Abbildungen der Seite
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

the moment he arrived at Paris, gociated with the alliés ; he offered that mediation. Nor was brought home a result so satisfacthere any inconsistency here ; for tory to France, that he was made a there was a wide difference be- duke for his services. He had entween negotiation with that alli- joyed his new title but a few days, ancé which had assumed to itself a when he quitted his office. On character which we had denied by this occasion I admit that I was s the memorandum of the late lord dupe-I believe all the world were Londonderry, and a negotiation dupes with me--for all understood between kingdom and kingdom. It this change of ministers to be indihad been represented, that the re- cativeof a change in the counsels of fusal of our mediation by France the French cabinet-a change from was a blow which we ought not to war to peace. For eight and forty i have submitted to; but he must hours I certainly was under that beg it to be distinctly understood, delusion ; but I soon found that it that the refusal of our mediation was only a change, not of the ques was no affront, and that to accept tion of war, but of the character of our good offices, after the refusal of that question : a change, as it was mediation, was no humiliation. somewhat quaintly termed from True it was, that our good offices European to French. The duke were ineffectual. Our failure had M. de Montmorency, finding himbeen ascribed by some to the in- self unable to carry into effect the trigues of Russia ; but Mr. Can- system of policy which he had ning's conviction was, that the war engaged, at the congress, to supwas forced on the French govern- port in the cabinet at Paris, in ment by the violence of a political order to testify the sincerity of his party in France ; that at one time engagement, promptly and most the French government hoped to honourably resigned But this avert it; and that, up to the latest event, honourable as it is to the period, some members of that cabi- duke de Montmorency, connet would gladly have availed pletely disproves the charge of themselves of the smallest loop- dupery brought against us. hole, through which the Spanish man is not a dupe, who, not foregovernment would have enabled seeing the vacillations of others, is them to find a retreat. “But we, not prepared to meet them ; but forsooth,” said he, “ are condemned he who is misled by false pretences as dupes, because our opponents put forward for the purpose of misgratuitously ascribe to France one leading him. Before a man can settled, systematic, and invariable be said to be duped, there must line of policy ;--because it is as- have been some settled purpose sumed, that from the beginning concealed from him, and not disFrance had but one purpose in covered by him; but here there view; and that she merely amused was a variation of purpose, a varithe British cabinet from time to ation too, which, so far from contime with pretences which we sidering it then, or now, as an ought to have had the sagacity to evil, we then hailed and still condetect. If so, the French govern- sider as a good. It was no dupery ment had made singular sacrifices on our part to acquiesce in a change to appearance. M. de Montmo- of counsel on the part of the reney was sent to Verona ; he ne- French cabinet, which proved the


[ocr errors]

résult of the congress at Verona to have refused- she would have be such as I have described it-by refused them to France. To giving to the quarrel with Spain us she might-she did give them, the character of a French quarrel

. without lowering her dignity. “When I first described the ques The other disputed point, on tion respecting Spain as a French this part of the case, was our sugquestion, the duke de Montmorency gestion to Spain of the expediency loudly maintained it to be a ques- of adopting some modifications of tion toute Européenne ; but M. her constitution. The channel, de Chateaubriand, upon my repeat- through which that suggestion was ing the same description in the made, was the most proper that sequel of that correspondence, ad- could have been selected ; and the mitted it to be a question at once suggestion itself was such as Spain and equally toute Française et toute might have acceded to without disEuropéenne :- an explanation, the grace and without danger, and, if exact meaning of which, I acknow- followed, would have prevented ledge, I do not precisely under- all the evils that now threatened stand; but which, if it does not Europe. Mr. Canning did not distinctly admit the definition of a blame the Spaniards for having requestion Française, seems at least fused to make any sacrifice to temto negative M. de Montmorency's porary necessity

' ; but still he definition of a question toute Euro- lamented the result of the refusal. péenne."

Of this he was quite sure, that Mr. Canning passed next to the even if the Spaniards were justilast stage of the proceedings our fied in point of honour in objecting negotiations at Madrid. The first to concede, it would have been a point complained of here, was, most romantic point of honour in that we had asked the Spanish go Great Britain which would have vernment for assurances of the induced her not to recommend consafety of the royal family. The cession. It had been said, that answer was, that one of the causes every thing was required of Spain, of war prospectively agreed upon and nothing of France. That he at Verona, was any act of personal utterly denied. France said to violence to the king of Spain or Spain, “ Your internal state dishis family. Weendeavoured, there- quiets me;" and Spain replied fore, to obtain such assurances from to France,

to France, “ Your Army of ObSpain as should remove the appre- servation disquiets me.” There hension of any such outrage-not were, therefore, but two remedies because the British cabinet thought war or concession; and why was those assurances necessary—but be- England fastidiously to say, " Our because it might be of the greatest notions of non-interference are so advantage to the cause of Spain, strict, that we cannot advise you that we

should be able to proclaim even for your good ; though, whatour conviction, that upon this point ever concession you may make, there was nothing to apprehend; will be met by corresponding conand that we should thus possess cession on the part of France." the means of proving to France that Undoubtedly the removal of the she had no case, arising out of the Army of Observation was as much conferences of Verona, to justify a "an internal measure as the removal war. Such assurances Spain might of any blot in the constitution of Spain. Accordingly, there was no wish was, that Spain should be instance in which Spain had been saved ; that she should be saved, desired to yield any part of her in- before the extremity of evil had stitutions, in which it was not come upon her-even by the maksimultaneously held out to her, that ing of those concessions, which, in France, on that condition, would the heat of national pride, she withdraw her Army of Observa- refused. Under any circumstances, tion. England did not pretend however, I have still another conto say, which of the parties solation---the consolation of knowwas right, or

which wrong, ing, that never from the combut she saw that war was the mencement of these negotiations, inevitable consequence of perse- has Spain been allowed by the verance; and, if concession were British government to lie under the made on the one side, she under- delusion that her refusal of all took to procure it on the other. “I modifications would induce Engdo not pretend,” said Mr. Canning, land to join her in the war. The

to decide, whether the number of very earliest communication made legislative chambers in Spain should to Spain forbade her to entertain be one, two, or three." In God's any such reliance. She was told name let them try what experi- at the beginning, as she was told ment in political science they will, in the end, that neutrality was our provided we are not affected by determined policy. the trial. All that Great Britain “ France, on the contrary, was has done on this occasion, has been, never assured of the neutrality of not to disturb the course of poli- England, till my despatch of the tical experiment, but to endeavour 31st of March was communicated to avert the calamity of war. Good to the French ministry at Paris. God! when it is remembered how The speech of the king of France, many evils are compressed into on the opening of the chambers, that little word “ war”-is it pos- excited not only strong feelings of sible for any man to hesitate in disapprobation by the principles urging every expedient that could which it avowed, but serious apavert it, without sacrificing the prehensions for the future, from honour of the party to which his the designs which it appeared to advice was tendered? Most earnest- disclose. I have no difficulty in ly do I wish that the duke of saying, that the speech, delivered Wellington had succeeded: but from the British throne at the great is the consolation that, ac- commencement of the present sescording to the best accounts from sion, did, as originally drawn, Spain, his counsels have not been contain an avowal of our intention misunderstood there, however they to preserve neutrality; but, upon have been misrepresented here. I the arrival of the king of France's believe that I might with truth go speech, the paragraph containing further, and say, that there are that avowal was withdrawn : and those in Spain, who now repent I plainly told the French Chargé the rigid course pursued, and who d' Affaires, that such an intimaare beginning to ask each other- tion had been intended, but that it why they held out so pertinaciously was withdrawn, in consequence of against suggestions at once the speech of the king, his master: harmless and so reasonable? My Was this truckling to France ?

[ocr errors]

“ It was not, however, on ac- war; and he showed that peace count of Spain that the pledge of was the policy prescribed to them, neutrality was withdrawn: it was 1st, by the situation of Spain; withdrawn upon principles of 2ndly, by the situation of France; general policy on the part of this 3rdly, by the situation of Portugal; country—because there was that 4thly, by the situation of the Alliin the king of France's speech, ance; 5thly, by the peculiar situawhich appcared to carry France tion of England; and lastly by and England back to their position the general state of the world. in older times, when France, as The civil discussions among the regarded the affairs of Spain, had Spaniards themselves--the danger been the successful rival of Eng- of again lighting up revolutionary land. Under such circumstances, flames in France--the assurances, it behoved the English ministers which we had received, that the into be upon their guard. We were dependence of Portugal would be upon our guard. Could we prove respected, and the conditions of our caution more than by with our treaties with that ancient ally, holding that assurance, which which bound us to assist her only would at once have set France at in case of an unprovoked attack ease? We did withhold that as- upon her territory—the circumsurance. But it was one thing to stance that France did not at prewithhold the declaration of neu- sent receive, and was not, accordtrality, and another to vary the ing to the resolutions adopted at purpose.

Verona, entitled to ask for, the “Spain, then, I repeat, has never assistance of the allies, in which been misled by the British govern- respect a material change might be ment. But I fear, nevertheless, produced in the aspect of affairs, that a notion was in some way or if the British government took a other created at Madrid, that if decided part in support of the Spain would but hold out reso- Spaniards the necessity of not lutely, the government of England exposing the resources of the would be forced by the popular country, now in a course of rapid voice in this country, to take part re-production, to any sudden check, in her favour. I infer no blame until we had turned the corner of against any one ; but I do firmly our difficulties, and assured ourbelieve that such a notion was pro- selves of means and strength, not pagated in Spain, and that it had only to begin the conflict, but to great share in producing the pe- keep it up, if necessary, for an remptory refusal of any modifica. indefinite length of time, and on, tion of the constitution of 1812." an adequate scale (and what an

Such was the tenor and the es adequate scale might be, could be sence of Mr. Canning's justification gathered from this, that, during of our conduct in the negotiations, the two years and a half prior to in reference to its fitness to accom- the conclusion of the campaign of plish the end which we had in 1814, the expense incurred in view—the preservation of peace. Spain and Portugal was about 33 He then proceeded to the consi- millions sterling) — the essential deration of the second question-- neutral station of England in the how far ministers had judged cor- political system of Europe, neutral rectly in resolving to abstain from not only as between contending 44]


parties, but as between the con- posed address, and showing that it dicting principles of unlimited was not only unwarranted by the monarchy on the one hand, and facts of the case, but was inconsisunlimited democracy on the other : tent with itself and with the prin+-these were the topics on which ciples expressed by its supporters. Mr. Canning insisted, to show It is affirmed,” said he,“ that that peace was the path pointed we are now on the eve of war, the out to us by our own most im- peace which we have maintained portant interests and those of the being insecure. If we are on the world.

eve of war, will not this be the “ By remaining at peace our

first time that a British House of selves," said Mr. Canning, “ we best Parliament has approached the secure Portugal; by remaining at throne, on such occasion, peace, we take the best chance of cir- without even a conditional pledge cumscribing the range, and shorten- of support ?-If war is a matter ing the duration of the war, which even of possible contemplation, it we could not prevent from breaking surely becomes this House either out between France and Spain; to concur in an address for the reby remaining at peace, we shall moval of the ministers who have best enable ourselves to take an ef- needlessly incurred that danger; feetual and decisive part in any or, as the amendment moved by contest into which we may be the hon. member for Yorkshire hereafter forced against our will. proposes, to tender to his majesty

“ So far, then, as the interests a cordial assurance, that this House and honour of Great Britain are will stand by his majesty in sus. concerned, those interests and that taining the dignity of his Crown, honour have been scrupulously and the rights and interests of his. maintained.

Great Britain has people. trust, therefore, Sir, come out of the negotiations, that by rejecting this most incorclaiming all the respect that is due rect and inadequate address-as to her; and, in a tone not to be unworthy of the House as it is of

mistaken, enforcing all her rights. the occasion ;-an address contra-
· It is true that her policy has not dictory in some parts to itself; in

been violent or precipitate. She more, to the established facts of the
has not sprung forth armed, from case ; and in all, to the ascertained
the impulse of a sudden indigna- sense of the country--and by adopt-
tion ; she has looked before and ing, in its room, the amendment
after; she has reflected on all the moved by the hon. member for
circumstances which beset, and on Yorkshire, and seconded by the hon.
all the consequences which may member for London--the House
follow, so awful a decision as war; ' will stamp the policy, which the
and instead of descending into the king's ministers have pursued
arena as a party in a quarrel not feebly perhaps perhaps erroneous-
her own, she has assumed the atti- ly--but at all events from pure mo-
tude and the attributes of justice, tives; in the sincerity of their hearts;
holding high the balance, and and as conducive, in their judgment,
grasping, but not unsheathing, the to the tranquillity, welfare, and hap-

piness, not of this country only,
Mr. Canning concluded, by exa- but of the world—with that highest
inining the paragraphs of the pro- of all sanctions, the deliberate ap-

« ZurückWeiter »