Page images
PDF
EPUB

Let us

lity towards the French emperor. I mean for defence. Could the present ruler of not, and cannot be supposed to mean, any France obtain a verdict of acquittal from such thing. But in negociation with'fo- any charge preferred against him, proreign powers, as well as in the conduct vided he could shew that his accusers had and business of private life, if we cannot been guilty of a parallel crime, he would talk with confidence, we had better not talk have no great difficulty in standing clear at all ; a communication upon any busi- with the world. If, for instance, he were ness would be very injudiciously carried charged with violent and unjust aggression on by a party, who in the outset should by Austria, Prussia and Russia, he might tell the person with whom he is commu answer in one word-Poland. At all times nicating, that he has the worst opinion of the answer he could have given to Enghim in the world. Such, however, is really land might have been—India ; and now, the way in which this government has al- unhappily, he might add the decisive ways conducted itself towards the present name of Denmark. "I fear there is nothing ruler of France ; and setting out with a arising out of the particular purity of this determination not to believe any thing country, which can justify us in saying, that is told us, we are surprised that our that we will have nothing to do with the communications have not come to a happy government of France. If France be loadissue.-Sir, I cannot help observing upon ed with political crime, so are the nations the sort of personal hatred and antipathy she has conquered, and so are we. towards the French emperor, which ap- | view the trespasses of France, with the pears to prevail in the minds of a large same indulgence we think due to those of part of the community, as if each man had other countries, or to our own. Or at the a personal quarrel with him. The origin least let us not set up an hypocritical reaof this feeling is to be traced to the various son for refusing to negociate with her. endeavours which have been made to ex- | Again, if we are in the high situation, cite the public hatred from the moment at times described in colours so glowing, he attained the consular power. It argues by orators on the other side of the a great degeneracy of national character, house, let us follow the example of Buoand it has given rise to many very disgraceful naparte, and seize the propitious moment publications. A national antipathy, found- of national elevation. ' In the zenith of ed upon the crimes perpetrated by the our strength, let us make one frank and chief of a government, whether crimes of generous overture for pacification.-Sir, it state, or of a more private nature, can be will be objected that such is the inordinate no ground for a continuation of war be- ambition of Buonaparte, there can be no tween two countries. The murder of Don hope that he will be seriously inclined to Carlos by Philip the second, was never peace. That his ambition is great, nobody urged as a cause of war against Spain. can doubt; but it is an ambition much The execution of the Czarowitz Alexis under the guidance of prudence: he never by Peter the Great, was never considered fails to take every precaution for his seas a just cause of hostility against Russia. curity. He never proceeds without knowThe punishment of the crimes of princes, ing, in case of reverse, how he is to retire; is in the hand of the Ruler of princes; and and his ambition has never yet, as far as I it is not for us, to make them the cause of have been able to observe, tempted him to punishment to their guiltless people and go much beyond the true line of his inour own. Providence, in its inscrutable terest. In talking of inordinate or insawisdom, works by means, and often deigns tiable ambition, we mean that passion to produce the greatest good by the most when carried to such an extent as to preignoble and vicious instruments. I do not dominate over prudence and discretion. suppose that any person will question the Such was the ambition of Charles the XII. advantage derived to this country from the which was truly insatiable, and disdaining introduction of the reformation. Yet by even the slightest controul, hurried him to the brutal lusts of Henry the VIIIth, was his ruin : but the ambition of Buonaparte that reformation introduced among us. has always been subservient to his policy. The advantage accruing to the cause of Previous to the treaty of Campio Formio, true religion, morality, and virtue, is the the Austrian capital was in his power: he same, whether he who effected it were the stopped because it was his interest to do so. most virtuous or the most-vicious of man After the battle of Austerlitz, when in kind.- Sir, it has been much the practice possession of the capital of the Austrian in this house, to substitute recrimination empire, did he make a peace with Austria VOL. X.

3 1

a

[ocr errors]

SI

ta

ta

letter, is, to say the least of it, equivocal; 10 that if it be equivocal, it was the duty of I Mr. Canning to have obtained from the v prince de Stahremberg, a distinct interpretation of it; and if he did not tl think that necessary, he ought to have u given an interpretation the most favourable | T to the court of Vienna; which would have 11 been, that she adhered to her original pro- b position of the 18th of April ; but that it is most unjustifiable to put an arbitrary in construction upon an equivocal sentence, tl and then argue as if that construction were b it's real, true, undisputed construction. b In this case, undoubtedly, the grammatical (c construction of the sentence in question t} was of great importance: and I am per-g suaded, that neither Austria offered, nor did France intend that the mediation of thatt! court should be offered to the exclusion of h the allies of G. Britain. The other alternative is then taken, that the prince Stah- b remberg speaks in 'the name of the court of the Thuilleries. It is on this hypothesis n said, that in professing to speak in the th name of another power, besides that of ir Austria, a statement of some precise au

ti thority on the part of that power should have been made, or some specific and authenticated document produced which h alone could justify the court, to which he p: addressed himself, in founding a publice and important measure upon such a com P munication;" certainly if he had professed p to speak in the name of France, powers from France ought to have been produced; n but the decisive, and ready answer to the T whole of that paragraph is, that he did not w profess to speak in the name of France. tr We now come to a most extraordinary / h part of the Note, in which the secretary ofb

" that it was reasonably to be ti expected, that a pledge as solemn and au- b thentic on the part of France, as that given th by his majesty to France, should have been ir communicated before his majesty could be called upon to make any

further advance.” tł I should have thought that the proposal on the part of France, for England to send m negociators to Paris, was a pledge of the h pacific disposition of France; but to my sa great surprise, I find that this desire is most tł grossly “misconstrued into an implication th of an unjustifiable doubt of the sincerity w of his majesty's professions.” I really am ta quite at a loss for any ground, upon which I this can be plausibly stated. It appears to me so completely different from the notion ti that any person endowed with the leastle degree of candour would have formed,

state says,

re

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

great surprise, I find that this desire is most this note, and a punctilio created between

that any person endowed with the least lect that lord Malmsbury stated any is.

letter, is, to say the least of it, equivocal; 1. of such a request made by France, that that if it be equivocal, it was the duty of I must pass it over without comment

. Mr. Canning to have obtained from the very soon after, is revived the dificulty prince de Stahremberg, a distinct in- about a basis, and a complaint is made, terpretation of it; and if he did not that no intimation is given of the basis think that necessary, he ought to have upon which it is proposed to, negociate. given an interpretation the most favourable The answer to that, I have before given. to the court of Vienna; which would have If you think a basis indispensible

, it must been, that she adhered to her original pro- be presumed that you are prepared with position of the 18th of April ; but that it one; if you are prepared with one, why, is most unjustifiable to put an arbitrary instead of raising a difficulty with regard to construction upon an equivocal sentence, the enemy, do you not level the dificulty and then argue as if that construction were by making a communication of your own it's real, true, undisputed construction. basis? It is then observed, that if ever it In this case, undoubtedly, the grammatical could have heen matter of doubt, whether construction of the sentence in question the previous settlement of a basis of newas of great importance: and I am per- gociation were necessary to the hope of its suaded, that neither Austria offered, nor successful termination, the experience of did France intend that the mediation of that the last negociation with France would court should be offered to the exclusion of have placed that question beyond contro. the allies of G. Britain. The other alter- versy. Sir, undoubtedly I think it would, native is then taken, that the prince Stah- but not in the way intended by Mr. Secreremberg speaks in the name of the court tary Canning. I think that the prelimi

. of the Thuilleries. It is on this hypothesis nary condition of a basis was the bane of said, that in professing to speak in the that negociation. That its introduction n'me of another power, besides that off into the discussions was fatal to them, and Austria, a statement of some precise au- that owing to the insisting upon the preli. thority on the part of that power should minary basis, it was impossible to ascerhave been made, or some specific and au- tain whether peace could or could not thenticated document produced which have been accomplished. Then comes 3 alone could justify the court, to which he paragraph which in itself is perfectly unaddressed himselt

, in founding a public exceptionable; and if it had been sent to and important measure upon such a com- Paris, accompanied only by one or tiro

I do not know of any circumstance in the court of Vienna, and profes mission of the earls of Lauderdale and under the orders of that court Yarmouth, that should induce England munication he had made), and to declare positively that she never would this very note received the es again send negociators to Paris. I know the sentimenis of the court of that my view of the negociation of 1806 the important subject of nego is not that which is taken by the right tween the belligerents, is exp hon. gentlemen over against me, and I “ that he has no authority to s perfectly well recollect, the delay in giv- name of his majesty to the gov

France.” To what end the ing passports to lord Lauderdale was dwelt upon with great indignation and whole been written? Sir, it aj acrimony by those right hon. gentlemen; the bitter and sarcastic language but I viewed that circumstance in a light in this note was not intended very different from them; and at all events any practical purpose whatever they will allow me to recall to their re the only object of it was to collection, that admitting the demand of prince de Stahremberg, who passports had not been attended to with guilty of the high crime of acti the

respect and promptitude which is due dience to the orders of his own to all such demands made by a negociator agreeably to the desire of that of in the country of the enemy; an apology have now,sir, gone through the w for the delay was both demanded and Austrian correspondence; and made; and that lord Lauderdale did not say, that if ministers were deteri renew his conferences, until he had ob- this offer of mediation should ne tained the satisfaction due to his court. a negociation, and should not h Here, however, is an unnecessary difficulty tive of any avenue to negociatic created. You profess only to be upon a way whatever, they could not footing of equality with France, she offers ducted themselves otherwise you a place of negociation which you did; and that if they had peremptorily decline, whatever place for themselves in any conceivable negociation

you may designate, she will different from that which they ! have an equal right to refuse. How are a negociation must infallibly these disputes to be terminated, and which the consequence. I have only power is to concede this false point of observe a little, upon one of the honour? Sir, I only hope that ministers stipulated both here, and in th may be more wise, than to think it neces mediation, that of a preliminary sary to abide by their own premature and I do so with a view of calling the intemperate declarations. I cannot pass of the house, and of the right ! over the remainder of the note without himself, to his own opinions some observation. The prince de Stah- subject.-For myself, I must alremberg is a person of consequence in his sider the demand of a precise own country. Throughout Europe, he is preliminary to the acceptance known to be attached to the interests of tion, or even as preliminary to England, and has even suffered, on account into negociation) neither wise of his avowed attachment to her welfare, dient, and if I wanted any confi some indignities on the part of the French my opinion upon that subject, emperor. He is a man of high honour could find it in a pamphlet and reputation, and a person, for whom under the name of Mr. Canning, one should imagine, as well on his own to be a speech delivered by b account, as on account of the court of house, on the 5th Jan. 1807, is Vienna, which has been faithful to Eng- on the conduct of the late negoc land under all circumstances, might have France. In that speech, Mr. met with respect from his majesty's minis- represented as making use of ters. But Mr. Canning having gone out markable expressions. "I trouby of the way to offend him, by separating with the passage at length, beca the person of the prince from the charac- his argument clear and decisiter of the Austrian ambassador, concludes point. Mr. Canning says, his note by the most extraordinary decla i noble lord (Howick) has ration perhaps that ever was made at any . Mr. Fox rejected the sugges time by any minister. It is this : the prince ing the stipulations of th de Stahremberg (so accredited from the

• Amiens for ihe basis of nege Vol. X,

3 H

munication;" certainly if he had professed preceeding sentences of form, and one or
to speak in the name of France, powers two succeeding sentences of conciliation, a
fron France ought to have been produced; negociation might have now been on foot

.
but the decisive, and ready answer to the The paragraph runs thus,“ his majesty is
whole of that paragraph is, that he did not willing to treat with France, but he will
profess to speak in the name of France. — treat only on a footing of perfect equality

; We now come to a most extraordinary he is ready to treat with the allies of France, part of the Note, in which the secretary of) but the negociation must equally embrace state says, “ that it was reasonably to be the allies of G. Britain." Had the answer expected, that a pledge as solemn and au- been confined to that one paragraph, and thentic on the part of France, as that given the reply on the part of France had been by his majesty to France, should have been in the negative ; 10 question would hare communicated before his majesty could be remained that she was insincere, ant called upon to make any further advance." | there would have been an end of the whole I should have thought that

the proposal on matter. Had the answer been in the afir

ai

[ocr errors]

the part of France, for England to send mative

, no obstacle to negociation could necociators to Paris, was a pledge of the have presented itself. Another unneces. pacific disposition of France; but to my sary difficulty is raised in the course or grossly " misconstrued into an implication this court and the court of the T'huilleries of an unjustifiable doubt of the sincerity which, but for the ingenuity of the secre of his majesty's professions.I really an tary of state, would never have existed quite at a loss for any ground, upon which / I am not aware of any inconvenience this can be plausibly stated. It appears to which has ever resulted from the negocia. me so completely different from the notion tion carried on at Paris. I do not real

of candour would have formed, | convenience arising from this source, and

[ocr errors]

a

S

a

a

[ocr errors]

e

с

a

cause he thought that they were vague, and indefinite; and that more time therefore would be lost in defining and adjusting the basis, than might be sufficient (if well employed) for discussing and settling the main points of a negociation, is it possible that the noble lord should not perceive that the adoption of the I uti possidetis would have been liable to similar embarrassment; that he should “not be aware of the perplexed and in-li "terminable discussions which must have

arisen in the attempt to define the pre'cise degree of possession, occupation, or

controul which should or should not en"title to the benefit of the uti possidetis ? ! 'to determine, for instance, whether the i “ kingdom of Holland; whether the princi- t “palities of the Rhine, whether Southern Germany, whether the fortresses of Austria herself, should at the outset of a ne h 'gociation, be acknowledged by us to be “the lawful and confirmed possessions of ti

France, except so far as they might be credeemed by such equivalents as we might be able and disposed to give in e exchange for them. I am confident, (and the very argument which the noble • lord himself has advanced, renders meh still more confident in the opinion) that such was Mr. Fox's view of the subject, n * that his passing by the treaty of Amiens, a • when it was first suggested by M. Tal• leyrand, and proceeding to suggest, instead of it, something which he called a basis, but which in fact amounted to nothing more than the statement of a prin*ciple, which might be taken for granted i to prevail in every negociation, the to • honour and glory of the two countries, n

was dictated, by precisely the same motive which afterwards induced him in hisi * answer to M. Talleyrand's letter of the t * 2nd of June, to accept so easily M. Tal- I leyrand's proposed additional principley

of continental and maritime guarantee, • in preference to (and one must fairly say t sin exclusion of) the other offer, which is " asserted to have been made at the same P time through lord Yarmouth, of uti pos

sidetis, and the motive which in each case operated with Mr. Fox, appears to it have been simply the desire to avoid any « technical basis, as utterly inapplicable to • the existing state of the world, and as ii

likely to require (as the noble lord le • Howick has himself contended would • have been the case with the stipulations P • of the treaty of Amiens, and as I think I • liave shewn would equally have arisen in

S

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

[ocr errors]

as

may

[ocr errors]

diation. If such indeed had been stated
by the king's ministers to have been the the characters of some of his colle
court of Vienna to the French govern- his place in this house, his collea
ment, disqualified her for the office of me- Hawkesbury unqualified to hold t

so on the other hand, that France of foreign affairs, he cannot, obje being in possession of the full powers, expressing the opinion that I ente

make such communications as France present secretaries of state. Up * likely to require (as the noble lord | letter, to detract from the amicable con

should think fit to dictate to the Austrian view then of the papers which ha minister at the court of London, and laid upon the table of the house

proached, except in the way of mediation, those signed by Mr. Canning, I 933] PARL DEBATES, FEB. 29, 1808.--Mr. Witbread's Motion relative to {ssa 337] PARL. DEBATES, FEB. 29, 1808.--the Mediation of Russia and Au (Huse he thought that they were vague, any attempt to apply the uti possidetis

) precluded the possibility of eventual ) France humbled herself to ado * and indefinite; and that more time there. more time in the application and adjust advantage by telling the Austrian am- path which England had left o 'fi re would be lost in defining and ad- )"ment of the basis than would have been bassador that he is not to communi- advances. In that light inde justing the basis, than might be sufficient sufficient to discuss and settle the terms cate to France the intentions of the clined to view it, and I canno it well employed) for discussing and of the most complicated negociation." king's government; and therefore the pa- any thing more desirable than setiling the main points of a negociation, Sir

, I am perfectly well aware that Mr. ragraph is without effect, excepting so far the belligerent powers should a is it posible that the noble lord should Canning here stating what was Mr.

it be calculated, in common with with the utmost promptitude not perceive that the adoption of the Fox's reasoning upon the subject of a the rest of the letter, to offend the court fluence which she possessed ov uti possidetis would have been liable to basis; and what the line of his conduct of Austria, in the person of its ambassador. power recognized by both, as simitar embarrassment; that he should appeared to have been. I agree with him Upon the whole, I think that in all the to exercise the high and friend not be aware of the perplexed and in- in the position he has laid down with re records of diplomatic transactions, no pro- mediation, to communicate her * terminable discussions which must have gard to Mr. Fox, and I think that the rea duction can be found more replete with directly to the other belligeren ' arisen in the attempt to define the pre- soning which he has given to Mr. For offence, or more inconsistent with the vain to dwell longer upon this s

che degree of possession, occupation, or upon the impropriety of insisting upon any true and genuine character of a statesman. cause no such objection has be * controul which should or should not en- technical basis whatever, is incontroverti

.

It

may be said in extenuation of Mr. Can upon the part of government.-"title to the benefit of the uti possidetis ? ble. I am however warranted in I suppos ning's conduct, that it is evident from apologize for having detained ' to determine, for instance, whether the ing that the right hon. gent. also himseli some short notes of a posterior date, that

so long upon this part of the • kingdom of Holland, whether the princi- thinks that reasoning perfectly correct; the prince de - Stahremberg could have but in justice to the right hor

palities of the Rhine, whether Southern because, after having stated it so clearly had no authority for his conduct from the deeply interested in the trar " Germany, whether the fortresses of Aus- and ably as he has done in that pamphlet, court of Vienna; because in answer to a

was bound to go into a minute * tria herself, should at the outset of a ne- he gives no opinion in contradiction to it, question put to him by Mr. Canning, rela- justice to myself

, and to the p gociation, be acknowledged by us to bé although in the course of the speech he tive to the departure of Mr. Adair from which I intend to establish upon *the lawful and confirmed possessions of took every opportunity to stigmatize such Vienna, the prince de Stahremberg says

, pers, it was necessary that I sho ' France, except so far as they might be errors as he supposed imputable to the that he has received no dispatches from them much at lengtă, and I tri * redeemed by such equivalents as we conduct of the whole of the administration his court since the 30th of Oct. In an- have in some measure succeede "might be able and disposed to give in engaged in that negociation. And he eri swer to that, I have only to remark that vincing the house, that anoth * exchange for them. I am confident, dently contrasts the wise policy of Mr. For, the count de Metternich, the Austrian opportunity has been lost, ne

and the very argument which the noble with that which he represents as in the ambassador to the court of the Thuilleries, of making peace, (for I beg - lord himself" has advanced, renders me highest degree blameable in those who was at Paris: it was therefore very possi- again to understand, that I do still more confident in the opinion) that succeeded him in the management of the ble that communications should be transsuch was Mr. Fox's view of the subject, negociation. --Sir, a question may be here

ways have carefully abstained

mitted from the count de Stadion, the mi-assertion, that peace in any.ca * that his passing by the treaty of Amiens, asked of me, why, if you think the para

. nister for foreign affairs at Vienna, through have been made) but of entering ' when it was first suggested by M. Tal- graph which you have quoted, and which count Metternich to the prince de Stah- gociation, for the purpose of fase * leyrand, and proceeding to suggest, in- is contained in the letter of Mr. Canning " stead of it, something which he called a to the prince de Stahremberg, namely

, authority for every step that he took (as fected. I have thought it my di * basis, but which in fact amounted to no " that his majesty is willing to treat with

in fact

there can be no question that he pose to the severest censure of tl *thing more than the statement of a prin- France, but he will treat only on a fost had), without any immediate and direct the conduct of the king's governni 'ciple

, which might be taken for granted ing of perfect equality; he is ready to communication with Vienna.--Another this occasion, and more particular * to prevail in every negociation, the treat with the allies of France, but the observation may be made, upon the situa- | his majesty's secretary of state fe • honour and glory of the two countries, negociation must equally embrace the

miere of the court of Vienna, as offering to | affairs; because it does appear to r "was dictated, by precisely the same mo- interests of the allies of G. Britain;" wbr

mediate at this period, between G. Britain tive which afterwards induced him in his if you think that paragraph contains all and France. It may be objected that the * ansiver to M. Talleyrand's letter of the that would be necessary as an overture de state of subserviency in which that court • 2nd of June, to accept so easily M. Tal- France for entering into negociation, do was placed towards the court of the Thuil

ficulties which surround us in thi: leyrand's proposed alditional principle you require any thing

more at the hands leries

, disqualified her for the office of meof continental and maritime guarantee, of the administration? Sir

, I allow that in preference to and one must

fairly say the paragraph in question contains the in exclusion of) the other offer, which is whole that would be necessary for my reason of their rejection of the mediation, ' asserted to bave been made at the same purpose : but a paragraph may be so na * time through lord Yarmouth, of uti pos- companied

as to make it obnoxious in the sidetis, and the motive which in each company which it keeps, when by itself

coure one hand, the subserviéney of the having on a former occasion de case operated with Mr. Fox, appears to it might convey an amicable meaning

: ' have been simply the desire to avoid any Such is the present case. And moreorer * technical basis, as utterly inapplicable to Mr. Canning has so contrived it, that era the existing state of the world, and as if there were nothing offensive in the

given to the Austrian minister at Paris, to Howick has himself contended rould struction which might be put upon • have been the case with the stipulations paragraph separately considered, he was of the treaty of Amiens, and as I think I

England • lave shewu would equally have arisen in

* Şee vol. viii. 393.

sary to state my opinion to the h the country at large of his utter in cy to guide us through the dangers

our fate. I am sure the right h from the freedom that he has ta

office, will excuse the freedom have taken with his official ch

;

the comparative merits of his 1

the

mons signed by lord Hawkesbu

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »