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nor has at any time exhibited such circumstances | ted that they since have violated all those prinof danger, arising out of the very nature of the ciples; but it is alleged that they have done su system, and the internal state and condition of only in consequence of the provocation of other France, as to leave to foreign powers no ade- powers. One of the first of those provocations quate ground of security in negotiation; or, sec- is stated to have consisted in the various oul ondly, he must be of opinion that the change rages offered to their ministers, of which the ex. which has recently taken place has given that ample is said to have been set by the King of security which, in the former stages of the Rev. Great Britain in his conduct to M. Chauvelin. olution, was wanting ; or, thirdly, he must be in answer to this supposition, it is only neces. one who, believing that the danger exists, not un sary to remark, that before the example was dervaluing its extent nor mistaking its nature, given, before Austria and Prussia are supposed nevertheless thinks, from his view of the present to have been thus encouraged to combine in a pressure on the country, from his view of its plan for the partition of France, that plan, if it situation and its prospects, compared with the ever existed at all, had existed and been acted situation and prospects of its enemies, that we upon for above eight months. France and Prusare, with our eyes open, bound to accept of in- sia had been at war eight months before the disa adequate security for every thing that is valua- missal of M. Chauvelin. So much for the accu. ble and sacred, rather than endure the pressure, racy of the statement. or incur the risk which would result from a far- I have been bitherto commenting on the arther prolongation of the contest.'
guments contained in the Notes. I Contradicting In discussing the last of these questions, we come now to those of the learned gen- af to the origia shall be led to consider what inference is to be tleman. I understand him to say that of the war. drawn from the circumstances and the result of the dismissal of M. Chanvelin was the real cause, our own negotiations in former periods of the I do not say of the general war, but of the rupwar; whether, in the comparative state of this ture between France and England; and the country and France, we now see the same rea- learned gentleman states particularly that this son for repeating our then unsuccessful experi- dismissal rendered all discussion of the points in ments; or whether we have not thence derived dispute impossible. Now I desire to meet disthe lessons of experience, added to the deductions tinctly every part of this assertion. I maintain, of reason, marking the inefficacy and danger of on the contrary, that an opportunity was given the very measures which are quoted to us as for discussing every matter in dispute between precedents for our adoption.
France and Great Britain as fully as if a regular I. Unwilling, sir, as I am to go into much de- and accredited French minister had been resi. Origin of tail on ground which has been so often dent here; that the causes of war, which existed
trodden besore; yet, when I find the learn- at the beginning, or arose during the course of ed gentleman, after all the information which he this discussion, were such as would have justifiech must have received, if he has read any of the ? Mr. Erskine here observed that this was not the answers to his work (however ignorant he might statement of his argument. Mr. Pitt replied that be be when he wrote it) still giving the sanction of bad not yet come to Mr. Erskine, but was speaking his authority to the supposition that the order to of the statement made by the French government M. Chauvelin (French minister] to depart from in their Note. It can not be, however, that Mr. this kingdom was the cause of the war between Pitt had that Note before him when be made these this country and France, I do feel it necessary ing words: “ As soon as the French Revolution bad
remarks. The passage referred to is in the follow. to say a few words on that part of the subject.
broken out, almost all Europe entered into a league Inaccuracy in dates seems to be a sort of fa- for its destruction. The aggression was real long Error in the tality common to all who have written time before it was public. Internal resistance was
on that side of the question; for even excited; its opponents were favorably received ;
the writer of the note to his Majesty their extravagant declamations were supported; the is not more correct, in this respect, than if he had French nation was insulted in the person of its taken his information only from the pamphlet of agents; and England set particularly this example the learned gentleman. The House will recol- by the dismissal of the minister accredited to her. lect the first professions of the French Republic, pendence, in her honor, and in her safety, long time
Finally, France was, in fact, attacked in her indewhich are enumerated, and enumerated truly, in before war was declared.”—Parl. Hist., vol. xxxiv., that note. They are tests of every thing which p. 1201. It is obvious that the writer is here giving would best recommend a government to the es- a mere general summation of supposed wrongs, teem and confidence of foreign powers, and the without protessing to arrange them in the exact or. reverse of every thing which has been the sys- der of time. He does not say, as Mr. Pitt repre. tem and practice of France now for near ten
sents, that “one of the first of those provocations" years. It is there stated that their first princi
was the ill treatment of French ministers, of which ples were love of peace, aversion to conquest, ain." He does not even mention Austria or Pras
“the example was set by the King of Great Britand respect for the independence of other coun- sia, much less does be speak of their being “en tries. In the same note it seems, indeed, admit- couraged to combine in a plan for the partition of
In distributing his opponents into these three France," by “the example” referred to. And yet classes, Mr. Pitt follows his usual course of opening it is only by assuming this that Mr. Pitt makes ont his speech with a striking statement which reaches bis argument, and then eneers at “ the accuracy of forward into the subscquent discussion.
note of the French gov. ernieut.
Ground of M. Chauveliu's diemissal.
twenty times over, a declaration of war on the removing out of this kingdom all foreigners sus. part of this country; that all the explanations pected of revolutionary principles. Is it con. on the part of France were evidently unsatisfac- tended that he was then less liable to the protory and inadmissible, and that M. Chauvelin had visions of that act than any other individual sor. given in a peremptory ultimatum, declaring that eigner, whose conduct afforded to government if these explanations were not received as sufhi- just ground of objection or suspicion ? Did his cient, and if we did not immediately disarm, our conduct and connections here afford no such resusal would be considered as a declaration of ground ? or will it be pretended that the bare war. After this followed that scene which no act of refusing to receive fresh credentials from man can even now speak of without horror, or an infant republic, not then acknowledged by think of without indignation; that murder and any one power of Europe, and in the very act regicide from which I was sorry to hear the of heaping upon us injuries and insults, was of learned gentleman date the beginning of the le- itself a cause of war? So far from it, that even gal government of France.3
the very nations of Europe, whose wisdom and Having thus given in their ultimatum, they moderation have been repeatedly extolled for
added, as a further demand (while we maintaining neutrality, and preserving friendship were smarting under accumulated in- with the French Republic, remained for years
juries, for which all satisfaction was subsequent to this period without receiving from denied) that we should instantly receive M. it any accredited minister, or doing any one act Chauvelin as their embassador, with new cre- to acknowledge its political existence. dentials, representing them in the character In answer to a representation from the belligwhich they had just derived from the murder erent powers, in December, 1793, A refusal to rec of their sovereign. We replied, " he came here Count Bernstorff
, the minister of ognize the new as the representative of a sovereign whom you Denmark, officially declared that ground of hostil have put to a cruel and illegal death; we have “it was well known that the Na. of the French. no satisfaction for the injuries we have received, tional Convention had appointed M. Grouville no security from the danger with which we are minister plenipotentiary at Denmark, but that it threatened. Under these circumstances we will was also well known that he had neither been not receive your new credentials. The former received nor acknowledged in that quality.” credentials you have yourselves recallod by the And as late as February, 1796, when the same sacrifice of your King."
minister was at length, for the first time, received What, from that moment, was the situation of in his official capacity, Count Bernstorff, in a pubSent out or M. Chauvelin? He was reduced to the lic note, assigned this reason for that change of the country situation of a private individual, and was conduct: “So long as no other than a revolu individual. required to quit the kingdom under the tionary government existed in France, his Majprovisions of the Alien Act, which, for the pur- esty could not acknowledge the minister of that pose of securing domestic tranquillity, had re- government; but now that the French Constitucently invested his Majesty with the power of tion is competely organized, and a regular gov.
ernment established in France, his Majesty's ob• Here, again, Mr. Pitt founds bis attack upon a ligation ceases in that respect, and M. Grouville mis ke. Mr. Erskine, as reported in the Parlia- will therefore be acknowledged in the usual mentary History, did not say “the beginning of le. form." How far the court of Denmark was gal government," but " when France cut off her justified in the opinion that a revolutionary gov. most unfortunate monarch, and established her first ernment then no longer existed in France, it is republic, she had an embassador at our court."Vol. xxxiv., p. 1289. His language may have been not now necessary to inquire; but whatever may confused or obscure, but it is bardly conceivable that have been the fact in that respect, the principle Mr. Erskine, through any haste or inadvertence, on which they acted is clear and intelligible, and could have been betrayed into the absurdity of say is a decisive instance in favor of the proposition ing that there never was a legal government in which I have maintained. France until the 21st of January, 1793.
Is it, then, necessary to examine what were Nor does Mr. Pitt appear to have understood Mr. the terms of that ultimatum with which Erskine more correctly when he represents him, a
we refused to comply? Acts of hos- of Trance. few sentences before, as affirming that the dismiss. al of M. Chauvelin "rendered all discussion of the tility had been openly threatened against our al. points in dispute impossible." No statement of this lies; a hostility founded upon the assumption of kind appears in the printed specch. He and his a right which would at once supersede the whole friends only maintained that the treatment of this law of nations. The pretended right to open gentleman, after the imprisonment and death of the Scheldt we discussed at the time, not so Louis XVI., was so harsh and irritating as to defeat much on account of its immediate importance all the objects of negotiation. It was a matter of (though it was important both in a maritime and pablic notoriety that informal communications did commercial view) as on account of the general pass between the two governments; but the agents of France were denied all public and accredited principle on which it was founded. On the character, an indignity (as Mr. Erskine and his • When the Austrians and Prussians, who invaded friends maintained) which was tantamount to break France under the Duke of Brunswick, were driven ing off all friendly intercourse, and which threw back, the French in return attacked the Austrian opon England, in their view, the responsibility of Netherlands, and became masters of the country by toe war which followed.
the battle of Jemappe, November 6th 1792 They
sanie u. bitrary notion they soon afterward dis- | their example, shown what they understood u
auch people, and to defend citizens who have suf-
power adheres to the principles of her neutrality." free; they had, by all their language as well as
Mr. Pitt, of course, had no confidence in the sinceri. immediately forced the passage of the Scheldt (the ty of these declarations. principal river of the country) down to the sea. This ? Within ten days after the decree of November had been closed for nearly one hundred and fifty 19th was passed, an English “Society for Constita. years, out of regard to the rights of Holland (through tional Information" sent delegates to Paris, who pre. which it entered the ocean), under the provisions of sented at the bar of the National Convention an adthe treaty of Westphalia (1648), which established dress congratulating that body on “ the glorious tri. the international relations of modern Europe. En umph of liberty on the 10th of August,” when the gland, as the protector of Holland, justly complained King was deposed. These delegates take upon of this, chiefly, however, as Mr. Pitt remarks, on ac- them to predict “that, after the example given by count of the general principle avowed by the French France, revolutions will become easy. Reason is of setting aside the pruvisions of the treaty of Vi'est- about to make a rapid progress; and it would not phalia.
be extraordinary if, in a much less time than can be • Savoy had been invaded by the French in Sep imagined, the French should send addresses of con. tember, 1792, on the ground that the King of Sar- gratulation to a National Convention in England." dinia liad united at Mantua with Austria and Spain M. Gregoire, the President of the Convention, rein agreeing to march one hundred thousand troops plied in a high flown style, praising the English as to the borders of France. See page 531. The peo. having afforded illustrious examples to the universe. ple united to a considerable extent with the French, “The shades of Hampden and Sydney," said he, and sent deputations from their clubs to Paris. On" hover over your heads; and the moment without the 27th of November, 1792, the National Conven. doubt approaches when the Frencb will bring con. tion erected Savoy into an eighty-fourth department gratulations to the National Convention of Great of France, in direct defiance of the existing Consti- Britain. Generous Republicans! your appearance tation, which interdicted any permanent extension among us prepares a subject for history !" The of the territory
French were egregiously deceived, no doubt, by 6 This celebrated decree was passed by the Na- these demonstrations of a comparatively small num. tional Convention in the tumult of joy which fol. ber of individuals in England, and really expected lowed the victory at Jemappe. They resolved to great results. The English government bad cer. adopt in other countries the course taken in Savoy, tainly grounds of serious complaint against the Con and bence framed this document in the following vention for receiving the deputation in this manner words:
8 Austria had endeavored, in 1784, to force the nav. “The National Convention declare, in the name igation of the Scheldt, but France had interfered and of she French nation, they will grant fraternity and guaranteed to Holland ber exclusive right to the assistance to all those people who wish to procure lower part of that river. This guarantee England iberty. And they charge the executiro power to was bound to maintain by a subsegnent alliance send orders to the generals to give assistance to which she formed with Holland.
Eireet or admit. ting their ex.
decree of No. Veinber 19.
now know the nieaning, from the fate of every | admit these explanations, to be contented with. nation into which the arms of France have pen the avowal, that France offered herself still more vio. etrated), then Belgium and Holland might, if as a general guarantee for every snc. December is. they pleased, settle the question of the Scheldt, by cessful revolution, and would interfere 1792 separate negotiation between themselves. With only to sanction and confirm whatever the frer. respect to aggrandizement, they assured us that and uninfluenced choice of the people might havo choy would retain possession of Belgium by arms decided, what were their orders to their generals no longer than they should find it necessary to on the same subject? In the midst of these amthe purpose already stated, of consolidating its icable explanations with you, came forth a deliberty. And with respect to the decree of the cree which I really believe must be effaced from 19th of November, 1792, applied as it was the minds of gentlemen opposite to me, if they pointedly to you, by all the intercourse I have can prevail upon themselves for a moment to hint stated with all the seditious and traitorous part of even a doubt upon the origin of this quarrel, not this country, and particularly by the speeches of only as to this country, but as to all the nations every leading man among ihem, they contented of Europe with whom France has been subsethemselves with asserting that the declaration quently engaged in hostility. I speak of the de. conveyed no such meaning as was imputed to it, cree of the 15th of December, 1792. This deand that, so far from encouraging sedition, it cree, more even than all the previous transactions, could apply only to countries where a great ma- amounted to a universal declaration of war against jority of the people should have already declared all thrones, and against all civilized governments. itselt in favor of a revolution : a supposition It said, wherever the armies of France shall which, as they asserted, necessarily implied a to- come (whether within countries then at war or tal absence of all sedition.
at peace is not distinguished), in all those counWhat would have been the effect of admitting tries it shall be the first care of their generals to
this explanation ? to suffer a nation, introduce the principles and the practice of the
and an armed nation, to preach to the French Revolution ; to demolish all privileged planation of the
inhabitants of all the countries in the orders, and every thing which obstructs the es
world, that they themselves were tablishuient of their new system.10 slaves, and their rulers tyrants; to encourage and
any doubt is entertained whither the armies invite them to revolution, by a previous promise of France were intended to come ; if of French support, to whatever might call itself it is contended that they referred only plication or a majority, or to whatever France might declare to those nations with whom they were to be so. This was their explanation; and this, then at war, or with whom, in the course of this they told you, was their uitimatum.
contest, they might be driven into war; let it be But was this all ? Even at that very moment, remembered that at this very moment they had when they were endeavoring io induce you to actually given orders to their generals to pursue
· The communication here spoken of as an ulti- the Austrian army from the Netherlands into Holmatum was made through M. Chaavelin, December land, with whom they were at that time in
peace. 27, 1792, and contained the following words: “The Or, even if the construction contended for is adExecutive Council of the French Republic, thinking mitted, let us see what would have been its apit a duty which they owe to the French nation not plication, let us look at the list of their aggres. to leave it in a state of suspense into which it has sions, which was read by my right honorable been thrown by the late measures of the British friend (Mr. Dundas) near me. With whom have government, have authorized him (M. Chauvelin) to they been at war since the period of this declademand with openness, whether France ought to ration? With all the nations of Europe save two consider England as a neutral or hostile power; at the same time being solicitous that not the smallest (Sweden and Denmark), and if not with these doubt should exist respecting the disposition of two, it is only because, with every provocation France toward England, and of its desire to remain 10 This decree was even more violent than Mr. in peace.” In allusion to the decree of the 19th of Pitt has here described. It required the French November (for this decree see note 6), M. Chauvelin generals, (1.) To proclaim wherever they marched says, “ that the French nation absolutely reject the their armies the abolition of all existing feudal and idea of that false interpretation by which it might manorial rights, together with all imposts, contribube supposed that the French Republic should favor tions, and tithes; (2.) To declare the sovereignty of insurrections, or excite disturbance in any neutral the people, and the suppression of all existing au. or friendly country whatever. In particular, they thorities; (3.) To convoke the people for the establishdeclare in the most solemn manner, that Francement of a provisional government; (4.) To place all will not attack Holland so long as that power ad- the property of the Prince and his adherents, and heres to the principles of her neutrality.” As to the the property of all public bodies, both civil and relig navigation of the Scheldt, M. Chauvelin affirms it ious, under the safeguard of the French Republic, "to be a question of too little importance to be made (5.) To provide, as soon as possible, for the organiza: the sole cause of a war, and that it could only be tion of a free and popular form of government.-Ann. used as a pretext for a premeditated aggression. Reg., vol. xxxiv., p. 155. On this fatal supposition (he says) the French na. There can be do doubt that the Convention at this tion will accept war; but such a war would be the time had extravagant notions of extending their war not of the British nation, but of the British principles of liberty by force. "A blind and ground. ministry against the French Republic; and of this less confidence,” says Marsbal St. Cyr, “had taken he conjures them well to consider the terrible re- possession of their minds; they thought only of de sponsibility."
throning k ngs by their decrees.” Qe
that could justify defensive war, those countries quest.” Here is their love of peace : here is have hitherto acquiesced in repeated violations of their aversion to conquest ; here is their respeco their rights, rather than recur to war for their for the independence of other nations ! vindication. Wherever their arms have been car- It was then, aster receiving such explanations ried it will be a matter of short subsequent in- as these, after receiving the ultima- Such the ci quiry to trace whether they have faithfully ap- tum of France, and after M. Chauve- der which m. plied these principles. If in terms, this decree is lin's credentials had ceased, that he Chauveli u à denunciation of war against all governments; was required to depart. Even at country. if in practice it has been applied against every that period, I am almost ashamed to record it, one with which France has come into contact; we did not on our part shut the door against what is it but the deliberate code of the French other attempts to negotiate, but this transaction Revolution, from the birth of the Republic, which was immediately followed by the declaration of has never once been departed from, which has war, proceeding not from England in vindicabeen enforced with unremitted rigor against all tion of her rights, but from France, as the conithe nations that have come into their power ? pletion of the injuries and insults they had offered. If there could otherwise be any doubt whether And on a war thus originating, can it be doubt
the application of this decree was in-ed by an English House of Commons whether be applied to tended to be universal, whether it ap- the aggression was on the part of this country
plied to all nations, and to England or of France ? or whether the manifest aggres. particularly ; there is one circufusiance which sion on the part of France was the result of any alone would be decisive—that nearly at the same thing but the principles which characterize the period it was proposed [by M. Baraillon), in the French Revolution ? National Convention, to declare expresily that What, then, are the resources and subtersuges the decree of November 19th was contined to the by which those who agree with the learned gennations with whom they were then at war; and tleman are prevented from sinking under the that proposal was rejected by a great majority, force of this simple statement of facts ? None by that very Convention from whom we were de- but what are found in the insinuation contained sired 10 receive these explanations as satisfactory. in the note from France, that this country had,
Such, sir, was the nature of the system. Let previous to the transactions to which I have reInstructions to us examine a little farther, whether it ferred, encouraged and supported the combinatheir generals.
was from the beginning irtended 10 tion of other powers directed against them." be acted upon in the extent which I have stated. At the very moment when their threats appeared 11 It is only an act of justice to remind the reader to many little else than the ravings of madmen; that Mr. Erskine, at the commencement of Mr. Pitt's they were digesting and methodizing the means speech, expressly disclaimed the ground here im of execution, as accurately as if they had actual. puted to him and his friends. See Note 2. Through
out his speech, he based his position (whether it ly foreseen the extent to which they have since
was a true or false one) on other grounds. He did been able to realize their criminal projects. They not claim that Mr. Pitt bad acted in concert with sat down coolly to devise the most regular and Austria and Prussia in the declaration of Pilnitz, or eflectual mode of making the application of this in any of their other measures previous to the sussystem the current business of the day, and in pension of M. Chauvelin's functions as French mincorporating it with the general orders of their ister. And Mr. Fox, in bis reply to the speech be. army; for (will the House believe it !) this con- fore us, admitted that England had maintained ber firmation of the decree of November 19th was they insisted that
, after the imprisonment of Louis
neutrality down to that time. See page 532. But accompanied by an exposition and commentary XVI. (August 10th, 1792), France was not treated addressed to the general of every army of France, "as a civilized nation”--the English minister was containing a schedule as coolly conceived, and as ordered to leave Paris–M. Chauvelin's powers were methodically reduced, as any by which the most suspended; and when Mr. Fox moved, December quiet business of a justice of peace, or the most 15th, 1792, “that a minister be sent to Paris to treat regular routine of any department of state in this with those persons who provisionally exercise the country could be conducted. Each commander executive government of France” (thus avoiding a was furnished with one general blank formula of recognition of them as a government), Mr. Pitt re. a letter for all the nations of the world! The firmed that the tone of Lord Grenville, in his subse
fused. See Parl. Hist., vol. xxx., p. 80. They af people of France to the people of Greet
quent informal communications with M. Chauvelin, ing, “ We are come to expel your tyrants." was harsh and irritating—that England ought to Even this was not all; one of the articles of the have come frankly forward and negotiated as to her decree of the fifteenth of December was express- grievances in respect to the opening of the Scheldt. ly, “ that those who should show themselves so the decree of November the 19th, the speech of M brutish and so enamored of their chains as to re- Gregoire, &c., stating explicitly what would satisfy suse the restoration of their rights, to renounce
her-that she ought especially to have accepted tho liberty and equality, or to preserve, recall, or treat French National Assembly early in 1792. Sse pote
mediation urged upon her by Louis XVI. and tas with their prince or privileged orders, were not
to Mr. Fox's speech, page 335. They affirmed tha! entitled to ibe distinction which France, in other there was at least a possibility that in this way the cases, had justly established between government war might have been prevented-tbat, at all events, and people ; and that such a people ought to be England was bound to have made the tr.al before treated according to the rigor of war, and of con- she commenced arming against France-thut if sbe