Imatges de pÓgina

its several stages. Several Members had declared in favour of the Bill, to shew that they were not to be intimidated by the menaces out of doors, nor would he suffer himself to be overawed by Gentlemen within, from conscientiously discharging his duty, and declaring his sentiments: the blanks were then filled; all the amendments being negatived by great majorities, and the Bill ordered to be read a third time on Friday.

Some conversation ensued about the disturbances in the metropolis, when Mr Hiley Addington detailed the steps taken by the Secretary of State for preserving the public tranquillity. The whole of the civil force had been put in requisition; a large military force was ordered to the capital, and stationed in the environs, with artillery, and the town divided into ten districts, to each of which a Magistrate had been appointed.

Thursday, March 9.

The different petitions presented against the Corn Laws up to this day are supposed to have been signed by not fewer than 800,000 individuals.

The Finance Resolutions were postponed. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, in reply to a question from Mr Protheroe, stated, that with respect to the window duty on warehouses, where either health or business required a great number of windows, he had no objection to a modification. There were two classes of warehouses to which he intimated, that a modification of the duty would be applied: namely, where there are a great number of small windows, and where the windows are separated by small divisions. In these cases he would propose to substitute the duty of Is. 6d. instead of 3s. 6d. In the case of the number of windows in warehouses of the latter class, exceeding 100, he intended to propose, that they should be charged by measurement as in green houses. He further observed, that the presest schedule of duties was not to extend to warehouses which had formerly been exempted on the ground of poverty.

Friday, March 10.

Sir Francis Burdett, in presenting a Petition, signed by 42,473 inhabitants of Westminster, against the Corn Bill, wished to correct a mistake that had gone abroad, of his having been a friend to the measure. He was no supporter of the Corn Bill. Government were alone interested in the measure, as they found it nccessary to bolster up the system of taxation, which they were resolved to continue. He had been represented in some of the public prints as hav ing abandoned his former principles: it had been said, that the landlord at length ap

pears, and the patriot disappears; and that he permitted interest to stifle every other consideration. Yet he had no interest in the Bill; it would neither add one farthing, nor take one farthing from him. His little property-his little establishment, was ever in a peace establishment (laugh.) He had in view a permanent state of things, and not to take advantage of temporary circumstances. If the Bill passed with the protecting price of 80s. the quarter, he should not raise his rents; nor if it were thrown out, would he lower them. The object of the peace establishment was to subvert the Constitution of the country. He would ap peal to every Member, if any discussion on any subject proposed by the Ministry, can be viewed in any other light than a mock debate; and if any man who sits in the seat which the Noble Lord opposite (Lord Castlereagh), occupies, cannot carry any measure he pleases, by a great majority. Whatever falls from him is received as if he were clothed with the mantle of the Prophetthere he sits as an oracle, and all the people bow obedience to him (laugh). His opi ion of the electors of Westminster was, that they would despise him if he compromised his opinion to pay court to them. But to cut the matter short-he would never avail himself of the scandalous Septennial Act; and he should at all times be ready to resign his seat in that House to whatever person they might think more worthy of it. He must protest against the system now adopted of calling out the military, and firing out of houses. In walking the streets, one runs the risk of being rode over by dragoons. A Gentleman, in going along the streets the other night, was told by a soldier to go home: his reply was, “I do not know that martial law is yet established; you may go home if you please; for I will not." The force being unconstitu tional, whatever death ensued was murder. In the case of Burlington-street, where a young man was killed, there was no justification. The military ought to display their strength rather than conceal it. Such a thing was never before heard of in this country, as putting men in houses with fire arms, to fire on the people; to invite the people, as it were, to attack, by shewing no preparation for defence, and then to destroy them in this manner. The labouring classes would not be benefited by the Bill: their wages would be the same. He thought the landed proprietors had been unfairly dealt with, and that they had been held up in a very false light. He was sorry they suffered themselves to be made the cats' paw of any Ministry.

Mr Robinson explained, that his own life,


[blocks in formation]

Sir Francis Burdett said, he did not attach blame to Mr Robinson individually, but to the soldiers employed. Every man should protect his property legally and constitutionally the whole metropolis might be armed and organized, but by the interference of soldiers, a military despotism, instead of a constitutional defence, would be established. A magistrate being placed at the head of the military, did not change the character of the force, no more than a staff, painted like that used by a constable, made a peace-officer. His object was to restore, not to subvert the constitution. Who says I wish to overturn the Constitution? Why the noble Lord, who was himself detected in an act for which he ought to have lost his head, [hear, hear! and great confusion.] I say, that for that act the Noble Lord ought to have lost his head; and by an uncorrupt House of Commons he would have been impeached, and would have suffered. He was exposed trafficking in seats in this House. The Noble Lord and his friends round him laugh; he may laugh now, secure in the protection he has received from this House: but when this heinous traffic was disclosed, you yourself, Mr Speaker, stigmatized it as a new practice, at which our forefathers would have started with horror and indignation, and yet the Noble Lord was pardoned: let it never be forgotten, because the crime was as notorious as the sun at noon day, and he esca ped in the general mass of corruption and delinquency. Yet the Noble Lord, admitted to be guilty of this great offence, this direct attack upon the constitution, now ventures to stand forward, amidst the applauses of the House, as the upholder and supporter of that Constitution which he has

April 1815. 9

been proved to have endeavoured to overthrow-[Hear, hear, hear! and great confusion.]—

I cannot approve of the public tumults, the breaking of windows, or the unmanly practice of attacking defenceless individuals, but still less do I approve of the practice of letting loose an armed force upon an unarmed populace. (Hear, hear!) But I can bear with patience the charge of the Noble Lord, that I wish to renovate the Constitution, because it has been, 1 am proud to say, the whole object of my life. The Hon. Baronet has spoken of the Electors of Westminster as if they were engaged in these disturbances; he says, that he will defend his house to the last against my Constituents. Does he mean to assert, that the enlightened Electors of the important City of Westminster are guilty of these outrages? (Hear, hear, and laughter!) I say that no Member has a right to make such an assertion, however obnoxious my Constituents may be to the corrupt portion of this House. I have a right to call it so -the Noble Lord was detected in disgraceful practices-he was taken in the fact, and ex uno disce omnes, that was only one instance of a consistent system of profligacy.

Mr Methuen spoke to order; and the Speaker said it was a breach of order to say, that that House was a consistent system of profligacy.

Sir F. Burdett replied, "I wish that my assertion was not only a breach of order, but a breach of truth!"

Mr H. Summer wished to know if the Hon. Baronet objected to have his words taken down.

Sir F. Burdett said, it was a matter of indifference to him; he might do as he pleased.

Sir John Sebright explained, that his reflection did not apply to the electors of Westminster, but only to those persons whom the Hon. Baronet addressed in Palace-Yard.

Sir F. Burdett answered, that the householders of Westminster were the electors: he was indifferent whether the measure was carried or not; but was sorry that the people had been deluded by it. The third reading of the Corn Bill was then carried, after two divisions, by majorities of 168 and 141; and being read, was passed and order ed to be sent to the Lords.



Historical Affairs.



therefore be a tolerably fair representation of the people: and the result of this session cannot be called the voice of the army, for the representative body must be taken from the class of the highest property in the kingdom."

NEVER perhaps did the civilized world

present a scene of more portentous interest than at the present crisis. While we behold the nations of Europe marshalling their whole strength against France; and while we see again at the head of that powerful state, the extraordinary chief who has so often carried war and desolation from one end of Europe to the other, it is impossible to contemplate, without horror, the approach of that conflict which it is likely will be the consequence of such dreadful preparations. The question of war however is not yet finally decided; and if the present government of France succeed in persuading the other powers of the sincerity⚫narchy.'-It then enters into the history of its pacific professions, the world may yet hope for a time to enjoy repase. And surely nothing but the most dire necessity will induce the sovereigns of Europe to forego the blessings of peace, and again expose their countries to the risk of devastation and bloodshed.

That Bonaparte has become sensible of the errors of his former despotic government, and has determined on a more liberal and moderate policy at home and abroad, we would be convinced, if we could credit his own testimony, or if we could regard the spirit that appears in the various public addresses and documents. An address from the council of state, begins by stating, that the sovereignty resides in the people-it is the only legitimate power;'-' in 1789 'the nation recovered its rights;'-' the na 'tional assembly abolished the feudal mo

of Bonaparte, in order to shew that he was chosen by the people ;-declares, that it was impossible for him, by abdication, to destroy the rights of his son to the crown; and that his abdication was null and void, because not in conformity with the wishes of the people. In his answer to this address, Bonaparte speaks of the sovereignty of the people, and adds, I have renounced all


We have already seen the extraordinary progress of Bonaparte, from his landing on the shores of the Mediterranean to his resumption of the imperial throne of France. On that throne he now seems to be more firmly seated than ever, and it appears elearly that he means to found his title to it on the choice and affections of the people. Accordingly every proceeding since his return, as far as we can judge from appearances, manifests a total change in his principles and views. He promises liberty at home, renounces wars abroad, and assumes no power but what shall emanate from the nation; his ministers are chosen from among the most celebrated republicans; and among his first acts we find the abolition of the censorship of the press, the abolition of the slave trade, freedom of worship, and the voting of taxes and laws by the representatives of the nation legally assembled. Well knowing the influence of an imposing show, he has summoned the members of the electoral colleges of France to meet in "a Field of May, according to the ancient form of the Franks, to digest a constitutional charter. The assembly may consist of twenty thousand persons; and a hall is to be prepared for that number. It will

ideas of the grand empire, of which dur 'ing fifteen years I had only laid the foun⚫dation. Henceforth the happiness and

consolidation of the French empire shall be the sole objects of my attention.' In an address of his ministers, we have the following passages:- Your Majesty will 'forget that we have been the masters of 'the nations that surround us. Your Ma'jesty has prescribed to your ministers the path they should follow-you have announced to the nation the maxims by which you desire it should be governed in future. We are to have no foreign war, unless it be to repulse unjust aggression.' -Bonaparte in his answer re-echoes these sentiments.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

A letter from Bonaparte to the sovereigns of Europe has been published in the Moniteur, which professes his wish to remain at peace, and to observe inviolate the treaty of Paris; and complains of the stoppage of the couriers which he had dispatched to the different courts with his pacific sentiments. By his minister Caulincourt, a circular letter has also been addressed to all the ambassadors of France, in whatever country, suspending

suspending their legation till the receipt of new letters of credence; but ordering them to assume the tri-coloured cockade, and to proclaim to the Courts at which they reside, "that his Majesty has renounced all the projects of grandeur that he may have heretofore conceived, and that the system of his Cabinet, and the whole direction of the af*fairs of France, is founded on quite another principle." To his troops, Bonaparte repeats the new maxim-" We wish not to interfere with the affairs of other nations: but wo to those who shall wish to intermeddle with ours, to treat us like Genoa, or Geneva, and impose on us other laws than those which the nation wills. They shall find on our frontiers the heroes of Marengo, of Austerlitz, and of Jena; they shall find there a whole people; and if they have six hundred thousand men, we will oppose to them two millions."

One circumstance deserves to be regarded as some evidence, of the new system of policy which rules the councils of Napoleon, namely, the character of his ministers and councillors, among whom, as we have already stated, are to be seen some of the most celebrated republicans of France, viz. Carnot, Grogeire, Roederer, Constant, &c. and to these has lately been added Bonaparte's brother Lucien, who it is well known refused any public honour or place under his late government, and ultimately sought shelter in a foreign country, disgusted with the despotic sway of his brother, and despairing of ever beholding real liberty in France. Lucien has been made minister of the interior, in the room of Carnot, who has been removed to the department of war.

But while Napoleon thus holds forth professions of peace, he does not appear neglectful of the immense warlike preparations making around him; and accordingly every exertion is used to put his army in a state of activity, to be ready to repel any invasion that may be made of France. His war minister has presented a report on the general state of Europe, which, after remarking on the great preparations of the different powers, concludes, that war is resolved on, and that France must make adequate preparations to meet the approaching crisis. The Moniteur contains several decrees of a military nature, one of which contains a summons to all officers and soldiers, who shall have quitted the army, for whatsoever reason, to rejoin the army, with a promise, that when the present peace "shall be consolidated," those who obey this decree shall be the first to receive their discharges. The same decree directs the addition of a fifth battalion to every regiment of infantry, and the formation of six

regiments of tirailleurs and six of voltigeurs of the young Imperial guard. The two first battalions are immediately to be completed from the third, and are to be placed on actual service; the third and fourth battalions are to be formed of the men collected by this recall, and the fifth by recruits. This paper also contains a table of the new levy of national guards for the defence of the frontiers, consisting of 3130 battalions, amounting in the whole to 2,255,040 men.

The attempts made by several members of the Bourbon family, to raise the white flag in France, have all completely failed. The unfortunate Louis XVIII, on arriving at Lisle, found the garrison so hostile, that he was compelled to withdraw into the Netherlands, and has established his court at Ostend, where he is attended by a few of his household troops. Marshal Marmont and General Clarke are the only French officers of note who have adhered to him. The Duke de Bourbon made a fruitless effort to raise an insurrection in favour of his family in Là Vendee, but was at last compelled to embark at Nantes. A similar result attended the efforts of the Duke of Angouleme, who for some time commanded a party of royalists at Marseilles, but was at last surrounded, and obliged to capitulate. The National Guards, say the French papers, refused to abide by the capitulation, and arrested the Duke; but a letter from Napoleon directed Gen. Grouchy to give him safe conduct to Cette, there to, embark for England; stipulating, however, that for this leniency the Duke should pledge his honour to see restored the crown jewels of France, which had been carried off by Louis.

At Bourdeaux great hopes were entertained that the royalists would be able to make a stand; and the Duchess D'Angouleme was there to encourage them by her presence. On the approach, however, of General Clausel, sent by Bonaparte, the troops in garrison betrayed the same dispositions as their fellows in other quarters. The Duchess went from barrack to barrack, from regiment to regiment, to animate the regular troops; but when the crisis arrived, they refused to fight. She then flew to the volunteers. They were passed in review, and drawn up in order of battle on the quays. She placed herself at the head of these men, and ordered them to fire on Clausel's troops. But after one volley, they quarrelled among themselves, fired on each other, and, being excited by emissaries of the enemy, they threatened her life. The Duchess retired. At eight o'clock in the evening of the 1st instant the Duchess, having first released her followers tom their


[ocr errors]

oaths to the Bourbons, left Bourdeaux, to embark at Pouillac, towards the mouth of the river. The next morning, at eleven, General Clausel entered the city. Count Lynch, the mayor, and some other faithful partizans of the king, had previously departed.


One of the Moniteurs lately received, con. tains a decree, dated at Lyons, so far back as the 12th of March, granting an amnesty to all persons implicated in calling in foreigners in the year 1814," excepting, how ever, amongst others, the Prince of Benevento, the Duke of Ragusa, Lynch, mayor of Bourdeaux, De la Roche-Jacquelin, De Vitrolles, Alexis de Noailles, Sosthine de la Rochefoucault, Bourienne, Bellart, Count Bournonville, Count Jaucourt, the Duke of Dalberg, and the Abbe De Montesquieu, who are all to be tried when arrested, and in case of condemnation, to undergo the punishment inflicted by the penal code. Their goods and estates are to be confiscated immediately. All the persons who constituted the provisional government which recalled Louis XVIII. are thus included.

Another decree has been issued, reviving the laws of the national assembly against the persons of the Bourbons, and giving them up to trial and punishment, if they are found within the French territory. This decree, however, was not put in force in the case of the Duke D'Angouleme, captured at Marseilles. All those who accepted ministerial functions under Louis, or formed part of his household-officers commanding bodies formed against the imperial government, and all Chouans, are ordered to remove 30 miles from Paris. All the civil and military officers who had joined the royalists in the south, are ordered to abandon them within one week, under pain of prosecution.

When the other members of the Bour

bon family left Paris, appears that the Duchess Dowager of Orleans, and the Duchess of Bourbon, chose to remain; and upon these persons Napoleon has settled pensions of 300,000 livres for life.

When the powers assembled in Congress at Vienna, received intelligence of the landing of Bonaparte in France, they issued a declaration on the 13th of March, setting forth their determination to assist France, or any other country, whose tranquillity might be disturbed by his projects, and de. claring him out of the pale of national law. A treaty has since been published between Russia, Prussia, Austria and Britain, dated the 25th of March. It is founded, as is stated, on the principles of the treaty of Chaumont, and binds the respective parties to defend the so happily restored order of

⚫ things against all violation,' to bring to justice all such as may join, or shall hereafter join the party of Napoleon.' For this purpose, each is to maintain in the field an army of 150,000 men, and not to lay down their arms until Bonaparte is so far subdued as to be rendered unable again to disturb the tranquillity of the world. The other powers of Europe are to be invited to accede to this treaty.

Accordingly preparations for the renewal of war are carrying on in every part of the continent, from north to south, and from the borders of the Euxine to the shores of the Atlantic. It does not follow, however, that war must be the consequence. These declarations were perhaps made while ignorant of the failure of the Bourbons, in every quarter of France; and the warlike preparations may be only to give the different powers a high attitude. Some of them, too, such as Bavaria, Wurtemberg, and the Swiss Cantons, are said to be desirous of neutrality; and letters from Spain give reason to expect no vigorous co-operation on that side against France, as the general discontents will oblige the government to retain the armies within its frontiers. There is little doubt that Murat will make common cause with Bonaparte, and excite insurrections against the Austrian power in Italy. It has transpired, that in the nego. ciations at Viepna, Talleyrand addressed a note to Lord Castlereagh, urging that England should declare King Ferdinand the legitimate sovereign of Naples. Much sophistry is used by that statesman to shew, that this unanimous declaration of all the powers would render the employment of force useless; that Murat, not meeting with support, would at once descend from his throne; as Austria had guaranteed Naples from all attack, it was proposed to get over her breach of faith, by not permitting an attack to be directed from the side of her possessions in Italy. Murat was aware of these projected breaches of faith, and has doubtless taken his measures accordingly. It is known that he favoured the circulation of Bonaparte's proclamations; that when the Princess Pauline, Napoleon's sister, was arrested on her return to Porto Ferrajo, he sent to Florence to threaten that city with military occupation unless she was released. This had the desired effect. The Journal de Paris has an article from Naples, dated March 30., stating, that in consequence of the party at congress, in favour of the restoration of King Ferdinand, having gained superior influence, Murat had put his army in motion, to the amount of 80,000 men. Two divisions were passing through the Roman states. The pope and his cardinals bad

« AnteriorContinua »