Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/380

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parliamentary, that what had been said in the Committee would be reported to the King, and that His Majesty would not disregard the general wish of the representatives of his people.[349]

The Commons next proceeded to inquire into the naval administration, and very soon came to a quarrel with the Lords on that subject. That there had been mismanagement somewhere was but too evident. It was hardly possible to acquit both Russell and Nottingham; and each House stood by its own member. The Commons had, at the opening of the session, unanimously passed a vote of thanks to Russell for his conduct at La Hogue. They now, in the Grand Committee of Advice, took into consideration the miscarriages which had followed the battle. A motion was made so vaguely worded that it could hardly be said to mean any thing. It was understood however to imply a censure on Nottingham, and was therefore strongly opposed by his friends. On the division the Ayes were a hundred and sixty-five, the Noes a hundred and sixty- four.[350]

On the very next day Nottingham appealed to the Lords. He told his story with all the skill of a practised orator, and with all the authority which belongs to unblemished integrity. He then laid on the table a great mass of papers, which he requested the House to read and consider. The Peers seem to have examined the papers seriously and diligently. The result of the examination was by no means favourable to Russell. Yet it was thought unjust to condemn him unheard; and it was difficult to devise any way in which their Lordships could hear him. At last it was resolved to send the papers down to the Commons with a message which imported that, in the opinion of the Upper House, there was a case against the Admiral which he ought to be called upon to answer. With the papers was sent an abstract of the contents.[351]

The message was not very respectfully received. Russell had, at that moment, a popularity which he little deserved, but which will not surprise us when we remember that