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ever again recurring to those an- The public measures and tran. tient principles of government, factions of the current year at under which our commerce and home and abroad, whether with our fame had been extended to respect to the actual operations of every part of the globe, our in. war, the disposition of our fleets terests became conncêted with those and armies, or the adopted system of the remoteft nations, and we of home defence, opened a wide had risen to that extraordinary field for animadversion, which pitch of power, glory, and do. was occupied with no small degree Dieftic happiness, which alternate- of vigour by the opposition. As ly excited the admiration, and the the alledged criminal negle&, and envy of mankind.
consequent fatal decline of our From a general view of the sup- navy, had held a principal place posed system, they entered into in the general charge of past mila detail of its imputed effects on conduct, so the supposed exemthe executive and subordinate plification of that unhappy decline parts of government. Those offi- and weakness, which, they said, cers, they said, civil and mili- had been recently exhibited in the tary, who were in great trust or channel, afforded an opportunity in high command, particularly if for the most direct application of their merit had placed them high particular censure. in the opinion and confidence of The powers of language seemed their country, were the marked accordingly exhausted, in the va: : objects of iis pernicious influence. rious expressions of grief, Thame, Thus, while knowledge and in- indignation, and resentment, distegrity were proscribed in our played upon this subject. They councils, distinguished valour and said it was reserved for the present ability were equally proscribed inauspicious and disgraceful æra, in our fleets and armies.-Our for the administration of those men great naval commanders were who had severed the empire, and driven from the service; nor were who had plunged the Englith namore atrocious and dangerous tion in all the guilt and calamity attempts left untried; the military of a cruel and inextinguishable commanders were no better treated; civil war, to brand this country and in the moment of difficulty with the indelible disgrace of the and danger, the state was rob. preceding summer; to exhibit the bed of its best and fureft de- unthought of and unheard of specfeace. Thus our fleets and ar. tacle, of a British ficet flying, in mies were either languishing in light of their own coast, before difcontent, or torn to pieces by that of Bourbon. Thus, said diffenfion; and the spirit of enter- they, resigning all at once, that prize funk under the benumbing empire of the ocean, the incxconridion, that whatever honour haustible source of all our power of advantage might be atchieved and greatness ; the prize of past by brave and hardy service abroad, valour, and the reward of antient mult inevitably perith under the virtue; thus giving up, without fatal blasts of that malignant in- a blow, even the dominion of the fuence which prevailed at home. narrow seas, our hereditary, and
hitherto undisputed patrimony; French and Spanish fleet-This, and thus, while all Europe was they said, was a measure fully lott in astonishment, was that within their reach. They well name, national chara&er, and ge- know, that the Brest fleet was far neral opinion, which bear so great more backward in point of pre. a sway in the affairs of mankind, paration than the British; and it in a moment annihilated. . is a matter of public notoriety,
Without enquiring at present, that the latter loitered for a fortthey said, into the causes of that night, without any object, at Torlamentable naval inferiority, through bay, or on the coast, when its which our paked and astonished proceeding to sea would have precoasts were abandoned to the out, vented the jun&ion, or what would rage of the enemy, and the triumph. have been ftill more important, ant flag of the insulting foe so might have afforded an opportu. long domineered on our native 'nity of intercepting the French seas, it was fitting to ask mini. fleet ; . and that, under such cir. sters, what defence they could cumstances of advantage, as must make, or what apology to the na- have produced effects decisive of tion, for the unguarded and de- the fortune of the campaign, if fenceless state, in which Plymouth, not of the war. the second of our great naval The ministers, said they, will arsenals, and the depofitary of a not venture to tell us, that they treasure, which no money, nor were ignorant of the great supe. perhaps time, could replace, was, riority which the jun&tion of the in that season of disgrace and dan- Bourbon fleets would produce. ger, not only exposed to his in- Their line of conduct was marked fult, but to absolute destruction ? out by long established and repeat. The insufficiency of the feet, they ed precedent. They know, or faid, afforded no cover of defence ought to know, that this measure or excuse; as that great maritime of prudence had not only been key of the kingdom, was poflefled constantly adopted and strictly atof sufficient strength, to require tended to in all former wars with nothing more than a proper gar- those powers united, but that in rison, and the necessary military the contests with France alone, provision for its eitectual pro- the junction of her Mediterranean tection.
fleet with that of the Ocean, had Another question, they said, been uniformly guarded againft naturally arose from the lightest with the most unremitting care and view of the transactions of that industry. Yet these precautions Thameful period, to which it be- were used in the most flourishing hoved those who allumed the con- fiate of our navy; in those happy dud of our public affairs, to give seasons of power and fortune, a clear and satisfactory answer. when some inattention to the rules If ministers are not really charge of prudence migbt seem not alto. able with wilfully bringing on gether inexcusable. But can, said our late disgrace and danger, how they, in the present state of can they pretend to account for things, any presumed stock of ig: not preventing the junction of the norance, any suppofed portion of
negligence or folly, satisfactorily which prevails at home, renders account for so dangerous, and all the exertions of valour and for what might well have been, ability fruitless, and predeftinates so fatal an omission ?
the ill success that follows. The neglect of the island of The disposal, the amount, and Jersey, was no less an object of the government of the military censure. Through the want, they force kept within the kingdom, faid, of two or three frigates, of afforded a copious subje&t of ani. that small marine force, which madversion and censure. This would have been sufficient to re- was stated, including the militia, pel the defultory attempts, that and the various corps of new raiswere at that feason to be expected ed troops, as exceeding a hundred from St. Maloes, Admiral Ar- thousand men actually in arms, bathnot, in his laudable zeal for Yet this vast force, which, they the relief or recovery of the said, under former wife and hapilland, was obliged to abandon py administrations, would have bis convoy, and to defer. his voy- conveyed terror and destruction age to New York. By that home to our enemies, and spread means, a fleet of three hundred alarm and danger through their merchantmen and transports, were remotest poffeffions, was kept suexposed to the dangers of the sea pine and idle at home. The and the enemy in the open road enormous and cumbersome ma. of Torbay, the trade was detain. chine, which was framed and suped a full month at home, and suf- ported at lo immense an expence fered, at least, an equal delay on to the public, was kept inert the voyage, to the immense loss without life or action, through and expence of the merchants; the ignorance and incapacity of and the reinforcements for Sir those who were intrusted with its Henry Clinton, which, to answer movements.- Nothing, they said, any effectual purpose, should have could more clearly point out, eibeen landed at New York before ther the atrocious designs, or the the time of their departure from consummate folly of administraEngland, did not arrive at the tion. It was either intended that place of their destination until the this prodigious force should act end of August, when the season againit the people, or it was unfor aâion was nearly over, and necessary and had no object--they the troops had suffered so much might chuse the alternative. If from the unusual length of their we had no fleet, it was more than confinement on fhipboard, that competent to internal defence; if they were incapable of any im- we had a fleet, and could trust to mediate service. Thus, said they, it, we had no occa Gon for so vaft were all the views and hopes of a land force. A vaft fleet, and a the campaign frustrated in the vast military force, were incompaoutlet; and thus, year after year, tible; if the strength of the nais the blood and treasure of the tion was to be equally divided be. nation consumed, and its strength tween the land and the naval serexhaufted, in that fatal conteft; vices, neither service could be . While the unequalled misconduct rendered effectual. Independent
of experience or precedent, our fi- exposed in the most tender and 'vatuation pointed out the true po- luable parts to the inolt imminent Jicy.
danger ; Plymouth seemed doomed But ministers boasted loudly of to inevitable desiru&tion; nor was the wisdom of their conduct in this the fecurity of Portsmouth much Tefpect, and of the essential bene. better established. So vast an ar. fits wbich it had produced ;-- we my, under such a guidance, could had escaped from danger and they not afford protection to those invahad frustrated the designs of the Juable repositories of our naval enemy. Utterly incapable, they strength; and we were exposed to said, through a total want of ge- a lons, which no human means nius and ability, of conducing the could have supplied or remedied. war upon an extensive scale, or of Ministers, they said, might well forming any bold and comprehen. boast in the specch, uf their new five scheme of action, they nar. and only ally, Providence; whose rowed its objects to the measure of folly and miiconduct had rendered their own ideas, and reft their me. them so universally contemptible rits upon a mean and dastardly or odious, as to be abandoned by System of local defence, confined all mankind; and who having merely to the seat of empire. Such interdi&ted all wisdom and ability has been the wretched application from their counsels, had also, in of all the joint power during the the midst of a most ruinous and present year, of three hundred dangerous warfare, and finking thousand men in arms, of three under the preflure of a greatly suhundred ships of war, and of twen- perior combination of force, driven ty millions of pounds sterling. every commander by sea and land Yet it will be found, said they, from their service, who was capa. that their domestic merits are upon ble of giving efficacy to their mithe same scale with their foreign; Jitary exertions. In such circum. and that all their measures at home stances, with an inferior fleet, a and abroad, are marked by the defencelets coatt, a treasury es. fame peculiar fatality. Although hausted by folly and prodigality, they sacrificed every other object with an administration supine, dia to the home defence, the measures vided, and incapable, we must which they adopted for that pur. have fallen a prey to our combined pole were as thamefully defective, enemies, if they had seized the as those which they had pursued critical opportunity of making the in the active operations of the war. attack. But this miraculous joThus, with a furce lying dormant terposition of providence, in blindwithin the kingdom, fufficient to ing the enemy at one featou, and have carried terror and hostility in. striking them with contagious dirto the hicart of the most powerful temper at another, only went to ftates, the disposition of this great our preservation. Providence left force, under the incapacity of its the unparalleled disgrace, and the direction, was so superlatively causes of the danger, to be anwretched, as to render it totally swered for by ministers. inadequate to its design; our Nor was the interval govern. wetiern coasts were in a manner ment of our inilitary force leis aui. abandoned to the enemy; we were
madverted upon, than its disposi- fefsion, were exceedingly suscepti-
obliterate the traces of their own By this means, they said, con. paft negligence and miscondud; tipual murmurings, jealoufies, and yet so blind and incorrigible was discontents, were generated among their obttinacy, and so unhappily those who were fighting the bat- devoted the zeal of that standing tles of tbeir country. Men who majority which fupports all their vere bravely encountering all the measures, that it was triumphantly fatigues, hardships, and perils of overruled, in contempt of all reawar, and who from their habits of fon and argument, and in defiance life, and the nature of their pro. of all consequences. A moderate