Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

to pursue in a despatch which had of government. Spain has long been sent to our ambassador at been apprised of his majesty's opiParis, after all hopes of an ami- nions upon this subject. Disclaimcable arrangement had ceased, to ing in the most solemn manner any be by him communicated to M. intention of appropriating to himChateaubriand. That despatch, self the smallest portion of the after giving a history of the nego- late Spanish possessions in America, tiations, concluded in the following his majesty is satisfied that no atmanner :-“ It remains only to tempt will be made by France, to describe the conduct, which it is his bring under her dominion any of majesty's desire and intention to those possessions, either by conobserve, in a conflict between two quest, or by cession, from Spain. nations, to each of whom his ma- This frank explanation upon the jesty is bound by the ties of amity points, on which perhaps alone the and alliance. The repeated dis- possibility of any collision of France avowal, by his most Christian ma

with Great Britain can be apprejesty's government, of all views of hended in a war between France ambition and aggrandizement, for- and Spain, your excellency will bids the suspicion of any design on represent to M. de Chateaubriand the part of France to establish a as dictated by an earnest desire to permanent military occupation of be enabled to preserve, in that war, Spain ; or to force his Catholic a strict and undeviating neutrality majesty into any measures, dero- -a neutrality not liable to altergatory to the independence of his ation towards either party, so long Crown, or to existing relations as the honour and just interests of with other powers. The repeated Great Britain are equally respected assurances, which his majesty has by both.” received, of the determination of Mr. Canning, after his exposiFrance to respect the dominions of tion of the course which governhis most faithful majesty, relieve ment had pursued, entered into a his majesty from any apprehension justification of the system of neuof being called upon to fulfil the trality which had been adopted. obligations of that intimate defen- He knew, that many individuals in sive connexion which has so long this country thought that the insubsisted between the Crowns of vasion of Spain by a French force Great Britain and Portugal. With ought to be considered by England respect to the provinces in America, as a declaration of war against herwhich have thrown off their alle- self. But war, in the responsibigiance to the crown of Spain, time lity of those who had to make it, and the course of events appear to ought to be well and duly weighed have substantially decided their before it was resolved on; the cause separation from the mother coun- of it should not merely be sufficient, try; although the formal recogni- but urgent; and not merely urgent, tion of those provinces, as inde- but absolutely essential to the inpendent states, by his majesty, terest and welfare of the country may be hastened or retarded by which first declared it. In making various external circumstances, as these observations, did he cast any well as by the more or less satis- blame upon those, who, seeing a factory progress, in each state strong and powerful nation eager towards a regular and settled form to crush and overwhelm with its

[ocr errors]

«« Toto

vengeance a less numerous but not would be unworthy of a great and less gallant people, were anxious independent nation, and would to join the weaker against the degrade us from a first to a sestronger party? Certainly not- condary power. Whenever we the feeling was highly honourable determined upon war, 'to wage it, to those who entertained it. The not as an auxiliary, but as a prinbosoms, in which it existed in full cipal, had hitherto been our policy ; bloom and vigour, unchastened and on all former occasions, when and unalloyed by any other feeling, we had resorted to hostilities, we were much more happy than those had exerted every nerve to bring in which that feeling was chastened, them to a safe, a speedy, and an tempered, and mitigated by the honourable conclusion. considerations of prudence, in- certatum est corpore regni.” This, terest, and expediency. He not he contended, was the only sound only knew, but he envied the feel- view in which war could be conings of those who called for war, templated. If war were the issue, for the issue of which they were it should be a war worthy of this in no wise likely to be respon- great country ; and there was no sible for he would confess, that war in which the country could the reasoning, by which the war be engaged at the present moagainst Spain was justified, ap- ment, and under the existing cirpeared to him to be much more cumstances of Europe, which calculated than the war itself to would not call forth all her power, excite a strong feeling against those all her strength, all her energies. who had projected it; and he could On the same evening on which not understand, by what process of Mr. Canning made his statement reasoning, or by what confusion of to the Commons, lord Liverpool ideas those who defended that gave a similar exposition of our war contrived to persuade them- policy to the Peers. The only selves, that they had made out any difference between his lordship's thing which approached even to a statement, and that of the right shadow of a case. The right hon. hon. secretary (if difference it can secretary added, that there were be called) was, that lord Liversome persons, who thought that, pool, at the same time that he though it might not be prudent to earnestly deprecated departure from make war, it might still be pru- neutrality, declared more avowdent to menace war against France. edly than his colleague, that the These individuals he conceived to pacific course, adopted by ministers, be guilty of an error in principle; did not arise from any apprehenas the country, which menaced war, sion that the resources of the ought always to be ready to carry country were not equal to meet those into execution. the exigencies of war.

“ I have There were other individuals who no hesitation or difficulty,” said the were guilty of an error of a dif- prime minister, “in again declaring, ferent kind-an error of opinion, what I stated on the first day of and who thought that we should the session, that, if either the immediately send forth a maritime honour, or the essential interests of armament, to watch the events this country should require us to that might occur on the shores of engage in war, we have the mcans the Peninsula. Such a course of carrying on war with effect. I repeat this, my lords, not loosely detached examination of the core or generally, from the persuasion respondence, that France had been which every true British subject dishonest and insincere in her promust entertain, that a great coun- fessions, and that the line of contry like this, will always find the duct pursued by her, was unjustimeans of protecting itself, when fiable in itself, and disadvantageous its safety, its interests, or its to this country. Then assuming honour, are really endangered that the insincerity and mis but I say it, from the opportu- chievous policy of Villèle and nities, which my situation gives Chateaubriand, were imputable as me, of examining such a question faults to Mr. Canning and lord in detail; and I aver, that if any Liverpool, and that we could have circuinstances should render it arrested France in her career witheither necessary or advisable for out involving ourselves in hostithis country to engage in war, I lities, he sprung to the conclusion, should feel no difficulty in finding that our government had not acted the means to support it, without with sufficient vigour. He finished, materially impairing any of the by moving that an address should great sources of our prosperity.” be read to his majesty, offering the


Mr. Brougham in the one House, thanks of their lordships for the and earl Grey in the other, imme- communication of the papers relative diately intimated their opinion, to the late negotiations expressthat the explanation, which had ing their regret

that the endeavours been given of the conduct of our of his majesty's ministers to preministers, was by no means satis- serve peace had been ineffectual ; factory: but the more minute dis- and at the same time representing cussion of the subject was neces- that the course of negotiation had sarily delayed, till the members not, in the judgment of their lordhad time to examine the diplomatic ships, been calculated to support the correspondence.

honour and interest of the nation; On the 16th of April, lord that their lordships had heard with Althorpe moved for leave to bring indignation the speech of the king in a bill for the repeal of the act of France'; and that it was their which prohibited British subjects opinion that more prompt and defrom engaging in foreign military cided measures on the part of his service, and the fitting out, in his majesty's government might have majesty's dominions, without the prevented war. royal licence, vessels for warlike Lord Granville moved an apurposes. It was opposed on the mendment, expressing the concurground, that, in the actual cire rence of the House in the principles cumstances of Europe, such an laid down on the part of his maalteration of our law would be an jesty with respect to interference act of partiality in favour of Spain. in the internal concerns of indeIt was rejected by a majority of pendent nations, and their satis216 to 110.

faction at the manner in which On the 24th of April, the for- they had been applied during the mal debate on the Spanish nego- late negotiations ; lamenting, that tiations took place in the House of the efforts to preserve peace Lords.

It was opened by lord Europe had not been successful; Ellenborough, who proved, by a and declaring, that they should be



at all times ready to give their did not mean to make it, would cordial support to such measures have been at once hazardous and as might be necessary to vindicate degrading: and it would have the honour of his majesty's crown, been absurd, when conciliation and the interests of the country. was our object, to have used such

The address was supported by language as was calculated to irrilord Holland, earl Grey, and the tate. Upon a division, the nummarquis of Lansdown; who de- bers were-Contents-present, claimed very eloquently against 96; proxies, 46—142: Not-conFrance, and in praise of Spain. It tents-present, 29; proxies, 19— was not, however, easy to gather, 48 : majority in favour of the what was the precise nature of amendment, 94. their charge against the ministry. The debate on the conduct of Their voice was not for war; and our cabinet in the negotiations relayet it was not for peace. War tive to Spain, commenced in the was to be avoided, but we had not House of Commons on the 28th gone sufficiently near to it; peace of April, and was protracted was to be maintained by us, but through that and the two followwe had not sufficiently endangered ing nights. The unusual length it;-such was the purport of the of the discussion was occasioned in desultory observations, of which

a great measure by the circumthe debate was made up on the stance, that Mr. Canning, from part of the opposition Peers. whom the formal and complete

The amendment was supported defence of our policy was expected, principally by lord Harrowby, the did not rise in the course of the duke of Wellington, and lord first two evenings ;Liverpool. The proposed address, which, on his part, was supposed they contended, was altogether to arise from a wish to be. precedunintelligible; it was not fored by Mr.Brougham. The speeches peace, and yet it was not for war: from the Opposition side of the and the supporters of it could not house were on this occasion more condemn what had been done, un- than usually deficient in argument, less they were prepared to assert, and were far from being adequate that, we ought to have gone to either to the importance of the war rather than permit the inva- subject or the interest which it sion of Spain. If such was their excited. The assailants seemed view of the case, why should they afraid to come to close quarters shrink from avowing that princi- with the ministry whom they acple? The ministers had determi- cused : they railed at the contined on neutrality: were they nental sovereigns, deprecated war, wrong in that choice? That was and complained of what had been an issue which might fairly be done : but they neither ventured tendered to them, if their oppo- to make specific charges, nor to nents would venture to do so ; but, define explicitly the course which if, upon that point, the policy of ought to have been followed. this government had been correct, Mr. Macdonald opened the debate it was impossible to throw any by moving :-"That a humble adblame on them in respect of the dress be presented to his majesty, details or issue of the negotiations. to inform his majesty, that this To have menaced war, when we house has taken into its most


serious consideration the papers being involved in the calamities of relating to the late negotiation, war. which have been laid before them Mr. S. Wortley moved an amendby his majesty's gracious command; ment in the same words as that to represent to his majesty that which had been carried in the the disappointment of his majesty's House of Lords. benevolent solicitude to preserve On the first evening of the general peace appears to this house debate, the address was supported, to have, in a great measure, arisen among others, by Mr. Hobhouse from the failure of his ministers and Mr. Baring; the amendment, to make the most earnest, rigorous, by lord F. Gower, Mr. Bankes, and solemn protest against the and Mr. H. Sumner. Mr. Wilberpretended right of the sovereigns, force accorded to the cabinet a assembled at Verona, to make war qualified approbation. Though he on Spain on account of her politi- could have wished to have seen a cal institutions; as well as against higher moral tone preserved in our the subsequent pretensions of the diplomatic papers, ministers, he French government to deny that thought, had manifested a sincere nations can lawfully enjoy any desire to preserve the peace of civil privileges but from the spon- Europe, and to prevent the unjust taneous grant of their kings; aggression against Spain. But principles destructive of the rights they had fallen into a mistake not of all independent states, which uncommon with persons who had strike at the root of the British to deal with unprincipled men. constitution, and are subversive of Knowing that such men his majesty's legitimate title to bound by no ties of moral rectithe throne: further, to declare tude or justice, they had put in to his majesty the surprise and operation such a policy as they sorrow with which this house has thought would best answer the observed that his majesty's minis purpose of their negotiations : ters should have advised the Span- whereas, they ought to have ish government, while so unwar- relied on those high principles rantabl menaced, to alter their which had hitherto pervaded, and contion, in the hope of avert- he hoped would long continue to ing invasion ; a concession which direct, the councils of this country. alone would have involved the He regretted, that they had not total sacrifice of national inde- said from the first, not only that pendence; and which was not we would not co-operate, but that even palliated by an

it was contrary to the principles from France, that, on receiving so

of the British constitution-condishonourable a submission, she trary to the principles of justice, would desist from her unprovoked and to the common rights of aggression : Finally, to represent humanity--that France should to his majesty, that, in the judg- persevere in her designs against ment of this house, a tone of more Spain. But there was one point dignified remonstrance would have which had not, he thought, been better calculated to preserve been sufficiently attended to in the the peace of the Continent, and course of the present debate. It thereby to secure the nation more was this. The desire of ministers effectually from the hazard of being to prevent the war, they


« ZurückWeiter »