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Even if the right of Parliament to advise had not been as clearly established, as the prerogative of the Crown to make war or peace-if it had not been thus constantly exercised-if the wisest and best men had not been the first to call it forth into action; we might reasonably have been more forward than our ancestors to exercise this great right, because we contemplate a system of political negociation, such as our ancestors never saw. All former Congresses were assemblies of the ministers of belligerent Powers to terminate their differences by treaty, to define the rights and decide on the pretensions which had given rise to war, or to make compensation for the injuries which had been suffered in the course of it. The firm and secure system of Europe admitted no rapid, and few great changes of power and possession. A few fortresses in Flanders, province on the frontiers of France and Germany, were generally the utmost ces sions earned by the most victorious wars, and secured by the most important treaties. Those who have lately compared the transactions at Vienna with the Treaty of Westphalia,-which formed the code of the Empire and an era in diplomatic history, which terminated civil wars of religion not only in Germany, but throughout Christendom, and which removed all that danger with which, for more than a century, the power of the House of Austria had threatened the liberties of Europe, will perhaps feel some surprise when they are reminded, that except secularizing a few ecclesiastical principalities, that renowned and memorable Treaty ceded only Alsace to France, and part of Pomerania to Sweden; that its stipulations did not change the political condition of half a million of men; that it affected no pretension to dispose of any territory but that of those who were parties to it, and that not an acre of land was ceded without the express and formal consent of its legal sovereign.* Far other were the pretensions, and indeed the performances of the ministers assembled in Congress at Vienna. They met under the modest pretence of carrying into effect
This is certainly true respecting Pomerania and Alsace; whether the Ecclesiastical Principalities were treated with so much ceremony, may be more doubtful, and it would require more research to ascertain it, than can now be applied to the object.
the thirty-second article of the Treaty of Paris.+ But under colour of this humble language, they arrogated the power of doing that in comparison with which the whole Treaty of Paris was a trivial Convention, and which made the Treaty of Westphalia appear no more than an adjustment of parish boundaries. They claimed the absolute disposal of every territory which had been occupied by France and her vassals, from Flanders to Livonia, and from the Baltic to the Po. Over these, the finest countries in the world, inhabited by twelve millions of mankind, whom they had taken up arms under pretence of delivering from a conqueror,-they arrogated to themselves the harshest rights of conquest. It is true, that in this vast territory they restored, or rather granted, a great part to its ancient sovereigns. But these sovereigns were always reminded by some new title, or by the disposal of some similarly circumstanced neighbouring territory, that they owed their restoration to the generosity, or at most to the prudence of the Congress, and that they were not entitled to require it from its justice. They came in by a new tenure. They were the feudatories of the new corporation of kings erected at Vienna, exercising joint power in effect over all Europe, consisting in form of eight or ten princes, but in substance of three great military powers-the spoilers of Poland, the original invaders of the European constitution, sanctioned by the support of England; checked, however feebly, by France alone. On these three Powers, whose reverence for national independence and title to public confidence were so firmly established by the partition of Poland, the dictatorship of Europe had fallen. Every restored state was restored as their vassal. They agree that Germany shall have a federal constitution; that Switzerland shall govern herself; that unhappy Italy shall, as they say, be composed of sovereign states. But it is all by grant from these lords paramount. Their will is the sole title to dominion; the universal tenure of sovereignty. A single acre granted on such a principle
"All the Powers engaged on either side in the present war, shall, within the space of two months, send Plenipotentiaries to Vienna, for the purpose of regu lating in general Congress the arrangements which are to complete the provisions of the present Treaty.'
is, in truth, the signal of a monstrous revolution in the system of Europe. Were the House of Commons to remain silent when it was applied in practice to a large part of the Continent, and proclaimed in right over the whole? Were they to remain silent, when they heard the king of Sardinia, at the moment when he received possession of Genoa from a British garrison, and when the British commander stated himself to have made the transfer in consequence of the decision at Vienna, proclaim to the Genoese that he took possession of their territory" in concurrence with the wishes of the principal Powers of Europe?"
It is to this particular act of the Congress, that I now desire to call the attention of the House, not only on account of its own atrocity, but because it seems to represent in miniature the whole system of that body to be a perfect specimen of their new public law, and to exemplify every principle of that code of partition which they are about to establish on the ruins of that ancient system of national independence and balanced power which gradually raised the nations of Europe to the first rank of the human race. I contend, that all the parties to this violent transfer, and more especially the British Government, have been guilty of perfidy, have been guilty of injustice; and I shall also contend, that the danger of these violations of faith and justice is much increased when they are considered as examples of those principles by which the Congress of Vienna arrogate to themselves the right of regulating a considerable portion of Europe.
Now, Sir, I do contend, that all the powers of human ingenuity cannot give two senses to this proclamation. I defy the wit of man to explain it away. Whether lord William Bentinck had the power to promise, is an after question. What he did promise, can be no question at all. He promised the aid of England to obtain Italian independence. He promised to assist the Italians in throwing off a yoke, in escaping from thraldom, in establishing liberty, in asserting right, in obtaining independence. Every term of emancipation known in human language is exhausted to impress his purpose on the heart of Italy. I do not now inquire, whether the generous warmth of this language may not require in justice some understood limitation. Perhaps it may. But can independence mean a transfer to the yoke of the most hated of foreign masters? Were the Genoese invited to spill their blood, not merely for a choice of tyrants, but to earn the right of wearing the chains of their rival, and their enemy for two centuries? Are the references to Spain, to Sicily, and to Holland, mere frauds on the Italians, words "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing?" If not, can they mean less than this, that those countries of Italy which were independent before the war, shall be independent again?-These words, therefore, were at least addressed to the Genoese.. Suppose them to be limited as to any other Italians. Suppose the Lombards, or at that time the Neapolitans, to be tacitly excluded. To the Genoese, they either had no meaning, or they meant their ancient independence.
To establish the breach of faith, I must first ask, what did lord William Bentinck promise, as commander-in-chief of his Majesty's troops in Italy, by his proclamation of the 14th of March, and 26th of April, 1814 The first is addressed to the People of Italy. It offers them "the assistance of Great Britain to rescue them from the iron yoke of Buonaparte." It holds out the example of Spain, enabled, by the aid of Great Britain, to secure her independence,' of the neighbouring Sicily, "which hastens to resume her ancient splendour among independent nations.' Holland is about to obtain the same object. Warriors of Italy, you are invited to vindicate your own rights, and to be free!-Italy, by our united efforts, shall become what she was in her most prosperous periods, and what Spain now is !"
Did the Genoese act upon these promises? What did they do in consequence of that first proclamation of the 14th of March, at Leghorn, addressed to all the Italians, but applicable at least to the Genoese, and necessarily understood by that people as comprehending them? I admit that the promises were conditional; and to render them conclusive, it was necessary for the Genoese to fulfil the condition. I contend that they did. I shall not attempt again to describe the march of lord William Bentinck from Leghorn to Genoa, which has already been painted by an hon. and learned friend (Mr. Horner), with all the chaste beauties of his moral and philosophical eloquence. My duty confines me to the dry discussion of mere facts. The force with which lord William Bentinck left Leghorn, consisted of about
3000 English, supported by a motley band of perhaps 5000 Sicilians, Italians, and Greeks, the greater part of whom had scarcely seen a shot fired. At the head of this force, he undertook a long march, through one of the most defensible countries of Europe, against a city garrisoned or defended by 7000 French veterans, and which it would have required 25,000 men to invest, according to the common rules of military prudence. The defensive force was greater than that of the assailants. Now, Sir, I assert, without fear of contradiction, that such an expedition would have been an act of phrenzy, unless lord William Bentinck had the fullest assurance of the good-will and active aid of the Genoese people. The fact sufficiently speaks for itself. I cannot here name the high military authorities on which my assertion rests. But I defy the right hon. gentlemen, with all their means of commanding military information, to contradict me. I know they will not venture. In the first place, then, I assume, that the British general would not have begun his advance without assurance of the friendship of the Genoese, and that he owed his secure and unmolested march to the influence of the same friendship supplying his army, and deterring his enemies from attack. He therefore, in truth, owed his being before the walls of Genoa to Genoese co-operation. The city of Genoa, which, in 1799, had been defended by Massena, for three months, fell to lord William in two days. In two days 7000 French veterans laid down their arms to 3000 British soldiers, encumbered rather than aided by the auxiliary rabble whom I have described. Does any man in his senses believe that the French garrison could have been driven to such a surrender by any cause but their fear of the Genoese people? I have inquired, from the best military authorities accessible to me, what would be the smallest force with which the expedient might probably have been successful, if the population had been, I do not say enthusiastically, but commonly hostile to the invaders. I have been assured, that it could not have been less than 25,000 men. Here, again, I venture to challenge contradiction. If none can be given, must I not conclude that the known friendship of the Genoese to the British, manifested after the proclamation, and in part created by the proclamation, was equivalent to an auxiliary force of 17,000 men? Were not the known wishes of the people acting on
the hopes of the British, and on the fears of the French, the chief cause of the expul sion of the French from the Genoese territory? Can lord William's little army be considered as more than auxiliaries to the popular sentiment? If a body of 4000 Genoese had joined lord William on the declared ground of his proclamation, all mankind would have exclaimed that the condition was fulfilled, and the contract indissoluble. Is it not the height of absurdity to maintain, that a manifestation of public sentiment, which produced as much benefit to lord William, as four times that force, is not to have the same effect? A ship which is in sight of a capture, is entitled to her share of the prize, though she neither had nor could have fired a shotupon the plain principle, that apprehension of her approach probably contri. buted to produce the surrender. If apprehension of Genoese hostility influenced the French garrison; if assurance of Genoese friendship encouraged the British army, on what principle do you defraud the Genoese of their national independence, the prize which you promised them, and which they thus helped to wrest from the enemy?
In fact, I am well informed that there was a revolt in the city, which produced the surrender; that Buonaparte's statue had been overthrown with every mark of indignity, and that the French garrison was on the point of being expelled, even if the besiegers had not appeared. But I am not obliged to risk the case upon the accuracy of that information. Be it that the Genoese complied with lord Wellesley's wise instruction to avoid premature revolt. I affirm that lord William's advance is positive evidence of an understanding with the Genoese leaders; that it would have been so in any judicious officer, but that it was so most peculiarly in lord William Bentinck for three years negociating in Upper Italy, and well acquainted with the prevalent impatience of the French yoke. I conceive it to be self-evident, that if the Genoese had believed the English army to be advancing in order to sell them to Sardinia, they would not have favoured the advance. I think it demonstrable, that to their favourable disposition the expedition owed its success, and it needs no proof that they favoured the English because the English promised them the restoration of independence. The English have, therefore, broken faith to them. The English de
frauded them of solemnly-promised inde- | desire of the Prince Regent to afford every pendence. The English have requited practicable assistance to the people of their co-operation by forcible reduction, Italy in any such effort." They convey under the power of the most odious of so large a discretion, that it is thought foreign masters. On the whole, I shall necessary to say, "In all arrangements close this part of the question with chal- respecting the expulsion of the enemy, lenging all the powers of human inge- your lordship will not fail to give due connuity to interpret the proclamation as sideration to our engagements with he otherwise than a promise of independence courts of Sicily and Sardinia." Lord to those Italian nations who were for- William had therefore powers which merly independent, and who would now would have extended to Naples and Piedco-operate for the recovery of their rights; mont, unless they had been specially and I leave to the gentlemen on the excepted. On the 19th of May, 1812, other side the task of convincing the lord Castlereagh virtually confirms the House that the conduct of the Genoese did same extensive and confidential powers. On the 4th of March 1812, lord Liverpool had indeed instructed lord William to employ a part of his force in a diversion in favour of lord Wellington by a descent on the eastern coast of Spain. This diversion doubtless suspended the negociations with the patriotic Italians, and precluded for a time the possibility of affording them aid. But so far from withdrawing lord William Bentinck's political power in Italy, they expressly contemplate their revival. "This operation would leave the question respecting Italy open for further consideration, if circumstances should subsequently render the prospect there more inviting." The dispatches of lord Bathurst from March 1812 to December 1813 treat lord William Bentinck as still in possession of those extensive powers originally vested by the dispatch of lord Wellesley. Every question of policy is discussed in these dispatches, not as with a mere general, nor even as with a mere ambassador, but as with a confidential minister for the Italian department. The last dispatch is that which closes with the remarkable sentence-which is, in my opinion, decisive of this whole question,
Provided it be clearly with the entire concurrence of the inhabitants, you may take possession of Genoa in the name of his Sardinian majesty."-Now this is in effect tantamount to an instruction not to transfer Genoa to Sardinia without the concurrence of the inhabitants. It is a virtual instruc tion to consider the wishes of the people of Genoa as the rule and measure of his conduct:-it is more-it is a declaration that he had no need of any instruction to re-establish Genoa, if the Genoese desired it. That re-establishment was provided for by his original instructions; only the new project of transfer to a foreign sovereign required a new instruction: under these original instructions, thus ratified by
not co-operate towards success, though without it success was impossible.
But we have been told that lord William Bentinck was not authorized to make such a promise. It is needless for me to repeat my assent to a truth so trivial, as that no political negociation is naturally within the province of a military commander, and that for such negociations he must have special authority. At the same time I must observe, that lord William Bentinck was not solely a military commander, and could not be considered by the Italians in that light. In Sicily his political functions had been more important than his military command. From 1811 to 1814 he had, with the approbation of his Government, performed the highest acts of political authority in that island; and he had, during the same period, carried on the secret negociations of the British government with all Italians disaffected to France. To the Italians he appeared as a plenipotentiary. They had a right to expect that his Government would ratify his acts and fulfil his engagements. In fact, his special authority was full and explicit. Lord Wellesley's instructions of the 21st October and 27th December,* 1811, speak with the manly frankness which distinguishes that great statesman as much as his commanding character and splendid talents. His meaning is always precisely expressed. He leaves himself no retreat from his engagements in the ambiguity and perplexity of an unintelligible style. The principal object of these masterly dispatches is to instruct lord William Bentinck respecting his support of any " eventual effort of the Italian states to rescue Italy. They remind him of the
* Papers relating to Italy laid before the House of Commons, April, 1815, p. 3, 4, and 5.
a long series of succeeding dispatches from a succession of ministers, did lord William issue the proclamation of the 14th of March.
Limitations there were in the original instructions. Sicily and Sardinia were excepted. New exceptions undoubtedly arose in the course of events so plainly within the principle of the original exceptions as to require no specification. Every Italian province of a sovereign with whom Great Britain had subsequently contracted alliance, was doubtless as much to be excepted out of general projects of revolt for Italian independence, as those which had been subject to allied sovereigns in 1811. A British minister needed no express instructions to comprehend that he was to aid no revolt against the Austrian government in their former province of Lombardy. The change of circumstances sufficiently instructed him. But in what respect were circumstances changed respecting Genoa? The circumstances of Genoa were the same as at the time of lord Wellesley's instructions. The very last dispatches (those of lord Bathurst of the 28th December, 1813,) had pointed to the Genoese territory as the scene of military operations, without any intimation that the original project was not still applicable there, unless the Genoese nation should agree to submit to the king of Sardinia. I contend, therefore, that the original instruction of lord Wellesley which authorized the promise of independence to every part of the Italian peninsula, except Naples and Piedmont, was still in force wherever it was not manifestly limited by subsequent engagements with the sovereigns of other countries, similar to our engagements with the sovereigns of Naples and Piedmont; that no such en gagements existed respecting the Genoese territory; and that to the Genoese people, the instruction of lord Wellesley was as applicable as on the day when that instruction was issued..
The noble lord may then talk as he pleases of disentangling from the present question the question of Italy, to which, on a former occasion, he applied a phraseology so singular. He cannot disentangle these questions. They are inseparably blended. The instructions of 1811 authorized the promise of independence to all Italians, except the people of Naples and Piedmont. The proclamation of the 14th of March, 1814, promised independence to all Italians, with the manifestly-implied
exception of those who had been the subjects of Powers who were now become the allies of Great Britain. A British general, fully authorized, promised independence to those Italians, who, like the Genoese, had not been previously the subjects of an ally of Britain, and by that promise, so authorized, his government is inviolably bound.
But these direct instructions were not all. He was indirectly authorized by the acts and language of his own Government, and of the other great Powers of Europe. He was authorized to re-establish the republic of Genoa, because the British Government at the Treaty of Amiens had refused to acknowledge its destruction. He was authorized to believe that Austria desired the re-establishment of a republic, whose destruction that Government, in 1808, represented as a cause of war. He was surely authorized to consider that re-establishment as conformable to the sentiments of the emperor Alexander, who, at the same time had, on account of the annexation of Genoa to France, refused, even at the request of Great Britain, to continue his mediation between ber and a power capable of such an outrage on the rights of independent nations. Where was lord William to learn the latest opinions of the Allied Powers? If he read the celebrated Declaration of Frankfort, he there found an alliance announced, of which the object was the restoration of Europe. Did restoration mean destruction? Perhaps before the 14th of March, certainly before the 26th of April, he had seen the first article of the Treaty of Chaumont, concluded on the 1st of March, dum curæ ambiguæ dum spes incerta futuri,' where he found the object of the war declared by the assembled majesty of confederated Europe, to be "a general peace under which the rights and liberties of all nations may be secured;"-words eternally honourable to their authors, if they were observed— more memorable still if they were openly and perpetually violated! Before the 26th of April, he had certainly perused these words, which no time will efface from the records of history; for he evidently adverts to them in the preamble of his proclamation, and justly considers them as a sufficient authority, if he had no other, to warrant its provisions. "Considering," says he, " that the general desire of the Genoese nation seems to be to return to their ancient government, and considering