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lord Yarmomth, but really it was not fitting that he should have been sent to treat with such a man as Talleyrand.
As to the basis of the uti possidetis, the whole controversy on that point lay between the assertions of that noble lord and Talleyrand. A written note would have made the matter clear, and it was very incon. siderate in government not to have insisted on this. But, the fact was, that Mr. Fox did not like to put the question suddenly, He was afraid he might lose his favourite object; following the policy of a man with a woman, he did not ask her the question broadly at once, lest she would have slapped the door in his face. As to the other noble lord entrusted, with the negotiation, from his in. timacy with the Brissotines who had since put their king to death, and 'the patience with which he listened within the walls of the national as. sembly, to the projects for the destruction of England, he could not think him a fit person to be charged with the interests of his country in this negotiation. He blamed the dalliance in which our two plenipo. tentiaries had been kept. Their situation was no better than that of prisoners.—Why did not lord Lauderdale demand a categorical answer at once i He had only to say, "This is the basis on which we shall treat," and then he would have had a plain answer, Aye or No. In short, our ministers had been bamboozled from beginning to end. He had no doubt but lord Lauderdale had done his duty, though, having sat quietly in the Cyclops' cave, while the thunderbolts of war were forging against his, country, he could not appear to him to have been a
proper person to be entrusted wi the negotiation.
Mr. Montague joined heartily i that part of the address wht< pledged every heart and hand to 11 defence of the country. Let min sters,he said, be vigilant and attentiv and they should have his support not uniform and unqualified suppor for he thought it might be right i keep them alert by admonition an castigation, but qualified and ration; support according as they should I found to deserve it.
Mr. Whitbread, in a very long an elaborate speech, expressed his fu conviction that the chief of th French government was desirous and the ministers of France sincer in their wishes for peace; that ai opportunity had been lost of makin peace on terms both honourable am advantageous; that the negotiatioi had been broken off by the govern ment of this country prematurelj and unnecessarily; and that witl greater prudence and candour, ant a little more patience, skill and ad dress on our part, we should have found France ready to grant sucl terms as his majesty's ministers ongh to have accepted.—In reply to th< strictures that had been made by M r Montague, on the choice of the ear of Lauderdale as a negotiator fron this country to France, he observed that the leaders of the different re. volutionary factions there had ex. piated their crimes by their blood. But if, to the various qualifications for such a situation possessed by his noble friend, his extensive information, his indefatigable industry, his acknowledged talents, and inflexible integrity, could be added an actual acquaintance with the persons and characters of some of those with
whom whom he Bight have to transact busiBpss of such importance; surely, in the eyes of any reasonable man, this circumstance decided th* preference iabis faTour. It wag not any disposition toocle for peace, as Mr. M. had called it, that had induced Mr. Fox to aire information of the circumstisce which gave rise to hisfirst letter toM. Talleyrand. It was the spoutateous act of his noble and generous «*art,inllu<>nced by no motive but that of the pore and exalted benevolence ▼ith which it at all times overflowed. Hid he then thought peace as imposlible as it was now represented to be, nay, had the incident occurred at a mncb earlier period, and he could hare foreseen and been sure, that the battle* of Marengo, Austerlitz, and Jem would have been prevented by the perpetration of a deed so foul, he not only would have neglected it with indignation, but made the com. munication that might counteract it*.
Mr. Whitbread having given a brief account of the negotiation up to the 2d of June, when the point of joint or separate negotiation between France and the two allies was ad. jo'ted; he asked his noble friend (lordH.) whether up to that mo. meat, there was any other sine qua ton, than that of joint negotiation? The unhappy term of vti possidetis, hid neither been introduced nor thought of. And most unlucky it had been that it ever was in. •reduced, for it had proved the bane of the negotiation.. This basis
lord Yarmouth tint proposed
had told them, was by M. Talleyrand,
who at the same time, gave full as. surances of the disposition of France to make specific concessions to England of the highest national impor. tance. True it was that Mr. Fox desired lord Yarmouth to recall the French minister to his own original propositions, when on his return to Paris, he found him receding from them. But he emphatically adds, "Sicily is the sine qua non." And although he argues with great warmth on the conduct of the French government, and even says it was on the faith of the uti possidetis, that lord Yarmouth was then at Paris, he does not direct him to break off the negotiation until that brsis be again recognized. He sums up the whole of his reasoning in one remarkable paragraph :" The result of what 1 have stated to your lordship is this: 1st, That Sicily is a sine qua non, on which subject, if the French minister recede from his farther answer, it is in vain that any former discussion should take place. It is clearly within his first opinion delivered to your lordship. It is clearly within his last description of places which are reciprocally possessed by the two countries, and which cannot be recovered by war." There was not any other ground in any part of Mr. Fox's dispatch, on which the discus, sions were to be finally and peremp. torily closed. Mr. W. further observed, that it was uot the intention of either government to insist on the absolute recognition of the abstract basis of the utf possidetis, as pre. liminary to negotiation, or even to negotiate strictly upon that basis. The state of actual possession must have been intended on both sides, if on either. And yet we find, that in the very first conversation held by the English plenipotentiary on his return to Paris, wherein he urges upon that minister the correctness of the message he took to England, he gives Mr. Fox to understand, that he had asked for the cession of Naples, Venice, Istria, and Dalmatia, as well as an alienation of some parts of the French emperor's Italian states, to form a provision for the king of Sardinia. Where then was this basis of the vli possidetis to be found, as indispensabkgnecessary to further proceeding? Tfot in any part of the papers, which he had so carefully searched; not in the narrative of lord Yarmouth, which he had so tandidly given to the house; not in the eloquent speech of his noble friend lord Howick. After all he had read, and all he had heard, he was bound to say, he did not find the utipossidetis-was the sine qua xion of negotiation, up to the 2d of June, when the correspondence on the subject was renewed by M. Talleyrand, in his letter to Mr. Fox of that date.
"This is a case of conscience, on which divines and moral philosophers might, perhaps eocertiin different sentiments. But most people, wc presume, would be apt (« Hank, that if the life of >o great a scourge to mankind, could have proved a ransom fw toman j, it would have bsen well disposed of.—The world could have spared him.
Mr. Whitbrcad begged the favour of lord H. and the house to peruse with attention a paragraph of a note, dated the 11th of August, signed by MM. Champagny and Clarke: ** In laying down the principle of uti possidetis, have the English plenipotentiaries had it in view to propose a means of exchange and accommodation? If this be their .meaning, the emperor adopts it be.
cause it appears to him conform. I to the principles already agreed by both parties." He requested 1 house to compare this with a pai graph contained in a note deliver by lord Lauderdale, to gene Clarke on the 7th August: "] cannot consent to treat on any ot! principle, than that of the uti p< sidetitf as originally proposed to sovereign by the court of Frani At the same time, he desires should be well understood, that I adoption of this principle will I prevent him either from listening any just and adequate compensati to his Sicilian majesty for the cessi of Sicily, or from accepting a proposition for the exchange of t ritory between the two contract) parties, upon just and equal pi ciples, such as may tend to the ciprocal advantage of the two co» tries." Between these declaratic was there any substantial, n; whether there was any formal diff ence between them i Why then < not the negotiation proceed? 1 obstacle was removed, why was revived? In Mr. Whitbread's o nion, a golden opportunity was lc lie did not say of making peace, he did not know what would hi been the issue of the negotiate but of ascertaining whether pel could be made. And, as this I portunity, among others, was 1it was impossible for him to say t the continuation of hostilities was < tirely owing to "the injustice a ambition of France •." Mr. \\ ] bread having taken a review of m of the papers submitted to the o sideration of the house by bis c jarr, proceeded to take some notice of the terms which Were offered at list, by France to this country and to her ally—Malta was ours The Cape of Good Hope, the cession of which by England in the treaty of Amiens bad be<*D so much censured, nt ours —F.Tery point of consc. foenre in the East was yielded.— And Tobago, perhaps of little conwjofnee in itself, but which ha. ring originally been an English colony, was on that account an hoaoarable acquisition to this country, w» also given np. What was tiiere remaining for England, as Fn.laml, to ask1? As to Sicily, an indemnity for Sicily had been admitted by the lung's servants as possible, and if, for the consideration of the question, that time had been given which was wasted in useless discussion, such an indemnity, he thought, might possibly have been found.
* Declaration of the King of Great Britain, October 81, 1306. Vide State Pr Vol. XLV.IL of this woik, puge 793.
With regard to Dalmatia, the peace of Presburgh, made when Austria lay prostrate at the feet of the French emperor, her capital in his possession, and her condition ten times more abject than ever, gave Dthnatiato France. Was it pro. bible then, that France would cede Dafanatia within a few months after she had so acquired it? Had the success of the war in Russia been lack, as to entitle her to make large demands on France? or to make it reasonable to expect that France would listen to .great pretensions on ker part? It had been stated, that Dihnatta was not necessary to France, either for the integrity of her dominions, or for he* defence. Was Dalmatia necessary, for either of these purposes, to Russia?
But France, it was alledged, had been desirous of possessing Dalmatia, as a point of offence in war both to
Austria and Turkey. After the one power had been so repeatedly and sig- ■• nally defeated, could it well appear surprizing if the other, after such a career of victory, when almost every thin,; was in her power, should select such possessions as would most effectually disable Austria from making any attempts against France in future? And if Austria, Russia, and England conjoined, could not prevent the peace of Presburgh, which gave Dtlmatia to France, could it be hoped that England, for the sake of Russia, would do that for Austria, which Austria, with the assistance of Russia, could not obtain for herself? But then Dalmatia was a point from which the Independence of the Ottoman empire might be attacked. If, however, Russia was jealous of French influence in Turkey, was not France equally jealous of the influence of Russia? And in the hands of cither of those powers, would not Dalmatia be equally a point of offence in war, and intrigue in peace against that empire? It had been insinuated, if not stated, that the object of the war, was not to obtain Dalmatia for Russia, but only its evacuation by France. But surely no one would be brought to believe, that if France could have been persuaded to march out, Russia would not have stepped in. Even the term' held out in the last communicatioi between lord- Lauderdale and M. Champagny, could not fairly be stated to be the ultimate terms oif France. To the last hour M. Champagny, with an earnestness which, to Mr. Whitbread evinced sincerity, pressed for farther communication, and hoped for fresh in. structions. And the emperor had said, that he would leave every thing to his plenipotentiaries. All F . tended tended to shew, that if the time which had elapsed since the com. menc'emcnt of the negotiation had been duly improved, it might have been known what the ultimate terms of France were, and then only could they have said with truth to the world, that it was solely owing to the injustice and ambition of France, that peace between the two countries had not been concluded. What motive could France have had to desire negotiation with England, but that it should terminate in peace?
His noble friend lord II. had been accused of having delayed expeditions, and withheld armaments in consequence of lord Laudcrdale'sprocrastinated stay at Paris. Thejustice of this charge he denied. We lost nothing by the d»lay, and France gained nothing by it If no correspondence had ever been entered into, would not every accession of power to France have been made, as it now had been made? Would not the Rhenish confederation have taken place? Could we by any means in our power have delayed, much less have prevented it?
In the last note from the French minister, dated from Mentz, October 1, 1806 *, wherein Great Britain is forcibly reminded of the elevation to which France had been raised by the combinations to destroy her power, and the successes of the new contest are predicted ; we are told, "that amidst all the chances of war, the emperor of France will renew the negotiations upon the basis laid in concert with the illustrious minister whom England has lost." Russia, in her manifesto, published after she had refused to ratify the treaty
signed by D'Oubril, declares r readiness to enter into immedii negotiation. Why should Gr< Britain alone, refuse to open I ear to any overture? Why shot she alone reject all hope?
Mr. Whitbread was aware tl his opinions were peculiar, but desired that it might be recorded the journals of parliament, that thi were some, however few, w thought it unwise in policy, and fa! in principle, to assert, that pea with France was, under any circut stances, impossible. And he cov not refuse himself the satisfaction putting into the hands of the speak i a paper which contained the amer mint moved by his noble frie (Howick) on the rupture of t treaty of Amiens, the words of whi he had made use of, as the most e pressive of his sentiments and fei ings on the present occasion. I moved to leave out all the words the address proposed by lord Howi after the word end in the third par graph, for the purpose of insert: the amendment, "To assure his m jesty of our firm determination co-operate with his majesty, in ca ing forth the resources of the uniti kingdom, for the vigorous prosec tionofthewar in which we are i volved, and to pray his majesty th he will, in his paternal goodnes afford, as far as is consistent with 1 own honour, and the interests of 1 people, every facility to any jv arrangement by which the blessing? peace may be restored to his loy subjects."—This motion was s conded by Mr. Johnstone. Tl main question upon the address beii put, none of the ministers shewii any disposition to speak;
* See Papers relative to the Negotiation with France. No. 55. Enclosure B.