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have withdrawn our armies, and we say, I this is not the time to re-produce them." The question therefore was, whether we should go to war now when we had the means of doing so with effect, or postpone it to a distant time, when we should be deprived of the power to do so? It ought not to be concealed from the people, that the war could not be engaged in, unless every man was inclined to make the greatest possible sacrifices, and to forego every indulgence; and on this account he hoped the House would pause before they engaged in war, if it could by any possibility be avoided. Still he must say, that he would not recommend any negociation with Buonaparté; but, for the reasons he had given, he felt it his duty to oppose the Address.
Sir John Newport said, he differed from his right hon. friend (Mr. Ponsonby), and also from the right hon. gentleman who had just sat down, in various points. He was not convinced that the dangers which threatened this country were such as had been described. The dangers that might grow out of an armed peace could not but be infinitely augmented by a state of war; for no man could forsee when the war, if once begun, would terminate. If the hope of restoring the Bourbons could be realised, what security was there that they could again keep their situations? They had been restored, and they could not keep their situations. It was the pressure from without from the earliest period of the war, when the duke of Brunswick issued his proclamation, that had made France a military country: and however great might have been our former difficulties, they would bear no comparison with those we should have to encounter, as they would now be insuperable from the exhausted state of our finances. The last coalition against Buonaparté had only prevailed in consequence of the insane projects of that man, who had reduced France to such a situation that her rewere paralysed; and yet the Allies were obliged to make terms with him, for fear, as was now admitted, that he should turn round and overcome them. For his part, he could see no hopes but in an immediate and successful effort against France; and if this should not succeed, in two or three years, we should find the foreign Powers detaching themselves from the cause one after another, till at last we should be left alone to maintain the tremendous and desperate
contest, with dilapidated and exhausted resources; the middle classes of society being ground down to the dust, and the country having nothing in view but horrors of the most calamitous kind. Hé therefore trusted that ministers would not plunge the country unadvisedly into war, but that negociations would be entered into, if they could be adopted consistently with the security and honour of the country.
Mr. Wilberforce said, he saw difficulties and dangers surrounding both sides of the present question, and that he never found himself in a greater dilemma as to the course he should pursue. His embarrassment, however, did not arise in any degree from the motion of his hon. friend, because he saw strong and conclusive arguments against it. He felt all the peril and imminent evils attendant upon a mi litary leader in France, who must necessarily infuse into the military character of that nation, new energies, and direct them to extensive plans of warfare; bot yet he could not say that he felt that peril so strongly as to think himself justified in lending his support to carrying on the war upon that ground alone. He knew how easy it was to begin wars, and with what flattering delusions their successes were anticipated; but he knew also how, in the progress of those wars, clouds arose to darken and obscure them, which did not at first appear in the horizon. With respect to Buonaparté and the power he possessed, he feared, from the facts disclosed of his progress through France, that too large a proportion of the popula tion was favourable to him. Of his character, he had but one opinion. placed no confidence in the predictions of his improvement; for though there had been a large expenditure of bad passions in him, yet there still remained a fund of evil which was inexhaustible, he feared. He should not think he honestly discharged his duty if he did not say that he thought a peace with Buonaparté would be only a peace in name. He nevertheless felt serious apprehensions, when he considered the uncertainty of all wars. As to the particular question, he supposed that his hon. friend would not be anxious to press it. He had probably brought the motion forward, merely to give the House an opportunity of delivering their senti ments on the general question of peace
Mr. Tierney said, that if it might be
considered as a proof of wisdom to balance both sides of a question, and determine upon neither, he would say that his hon. friend who had just sat down abounded in wisdom. Such speeches were certainly of some use, especially to members who happened to come late into the House, as they had the advantage of hearing all that could be said upon all sides of a subject. He had had a pretty long experience of the practice of his hon. friend; and he must say, that on all great and trying questions which came before that House, his hon. friend generally gave them the leanings of his mind, and to Government the substance of his vote-[a laugh]. With regard to the present motion, it had his decided support. For his own part, though much stress had been laid upon Buonaparte's escape from Elba, he thought this was the least of his offences. As he had been thrust from the throne by the point of the bayonet, it was not at all surprising that he should have tried to get back again. Gentlemen in that House, when turned out of office, were very apt to try to get in again!-[a laugh]. He denied that Buonaparté had been brought back entirely by the military. Instead of the invasion of France, as it had been called, it was one of the most extraordinary feats of this extraordinary man. He could not discover any effort that he had made since his return, to conciliate the military: but quite the reverse. Mr. Tierney said he would prefer the chance of peace to the various chances of war. If we should go to war, and afterwards, when our means of paying were exhausted, the Allies should go to their homes, in what a situation should we be placed! This country would then be inevitably lost. The noble lord was evidently wrong when he had expressed his opinion that the people of France would not have endured Buonaparté one moment, if they could have helped themselves. Every thing showed that the people were attached to him. If we were to go to war, subsidies would be hereafter required by our magnanimous Allies, far beyond what we should set out with; and next year ministers would tell us, as they did in the early periods of the last war, that these Allies had expended their last farthing, and could not move without farther payments. On the whole, he was convinced that if we did engage in the war, it would prove one of the most ex pensive and calamitous with which this nation had ever been afflicted. The suc
cess of the last campaign was entirely owing to a mistake of Buonaparté. Should we enter on another war for the chance of another mistake on his patt? The assistance of Austria could not be relied on, as she had enough to do in Italy. Indeed, the Allies, it was said, had taken, not Buonaparté himself, but Buonaparte's mother and sisters, and sent them to two of the strongest fortresses of Germany-he supposed to be exchanged at some future period, for some general officer. He did not think Sweden could be relied on to be a party to the confederacy. If we had not as great a force as we had in the last war, we could not expect success. But what did we want to gain by the war? To preserve the Treaty of Paris. The Treaty of Paris was offered to us, and why did we not preserve it? Because the Allies wished to make an experiment. We must put Buonaparté out of the world, and restore the Bourbons. This was clearly the purpose of the war. We had now an accredited ambassador from Louis 18; and this, coupled with the Declaration of the Allies, decidedly proved that the restoration of the Bourbons was our object. Was it not most likely that this would indispose all France against us? The French were already soured against us by our manner of sending Louis to them, by his acknowledging that it was to the Prince Regent of England he owed the throne, and by our sending lord Wellington as the British ambassador to Paris. But what will be the event, should we fail in this war? When we should have spent all our resources and France was goaded by our efforts, and had Buonaparte at her head, what would then be our condition? Let the noble lord show him, that we should not be in a worse situation by the war than we were now, and be might then be brought to concur in the war. But the Chancellor of the Exchequer must know that we could not possibly go on for more than two years with the expenses of a
But the truth was, it must be the overthrow of Buonaparté or of the ministers. The noble lord with his blue ribbon, which he had obtained by the defeat of Buonaparté, could not possibly make peace with him. If it were otherwise, why was not the best security which France could give, tried? Why was it not tried to bring her to disarm? This would be the very best security; and this, security, he was convinced, so strong was the disposition to peace in France, we could have. If all
the Allies would enter into a union to make Buonaparté give this, they assuredly would get it. Peace, therefore, we could have, if we wished it. He thanked his hon. friend for making his motion, and thought him entitled to the country's thanks. The noble lord had dealt very unfairly by the House, by drawing it in to give the unconscious pledge it had given; and in the event of war, he was not sure that disturbances would not arise in the country. He entreated the House to consider that this might, perhaps, be their very last opportunity of expressing their opinions on this great question, and of averting the calamities with which this country was threatened.
Mr. Robinson thought that Buonaparté, by his breach of the Treaty of Fontainbleau, had given a clear unqualified right to this country to go to war with him. Much had been said about the change that the reverses had wrought in Buonaparté's disposition. But how did he prove this change on his first entrance into France? On the 12th of March he issued a decree from Lyons, proscribing a certain number of individuals over whom he had no right whatever. This showed no great change from his wonted ferocity-no great spirit of mildness, of mercy, of forgiveness. He had abdicated the throne, and before he had even reseated himself on it, he proscribed persons not at all subject to him. It was said he was surrounded by persons favourable to liberty. But he believed that those who had once been the strongest advocates for liberty, had been amongst his basest and most fawning sycophants. He did not attach much value to the support they now gave, as he was satisfied they would be again ready to change, if circumstances changed. It had been asked, why we should not now be content with the Peace of Paris? This Peace of Paris had only been concluded on the understanding that Buonaparté had for ever abdicated his pretensions to the throne of France. He admitted that in our present situation we had only a choice of evils; but he maintained, that by far the less evil was to avail ourselves of the existing confederation, of the concentrated force of united Europe, in order to endeavour to destroy that power which threatened the tranquillity of the world. Our means for doing this were ample, and our situation much better than that in which we were even at the successful termination of the late war. It was true, (VOL. XXX.)
as stated by the hon. gentleman, we could not calculate with certainty on a fortunate result. But if it were once admitted, that when pressed by a tremendous danger we ought to remain inactive, lest our exertions should be fruitless, there was an end to every virtuous and vigorous effort. If we had been terrified by the uncertainty of the result, we should not have defended Portugal, supported the cause of the Spaniards, or assisted in the successful campaign of last year. It was true that many coalitions had failed: but all had not failed, as was proved in the last year. The present coalition had at least as much chance of success now as it had then. Between forty and fifty fortresses, then garrisoned by French troops, were now in the possession of the Allies. This circumstance would give the Allies a very considerable advantage now, which then they did not possess. Upon the whole, he saw no reason whatever for despairing of
Mr. Philips supported the motion. He deprecated the want of precaution on our part to prevent the return of Buonaparté to France, and censured the general policy of ministers.-[This speech was interrupted by loud cries of Question, question!']
Mr. Wellesley Pole, having succeeded with difficulty in obtaining a hearing, said, that he had only one appeal to make to the hon. gentleman who made the motion, and one declaration to communicate to him, which he hoped, would give as much satisfaction to the hon. gen. tleman as to every man else. In the animadversions on the Declaration of the 13th of March, repeated that night, he had stated it as sanctioning the murder and assassination of Buonaparté, and he had lamented that the name of Welling ton should have been disgraced by signing such a paper. He (Mr. P.) happened to be with the duke of Wellington when the report of the hon. gentleman's speech reached him; and never was a man so shocked as he then was, that one of his countrymen-one who had either known, seen, or heard of him-should have supposed that he signed a paper bearing such a construction, or that he could possibly give it such a construction. His only understanding was, that Buonaparté had forfeited all his political rights. At the time, it was not known whether it was Buonaparte's intention to endeavour to regain the throne of France, or whether (3 S)
he had put himself at the head of a banditti to disturb any other country; and he never thought that any man, much less a British senator, could have suspected that he would have signed a paper with such a meaning. They conceived that he had forfeited his political rights, and that he was a rebel and a traitor; but they never intended to sanction his assassina
Mr. Quin had yet heard nothing to persuade him that the people had any share in the return of Buonaparté; he had found an active army and a passive people. If we did not go to war, we should have an armed peace, and France would then have all the advantage. Buonaparte could not be believed to be actuated by a sincere desire for peace. He was an enemy to this country from envy of our free constitution, and our commercial greatness. The struggle might be arduous, and the event hazardous, yet he deprecated the idea of our abandonment of the policy of our Allies.
Mr. R. Gordon supported the motion. Mr. J. Smyth spoke in favour of the Address, and contended that the war would be a war of aggression against France, and could not be justified on any rational grounds.
Sir Frederick Flood said, he wished for peace with France, but he did not wish for peace with an outlaw and a rebel; and in that character only could he regard the present Ruler of France. He considered that the most transcendent abilities had, in the late contest, been displayed, both in the cabinet and in the field, and was happy to recognize as his countrymen a Castlereagh and a Wellington. The present was a question of a delicate nature; yet he could not help thinking the whole country ought to go heart and band together in overturning the usurpation of Buonaparte.
Mr. Coke (of Norfolk,) supported the motion. He could not help thinking, that those who were abettors of the war with France, on the present occasion, were the enemies, and not the friends of their country.
Mr. Whitbread, in reply, said, that notwithstanding the explanation of the right hon. gentleman (Mr. Wellesley Pole), he confessed that he was still of opinion that it would have been far more to the credit of the duke of Wellington not to have signed the Declaration in question, even with the interpretation which had been
given to his relation, and by him communicated to the House. The character of the duke of Wellington was part of the property of this country. Who was not proud of the name? No person had ever shown himself more willing to pay the tribute of applause which was due to his great actions than himself; and when he had so expressed himself, he hardly thought that his sincerity could be called in question. But was it because the duke of Wellington had signed a Declaration, that it bore a different construction from what it would have done if he had not put his name to it? And if in the hurry of business he did not consider the meaning of this Declaration with sufficient attention, was this not a subject of deep lamentation to this country? If, before this, any person had been asked, who would be the last man to sanction such doctrine-or if there was one man whom he would select from all mankind as the person who would be most inclined to give it his condemnation, he would have selected the duke of Wellington. would have conceived the duke of Wellington to feel in this way-save Buonaparté for me, that he may command an army against me-[Hear, hear!] After having vanquished in succession all his captains-all his fame, all his glory, all his future renown, were centered in the life of Buonaparté-[Hear, hear!] But he had signed the Declaration, and it had gone forth to the world. What did existence' mean, but physical existence? He was glad of the explanation of the right hon. gentleman, because if his (Mr. Whitbread's) voice had reached the Duke, it might also go out to the world that the duke of Wellington declared that the principle of assassination was detested by him, and had never met with his approbation. With respect to the noble lord (Castlereagh), he had divided his speech into three parts: the first was a philippic against Buonaparté; the second was a philippic against him (Mr. Whitbread); and the third was a panegyric upon him self. With respect to the speech of an hon. gentleman (Mr. Wilberforce), he was surprized to hear such language from a person of his grave and pious character, who opened a book, he believed, more often than any of those who heard him, in which it is said, that when a sinner repents he may save his soul alive. He begged the hon. gentleman, however, the next time he read that passsage, to put in an inter
lineation excepting Buonaparté.' That
The House then divided:
List of the Minority.
Abercrombie, hon. J.
HOUSE OF LORDS.
NAPLES.] Earl Grey said, their lordships would recollect, that a few days ago, previous to his giving notice of a motion on the subject of our existing relations with the Government of Naples, and on which their lordships stood summoned for to-morrow, he had put some questions to a noble earl. To these, his not receiving a satisfactory answer, was the cause of his having given notice of a motion. Previous to his bringing it on, however, he begged leave to ask that noble lord, whether he now deemed it consistent with his duty to give certain explanations on the subject; and, in that view, he would trouble him but on two points. First, Whether we were actually at war with Naples; and if so, whether, as was customary, any com munication would be made to Parliament on the subject? And secondly, if we were -201 not at war, whether any discussions were