Slike strani

no hesitation in saying, that I had much country, unless you can effect a firm and rather the seals of the foreign office were general convietion that it is the amin the hands of lord Hawkesbury, than in bition and injustice of France alone, those of their present possessor. In lord which prevents the accomplishment of Hawkesbury's correspondence, there ap- peace. But it is necessary that a negopears to be a frankness, a simplicity, and ciation very different from any of the prea temper which are totally wanting in the ceding ones, should be entered into, for correspondence of the right hon. gent, and the purpose for ascertaining that fact. which are very ill compensated by the Sir, I believe there are many who have smartness and satire so conspicuous in his such a horror of peace with France that dispatches. If therefore, the administra- they would be inclined to vote with me tion must needs consist of the same com- upon the third proposition, which I shall ponent parts, I could wish, for the advan- submit to the consideration of the house, tage of the country, that these two persons upon the expediency of making a direct should change situations. But, sir, how- overturé for negociation with France, if ever material it

may be to review the con- they could be convinced that that overduct of ministers, and for the house to ex- ture would terminate unsuccessfully, after press its opinion upon that conduct, what the example of Mr. Dundas, who told the is past is of much less importance than | house of commons, that in the failure of what is to come; and it remains to be the negociation at Lisle and Paris, the considered what course we ought now to country had had two great escapes. Such pursue. What is past is lamentable, but is the hatred of some towards France, irremediable; what is to come requires such the infatuation of others, and such the utmost efforts of human wisdom to the controul of interest, as I fear, over turn to the best account. If I shall have many, that for these different reasons depersuaded the house, or any considerable siring a prolongation of the war, they proportion of it, that at no period the ex- would wish to throw the whole blame upon periment of negociation has been carried France, and they would be glad to enter to the utmost; and that in the two last into a mock negociation for that purpose. instances, it was not the perverseness of Such certainly is not iny view of the subFrance, but the folly of England, which ject. I wish to enter into a negociation prevented our entering into negociation, not only for the purpose of ascertaining the I shall have effected a great deal, because sincerity of France, but in the hope, nay I shall have persuaded the house, or such even in the expectation of being able to persons in it upon whom my arguments procure peace, upon honourable and equimay have made any impression, that they table terms. Sir, it has been said by some, ought not to cast away all hope of peace, that a peace of security would content and that it is not necessary to stifle all de- them; and that for the present all idea of sire of it. My opinion is now what it has our honour must be out of the question. I been from the commencement of the first am of a very different opinion. I certainly revolutionary war: peace has been all would not consent to any peace, in which along essential to the interests, it is now the honour of the country was not consultmore than at any preceding period neces- ed. As to security, when can it ever be sary to the salvation of the country. I obtained? Theölumes of treaties, with deny the insane proposition, that peace is which our libraries are loaded, show that more dangerous than war. I will not as

peace has seldom been maintained besert that, with peace we can insure safety, tween contracting parties, whenever it bebut I am convinced that in everlasting came the'interests of either the one or the war we must find our ruin. A rapid re- other power to break the contract. With view of our internal situation, and even a the

of France, so enormous as it repetition of the name of our sister now confessedly is, when can you say that kingdom, and the catalogue of our fo- you are secure in peace? If you wait unreign dependencies, will too clearly es- til you can have security, that the peace tablish that proposition. Look at the pe- which you make shall be maintained durtitions upon your table, and read whating any given period, you must abandon they contain. Look at Ireland, at India, all hopes of peace; but I should enter into and your possessions in the West Indies, negociation, expecting that it would terand, having done so, ask yourselves whe-minate in peace; and hoping that such ther a continuation of the war must not peace would be permanent and secure, or bring the greatest calamities upon the as much so as at any other period with any other government. The right hon. great, if not greater, than before the regent. in the Declaration which I take to volution of France. Her dominions were be his production, has described in glow- more concentrated, her population greater, ing terms, the present state of the French | her spirit, even under the most cruel re, power; he has asserted, and most truly, verses, had never been broken; and if that kingdoms are prostrate at her feet, you would not have dragged her forth at and that the population of nations is ranged a time when she was conscious of her inunder her banners.' Formidable indeed ability to stir, she might have recovered ; is the power so described, but what has and, at some future period have opposed laid kings prostrate at her feet, and what to France a most formidable and effe tual has ranged ihe population of nations under resistance. Forced by your impolicy she her banner? the infatuated policy of Eng- ran upon her ruin ; and although she has land, during the last fifteen years.


is been suffered to remain a great power there any hope then by a perseverance in still, much more time will be requisite bethe same policy, that this power can be in fore she can again make head upon the the smallest degree diminished? Let us continent. Russia was an unbroken power, not deceive ourselves, nor stand aghast as but it was madness to call her forth at the if something preternatural had been effect- moment that you did ; and the formation ed! there is no miracle in all this, it is of the last coalition was one of that series simply the consequence of one man, of ex- of acts of impolicy, or rather the most abtraordinary talents, taking advantage of surd of all those impolitic acts of which the folly and the blunders of the rest of England has been so long guilty. It has been mankind. We talk of the machinations, of fatal consequence, not oniy as it has led the artifices, and the intrigues of Buona- to the defeat and disgrace of the combined parte : they all resolve themselves into armies, but as it has given to the French four great battles, Marengo, Austerlitz, emperor a proof of his power, when enJena, and Friedland. These are the ma- gayed agaiøst those armies. When we chinations by which he got the continent talk of artifice and deceit, let us recollect into his power:

You made it necessary that the foundation of the hope of that for him to fight those battles; you com

coalition, was the deceit practised upon bined the world against him, he has con- the French emperor;

that that deceit, up to quered the world combined, and he has the period at which you expected its decombined the world against you.

We tection, was successful. Sir, we have now talk again at other times, of the fortune of drank the cup of experience to the dregs, Buonaparte, as if there were some good and I think the most infatuated enthusiast genius attendant upon him, which led him in politics can no longer look to the conto the accomplishment of his objects, and tinent for any hope of curtailing, much as if an evil genius at all times attended less of destroying, the power of France. the coalitions formed against him, and led How much more formidable have you renthem to defeat and to disgrace: Sir,

dered the French emperor, by bringing The lucky have their moments, those they use,

his armies in contact with those of every Th’ unlucky have their bours, and those they power of the continent! before you had Jose.

done so, expectation might have been enThat is the solution of this great mystery tertained by yourselves, or by the powers as it respects Buonaparte and the powers who had not tried it, either separately, or engaged against him. What could be jointly, that France might have been remore absurd, not to go back to former sisted by a combination of those powers : periods, than the last coalition excited by and indeed a doubt might have been enEngland against France? To enter into tertained in the mind of the French empethe detail of all the Papers, which were

ror himself, whether, with his consummate imprudently thrown upon the table of the military skill, and with such an engine as house of commons,* at the time lord Mul- the French armies, and the armies of the grave held the office of foreign secretary nations then dependent upon France, he of state, would not be possible at this time; could make head against the other powers but I would refer the house, and the pub- of the continent. You have absurdly lic, to a review of them, for the proof of shewn him, that Austria and Russia comwhat I assert. Austria was totally unpre

bined, are no match for him ; you have pared. She was a power at that time as

shewn him that Russia and Prussia com.

bined are no match for him, and it is now * See Appendix to vol. vi. no matter of speculation, but a thing which



you have forced him to put to the proof,, peace; we shall find that war has not that he is superior to every, and to all the stopped but materially accelerated that armies of the continent. You are now progress; there are no means in war to alone : and how are your individual inte- prevent its further progression. The French rests to be consulted? When I say alone, power is more progressive during war than I do not forget that you have an alliance during peace. But during peace the power with Sweden; but that alliance is a weight of England and her allies would be upon upon you, rather than any assistance to the recovery. But what effect may the you.— I say then, that you are alone in continuance of the war produce upon our the war; and how are your individual inte- external possessions? Do not ministers rests to be consulted, but by peace? Upon know that a most formidable attack upon what appears to me to be the folly of our Indian empire is in the contemplation commercial warfare, I have touched in the of France? Do they not know that the earlier part of my speech.-It has often means for that attack are in preparation ? been said, and with great truth as it applies That so soon after the peace of Tilsit as to this country, that we ought to be ex- the 12th of Aug. 1807, general Gardane tremely thankful to Providence, that we was at Constantinople, on his way to Perare unacquainted with the actual horrors sia, for the purpose of preparing for the of war : that this country has not been its march of an army to India ? that since theatre, at least for a long period; and that period, men of science and military that whilst desolation is spread over the knowledge have been from time to time plains of the continent, we are in all the passing from France into Persia, with a enjoyment of profound peace. But al- view to the same object ? and do they not

? though to us this is a blessing, I much also know that the thing itself is of much question whether it is not the reverse of a more easy performance, than many of blessing to all the rest of mankind; for those achievements which the emperor of there is a wide difference between giving the French has accomplished ? and can large sums of money, the which in truth they point out any means by which, if the does not deprive the majority of those who attack should be made, it can be repelled ? give them, of any even of the comforts of Does not the continuance of the war then life, much less of its necessaries, and being put to hazard the existence of our Indian subject to those calamities which are in- empire ? does it not put to hazard the exevitable where the contest is actually car- istence of every English subject in India ?

If the horrors of war were but Here then is another reason, why, while once tasted amongst us, I do not think that there is yet time, we should attempt to nethe indisposition to peace would be so gociate for peace. What is the state of strong as it has hitherto been, and as I per- Ireland ? the bare mention of Ireland brings

may even now be.- If we con- her situation home in a most terrific mantinue the contest, it may come nearer ner to the bosom of every man; and does home.--Ireland may be the theatre of not the state of Ireland afford a reason war, nay it is not out of the reach of pos- why you should attempt, while there is sibility, that the theatre of war may be yet time, to negociate for peace? What transferred to England herself. God avert is your situation with regard to America, it! I am not one of those who ever gave are you not, by mismanagement or otherway to the expression of sentiments which wise, upon the eve of a rupture with that those who uttered them I am sure never country? would not the addition of Ameseriously entertained: I never said, “ a rica to the number of our enemies be of speedy meeting to Buonaparte upon our the greatest possible consequence to us? own shores !" God grant that he may and is not our critical situation with regard never attain these shores! but if the war to her, another reason why you should is to be interminable, that is one of the make an attempt to open a negociation ? scenes which must eventually be acted.- even for the sake of your ally, Sweden, Sir, I will here notice one of the grounds should you not attempt to negociate ? for of alarm which I have heard expressed on a perseverance in the contest must be to the subject of peace, arising out of the her ruin, in spite of all the assistance she extension of the French empire, which we may, receive from England.—To all this it witnessed during the short interval of the may perhaps be shortly answered by the peace of Amiens. I would ask gentlemen king's ministers, we are desirous of opento review the comparative progress of the ing a negociation with France, whenever power of France during war, and during a fair opportunity can be found, upon a

ried on.

haps fear it

« that at any

now left

footing of equality, and in a manner ho- | degrading. In the speech I have already nourable to the country. Sir, the minis- quoted, he distinctly says, ters are constantly talking about their dis- time when negociation is desirable, he position to peace, but let us look a little cannot conceive that any delicacy, as to for what they are waiting: first of all, for which party should make the proposal, an impartial mediator. Why, Sir, whether ought to stand in the way.” I agree partial or impartial, there is no mediator with this theory, and I recommend to him

upon the face of the earth.—Next, the practice of it. In confirmation of its till France shall send a proper basis, and propriety, I refer him to a person in whose propose an unobjectionable spot for the diplomatic shool he was bred, of whom he purpose of treating :

has always professed a great admiration, Rusticus expectat dum defluat amnis. and for whom I entertain the highest resWhat remains to be done? nothing, but pect; I mean lord Grenville. During the that this country should make an over- period in which he held the office now octure to France, as direct as the French cupied by the right hon. gent. three proemperor has ever made to you. Is there positions were made from this country to any humiliation in this proposition ? if France: all of them direct, and all of that there be, the French emperor has twice manly character which belongs to the sufficiently humbled himself before you; noble lord. First, when he ordered Mr. for twice he has made direct overtures Wickham to address Mr. Barthelemi, it of negociation. Can there be any ex- was to ask directly of the French governpectation that he will repeat them? ment, whether they were inclined to treat Recollect the abrupt and repulsive man- for peace ? no mention of preliminary ner in which he was received in 1800, basis, no delicacy or feeling of humiliation when he made his first overture to the in being the first to court that which was king, on his being invested with the chief then deemed desirable; it was a direct, consulate of France ! recollect the deceit- honourable, and manly proposition. It ful (I had almost said the treacherous) failed. On the second occasion, a quesmode in which he was received the second tion was asked through the Danish minister time, when on assuming the imperial dig- at Paris, who answered the noble lord,

, nity, he again made a direct overture for that the then French government would peace. You told him at that time, that not allow of any indirect communication. before you could give him any answer you Lord Grenville immediately wrote to the must consult your allies. You did consult French minister of foreign affairs : a negoyour allies ; but not for the purpose of ciation was the consequence, which ended obtaining from them their consent to enter unfortunately. The third time, without into negociation, but for the purpose of any attempt at indirect means, lord Grenexciting them to a coalition, the object ville wrote a letter, most judiciously exof which was to overwhelm and to destroy pressed, to the minister of foreign affairs him. Is there any hope then (even if you at Paris in the first instance. It is not newere so to reverse the character


draw cessary now to go into an investigation of of him, as to represent him one of the most the merits of those negociations : they moderate and equitable of mankind), is were discussed at the time, and my opinthere any hope that he will again attempt ions upon them are the same as they were to approach this country by direct over- then : but with regard to the conduct of tures ? After the manner in which I have lord Grenville, in the different overtures, shewn that you have treated the two offers no doubt was entertained then, nor can it of mediation of Austria and Russia, is now, that it was wise, politic, honourable, there any hope that he will again hazard and consistent with his own dignity, as any indirect attempt? Is it reasonable to well as with that of the country; it was expect it ? and even if he were inclined to such a line of conduct as ought to be purdo it, what ministers have you at your sued at this moment.—The question then court, or what minişters has he at his, occurs, what difficulties would arise in through the means of whom he could make such a negociation the course of events any such attempt? I repeat the question has very much smoothed them. then, what is there left but a direct offer of you say is purely defensive ; the question negociation on the part of England ? --Sir, of peace then is purely a question of I have the authority of the present secre- terms. But would France accede to our offer tary of state, that in a direct proposition of negociation? I have no doubt she would, from this country, there can be nothing and eagerly too. It is quite unnecessary


The war


for my present purpose, to enter into any | bounds; he exacted from them more than argument upon the question of terms: human nature could endure. From that that is a different consideration, and for the moment there was a revulsion in the mind present is wholly out of my contemplation of the Dutch nation. Having done their All I want to ascertain is, whether peace be utmost to procure safety, by submission, possible or not, by which I always under and finding that it was not to be obtained, stand an honourable peace; and if I can their hearts were steeled against their opascertain that fact even in the negative, I pressor; they rallied under that mighty, shall have produced great advantage to genius, the prince of Orange, our great the country. A conviction of the want of deliverer William the IIId, who conducted moderation in the French emperor, and of them to victory and to glory. The injusthe impossibility of obtaining peace, would tice of Louis the XIVth formed the peunite all hearts, and all hands, in the de- destal, from which arose the exalted fame fence of the country. Every privation would of that illustrious monarch, which has be submitted to: the honour of the country spread over every region of the earth. and its salvation would be paramount to From the moment that the deputies of every feeling of individual distress. I Holland returned from the presence of the should no longer be apprehensive of the French monarch, his projects were all power of France. She would have cre- baffled, and his army was ultimately comated against herself an invincible barrier; pelled to retire in disgrace. If then the and we, secure in the justice of our own French emperor should eventually conduct cause, should be invincible against all her himself in the manner which so many perefforts. Is it from any enthusiastic feeling sons are willing to attribute to him, but as that I am making this assertion? is it the I think falsely, I am warranted in anticiresult of a sanguine mind, or introduced pating such consequences as followed from merely for the purpose of supporting my the same conduct on the part of Lewis the own argument ? no, Sir, I rely upon XIVth.-It is evidently necessary, howhistorical example. What produced the ever, that we should conduct ourselves salvation of Holland in the seventeenth towards the chief of the French governcentury, but the injustice, the cruelty, ment with the same policy, that we would and the inordinate ambition of Louis use towards


with whom the XIVth ? Let us look at that period we were about to negociate, or with whom of history, and we shall find that the

we were negociating, either in a private or liberties of mankind were thought, by public station of life. It is not consistent those who then lived, to be in danger with the policy or the dignity of a great as imminent as we deem them to be in at nation, to approach another power, with a present. At the head of a vast military manifestation of feelings of disgust, of susforce, commanded by the greatest gene- picion, or personal antipathy. Such, neverrals, and guided by the counsels of the theless, have been the manner and feelings wisest statesmen of the age, actuated by with which the emperor of France has al. an ambition as immoderate, and cursed ways been approached on the part of Engwith a heart as unfeeling as ever was at- land. There has been no period in which the tributed to any conqueror upon the face of conduct of England towards him has been the earth, Louis the XIVth, in conjunc- wise or conciliatory. There has been no tion with the prostitute administration of person employed, on the part of England, Charles II. attacked the liberties of Hol- who, in my opinion, has understood the land. There appeared to be no salvation character of the man. At no time has he for the country. He had but to approach, been treated with the consideration due to and to overrun it with his armies. Such the situation which he occupies, and to the was the state of despondency and dejec-achievements which he has performed. I tion into which the inhabitants of the Low | think that lord Whitworth, in the converCountries were sunk; such were the dis-sations which he held with him, previous tresses which the people felt, that a depu- to the rupture of the peace of Amiens, tation was sent to the French king to re- grossly misunderstood his character and quest that he would name the terms upon intentions. I think that at the period of which he would grant them peace; and the négociation of 1806, his character was they were ready to accept terms of greater again greatly misunderstood. Sir, I hope humiliation than had ever before been im- I shall not be misrepresented, as if I wished posed upon any independent power. But that'the mini ters of England, should conthe arrogance of Louis the XIVh knew no duct themselves with adulation servi.

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