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of her institutions, and calling for that city, the despatches prepared changes in them as the price of for Madrid, and to entreat them their continued friendship and for- to reconsider the contents of those bearance. The British plenipoten- despatches, and the impropriety of tiary, however, declined any parti- the time for sending them. cipation in that proceeding, and Such was the first report redeclared, on the part of his sove- ceived from the duke of Wellingreign, that all he could do would ton. Up to this period, no combe, to continue his minister at Ma- munication had taken place bedrid when the others were with- tween this country and Spain on drawn, in the hope of abating the the subject of what was passing at irritation such a measure must oc- Verona ; and the reason why no casion, and of preventing the evil such intercourse had occurred, lay by friendly counsel and assist- in the following circumstances :

Towards the end of the last session So broke up the congress at Ve- of parliament, a loud complaint

The plenipotentiary of had been raised in this country reFrance left it to return to Paris, specting the state of our commerto consider what step his govern

cial navigation in the West Indies. ment would take more in advance Pirate-vessels, some bearing the than the rest of the continental flag of independent colonies of allies: the plenipotentiaries of the Spain, and others of Spain herself, continental allies, to prepare their had committed the most grievous despatches for Madrid ; the British depredations on British trade, to plenipotentiary, to renew at Paris an enormous amount, and attendthe remonstrances he had ineffec- ed with circumstances of such viotually made at Verona, and in the lence and cruelty, as to call for last resort, to report to his

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national interposition. Not long, ment his disappointment, if disap- therefore, after parliament rose, it pointment it should be, in order had been thought necessary by the that, to the minister at Madrid British government to send orders, instructions might be sent, to dis

and therewith an armament, to the avow, on the part of this country, West Indies, to take into our own any participation in these proceed hands that redress which had been ings; but, at the same time, to ad- in vain sought by representation vise, and strenuously implore, that and remonstrance at Madrid. Orthe slightest excess might be studi- ders were given to the commander, ously avoided, which could retro- in the event of the owners of pispectively justify, or prospectively rate vessels continuing to find reencourage, the war threatened by fuge on the shores of Cuba, that, France.

after first communicating with the The duke of Wellington arrived Spanish governor of the island, at Paris about the beginning of and asking his assistance, he should December. The French govern

either conjointly, or, upon ment, far from being in a more fusal, separately, effect a landing warlike disposition, were, on the in Cuba, and root out the nest of contrary, inclined to maintain peace, marauders that infested those seas. and disposed to send back to Ve- About the same time, pretensions, rona, at least to the sovereigns utterly obsolete, were revived by who had not then actually quitted commanders on the Spanish main,

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to declare constructive blockades of not in the midst of negotiations the whole coast of what was Spa- like these, that it would have been nish America, and to capture all either delicate or proper, to have trading vessels that should pre- 'entered into discussions, or made sume to violate these blockades. declarations, of the part Great Many instances, recent and fla- Britain was taking on behalf of grant, had occurred, in which the European Spain. This country had laws of these blockades had been pursued two courses of action : rigorously carried into execution, on the one hand, it had claimed and outrages of the same sort of Spain, redress for injuries inhad been continued, more or less, flicted under her flag in South for many preceding years. Al America ; and on the other, she most from the year 1815, there had defended Spain against an inhad been a series of unanswered vasion by European powers. The representations of unredressed British government well knew, grievances preferred to the Court that a time must come, when a disof Madrid, which it was at length closure of the latter course might thought expedient to bring directly be made to the ministry at Mato a point. That justice was on drid; and by a coincidence in point the side of the British complaints, of time, it was at the close of the might be inferred from the cir- Congress at Verona, that our nestance, that, after negotiation, re- gotiations for redress had been dress was finally accorded; and that brought to a favourable conclusion. the amount of the grievance was Before this disclosure of the not small, might be gathered from discussions at Verona was made the sum which the Spanish govern- to Spain, and while she was yet ment itself appropriated to the uncertain what steps had been liquidation of the claim, being taken at Congress, an application about half a million sterling. The was made on the part of the Spanish business, on which sir W. A'Court government, first, to ascertain what (our minister at Madrid) was first the precise course of the negotiaemployed there, was in making tions had been ; and next, to inthese remonstrances, and in de- terest this country to employ her manding redress. He was to com- good offices for the maintenance of municate to the Spanish govern- peace. In making this request, ment—first, the instructions with pains were taken to make it apregard to Cuba; and secondly, the pear distinctly, that the good further fact, that an armament offices she asked were not inhad been sent to the West In- consistent with the most strict dies, with orders to make reprisals, neutrality. She asked counsel and if our maritime rights should not mediation — that Great Britain be observed. Redress was pro- should offer advice to one friend, mised on the part of Spain, and on behalf of another. Upon reinstructions were accordingly sent ceiving this application, his majesout to sir John Owen. Remon- ty's government hesitated not a mostrance having been once made, ment to write to the duke of Welredress once clai ed, and satis- lington, then expected at Paris, faction accorded, no hostile feels and to direct his grace to offer to ing could possibly remain on the the French government the mepart of this country. But it was diation of Great Britain for the amicable settlement of the disputes and through France to Europe, it with Spain. The French govern- became a question very material to ment, after some negotiation, dem be debated, whether, while there clined the offer thus made; stating remained the slightest chance of as the reason, that the grounds success, it was not our duty to of difference between France make a further effort, as being the and Spain were not of that only power through whom it was distinct and definite kind that possible that the effort should be admitted of exact specification, made. There was this advantage and practical adjustment; that in the present situation of affairs, they grew out of the state of as compared with the state of Euthings in which the two king- rope at the opening of the Condoms found themselves; and out gress of Verona—that the quesof the influence which what was tions were now reduced to the difpassing in Spain had upon the in- ferences between France and Spain. ternal tranquillity of his most The dispatches from the three Christian majesty's dominions; continental powers had been sent ; that the two nations had, in fact, their ministers had been withgot into such a condition towards drawn: the cases foreseen at Vee each other of reciprocal jealousy rona, in which alone the powers and irritation, that, rather than were bound to interpose on behalf submit to all the inconveniences of of France, had none of them ocsuch a situation, war would be the curred. It was a matter, therepreferable alternative, as affording fore, merely between France and at least some ultimate solution. Spain ; and it was for this counHe (Mr. Canning) admitted, that try to decide, whether it would or here was a case, in which we might would not take a step, which might have said to both parties, that prevent the occurrence of war, without something more speci- but which could not widen the fic on either side, some sensible breach, and increase the danger. and tangible cause of complaint Under these circumstances, his ma-some exact claim of redress jesty's ministers determined to inon the part of the country terpose their good offices on behalf supposed to be aggrieved - it

- it of Spain ; and their anxiety, in so would be better for us not to interposing, was to distinguish interfere ; that we had done all their conduct, not only from that that we could do with each party; which the continental powers in and that, as our efforts had been their several despatches had disattended hitherto with no success, played towards Spain-010t only we begged leave to withdraw from from that which France, in the further interposition. Such a course speech of her minister, had likewas quite open to the British go- wise declared her determination to vernment: but as every thing that pursue; but to distinguish it also, was stated on both sides was ac- by the channel through which it companied with the most solemn was made, from every species of assurances of a pacific disposition ; interference that did not proceed and as the British ministry did from the most friendly terms. entertain an alarm, beyond any for. The channel through which it mer occasion, of the danger of war, was made, was the duke of Welnot only to Spain but to France, lington.

About the first week of January, a party to negotiations for the purLord Fitzroy Somerset quitted this pose of discussing such monstrous country, with a confidential com- proposals. Not a week, no, not munication from his Grace to the even a day was lost, in oonveying Spanish government; and this to France the expression of these measure was adopted, in the hope, sentiments on the part of the Brithat the expressed opinions of so tish government, and in telling distinguished a benefactor of the her, that, if such was the meaning Spanish nation might have much of the speech in question, there influence on many leading Spani. was an end to all further negotiaards, who had been his Grace's tions, at least through a British personal friends and acquaintances. channel that the principle avowNot many weeks (continued Mr. ed, was one, which a British Canning) after lord Fitzroy So- statesman could not acknowledge, merset had set out, an event oc- that it struck directly at the root curred, which shook very strongly of the British constitution--and our hopes of bringing about any that, as it could not be accepted as accommodation between the go- part of the British code of law, it vernments of France and of Spain could not be recommended by a -he alluded to the extraordinary British statesman to the acceptance speech with which the French mi- of any other people. The ministers misters opened the chambers. Of of France were likewise told, that the construction, to which the as Great Britain did not put forwords of that speech were liable, ward her own political instituand which indeed they most natu- tions as the model on which rully bore, there was not a man in those of other states were to be the House, who thought with framed, or as the only system from more disgust and abhorrence than which national freedom and haphe (Mr. Canning) did. If that piness could flow, so neither could speech were to be understood in she allow France (whose freedom the plain meaning of the words and happiness she did not envy, namely, that the Spanish people though they were described to arise were to be called upon, to consent from a constitution octroyée from to certain modifications in their the throne) to make her own exconstitution, not because it was ample a rule for other nations, faulty in itself, or dangerous to much less to force that example neighbouring states, or unsafe even upon Spain, in virtue of the conto the prince who ruled by it, but sanguinity of the reigning dynasbecause it was not an emanation ties of the two countries. It was, from the Crown-it was clear, on however, added, that if this cona the one hand, that no Spaniard, struction were disavowed, the newho had the slightest regard to gotiations might still continue. the independence of his country, The French government did submuld consent either to modify, or sequently disavow this obnoxious to hear a modification proposed of construction, and adopted another, that constitution; and on the other, which the words were not altothat no British statesman, who gether qualified to bear. The nevalued his character as a member gotiations in consequence proof a free state, could either think, ceeded; and it was at this period, or hear of his country being made that ministers, when intcrrogated on the subject in parliament, had entertained any doubts of the line felt themselves bound to declare, of conduct which they ought to that they had considerable hopes pursue, that application would of bringing them to a successful have decided them: for, under termination : for, however sin. such circumstances, had they degular and extraordinary it might clined to continue their interposiappear, it was nevertheless strictly tion, they would have appeared to true, that when the speech of the be setting their own private feelking of France was communicated ings in opposition to the judgment to him (Mr. Canning) by the of those who still thought their French Chargé d'Affaires in this interposition worth having. The country, it was accompanied by interposition was therefore cone more profuse assurances of the de- tinued; but, from that time forth, sires of the French government the British government took no for accommodation, and of their active part in the transactions. wishes for the good services of No second instructions were sent the British government, in pro- out to lord Fitzroy Somerset, and ducing that accommodation, than he in consequence left Madrid. had ever been made at any previous Sir Wm. A'Court, being three stage of the transactions. It was days nearer to Paris, and the dunot surprising, that the effect, plication of three days in the conwhich the French government had veyance and return of the corresanticipated, had been produced pondence causing the delay of a upon the British government by week, was left to conduct the inthe communications which they tercourse of the two parties; and then made to it; but it was sur- all that remained for him to do prising, that the French govern- was, to state to each party the proment, by some strange and unac- posals and answers of the other. countable delusion, and in spite of The result of these communicaall the remonstrances which his tions was a total failure of every majesty's ministers had made to endeavour

to maintain peace. them on the subject, should have After this failure nothing remained ever thought, and indeed should for Great Britain to do, but to state still continue to think, that, in pub- fairly to each party the line of lishing the document which they conduct which she was determined had done, they had hit a chord to pursue, in a state of things so which could not fail to vibrate at deplorable for the tranquillity of Madrid, and that they had put Europe. From the beginning to forward a specific, which could not the end of these transactions it was fail to cure all the evils which regularly stated to the Spanish goprevailed within its meridian. vernment, that we would do all

While these communications were that we could to avert a war; but passing between Paris and Madrid, that, if war should unfortunately a new application was received ensue, it was not to be supposed, from the Spanish government, that our anxiety to avert it was to calling for a more active employ- be considered as the measure of our ment of the good services of this determination to take part in it, country in producing an

when commenced. To France, a modation with France. If his formal declaration was made of the majesty's ministers had previously course of policy, which we meant

accom

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