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object of the confederacy to establish. store the constitution of the German A difference of sentiment on some points states. The question was, whether the of the arrangements could be no impeach- arrangements which had been made were ment of the wisdom of the whole. Per- calculated to effect these great objectsfection belonged to no work of human whether the assembled powers had enbeings, even when many years were de- deavoured unduly to aggrandize themvoted to it; much less when its comple- selves, or faithfully to execute their trust. tion was accelerated by the necessity of The hon. gentleman had alluded to the circumstances. On this general princi- letter of the minister of France, protesting ple he applauded and was prepared to against throwing the whole population maintain the proceedings of the Congress of Europe into a general fund, and then at Vienna. On this general principle he drawing it out again in different portions, protested against the observations made for the advantage of particular sovereigns. by the hon. gentleman on the conduct of If that letter were written against the anthe allied sovereigns. If they had issued nexation of Saxony to Prussia, and if a declaration that all the governments of that annexation were not called for by all Europe, which had been swept away the circumstances of the case, and justified during the late convulsions, should be by every consideration of the law of revived, without considering the tendency nations and of a wise policy, the arguof that revival to recreate the dangers ment would be cogent. But while he from which Europe had so happily admitted the truth of the general princiescaped, and without providing any safe-ple, which it involved, he denied its apguards against their recurrence; if that plication in the present case. The object was the way in which their declaration was to give Prussia additional force, and was to be understood, he should be increased population was that force. ashamed that Great Britain belonged to a confederacy founded on a system of such imbecility. But parliament had to inquire (and the hon. gentleman was too much of a statesman, and his mind was too manly, to deny it), first, whether or not the principle on which Congress had proceeded was unsound, and if not so, then whether by departing from that principle in execution they had betrayed the trust which the confidence of Europe had reposed in them. On these grounds he was ready to refute the hon. gentleman. The excellence of the principles on which they had set out--the principles comprehended in the Treaty of Paris, the hon. gentleman had already acknowledged, and it would be found that from those principles no departure had been made. It was perfectly understood, during the whole of the negociations for the general peace, that the great object of the sovereigns of Europe was the re-establishment and the re-organization of those two great monarchies, which, to all practical purposes, had been destroyed during the war-Austria and Prussia. To do this it became necessary to establish a security for the flanks of those monarchies: a power between the north of Germany and France, and a power acting as a barrier between Italy and France, to prevent them from coming into contact. It was necessary also to maintain the independence of Switzerland, and to re(VOL. XXX.)
But he would first endeavour to call the attention of the House to the allegations made by the hon. gentleman, of the breach of faith on the part of this country with respect to Genoa. If such a breach of faith should be proved, he hoped the whole wrath of the country might fall upon himself. The good faith of England was the greatest power she possessed on the continent, and accusations against it ought not to be slightly hazarded. The hon. gentleman assumed that a solemn pledge had been given to Genoa that she should be preserved as an independent state, coupling this accusation with a reference to a prior proclamation to Italy, promising the establishment of an Italian kingdom. He wished first to disentangle the question of Genoa from that of Italy. From the misinformation of the hon. gentlemen on this subject, he gave a character to the real facts, by the drapery in which he clothed them, that rendered it difficult to know them. It was true that at a remote period, before he had the honour of holding the seals of the foreign office, an intimation had been made to the British Goof vernment of a disposition on the part the Italians to throw off the French yoke, and a disposition had been expressed by the British Government, in return, to aid the attempt by military means. But the circumstance never assumed the consistency alluded to by the hon. gentleman. Details as to the shape or sovereign of this (U)
projected Italian kingdom had never been entered into; and the expectations which had been held out had never been in the slightest degree realized. Down to the moment at which the French were driven out of Italy, never were a people so passive, and so inclined to submit to their oppressors, as the Italians had shewn themselves to be. At the moment that half the French troops were engaged in a disastrous He maintained, that on the subject of contest in Spain, and the infatuation of the Genoa the Congress had decided wisely man at the head of the French nation was and right-wisely with respect to Europe sacrificing the other half in Russia-when-right with respect to Genoa. The union of Genoa to Piedmont was a principle to which the confederated Powers looked before they left Paris. If there was any thing in the Treaty of Paris which the different Powers could not avow at the proper moment, he would be ready to consign those Powers to the execration to which the hon. gentleman, without information, was so ready to devote them. But certainly there were parts of that Treaty not then promulgated, proceeding, however, on a principle of serving, and not of imposing on the credulity of Europe. For instance, the hon. gentleman had asked if there was any thing in that treaty about Holland? There was. He should have thought he exhibited a criminal confidence, if he had not brought
no French troops were in Italy-not an Italian rose; and Buonaparté was in as complete possession of that country as we were in possession of Yorkshire, or any other loyal county. With the exception of a small rising among the mountains of Tuscany, the success of the allies in Italy was entirely owing to their own arms. But, was this the single circumstance that justified the conduct of the Congress with respect to Italy? Did the House recollect the auspicious moment, when every thing depended on awakening Austria to a determination to join the common cause of Europe? The House had on its table the Treaty by which the. great confederacy was bound together.-The basis of that Treaty was, that all the Powers should act in unison, for the purpose of giving inde-France to a sense of the essential interests pendence to Europe generally. But it of this country on that subject before he was evident, that this was incompatible parted with the essential securities in his with the re-construction of that ancient hand for the attainment of those interests. government in Italy to which the hon. And here he must say, that on that quesgentleman argued that the country was tion, on the Slave Trade, and on the pledged; and that Austria could not be general principles of European policy, restored to the rank which, for the security France had conducted herself in such a of all, she ought to hold in Europe, unless manner as, he trusted, would produce in at least the northern parts of Italy were the mind of the hon. gentleman a practical under a sovereign not an Italian. As to feeling of the value of preserving that the Proclamation of lord William Bentinck government which had given peace to the issued on the 12th of March, he had read world, and by its conduct seemed capable it while in Paris with peculiar attention, of maintaining it. He claimed praise for on the representation of marshal Murat, having obtained from France a distinct who had also complained that lord W. understanding, that although the precise Bentinck's corps had appeared with the frontiers of Holland should be left open colours of Italian independence. Having for discussion, she should be assured of read this Proclamation, he had told the such a mass of territory as should enable Neapolitan ambassador that he could not her to maintain her independence. In concur with him in thinking that the Pro- the former national assembly of France clamation declared in favour of Italian in- there had been a person styling himself dependence. He then wrote to lord W. the ambassador of the human race. The Bentinck, apprising him of the misappre- hon. gentleman appeared to emulate that hension which existed with respect to his individual, and to set himself in active objects, and guarding him against any opposition to all the sovereigns of contiappearance of cherishing an interest sepa- nental Europe, to whom he did not even rate from that of the other powers. That observe the decorum that he was bound lord W. Bentinck issued his Proclamation to maintain, and did maintain, with respect
without any such purpose as that ascribed to him, was evident, for on the receipt of his (lord C.'s) letter, he would otherwise of course have recalled it. No officer could indeed be authorized to do that which lord W. Bentinck was said to have done. Not only was he not authorized, but he had been prohibited from doing it by positive instruction.
to the sovereign of our own country. Another of the distinct understandings by the Treaty of Paris was, that Austria was to be bounded by the Po and the Tessine. Reverting to the subject of Genoa, he contended that no one could suppose that a general officer commanding a corps could be entrusted with the power of creating and destroying states. He could do no more than provide provisionally, not permanently. No one doubted that lord W. Bentinck knew perfectly well what it was his duty to do; but, besides this, he had received a special prohibition on the particular subject in question. The noble lord here read an extract of a letter which he had written to lord William Bentinck from Dijon, on the 30th of March, 1814, instructing him to give every aid to the restoration of the King of Sardinia, but cautioning him studiously to abstain from such measures as might commit Great Britain or her Allies, with respect to the ultimate destination of the north of Italy-a subject which must be discussed in the negociations that would follow the conclusion of peace. He then proceeded to examine lord W. Bentinck's Proclamation, to shew that the change in the Government was provisional, not permanent, and that it was established by him, not on the authority of the Allies, but because he thought it conformable to the general sentiment. With respect to the statement of the hon. gentleman, as to the conduct of the Genoese, he distinctly denied that they had in any way aided the British not a Genoese had raised his hand on the part of the British army on their approach, however disinclined they felt toward the domination of France. Certainly they had a claim on our good will, but they had none on our good faith, for their surrender was as complete a conquest on every principle of the law of nations, as had ever occurred in the history of any country. The noble lord then read a letter from lord W. Bentinck, dated 27th April, and his answer dated May 6th, both tending to confirm his argument with respect to the expectations held out, and the measures which had been adopted towards the Genoese. That the Genoese themselves did not consider this country as pledged to any establishment of their ancient form of Government, he could shew from a letter put into his hands, when he was at Paris, by a person who acted in some measure as a Plenipotentiary for that people. In this letter,
which was expressive of their wishes, nothing more was claimed from this country than the interposition of our good offices with the Allies, for the restoration of the ancient Government. He should have thought that he would have been failing in candour, had he not then been explicit in the expression of his understanding on that subject. He was then, in fact, as explicit to that person as he had been to the hon. member this night. He told him that lord W. Bentinck not only had received no instructions to restore the ancient Government, but that he had received positive instructions to esta blish merely a provisional government. He stated farther, that if any doubt remained on the minds of the people of Genoa on this subject, that doubt ought forthwith to be cleared up by undeceiving them. It was not his duty to undeceive the Genoese, by issuing a Proclamation derogatory to the reputation of any public officer: he had left it to lord W. Bentinck, and to their own minister, to undeceive them. But the Genoese had never been deceived on this subject, from the very first moment of our appearing before the place, up to the present; they had always understood what was established to be merely a provisional government. They might have considered the Proclamation in the light of a sort of claim on the good offices of this country, to endeavour to assist them in the object of having their ancient Government restored; but they never were deceived with respect to the ultimate possibility of their annexation to the possessions of the king of Sardinia. The House would find that this did not rest merely on his assertion; for in a note left with him on the 18th of May by the same person, and which was a sort of written reply to some of the arguments he (lord Castlereagh) had used to him in their preceding conversation, they would find the annexation of Genoa to Piedmont with a view to the military security of Italy, and some other points, discussed in such a manner as to leave no doubt of what the understanding of the Genoese on this subject actually was. While, however, it was considered necessary for the security of Europe that Genoa should be annexed to the states of the king of Sardinia, it would be unjust to the Allies if he did not also state that all those conditional securities were taken for the interests of the people of Genoa. He begged leave to repel the charge made against the Allies of having
the treaty of Paris. That very state of Genoa had in a great degree contributed to the former weakness and overthrow of Europe; for it had first contributed to the overthrow of Sardinia, and thus been the means of enabling the French to achieve their conquests. An insurrection in Genoa had led to a difference between the Genoese and the people of Piedmont; and this gave the French a pretence to interfere, in their usual way, in the affairs of these two states. The allies were bound to act in the manner they conceived best for the general interests, and to see if they could not find some mode of re-uniting Piedmont and Genoa, which would secure the common interest and strengthen that part of Italy against attack. Genoa, it was proper to remark, was the most important military position in the north of Italy; and the general security essentially depended upon having the possession of that port. The question was, whether the measure adopted, or that of allowing it to be held by a commercial republic, was the most likely to provide for the general security? Whether the allied princes decided right or wrong on this point, this much he would say, that there never was a decision which could be less open to the imputation of having been given from improper motives than the one in question. As far as the separate interests of this country were concerned, had our view been to seek a national benefit without any reference to the general objects for which the different powers were confe
departed from their declarations, and having been actuated by the same love of conquest and aggrandisement which they themselves had so loudly condemned. The odious sense of conquest, on the principle of which the Allies were said to have acted in this and other cases, they positively disclaimed. In no part of their conduct had they departed from the principles professed by them; but they would have been most unfit, indeed, for the situations which they assumed, by entering into the general obligation to restore the peace of Europe, had they so stultified themselves in the eyes of the world and of Europe as to disqualify themselves from -changing the face of Europe, the ancient governments of which had been broken down and destroyed, in such a manner as might thereafter be found best calculated for the preservation of its future peace and tranquillity. The light in which their conduct on this occasion had been viewed by the hon. gentleman, carried such absurdity on the face of it, that it could never have been taken up by any man possessed of any thing like the information of that hon. gentleman, without his having a taste for running down the different sovereigns of Europe, which in the times that we lived in, to say the least of it, was indecent as well as dangerous. The Allies had made war, not for the sake of subjugating any power, but for the sake of preserving the whole of Europe from subjugation; they had succeeded in their object; and they had endeavoured to give to the different powers of the European common-derated, there could be little doubt but wealth a protection from that danger by that these interests would have been best which they had already been destroyed. promoted by the establishment of an insuWhen he stated the principle upon which lated republic there. The Genoese were the allies had acted, he had no hesitation willing to enter into any terms of alliance in saying at the same time, that he was with us, and to give us every facility for sorry that even the prejudices of the availing ourselves of that important posiGenoese people could not on this occasion tion in our different operations: but then, be attended to; for the prejudices of a had we followed this policy, it would have people were entitled to attention when been said on the continent, that we had greater objects did not stand in the way; broken loose from the general object, with and by doing violence to their feelings, the view of prosecuting our own separate even when the general safety rendered interests. There never was a question in such violence necessary, he was aware which it was less possible to impute bad that they might give rise to these attacks motives to the continental powers than in of the hon. gentleman against the sove- this. The king of Sardinia had not the reigns of Europe. There were grave and power, if they had not been so inclined, to solid reasons why they could not grant to impose on them, as the value of his serGenoa what was demanded of them in be- vices to them, any conditions derogatory half of that people, arising out of the very either to their honour or their interests. situation of Genoa, consistently with the He had been expelled from his states on security of Europe, and the objects to the continent, and was incapable of giving which they were pledged, arising out of any assistance; and if the allies had not
conceived that this annexation of Genoa | to Piedmont, was rendering a service to the cause, they were not under the necessity of adopting such a measure. No power could possibly have any other motive but the general good on this occasion. France might, indeed, have had an interest the other way, and to keep up the difference between Piedmont and Genoa; but the French government did not attempt to act in any such spirit, and they were a willing party to this act. It was from a sincere conviction that it was necessary to make the barrier effectual on the Italian side, as well as the other, that they thought it advisable to intrust the entrance by the Alps and by the Genoese sea to the same hands; and on this principle alone was Genoa annexed to Piedmont. The decision was exempt from bad faith in the most unequivocal sense of the word. He trusted that the House would see that this measure was grounded on a large view of military expediency; and with the avowed and understood object of strengthening that flank against France. This measure was neither adopted for the sake of any of the allied powers, nor from any feeling for the king of Sardinia himself, but from a conviction that in so strengthening the king of Sardinia, they would best consult the interests of the general policy of Europe. The noble lord said, he should be failing in his duty to the allies, if he did not state that this measure was followed up in such a way as was best calculated to promote the interests of the Genoese people. Every possible step had been taken to secure to them their different interests; and he believed that their present government would be a more popular one than that under the ancient republic, which was an oligarchy of the purest description.
Having dismissed the question of Genoa, the noble lord proceeded to inculcate the necessity of supporting government, by -abstaining from the discussion of measures which were not before the House. Those premature and inflammatory descriptions of the conduct of the different governments were more likely to pro- duce public disturbances, and to impede the progress of the negociation, than to produce any other object. The cause of this country had been very much injured by that sort of inability which seemed to belong to some members of withholding their judgments till any subject could come with propriety before them.
[Hear, hear, hear!] Parliament was not formerly so much in the habit of anticipating discussions, and he trusted that such an indiscreet practice would not be countenanced by the House. The House would not expect that he should now enter upon the discussion of any branches of interests not yet brought to a decisionas the understood arrangement of the powers of Europe. With the exception however of one branch, on which he could not at present give any information, namely, the arrangement of Italy south of the Po, he could state that all the other arrangements were concluded in nearly the same form in which they would stand in the ultimate treaty, and were considered as binding on the different powers as if they were the subject of a treaty. He had no objection to state in answer to the hon. gentleman that France had been an honest power at the Congress, and had done her best for Europe and herself; and that she had consented to these ar rangements. The noble lord went into a justification of the conduct of the different governments at the Congress; and he contended that these governments could not be said to have acted from sordid views. Till the reconstruction of the great powers of Austria and Prussia, there was a great blank in Europe, and there could not be said to be any bulwark against future aggression. Till those powers were restored, Europe was not herself. There was nothing in the conduct of either of those states from which their moderation could be called in question. They wished to be replaced in the state of their possessions in 1805. In taking this state Austria at least had not chosen a period the most markedly advantageous. Had she taken the year 1792, when she had the Low Countries, though not Venice, she would have taken a period when her population was at least two millions higher: Prussia took the period before being dismembered by France, and she had not received 40,000 inhabitants more than she possessed at that period. Nothing, therefore, could be less open to accusation than the great features of the arrangement. With respect to Saxony, it was, no doubt, true, that at one time it was in contemplation to incorporate the whole of that country with Prussia. He was one of the persons who had opposed this incorporation; and it was ultimately by the sacrifice of the interests of Holland and Hanover that the