Page images

The Declar

calculated to perpetuate hostility

among the

French peo.


the of the war to the ambition of the conduct of its rulers, but do not go the length

the enemy, he will declare a system of declaring that, after all this provocation, even tiers which noi of endless animosity between the na. with the present rulers, all treaty is impractica

tions of Great Britain and France. Ible. Whether it is probable that, acting on the say directly the contrary." He who principles upon which they have acquired their scruples to declare that in the pres- power, and while that power continues, they will

ent moment the government of France listen to any system of moderation or justice at are acting as much in contradiction to the known home or abroad, it is not now necessary to dis wishes of the French nation as to the just pre- cuss. But for one, I desire to express my cor tensions and anxious wishes of the people of dial concurrence in the sentiment, so pointedly Great Britain—he who scruples to declare them expressed in that passage of the Declaration in (the government) the authors of this calamity, which his Majesty, notwithstanding all the prov. deprives us of the consolatory hope which we are ocation he has received, and even after the recent inclined to cherish of some future change of cir- successes which by the blessing of Providence cumstances more favorable to our wishes. It is have attended his arms, declares his readiness to a melancholy spectacle, indeed, to see in any adhere to the same moderate terms and princi. country, and on the ruin of any pretense of liber- ples which he proposed at the time of our great. ty, however nominal, shallow, or delusive a sys- est difficulties, and to conclude peace on that tem of tyranny erected, the most galling, the most ground, if it can now be obtained, even with this horrible, the most undisguised in all its parts and very government. attributes that has stained the page of history, or I am sensible that while I am endeavoring disgraced the annals of the world. But it would to vindicate his Majesty's servants (2) Earl Tea be much more unfortunate, if, when we see that against the charges of the honorable ple's remarks the same cause carries desolation through France baronet (which are sufficiently, however, refuted which extends disquiet and fermentation through by the early part of his own speech), I am in. Europe—it would be worse, indeed, if we attrib- curring, in some degree, the censure of the nouted to the nation of France that which is to be at- ble Lord to whom I before alluded. According tributed only to the unwarranted and usurped au- to his principles and opinions, and of some sew thority which involves them in misery, and would, others in this country, it is matter of charge if unresisted, involve Europe with them in one against us, that we even harbor in our minds, at common ruin and destruction. Do we state this this moment, a wish to conclude peace upon ike to be animosity on the part of the people of terms which we think admissible with the presFrance? Do we state this in order to raise up ent rulers of France. I am not one However smag an implacable spirit of animosity against that of those who can or will join in that hope, England country? Where is one word to that effect in sentiment. I have no difficulty in rethe declaration to which the honorable gentle- peating what I stated before, ihat in treat when man has alluded ? He complains much of this their present spirit, after what they with safety. declaration, because it tends to perpetuate ani- have said, and still more, after what they have mosity between two nations which one day or done, I can entertain little hope of so desirable an other must be at peace-God grant that day event. I have no hesitation in avowing (for it may be soon! But what does that Declaration would be idleness and hypocrisy to conceal it) express upon the subject? Does it express that that, for the sake of mankind in general, and tó because the present existing government of gratify those sentiments which can never be France has acted as it has acted, we forego the eradicated from the human heart, I should see wish or renounce the hope that some new situa- with pleasure and satisfaction the termination of tion may lead to happier consequences ? On the a government whose conduct and whose origin is contrary, his Majesty's language is distinctly such as we have seen that of the government of this : - While this determination continues to France. But that is not the object—that ought prevail on the part of his enemies, his Majesty's not to be the principle of the war. Whatever earnest wishes and endeavors to restore peace to wish I may entertain in my own heart, and whathis subjects must be fruitless, but his sentiments ever opinion I may think it fair or manly to avow, remain unaltered. He looks with anxious ex. I have no difficulty in stating that, violent and pectation to the moment when the government odious as is the character of that government, I of France may show a temper and spirit in any verily believe, in the present state of Europe, degree corresponding with his own." I wish to that if we are not wanting to ourselves, if, by know whether words can be found in the English the blessing of Providence, our perseverance and language which more expressly state the contra- our resources should enable us to make peace ry sentiment to that which the honorable baron- with France upon terms in which we taint not et imputes. They not only disclaim animosity our character, in which we do not abandon the against the people of France in consequence of sources of our wealth, the means of our strength,

This mode of turning an argument round and the defense of what we already possess—if wa presenting it with startling force under directly the maintain our equal pretentions and assert thai contrary aspect, has already been mentioned as a

rank which we are entitled to hold among na. striking characteristic of Mr. Pitt. The ease and tions—the moment peace can be obtained on desterity with wbich he does it are truly admira- such terms, be the form of government in France ble.

what it may, peace is desirable, peace is then

to be ready to

Hlo' met by


charge consistency.

clair's plan.

anxiously to ne sought. But unless it is at- | drive England to the rupture. They had not tained on such terms, there is no extremity of strength enough to reject all negotiation, yet war—there is no extremity of honorable contest they had strength enough to mix in every step --that is not preferable to the name and pretense those degradations and insults, those inconsistent of peace, which must be, in reality, a disgraceful and unwarranted pretensions in points even of cap lation, a base, abje surrender of ev. subordinate importance, which reduced ministers cry thing that constitutes the pride, the safety, to that option which I have described ; but which and happiness of England.”

they decided in a way that has exposed them to These, sir, are the sentiments of my mind on the censure of the honorable baronet. We chose this leading point, and with these sentiments I rather to incur the blame of sacrificing punctil. shape my conduct between the contending opin- ios (at some times essential) rather ions of the noble Lord and of the honorable bar than afford the enemy an opportunity the British gov Answer to Sir onet. But there is one observation of of evading this plain question. “Is John Sinclair's the honorable baronet on which I must there any ground, and, if any, what, upon which

now more particularly remark. Ho you are ready to conclude ?" To that point it nas discovered that we state the Directory of was our duty to drive them. We have driven France to have been all along insincere, and them to that point. They would tell us no yet take merit for having commenced a negotia- terms, however exorbitant and unwarrantable, tion which we ought never to have commenced upon which they would be ready to make peace. without being persuaded of their sincerity. This What would have been the honorable baronet's supposed contradiction requires but a few words expedient to avoid this embarrassment ? It to explain it. I believe that those who consti- would have been (as he has this day informed tute the present government of France never us) an address which he had thought of moving were sincere for a moment in the negotiation. in the last session, and which, indeed, I should From all the information I have obtained, and have been less surprised had he moved, than if from every conjecture I could form, I, for one, the House had concurred in it. We would have never was so duped as to believe them sincere. moved that no project should be given Sir John Sin But I did believe, and I thought I knew, that in till the enemy were prepared to prethere was a prevailing wish for peace, and a sent a counter-project. If it was a great mis. predominant sense of its necessity growing and fortune that that address was not moved, I am confirming itself in France, and founded on the afraid some of the guilt belongs to me; because most obvious and most pressing motives. I did the honorable baronet did suggest such an idea, see a spirit of reviving moderation gradually and I did with great sincerity and frankness tell gaining ground, and opening a way to the hap- him that, if he was really a friend to peace, piest alterations in the general system of that there was no motion he could make so little calcountry. I did believe that the violence of that culated to promote that object; and I did prevail portion of the executive government which, by upon the honorable baronet to give up the intenthe late strange revolution of France, unhappily tion. If I am right in the supposition I have for France itself and for the world, has gained stated—if I am right in thinking that our great the ascendency, would have been restrained with object was to press France to this point, and to in some bounds—that ambition must give way to put the question, “If you have any terms to ofreason—that even frenzy itself must be controlled fer, what are they?'—was there any one way and governed by necessity. These were the by which we could make it so difficult for them hopes and expectations I entertained. I did, not- to re’ain any pretense of a desire of peace as to withstanding, feel that even from the outset, and speak out ourselves, and call upon them either in every step of that negotiation, those who hap- for agreement, or for modification, or for some pily had not yet the full power to cut it short in other plan in their turn? By not adopting the the beginning-who dared not trust the public honorable baronet's plan, we have put ihe ques. eye with the whole of their designs-who could tion beyond dispute, whether peace was attainnot avow all their principles-unfortunately, nev- able at last, and whether our advances would on ertheless, did retain from the beginning power would not be met on the part of France. And enough to control those who had a better dispo- I shall, to the latest hour of my life, rejoice that sition, and to mix in every part of the negotia- we were fortunate enough to place this queslion (which they could not then abruptly break tion in the light which defies the powers of misoff) whatever could impede, embarrass, and per- representation; in which no man can attempt plex, in order to throw upon us, if possible, the to perplex it; and in which it presents itself this ndium of its failure.

day for the decision of the House and of .he naSir, the system of France is explained by the tion, and calls upon every individual who has at Conduct of the very objections that are made against stake the public happiness and his own, to dethe Frencli gor our conduct. The violent party could termine for himself whether this is or is not a

not, as I have stated, at once break crisis which requires his best exertions in the de. off the treaty on their part, but they wished to sense of his country. • We have here one of those fine amplifications in

II. To show which, I shall now proceed, not which Mr. Pitt was accustomed to enlarge and dwell withstanding the reproach which has been thrown spon the more important parts of a subject, in order on our line of conduct, to show the system ever kes deepen the impression.

of obstinate forbearance, with wł ich we endear


government as compared witin that or

(1.) Condnct or the French in the previous degtiation of 1790.

ored to overcome preliminary difficulties—the de- His Majesty's answer was, that it was his deExposition of termined resolution on our part to over- sire to adopt that mode only which was most elle robust or look all minor obstacles, and to come likely to accelerate the object in view; and the

to the real essence of discussion upon powers of his plenipotentiary would apply to

the terms of peace. To show this, it either object, either preliminary or definitive. the English

is not necessary to do more than to call They appeared content with his answer, but to the recollection of the House the leading parts what was the next step? In the simple form of of the Declaration of his Majesty; I mean to leave granting a passport for the minister, (3) Grons im that part of the subject, also, without the possibili- at the moment they were saying they propriets in the ty of doubt or difference of opinion. It is certain preferred a definitive peace, because sent to the En ly true that, even previous to any of the circum- it was the most expeditious—in that sliol minister. stances that related to the preliminary forms of very passport, which in all former times has only the negotiation, the prior conduct of France had described the character of the minister, without offered to any government that was not sincerely entering into any thing relating to the terms or and most anxiously bent upon peace, sufficient mode of negotiating--they insert a condition relground for the continuance of hostilities. It is ative to his powers, and that inconsistent with

true that, in the former negotiation at what his Majesty had explained to be the nature Paris, Lord Malmesbury was finally of the powers he had intended to give, and with sent away, not upon a question of which they had apparently been satisfied. They

terms of peace-not upon a question made it a passport not for a minister coming to of the cession of European or Colonial posses- conclude peace generally, but applicable only to sions, but upon the haughty demand of a pre- a definitive and separate peace.” vious preliminary, which should give up every This proceeding was in itself liable to the most thing on the part of the allies; and which should obvious objection. But it is more important, as leave them afterward every thing to ask, or an instance to show how, in the simplest part of rather to require. It is true, it closed in nearly the transaction, the untractable spirit of France the same insulting manner as the second mission. discovered itself. It throws light on the subseIt is true, too, that subsequent to that period, in quent part of the transaction; and shows the inthe preliminaries concluded between the Emper- consistencies and contradictions of their successor and France, it was agreed to invite the allies ive pretensions. As to the condition then made of each party to a congress; which, however, in the passport for the first time, that the negowas never carried into execution. It was under tiation should be for a separate peace, his Majesty these circumstances that his Majesty, in the declared that he had no choice between a definiearnest desire of availing himself of that spirit tive and a preliminary treaty; but as to a separof moderation which had begun to show itself in ate peace, his honor and good faith, with regard France, determined to renew those proposals to bis ally the Queen of Portugal, would not perwhich had been before slighted and rejected. mit it. He, therefore, stated his unalterable deBut when this step was taken, what was the termination to agree to no treaty in which Portconduct of those who have gained the ascenden- ugal should not be included; expressing, at the cy in France ? On the first application to know same time, his readiness that France should treat (2.) The dicir on what ground they were disposed on the part of Holland and Spain. the commence to negotiate, wantonly, as will be On this occasion, the good faith of this country Corto the shown by the sequel, and for no pur- prevailed. The system of violence and passport

pose but to prevent even the opening despotism was not then ripe, and there- changed of the conferences, they insisted upon a mode of fore his Majesty's demand to treat for Portugal negotiation very contrary to general usage and lat once for a definitive treaty." See his Note in convenience-contrary to the mode in which Parliamentary History, vol. xxxiii., page 909. they had terminated war with any of the bellig- 5 The passport addressed to the officers of the erent powers, and directly contrary to any mode French police was in the following words: which they themselves afterward persisted in "Allow to pass freely

-, furnished with following in this very negotiation with us! They the full powers of his Britannic Majesty for the pur. began by saying they would receive no proposals pose of negotiating, concluding, and signing a definfor preliminaries, but that conferences should be itive and separate treaty of peace with the French

Republic." held for the purpose of concluding at once a de

Here the word separate was inserted in direct finitive treaty.'

contravention of the arrangement between the two

governments, and was obviously intended to make This was at Leoben, in April, 1797, when the difficulty. England had agreed to negotiate for a depreliminaries of peace were settled between France finitive, but not for a separate treaty; she could not and Austria, which led to the treaty of Campo For- give up Portugal, which had long been under her mio.

protection. The French Directory plainly designed * This refusal to discuss “the preliminaries of to draw Mr. Pitt into a dilemma: if he accepted the peace," as proposed by Lord Grenville (in accord passport, and afterward undertook to treat for Portance with established usage), was contained in the ugal, the negotiation could be broken off on the first note from the French minister. He put the ne. ground that he went beyond the terms este blished gotiation on the ground of England's coming forward by the passport; if he refused the passport, it was immediately with her overtures and proposals," easy to say he had broken off the negotiation wher and insisted that “pegotiations should be set on foot | acceded to by France.

bature of the negotiation.

ing language by the French as to

ornbent and embassador.

was acquiesced in by the Directory. They, at his dominions surnish, any person better qualified the same time, undertook to treat on their part to do justice to his sincere and benevolent desire for their allies, Holland and Spain, as well as for to promote the restoration of Peace, and his firru themselves; though in the subsequent course of and unalterable determination to maintain the the negotiation, they pretended to be without dignity and honor of his kingdom. sufficient power to treat for either.

In spite of these obstacles and others more I must here entreat the attention of the House minute, the British plenipotentiary (5.) Exchange of (4) Use of insult to the next circumstance which oc- at length arrived at Lisle. The full powers, tlioso on

curred. When the firmness of his powers were transmitted to the missioners les the British com. Majesty, his anxious and sincere de respective governments, and were or the Englista

sire to terminate the horrors of war, found unexceptionable; though the embassador and his uniform moderation overcame the vio- supposed defect of these full powers is, three lence, and defeated the designs of the members months after, alleged as a cause for the rupture of the executive government of France, they had of the negotiation! And what is more remarkrecourse to another expedient, the most absurd, able, it did so happen that the French full pow. as well as the most unjustifiable. They advert- ers were, on the face of them, much more limited to the rupture of the former negotiation, as if od than ours; for they only enabled the commis. that rupture was to be imputed to his Majesty ; sioners of the Directory to act according to the and this insinuation was accompanied with a per- instructions they were to receive from time to sonal reflection upon the minister who was sent time. On this point it is not necessary now to by bis Majesty to treat on the part of this coun- dwell; but I desire the House to treasure it in try. 6 His Majesty, looking anxiously as he did their memory, when we come to the question of to the conclusion of peace, disdained to reply pretense for the rupture of the negotiation. otherwise than by observing that this was not a Then, sir, I come to the point in which we fit topic to be agitated at the moment of renew- have incurred the censure of the hon- (6.) The En ing a negotiation, and that the circumstances of orable baronet, for delivering in on our offered their the transaction were well enough known to Eu- part a project. To his opinion I do not premiers tering rope and to the world. And the result of this subscribe, for the reasons that I stated drawn out negotiation has confirmed, what the former had before. But can there be a stronger proof of sufficiently proved, that his Majesty could not his Majesty's sincerity than his waving so many have selected, in the ample field of talents which points important in themselves, rather than suf

fer the negotiation to be broken off? What was 6 The following are the words which charge the

our situation? We were to treat with rupture of the preceding negotiation on the English: "The Directory requires that it shall be estab

a government that had in the outset doing : lished as a principle, that ench English packet-boat expressed that they would treat only inundene de which shall bave brought over either the plenipo- definitively, and from every part of tertiary or a courier shall not be allowed to make their conduct which preceded the meeting of any stay." "The Directory desires, at the same our plenipotentiary and their commissioners, we time, that the couriers should not be sent too fre might have expected that they would have been quently; the frequent sending them having been one prepared to answer our project almost in twentyof the principal causes of the rupture of the preced- four hours after it was delivered. We stood ing negotiation."

with respect to France in this pre- (h) England hul Nothing more frivolous could be conceived of as a dicament—we had nothing to ask reiting on the reason for such a rupture. Nothing of this kind was mentioned at the time. The French minister did in of them. The question only was, impresoras de one instance inquire, whether it was necessary for how much we were to give of that what she was Lord Malmesbury to send a courier to England every which the valor of his Majesty's up. time he received a communication from the Direct- arms had acquired from them and from their ory—a question which seems plainly to have been allies. In this situation, surely, we might have designed as a taunt; and his Lordship coolly replied, expected that, before we offered the price of that he should do it " as often as the official comma: peace, they would at least have condescended to nications made to bim required special instructions.” say what were the sacrifices which they expect

The personal reflection" on Lord Malmesbury ed us to make. was in the following words:" The Directory consents

But, sir, in this situation, what that the negotiation shall be opened by Lord Malmes. species of project was it that was presented by bury. Another choice would, however, have

his Majesty's minister ? A project the most ed to the Directory to aagar more favorably for a distinct, the most particular, the most conciliatospeedy conclusion of peace." This was a gratui. ry and moderate, that ever constituted the first tous insalt. Lord Malmesbury was distinguished for words spoken by any negotiator. And yet of his courteous deportment, and no complaint had been this project what have we heard in the language made of him by the French government. Even of the French government? What ha ve we seen Belsham, who was so rabid against Mr. Pitt and his dispersed through all Europe, by press in friends, that Fox once said concerning bis Memoirs France which knows no sentiments but what the of the Reign of George III.,“ how can a man write French police dictates? What have we seen history in this way?" admits that his Lordship "was oniformly mild and temperate, his manners polite dispersed by that English press which know' and pleasing."-Vol. page 322. It is plain the other use of English liberty but servilely to re Directory meant to force Mr. Pitt, by their treatment, tail and transcribe French opinions? We have to break off the negotiation.


been told that it was a project that refused to

Reasons for so

finitive treaty.

willing to give

The blanks for

up, were still subject

embrace the terms of negotiation! Gentlemen and defeats. To a power which had never sep have read the papers; how does that fact stand? arately met the arms of this country by land, bu! In the original project, we agreed to give up the to carry the glory and prowess of the Britisha conquests we had made from France and her name to a higher pitch; and to a country whose allies, with certain exceptions. For those ex- commerce is unheard of; whose navy is annihi. ceptions a blank was left, in order to ascertain lated; whose distress, confessed by themselves whether France was desirous that the exceptions (however it may be attempted to be dissembled should be divided between her and her allies, or by their panegyrists in this or any other country), whether she continued to insist upon a complete is acknowledged by the sighs and groans of tho compensation, and left England to look for com- people of France, and proved by the expostula pensation only to her allies. France, zealous as tions and remonstrations occasioned by the vioshe pretends to be for her allies, had no difficulty lent measures of its executive government-such in authorizing her ministers to declare that she was the situation in which we stood—such the must retain every thing for herself. This blank situation of the enemy when we offered to make

was then filled up; and it was then those important concessions as the price of tions, when filed distinctly stated how little, out of peace. What was the situation of the allies of

what we had, we demanded to keep. France? From Spain—who, from the moment ther negotiation. In one sense, it remains a blank still: she had deserted our cause and enlisted on the we did not attempt to preclude France from any part of the enemy, only added to the number of other mode of filling it up; but while we stated our conquests, and to her own indelible disgrace the utmost extent of our own views, we left open -we made claim of one island, the island of to full explanation whatever points the govern-Trinidad—a claim not resting on the mere nament of France could desire. We called upon ked title of possession to counterbalance the genthem, and repeatedly solicited them to state eral European aggrandizement of France, but as something as to the nature of the terms which the price of something that we had to give, by they proposed, if they objected to ours. It was making good the title to the Spanish part of thus lest open to modification, alteration, or con- Saint Domingo, which Spain had ceded without cession. But this is not the place, this is not the right, and which cession could not be made with. time, in which I am to discuss whether those out our guarantee. To Holland-having in our terms, in all given circumstances, or in the cir- hands the whole means of their commerce, the cumstances of that moment, were or were not whole source of their wealth-we offered to rethe ultimate terms upon which peace ought to turn almost all that was valuable and lucrative be accepted or rejected, if it was once brought to them, in the mere consideration of commerce. to the point when an ultimatum could be judged We desired, in return, to keep what to them, in of. I will not argue whether some greater con- a pecuniary point of view, would be only a bur. cession might not have been made with the cer- den [the Cape of Good Hope and the island of tainty of peace, or whether the terms proposed Ceylon); in a political view worse than useless, constituted an offer of peace upon more favora- because they had not the means to keep it-what ble grounds for the enemy than his Majesty's (had we granted it) would have been a sacrifice, ministers could justify. I argue not the one not to them, but to France-what would in su question or the other. It would be inconsistent ture have enabled her to carry on her plan of with the public interest and our duty, that we subjugation against the eastern possessions of should here state or discuss it. All that I have Holland itself, as well as against those of Great to discuss is, whether the terms, upon the face Britain. All that we asked was not indemnificaof them, appear honorable, open, frank, distinct, tion for what we had suffered, but the means of sincere, and a pledge of moderation; and I leave preserving our own possessions and the strength it to the good sense of the House whether there of our naval empire. We did this at a time can exist a difference of opinion upon this point. when our enemy was feeling the pressure of war; Sir, what was it we offered to renounce to and who looks at the question of peace without

France ? In one word, all that we some regard to the relative situation of the ions offered had taken from them. What did this country with which you are contending? Look,

consist of ? The valuable, and almost then, at their trade; look at their means; look at under all circumstances, the impregnable isl- the posture of their affairs; look at what we hold, and of Martinique ; various other West India and at the means we have of defending ourselves, possessions ; Saint Lucia, Tobago, the French and our enemy of resisting us, and tell me whethpart of Saint Domingo, the settlements of Pondi- er this offer was or was not a proof of sincerity, cherry and Chandernagore; all the French fac- and a pledge of moderation. Sir, I should be tories and means of trade in the East Indies; and ashamed of arguing it. I confess I am apprethe islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon. And hensive we may have gone too far in the first for what were these renunciations to be made ? proposals we made, rather than shown any backFor peace, and for peace only. And to whom? | wardness in the negotiation, but it is unnecessaTo a nation which had obtained from his Majes- ry to argue this point. ly's dominions in Europe nothing in the course of the war—which had never met our fleets but

? The concessions offered by England were so to add to the catalogu:3 of cur victories, and to ample that all Earope, and even Mr. Belsham pro swell the melancholy lists of their own captures nounced them highly liberal.

(7) Conces

by England.

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