« PreviousContinue »
LINGTON and his associates, then, to sign a declaration of war against NAPOLEON? How came they to take such a liberty as this ? How came they to enter inio an alliance for the
of fighting NAPOLEON ? In short, it is impossible not to believe that his return was in the contemplation of the English government; in its contemplation, at least; and that WELLINGTON had received instructions accordingly; for it is quite impossible to believe that any ambassador to à mere congress appointed for other matters, would, without specific authority, have joined in a declaration of war against a sovereign de facto, and against the French nation, beforehand, and without any act of aggression committed on
226. The other circumstance strongly corroborative, is this : that, after the conclusion of the Treaty of Paris, in the month of May, 1814, the English government had gone into the war against the United States of America with tenfold fury; great forces had been sent thither; the most violent warfare had been commenced; it had been openly declared in the House of Commons itself, that there was to be no peace with America until the President MADISON should be deposed; and that there could be no peace for regular government until the republican constitution of America should be put down. This was' the tone in England; it was the fashionable talk; it was looked upon as a matter of course, that there was to be no peace with America until those objects were effected; and this talk continued from the date of the Treaty of Paris, all through the summer, and nearly up to Christmas. Forces were, during that time, daily going out to add to the armies and the fleets in America. Her negotiators for peace were forbidden to stay in London, and Ghent was appointed as a place for carrying on the negotiations. The Americans, though victorious in their battles, wanted peace; were extremely anxious to obtain it; while the English government drawled out the negotiations with the manifest object of not making peace. At last it proposed a sine qua non ; that is to say, terms without the Americans acceding to which it would never make peace. Public opinion being in this state in England, how were we all astonished, in the Christmas week of 1814, to hear that peace had been all at once concluded with the United States on Christmas-eve, without any of us having ever heard the whisper of a reason for such a. thing! It was, however, concluded ; and, as we shall see, when we come to the history of this American war, concluded, too, with an abandonment of every particle of the sine qua non! If England had been invaded by the Americans, and if they had actually captured PORTSMOUTH and PLYMOUTH, a more tame and disgraceful sur
render of pretensions and rescinding of protestations could not have taken place. When this kingdom makes peace with another power, it invariably observes the ancient custom of publicly proclaiming that peace, by heralds, accompanied by trumpets, and with all possible grandeur of parade, proceeding from the King's council at Whitehall into the city of London, and there repeating the proclamation in the presence of the Lord Mayor and other authorities of that great city. But, so disgraceful was this transaction felt to be ; so ashamed were the government of it, that there was no public proclamation at all upon this occasion, but a mere notification in the Gazette ; though it was a treaty of such vast and vital importance to the kingdoms.
227. Now, where are we to find a sufficient reason for so sudden and so great a change of policy? We had no other enemy to cope with ; we found that fifty millions could be laid out the next year in a war against NAPOLEON; we had an army and a fleet that we did not know what to do with; a declaration had been made, in parliament, by Sir Joseph YORKE, then one of the Lords of the Admiralty, “ that the depo66 sition of President Madison was necessary to:
our interest ;” and Sir JOSEPH Yorke had not been contradicted either by any minister or member of the House. The ministerial press had called Mr. MADISON " a traitor,” and “ a rebel"; and yet, all at once, the government, this proud and insolent government, forms a creaty of peace and friendship with this same JAMES Madison, giving up every principle for which it had contended; and a treaty, in all respects, as disgraceful as if it had been dictated by an invader on Portsdown Hill. Why, there was no reason for making this disgraceful bend of the knee; there could be no reason for it, except the government anticipated some such event as that of a new war against France. In the Prince Regent's speech to the parliament, delivered on the Sth of November of the same. year (1814), he speaks in the most sanguine strain of the war against the Americans, praises: the troops for their destructive proceedings at WASHINGTON; brags that he has produced on the inhabitants a deep and sensible impression of the calamities of war, in which they, he says, had been wantonly involved by their own government; boasts of having conquered a part of the United States; and concludes by stating, that the state of affairs in Europe has enabled him to dispatch a considerable force to operate against the Americans, and to be ready for the opening of the next campaign : and, in forty-six days after having delivered this speech to the parliament, he makes, with these Americans, the all-surrendering and disgraceful peace just mentioned.
have been done, if there had not been some cause, with which the public were never made acquainted. But, upon the supposition that the government expected the return of NAPOLEON, and his second putting down, and the new and disgraceful terms imposed upon France: upon this supposition, this sudden and disgraceful peace with the Americans was perfectly natural. For, if NAPOLEON had landed in France, and the war with America had been still going on, all Europe combined would not have been able to put him down a second time. There would have been so powerful a diversion in favour of France, that our government could not have proceeded with any chance of putting an end to the war in a less space than several years. The American ships had shown their superiority over ours; what there remained of the French fleet would have been manned and used by the Americans in conjunction with the French ; that which American mercantile greediness, and English intrigue and English gold, had prevented for twenty-two long years, would now have taken place; that which NAPOLEON, and the democrats of America, never could accomplish, would now have been accomplished at once ; namely, a cordial alliance, offensive and de: fensive, between France and America ; which would have baffled all the projects of this go. vernment, rendered all its subsidies useless,