Page images
[ocr errors]

common cause.

should bring forward his motion, he last, they would cheerfully make in the pledged himself to oppose it, and to

But it was a greai misdebate the question fully and candidly. take to suppose that great sacrifices had He should then endeavour to prove that not been already made. Let any man the tax was altogether foreign to the look at the amount of tbe revenue of Irehabits, condition, and financial situation of land before the Union, and at the calcu. that country, which would prefer more lations upon which her share of the joint productive taxes to the particular tax in contributions was founded ; let him at the question. At present he should say no same time look at the narrow means she more upon the subject, but merely add, possessed, and then consider the amount that the measure now before the House to which her revenue had been since had his most cordial disapprobation. raised, and he would admit, that whatever

Mr. Vesty Fitzgerald said, he should disinclination Ireland might have to this defer the general observations wbich be tax, she had borne her full share of the should have to make upon this subject, weight of the general pressure ; and she until the hon. gentleman's motion came would, he had no doubt, always cheerfully regularly before the House. But that his contribute, to the extent of her power, 10 opinion might not be mistaken, and to the public burthens. He would not anticiallay the anxiety which such a proposition pate the debate, but would cheerfully meet was calculated to excite in Ireland, he the hon. gentleman when the day of disthought it right to state, that however cussion should arrive. respectable the quarter might be from Mr. W. Elliot said, he conceived a meawhich that proposition came, he had at sure of the nature of that now proposed, a present no intention of recommending the necessary consequence of the late Adadoption of the Property tax in Ireland. dress of ibe House; and he should thereHe wished, however, to remind the House, fore give his vote in favour of the motion. that the application of that tax 10 Great He should reserve to bimself the power of Britain was only proposed for one year, exercising his discretion with regard to and under circumstances which would not the details of the measure in a subsequent justify him in now proposing it for the stage; but with respect to the measure sister country, even if he were prepared itself, be considered it as only providing to go the full length of the hon. gentle- tbe Government with the necessary means man's opinion. The hon. gentlemau would for the security of the country, whatever recollect that even in this country, where might be the tenour of their future conduct. the habits of society were so different The House then divided on sir John from those of Ireland, and where the Newport's Amendment: wealth was so much greater, it was a long For the Amendment...... 30 time before that tax was made fully pro

Against it.... ductive, and before the machinery which


-69 was to enforce its collection could be perfected. If great difficulties had been

List of the Minority. found in England, much greater would undoubtedly be found in Ireland. He Abercrombie, hon. J. Martin, J. declined, however, entering into the argu- Althorpe, lord Neville, hon. R. ment at present, and should content him. Bewicke, c.

Newport, sir J. self with stating, that under the present Fitzroy, lord J.

Foley, T.

Onslow, Serj.

Poulett, hon. W. V. circumstances, he did not thiuk himself Grant, J. P. Philips, Geo. justified in proposing to extend it to that Guise, sir Wm. Ponsonby, right hon.' country. With regard to the financial Grattan, right hon. H. Geo. difficulties of Ireland, however he might Hamilton, lord A. Ridley, sir M. W. Jament them, the House and the hon. Horner, F.

Ramsden, J. gentleman must do him the justice to Hammersley, H. Richardson, W. acknowledge, that he had never endea. Hornby, E.

Smith, W. voured to skreen them from investigation.

Knox, hon. T.

Tierney, right hon. G.
In moving for a committee some days ago, Lambton, J. G.

Latouche, R.

Whitbread, s. to inquire into the state of the Irish Milton, lord

Bennet, hon. H. G. finances, he had not concealed that the Mackintosh, sir J. Gordon, R. people of Ireland would be called upon lo make great exertionsexertions which he The Resolution was read a second time agreed with the bon.gentleman who spoke and agreed to. On the motion, that leave



[ocr errors]

be given to bring in a Bill, pursuant to Mr. Baring thought this tax came with the said Resolution,

a very bad grace after the vole declining Mr. Alderman Atkins said, that the to make any inquiry into the lavish exProperty-lax was a tax on industry, and penditure of the Civil List. He thought was highly unequal, as being as great on 80 more especially when he considered the profits of one year as on property for how small the majority was, and how that ever. He was sure the tax, without any majority was composed. The House was modification, was very uncomfortable to now called on to vote this tax without the country-[a laughi]-but if his right any information as to the extent of the hon, friend, the Chancellor of the Ex. sum necessary, or with respect to the chequer, would agree to a committee to situation of our external policy; for the adopt modifications, then it might be made Message of the Prince Regent calling on something more comfortable, and the the House to enable preparations to be country might be brought not lo object to made, was not enough to induce them, the measure.

without further information, to vote a tax. Mr. W. Smith was much of the same of 14 millions. But still he should not opinion with the hon. alderman, and be disposed to go into a commitee, be-, thought that though the tax could not be cause he rather preferred learing the tax made agreeable, it might be made to go on the footing proposed by the Chancellor. down. It was not the amount of the tax of the Exchequer, namely, the extension so much as the inequality of its operation, of it for one year only. It was more likely to which he objected ; upon the saine to be a temporary measure, when taken principle he should have objected to 51. in that manner, than if it were made what per cent. equally as much as io 101. The the hon, alderman called a comfortable tax possessed this advantage, that a great thing, and which would be likely to stick proportion came into the Exchequer at by them for the remainder of their lives. ihe smallest possible expense.

Of the He for one should for ever oppose the tax commissioners of the Property-tax with as a permanent source of revenue in time whom he had been acquainted, and he of peace. He thought, however, on the had been acquainted with many, there occasion of the late repeal, thai had it never was one who did not declare ibat been continued for one year longer, till his office was the most disagreeable one the affairs of the last war were wound up, in which he was ever employed, from the it would have been attended with great inquisitorial powers of the tax; and there benefit to the finances of the country. were many instances in which the com Leave was then given to bring in the Billo missioners and the officers of Government were at variance respecting the severe MOTION RESPECTING BUONAPARTE's Ese manner in which those officers exercised CAPE FROM ELBA.] Mr. Abercrombie said, the powers entrusted to them.

he rose in pursuance of the notice he had General Gascoyne explained, and said, given, to move for such information as that he wished the subject to be taken up could be furnished, with reference to any as he proposed, by any other member. instructions that his Majesty's ministers

The Chancellor of the Exchequer opposed might have given to our naval comthe appointment of a select committee, manders in the Mediterranean, on the as it would lead to delay and inconve. subject of the Island of Elba, and for innience, and would derange the whole ma- formation as to any disclosure which chinery of the lax, so as to prevent its might have been made to them with re.. being collected in due time. Had the spect to the projects of Buonaparte, tax been proposed for a longer term than while on that island, together with the one year, he should have thought an in means which had, in consequence, been quiry advisable. The ascertaining the pro: laken, to counteract thore projects, simply portions of the tax to be paid by fixed on these grounds-because the return of capital and industry would necessarily that individual to the throne of France occasion much discussion, and protract was an event of such awful importance, the passing of the Bill to a late period of and so deeply affected the interests of the session.

Europe, that the House would desert the Mr. Alderman Atkins thought it pos- duty they owed to their constituents, to sible to ameliorate the severities of the themselves, and to Europe in general, if Act, without rendering it inefficient, or they did not attempt to ascertain, whether, taking up much time.

by greater prudence and greater foresight,

on the part of his majesty's ministers, that properly in time. What he proposed was, occurrence might not have been pre- to call on his Majesty's Government to vented. The Message from the Throne produce such information as would enable informed the House, that in consequence the House and the country to decide, of the events which had recently occurred whether, in point of fact, they had exerin France, it was necessary that a great cised a sound discretion, and made use of disposable force should be placed in the all those precautionary measures which hands of the executive Government, and prudence and reason directed. that a closer concert should be entered It was impossible to discuss these subinto with his Majesty's Allies. Not one jects with advantage, without adverting dissenting voice was raised against the to the circumstances under which the Address; and, under these circumstances, Treaty of Fontainbleau was concluded ; he conceived he was entitled to call on without, however, entering into the prothe House to determine, whether his Ma- priety of the terms or conditions of that jesty's Government should not be put on Treaty. On the subject of the terms, their defence, and compelled to show, they had heard two statements, directly whether they had not received inforina- contradictory of each other. By some tion as to the intended departure of Buo- persons it was contended, that they pronaparté, and whether they had or had not ceeded from a mistaken magnanimity on taken steps to counteract the projects of the part of the Allies; while others, and which they had been apprised. If he amongst them the noble lord (Castlereagh) asked the House to enter into the consi. asserted, that the Treaty was dictated by deration of the terms of the Treaty of hard necessity. He was not inclined to Fontainbleau--looking to the change of accede to either of these propositions. circumstances which had taken place since He thought it was a nearer approximation it was entered into—looking to the alte- to truth to suppose that, when the Treaty ration of the brilliant prospects which last of Fontainbleau was agreed to, though year opened to the country-he did not Buonaparté was not in such a situation as ihink he should be too late even for that to be immediately compelled to accept discussion. Because, by so doing, he any terms that might be offered to him, should be calling on ihose who had yet the Allies possessed such superior claimed the applause and gratitude of the strength, that, if he had refused those country, as having assisted in the determs which appeared to them calculated liverance of Europe, to state why they to insure the security of Europe, they had placed their fame and the repose of would have been very speedily enabled to the world on so insecure a foundation. enforce their demand. They, in this situaBut, as it might be alleged, that he had | tion of affairs, deemed it more wise to passed by the proper period for such a accede to the terms which he was willing discussion, he would not introduce it now. to take, than to expose Europe to the He should, therefore, merely look to the evils of a protracted contest. At this rights which the different parties to the time, however, Buonaparté had lost his Treaty of Fontainbleau derived under capital, and they were told that he had that Treaty, and, in particular, what rights lost the confidence of his troops, and, accrued to us, under its provisions. Have above all, that the authority of opinion ing ascertained the latter point, it would was no longer in his favour. Disaffeca be for the House to consider whether tion, it appeared, had spread amongst his his Majesty's ministers had exercised due officers; and his army at Fontainbleau, and proper vigilance, in conformity with even if it were joined by the remnant of the rights given to this country by the the force under Mortier and Marmont, Treaty. This being his object, it could did not exceed 50,000 men, to, oppose not be said, that he came forward too late; which the Allies had an army of 140,000. because, if he had asked for the informa- Soult was driven from the south of France tion he now sought for, at an earlier pe by the duke of Wellington, and the army riod, he would then have been told on of- of Augereau was opposed by superior numficial authority, that to answer such ques. | bers. This was the picture drawn at the tions would be a direct breach of public time by the accredited ministers of this duty, and would tend to defeat the very country. They exultingly declared, that object which it was proposed to attain. Buonaparté, who so recently commanded He, therefore, came to the House, with a mighty empire, then stood alone, and the present motion, most strictly and that the Allied Sovereigns were received

with such delight in Paris, that they were number of persons in France were zcaalmost eaten up with the enthusiastic ma. lously devoted to Buonaparté; and they nifestation of public affection. Then felt, as he did, that it would be better for came the Treaty of Fontainbleau, which him to run the chance of returning to puzzled every one. The noble lord de France, at some future period, rather than nied that the favourable terms given to by pertinaciously opposing the Allies, to Napoleon in this Treaty, arose from any destroy all hopes of such an event. Now, misplaced feeling of generosity; but that it could not be supposed, when he left it was an act of necessity, dictated by the France under such circumstances, that, if unabated attachment of the French army a favourable opportunity presented itself to their late ruler. Some persons, indeed, for his return, he would not be most had stated he knew not whether their anxious to avail himself of it. The noble information was correct, but that they lord contended, that, as the Treaty of possessed the means of obtaining accurate Fontainbleau was made with an indepenintelligence, was indisputable--that 80 dent sovereign, this country had no right great were the zeal and attachment of to watch him: that having gone to the the army to Napoleon, that, it favourable island of Elba, he had an unimpeachable terms had not, at the moment, been granto right to proceed afterwards where he ed to him, the whole armed population of pleased, except to the coast of France. If France would have rallied round his this were the case, what security was standard. From this it would appear, there for his keeping the Treaty of Fonthat he stood upon very high ground, and tainbleau? If it were said, that his abdithat a civil war must have ensued, if he cation of the throne of France afforded were pushed to the utmost extremity. the necessary security, he must state, ebat Under these circumstances, then, the this argument would not serve the noble Treaty was said to have been formed- lord or his colleagues, who had all along and it was necessary to bear them in mind, described Buonaparié as a person who in order to judge correctly of the conduct never would abide by a treaty prejudicial that ought subsequently to have been to his interests, if he possessed the means adopted.

and power of breaking it. But he did not Napoleon must have left France, well think the construction given to the Treaty knowing that his friends had arms in their of Fontainbleau by the noble lord, was hands. He must also have been aware, the true one.

On the contrary, he conthat a large proportion of the people ceived, that the right of watching and would view his departure with regret, detaining Buonaparté, under certain cirparticularly those who were proprietors cumstances, did arise out of the Treaty. of confiscated lands, and who, though The spirit of the Treaty was not confined they might not have been much attached merely to his abdication of the throne of to Buonaparié, must have viewed with France. What necessarily followed from apprehension the return of the Bourbons, that stipulation? Assuredly, that he should as threatening the destruction of the te not be suffered, hereafter, to disturb the nure by which they held their property. peace and security of that country. No There was another point most material for one could suppose that, at Elba, Buonaconsideration. It was now adınitted, that parté could devise the means of invading the Treaty was founded in necessity- France, as those sovereigns might do, who that the strength of Buonaparié command possessed more extensive means. His ed it. It was stated, that he' possessed, hopes rested alone on the people and the at the time, a large force, and yet, in that army of France; and these engines could situation, he preferred negociation to re not be rendered dangerous to the peace sistance. Now, it was impossible for any of that country, unless he was personally person, who knew these circumstances, present. His personal movements ought, and was aware of the state of France at therefore, to have been watched with time, to entertain a doubt, that Buona- scrupulous jealousy, since it was by perparté felt it better to cherish the future sonal exertions alone that he could effect contingent hope of returning back to any ambitious project.

any ambitious project. The Treaty, he France, instead of holding out to the last contended, gave us a right of remonstrance against the Allies, and thus putting all 10 and representation, and even an authority hazard. At the time the 'Treaty of Fon- to watch Buonaparié. But, even if no tainbleau was signed, these several facts such right existed under the Treaty, and were known. It was known that a great although it might be considered defective

[ocr errors]

as providing no regulation on this subject, / sity, described him to be a monster, not yet, the moment you made him an inde- fit to be trusted with the custody of his pendent sovereign, you could have treated wife and child. There was another part with him-you might bave remonstrated of the conduct of the Allies, with respect with him-you might have procured con to this Treaty, which, though not perhaps cessions from him. If it appeared that a direct violation of it, was certainly ex. the Treaty was, in any degree, defective, tremely unjustifiable. He alluded to the you might have entered into stipulations non-performance of the stipulation rela. with him on that point. But, if his sove tive to the duchies of Parma, Placentia, reignty were not of sufficient force to ad. and Guastalla. This was most important mit him to the right of treating with other to Buonaparté, since it was the provision Powers, how did it exclude him from that for the wise and son of him who had system of watch, which, he contended, made such a distinguished figure on the ought to have been established, in order continent of Europe. On this point, alto prevent him from endangering the most more than any other, good faith peace of France ?

should have been inviolably kept with On the other hand, those who entered Buonaparıé; and if, as it was rumoured, into a treaty with him, ought strictly to a scheme was proposed in Congress for have abided by it. And, he would ask, the purpose of giving another direction had the Treaty of Fontainbleau been to this part of the Treaty, he could not faithfully observed by those who entered conceive any thing more unjust or impointo it? The first violation of that Treaty, litic, since it tended to excite resentment was one which, perhaps, technically, in the minds of those military chiefs, who, might be questioned—but, as to the mean at the period of the signing of the Treaty, ness of the conduct pursued, no doubt pledged their honour to see its provisions could be entertained. He alluded to the fulfilled. stipulation by which a certain annual The only other point on which he salary was to be paid to Buonaparté. meant to touch, was one of very great imHere a technical objection had been portance. It was said—and, if it were made, that it was to be paid annoally, and not the fact, it ought to be disproved could not justly be called for before the on the best authority—that, during the expiration of the stated period. But this discussions in Congress, a scheme was was an objection, which ihose who admi- proposed for the removal of Buonaparlé nistered the affairs of France, ought to from the island of Elba, and placing him have blushed to resort to. They ought in St. Helena or St. Lucia. He did not not to have suffered him to borrow money rashly pledge himself to a fact that cerfrom the traders and bankers of Genoa tainly could not come within his known and, by this means, to have assisted in ledge; but that some intention of reweakening the affections of the people of moving Buonaparté did exist, might be Genoa towards the Allies. Another ar- gathered from several publications. In ticle of the Treaty he conceived to be proof of this assertion, the hon. gentleman violated, when the wife and son of Buona. read extracts from a proclamation, issued parté were separated from him. His by general Dessolles, at Paris, on the 7th family, it was true, wished to leave France, of March, the day after the news of Buobut it was not contemplated, by the naparte's landing in France had reached Treaty, that they should be placed in a that capital; he also alluded to the austate of captivity. From the first mo- thority of persons holding situations under ment, however, it appeared, that an in the present French Government, who tention existed to violate this article. pledged themselves that such an intention And he should be glad to know, on what had existed; and, with a similar view, the authority (Buonaparte being an indepen-hon. gentleman quoted passages from a dent sovereign) his wife and child were proclamation published by Louis the 18th kept from him? It was a circumstance at Ghent, and from the defence of sir almost without example; and it was the Neil Campbell, recently given to the more remarkable, because the marriage public through the medium of the news. with Maria Louisa was negociated by that papers. Whether the removing of Buocelebrated statesman, prince Talleyrand, naparté would or would not have been a wbo considered it a very advisable mea wise measure, he should abstain from sure, in the time of Buonaparte's pro- discussing. But, if this Government knew sperity--but who, in his period of adver-that such a project was contemplated, was (VOL. XXX.)

(3 A)

« PreviousContinue »