Imágenes de páginas

kept M. Chauvelin here. For his part, he posed address till they had well consiwas very glad that he was gone, and he dered the consequences. This country, wished that he had been ordered away he insisted, was in no danger whatever, sooner, for there were occasions in which being equally secured by its insular siresident ambassadors might do great mis- tuation, its internal resources, and the chief. In 1712, when it was known that strong attachment of the people to the England was going to make a separate constitution. He conceived, therefore, peace, the then imperial ambassador at that we had no ground for alarm on the our court delivered, in a strong memorial first point mentioned in the message from to our minister, and caused it to be his majesty. As to the second point, the printed the next day in the public news- security of our allies, it was impossible papers ; for which he was ordered to quit we could be told that Prussia had been the court and kingdom. The removal of attacked by France, and of course this ambassadors did not necessarily prevent part of the message must relate to Holnegociation ; for the diplomatic art had land. If the navigation of the Scheldt devised means for enabling two nations, was the subject of dispute, it appeared to though actually at war, to treat through him to be a matter of indifference to this the medium of a neutral power: when a country; except that in one view it war was declared, the belligerent nations would be of great advantage to our comrecalled their ministers; but did it follow merce and manufactures, by opening a that the war was therefore to be eternal ? new channel in the best and most conveWar was certainly a calamity, but not so nient situation for sending our manufacgreat a one as a hollow peace. Whether tures into all the continent of Europe. it broke out a little sooner or a little later, With regard to the propagation of French was of little consequence, if it broke out principles, he thought it by no means at all. In the present instance, we might safe to go to war against principles. If expect a speedy and a happy termination the principles alluded to were levelling of it; for all Europe would be on our principles, they should be met with conside. He was aware that confederacies tempt, but he by no means reprobated did not always act well together ; but the all the French principles. Great stress reason was obvious; the parties compos. had been laid on the cruelties perpetrated ing it rarely had a common interest, or in France ; but he could not think that would hold out till the general interest they were a proper cause of war : in his required a general peace. In the present opinion, these cruelties had all originated contest the case was different; the Em- in the infamous expedition of the duke peror would, do doubt, strain every nerve of Brunswick, which might be called a to recover his beautiful provinces in the fraternity of kings for the purpose of imNetherlands; the king of Prussia would posing despotism on all Europe. Another feel it necessary to recover the reputation ground taken by ministers, was the newhich was the main prop of the Prussian cessity of_preserving the balance of monarchy; Holland would have to con- power in Europe; but he could not see tend for her very existence; Italy was why this country should be ready, upon interested in taking from France Savoy, all occasions, to go to war for the benefit and restoring it to the king of Sardinia; of other nations. This system he looked and Spain and Portugal must see the dans upon to be no more than a political ficger to their governments, if the French tion, a cover for any interference that ca. arms and French principles were not price might dictate. The next thing to timely checked. In such a state of af- which he wished to call the attention of fairs England had every reason to look the House, was, the means of carrying for a general, a powerful, and a cordial co- on the war. When the present supposed operation of the greatest part of Europe accumulation, of which ministers boasted, against France. For these reasons, he was exhausted, they must have recourse gave his most hearty support to the ad- to new taxes; and if there was no absodress.

lute necessity for war, why burthen the The Earl of Wycombe conceived it to people to maintain a war, of the issue of be his most indispensable duty to use which no judgment could be formed; and every argument in his power to avert the relative situation of France to this from his country so grievous a calamity country was such, that the connexion of as that of entering into a war, and con- this country with her should not, he jured the House not to agree to the pro- thought, be put to unnecessary hazard. The war might be carried on for some pledge had we that this assertion wag time without any additional duties; but true? The only victims which had fallen when our resources were exhausted, taxes into the hands of the combined powers must follow, accompanied by the mur- had been treated with exemplary cruelty murs, if not execrations, of the people. and injustice. If, on the one hand, he The death of the king of France had been saw Louis 16th confined in the prison of pathetically lamented by ministers, but the Temple, on the other he saw M. la they never attempted to interfere, and Fayette and his unfortunate companions, while they professed peace, used every lingering in the cells of a German fortress. haughty, irritating provocation to war. To a man of any firmness and resolution, Upon the whole, he could view the war the election would not be difficult to in no other light than as a revival of the make between the catastrophe, and final system of extirpation that was the basis momentary sufferings of Louis, and the of the late American war.

slow consuming horrors in which La Mr. Whitbread said, he should preface Fayette dragged on his existence. Mr. the few observations he thought it proper Whitbread professed himself an advocate to submit to the consideration of the for peace ; for peace as connected with House, by declaring his abhorrence of the prosperity of the country; for the the atrocious deed lately committed in prosperity of the country as connected France; it would stand one of the fore- with its honour; for the honour and prosmost in the black catalogue of crimes perity of any country he considered inse. which history had to record; it would parable. The House was then to consi. remain a foul stain upon the national der whether war was justifiable upon any character of the people amongst whom it grounds stated in the papers upon the had been perpetrated. But in tracing table, and whether ministers had done the source of this and other barbarities their utmost to avert that calamity. To which had been committed in France, he both these he gave a decided negative ; denied that such had been the necessary and before he adverted to the grounds consequences of the French revolution, stated in the papers, he should say someor that such horrors were the necessary thing as to the real cause of war, as he associates of republicanism. To the con- conceived it would at length appear to duct of the powers combined against the be, if war were undertaken.

This was liberties of France, to the sanguinary ma- no less than the total overthrow of the nifestoes of the duke of Brunswick, he new system of government existing in conceived all these murders were to be France; for no other reason could miattributed. Such manifestoes bore the nisters have refused to acknowledge the stamp and character of those barbarians, republic. They had admitted of non-ofboth ancient and modern, to whom to ficial communications; this was an ac. conquer and to destroy were the same, knowledgment of the power residing in rather than of the gallant and enlightened those persons with whom they thus comleader of the armies of two enlightened municated; but they refused to acknowprinces of Europe, at the close of the ledge the right of those persons to the eighteenth century. The spirit of Attila exercise of the power with which they was discernible in them, who describing were invested. This was securing the the manner in which himself made war, possibility of joining with the combined in the emphatical words recorded by Mr. powers, whenever a convenient opportuGibbon, had said, “ where Attila's horse nity might offer for the overthrow of the sets his foot, the grass never grows." It | new system. He deprecated such an atwas a melancholy consideration to huma- tempt, as contrary to the rights of nanity, that in endeavouring to turn our tions. No country had a right to intereyes from the scenes of blood in France, fere with the internal arrangements we could find no relief in contemplating adopted by another. The national will the mild and christian virtues of the was supreme in every country; and that powers leagued against her. It had been alone could constitute, alter, or modify said, in palliation of their manifestoes, that forms of government. Could any man there had been no intention of carrying doubt that the nation willed a republic in the letter of them into execution. Upon France ? If we attempted to interfere the folly of threatening that which we with the disposition of ihe national will, cannot, or do not intend to execute, he let us recollect upon what grounds the should make no comment : but what title of the king of England stood-upon the will of the nation; and one of the repelled that attack, and gained possesmost despotic sovereigns in Europe, the sion of the territory of her adversary, and empress of Russia, owed her elevation to had a right to maintain that possession, the supposed expression of the national at least till the conclusion of the war, to will at the revolution in 1762. She pos. enable her to make advantageous terms sessed the throne upon no other footing; for herself. We had forced her to an and what form of government soever any anticipation of her designs on the subnation willed for itself, such it had the ject of Brabant. She had declared her right to adopt.-He now came to the first intention not to add the Low Countries stated ground of complaint of this country to her own territories, but to suffer the against France, the decree of November Belgians to erect themselves into an in19; which decree he did not in itself de- dependent sovereignty. He was not now fend; but he contended that the expla- | inquiring whether it was justifiable to de. nation which the French had been dis- tach provinces from the power to which posed to give of that decree, was such as they belonged, and to give them indepento take away all well-founded apprehen- dence; but the idea was not new; he resions of any injury designed to this coun- collected to have heard a right hon. gen. try, and certainly would not justify us in tleman (Mr. Burke) recommend it to the going to war. The next object stated, present minister as an object worthy to was the aggrandizement of France, which establish his reputation as a great states. was likely to endanger the balance of man, to rescue the provinces of BessaraEurope. Upon the subject of the balance bia, Moldavia, and Wallachia, from the of Europe, which now appeared to be a tyranny of the Grand Signior, and to matter of such signal importance, he erect them into an independent federated begged to call the attention of the House; state, under the denomination of the Cir. and to the general conduct of his ma- cle of the Danube. He did not conceive jesty's ministers in their endeavours to that ministers entertained any real apmaintain that balance. At the time that prehensions on the subject of the aggranthe despotic powers had formed a com- dizement of France, as endangering the bination against France, which it was not security of Europe, to which their inatconceivable that she could resist; when tention had been so notorious, nor did he it appeared that that country was to be find any justifiable cause for war on this overrun, and to become an easy prey to ground. The only remaining considera. the duke of Brunswick, no apprehensions tion was upon the subject of the excluwere entertained on account of the ba- sive navigation of the Scheldt. He had lance of power; the same supineness had before stated an opinion on the subject of been visible when the empress of Russia, the natural right of the inhabitants of the in the course of the last summer, had banks of rivers to the free use and taken possession of Poland; but now enjoyment of the waters of such rivers. that the French were victorious, and hav- He begged to restate his opinion; it was ing defeated their enemies, combined to comprised in the words of that part of the erush them, the balance of power was in decree of the National Convention, which danger! But the aggrandizement of says, “ That the course of rivers is the France was dangerous, as connected with common property of all the countries the principles she propagated ! He watered by them; that a nation cannot, begged to know whether this apprehen- without injustice, pretend to the right of sion was not equally well founded, when occupying the channel of a river, to preapplied to the case of Russia? He con. vent the neighbouring nations who occeived the principles of despotism propa- cupy the upper banks from enjoying the gated by the sword of the one, as dan same advantage.” He did not go the gerous to the general security of Europe, length of that decree in saying that as the licentiousness propagated by the “ such right was revocable at every mosword of the other. With regard to ment, and in spite of all convention;" for the request urged on the part of the Bri. he held that the faith of treaties was patish government, that the French should ramount, and must be abided by. The withdraw their troops within their own right he contended for was antecedent to territory, in order to pave the way to any all treaty, that natural right, the nearer negociation with us, he thought such a to which all treaties came, the nearer they demand the height of insolence. France were to the principles of justice. But if had been attacked; she had successfully he were to say whence the French drew what were now deemed their extravagant lieved it would be found that they did notions on this point, he should look to not think it worth their while to go to the subsequent productions of a right war for the maintenance of this right. hon. member of that House (Mr. Burke), He alluded to the proclamation for a gewho had said, in a celebrated speech, neral fast put forth by the States General that “ the benefits of Heaven to any on the 10th of January, in which they decommunity ought never to be connected clare, that they are then at peace, and that with political arrangements, or made to the strict neutrality they observed, had hidepend on the personal conduct of therto protected them from aggression. princes ; in which the mistake, or error, A manifest token that they did not conor neglect, or distress, or passion of a sider the free navigation of the Scheldt, moment on either side, may bring famine as asserted by the French, a reason for on millions, and ruin an innocent nation, going to war. If, then, we did go to war perhaps, for ages. The means of the sub- on that ground, we should force our alsistence of mankind should be as immu- lies into it and not ourselves be involved table as the laws of nature, let power and in it by the terms of our alliance. Mr. dominion take what course they may. Whitbread said, that having gone through The use of this river has indeed been the matter contained in the papers, as far given to the rajah, &c. This use of the as they related to the probability of peace water, which ought to have no more con or war, he could find no justification nexion than clouds and rains and sunshine of the conduct of administration. He with the politics of the rajah, the nabob, thought the maintenance of peace, conor the company, is expressly contrived sistently with the dignity, honour, and inas a means of enforcing demands and ar- terests of this country, was perfectly in rears of tribute. This horrid and unnatu- in the power of ministers; but their conral instrument of extortion had been a duct and words denoted war. He had distinguishing feature in the enormities of still, however, a hope of peace remainthe Carnatic politics*.” Thus had Mr. ing; that hope was founded on the know. Burke thought, and thus did think the ledge he had of the character of his maNational Convention ; but he owned that jesty's present servants. He knew that he did not go the whole length of their they had the faculty of enlarging or redoctrines. A hard necessity, indeed, he ducing objects precisely to the form in should conceive it for Great Britain, to which they wished to consider them : be forced to go to war, to maintain to the that at one time, the little fortress of Dutch the exclusive navigation of the Oczakow had deranged their balance of Scheldt ; but he had never said that he power in Europe ; that another the whole was against supporting the faith of trea- kingdom of Poland had been thrown into ties, where the casus foederis was clearly the scale without making a vibration in defined. But was it, in this instance, a their political beam. He knew that they new and unexercised right of nature for had never advanced too far to recede; which it was contended ? Certainly not. that they had never threatened too much Antwerp was a monument of the exercise to retract. Their sentiments might again of that right by her inhabitants: and he change. This, he confessed, was a deswas free to say, that it would give him perate hope, because it was connected joy to see the commerce of that once with the reflection, that the reins of goHourishing city restored ; for the exclu. vernment were in the hands of men so sive navigation of the Scheldt had been insufficient, so versatile, and so weak. established by force, and consented to by He concluded with saying, that he could weakness. But a necessary preliminary not give his assent to the address, as it to these investigations, would have been then stooil. some precise requisition of the Dutch for Mr. Anstruther viewed the late atro. the stipitulated assistance of her ally. cious act with the utmost horror, and The chancellor of the exchequer had heartily joined in that part of the address avowed that no such demand had been which offered their condolence to his mamade ; and if the House were to judge jesty on the mournful occasion. In adof the dispositions of the States Gene- verting to the conduct of France, he ral by their own declarations, he be- could not help remarking the difference

betwixt that conduct when under a mo. Mr. Burke's Speech on the Debts of the narchy crippled as it was after the king's nabob of Arcot. See Vol. 25, P. 182. acceptance of the new constitution, and

what it now was: they had attacked the to his immediate constituents, but to the imperial cities, and had taken Brabant in- whole people of Great Britain, of whom to their hands. He then mentioned their the members of that House were indivi. communication with societies in this dually and collectively the virtual reprecountry, and their dangerous principles; sentatives, more imperiously called upon and said, that M. Chauvelin, alluding to him, and upon every man, to speak out those very societies, had stated in an of- and declare his sentiments frankly and ficial paper, that the French had received fairly. The misrepresentations and misthe English as brothers. As to the de constructions of what he and those who cree of the 19th of November, it was said thought as he did, had already said in the to have been explained; but what was course of the present session, left him no the explanation ? Totally unsatisfactory room to doubt, that what he must now say, and inconsistent with the decree itself. would be equally, and perhaps as succesIt was in fact a declaration against every fully, misrepresented and misconstrued existing government on the earth. With This only served to show, that they were respect to the business of the Scheldt, he on a service of honour as well as danger ; protested against the application of gene- but if he were deterred by misrepresentaral principles against the faith of treaties. tion and calumny from delivering opinions He was glad, however, that the grounds because they might be unpopular, and of war had been stated on so broad a ba- | from deprecating a war with France as an sis. In fact the French now said, that. evil to be avoided by every means consis. having overturned their own old govern- | tent with the honour and safety of us and ment, they were not bound by any of its our allies, he should basely betray his trust treaties; a principle totally inconsistent to his constituents and his country. with every notion of justice, and with the The right hon. gentleman had intro. laws and faith of nations. He then ad- duced the several grounds of dispute with - verted to the infinite danger to be appre- France, ably and eloquently; but the reahended from the propagation of French sons for going to war, he did not mean to principles. But we are asked, said he, say for arming, had not been very accuwhether we can combat principles by the rately treated. The crimes, the murders, sword? Most certainly, if they are pro- and the massacres that had been compagated by the sword, they must be stop. mitted in France, he did not view with less ped by the sword. Honourable gen. horror, he did not consider as less atrotlemen had charged on the duke of cious than those who made them the perBrunswick the origin of the murders and petual theme of their declamation, almassacres in France : but was it their ene- though he put them entirely out of the mies whom the French had murdered? question in the present debate. The con. No; it was their brethren. Supposing demnation and execution of the king he wars to be carried on with cruelty, there pronounced to be an act as disgraceful as could be no comparison betwixt the two; any that the page of history recorded; besides, the manifesto was never intended and whatever opinions he might at any to be put in execution. He said, he time have given in private conversation, looked on the conduct of France as ex. he had expressed none certainly in that pressly hostile to this country. They House, on the justice of bringing kings to had interfered in our internal policy with trial : revenge being unjustifiable, and purespect to the alien bill; and in his opi- nishment useless, where it could not openion they ought to league with us in op- rate either by way of prevention or exposition to them. If liberty was of the ample, he did not view with less detestanature held out by them, he would fly, he tion the injustice and inhumanity that had said, from the altar of liberty. He con- been committed towards that unhappy cluded with heartily concurring in the monarch. Not only were the rules of crimotion for the address.

minal justice, rules that more than any Mr. For said, that although some words other ought to be strictly observed, viohad fallen from the right hon. the chan- lated with respect to him; not only was cellor of the exchequer which might lead he tried and condemned, without any exhim to think that war was not absolutely isting law to which he was personally determined upon, yet the general tenor and amenable, and even contrary to laws that impression of his speech was such as to did actually exist; but the degrading circonvince him that there never was a time cumstances of his imprisonment, the unwhen the duty, which he owed, not merely necessary and insulting asperity with which

« AnteriorContinuar »