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of the Congress. Did the noble lord think that Italy would concur with the Allies? The noble lord had lately told them that the French government was so popular in Italy, that when the French armies were all withdrawn from that country and in the peninsula, the Italians would not rise to throw off the French yoke, and made no effort for that purpose. Had the noble lord reconciled the Genoese? Had he not rather given to Austria and Prussia ele: ments of discord within themselves? and would not all their troops be consequently wanted to quell the disturbances among their new subjects? What had their conduct been to the King of Naples, after pledging themselves as strongly to him as it was possible for men to do, and after, on the faith of such pledge, he had performed his part? What would the situation of the South of Italy be? These were the circumstances which ought to be taken into consideration, if they were to have a war of aggression against France. What would be the situation of things within France itself? The noble lord had said that, from what information he was possessed of, he believed the greatest part of the population of France was in favour of the Bourbons. Now, from what he (Mr. W.) had learned, he had no doubt this was not the case. He believed that there might be many thousands who were sorry the Bourbons were dethroned and Buonaparté restored; but the very first act of aggression on the part of the Allies would have the effect of consolidating all these parties; and if, therefore, we were to have a war carried on for the dethrone ment and extermination of one man, all the population, of France would rally round him, and after all the horrors and massacres which would take place the matter would end in the army of aggression being expelled. Even in case of the death or defeat of Buonaparté, did the noble lord think that the Bourbons could ever be restored? Would not some other chief be elected, or some other government be appointed, either that of a collective body, or of one man? The French had had an experience of the Bourbons; and whatever their virtues in other respects might be, he was strongly of opinion that they were not persons who could maintain themselves on the throne of France. If the war was to be a war of aggression, it was his thorough conviction we should be foiled in our purpose. It would be impossible for the noble lord to keep the (VOL. XXX. )
coalition together unless it was cemented by English money; and in this case the fate of it would be the same as before, and England would be left in the lurch, and obliged to make a disgraceful peace either with Buonaparte, or some other person in his place. What reason was there for not making a peace with him now, which was not equally powerful when we were ready to conclude a Treaty at Chatillon? All his most insane and unprincipled acts were done before that period. And yet the noble lord then, with all the confe derated Powers, were willing to negociate a peace with Napoleon Buonaparté. What the terms then offered were would never, however, be known by the House, unless they were published by some other Government. If at the end of a war the country had been told that Napoleon Buo. naparte was confined within the limits of the Treaty of Paris, which he was now willing to keep, would not this communication have been received by the whole nation with acclamation? If in that case there was not one person who would not have subscribed to those terms, and if within those limits France was now placed, what motive could there now be for not being contented with what was then considered as sufficient? If France stepped beyond these limits, then France would be the aggressor, and that would give us a title to repel the aggression. He implored his right hon. friend (Mr. Ponsonby), and his other friends on his side of the House, to reflect, that if they agreed to the Address without any amendment, they would give an instrument to ministers which would enable them to commit the country in a war of aggression, without their having any opportunity of expressing themselves on the propriety or impropriety of such a war. He could not help thinking that the daily publications which were at present such strenuous advocates for a war for the extermination of Buonaparté, were carrying the matter a little too far for their own interest, which was so often very different from the true interests of the country. They ought to consider, that if Buonaparté should be exterminated, it would be as flat for them as when he was at Elba. He knew that the return of Buonaparte had thrown a number of persons in this country into the most serious state of alarm and apprehension. He implored those. persons to beware lest by premature measures they increased the danger of which He wished they were apprehensive.
therefore to submit an amendment to the Address, limiting the means entrusted to ministers to means of defence, and taking from them the means of aggression. He was willing to see the country in a sufficient attitude of defence till the danger should be past; but beyond this he could not with propriety go. The hon. gentleman concluded with moving an amendment to the Address, in the following words:" And that at the same time we earnestly implore his royal highness the Prince Regent, that he would be graciously pleased to exert his most strenuous endeavours to secure to this country the continuance of peace, so long as it can be maintained consistently with the honour of his Majesty's Crown, the security of his dominions, and the faith to be preserved with his Majesty's Allies."
again to their employments of plunder and peculation; and this would impel him to go to war. But it was said that we had no legitimate grounds for going to war. The hon. gentleman who spoke last, however, had viewed the Treaty of Fontainbleau on very fallacious grounds. The hon. gentleman here entered into a view of the conditions of the Treaty with Buonaparté, which gave him the sovereignty of Elba, and contended that by his return he had broken his faith with the Allied Powers, which justified them in joining to expel him. If he went to war at the present moment, he must proceed by the common means of taxation, loans, and credit; but these were things which were quite unknown in France. He therefore was not able to put his forces immediately into activity, which was the true reason for all Mr. Frederick Douglas alluded to the de- his professions of moderation. The noble cree of Buonaparté for the abolition of the lord had spoken of the unanimity which Slave Trade. From all he had been able prevailed on the subject of opposing Buoto learn, it was a mistaken idea amongst naparté on the part of the Allies. Recolthe people of France, that the abolition lecting as he did the events of the last would be injurious to them if suddenly twenty years, he felt anxious to take adeffected. Thus Louis 18, attending to the vantage of this unanimity, before Buonafeelings of the people, gained time for the parté should be able to destroy it. He termination of a traffick which his rival, on had no hesitation in saying, that the French coming to power, had, without any regard army being the active power which supfor their feelings, abolished at once. Re- ported Buonaparté, it was absolutely specting the prospect before us, there was necessary for the restoration of tranquilan essential principle in the government lity, that this army should be extirpated! of France, which must necessarily be re- [Cries of Hear, hear!] He did not mean pugnant to the tranquillity of the Conti- the extirpation of the individuals, but the nent. The change that had taken place extirpation of their existence in the shape had been effected by the army, and not of an army. Their restless agitation, their by the sense of the people. The real voice unparalleled fearlessness of death, and of the people was to be found in the towns their unconquerable passion for glory, where they were not overawed by the formed their very excellence; and this military. It was the natural consequence would ever render them the enemies of the of any invasion, that in the first moments tranquillity of the world. The hon. gen. the people would lie by and not declaretleman, after a few more remarks on the their sentiments. He would not contend that the voice of the people had been declared against Buonaparté; but, when it was asserted that their voice was in favour of him, he must say that such an assertion was totally fallacious. Buonaparte was stimulated by revenge against all the nations of Europe. His landing, therefore, was not so much an invasion of France, as an invasion of all Europe. It must be obvious to all who had any knowledge of human nature, and who reflected on the extraordinary character of this man, that he could have no intention of remaining at peace; but even if he had, it was perfectly out of his power; for the soldiers under him were anxious to be called back
peculiar crisis at which we had arrived, concluded with giving his assent to the Address.
Sir John Newport declared, that in giving his vote he should look at the question di vested of all the commentaries he had heard upon it. He should not vote for it under the same view as the hon. gentle, man had taken of it, who had advised the extermination of the whole French army; because such an idea was absurd, and if the project was attempted, it would cer tainly be the most unwise crusade that had ever been heard of. He would go as far as the noble lord had gone, but no farther. Instead of entertaining any abstruse ques tion of peace or war, he should wait till
the point was decided, and should then deliver his opinion, however painful it might be to his feelings. At present the question did not bind any member to support any proceedings that would involve this country in a war so wild and unjust as to attempt to dictate to any nation what form of government it should adopt. It was advisable that this country should be put in a state of preparation for the worst, and to take such measures as should best enable us to act in concert with our Allies, for the security of all Europe. He trusted, however, that nothing but circumstances of absolute compulsion would induce us to enter into a new war; and believing that this would be our line of conduct, he should support the Address. He dissented, nevertheless, with reluctance, from the amendment of his hon. friend, not because he thought that those words did not convey a proper feeling, but because he did not think that this was a fit opportunity for the House to pronounce their judgment, when no information was before them. He would give his vote for the Address, because he saw no reason for withholding his confidence from ministers in the pre
Mr. Croker said, be rose merely to speak to a matter of fact. The hon. gentleman opposite had been pleased to say that a French vessel had been brought in by his Majesty's cruisers under an ambiguous understanding. This statement was totally unfounded. He had not officially heard that any such capture had been made. He had heard a report that a French ship had been sent in; but whether she was navigated under the Imperial flag of France he could not say. If he were to judge from the statements of some merchants of London, he should believe that the detention had been made under the Hovering Act, and that the ship bore the white flag. But neither directly nor indirectly had any orders been given which would justify any officer to interfere even with the tri-coloured flag of France. The ship by which the French vessel was said to to have been captured, had sailed three weeks ago for a specific purpose; and it was scarcely possible that her commander, in obedience to his orders, could have deemed himself authorized to interfere with the flag of France, of whatever colour it might be. He had been thus explicit, in order that it might not be supposed that this country had shown any bad faith.
Mr. Bankes gave his full concurrence to
the motion. He took a view of what had been said by the different speakers, and added, as his own opinion, that so far from thinking the Message and Address to be too pacific, his only fear was that they were too warlike. He nevertheless saw nothing objectionable in the wording of either, as they were applicable either to peace or war. But it was impossible not to be a little alarmed at the Declaration which bore besides the signatures of the ministers of the Allied Powers, those of four British ministers. If this document were authentic, all doubts must be at an end; for war remained not to be deliberated about, but was actually resolved on. Yet from the tone of the noble lord that day, so far from this being the case, it would appear that the subject was still open for discussion. He would agree, that under the present circumstances of France, the contravention of the Treaty by Buonaparté was a sufficient cause for war, and the revolution ought not wholly to prevent the interference of foreign nations; but it became a prudential consideration what steps ought to be taken; and before it was resolved upon, it might be hoped there would be full time for discussion. He would defer his opinion till he heard what line of conduct was decided upon. The Declaration of the Allies certainly confined the war to a much more simple object than that of his hon. friend who had contended for the extinction of the whole French army; as the object of the Allies could only be the deposing of that particular man, who, by his conduct, they declared had put himself out of the pale of civil society. He should be happy if he could entertain the sanguine belief of his noble friend, that a large proportion of the people of France were adverse to the dominion of Buonaparté; but it looked rather suspicious, that with only a handful of armed men, he should be able to make his way, unmolested, almost from one extremity of the kingdom to the other. He feared, lest the appearance of a foreign force on the frontiers of France, coming with professions of revenge and ruin, might have the effect of uniting the people even though a great proportion of them were hostile to Buonaparte, and thus might throw much greater obstacles in the way of peace. Whatever might be the real intentions of Buonaparte, it was much safer for him to hold out professions of moderation than to adopt any other course. On the whole, he must admit that he could
see no safety for this country but in a great and extensive establishment. He could not, however, but deprecate hostilities, if Buonaparté made no signs for committing actual aggression, because he did not think that a lengthened war could possibly be carried on, if attended, as it must be, with the peculiar expenses of that which had just ended. But if it was necessary, he had no doubt that every effort would be made at once, as the only way by which success could be expected. The hon. gentleman concluded by cautioning the House to beware of entering into any arrangement with the Allies which might lead to dispute hereafter.
Lord Althorp said, the main question to be decided was, whether, if war was to take place, it was to be a war of defence or of aggression? In 1793 the experiment of forcing a government on France had been tried and had failed, and he thought such an attempt now would be attended with a much less probable degree of success than then. Under all the circumstances, therefore, he was favourable to the amendment.
Mr. Abercrombie took a view of the nature of the Address, and declared that he should have liked to have heard the question more fully discussed than it had been. He would reserve his opinion as to whether this country was justified in going to war; but with respect to the necessity of precautionary measures, he trusted there could not be a dissentient voice. He could have wished that no amendment had been proposed; as the tone of ministers was certainly less high than that of the Declaration of the Allied Powers. As the House was not in a situation of offering any advice to the Crown, there was no resource but in leaving the whole subject to the responsibility of ministers. It was impossible for him, however, to vote against the words of his hon. friend's amendment, because the noble lord might derive great advantage from the amendment being negatived, and the opinions of all those who did negative it might be subject to a degree of misconstruction.
pared to approve, nor on the other hand was he prepared to say that a contrary course ought to be taken. The decision on this point must depend on circumstances with which he was not acquainted circumstances which perhaps were not at present known even to ministers. Placed in this situation, till further information could be given, they ought not to take upon themselves to decide on a subject of such importance. The Address, he was of opinion, went to bind the House to nothing to which they could hesitate to give their sanction.
Mr. Tierney stated it to be his intention to vote in favour of the Amendment. His object was to arm ministers with the powers for which they called; but at the same time he wished to have some guard on their conduct, as from the speech of the noble lord he could not but consider them disposed to consult the security of this country, not in a state of peace, but of war.
He wished the House to remember how often the British Parliament had been accused in foreign countries of stirring up wars; and he thought this idea would be strengthened, if, on the present occasion, they came to a vote which would almost amount to a direct declaration in favour of a renewal of war. He had heard that treaties of subsidy had already been negociated. He shuddered at the expenses which a new war must throw on the country; but if the state of the world should seem to make this necessary, he should consider he did his duty to his country in consenting to such an increase of the public expenditure. If it was thought that peace could not be attained but by dethroning Buonaparté, the prospect now before the country appalled him to the heart. Great exertions had been made by England within the last two years; but no man, at all acquainted with the state of our finances, could say, that at the end of the next two years the country would be in a situation to support a new contest, if the people were not united in their sentiments, and had not their affairs conducted by an administration which possessed their confidence. object was to make the war a just and necessary one. The Amendment pro
Mr. Elliot said the Address seemed to meet with the general approbation of the House, and should have his support. The Amendment of the hon. gentleman seem-posed, tended to the accomplishment of ed framed with a wish that no measures should be taken but with a view to peace with the person now at the head of the French Government. This was a proposition which at present he was not pre
this object; and he was of opinion it did not go too far. He trusted he should not be considered as the defender of Buonaparté, or as one who wished to throw impediments in the way of his own govern
ment, when he stated these to be his sentiments. If such motives were imputed to him, he should treat them with the cntempt with which he had heretofore been accustomed to regard such imputations. He was convinced, that in order to support another war, it would be necessary that the Government should carry the people with them; and this could not be done, if the contest were not made to appear to them just and necessary. If a war were undertaken with any heated views of dethroning Buonaparté, or punishing France for putting away one government and setting up another, he could not but shudder for the result. He wished the Address of that House to go forth to the world, expressing their readiness to support the Government in a just and necessary war, but also expressing an anxious wish that no means should be left untried to secure the continuance of peace.
Mr. Charles Grant, jun. agreed with the right hon. gentleman who had just sat down, that ministers could not support a new war unless they carried the people along with them; but he contended that the Amendment which had been proposed was not necessary to effect this. The speech of his noble friend had been as much distinguished by moderation, as the Message which was the subject of it, and which had met with general approbation. The arguments of those who supported the Amendment on the ground that the speech of the noble lord was in a more warlike tone than the Message of the Prince Regent, were therefore, in his opinion, without foundation. Some members in the course of the debate had fallen on the assumption, that the present revolution in France was a revolution of the people. This, he contended, was a subject for future inquiry. At present there was a struggle in France on the question of peace or war, and the war party seemed to be triumphant. It was for that House to act on a knowledge of the existing danger. Knowing the character of the man now at the head of affairs in France, knowing the description of the persons by whom he was surrounded, knowing what his conduct had been for twenty years, up to the last flagitious act (for so he would call it), which had again brought him before the world, it was absolutely necessary that their measures should be framed accordingly.
Mr. William Smith said, he had decided
on the course he should pursue from hearing the speech of the noble lord who moved the Address. But for that he should have concurred in the Address as first moved; but he now felt it his duty to vote for the Amendment of his hon. friend. The right hon. gentleman who had just sat down, had said, that the speech of the noble lord was not more warlike than the Message of the Prince Regent. He was glad to hear this asserted; and if the noble lord would rise up and concur in that interpretation of his speech, even now he, for one, would support the Address. Unless this were done, he should feel it to be his duty to support the Amendment. The noble lord had said, that nine-tenths of the population of France were in fa vour of the Bourbons. If he were of the noble lord's opinion, he should at once be satisfied that no moral objections could be urged in opposition to hostilities being commenced against Buonaparté; but when he saw how that man had marched, or rather walked in France, from South to North, without opposition, he could not but think the probability was, that ninetenths of the people were for him. He was glad the Slave Trade had been abolished, and wished the Bourbons (whom he should rejoice to see established on the throne) had been strong enough to venture on such a measure. He did justice to the exertions of the noble lord (Castlereagh) on the subject of the Slave Trade; but when he saw that done at once by Buonaparté, which the Bourbons could not venture upon in less than five years, he could not help thinking that the former government were less powerful than the present, or that they were not altogether sincere in the wish they expressed. He had as little respect for the motive which had actuated Buonaparté in abolishing the Slave Trade, as for those which guided his conduct in other transactions. had no doubt it was dictated by interest; but whatever his conduct had been, he hoped the nation would not hastily be plunged into a new war.
Mr. Robinson, from the opportunities he had had last year of ascertaining the sentiments of the people of France, with respect to Buonaparté, thought he could take upon himself to say that the general feeling was against him. He was looked upon by almost all classes as the author of the misfortunes which had befallen them, and his system seemed to be universally execrated. He did not say that this feel