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cure to this country the continuance of peace, so long as it can be maintained consistently with the honour of his Majesty's crown, the security of his dominions, and the faith to be preserved with his Majesty's allies."
This motion -was followed by a number of speeches from both sides of the house, of which it is unnecessary to enter into the particulars. A passage, however, in Lord Castlereagh'4 reply may be worth quoting, as it affords a tolerably clear view of the real determination of the English cabinet at that period. He said, "It might be thought that an armed peace would be preferable to a state of war, but' the danger ought fairly to' be looked at: and knowing that good faith was opposite to the system of the party to be treated with, knowing that the rule of his conduct was self-interest, regardless of every other consideration, whatever decision they came to must rest on the principle of power, and not that of reliance on the man." It was scarcely possible after such a declaration to doubt that war would be the final result; but that, in the choice of evils, this was generally regarded as the least to be dreaded, was apparent from the division on Mr. Whitbread's motion, which was rejected by 990 votes against 37. The address was then passed without further opposition.
A direct attack on the ministers on account of the escape of Buonaparte from Elba, and the political circumstances which led to it, was made in the House of Lords on April I'l, when the Mnrqu'ts ofWelte$ley rose to call the
attention of the house to the treaty entered into with Buonaparte at the vonclusion of the late war. He said, that regarding that person as the main spring of the system against which this country had waged war, he conceived that no controversy could be raised upon this proposition, that the two objects for consideration at the time when the allies were in possession of Paris, were the exclusion of that person from power, and the provision of adequate means against his return to power. It was then the duty of our ministry to have taken a leading part in the arrangement, and not to have passively acquiesced, as the minister on the spot had done, in the engagement made by another power before his arrival. The Marquis then proceeded to shew that the relative situation of the allies and Buonaparte at that time did not in any degree render it necessary to comply with his inconsistent demands; that the treaty was contrary to policy; that there was no necessity for concluding it; and that no due measures were taken to enforce its performance. He particularly censured the part we took in the tre:ity, by consenting to the most objectionable points in it, the granting to Buonaparte the sovereignty of Elba, and the settling of the Italian duchies upon his wife and son, whilst we refused to be pledged to the performance of the part relative to -the payments to be made to him and his family, which, though highly improvident if brought to effect, gave it plausible ground of complaint when not fulfilled. With respect to his escape from
Elba, Elba, however difficult the entire prevention of it might be, more diligence ought to have been used in making use of such means of prevention as we possessed. The Marquis concluded with moving for an address to the Prince Regent for, " 1. Copies, or extracts, or stibstance of any instructions which may have been given by his Majesty's government, to any of his Majesty's naval commanders respecting Napoleon Buonaparte and the island of Elba. 2. Copies, or extracts, or substance of any information which his Majesty's government may have received respecting the design of Napoleon Buonaparte to escape from the island of Elba, together with the date of the reception of such information."
The Earl of Liverpool began his reply with expressing his surprise at an attack now commenced upon a treaty which had been known to the public for twelve months past, and if so objectionable as now represented by the noble Marquis, ought long ago to have been brought by him before the notice of the House. He then proceeded to consider the situation of the allied jwwers and of France at the period of the treaty of Fontainbleau, and asked what would have been the sentiment of this country and of all Europe, jf a great addition of hazard and bloodshed had been incurred for the sole difference between treating with Buonaparte, and making him a prisoner. He then took into consideration the choice of a place assigned for his retreat, and contended that wherever "he had been, not being subject to personal restraint, it would have been
equally easy for him to have carried on intrigues with his adherents in. France, and ultimately have effected his escape. Was the noble Marquis aware, that but for the continuance of the American war, the whole navy of England would not have had the power to search the meanest fishing vessel. The establishment of a naval police to prevent his -escape from the island of Elba was then wholly out of the question. With respect to the remark, that by a breach of the articles of the treaty, a pretence had been given to Buonaparte for contravening' it, his Lordship observed that be had never in his proclamations made use of such a justification, but had averred that he came to reclaim his crown, because summoned to it by the voice of the nation. Further, his Lordship assured the House, that previously to Buonaparte's escape, the allies had taken measures to fulfil the articles, not to the letter, but with a spirit of liberality becoming great powers ; and that it was the intention of the court of France to have executed its part of the engagement with the greatest punctuality.
These topics were discussed more or less at large, but with little variety of argument, by several other speakers, who were chielly the lords in opposition. On a division, the numbers were Contents 21, Non-contents 53. Majority against the motion, 32.
The same subject was brought before the House of Commons on April 20, by a motion from Mr. Abercrombie which was a counterpart of that of the Marquis of Wellesley. The debate which followed lowed was carried on by all the powers of eloquence on both sides of the house, but necessarily by the same arguments as had been produced in the other house. The result was a division, in which the motion was rejected by a majority of 149 to 65.
On an impartial survey of the discussions on this topic, and the circumstances leading to them, it will probably appear, that alt hough retrospective wisdom might find much to blame, yet that there existed causes for the lamented events which rendered them almost unavoidable. The plain fact seems to have been, that the allied sovereigns at Paris- found themselves in a situation which took from them the feeling of security as long as Buonaparte remained at the head of an army; and there being no medium between forcing him to a surrender of his person, and negotiating with hirn on a footing of independence, they hastily concluded a treaty which in various points was inconsiderate, and left him much power of future mischief. The unbroken attachment to him of the whole French army, and the small hold which the Bourbon government had upon the affections of the nation, rendered his return to power a matter of certainty as soon as he had effected a landing upon French ground; and it would be difficult to point out any plan by which such a man, recognized as possessing personal liberty and an imperial tide, with a large command of money, conld in any part of Europe have been restrained from access to that country.
The treaty with America .was
another topic of, parliamentary discussion which afforded scope for the inculpation of the ministers. On April 11, Jlfr. Hart Davis rose to move an address of thanks to the Prince Regent for the treaty of peace entered into with the United States of America. He said, he believed there were few men in this country who did not agree that the war declared by America was unprovoked on our part, at the same time, that person must have singular views of the policy of Great Britain, who should think that it ought to be continued by us for the purpose of territorial aggrandisement, or from vindictive feelings. Our sole object was to resist aggression, and to support our maritime rights. We had gloriously defended Canada, had surrendered no rights, and had made a peace in the spirit of peace, which would open again a wide field for the commerce and manufactures of this courrtry. He concluded his speech with a motion for an address expressing perfect satisfaction with the arrangement by which the negociation had been terminated.
Mr. Pmsonby declared that no man in the house could more sincerely rejoice than himself at the termination of the contest with America; yet he could not agree to the address, as he thought it their duty to inform his Royal Highness of what he conceived the gross misconduct and mismanagement of Vninisters in the progress of the negotiations. In this treaty no one subject of dispute between the two con: tries that existed before its signature, docs not still exist; a;.d, all the pretensions pretensions advanced by his Majesty's ministers in the course of the negociations were, one by one, abandoned by them. . The right hon. gentleman then dwelt upon the circumstance of the long, and as it appeared, the unnecessary delay of the signature of this treaty. The final treaty with France was signed on May 30th, and it was fitting that the House should be informed what obstacles prevented the conclusion of a definitive treaty with America immediately after. The first conference between the commissioners of the two countries did not take place till August 8th, when terms were laid before the Americans as a iine-qua-non, which were, pacification with the Indians, and defining the boundaries of their territories; the military occupation of the lakes in Canada, and the cession of certain islands which the Americans had occupied since 1783. These terms were absolutely rejected by the American commissioners; and being transmitted to the president, and presented to the congress, wereunanimously refused by that body, and by the people of all parties. By the delay arising from these demands, which were all subsquently given up, except the simple pacification with the Indians, and the possession of the islands, which was referred to a future decision, the signature of the treaty did not take place till December 24th; and in the meantime military operations had gone on, occasioning a great waste of treasure, and the shedding of the best blood of the country. Mr. P. concluded with proposing a long amend
ment to the address, which ecu-" tained all the points of inculpa.tion of the measures pursjifld, in negotiating the treaty apt had been dwelt on in his speea^ Mr. Goulburn then, rose in defence of himself and his brother commissioners. With regard to the delay of the treaty, he said that the American commissioners haxl been instructed to make no peace, without our relinquishment of the right of impressment, and our admission that the American flag covered all who sailed under it; and the 25th of June was the first day on which they were authorised to allow these matters to remain undecided, and to sign a treaty exclusive of their consideration, on which day the first conference was held at Ghent. As to the Indians, he said that stipulations would be found in the treaty, as well for their line of boundary, as for a pacification with them. He acknowledged that in the progress of the negociations some points had been abandoned. The Canadian line was laid aside for the purpose of securing for the Indians a recognition of their boundary as it stood in 1810: and he asserted that these people were not mere savages, as had been represented, but that some of their nations were far advanced in civilization, and were entitled to a fulfilment of all the engagements made with them. He said, that if the right hon. gentleman was in possession of the facts, he would alter his opinion that the delay arose from the pretensions of the British commissioners, who were bound to proceed with caution and circumspection
cunupection in their view of the Interests of the Country.
Mr. Baring warmly condemned
f whole conduct of the negociaon the part of this country* said that the American Commissioners seemed willing to have entered into t'ie question relative to the impressment of our seamen, but that ours refused to listen to the proposal, and had left the matter upon the worst possible footing. It was doubtless a point of much difficulty, but for his own part ha was convinced of the practicability of an arrangement. With respect to our allies (as they had been called) the Indians, he allowed that they ought not to be left at the mercy cf the American government, but all which could be required from us was to leave them as they had been before the war The boundary demanded for them would have given to savage tribes more than one half of the United States; and would have been the worst possible policy for Great Britain, since instead of spreading out the Americans in agricultural settlements, it would have compelled them to become manufacturers and seamen. Mr. B. then adverted to the trial which government had chosen to enter into after the peace of Paris, how an impression could be made on the territory of the United States, the result of which had shewn that it could not be done with effect, either in the north or the south. He wished to hear a defence of the expedition to New Orleans*; which, if it had succeeded, would only have produced the plunder of some cotton warehouses, and would infallibly, on Vot. LVII.
the arrival of warm weather, have rendered the greatest part of our men unfit for duty.
After several other speaker.* had taken part in the discussion, in which the delay of the treaty appeared to be more forcibly attacked than satisfactorily defended, the House divided upon the amendment, which was negatived by 128 to 37, and the address was then agreed to.
The same topic was introduced to the House of Lords on April ISth, by a speech of Marqu'x Wellesley, in which he took a wide view of the whole negotiation with America. As in its main points it was entirely similar to that of Mr. Ponsonby, itwill uot be necessary to repeat any of the arguments employed in censure of the conduct of ministers on that occasion. His Lordship concluded with moving an address to the Prince Regent for laying before the House copies or extracts of the correspondence which took place between his Majesty's Plenipotentiaries and those of the United States of America relative to the late negociations for peace.
Earl Bathufst begun his reply with regarding it as a very extraordinary thing to move, at the conclusion of a negociation for peace, for making public the correspondence between the ministers who had conducted it, and shewed the objections to such a proceeding. His subsequent defence of the negociation, as far as he chose to enter into it, was founded on the same grounds as that in the other house. With respect to the charge of delay, be said he was convinced that if