Page images
PDF
EPUB

most rational and steady in the world : we shall see it keeping money and estates in land on the man, who gained the “victory," and to heap wealth and praise on whom even the toiling and half-starving people, from whom the wealth was drawn, seemed to think hardly a sufficient reward : we shall furnish a pretence for new creations of knighthood numerous as the posts and rails in the country, and furnishing also a pretence for an expense for officers and their families, after the war was over, nearly as great as that which had been furnished by the prodigal war itself ; we shall see it keep up, and establish, a permanent standing army, in time of peace, as a thing quite proper : we shall see exposing to obloquy, and, in some cases, to punishment, those persons who had the honesty and the courage to protest against this degrading innovation : in short, we shall see it totally subverting, in effect, that constitution of government, which had so long been the pride and the boast of Englishmen. These we shall see in due time; but, at present, we have to speak of the causes which produced it, and of the motives which gave birth to those eauses. The reader has seen, in the foregoing chapter, that the English government (in which I include the parliament) were extremely uneasy, lest France, left, as she was, by the Treaties of Paris (which the reader will find follow, ing paragraph 209), would bound forward in a

career of prosperity hitherto unknown in France. She being comparatively unloaded by debt, unshackled by tithes, game laws, excise, and turnpike tolls; the English government saw that enough had not been done ; and that, somehow or another, France must be rendered worse off; er that there could be no safety for boroughmongering, tithes, and debt, in England. II must beg the reader to go over the foregoing chapter again ; and then to proceed with

me,

case.

223. The proposition which I mean to make good, and which it is of the greatest possible im"portance to the cause of truth to make clear to the minds of my readers, is this, that the English government most anxiously wished for the return of Napoleon to France. Whether it actually contrived it the reader must be left to judge for himself, I wishing to lead him into no inference not fully borne out by the facts of the

We have seen how discontented this government was with the result of the Treaty of Paris; we have seen the effects of a few months of peace with France; and how alarming those effects were, and necessarily must have been, to the English government; and, let us now look at the conduct of that government with regard to the escape of NAPOLEON from Erba, and of the measures it was fully prepared to adopt the moment he landed in France.

224. NAPOLEON landed in the bay of Juan on the 1st of March, 1815. Common mortals were struck with surprise at this event. This government had him a safe prisoner in a small island in the Mediterranean Sea; this government had an officer living at ELBA to watch NAPOLEON; the sea was covered with English cruisers of all sizes; how was he to escape in a little sloop, and, with divers persons along with him, safely land, without interruption, in France ? The officer stationed at Elva to watch him came to England immediately after NAPOLEON's return to France; and, instead of being censured and disgraced, was highly honoured, and was presented to the Prince Regent, and received with every mark of Royal approbation. How is this to be accounted for, unless we believe, that the English government desired to see NAPOLEON return? But, besides these circumstances, there are two others, without looking at which, we have but a comparatively feeble light upon the subject. At the time when NAPOLEON landed, the plenipotentiaries of Austria, France, England, Portugal, Prussia, Russia, Spain, and Sweden, were all assembled at VIENNA. They were there for God knows what real purpose; but the pretence was, to settle some matters which were left unsettled by the Treaty of Paris of May, 1814. Now, look well at the dates. He landed in France on the 1st of March ; on the 13th of that same month, only eleven clear days after his landing, these plenipotentiaries issued what they called the “ Declaration of the Allies,” which Declaration was in the following words :

DECLARATION OF THE ALLIES.

The Powers who have signed the Treaty of Paris, assembled at the Congress at Vienna, being informed of the escape of NAPOLEON BUONAPARTE, and of his entrance into France with an armed force, owe it to their own dignity and the interest of social order, to make a solemn declaration of the sentiments which this event has excited in them. By thus breaking the convention which has established him in the island of Elba, Buonaparte destroys the only legal title on which his existence dependet!--by appearing again in France with projects of confusion and disorder, he has deprived himself of the protection of the law, and las manifested to the universe, that there can be neither peace nor truce with him, The Powers consequently declare, that Napoleon Buonaparte las placed bimself without the pale of civil and social relations; and that as an enemy and disturber of the tranquillity of the world be has rendered himself liable to public ven. geance. They declare at the same time, that firmly resolved to maintain entire the Treaty of Paris of the 30th May, 1814, and the dispositions sanctioned by that Treaty, and those which they have resolved on, or shall hereafter resolve on, to complete and to consolidate it, they will employ all their means, and will unite all their efforts; that the general peace, the object of the wishes of Europe, and the constant purpose of their labours, may not again be troubled; and to guarantee against every attempt which sball threaten to replunge thie world into the disorders and miseries of revolutions. And although entirely persuaded that all France, rallying round its legitimate Sovereign, will immediately annihilate this last attempt of a criminal and impotent delirium ; all ihe Sovereigns of Europe, animated by the same sentiments, and guided by the same principles, declare that if, contrary to all calculations, there should result from this event any real danger, they will be ready to give to the King of France, and to the French nation, or to any other Gorernment that shall be attacked, as soon as they shall be called upon, all the assistance requisite to restore public tranquillity, and to make a common causa against all those who should undertake to compromise it. The present Declaration inserted in the Re. gister' of the Congress assembled at Vienna, on the 13th March, 1815, shall be made public. Done and attested by the Plenipotentiaries of the High Powers who signed the Treaty of Paris, Vienna, 13th March, 1815. Austria.--Prince Metternich, Baron Wissenberg. France.-Prince Talleyrand, the Duke of Dalberg, Latour du

Pin, Count Aleris and Nouilles. Great Britain.-Wellington, Clancurty, Cathcart, Stewart. Portugal.Count Palmella Suluanha Lobs. Prrssia.- Prince Hardenberg, Baron Humboldt. Russia.-Count Rusumowsky, Count Staeckelberg, Count Nes

selrode. Spain.--!'. Gomez Labrador. Sweden.-Lufmenhelm.

225. Now, Besides the next to impossibility of all these people having had time to be duly informed of the landing of NiPOLEON; there is a perfect physical impossibility, that WELLINGTON, and his assessors, should have received any instructions upon the subject from their government; unless we allow that government to have been gifted with the power of foreseeing events. There were only eleven days, observe. The news did not reach England until the 15th of March, or thereabouts; so that it is absolutely impossible that WELLINGTON and his assessors could have received any instructions on the subject on the 13th of March. How came WEL

« PreviousContinue »