Abbildungen der Seite

think that this country should have Why, if we could have entered on gone to war in the event of the a war with such allies, and in s invasion of Spain. He (sir Fran. cause so certain of success, what eis Burdett) could not think, that, an opportunity had we lost of at the outset of these negotiations, elevating our character, and of takit was at all incumbent on a Britishing that high ground which we minister to let France into the ought to hold in the estimation secret as to what this country of Europe ? But the truth was, might or might not do. War or that, if the French government had peace should have been left to de- known, or even apprehended, that pend on the acts of the parties. a war with England was the neBut, when pains were taken to tell cessary consequence of a war with France, that, whatever she might Spain, the Bourbons would never, do, she had nothing to fear, it was have embarked in the unjust conimpossible to believe in the sin- test. cerity of the desire of our ministers That a war with France would to prevent the aggression on Spain. be inconvenient at the present If they had been sincere in a dif. moment, there was

no doubt. ferent sense-sincere well-wishers There could be as little doubt, that to the Bourbon scheme of aggres- every man whom he addressed, sion, and sincere enemies of the would be desirous, if possible, to interests of Spain--if they had avoid it. But there was such a been accomplices and not dupes— thing as national honour—a thing he could not see what conduct they even more precious than national could have adopted more unfavour. immediate interests ; and England able to Spain, and more likely to was sacrificing her honour as a naforward the unjust views of the tion, if she consented to remain at Bourbons, than such a proceeding. peace, when the proper course for The notes of the French ministers her was war. It might be said, all appeared to be written in a con- perhaps, that England was in a fidential way, as if they were ad- situation requiring repose, which dressed to persons who in their made it necessary for her to consult heart wished well to their designs; her domestic arrangements, and to as if, indeed, there was something prefer immediate to more remote in this country, under the shape of advantage. But if this was so, why public opinion, which the ministers not say so openly? Then there could not conveniently defy, so was no compromise of characterthat the force of this country could no honesty lost. But it was poor to not well be applied to aid them, see men standing forward and vauntbut as if it could not be doubted that ing their strength, affecting to say the good-will of our government _“ We are what we have been, went along with them in the whole and we can maintain the honours of the transactions.

which were won for us by our It was said, that France never fathers ;” and yet shrinking (in a could effect the conquest of Spain cause, too, from which least of all —that there were in that country they ought to shrink) the moment millions of men who defied inva- their boasted powers were in dansion. If this was the case, what ger of being put to the proof. If became of the argument, that war England had taken part in the war, sould be dangerous and ruinous ? she would not have been opposed to France. She would have been seen and known, that England opposed only to the bigotted house would take that line of conduct, of Bourbon, who, if they succeed- Europe would now have been ed in their counter-revolutionary at peace instead of being at war. enterprise, would carry the princi- If ministers had been sincere, ple of that enterprise back into even their friends must admit their own country, making the evil that they had, from whatever cause eventually recoil upon France, been, in the last degree, unsuccess, which they had compelled France ful. But he gave them no credit to become the instrument of inflict- for sincerity in their efforts. He ing upon Spain. There was no- looked to the whole course of the thing, therefore, (the hon. bart. published negotiations : and far continued) to have made a war from seeing the cause of the op with France, under existing cir- pressed taken up by his majesty's cumstances, formidable. He be- ministers, he saw nothing but a lieved he must admit, that a majori- constant participation in the views, ty of the House was in favour of of the oppressor. As far as there, peace_of"peace, come what may;" was any exhibition of friendship he too was for peace, as far as that towards the oppressed party, if that peace could be consistent with the friendship had not been treacherhonour and safety of England, but to ous, it had assuredly been most barter honour and future security for woefully deficient in discretion and the chance of present quiet was a

sound sense. The hon. baronet, course, to his thinking, not more after observing that with respect to cowardly than impolitic. To the the immediate questions before the whole conduct of the negotiations, House, he was quite as well pleased therefore, he stood decidedly oppos- (excepting only one or two words) ed. He did not see at all, that with the spirit of the amendment ministers were bound to let France as with that of the original motion, at once into the secret of what was declared that he considered the to be the course of England. But, interests of Spain and of England if it was right for England to to have been most unjustifiably speak out, he would state what it compromised, throughout the late was that England ought to have negotiations: and he apprehended said She ought to have said to the no other result, if the contest beBourbons—“We wish you well : tween Spain and France should be We have been your benefactors: prolonged, but that England would We wish you to remain safe where eventually be compelled to enter you are: for it is impossible for you into the contest, under disadvanto commit violations of the law tages which would not have attachof nations and of the peace of ed to her in its commencement. Europe, without, in the end, com- On the third night of the depelling England to become your bate, after several members on both, adversary.” All this might have sides of the House had spoken been said—all

, that he thought for (among whom Mr. H. Twiss disthe honour of England, ought to tinguished himself by a speech in have been said, in the most friendly support of the Amendment, which way ; and, having been so said, was not very patiently listened to, it could scarcely have failed to have but which exposed with great had its effect. If France had early . acuteness and dexterity of argu

pent the inconsistences of the views proof of this,” said he,“ my first wit. that were advocated by the oppo ness is the duke Mathieu de Montnents of ministers). Mr. Canning, morency; who states, in his offi, being loudly called for from cial note* of the 26th of December, every part of the House, rose at a that the measures conceived and quarter before 11 o'clock, and com- proposed at Verona,' would have menced the long-expected justifica- been completely successful, if Eng. tion of himself and his colleagues. land had thought herself at liberty " We could not” said the right to concur in them.”

Such was hon. Secretary,“ take a single the opinion entertained by the plestep in the late negotiations, till nipotentiary of France of his faiwe had determined what direction lure at Verona, and of the cause of ought to be given to those negotia- that failure.-What was the opitions, so far as the question of nion of Spain? The voucher for peace or war was concerned. We that opinion is the despatch from determined that it was our duty, in sir William A'Court, of the 7th of the first instance, to endeavour to January,t in which he describes preserve peace, if possible, for all the comfort and relief that were felt the world: next, to endeavour to by the Spanish government, when preserve peace between the nations they learnt that the congress at whose pacific relations appeared Verona had broken up, with no most particularly exposed to ha- other result than the bruta fulmina zard; and, failing in this, to pre- of the three despatches from the serve at all events peace for this courts in alliance with France. country ; but a peace consistent “Whatever might grow out of a with the good faith, the interests, separate conflict between Spain and the honour of the nation." and France (though matter for

This decision, he admitted, was grave consideration was less to be a fit subject of examination : for dreaded, than that all the great undoubtedly the conduct of the powers of the continent should government was liable to a twofold have been arrayed together against trial. But, in entering on an in- Spain ;--and although the first quiry as to the merits or demerits object, in point of importance, inof the negotiations, it was neces- deed, was to keep the peace altosary to set out with assuming, for gether, - to prevent any war the time, that peace was the object against Spain--the first, in point which we ought to have pursued. of time, was, to prevent a general

“In reviewing, then,” said Mr. war;—to change the question from Canning “ the course of these ne- a question between the allies on gotiations, as directed to maintain, one side, and Spain on the other, first, the peace of Europe ; second- 'to a question between nation and ly, the peace between France and nation. This, whatever the result Spain; and lastly, peace for this might be, would reduce the quarcountry,—they divide themselves rel to the size of ordinary events, naturally into three heads:~-first, and bring it within the scope of the negotiations at Verona; second- ordinary diplomacy. The inmely, those with France; and thirdly, diate object of England, therefore, those with Spain." At, Verona, he contended we

• See Papers, Class A, No. 11. were completely successful.

+ See Papers, Class B, No. 14.

« In

was, to hinder the impress of a joint what it may, clear I am, that, in character, from being affixed to the diplomatic correspondence, no miwar--if war there must be with nister would be justified in risking Spain ;-to take care that the war the friendship of foreign countries, should not grow out of an assumed and the peace of his own, by coarse jurisdiction of the congress ;—to reproach and galling invective; keep within reasonable bounds and that even while we are pleadthat predominating areopagitical ing for the independence of naspirit, which the memorandum oftions, it is expedient to respect the the British cabinet, of May 1820, independence of those with whom describes as beyond the sphere of we plead. We differ widely from the original conception, and un- our continental allies on one great derstood principles of the alliance,' principle, it is true; nor do we, -an alliance never intended as

nor ought we to disguise that difa union for the government of the ference; nor to omit any occasion world, or for the superintendence of practically upholding our own of the internal affairs of other opinion : but every consideration, states. And this, I say, was ac- whether of policy or of justice, complished.

combines with the recollection of “With respect to Verona, then, the counsels which we have shared, what remains of accusation against and of the deeds which we have the government? It has been achieved in concert and companioncharged, not so much that the ob- ship, to induce us to argue our ject of the government was amiss, differences of opinion, however as that the negotiations were con- freely, with temper; and to enducted in too low a tone. But the force them, however firmly, withcase was obviously one in which a out insult. high tone might have frustrated “ It had been asked why we sent the object; and, besides, as a tone plenipotentiary to the congress at of reproach and invective was un- all ? --Originally it was not innecessary,

it would have been mis- tended to send a British plenipoplaced. There are others, who tentiary to Verona. The congress think, that with a view of conci.

at Verona was originally convened liating the great powers, we should solely for the consideration of the have addressed them as tyrants and affairs of Italy, with which Engdespots, who were trampling on land had declined to interfere two the rights and liberties of man

years before.

England was therekind. I doubt whether it is wise fore not to participate in those proeven in this House, to indulge in ceedings; and all that required such a strain of rhetoric ;-to call her participation was to be arrang« wretches' and 'barbarians,' and ed in a previous congress at Vienna. a hundred other hard names, But circumstances had delayed the powers, with whom, after all, if duke of Wellington's departure

of Europe cannot be alto- from England, so that he did not gether cancelled, we must, even reach Vienna till many weeks after according to the admission of the the time appointed. The sovemost anti-continental politicians, reigns had waited to the last hour maintain some international inter- consistent with their Italian arcourse. But be the language of good rangements. The option was given sense or good taste in this House

to our plenipotentiary to meet them

the map

on their return to Vienna ; but it joint operation against Spain, we was thought, upon the whole, more might have rested satisfied with that convenient to avoid further delay; success, and trusted, for the rest, to and the Duke of Wellington there. the reflexions of France herself on fore proceeded to Verona." the hazards of the project in her

Another question had been contemplation; and he owned that asked, why Spain was not invited to we did hesitate, whether we should send her ambassador to the congress, not adopt that more selfish and Mr. Canning contended, that Eng- cautious policy. But there were land was not the power, that should circumstances attending the return have taken any preliminary steps of the duke of Wellington to to that end, as we did not wish Paris, wlich directed the decision the affairs of Spain to be brought another way. His grace found, into discussion at all; and, second- on his arrival in that capital, that ly, if Spain had been so called M. de Villèle had sent back to Veupon, the ambassador would have rona the drafts of the despatches been sent either as from the king of the three continental allies to of Spain, or as from the cortes. their ministers at Madrid, which On the first supposition, the effect M. de Montmorency had brought could not have been favourable; with him from the congress ;- had and, on the latter, it was equally sent them back for re-consideracertain it would have led to such a tion ;-whether with a view to declaration from the alliance, as obtain a change in their context, we wished to prevent.

or to prevent their being forwarded The result of the congress as to to their destination at all, did not Spain, was simply the discontinu- appear. At the same time, it was ance of diplomatic intercourse notorious, that a change was likely with that power, on the part of to occur in the cabinet of the Austria, Russia, and Prussia ;-a Tuilleries, which did in fact take step neither necessarily nor proba- place shortly afterwards, by the bly leading to war; perha is (in retirement of M. de Montmorency, some views) rather diminishing the adviser of war against Spain. the risk of it; a step which had And, in the third place, it was prebeen taken by the same monarchies cisely at the moment of the duke towards Portugal two years before, of Wellington's return to Paris without leading to any ulterior that we received a direct and consequences. Its result, as to pressing overture from the Spanish France, was a promise of counte- government, which placed us in nance and suprort from the allies the alternative of either affording in three specified hypothetical our good offices to Spain, or of recases;- 1st, of an attack made by fusing them. Spain on France ; and, of any Add to this, that the question had outrage on the person of the king assumed a different shape; it was or royal family of Spain ; 3rdly, reduced from a contest between of any attempt to change the dy- Spain and a self-constituted corponasty of that kingdom.

rate power, to one between kingMr. Canning then proceciled to dom and kingdom. Accordingly, justify our conduct in the negotia- although at Verona a discouraging tions at Paris. He observed, that, answer had been given to a propora) having succeeded in preventing á of mediation, our plenipotentiary,

« ZurückWeiter »