« AnteriorContinuar »
CHA P. III.
Review of the Negotiation at Paris in 1796.—His Msajesty's Declaration on
tbat Subject.-Debates in Parliament on the Negotiation. In the House of Lords.- In the House of Conimons.- Endeavours of the Opposition Party to Temove tbe Obstacles to Peace.-- Motion to tbat effiel in the House of Lords.
- Furtber Difension on the Subject of Peace in the fame Houfe. - Motion for Peace in tbe House of Commons.
TN our preceding volume, in re- government respecting peace; the
lating the political transactions in answer which he received was at France, a short account was intro
once haughty and evasive; it affectduced of the negotiation for peace, ed to quettion the fincerity of which which was attempted at Paris, in the his majesty's conduct had afforded latter end of the year 1796. The so unequivocal a proof; it objected subject was brought before the Bri- to the mode of negotiation propoftish parliament, soon after the returned (that of a general congress, by of Lord Malmetbury, and under- which peace had so often been rewent a fpirited and interesting dif- ftored to Europe); but it studiously cussion in both houses. The fince- palled over in filence his majesty's rity of ministers was questioned by desire to know what other mode some of the speakers on the fide would be preferred by France; it afof oppofition, and the extravagant serted a principle, as an indispensaterms (as they were deemed by that ble preliminary to all negotiation, side of the house) proposed to the under which the terms of peace French were vehemently censured ; must have been regulated; not by while, on the other hand, the mini- the usual considerations of justice, fters defended themselves, by appeal- but by an implicit fubmission on the ing to the abrupt and violent conduct part of all other powers to a claiin of the French in bastily dismilling the founded on the internal laws and ambassador, as a proof of their in- feparate conftitution of France, as disposition to peace, whic': they having full authority to fuperfede confirmed by a general review of the treaties entered into by indethe late politics of France.
pendent ftates, to govern their inHis Majesty's declaration on this terests, controul their engagements, subject was laid before the house of and dispose of their dominions. lords, on the 27th of Dec. by lord “ A pretension so extravagant Grenville, wherein he acquainted could in no instance be admitted ; them, That the negotiation, in the present, it led to nothing less which an anxious desire of peace than that France thould, as a prelihad induced him to open at Paris, minary to all discussion, retain nearhad been abruptly terininated by ly all her conquests, and particularly the French government.
those in which his majefty was most “ That his majesty had directed concerned ; that the ihould recover an overture to be made, in his name back all that had been conquered by his minister in Switzerland, to af- from her; and that the thould bring certain the dispositions of the Freuch forward such farther deniands, as
such unqualified fubmiflion, on the ment, memorials were presented by part of thote with whom the treat- his majelty's minister, containing the ed, cculd not fail to produce. On outlines of peace; the delivery of • such ground no negotiation could be these papers was accompanied by a
establi thed; neither did the answers declaration, expressly and repeatedly of the French gire any opening for made, both verbally and in writing, continuing the discullion, since the that his minister was willing to enter mode orierced by his majesty had into the discullion of the points been rejected, and no other been therein contained, or that of any ftated in which they were willing other tcheme of peace which the góto concur.
vernirent might with to fubftitute “ Not discouraged by this result, in its fiead. and in order to deprive his enemies " In reply, he received a denin 1, of all subterfuge or evasion, his ma- in form the most offenfive, and in jefty renewed in ancther form, and substance the moft extravagant, that through the intervention of a friend- ever was made in the courte of any ly power, a proposal for opening ne- negotiation. It was peremptorily gotiations for peace: the repeated required of him, that he should, in overtures were of such a nature that twenty-four hours, deliver in a statethe French government found it im- ment of the final ternis to which his posible to reject them, without couri would in any cale accede. avowing to all Europe an absolute Having declined compliance with determination to refuse all hope of this demand, and explained the reathe restoration of tranquillity. A fons which rendered it inadmisli, channel was therefore at length in- ble, but at the same time exprelled dicated, through which the govern- his readiness to discuss the proposal ment of France profefled itself will- he had conveyed, he received no other ing to negotiate, and a readiness was answer but an abrupt command to expressed to receive a minister au quit Paris within forty-eight hours. thorized by his majesty to proceed " It was therefore necefiry that all to Paris for that purpose. The re. Europe should understand, that the peated endeavours of the French rupture of the negotiation did not government to defeat this million in arise from the failure of any sincere its outset, and to break off the inter- attempt on the part of France; but course thus opened; but above all, from the determination of that go-, the abrupe termination of the nego vernment to reject all means of tiation, afforded the most conclu-, peace, by the obftinate adherence to five proof, that at no period of it was a claim which never could be adımit. any real with for peace entertained ted; a claim wish that government by the French government.
rested on the constitution of its own “ It had been agreed, that com- country, to be received by all napensation fhould be made to France tions as paramount to every princiby proportionable reftitutions from ple and law in Europe, as superior his majesty's conquests on that to the obligations of treaties, the power, for those arrangements to ties of common interett,- and the which the should be called upon to most urgent considerations of geneconsent, to satisfy his allies, and to ral security. preserve the balance of Europe: at
« On viele motives it was, that ihe the defire of the French govern- further eifusion of blood, the conti
nued calamities of war, the prolong No such instance was to be found ed distresses of Europe, and the ac- in the whole history of treaties, nor cumulated distresses of France itself, could such a demand have been were by the government of this coun- made, but for the purpose of fhuttry justified to the world. His ma- ting the doors against all negotiation. jesty, who had entered into this ne Why did not the directory state gotiation with good faith, had now their objections to his majetty's mionly to lament its abrupt termina- nister? Why did they not tell him tion; and to declare, in the face of all on what terms they would have been Europe, that whenever his enemies ready to make peace? Not a word should be disposed to enter on the was said in return; and the Britith work of general pacification, no- minister was ordered to leave the thing should be wanting on his part territories of the republic in twice to contribute to the accomplishment the space of four and twenty hours. of that great object, which was only The directory now said, as they had retarded by the exorbitant preten- formerly done, that they could not fions of his enemies."
treat on the principle of mutual reLord Grenville said, he lament- ftitution, because it was contrary to ed, as much as any man in the coun their constitution. This could netry could do, the sudden failure of ver be admitted by our country, or this negotiation: it was unnecessary any other independent nation : it for him to state at length the repeat- was in fact, to admit, that the ed endeavours of the French direc- French republic poflefled the only tory to defeat it in its beginning, fupreme power in Europe; and that and to break it off after an inter. all other countries might be parcelcourse had been opened.
led out by them at pleasure into what It had been agreed, that compen- they were pleased to call republics, sation Thould be made to France, by but which had not the least resemproportionable restitutions, for the blance to that form of government. ceflions which she in her turn should According to this principle, his mabe called upon to make to his majef- jefty and his allies were bound to ty's allies. After this, his majesty's restore to France the greatest part of minister at Paris delivered to the their conquests, whilft the French French minister a memorial contain- republic was to retain all that the ing proposals : there was a note ac had made. companying the memorial, stating, His lordship said, that every canthat he would enter with the ut did man must see where the fault most readiness, with M. Delacroix, lay: his majetty and his minifters into every explanation which the had entered into the negotiation negotiation would allow; or, should with good faith, and it was retarded they be rejećied in toto, into any only by the exorbitant demands of counter-project which the directory France. He concluded, with moritself might be pleased to bring forth. ing an address to his majesty, with In answer to this communication, it ailurances that he might place the was peremptorily required of him, fulleit reliance on the firmness of his before any answer had been given parliament; the valour of his forces; by the directory to his propofitions, the resources of his kingdoms, for that he should within twenty-four vigorous support in a contest which hours deliver in the ultimatum of his it did not depend upon his majesty court.
to terminate, and which involved in
it the security and interests of this another campaign, when they could country, and of Europe.
not borrow money at 12 per cent. The lord chancellor having read He could by no means agree to the the motion, was about to put the address, and propofed an amendquestion upon it, when the earl of ment, stating the inisconduct of his Guildford said, that the present was, majesty's ministers through the in his opinion, the most unfortunate whole of the war, charging them day this country had ever experience with insincerity in every part of the ed; that day only excepted which negotiation, and moving that a comhad plunged us into the calamities mittee might be appointed to en-, of the present war. He could not quire into the calamitous state of the have believed it possible, that the country. minifters could have so far disgraced The earl of Derby rose, and de. themselves, as to have laid on the clared, he had been an avowed enetable such papers as were only a my to the war since its commencemass of absurdities and nonsense. ment: we were under no neceility of He did not believe that what had engaging in it, and this opinion had been advanced by the noble fecreta- indeed been strongly confirmed. Was Ty was supported by facts. If the the noble secretary acquainted with Platus ante bellum had been the prin- the state of the labouring poor in the ciple agreed upon, he would admit various counties of England? With that the French had departed from that of trade, commerce, and mait; but that was by no means the nufactures throughout the kingdom? cale.
· In many of our manufacturing The principle that was to form towns the people had only half the the basis of negotiation, was that of wages which they formerly received: proportional restitution, and no one In Birmingham, there was no fewer could fay what we had offered to than four thousand uninhabited France was an equivalent for what houses, and one-fourth of the rewe asked of her to restore to our al- mainder were unable to pay the aflies. It was notorious, from the pa- seffed taxes. pers produced, that his majesty's fer The nature of the loan by which vants had not been fincere in the bu- the supplies of the present year were finess: their first proposal was such, to be raised, ought to be well confithat they could not reasonably hope dered ; we should then find we had it would be agreed to: the restora- no pressing temptation to go on with tion of the Austrian Netherlands was the war. a fine qua non on the part of his ma His lordihip thought there was injefty ; and the British minister was fincerity in the conduct of the mito infift on the restoration of every nisters, and therefore feconded the town in those provinces. His lord- amendment. Pondicherry in the thip admitted the importance of the East-Indies, Martinico, St. Lucia, Netherlands; but could never con- and Tobago in the West-Indies, sent that this exhausted country could never be considered as an equishould go on with the war till they valent for the Milanese and the Auffould be reconquered from France, trian Netherlands, which the French because he did not think such an were required to give our allies ! erent probable.
The earl of Liverpool entered He requested the house to confi- into a defence of the minifters : der the unprecedented expence of thought that we had offered an equi
to what we had required France to lord Malmesbury, without returngive up! and asked why the direc-ing invective for invective, succeedtory had not brought forward fome ed in establishing a principle for counter project of their own when mutual compensation ; yet, almost they were dissatisfied with our pro as soon as this principle was admit. porals?
ted, it was rejected by what he might Lord Auckland expressed satis
call the ultimatum of the enemy. faction that the experiment had No fooner was the relinquishing of beep made, though the result was the Neiherlands introduced, than such as he expected. He was so the government of France refused far from thinking the ministers ta to enter into discussion, and broke blamc, that he thought the country off all further negotiation. No was under very great obligations to thing therefore remained in his them, for tbeir alle and uprigot con- lordihip's opinion, but for this counduct througkout tbe qble tranfaét.on. try to exert its vigour and profecute He was happy to belicve we were the war. able to go through another cam The duke of Bedford inlifted, paign, and that France was by no that the ministers had fubftitu'ed means in such a situation! The de- affertions instead of arguments; and fenders of the republic were in the even there were contradictory. By utmoff distress; exposed to all the one, the attempt at negotiation was horrors of want and nakedness; mentioned in a minner suited to its their hospitals were destitute of every importance; by another, treated as neceflary; they were without fire, a mere experiment, defigned to medicines, &c. &t. the public amuse the people of this country. creditors, administrators, &c. from This minister lamented the unric. one end of the country to the other, cessful illue of the measures taken were in the depth of wretchedness; towards obtaining peace; that, asand the only thing organized in the forted that danger arote from the Tepublic was a failination.
negotiation itself; whilst a third af. Earl Fitzwilliam infifted, that the firmed, that the republic was deterenemy liad given no encouragement mined, at all events, to continue for opening the negotiation; afiert- the war. The noble secretary had ed, that there could ba no safety in reflected on the directory for refuffraternizing with such a people, and ing to treat in a manner contrary to intimated, that as he objectedd both the conftitution and treaties which to the original motion and the they had formed, whilst he, himself, amendment, he should, after there confidently alks, would we have were di poled of, propose an amend this countiy violate its treaties? ment of his own.
His grace then animadverted on The earl of Kinnoul avowed his the conversation of lord Malmes: independency, and disclaimed all bias bury and M. Delacroix, and inferor prejudice on the question. He red, thai his lordihip, by hinting at faid, he considered the conduct of an equivalent for the Netherlands, the enemy as infolent in the ex had admitted the plea of the directreme, and such as ought to be re- tory, and that in contradiction to the fiated. The terms which France in treaties sublisting between Britain fifted on formerly were inadmiili- and her allies. The French minible, in answer to Mr. Wickham's fter, by converting about an equivaBute; but, notvrithftanding this, lent, proved that he virtually ad