Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

festo reached him in the country, to king of Great Britain separately? he think he had been completely misled answered No; but for the king of by the previous Information; that Great Britain, jointly with his allies. surprise increased on finding that When he was asked if he was fur. the public prints had been more nished with any powers from those accurate in their representation of allies? he again replied, No. Had facts than bis majesty's declaration. he any terms to propose ? He anNever bad any paper been brought swered he would send for instrucforward with the stamp of official tions. Thus it appeared, that he authority so little connected with was empowered to conclude for the the documents on which it was king of Great Britain, but not qualiprofessedly founded; it entirely con- fied to treat; and that for the allies, cealed the most important facts of for whom he came to treat, he had the negotiation, and stated the others not power to conclude. Could there so loosely, as not to exhibit them be a more palpable mockery of the in any precise or distinct shape. . forms of negotiation?

The right honourable gentleman We next come to the basis: in had stated that disrespect had been the present instance it was laid so shown to a foreign court by the wide, as to comprehend no distinct French directory, and an inference object, and to be reducible to no drawn of a disposition thus manis precise meaning; the French stated tested to throw contempt on all that they had agreed to your princi. established usages. It was asserted as ple, and only disputed its applica. an apology for bringing forward the tion. The principle of mutual com. anifesto, previous to the publication pensations is substantially recogthe papers, that much mechanical aized in every negotiation, and did our was necessary for preparing not require to be specified. The n for the inspection of the house; general objects of dispute have been',

or his own part, he could not but in fixing a basis, whether it should uspect, it was thought expedient to be regulated by the status quo ante

..bias to their sentiments by bellum, or the uti possidetis ?
publication of the manifesto, The minister had stated, as a

the facts were submitted to proof of reluctance on the part of
cool and sober investigation; the French, that they for some time
delay which was imputed to hesitated to admit our proposed ba-

al labour was purposely de- sis; but in fact they virtually recogo afford ministers an oppor- nized the principle when they en. Trevising the papers, and of tered into the discussion of terms. ? What part of their contents He who asks, what will you give,

De prudent to suppress, and or states what he is willing to augut be submitted to the pub- receive, at once admits the basis of

Lord Malmesbury was sent mutual compensation. .
hate for peace, and furnished When the French asked Lord

powers to conclude, but Malmesbury what terms he was preal; he had no instructions pared to propose, he was unprovided sect to the terms he should with any answer, and obliged to

Ad no direction upon send to this country for instructions,
Ct concerning the propo. What inference can be drawn

ght receive. When he from this conduct on the part of
he came to treat for the ministers, but that, by thus bringing

F2.

forward

mechanical labour was purp

tunity of revising the deciding what part o is might be prudent what might be suabn lic eye. Lord Malme to negotiate for peace, a with full powers to not to treat; he had with respect to the propose, and no dir which to act concern sitions he might receiv was asked if he came to

forward a futile, illusory, and un- we might relax as circumstances meaning basis, they expected to dis should render it expedient. But gust the French in the first instance, was the right honourable gentleman and so get rid of the negotiation; so ill qualitied to judge of the conand if the French, who must have duct proper for these times, as sefelt themselves mocked by this treat- riously to maintain this argument ? ment, and have been more and He had described it as a negotiamore assured of the insincerity of tion, the ill success of which must our ministers, had stopped all fur- tend to divide France, and to unite ther proceedings, would they not Great Britain; which must give inhave been fully justified ? Undoubi. dubitable confirmation to the justice edly ministers expected that they of our cause, and add double energy would have resented the insult, and to our future efforts. Instead of have bro' en off the negotiation at carrying his pretensions higher than the onset. They thus hoped to have he might be disposed to accept, he obtained an easy credit for their pa- should have gone to the other excific intentions, and to have thrown treme, and have stated them at the upon the enemy the odium of a lowest point of what he deemed to determined purpose of hostility, and be fair and equitable; thus securing an unreasonable rejection of the pre- the end which he professed to have liminary basis of negotiation. Un had in view-to render apparent to fortunately, however, for this pro- all Europe the equity and modera. ject, the basis was recognized. The tion of his own sentiments, and the disappointment of ministers was evi- injustice and ambition of the enemy. dent; Lord Malmesbury was unpre. Mr. Fox next adverted to the two pared how to act; and compelled to memorials, and confessed he had send for further instructions. The never been more struck with the question then became, “ since the impossibility, even for talents the French bave so unexpectedly ac- most splendid, to cover the weak: cepted the basis we intended to be ness of a cause, and supply the de. rejected, what we can find that they ficiency of 'real argument, than in must be indispensably called upon to the instance of what the minister refuse?" Lord Malmesbury, who had said respecting Holland. Even had before no terms to propose, was if Holland should be restored to its now instructed to bring forward pristine situation; if the Stadtholder such as could not be supposed to uno should be reinstated, and the allidergo much discussion; such as could ance renewed with this country, he not readily fail to effect the purpose does not say that he would restore to of being rejected.

Holland ber former possessions. No, Mr. Fox then considered what he might then perhaps only relax in had been said by the minister re- their favour part of the conditions specting the terms offered : it had on which the present state of things been urged, by way of apology for obliges him to insist! A right hothose proposed by Lord Malmesbury, nourable gentleman, (Mr. Dundas) that it was usual to be somewhat some time since declared, in the high in our demands in the first in- house, that as we had taken the stance; that any propositions, in Cape of Good Hope and Ceylon, we the beginning of negotiations, were meant to keep them for ever. This never to be regarded as desisive; was reasoning very much à la Franand that in the progress of treating çaise. It was curious to remark,

that

that in the very moment when the indeed ; and if France complied minister is at such pains to represent with their demands, what would be the demands of the French as in the her relative situation amongst the highest degree exorbitant, how much powers of Europe? She would he countenances them by his own. have given up Belgium, LuxemHe says, “ We have taken a great burg, and taly : and further, it was deal from Holland, they have required, that something should be taken notliny from us, therefore we ceded to the Emperor, to render are not bound in justice to make him secure on the side of the Authem any restitution : but if Maes- strian Netherlands. The three great tricht, or some place, be ceded to powers of Europe would all of them the emperor for the security of the be left with considerable acquisiNetherlands, we may perhaps be tions. The king of Prussia had induced to make them sone restitu- gained a third part of Poland; Rustion; but on no account to restore sia had obtained a considerable exCeylon, or the Cape of Good Hope.” tent of territory from that unfortu. On the same grounds might the nate country; and in addition t French say, “ We have taken mich his share in the division, it was profrom the emperor; he has gained posed that the emperor of Germany nothing from us therefore we are should be put in possession of Maes not bound to make bim any restitu tricht, or some other place. France tion." But what are the specific pro. was only to be left with Savoy, Nice, posals to the French : To evacuate and Avignon. Was the state of the Italy, to give up the Milanese, Bel- war such as would justify this proglum, and Luxemburg; to nego. position? Was it equitable that all tiate the arrangements of peace for the other powers should gain moro Germany with his Imperial majesty, than France ? When Great Britain as constitutional head of the empire; acted so unreasonably, France natu. and though they are already at peace rally took a step calculated to give with the most considerable Germanic confidence to the people in those powers, with the king of Prussia, countries annered to the Republic, with the elector's of Saxony, Hano- by declaring, that on no account ver, &c. they would thus be placed would she consent to give them up. in a situation in which they would As to the French minister having have all their treaties to begin anew. asked Lord Malmesbury to give in

In reroro for all these sacritices, his ultimatum, it evidently meant he offers to restore to them Marti- no more, than that he should make nique, St. Lucia, Toba;0; reserv- a formal declaration of what he had ing bowever one of them as an said respecting Belgium ; a demand equivalent, if they are to reram St. 'which surely could not be deemed Doiningo. The restoration of Bel- unreasonable. gium was a sine qua non : and Mr. After baving heard so much stated Pox avowed he should much regret of the value of Belgium, and such to see Belgium attached to the terri- reasons urged why it should be retories of the republic ; but if mini- stored to the Emperor, Mr. Fox sters were sincere in their wishes for could not help remarking that it peace, if they considered Belgium was not very long since the people as an object of so much importance, of that country were in a state of re. let them not offer brass tor gold. bellion ; and it was surmised at the What they had offered was trilling time, that we were by no means

[ocr errors]

averse to snpporting them in their taining the object, the minister endeavours to shake off the Austrian who on that account only should yoke. But however great its value refuse to make peace, had much to might be, was it sufficient to justify answer for on the score of policy the continuance of a destructive war? and humanity. By the treaty conAnd if it were, there was another cluded with the emperor, in 1793, question to be considered: if, in we engaged not to lay down our addition to the expense and carnage arms without his consent; if we urge with which the war had already the stipulations of a treaty as a rea. been attended, it were proper to , son why we cannot conclude peace sacrifice a hundred mullions more, but on certain 'terms, we sanction and a hundred thousand men, for the argument which is represented its attainment, it ought to be very as so unjustifiable on the part of clear, that our object was attainable France. We had no more right to by these means. It ought also to talk of our treaties, than they of the be recollected, that the emperor, regulations concerning their bounwho was a friend to-day, might be daries. If an absurd and impracan enemy to-morrow. It was not ticable condition be introduced into eight months since he was not so a treaty, is there not reason to sus. much a favourite with ministers; pect it is for the purpose of throwperbaps, indeed, they were cautious ing difficulties in the way of peace? in expressing their partiality, lest it To the French is imputed all the should be suspected that money was odium and blame of breaking off then going to the court of Vienna. the negotiation. The minister had At that time the king of Sardinia asserted, that we were not bound by was extolled as a pattern of fidelity any thing as a sine qua non ; for that to all princes : he did not mean to is impossible, in the nature of a impute to the Sardinian monarch negotiation, until it be concluded. any breach of faith ; necessity com. But whatever assertions may be, the pelled him to conclude a treaty with world at large will regard the methe republic, and we had not heard morial of Lord Malmesbury as the in what situation he was now to be sine qua non of the court of Great considered, with respect to this coun- Britain respecting Belgium. The try. Ministers had already sent large right honourable gentleman says it šums to his imperial majesty, and may be recovered by force of arms; were about to make farther ad- but what security is there that we vances; and the alliance could not shall not sink in our prospects upon be maintained at an expense less that event, and that they will not to the country than a sum of two rise in proportion as we sink ? Amuse inillions annually. If we should not not the people of this country, conbe able to grant him the same as tinued Mr. Fox, by a delusive presistance, he might be reduced to the tence, as you did by an amendinent same necessity as the king of Sardi- to get rid of an honourable friend of nia, and compelled to conclude a mine, and in which you stated to peace.

Europe that you would negotiate . When all these circumstances with France when its government were put together, the sacrifices was capable of maintaining the 're. which must be incurred in attempt lations of peace and amity with ing to wrest Belgium from the other powers. French, and the uncertainty of ob These little artifices had bad their

ends;

ends; but these were times that and who voluntarily adopt the step required openness and candour. The of uniting themselves with their plain question was, peace, or war? neighbours. However the minister might per. There was one thing very remarksuade the majority of the house that able, that in all this negotiation, his wisbe, and inclinations bend to where almost every possession of all wards peace; it would not be be- the parties had been taken notice lieved by the people, that the sine of, the name of the valuable and que non, with regard to Belgium, important kingdom of Corsica had would over balance the assertions of never appeared. Did ministers say, members of parliament. The house when they took it, “ You may form had no ibe credit with the pub- a governinent of your own, and be lic, nor did it deserve that credit a free people :” No; they sent a which former houses of coinmons viceroy. Sir Gilbert Elliot went as had.

representative of his majesty, cookHe then proceeded to make some ed them up a constitution, half remarks on the cause of breaking French, half English, and endeaoff the negotiation. Was the em- voured to detach them entirely from peror (said he) a party to it? No; any prerilections in favour of French it was a sine qua nun, made in a mat- princi, les. ter intended solely for the benefit of The French were and always have the Einperor, to which, neverthe- been represented by ministers as a less, be was not a party, and which horde of assassins. Suppose the we did not know whether he him- Corsicans bad chosen the king of self would insist upon ! Surely this Great Britain as their king, and inmight have been known betore the treated that they might not be given negotiation was entered upon; when up to these assassins; could the right we were so often sending such im- honourable gentleman have said, in mense sums to the emperor, some a negotiation for peace, that Corpersons employed in these offices sica was an object of restoration ? might have a-ked the .question- Mr. Fox believed he would not ; Had any done so ? - No; and let and may not the French use the any impartial man answer, if this same arguments respecting Belwas not a mockery of negotiation. gium? On former occasions, when But, said the right honourable gen the conquests in the West Indies tleman --Why did not the directory were mentioned as means of negopresent a cuntre projet? To whom tiation, the idea of status quo (01 te should they present it? Not to the bettuin was ridiculed. He particuemperor; for he was not a party, larly alluded to Martinique, which though every thing contained in our was not to be considered as a con. projet was tor bis benefit alone. quest in former wars; it was taken

The people indeed, said Mr. at the request of the inhabitants in Fox, who may come into the power it, who all desired to be taken unof another people by chance of war, der the protection of his Britannic cannot by the law of nations be majesty. Martinique was, however, disposed of lawtuily till the detini- me tioned in this negotiation; and tive treaty of peace is concluded: the minister had gone off from his but this was very different from a high language. people who are left at liberty to Peace, Mr. Fox affirmed, could choose a government for themselves, not be obtained by a perseverance

« ZurückWeiter »