and valour, but that it rarely happened that such opportunities occurred. He lamented that three months should have transpired without any public notice of Captain Faulknor's bravery on the part of tlie House of Commons. Many for exertions less meritorious had received the greatest rewards, and been elevated to the highest honours. He alluded to the gratitude which they before had shewn to the eight surviving children of Captain Farmer of the Quebec, trusting that they would be no less generous on this occasion. He concluded by moving, "That an humble address be presented to his Majesty, to request that his Majesty would be pleased to order a monument to be erected in the collegiate church of St. Peter, Westminster, to the memory of the hte Captain Faulknor, and to assure his Majesty that his faithful Commons would undertake to make good the expences of the fame." ,
Mr. Grey fiid, that he was anxious to second this motion, not because he feared it would want the support of persons of greater influence than himself, but because, from information which he had rtceived from a particular channel, he was enabled to add some circumstances to the testimony which had just been borne to the merits of the gallant officer who was the object of the motion. If, indeed, as the Hon. General had suggested, there was some difficulty entertained on the present occasion, with respect to precedent, this was a cafe, in which, of all others, precedent might be dispensed with. A tribute of national respect and gratitude was due to Captain Faulknor, not merely for his behaviour in the action in which he fell, but for a long series of gallant services in the course of a life, which, though short with respect to time, was not less illustrious from the number and brilliancy of his atchievemenrsHe was a man, the admiration both ot the army and navy, and indeed of all who knew him, and in an expedition which, he might take upon him to fay, was distinguished by military enterprise and conduct, had signalized himself beyond his peers. Mr. Grey entered into a recital of the particulars of his conduct on different occasions, particularly at Fort Bourbon, at Guadeloupe, and at Fleur d'Epee. He trusted, thavn this motion to erect a monument to the memory of an officer, who after having rendered the most eminent services to his country, had fallen covered with glory, there would not be one dissentient voice, but that all would cheerfully concur in paying a tribute not less honourable to him, whose merits it was intended to commemorate, than it would be serviceable to the nation, by inspiring in others an emulation of his virtues. Mr. Grey adduced the instance of the monument erected at the public expence, in consequence of a vote of Parliament, to the memory of the late Earl of Chatham, to prove that the House had not always felt it necessary to govern itself by the narrow rule of general precedent.
The Secretary ot War said, that he felt himself placed in an unpleasant situation, in being obliged to oppose the motion— rfie more so, from the ardour with which it had been brotight forward by the Hon. Gentleman, and which might give to his opposition the appearance of some difference in opinion, or in feeling. No man, however, was more ready than himself to allow, that no actions could have been more brilliant, and no life more illustrious, than those of Captain Faulknor. He was not, however, from anything that had been said, relieved from the difficulty with respect to erecting a monument to his memory. What had been the rule observed in the case of other meritorious officers? It was necessary either to look to the principle that had been followed in former instances, or to adopt some new rule os action. The rule hitherto existing in usage was in opposition to the motion now proposed, and forbad them to give way to their feelings on the present occasion. What, he asked, h'ad formerly been the case, with respect to Captain Gardener (in a 64-gun ship against the Foudroyant of 80), and more recently with respect to Captain Courtenay, who had both fallen glorioufly in the service of their country.? Neither of these officers had any public monument erected to their memory. The rule had been only to erect monuments to those officers who fell in great and general actions, though the merit of those who perished in separate actions might be equally, and perhaps even more distinguished. Honours must go either by rules, or by discretion. If the principle was to be extended,, why sliould not lieutenants and midshipmen, who signalized themselves, come in for a fliare of the fame distinctions? What he then objected to in the present instance was, that the claims of individuals sliould be brought fotward in that House for separate discussion. It was not true with respect to horjour as with respect to all other good, that it became improved in degree in proportion as it was more extensively communicated. He regretted the absence of his Right Hon. Friend the Secretary of State, who was better acquaint
E J cd ed with the rules and principles upon which such motions were brought forward, He had giv r his opinion, and in order to get rid of the motion in the most respectful way, he said, he would move that the other Orders of the Day be now read.
Mr. Fcx said, that he should have thought it wise, reasonable, and just, to have at once assented to a motion founded on the ground of extraordinary merit. The Right Hon. Geivtleman had however thought proper to answer it by a long story of a rule which no where appeared. The Right Hon, Gentleman had laid down a very true principle, that honours did not become more valuable in proportion as they were lar vishly bestowed; and he wished it had been more attended to. in the distribution of the votes of thanks of last session. But would the honour of any of the British he/oes be tarnished by having the monument of' Captain Faulkner placed next to theirs? "Would not the catalogue rather receive fresh splendour from the addition of so illustrious a jiame? When the Right Hon. Gentleman laid so much stress on precedents, was he afraid that the precedents for conferring honours on such singular and extraordinary merit might become too numerous i He was sure that there was no precedent in which such a motion as the present had been brought forward and refused, and; he trusted that the House on the present occasion would attend to the dictates of their own feelings and the national honour, rather than the authority of the Hon. Gentleman.
Mr. Ryder defended the Secretary at War, but expressed his wish that a resolution might be drawn up, stating the reason why the motion was negatived, that there might be no room, to suspect that there was any difference of opinion as to the tnerits of Captain Faulknor.
Sir William Pultetwy differed entirely from the two Right Hon. Gentlemen on the other fide of the House—This did not appear to him to be at all a question of precedent, but a question of feeling; and the only point for consideration was, whether Captain Faulknor did not merit the honour which it was proposed to pay to his memory. Sir William said, that the effusions of respect and gratitude, called forth by extraordinary exertions in the service of the country, were equally creditable to the parties, and to themselves. Were they to be fettered by rules and by precedents? No; it was impossible to restrain the feelings of men. It had been said that there existed a rule by which the House of Commons were precluded from granting such honours to any officer standing in the situation of Captain Faulknor—That is to fay, whye the engagement was only between single ships, and not between fleets. In the fust place, the Right Hon. Gentleman (Mr. Windham) had by no means proved that any such rule existed, and even If it did, he should contend that it was a bad rule, and ought to be rescinded. If the House agreed with him in opinion, that it should not be tied down by any such supposed rule, he was sure they could not find a more proper occasion ihaa the' present to break through it. He was at a loss to know why officers belonging to fleets should alone be entitled to honours, for the situation of an officer, commanding a single ship, seemed to him much more difficult. An officer, commanding a ship in a fleet, acted not upon his own judgment, but in obedience to the orders of his superior; and he could not, without flagrant misconduct, avoid doing his duty. On the contrary, the commander of a single ship must act upon his own judgment, and whatever he did was perfectly voluntary—He was always of opinion that the House was much too niggardly in bestowing honours, which appeared to him equally impolitic and unjust—In other countries any extraordinary act of jkill or bravery was constantly rewarded with preferment; in this country nothing could obtain promotion but seniority or money. This practice greatly injured our service, for it induced officers to have recourse to other means to obtain preferment, instead of seeking it by signalizing their courage: Upon the whole, he thought the country owed, this tribute to the memory of Captain Faulknor; it was a debt of gratitude, aud ought to be paid.
After some explanation, the Secretary at War professed his readiness to withdraw his motion for the Order of the Day, if some mode could be found of adjourning the original motion, in order to search for precedents.
Mr. Wilberforce supported this last proposition. The question was then put, that the other Orders of the Day be now read, and negatived without a division.
The Secretary at War said, the question of the Order os the Day being disposed of, he would move that the debate on the original motion be adjourned for a few days—which being seconded,
Mr. Fox rose immediately, and declared, that aster attending to all that had been said of rule and precedent, he must Tcprobate in the strongest terms the motion now made, after the Order of the Day upon the original motion had been lost —a motion, which he would venture to fay, was one of the most indecent, irregular, and disgraceful, that could have been made in that House. He wished to ask on the subject of rules and precedents, by what rule or by what precedent they were to estimate the merits of officers who had distinguished themselves in an extraordinary manner? How could similar servicec be compared ?—and how could rules be made to direct and regulate gulate the feelings of men upon such a subject? In his opinion it was impossible, and he hoped he should hear no more of it—a sort of argument that never had been used in that House before, and one that he never thought could have been urged against the motion of his Hon. Friend. But when the conduct of Captain Faulknor was admitted and known to them all, to be as gallant, heroic, and meritorious, as any that tbe page of history could boast of, it must seem rather extraordinary that upon so extraordinary an occasion, a motion should be made for a Committee to search for precedents, as if that Committee could search into the minds of the House, and the minds of the Public, for the degree of honour the country had reaped from the conduct of a brave officer, the degree of gratitude which his country owed him for his services, or the degree of warmth with which that House ought to express their feelings on such a case. An Hon. Friend- had very properly brought forward the instance of Lord Chatham. Did it enter the head of any man at that time to talk of rules and precedents for granting rewards and honours so justly merited? Certainly not, and the cafe was somewhat similar even upon the arguments of the Hon. Gentleman who wished to search for precedents, for though there had been many able and good ministers, whose services had palled unnoticed by monuments, yet that sort of negative rule was not even started, nor did he believe there was a man at the time that could have thought of it. As to getting rid of the original motion, he was extremely sorry that any such idea had ever been entertained; but of all modes that could have been adopted, that of appointing a Committee to search for precedents, was the most unworthy, unprecedented, and, he must add, disgraceful to the House, that could have been suggested. This Committee were to tell them, he supposed, what their feelings were upon the merits of brave men, and what feelings were necessary to constitute a wish to express a fense of gratitude, either by honours or rewards, for services performed to the Public; to decide upon the original motion, was the only way to do justice to such a case. And if they did not, and went into this Commii tee of Inquiry, he wished to know how the result would affect the House. If upon this search no precedent was found, which might be very likely, what would they do then? Perhaps they thought they enhanced the value of this tribute of respect, by considering the case after inquiry, as one upon which only such a testimony of national gratitude ought to be bestowed. Again, upon the much argued point of rule and precedent, he would say once for all, that he knew of no such rule as had been alluded to, and he even de