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Comiderations on the late Negotiation tcifh France, in the House i Peers—Apology by Lord Grenville for the Omission of ccrta\ Papers in the Number of those laid before the House. -The Ends viex,and the Principle on tchich the British Ministry acted durir, the zzholeoflhe Negotiation—Revietc of the Negotiation, in thefui different Stages into ichich Lord Grenville divided it.—Causes ofti Rupture of the Negotiation.—Address toIJis Majesty on the Subje vf the Negotiation) moved by. Lord Grenville.—Observations on t\ SldJress. and the Subject of the Address by Lord IJazckcsbury—Lo\ Sidmoutk.—Lord Eldon—And the Earl of Lauderdale—Addrt carried, Nem. diss. — Address to the same effect moved in the lloir of Commons by Lord Hoicick,—Conduct of the English Ministry the Negotiation vindicated.—Speeches on the present Question i Lord Yarmouth—Sir Thomas Turton—Mr. Montague—Air. Jf'Ai brcwl~Mr. Vanning—Lord Henry Petty—and Mr. Perceval uiddrcss curriedy Nem. diss.
THE subject of the negotiation being brought under the consideration of the house of peers, according to the order of the day, the 2d of January 1807,
Lord Grenville rose, and said, that the documents in their lordships' hands, were fuller and more ample than any that had been presented to parliament on any former occasion of a similar nature. This would not have been necessary, if it had not been for the very full, though not equally correct statement, published by the French government. It would nevertheless be perceived by their lordships, that there were several omissions in the papers, of instructions given to onr ministers, which could not be supplied without the risk of injury to ourselves, or our allies.—Lord Grenville proceeded briefly to notice a few of the leading principles that characterized the negotiation which was the ,tabject of their discussion.
That peace was a desirable object,
there could be no doubt. Th« might be cases in which a natic actuated by views of sound polk might think it advisable to ma great sacrifices for the purpose obtaining a- peace that proniM to be permanent; nay even, if peace could not be considered permanent, it was worth the ma ing sacrifices to obtain it, if promised a considerable interval tranquillity ; an interval which mi; then be calculated upon, as serv to recruit and increase the bus i u of the country. But those who a sidered the state of Europe for years, or, he might say, for thirty or fourteen years past, must be ct vinced that there was no ratio hope of any considerable interval tranquillity following a treatypeace with France. It beca therefore, in this negotiation, a i cessary object to seek out for equivalent to be set up against t want of permanence, which n, attend any peace under such circu
>tinres. lie was therefore of opinion, that the only basis on which we ought to treat with France, was that of actual possession. This coun. try being a great maritime and colonial power, and France a great continental power, there would be no reciprocity of cession between the two powers, that could in any degree tend to their mutual advantage. The conquests made by this country, could be of no use to France, unless she would become a great commercial and colonial power: the conquests made by France, could be of no use to this country, unless this* country would become a great continental power.
But, though the state of actual possession was the only basis that appeared to his majesty's ministers to be a proper basis for their negotiation with France, it did not follow that such a negotiation was to exclude the necessary discussion of equivalents to be given for certain cessions to be agreed on. And such a discussion became the more ncces. tary where a negotiation involved the interests of allies. When his majesty's present ministers came into office, they found a treaty concluded by their predecessors with Russia, bj which each party bound itself not to conclude peace without the consent of the other. That he considered as a wise, and a fair measure. But, even supposing that the treaty with Russia had not been wisely concluded, still the sacred engage. Bent of the sovereign having been given to Russia, his majesty's ministers were bound to fulfil its con. ditions.
Our allies might be divided into two classes: those to whom we are bound by treaty ; and those to whom we are bound by the circumstances
which had occurred during the war, and the situations in which they were, placed in consequence of th" < vt;vs of that war. Of the former rars of our allies wereSwcden and Portugal; and of the latter, Naples p_nJ t',,o elector of Hanover. With resjit-.ct to Sweden and Portugal, nothing more was required than to guarantee; to those powers their state o!" actual possession. The king of Nai.es stood in a different situation, ile had been deprived by the power of France of all his dominions on *he continent of Europe. Lord Crtnville had no hesitation in saying, t'at he would have consented to make sacrifices, not merely valu?f)l>: ill finance, in revenue, or in commerce, but even sacrifices of safety and of strength, to procure the restiir.'.tian of the kingdom to the king ot" Navies. But no sacrifices that we could make, cou'd have been an oquivah nt to France for the restoration of that kingdom.- -With respect ts Sicily, the king of Naples was sti" in possession of that island, or rath°r it was in the possession of a brave, and, as it had been proved, an invincible British army. That army had en. tered the island with the consent of the king of Naples, who had received them therein the full confidence that they wou'd defend it brave.y, and that it wou'd not be given up to the enemy. Wouid it not thercfi* e, have been an indelib e disgrace to this country to have given np SiciJy to France on her offer of an equivalent? It was not for us to harter it away for any equivalent without the consent of the sovereign. As to Hanover, it was sacrificed to in:uBtice on the part of France, for the express purpose of injuring this country. Wou'd it not thevfore, be disgraceful in us not to insist on £3 the
, the restoration of Hanover to its so. vereign, from whom it had been taken, solely ou account of its connection with this country i The re. storation of Hanover, thus unjustly seized, was therefore insisted upon as an indispensable preliminary to the ivgotiation. The principle oa which ministry acted during the whole of the negotiation, was, that of £<>od faith to our allies: that of the French government to effect a separation between us and our allies: as clearly appeared from the negotiation from first to last, which was divided into four stages.
The fitst, when we were offered terms, which might have been con. sidered as the fair price of peace; had we been concerned for ourselves ©n'y, but which were offered as the price of dishonour, as the price of the desertion of Russia, our faith, ful ally.
The second stage of the negotl. ation was, when the French govern,, ment, partly by threats, partly by promises and inspiring hopes, con.
• trived to persuade the Russian mini. Ster at Paris, M. D'Oubril to sign
"a separate treaty of peace. This being done, there was in the tone of the French government, a very remarkable alteration. "No," said they to our ministers, "we cannot now grant you the same terms we were wil ing to do before. The signature of a separate peace with Russia, is equivalent to a splendid victory" An expression not loosely used in conversation, but forming a part of the written sentiments of the French government upon that event.
Th© French government, finding the treaty would not be ratified, immediately offered the English negotiators better terms, in the .hope of be.
ing able, though they could not sepa. rate Russia ftom this country, t( separate this country from Russia And this was the third stage of th< negotiation. '.
The fourth and last stage of thi negotiation, was, when the Frencl ministers, finding that Great Britaii and Russia were inseparable; a length agreed to the negotiation ti be carried on conjointly for the in terests of Russia and Great Britain They refused to agree to the term asked on behalf of Russia, am again offered terms to this countr on the principle of a separate nego tiation. The rupture of the nego tiation followed of course.
Had Russia insisted upon extra vagant terms, or on points triflin and uninteresting, it would ha* been painful to lord Grenville t have stated, that the rupture of th negotiation arose from any such con duct on the part of Russia. Bu the very contrary of all this was th case. The terms insisted on b Russia were very moderate, and di rected only to Ae security of he allies. She demanded the guarantc of Sicily to the king of Naples, aw that the French troops should eva cuate Dalmatia, which was not ne cessary to the vast empire, obtainei by the arms of France, and couli be held by this power, only a a post of offence towards Austri and the Porte, and of hostility to wards Russia. The guarantee c Sicily to the king of Naples wa clearly a British object. That Rus sia, in requiring the evacuation c Dalmatia, confined her demand t> that object, and did not miikc a de mandofthe territory, was also o importance to this country as wel as to our ally. With this good fait] and moderation on the part q Russia, would it not hare been an indelible disgrace to this country, if we had violated good faith on our part? And what were the terms tiit were offered to us, as the price of disgrace and dishonour? We were to keep, what the French could not without a uaval superiority take from us —Malta, the Cape of Good Hope, India, and the Island of Toba^ !—It had been stated in the papers now before the house, that if ire had made peace at the period alluded to in the papers, the treaty of the confederation of the Rhine, Kould never have been signed, or at least, would not have been published. It appeared however, that supposing peace to have been concluded with the utmost rapidity, after the arrival of our ministers at Paris, the treaty could not have been signed before the publication of the last German treaty. This very con. federation must unavoidably have preceded the treaty, and supposing it to have happened the day after, it would have necessarily been a cause for war.— Lord Grenville concluded by moving," That an humble address be presented to his majesty, to as. sure his majesty that that house had taken into serious consideration the papers relative to the late negotiation which he had been pleased to lay before them, and that they saw with gratitude, that he had employed every means to restore the blessings of peace, in a manner consistent with the interests and glory of his people, and at the same time, with an observance of that good faith with our allies, which this country was bound to retain inviolate. That, while we lamented that by the unbounded ambition of the enemy, those laudable endeavours to his kingdom had been frustrated, no exertion should be
wanting on their part to support and assist him, in the adoption of such measures as might yet be found necessary, cither for the restoration of peace, or to meet the various exigencies of the war in that most important crisis."
The same motion, introduced by a speech to the same effect, was made by lord Howick, in the house of commons, January 5.—Never did any motion meet with more cordial and unanimous support in either house, and yet none, perhaps, ever gave rise to a longer conversation; which turned, for the most part, on the mode and course that had been pursued in the negotiation. In the house of peers, lord Hawkesbury expressed his complete concurrence with lord Grenville, on the great points he had stated, but at the same time said, that if he did agree to the address, it must be with some qua'ifications. It had been stated in his majesty's declaration, that the French, from the outset of the negotiation, had agreed to proceed on tlu basis of actual posses, sion, subject to the interchange of such equivalents as might he for the advantage and honour of the two countries. Now, he confessed, that after a careful examination of the papers before them, he found nothing in the whole of them, that cou'd be considered as a certain and unequivocal foundation for such a declaration. Before the arrival of lord Yarmouth in London, the basis of actual possession was so far from being actually agreed on, that another, very different, was expressly stated to be the grounds on which the French government would enter on a negotiation. Lord Yarmouth, indeed, had given a statement in writing, of a conversation he had £4 had had with Talleyrand, and he, no doubt, believed that Tal'eyrand had proposed the basis of actual possession. Tiie words were: "Vous l'avez, nous ne vous la demandons pas." But in order to affix the f''ipcr and precise meaning to these vc-rds, they ought to look at the io:-.-xt, and. this shews that the v;r,\-!: are nor general, and that they refer orly to Sicily. Miuistry ought » » "v ts demanded a precise and cip.-joi'csl recognition, of the basis cf; ;,'.i'.ii:»u, before they gave full powers To ;'r< at to their negotiator. Yet lord li. Most heartily concurr""! in the general result of the r±et;ott*rion. and with the above exception joined m the. address, and in the assurances of svpport to his majesty iu prosecuting the war, which it had been fnnd impossible imniedialely io pt;t a.i end to, on grounds in any t'rgree consistent with the security a.nd honour of this country, or the maintenance of good faith to our allies.
His lordship proceeded to shew both that the war was' necessary, and that we posressed the means of supposing it. At the commencement of the treaty with Fraftfce in 1801, that country was in a very different situation from what it is in now. At that time, Holland and Switzerland, though subject to the influence of France, were not completely united to it. Naples was entire, and Austria, though she had lost much of her military reputation, was still a great power; and in point of population and extent of territory, equal to what she had been at the commencement of the war with France. Many, therefore, thought, and lord H. confessed he had joined in the opinion, that if France were to be left to her.
self, her power would sink to i natural level. Now, however, a the states to which he had allude' had been either completely sul dued by France, or reduced with: comparatively narrow liniiis.
In 1801, the British governmei
wished to try the feelings of Franc
and to find out what would be ti
policy of its government on the r<
storation of peace. It might er
deavour to acquit e confidence (
home and abroad, which could b
done only by a system of uiodera
tion ; or it might consider its se
curity to lie in pursuing (hatsystei
of aggression which had marked tit
progress of that revolution froi
whence it had sprung. It ha
adopted the latter system: so tha
scarcely three months had elapse
from the time of signing the treaty o
Araiens, till the spirit of the. treat
was violated by repeated aggres
sions. Ever since that time, thesi
aggressions ha 1 been continued; a
an instance of which, their lordship
had only to look at the confedera
tion of the Rhine, to which Ion
Grenville had adverted.—In con.
sidering the question of peace 01
war, they would observe, that whi!<
they continued at war they had a
least this advantage, that whatevei
exertions France might make, they
must be confined to the continent o1
Europe.' But peace would open to
her the way to Asia, Africa, and
America. To these at least, he
hoped, her power could not extend.
Another thing to be considered was,
that while we were at war, we were
on perfect equality with our enemies.
We were as powerful by sea as they
were by land. But if peace should
take place, from the very nature of
the two cases, their power would
not be made lcss; while our