Imatges de pàgina

firmly resolved to maintain entire the treaty of Paris of the 30th of May, 1814, and the dispositions sanctioned by that treaty, and those which they have resolved on, or shall hereafter resolve on, to complete and to consolidate it, they will employ all their means, and will unite all their efforts, that the general peace, the object of the wishes of Europe, and the constant purpose of their labours, may not again be troubled; and to provide against every attempt which shall threaten to replunge the world into the disorders of revolution.

"And although entirely persuaded, that all France, rallying round its legitimate sovereign, will immediately annihilate this last attempt of a criminal and impotent delirium, all the Sovereigns of Europe, animated by the same sentiments, and guided by the same principles, declare, that if, contrary to all calculations, there should result from this event any real danger, they will be ready to give to the King of France, and to the French nation, or to any other government, that shall be attacked, as soon as they shall be called upon, all the assistance requisite to restore public tranquillity, and to make a common cause against all those who should undertake to compromise it."

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This manifesto was instantly followed by a treaty betwixt Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, and Russia, renewing and confirming the league entered into at Chaumont. The 1st article declared the resolution of the high contracting parties to maintain and enforce the treaty of Paris, which secluded Buonaparte from the throne of France, and to enforce the decree of outlawry issued against him as above mentioned. 2. Each of the contracting parties agreed to keep constantly in the field an army of 150,000 men complete, with the due proportion of cavalry and artillery. 3. They agreed

not to lay down their arms but by common consent, or when the purpose of the war should have been attained, or until Buonaparte should be rendered incapable of disturbing the peace of Europe. After other subordinate articles, the 7th provided, that the other powers of Europe should be invited to accede to the treaty; and the 8th, that the King of France should be particularly called upon to become a party to the league. A separate article provided, that the King of Great Britain should have the option of fur nishing his contingent in men, or of paying instead at the rate of 307. sterling per annum for each cavalry soldier, and 207. per annum for each infantry soldier, which should be wanting to make up his complement. To this treaty a declaration was subjoined, when it was ratified by the Prince Regent, referring to the eighth article of the treaty, and declaring that it should not be understood as binding his Britannic Majesty to prosecute the war with the view of forcibly imposing on France any particular government. The other contracting powers agreed to accept of the accession of his Royal Highness, under this explanation and limitation.

This treaty was laid before both Houses of the British Parliament, with a message from the Prince, expressing his reliance on their support in such measures as he should find it necessary to adopt in concert with his allies. The debates which took place on this occasion form at once an important part of our parliamentary history, and the best commentary upon the measures of the allies. But it is previously necessary to mention what took place in parliament upon the first news of Buonaparte's re-appearance on the scene.

Upon the 7th of April the Prince Regent sent a message to the House of

April 7.

Commons, stating, "that events have taken place in a neighbouring kingdom, in direct contravention of the engagements made in the treaty of Fontainbleau, not only with reference to that treaty, but as far as it formed the basis of the treaty of Paris; necessarily and naturally implying, as the contravention of all treaties must, a justifiable cause of war." Lord Castlereagh moved the House to accede to an address, in reply to the message, declaratory of their determination to enable his Royal Highness, in conjunction with his allies, to adopt such measures as circumstances might render imperative for the general tranquillity of Europe. His lordship went at some length into a vindication of the treaty of Fontainbleau, from the too obvious charge that it granted Buonaparte an asylum and powers which were liable to abuse, and by means of which he had been enabled to succeed in his late attempt. "Generosity," he admitted, " certainly was the prevailing feature which marked the policy of the allies towards France, and whatever calamities may arise to the world from the transactions in question, I, for one, shall never lament, that the powers who marched to the gates of Paris, did act on that generous principle, and thereby showed their deference to the rights and feelings of the people. That principle is one, of which, I am convinced, a British Parliament will always express its approbation. It is the only great, and strong, and true one; and Parliament has never omitted any occasion, where it could be recognized and supported, of so doing. I am sure, I shall not have to regret, on account of the display of any contrary feeling in this House, that if there was an error in the conduct of the allies towards France, it was on the side of generosity. The exercise of that principle is due to all

countries, until they do something which forbids it-until they prevent their opponents from being generous to them, without risking the imputation of being unjust and ruinous to themselves. If, therefore, any blame be imputable in this transaction, I feel confident that it is to be found on the right side; for whatever may hereafter be the relative situation of France and the rest of Europe, the former can never assert, that the allies harboured an intention of acting ungenerously by her." Allowing full weight to these observations, it remains to be shewn whether the allied powers stood in a situation which entitled them to risk any solid advantage, or neglect any feasible precaution, in order to aspire to the praise of magnanimity-whether, in short, before being generous to France or to Buonaparte, they ought not to have been just to Europe and themselves. Lord Castlereagh was more fortunate in exculpating his own accession to the treaty of Fontainbleau, than in justifying its general wisdom and prudence, unless as grounded on the plea of necessity. He stated the treaty to have been made with Napoleon before his own arrival at Paris. "Seeing," said Lord Castlereagh, "the obvious danger of placing a person, who had so lately wielded the power of France, so immediately in the neighbourhood of his former empire, and also in the neighbourhood of another part of Europe, which might be influenced by sentiments favourable to him, I thought it my duty to make every opposition in my power to the arrangement. But, on a further examination of the subject, the difficulty of finding a situation, at once free from the dangers I apprehended, and, at the same time, answering the character which Buonaparte stipulated for in his negocia tion, induced me to withdraw my opposition; making, however, some al

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teration in the details. The plain fact was, that the question among the allied powers, relative to this point, was not decided under the circumstance of Buonaparte being within their grasp; for such was not the case; he was not so circumstanced, but was placed in a situation and with a force immediately about his person, which was entitled to serious consideration; and when combined with other troops, then scattered about the country, and his opportunities of uniting them with those of Marshal Soult, and other generals in the south of France, it became a matter of expediency to calculate his means of prolonging the warfare, and to consider the alternative which might prevent such an event. This was the plain fact which led to his term of security."

On the subject of Buonaparte's escape from Elba, Lord Castlereagh stated, that "when the island was secured to him by treaty, it was of course done with as much exercise of personal liberty as became the compact it was never in the contemplation of the parties that he should be a prisoner within any settlement; that he should be the compulsory inmate of any tower, or fortress, or citadel-they never meant that he should be so placed, or that he should be deprived of sea excursions in the vicinity of the island, for fair purposes of recreation. The allied powers who concurred in the treaty of Fontainbleau never intended to exercise a police, or any system of espionage, either within or without the residence which they had ceded to him; it was never in their contemplation to establish a naval police to hem him in, or prevent this man's committing himself, as he has done, to his fortunes; in fact, if they were so inclined, they were without the means of enforcing such a system, for the best authori

ties were of opinion that it was absolutely and physically impossible to draw a line of circumvallation around Elba: and for this very conclusive reason, that, considering the variation of weather, and a variety of other circumstances, which could not be controlled, the whole British navy would be inadequate for such a purpose. If this force had been actually there, they could not have circumscribed Buonaparte in the manner in which some persons expected he should have been, without a violation of the treaty which had been granted. By this he was invested with the entire sovereignty of the island; he was also assigned a sort of naval equipment, certainly upon a small scale, but one which allotted him a flag, and which it was not extraordinary to meet on the neighbouring sea; one of his vessels was constantly seen for ordinary purposes in several of the ports of the Mediterranean. The British officer commanding on that station had not the power of visiting these vessels whenever they were occasionally met. Had he known that Buonaparte was on board with an armed equipment, he would have exercised that right, there can be no doubt, and would have been justified in doing so; but he was not authorized, nor would it have been consistent with the treaty, to have empowered him on all occasions to use a right of visitation with a flag of this description. But I repeat, that our government never undertook to establish a police at Elba. Colonel Campbell was certainly there for the purpose of occasionally communicating with our government upon such matters as might pass under his observation, both there and in Italy, where at that time we had no accredited agent; he was there at first merely as one of the conductors according to the treaty, and I afterwards suffered him to remain between that

island and Leglorn, for the purpose I have mentioned; but nothing more was ever contemplated. It would have been out of Colonel Campbell's power to have attemp'ed any thing further: he could not have done it; for the fact was, that although at first treated with familiarity by Buonaparte, his visits were subsequently disapproved of, and it was even hinted that if they were repeated, he should withdraw from the island atterly he found the greatest difficulty in obtaining an interview with Buonaparte, o completely did the latter surround himself with imperial etiquette. Of the inefficacy of any thing which Colonel Campbell could have done, were he on the spot to have attempted the experiment, I need only mention the following fact: a number of vessels from all nations were in the habit of arriving for tra ding purposes in the three principal ports of this island; on the part of the English ships, a Mr Ritchie resided there as a sort of vice consul, to see that our ships wanted nothing that was necessary for them: the moment when Buonaparte prepared to carry his plan into execution, he placed this Mr Ritchie under the surveillance of two gens d'armes. Mr Grattan, jun. who happened to be on the island, and who conveyed the earliest intelliger ce of the event to the nearest public agent of this country, was also taken into custody, and there can be no doubt, that Colonel Campbell would have er countered a similar restraint; his presence, therefore, woud have had no efect in preventing the escape of Buonaparte, or in trasmitting any intelligence of t) at event sooner than it reached us in the ordinary course. It is also a remarkable ɛno almost incredible circun star ce, and one of the truth of which i have every reason to be satisfied, that to completely within his own boson aid buonaparte carry the plan he meditated, that his con

fidential companion, Bertrand, was wholly unapprised of his intentions, until the very hour in which he received the order for his embarkation." His lordship proceeded to state, that France bad vessels cruizing off Elba, Corsica, and Leghorn, to keep a watch upon Buonaparte's motions; that Admiral Hallowell and Lord Exmouth had orders to frustrate any attempts he might make at a descent; that in his passage from Elba to Cannes, Buonaparte was actually chased by the Partridge, which was crossing with Colonel Campbell; and that, on the whole, no circumstance of precaution had been omitted which the faith due to the treaty of Fontainbleau permitted to be observed.

Lord Castlereagh proceeded to examine an allegation made to extenuate Buonaparte's infraction of the treaty, namely, that the stipulated pension had not been faithfully remitted to him. His lordship stated, "that on such a rumour reaching his, ears he had remonstrated with the court of France; and although they alleged, first, that Buonaparte was not entitied to his pension till the lapse of the year, and, secondly, that he had manifested a spirit of infringement of the treaty, he (Lord Castlereagh) had nevertheless insisted that Buonaparte should be supplied in the interim with such aid as might prevent the necessity of his selling provisions or cannon, to which he was said to be reduced."

Having premised these circumstances, he stated, "that the line of conduct which the country had to pursue was, for the present, of a nature merely precautionary. Buonapare's restoration had been exclusively the work of the mintary, who, accustomed to seek their fortune by rapine and plunder, and to look forward to war with the hopes of promotion and reward, were natural enemies


of a peaceful sovereign. The danger from such a state of things was appaBut he agreed that Britain ought neither to urge the continental powers to war, if they were indisposed to it, or to suffer herself to be precipitated into it by their ardour. He therefore only proposed, that the Prince Regent should be supported in entering into such a concert with his allies as might best provide for the general security of Europe, and that the House should afford him the requisite supplies for augmenta tion of the national force by sea and land."

bons; but it was their own conduct alone which had deprived them of the throne. That conduct had been most hostile to liberty, as indeed had also been the conduct of the assembled sovereigns at Vienna, who had themselves subverted the principles on which they originally took their stand; and who on that account did not pos sess the same power which they had formerly wielded against the emperor of France with so much success. With respect to the dreadful note of preparation' now sounded, he repeated, that if he could consider it as only for defence-for resistance against aggression-he would concur in the address before the House. But by what he could collect from the ambiguous expressions of the noble lord, there existed a strong desire in the British government, if the elements of war could be found in Europe, to recur to that detestable principlethe re-establishment of what were called legitimate sovereigns; as if nations belonged irrevocably to certain families-a principle which it was still more reprehensible to maintain in a country, the sovereign of which held his throne alone by the will of the people; and who, if the principle thus asserted were correct, was a greater usurper than Buonaparte. He would therefore vote," he said, "against the address, as the first step for plunging the nation into a struggle, which, he was persuaded, would be as unsuccessful in its event, as unjust in its principle."

A very large majority of the House of Commons, including Mr Ponsonby and some other leading members of the opposition, expressed their approbation of the precautionary measures proposed. But the sentiment was not unanimous. Sir Francis Burdett saw nothing in the armament proposed but the intention of imposing a government on an independent people against their will-a war for the benefit of the Bourbons. "Was it not plain," he asked, "that Buonaparte was the ruler of the French people's choice? The step he had taken had very absurdly been called the invasion of France. But who ever heard of a single man invading a nation of thirty millions of inhabitants, and gaining the sovereignty of that nation against its will? The fact was, that the nation wished for him, and had in a great degree wished for him from their dislike of the government which he superseded. There was not a man in France who did not see a new order of things rising up under the Bourbons, and who did not fear that property was insecure. The government of Louis did not act up to the principles of that constitution which his brother had accepted for him before his return. He repeated, that he was desirous not to speak harshly of the Bour

Mr Whitbread seemed to form similar conclusions. He also supposed Buonaparte to be Emperor of France by the choice of the people, as well as of the soldiers. He requested the House to contrast the decree abolishing the slave-trade, which the emperor had instantly passed upon his return to Paris, with the volume of diplomacy in which Louis le Desiré

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