Page images
PDF
EPUB

This dupon

by history.

waths

ever of any effect; and I am not for sporting | e.re beaten and unfortunate, to think of treating ! with a thing so sacred as an oath. I think it Oh! pity the condition of man, gracious God. would be good to lay aside all such oaths. Who and save us from such a system of malevolence, ever heard that, in revolutions, the oath of fidel. in which all our old and venei ated prejudices ity to the former government was ever regard are to be done away, and by which we are 10 be ed, or even that, when violated, it was imputed taught to consider war as the natural state of to the persons as a crime? In times of revo- man, and peace but as a dangerous and difficult lution, men who take up arms are called rebels. extremity! If they fail, they are adjudged to be traitors; but Sir, this temper must be corrected. It is a who before ever heard of their being perjured ? | diabolical spirit, and would lead to an On the restoration of King Charles II., those interminable war. Our history is full tuon to prom who had taken up arms for the commonwealth of instances that, where we bave over- condemued were stigmatized as rebels and traitors, but not looked a proffered occasion to treat, we as men forsworn. Was the Earl of Devonshire have uniformly suffered by delay. At what tiine charged with being perjured, on account of the did we ever profit by obstinately persevering in allegiance he had sworn to the house of Stuart, war? We accepted at Ryswick the terms we and the part he took in those struggles which had resused five years before, and the same peace preceded and brought about the Revolution ? which was concluded at Utrecht might have The violation of oaths of allegiance was never been obtained at Gertruydenberg; and as to seimputed to the people of England, and will curity from the future machinations or ambition never be imputed to any people. But who of the French, I ask you, what security you ever brings op the question of oaths ? He who had or could have. Did the different treaties Seror.op Mr. strives to make twenty-four millions made with Louis XIV. serve to tie up his hands, Pull texpecung of persons violate the oaths they have to restrain his ambition, or to stifle his restless

taken to their present Constitution, spirit ? At what time, in old or in recent periand who desires to re-establish the house of ods, could you safely repose on the honor, forBourbon by such violation of their vows. I put bearance and moderation of the French governit so, sir, because, is the question of oaths be of ment? Was there ever an idea of resusing 10 the least consequence, it is equal on both sides ! treat, because the peace might be afterward in. He who desires the whole people of France to secure? The peace of 1763 was not accompaperjure themselves, and who hopes for success nied with securities; and it was no sooner made, in his project only upon their doing so, surely than the French court began, as usual, its incan not make it a charge against Bonaparte trigues. And what security did the right hon. that he has done the same !

orable gentleman exact at the peace of 1783, in “Ah! but Bonaparte has declared it as his which he was engaged? Were we rendered se.

opinion, that the two governments of curo by ibat peace? The right honorable genspect to Bong. Great Britain and of France can not tleman knows well that, soon after that peace, the ebat France and exist together. After the treaty of French formed a plan, in conjunction with the

Campo Formio, he sent two confi. Dutch, of attacking our India possessions, of rais.

dential persons, Berthier and Monge, ing up the native powers against us, and of driv. to the Directory, to say so in his name.” Well, ing us out of India; as they were more recently and what is there in this absurd and puerile as- desirous of doing, only with this difference, that sertion, if it were ever made ? Has not the right the cabinet of France formerly entered into this honorable gentleman, in this House, said ihe project in a moment of profound peace, and when same thing? In this, at least, they resemble they conceived us to be lulled into a persect seone another! They have both made use of this curity. After making ine peace of 1783, the assertion; and I believe that these two illustri- right honorable gentleman and his friends went ous persons are the only two on earth who think out, and I, among others, came into office. Supit! But let us turn the tables. We ought to pose, sir, ihat we had taken up the jealousy upon put ourselves at times in the place of the enemy, which the right honorable gentleman now acts, if we are desirous of really examining with can- and had refused to ratify the peace which he had dor and fairness the dispute between us. How made. Suppose that we had said-No! France is may they not interpret the speeches of ministers acting a perfidious part; we see no security for and their friends, in both houses of the British England in this treaty; they want only a respite, Parliament? If we are to be told of the idle in order to attack us again in an important part speech of Berthier and Monge, may they not of our dominions, and we ought not to confirm also bring up speeches, in which it has not been the treaty. I ask you, would the right honoramerely hinted, but broadly asserted, that the ble gentleman have supported us in this refusal ? wo Constitutions of England and France could I say, that upon his present reasoning he ought. not exist together ?" May not these offenses But I put it sairly to him, would be bave supand charges be reciprocated without end? Are ported us in refusing to ratify the treaty upon we ever to go on in this miserable squabble such a pretense ? He certainly ought not, and about words ? Are we still, as we happen to be I am sure he would not; but the course of reasuccessful on the one side or the other, to bring soning which he now assumes would have justjo ap these impotent accusations, insults, and prov. fied his taking such a ground. On the contrary, ocations against each other; and only when we | I am persuaded that he would have said, “This

Retort in re

England could not exist to gether.

tives to con tinue the war

security is a refinement upon jealousy. You secure this fame, the only species of fame, per. have security, the only security that you can haps, that is worth acquiring ? Nay, granting ever expect to get. It is the present interest of that his soul may still burn with the thirst of France to make peace. She will keep it, if it military exploits, is it not likely that he is disbe her interest. She will break it, if it be her posed to yield to the feelings of the French peo interest. Such is the state of nations; and you ple, and to consolidate his power by consulting have nothing but your own vigilance for your their interests? I have a right to argue in this security."

way when suppositions of his insincerity are rear “It is not the interest of Bonaparte,” it seer.s, soned upon on the other side.

Sir, these asper Reply as to Bo. " sincerely to enter into a negotiation, sions are, in truth, always idle, and even mis Baparte's mo

or, if he should even make peace, chievous. I have been too long accustomed to

sincerely to keep it." But how are hear imputations and calumnies thrown out upon we to decide upon his sincerity? By refusing great and honorable characters, to be much into treat with him ? Surely, if we mean to dis- fluenced by them. My honorable and learned cover his sincerity, we ought to hear the propo- friend (Mr. Erskine] has paid this night a most sitions which he desires to make. “But peace just, deserved, and eloquent tribute of applauso would be unfriendly to his system of military to the memory of that great and unparalleled despotism." Sir, I hear a great deal about the character, who is so recently lost to the world.27 short-lived nature of military despotism. I wish I must, like him, beg leave to dwell a moment che history of the world would bear gentlemen on the venerable George Wasuington, though out in this description of it. Was not the gov. I know that it is impossible for me to bestow ernment erected by Augustus Cesar a military any thing like adequate praise on a character despotism ? and yet it endured for six or seven which gave us, more than any other human behundred years. Military despotism, unfortunate- ing, the example of a perfect man; yet, good. ly, is too likely in its nature to be permanent, great, and unexampled as General Washington and it is not true that it depends on the life of the was, I can remember the time when he was not first usurper. Though half of the Roman Emper- better spoken of in this House than Bonaparte ors were murdered, yet the military despotism is at present. The right honorable gentleman went on; and so it would be, I fear, in France. who opened this debate (PIr. Dundas) may reIf Bonaparte should disappear from the scene, to member in what terms of disdain, of virulence, make room, perhaps, for a Berthier, or any other e ren of contempt, General Washington was spokgeneral, what difference would that make in the en of by gentlemen on that side of the House 28 quality of French despotism, or in our relation Does he not recollect with what marks of indigto the country? We may as safely treat with nation any member was stigmatized as an enea Bonaparte, or with any of his successors, be my to his country who mentioned with common they whom they may, as we could with a Louis respect the name of General Washington? If XVI., a Louis XVII., or a Louis XVIII. There a negotiation had then been proposed to be openis no difference but in the name. Where the ed with that great man, what would have been power essentially resides, thither we ought to go said ? Would you treat with a rebel, a traitor!

What an example would you not give by such But, sir, if we are to reason on the fact, I an act! I do not know whether the right hon

should think that it is the interest of Bo- orable gentleman may not yet possess some of naparte to make peace. A lover of his old prejudices on the subject. I hope not:

military glory, as that general must I hope by this time we are all convinced that a necessarily be, may he not think that his meas. republican government, like that of America, ure of glory is full; that it may be tarnished by may exist without danger or injury to social ora reverse of fortune, and can hardly be increased der, or to established monarchies. They havo by any new laurels ? He must feel that, in the happily shown that they can maintain the relasituation to which he is now raised, he can notions of peace and amity with other states. Ther longer depend on his own fortune, his own gen- have shown, too, that they are alive to the soel. ius, and his own talents, for a continuance of his ings of honor; but they do not lose sight of success. He must be under the necessity of plain good sense and discretion. They have not employing other generals, whose misconduct or refused to negotiate with the French, and they incapacity might endanger his power, or whose have accordingly the hopes of a speedy terminatriumphs even might affect the interest which tion of every difference.29 We cry up their conhe holds in the opinion of the French. Peace, 37 The news of Washington's death, wbich took then, would secure to him what he has achieved, place December 14th, 1799, had just arrived in En. and fix the inconstancy of fortune. But this will gland. not be his only motive. He must see that France 38 This hit was directed against Mr. Dundas, bealso requires a respite a breathing interval, to

cause he was one of Lord North's ministry, whe recruit her wasted strength. To procure her had poured out this abuse upon Washington.

39 It is curious to observe how adroitly Mr. Fox this respite, would be, perhaps, the attainment of more solid glory, as well as the means of acquir- ment he uses. Thus, in the present case, Mr. Pitt

turns back upon his opponent almost every argu. ing more solid power, than any thing which he had enumerated the Americans among those whom can hope to gain from arms, and from the proud. the French had injured and insulted. Mr. Fox re. art triumphs. May he not, then be zealous to plies that the Americans did not for his reason to

for peace.

He may see reason to seek peace.

Increased by a

Difficulties

the return of the Bour bons.

duct, but we do not imitate it. At the beginning | to deliver up their property; nor do I even know of the struggle, we were told that the French that they ought. I doubt whether it would be were setting up a set of wild and impracticable the means of restoring tranquillity and order to theories, and that we ought not to be misled by a country, to attempt to divest a body of one them; that they were phantoms with which we million and a half of inhabitants, in order to recould not grapple. Now we are told that we instate a much smaller body. I question the must not treat, because, out of the lottery, Bona- policy, even if the thing were practicable; bat parte has drawn such a prize as military despot. I assert, that such a body of new proprietors ism. Is military despotism a theory? One would forms an insurmountable barrier to the restora. think that that is one of the practical things tion of the ancient order of things. Never was which ministers might understand, and to which a revolution consolidated by a pledge so strong. they would have no particular objection. But But, as if this were not of itself sufficient, what is our present conduct founded on but a Louis XVIII., from his retirement at theory, and that a most wild and ridiculous the- Mittaú, puts forth a manifesto, in declaration of ory?" For what are we fighting ? Not for a which he assures the friends of his principle; not for security ; not for conquest; house that he is about to come back with all bat merely for an experiment and a speculation, the powers that formerly belonged to his family. to discover whether a gentleman at Paris may He does not promise to the people a Constitunot turn out a better man than we now take him tion which might tend to conciliate their hearts ; to be.

but, stating that he is to come with all the old My honorable friend (Mr. Erskine) has been régime, they would naturally attach to it its prop

censured for an opinion which he gave, er appendages of bastiles, lettres de cachet, gain the way of and I think justly, that the change of belle, &c.; and the noblesse, for whom this proc

property in France since the Revolu- lamation was peculiarly conceived, would also

tion must form an almost insurmount naturally feel that, if the monarch was to be reable barrier to the return of the ancient proprie- stored to all his privileges, they surely were to tors. “No such thing,” says the right honorable be reinstated in their estates without a compengentleman, “nothing can be more easy. Prop- sation to the purchasers. Is this likely to make erty is depreciated to such a rate, that the pur- the people wish for the restoration of royalty ? chasers would easily be brought to restore the I have no doubt but there may be a number of estates." I think differently. It is the charac- Chouans in France, though I am persuaded that ter of every such convulsion as that which has little dependence is to be placed on their efforts. ravaged France, that an infinite and undescriba. There may be a number of people dispersed over ble load of misery is inflicted upon private fam- France, and particularly in certain provinces, ilies. The heart sickens at the recital of the who may retain a degree of attachment to roysorrows which it engenders. The Revolution alty; how the government will contrive to com. did not imply, though it may have occasioned, a promise with that spirit I know not. I suspech, total change of property; the restoration of the however, that Bonaparte will try. His efforts Bourbons does imply it ; and such is the differ- have been already turned to that object; and, if

There is no doubt but that is the noble we may believe report, he has succeeded to a families had foreseen the duration and the extent considerable degree. He will naturally call to of the evils which were to fall upon their heads, his recollection the precedent which the history they would have taken a very different line of of France itself will furnish. The once formidaconduct; but they unfortunately flew from their ble insurrection of the Huguenots was completecountry. The King and his advisers sought for- ly stifled, and the party conciliated, by the polieign aid, and a confederacy was formed to re- cy of Henry IV., who gave them such privileges, store them by military force. As a means of re- and raised them so high in the government, as sisting this combination, the estates of the fugi- to make some persons apprehend danger theretives were confiscated and sold. However com- from to the unity of the empire. Nor will the passion may deplore their case, it can not be said French be likely to forget the revocation of the that the thing is unprecedented. The people edict; one of the memorable acts of the house have always resorted to such means of defense. of Bourbon, which was never surpassed in atroc. Now the qnestion is, how this property is to be ity, injustice, and impolicy, by any thing that got out of their hands. If it be true, as I have has disgraced Jacobinism. If Bonaparte shall heard it said, that the purchasers of national and attempt with the Chouans some similar arrangeforfeited estates amount to one million and a half ment to that of Henry IV., who will say that be of persons, I see no hopes of their being forced is likely to fail? He will meet with no grea:

obstacle to success from the influence which our fuse to negotiate ; but by showing their readiness ministers have established with the chiefs, or in m do so, had the hopes of a speedy termination of the attachment and dependence which they havo their differences with France. In this he refers to the mission of Oliver Ellsworth, Chief Justice of

on our protection. For what has the right hon the United States, W. R. Davie, and W. V. Mor. orable gentleman told them, in stating the con ray, in 1799, to settle terms of peace between France and the United States. Their mission was 30. The Chonans were Royalists, particularly those successful, and an amicable adjustment took place on the Loire, who rose against the revolutionary a few months after

government

ence.

Peroration

tingencies in which he will treat with Bona- Where then, sir, is this war, which on every parte? He will excite a rebellion in France. side is pregnant with such horrors, to He will give support to the Chouans, if they can be carried ? Where is it to stop ? Not stand their ground; but he will not make com- till we establish the house of Bourbon ! And mon cause with them; for, unless they can de- this you cherish the hope of doing, because you pose Bonaparte, ser him into banishment, or have had a successful campaign. Why, sir, beexecute him, he will abandon the Chouans, and fore this you have had a successful campaign. treat with this very man, whom, at the same The situation of the allies, with all they have time, he describes as holding the reins and wield- gained, is surely not to be compared now to ing the powers of France for purposes of unex- what it was when you had taken Valenciennes, ampled barbarity.

Quesnoy, Condé, &c., which induced some genSir, I wish the atrocities, of which we hear so tlemen in this House to prepare tiemselves for a Retort upon

much, and which I abhor as much as march to Paris. With all that you have gainhoc prilicies any man, were, indeed, unexampled. ed, you surely will not say that the prospect is practiced al I fear that they do not belong exclu- brighter now than it was then. What have Naples

sively to the French. When the right you gained but the recovery of a part of what honorable gentleman speaks of the extraordinary you before lost ? One campaign is successful successes of the last campaign, he does not men- to you; another to them; and in this way, anition the horrors by which some of these success- mated by the vindictive passions of revenge, haes were accompanied. Naples, for instance, has tred, and rancor, which are infinitely more flagibeen, among others, what is called delivered; and tious, even, than those of ambition and the thirst yet, if I am rightly informed, it has been stained of power, you may go on forever; as, with such and polluted by murders so ferocious, and by black incentives, I see no end to human misery. cruelties of every kind so abhorrent, that the And all this without an intelligible motive. heart shudders at the recital. It has been said, All this because you may gain a better peace a Bot only that the miserable victims of the rage year or two hence ! So that we are called and brutality of the fanatics were savagely mur- upon to go on merely as a speculation. We dered, but that, in many instances, their flesh must keep Bonaparte for some time longer at was eaten and devoured by the cannibals, who war, as a state of probation. Gracious God, Rre the advocates and the instruments of social sir! is war a state of probation? Is peace a order! Nay, England is not totally exempt rash system? Is it dangerous for nations to from reproach, if the rumors which are circula- live in amity with each other? Are your vigited be true. I will mention a fact, to give min- lance, your policy, your common powers of ob isters the opportunity, if it be false, to wipe away servation, to be extinguished by putting an end the stain that it must otherwise affix on the Brit- to tho horrors of war? Can not this state of ish name. It is said, that a party of the repub- and property should be guaranteed, and that they lican inhabitants of Naples took shelter in the should, at their own option, either be sent to Toulop fortress of the Castel de Uovo. They were be

or remain at Naples, without being molested either sieged by a detachment from the royal army, to in their persons or families. This capitulation was whom they refused to surrender ; but demanded accepted; it was signed by the Cardinal, and the that a British officer should be brought forward, Russian and Turkish commanders, and, lastly, by and to him they capitulated. They made terms Captain Foote, as commander of the British force. with him under the sanction of the British name.

About six-and-thirty hours afterward, Nelson arrived It was agreed that their persons and property ing his cruise, consisting of seventeen sail of the line,

in the bay, with a force, which had joined him durshould be safe, and that they should be conveyed with seventeen hundred troops on board, and the to Toulon. They were accordingly put on board Prince Royal of Naples in the Admiral's ship. A a vessel; but, before they sailed, their property flag of truce was flying on the castles and on board was confiscated, numbers of them taken out, the Sea-horse. Nelson made a signal to annul the thrown into dungeons, and some of them, I un- treaty, declaring that he would grant rebels no othderstand, notwithstanding the British guarantee, er terms than those of unconditional submission. actually executed !31

Tbe Cardinal objected to this; nor could all the ar

guments of Nelson, Sir W. Hamilton, and Lady 31 All this was literally true, and took place in Hamilton, who took an active part in the conferthe summer of 1799. Lord Nelson was the officer ence, convince him that a treaty of such a nature, referred to: he was lcd by his infatuated attach- solemnly concluded, could honorably be set aside. ment to Lady Hamilton, the favorite of the Queen He retired at last, silenced by Nelson's authority, of Naples, into conduct which has left an indelible bat not convinced. Captain Foote was sent out stain on his memory. After the retreat of the French of the bay; and the garrisons, taken out of the casfrom Southern Italy, the leaders of the republican tles under pretense of carrying the treaty into ef. government, which had been organized at Naples, fect, were delivered over as rebels to the vengeance were besieged in the castles of Uovo and Nuovo by of the Sicilian court.-A deplorable transactioni A the Cardinal Ruffo at the head of the Royalists. The stain upon the memory of Nelson, and the honur of remainder of the story will be given in the words England! To palliate it would be in vain; to just of Mr. Southey, the biographer of Nelson. "They ify it would be wicked: there is no alternative, for (these castles) were strong places, and there was one who will not make himself a participator in reason to apprehend that the French fleet might guilt, but to record the disgraceful story with sorrow arrive to relieve them. Ruffo proposed to the gar and with shame."-Life of Nelson in Harper's Fan ison to capitulate, on condition that their persons lily Library, vol. vi., 177-8.

550 MR. FOX ON THE REJECTION OF BONAPARTE'S OVERTURES. [1806 probatijn be as well undergone without adding ocally as heretofore. But I will not go into the io the catalogue of human sufferings ? " But internal state of this country. It is too afflictwe must pause !" What! must the bowels of ing to the heart to see the strides which have Great Britain be torn out-her best blood be been made by means of, and under the misera. spilled-her treasure wasted—that you may ble pretext of this war, against liberty of every make an experiment? Put yourselves, oh! that kind, both of power of speech and of writing; you would put yourselves in the field of battle, and to observe in another kingdom the rapid ap and learn to judge of the sort of horrors that proaches to that military despotism which we you excite! In former wars a man might, at affect to make an argument against peace. I least, have some feeling, some interest, that know, sir, that public opinion, if it could be colserved to balance in his mind the impressions lected, would be for peace, as much now as in which a scene of carnage and of death must 1797; and that it is only by public opinion, and inflict. If a man had been present at the bat- not by a sense of their duty, or by the inclinatle of Blenheim, for instance, and had inquired tion of their minds, that ministers will be brought, the motive of the battle, there was not a soldier if ever, to give us peace. engaged who could not have satisfied his curi- I conclude, sir, will repeating what I said be. osity, and even, perhaps, allayed his feelings. fore: I ask for no gentleman's vote who would They were fighting, they knew, to repress the have reprobated the compliance of ministers uncontrolled ambition of the Grand Monarch with the proposition of the French government. But is a man were present now at a field of I ask for no gentleman's support to-night who slaughter, and were to inquire for what they would have voted against ministers, if they had were fighting—“Fighting !" would be the an- come down and proposed to enter into a nego swer; they are not fighting ; they are paus- tiation with the French. But I have a right to ing." “Why is that man expiring? Why is ask, and in honor, in consistency, in conscience, that other writhing with agony? What means I have a right to expect, the vote of every bonthis iinplacable fury?” The answer must be, orable gentleman who would have voted with "You are quite wrong, sir, you deceive your ministers in an address to his Majesty, diarrersell—they are not fighting—do not disturb them rically opposite to the motion of this night.. -they are merely pausing! This man is not expiring with agony—that man is not dead- These eloquent reasonings are said to have he is only pausing ! Lord help you, sir ! they produced a powerful effect on the House, bus are not angry with one another; they have now Mr. Pitt's political adherents could not desert no canse of quarrel; but their country thinks him on a question of this nature. Not to have that there should be a pause. All that you see, passed the address approving of his conduct, sir, is nothing like fighting—there is no harm, would have been the severest censure, and it nor cruelty, nor bloodshed in it whatever: it is was accordingly carried by a vote of 265 to 64. nothing more than a political pause! It is mere. Bonaparte made this the occasion of appeally to try an experiment-to see whether Bona- ing to a new class of feelings among the parte will not behave himself better than here- French. Hitherto liberty had been the rallying tofore ; and in the mean time we have agreed word in calling them to arms; the First Consul to a pause, in pure friendship!" And is this nuw addressed their sense of honor, and roused the way, sir, that you are to show yourselves all by the appeal. Russia had already withthe advocates of order ? You take up a system drawn from the contest, leaving Austria as the calculated to uncivilize the world—to destroy only ally of England on the Continent. Bonaorder---to trample on religion—to stifle in the parte instantly assembled his troops on the Rhine heart, not merely the generosity of noble senti- and Alps ; made his celebrated passage of the ment, but the affections of social nature; and in St. Bernard in the month of June; crushed the the prosecution of this system, you spread ter. Austrian power in Italy by the battle of Marenror and devastation all around you.

go (June 17th, 1800); and concluded the camSir, I have done. I have told you my opin- paign in forty days! In Germany, the Austri ion. I think you ought to have given a civil, ans were again defeated by Moreau in the bat clear, and explicit answer to the overture which tle of Hohenlinden (Dec. 30, 1800), and com was fairly and handsomely made you. If you pelled to sue for peace, which was concluded bewere desirous that the negotiation should have tween them and the French by Napoleon about included all your allies, as the means of bring a year after this debate, Feb. 9th, 1801. Mr. ing about a general peace, you should have told Pitt resigned nine days after, chiefly (as becamo Bonaparto so. But I believe you were afraid afterward known) in consequence of a difference of his agreeing to the proposal. You took that with the King on the subject of Catholio Emanmethod before. Ay, but you say the people cipation. were anxious for peace in 1797. I say they Mr. Addington (afterward Lord Sidmonths are friends to peace now; and I am confident succeeded as minister, and in a short time that you will one day acknowledge it. Believe opened negotiations for peace, the preliminaries me, ihey are friends to peace; although by the of which were signed Oct. 1st, 1801. These laws which you have made, restraining the ex- were followed by the treaty of Amiens, which pression of the sense of the people, public opin. was concluded about six months after, Marck ion can not now be heard as loudly and unequiv. 1 27th, 1802.

« PreviousContinue »