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number of persons in France were zealously devoted to Buonaparté; and they felt, as he did, that it would be better for him to run the chance of returning to France, at some future period, rather than by pertinaciously opposing the Allies, to destroy all hopes of such an event. Now, it could not be supposed, when he left France under such circumstances, that, if a favourable opportunity presented itself for his return, he would not be most anxious to avail himself of it. The noble lord contended, that, as the Treaty of Fontainbleau was made with an independent sovereign, this country had no right to watch him: that having gone to the island of Elba, he had an unimpeachable right to proceed afterwards where be pleased, except to the coast of France. If this were the case, what security was there for his keeping the Treaty of Fontainbleau? If it were said, that his abdication of the throne of France afforded the necessary security, he must state, that this argument would not serve the noble
with such delight in Paris, that they were almost eaten up with the enthusiastic manifestation of public affection. came the Treaty of Fontainbleau, which puzzled every one. The noble lord de nied that the favourable terms given to Napoleon in this Treaty, arose from any misplaced feeling of generosity; but that it was an act of necessity, dictated by the unabated attachment of the French army to their late ruler. Some persons, indeed, had stated he knew not whether their information was correct, but that they possessed the means of obtaining accurate intelligence, was indisputable-that so great were the zeal and attachment of the army to Napoleon, that, if favourable terms had not, at the moment, been granted to him, the whole armed population of France would have rallied round his standard. From this it would appear, that he stood upon very high ground, and that a civil war must have ensued, if he were pushed to the utmost extremity. Under these circumstances, then, the 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 Buonaparté 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 think the construction given to the Treaty of Fontainbleau by the noble lord, was the true one. On the contrary, he conceived, that the right of watching and detaining Buonaparté, under certain circumstances, did arise out of the Treaty. The spirit of the Treaty was not confined merely to his abdication of the throne of France. What necessarily followed from that stipulation? Assuredly, that he should not be suffered, hereafter, to disturb the peace and security of that country. No one could suppose that, at Elba, Buonaparté could devise the means of invading France, as those sovereigns might do, who possessed more extensive means. His hopes rested alone on the people and the army of France; and these engines could not be rendered dangerous to the peace of that country, unless he was personally present. His personal movements ought, therefore, to have been watched with scrupulous jealousy, since it was by personal exertions alone that he could effect any ambitious project. The Treaty, he contended, gave us a right of remonstrance and representation, and even an authority to watch Buonaparté. But, even if no such right existed under the Treaty, and although it might be considered defective
Napoleon must have left France, well knowing that his friends had arms in their hands. He must also have been aware, that a large proportion of the people would view his departure with regret, particularly those who were proprietors of confiscated lands, and who, though they might not have been much attached to Buonaparté, must have viewed with apprehension the return of the Bourbons, as threatening the destruction of the te nure by which they held their property. There was another point most material for consideration. It was now admitted, that the Treaty was founded in necessitythat the strength of Buonaparté commanded it. It was stated, that he possessed, at the time, a large force, and yet, in that situation, he preferred negociation to resistance. Now, it was impossible for any person, who knew these circumstances, and was aware of the state of France at time, to entertain a doubt, that Buonaparté felt it better to cherish the future contingent hope of returning back to France, instead of holding out to the last against the Allies, and thus putting all to hazard. At the time the Treaty of Fontainbleau was signed, these several facts were known. It was known that a great
as providing no regulation on this subject, yet, the moment you made him an independent sovereign, you could have treated with him-you might have remonstrated with him-you might have procured concessions from him. If it appeared that the Treaty was, in any degree, defective, you might have entered into stipulations with him on that point. But, if his sovereignty were not of sufficient force to admit him to the right of treating with other Powers, how did it exclude him from that system of watch, which, he contended, ought to have been established, in order to prevent him from endangering the peace of France ?
On the other hand, those who entered into a treaty with him, ought strictly to have abided by it. And, he would ask, had the Treaty of Fontainbleau been faithfully observed by those who entered into it? The first violation of that Treaty, was one which, perhaps, technically, might be questioned-but, as to the meanness of the conduct pursued, no doubt could be entertained. He alluded to the stipulation by which a certain annual salary was to be paid to Buonaparté. Here a technical objection had been made, that it was to be paid annually, and could not justly be called for before the expiration of the stated period. But this was an objection, which those who administered the affairs of France, ought to have blushed to resort to. They ought not to have suffered him to borrow money from the traders and bankers of Genoa and, by this means, to have assisted in weakening the affections of the people of Genoa towards the Allies. Another article of the Treaty he conceived to be violated, when the wife and son of Buona. parté were separated from him. His family, it was true, wished to leave France, but it was not contemplated, by the Treaty, that they should be placed in a state of captivity. From the first moment, however, it appeared, that an intention existed to violate this article. And he should be glad to know, on what authority (Buonaparté being an independent sovereign) his wife and child were kept from him? It was a circumstance almost without example; and it was the more remarkable, because the marriage with Maria Louisa was negociated by that celebrated statesman, prince Talleyrand, who considered it a very advisable measure, in the time of Buonaparte's prosperity-but who, in his period of adver(VOL. XXX.)
sity, described him to be a monster, not fit to be trusted with the custody of his wife and child. There was another part of the conduct of the Allies, with respect to this Treaty, which, though not perhaps a direct violation of it, was certainly extremely unjustifiable. He alluded to the non-performance of the stipulation rela tive to the duchies of Parma, Placentia, and Guastalla. This was most important to Buonaparté, since it was the provision for the wife and son of him who had made such a distinguished figure on the continent of Europe. On this point, almost more than any other, good faith should have been inviolably kept with Buonaparté; and if, as it was rumoured, a scheme was proposed in Congress for the purpose of giving another direction to this part of the Treaty, he could not conceive any thing more unjust or impolitic, since it tended to excite resentment in the minds of those military chiefs, who, at the period of the signing of the Treaty, pledged their honour to see its provisions fulfilled.
The only other point on which he meant to touch, was one of very great importance. It was said-and, if it were not the fact, it ought to be disproved on the best authority-that, during the discussions in Congress, a scheme was proposed for the removal of Buonaparté from the island of Elba, and placing him in St. Helena or St. Lucia. He did not rashly pledge himself to a fact that certainly could not come within his knowledge; but that some intention of removing Buonaparté did exist, might be gathered from several publications. In proof of this assertion, the hon. gentleman read extracts from a proclamation, issued by general Dessolles, at Paris, on the 7th of March, the day after the news of Buonaparte's landing in France had reached that capital; he also alluded to the authority of persons holding situations under the present French Government, who pledged themselves that such an intention had existed; and, with a similar view, the hon. gentleman quoted passages from a proclamation published by Louis the 18th at Ghent, and from the defence of sir Neil Campbell, recently given to the public through the medium of the newspapers. Whether the removing of Buonaparté would or would not have been a wise measure, he should abstain from discussing. But, if this Government knew that such a project was contemplated, was (3 A)
1. "That an humble Address be presented to his royal highness the Prince Regent, that he will be graciously pleased to give directions that there be laid before this House, copies or extracts, or substance of any instructions which may have been given by his Majesty's Government to any of his Majesty's naval commanders, respecting Napoleon Buonaparté and the island of Elba.
it not a strong argument for increased vigilance on their side?
Now, if he had at all established the fact, that, under the Treaty of Fontainbleau, we had a right to watch Buonaparté; and if that individual had succeeded to the utmost of his hopes and wishes, in again placing himself on the throne of France, he conceived that a suflicient case was made out, to induce the House to inquire whether every necessary precaution had been taken by his Majesty's ministers to prevent the occurrence of this event. The hon. and learned gentleman ridiculed the argument which had been made use of by the noble lord, "that the whole navy of England could not hermetically seal up the island of Elba." Was it just reasoning to say, "because we cannot hermetically seal up this island, we ought, therefore, to have no watch upon it?" English vessels might have gone every day into the Elbese ports; and, if that privilege were refused, our cruisers might have applied for infor mation to the ships of those Powers that were admitted. It was said, that France should have watched Buonaparte. But, if the Government of that country did not choose to do so, we had sufficient interest at stake to impel us to lock towards him with jealous vigilance. Besides, if the French Government had sent out vessels for that purpose, the loyalty of their crews would have been put to a very severe test; and it was very probable that Buonaparte would have escaped. It was necessary, therefore, that the House should know what instructions had been given to our naval commanders, in the neighbourhood of Elba-what information ministers had received with respect to the intended project of Buonapartéand the precautionary steps which they took in consequence thereof. And here he must observe, that he totally contemned the trash published by a person of the name of Playfair, which he conceived to be altogether unworthy of notice; but, he believed, that ministers had, on a variety of occasions, received information, which ought to have excited the utmost exertion of their vigilance. It was right that the House and the public should know whether they had performed their duty properly, aye or no; and for that purpose it was expedient that they should be furnished with the most extensive information. The hon. and learned gentleman concluded by moving,
2. "That an humble Address be presented to his royal highness the Prince Regent, that he will be graciously pleased to give directions that there be laid before this House, copies or extracts, or subs stance of any information which his Majesty's Government may have received respecting the design of Napoleon Buonaparté to escape from the island of Elba, together with the date of the reception of the said information."
Lord Castlereagh said, that with respect to that part of the hon. member's speech, which related to the alleged violation of the Treaty of Fontainbleau, it was sufficient to observe, that Buonaparté, at the time he quitted the island of Eiba, did not complain of any breach of that Treaty. That individual took a more dignified course--a course, at least, more worthy of his character. He put his proceeding on this broad ground, that he withdrew from France for a temporary purpose, and that he had returned to claim his indubitable right to the throne of that country. Latterly, however, he had set up the plea of breach of treaty. The hints on that point, he had received in the course of the discussions, to which recent events had given rise; and certainly a very copious brief was afterwards sent into this country, the composition of Mons. Caulaincourt, in which the argument of breach of treaty was pushed to its utmost extent. The hon. and learned gentleman, and those with whom he acted, were always either too early or too late, in the moment which they selected for the discussion of public questions. Nothing appeared so abhorrent to their nature, as to discuss a measure, at the period when it ought to be entertained. The wisdom of the Treaty of Fontainbleau they were fully prepared to argue against at the time; and they were equally prepared now to arraign the conduct and acts of the Congress, although that transaction was not at present in state in which it could be argued. But the honourable member wished to know whether this Treaty was a measure to which his Ma
jesty's ministers had made themselves a party. He would say for himself, that the moment he (lord C.) was brought to look at that question, he was convinced that the arrangement could not be otherwise than carried into effect, without flying in the face of the Government of France; and that it was perfectly impossible for this country to have opposed even a feeble resistance to it at that period. When he found that a distinct assurance had been given by the Emperor Alexander to Buonaparté, respecting the tenour of that Treaty, he did not think it was any longer a subject to which this country ought to hesitate to lend its approbation. The arrangement, as he had stated formerly, was not one of his making; at the time when he first saw it, it had assumed a very grave and serious, if not a conclusive shape; and, if it had been rejected, it would have been the means of placing the Allies in the most odious light. He was convinced that if such counsels had been adopted, there was not one of the ministers of the Allied Powers who would have ventured to look such a calamity in the face. But what was the real footing on which this question now stood? If the hon. member complained of the conduct of foreign states, he (lord C.) must enter his protest against being bound to answering Buonaparté to St. Helena or to St. for that conduct, or that ministers should Lucie; on the contrary, he had done be obliged to make that justification for every thing in his power to procure the them which they could make for them exact fulfilment of the Treaty, that no selves were they here. It was not right ground of cavil might be afforded; and that the ingenuity of gentlemen should be even so late as his passage through Paris, employed to blacken the conduct of those on his return to England, he had reprePowers with whom we were in alliance.sented to the French Government the necessity of paying the sum stipulated in the Treaty to Buonaparté. Upon the ques tion of what precautions this country had used to prevent the escape of Buonaparté, he had no objection to state, that although conjectures might be indulged as to the designs of Buonaparté, (with the exception of Mr. Play fair's statement), it never came to the knowledge of ministers that any deliberate design of escape was on foot; and, therefore, even had they been prac ticable, no additional precautions had been adopted. It seemed to him perfectly idle to talk of any other security than onethat security to which every rational man in this country looked for, the preservation of the family of Bourbon, and for the continued banishment of Buonaparté from France. That security was the general sentiment of the French people, and even of the army, expressed most unequivocally
Louisa were arrangements of pure generosity, and could not be considered as a claim of right. From the moment when Buonaparté reclaimed the throne of France, from that moment the Treaty of Fontainbleau had ceased to have any obligation in any of its bearings or relations. Great Britain, was, however, answerable for nothing more than giving facilities to Buonaparté for occupying those territorial possessions which had been granted to him, and as to the rest those parties must be answerable who were accessory to the acts. He would not deny that there had been plans in agitation respecting some change in the territories allotted to Maria Louisa; but these were subjects connected with the occupation of those duchies, which made it a question whether it would not have been wise on her part to accept an equivalent for them; and with regard to the residence of the Empress at Vienna instead of attending Buonaparté to Elba, that was a point which depended solely upon her own choice. There was nothing on the face of the Treaty which placed the Allies in a situation to watch Buonaparté. It only authorized them to grant him free escort from France. His lordship denied that any such project had ever been indulged by Congress as send
He trusted that that new principle of logic lately introduced would not be generally adopted; namely, that any thing which might be asserted by a French general should be deemed conclusive, unless the French Government should think proper to contradict it. Conclusions were drawn from late transactions which could not be deduced on any foundation from the conduct of the Allied Powers. The good faith of this country had been in no degree violated. The British Government had not even gone to the extent of guaranteeing the stipulations in the Treaty of Fontainbleau, respecting the territorial arrangements; it was, therefore, perfectly unnecessary to enter upon any justification on their account. From the time Buonaparte withdrew from Elba, the Treaty of Fontainbleau had ceased to exist. The arrangements respecting Maria
on the arrival of their legitimate Sovereign. I throw odium on the Government.
return to the Address, if granted, would
Mr. Elliot lamented the unhappy pre-