« PreviousContinue »
rule over them, under the title of regent. mination to repulse the Swedes, or perish in This circumstance certainly did no good to the attempt. Their regular army probably the cause of Norway, because a strong sus- amounted to 30,000 men; but they were picion went abroad, that the king of Den- half starved, badly armed, and inexperienced, mark was at the bottom of the resistance of Farine indeed was what they most dreaded : this country to be transferred to Sweden. On and against this they knew they could not this account, it would have been ett if protect themselves, if the maritime powers, they had chosen as a regent a person entirely and especially Great Britain, took an active unconnected with Denmark, a native Nor- part against them. But they did hope that wegian.
Britain would assist them; at least, they did About a month after the treaty between not doubt but Britain would allow the imSweden and Denmark, prince Christian put portation of grain. forth a proclamation to the Norwegians, in In order to enable prince Christian more which he called upon them in strong and effectually to wield the powers of Norway in animated language to stand forth in defence the arduous contest, he was raised to the digof their national independence, and to repel nity of king. In the beginning of July, enevery attempt to transfer them to Sweden. voys were sent to him from Austria, Russia, At the same time he issued a proclamation England, and Prussia, who called upon him respecting the relation which was to exist to agree to an armistice, till the assembling between Norway and other powers; and the of a diet, into whose hands he might return abolition of privateering. The hope that that crown which he had received from the Great Britain would at least not oppose the nation. The terms of the proposed armistice endeavours of the Norwegians to secure their were three. From Christian was demanded independence, is strongly expressed in the an immediate agreement to resign the croirn preamble to this proclamation; in which to the diet, and the evacuation of a frontier, prince Christian, in his own name, and in together with the surrender of certain forts the name of the nation of Norway at large, on it. On the part of the Swedes it was collstates, that he considers it a great blessing, ceded by the envoys, that the blockade of and favour on the part of the king of Den- certain ports should be raised during the mark, that, before he absolved thein of their truce. With respect to the resignation of oaths, he established peace between them and the crown, Christian replied, that he should Great Britain. The first declaration in the make known to the nation the danger to proclamation is, that Norway is at peace with which it was exposed, and represent to it the all the world; the others relate principally advantages which would be secured to it on to the preservation of neutrality and the en- its acceding to a constitutional union with couragement of commerce.
Sweden : * But (he added) you know me As soon as the Norwegians had gone so sufficiently to be convinced that, faithful to far in their opposition to Sweden as to declare my engagements, I will never separate my themselves independent, and to elect a sove- fate from that of Norway, in the event of a reign, it became necessary for them to seek brave though useless resistance against the the means of defending their country from united forces of Europe being employed to the invasion of the Swedish forces. They an honourable reconciliation, for which I trusted much to the almost impenetrable shall employ all my credit !"--He next denature of their frontier, to which they had precates the introduction of Swedish troops been more than once indebted for their pro- into the forts during the truce, as calculated tection, and the destruction of the invading to excite commotion ; and speaks of himself Swedish army: but as there was a part of as determined, even upon this point, to head their frontier which was accessible, it was that commotion when it has once sprung up: necessary to raise as large an army as possible to avoid it, he proposes that the forts shall to defend it. Of troops, Norway had abun- be put in the custody of armed citizens.-dance ; for all ranks and ages, as well as both Lastly, he demands that the blockade shall sexes, seemed animated with a fixed deter- be raised universally; but upon that subject,
0 N th lia
and the truce generally, he writes a letter to army against Norway. The people of Bri-
It was contended that it was tyrannical, Soon afterwards he gave in a second note and in the very teeth of the professions of to the envoys; in which he calls on them, in the allied sovereigns, to compel the Norwethe name of their respective powers, to gua- gians to submit to a power which they derantee the basis of the union of Norway with tested: that Buonaparte could have done noSweden, as well as the conditions of the in- thing worse ; and that it was particularly untermediate armistice; he likewise requires worthy of Great Britain, and disgraceful to " that the sittings of the diet shall be prolong- her, to co-operate in this attempt to force à ed, so as to enable it to close its deliberations sovereign on the Norwegians, especially by without interruption;" and that the blockade blockading the ports, and thus starving thein shall be raised, so as to admit a free importa- into submission. They asked what was the tion of corn into Norway.
leading principle of the British constitution; In reply, the envoys grant the contingent on what account did we hold ourselves out guarantee required of their several sovereigns; as the envy and admiration of the world? but complain that all the conditions which Was it not because, according to our constithey had proposed as the basis of the armis- tution, the consent of the people is necessary tice had been altered. Yet still are they to the legitimacy of any government? Had willing to convey his royal highness's propo- not our ancestors bled to defend this prinsitions to the king of Sweden, with this in- ciple? Had not we taken up arms against timation also, that they will second them by Buonaparte because he had enslaved Europe, their recommendation, inasmuch as they will by forcing it under his dominion ? and would afford his majesty an occasion of commenc- we now give the lie, not only to our ances ing by a signal benefit the exercise of his in- tors, but also to our récent conduct, by fluence in Norway.
joining in the league against the people of On the 17th of July, the envoys returned Norway? from their mission : and on the 26th of that In this case, there coula beino doubt what month military operations commenced be- was the wish of the Norwegians: they had tween the Norwegian and Swedish flotillas. expressed that wish unanitnously from them. The former were stationed near the Hualorn selves: and what was the character of the islands, protected by about 23 batteries raised people whom we joined in oppressing? Perthere. The Norwegian commander on the haps'more like our own than any other 11aadvance of the Swedish fleet evacuated the tion in Europe: or rather like what our anislands, and retreated towards Frederickstadt. cestors were, when they fought and bled in This circumstance put the Swedes in posses- defence of those blessings which ive now ension of positions of the highest importance joyed. The Norwegians were simple, withfor the opening of the campaign. Soon after out guile, manly, determined and brave: and this, the plenipotentiaries of the four powers would we put a yoke on such a people? set out again for Underwallda, to repair to Had Britain and the allied sovereigns so Christiana to make a last effort for arrange- soon forgot that they had been fighting for ment; and at the same time the prince royal the liberties of Europe? Had they so soon of Sweden put himself at the head of his forgotten the charges which they brought
against Buonaparte? Had Britain in particu- by that treaty.. No authority could, howlar forgotten the reasons which induced her ever, induce him to persuade this country to aid the Spaniards ? Had not they, like the to depart from her engagements; and if it Norwegians, been transferred by their sove- could be shown that this treaty compelled reign to a foreigner, whose yoke they detest- us to assist Sweden in the subjugation of ed? Had not we applauded them for their Norway, their lordships would do well to resistance ? Had we not assisted them in reject his motion. But the first question throwing it off? Did we not take credit to was, whether that treaty required from us ourselves for our conduct on this occasion ? such measures as were now pursued towards Had then our conduct been wrong? Ought Norway: secondly, whether those measures we rather to have joined in subduing the could be justified by the doctrines of public people of Spain to the yoke of Buonaparte ? law : thirdly, whether Sweden had so acted Or did we make a distinction between the as to be entitled to call upon us for the exe same actions, when committed by Buona- cution of these measures : and, fourthly, parte and when committed by any other whether sound policy would justify us in person? Or was the charge against us true, complying with such demands. In consithat we assisted the Spaniards because it was dering the construction of the treaty itself, it our interest to assist them? The case of the would be found to contain no such obligation Norwegians appeared so strong, and so wor- as the blockade of the ports of Norway. At thy of sympathy, that even ministers in
par- the suggestion of Russia we had agreed to liament seemed to lament the treaty by which employ force to compel Denmark to relinthe allies had bound themselves to secure quish Norway. The obligation contracted Norway to Sweden. As this treaty, to which on our part had been fulfilled. We had not Britain was a party, existed, it was necessary guaranteed to Sweden the peaceable possesto see it carried into execution. On the sion of Norway. That such was the fair conground of this treaty, therefore, and on the struction of the treaty, he appealed to his further ground of the peace between Den- majesty's ministers--a construction which mark and Sweden, by which the former was admitted in their subsequent treaty with agreed to give up Norway to the latter, the Denmark. What then did this treaty bind attempt to subdue the Norwegians was boldly us to perform? Certainly, to use every posjustified.
sible exertion, that Denmark should agree So flagrant an infringement of the rights to the transfer of Norway to Sweden and of nations inspired the opposition in both now, when Denmark had ceded all her claims houses of parliament with unwonted vigor. to that country, we were resorting to further In the house of Lords (May 10) the order and more obnoxious measures of compelling upon which their Lordships were summoned the submission of Norway. Would the sbeing read, carl Grey stated, that a subject noble and learned lord at the head of the law of greater importance, as to principle, had permit the recovery upon a contract " ab never been discussed. It included the max- initio” illegal ? Would they not say, You its of good faith, of moral and political jus- have entered into an illegal contract, which tice, the doctrines of public law, and the in- is ab initio void, and you must bear the loss ? terpretation of treaties. These were all to In the case of nations the principle was the be considered before we decided on the con- same-the difference of power made no difduct of a people who had done us no injury, ference of justice. What were the disposable and who were known to us only by their rights of the king of Denmark? Were they patriotism, their industry, and their virtues. founded on the consent of the people, on The treaty with Sweden had last year been which all thrones rested? or, did they allow sanctioned by parliament, notwithstanding him to transfer the people of Norway like the opposition of himself and friends: he was cattle? He was speaking in the nineteenth still of opinion, that British policy never sus- century, and in the British parliament and tained a greater shock, nor the British cha- surely there wanted no arguments to prove, racter a deeper stain, than had been inflicted that a sovereignty could not be transferred
ims against ed Ellrope
, and would Our ances induct, by
oubt what ther had
er of the 17? Pere 3ther list tour an d bled i now en
zigns « ting for
without the consent of the people, nor that in the noble efforts of a Wallace and a Bruce?'
Thy spirit, Independence, let me share?
Thy steps I'll follow with my bosom barc, From what Grotius had written on this sub
Nor heed the storm that howls along the sky." ject, it might be deduced, that sovereignty The Scottish barons had replied to the could not be transferred without the express pope, that no king should be imposed upon or implied consent of the people. Puffen- Scotland without their consent. Such was dorff was of the same opinion. “ If a prince," then the language of the Scottish barons, according to that writer," was compelled to and such was now the language of the Noryield his sovereignty, he could not place a wegian freeholders! Thus he had proved, portion of his subjects under any obligation that we were not bound by the construction not to resist the surrender-he could not of the treaty to assist in the subjugation of hinder their erecting themselves into a com- Norway; and since it was clear that the king monwealth, or any other disposal of them- of Denmark could not transfer the sovereignselves.” The whole of Vattel's writings went ty, it was equally clear that, let whatever to prove, that sovereignties could never with treaty exist, no one could justly compel the justice be transferred, unless the people con- Norwegians to submission. His lordship sented to the transfer. These authorities then adverted to the documents, and comwere conclusive. He wished their lordships plained of their defective character. Sweden to imagine what would be the consequences did not appear to have furnished her continof an attempt of the king of England to gent of troops, nor could the noble lords pre transfer the sovereignty of Ireland or Scot- tend absolutely to say, that the crown prince land. When Richard the second had trans- had done his duty. What was the testimony ferred even the sovereignty of Gascony, the of Mr. Thornton and sir Charles Stewart on Gascons resisted, and their resistance was this subject? What would be that of the successful. When John gave up the sove. gallant marshal Blucher, could he be brought reignty of England to the pope, the barons to give his opinion of the services of the asserted the principle, that the king had no crown prince of Sweden ? During the eventsuch riglit. What was the consequence of ful period that followed the battle of Leipsie
, the transfer of the crown of Scotland by who ever heard of the crown prince ? Was Baliol to our Edward I. ? Had history not the strongest discontent excited by his sunctioned the pretence that the resistance inactivity ? And when he did move, where of the Scotch was rebellion ? Had history, did he move? Not upon the enemy, but as well as Edward, condemned the great and upon Norway. Even when he had compelled patriotic Wallace as a traitor ? No-the Deninark to consent to the cession of Nortransaction had fixed a deep and indelible way, where was the crown prince during the stain upon the character of the British mo- anxious months of January, February, and narch!
March? Why, on the 28th of March he “ Scots who have with Wallace bled
was at Liege ! There a demi-official article Scots whom Bruce has often led
had appeared in the Liege Gazette, declaring Welcome to your gorey bed!
his disappointment at not being called upon Or to victory.!"
to send a plenipotentiary to Chatillon, comIn these and similar lines had the glorious plaining that the Hanseatic legion had been struggle against the
transfer of sovereignty withdrawn from his command, and thàt his been consecrated. That part of our history remonstrances had not met with due attenwas never read by any who were sensible of tion, and, in conclusion, expressing his deterthe value of liberty and independence, with- mination not to take an active part till this out regret. Who did not desire to be a sbarer was explained. On the 16th of April, six
teen days after the battle on the heights of gians by the transfer, was there no difference
În the House of Compmons the arguments politician who did not look to a possible fu- of Mr. Whitbread were urged with the same ture difference of prospect. But was there want of success as those of lord Grey. He no alternative for Norway but a dependence asserted that the crown prince of Sweden on either Sweden or Denmark? Was there had not fulfilled the stipulations of the treaty, not independence ? Might she not be more by which we had agreed to assist him in the beneficial to this country under the impulse subjugation and annexation of Norway. This of liberty. His lordship then combated the was his firm opinion; and it was, he believed, idea of the resistance of Norway being insti- the opinion of the highest military authorigated by a Danish faction. Even if there ties, that Sweden had not given that assistwere a Danish faction, why not attack Den- ance to the common cause which she was mark rather than blockade Norway? After bound by the express conditions of this un. a series of lucid and powerful arguments, his principled contract to give. He should like lordship concluded by moving an address to to have had the opinions of sir Charles Stewthe prince regent, entreating that the block. art, and of marshal Blucher, as to the effecade of Norway by a British force should be tive co-operation of Sweden at the battle of raised.
Leipsic, and after that battle, after the allies The earl of Harrowby, in reply, contended had entered France, or when they were unthat Russia had a right to engage for the der the walls of Paris. With respect to the union of Norway with Sweden, and that his charge of treachery against Denmark, in de Britannic majesty had a similar right to ac- feating the cession of Norway, which she cede to such an engagement. He thought herself had formerly made, it was sufficiently that kingdoms, as well as provinces, might answered by the ratification of the original be transferred by treaty with all the rights treaty with that country, so late as the 19th of their former sovereigns. According to of April, when it was plain that the allies certain doctrines, a sovereign might cede a were perfectly satisfied with the conduct and province which he could not keep, and then good faith of the king of Denmark. Every that province might start into a state. A one knew what blockade meant in the premuntry might be cut up into twenty pieces, sent instance. It was not intended to preand each start up with a head and tail as an vent the sending of arms or ammunition to independent body. The presumptive heir Norway, but to cut off her supplies of food, to the crown had gone to Norway, and en- to inflict upon her that which had been desdeavoured to set up a state, after the king cribed by Mr. Burke as the greatest of all had ceded it. The Danish civil officers had possible calamities, as a calamity so dreadful been ordered to return. There was reason that every humane mind. shuddered and to think that the liberal terms of Sweden turned away from its contemplation. Would had been studiously concealed from the Nor- not the house pause, then, before they pro wegians. As to the condition of the Norwe- ceeded to this last act of aggravated injustice