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Prince Regent's Message on the landing of Buonaparte in France : Address
and Debates.—Lord Wellesley's Motion respecting the Escape of Buonaparte from Elba, and Debates on the subject.—Discussion of the Treaty with America.-Motions and Debates respecting the Transfer of Genoa to the King of Sardinia.-- Mr. Whitbread's Motion for an Address against a War with France.
BARLIAMENT had hitherto provide for the general and per
been chiefly occupied with manent security of Europe." matters of internal policy, when The consideration of this mesthe extraordinary event of Buo- sage was entered upon in the napart's landing in France, the House of Lords on the 7th, when particulars of which will be found the Earl of Liverpool rose to move in the chapter relating to the con- a corresponding address. In his cerns of that country, called its introductory speech, he began attention to different objects, and with observations on the treaty of in fact gave a new turn to the Fontainbleau, concluded in the public history of the year. On last year by the sovereigns then April 6, a message from the at Paris, with Napoleon BuonaPrince Regent was delivered to parte. He affirmed, that Lord each house, communicating the Castlereagh, when informed of information that “ the events its contents, had expressed a which had recently occurred in strong disapprobation of it; but France, in direct contravention of that the representations of the the engagement concluded with allied sovereigns having at length the allied powers at Paris in the convinced him of its necessity, he course of the st year, and which had consented to accede to it threatened consequences highly in part, namely, as far as condangerous to the tranquillity and cerned the possession of the isle independence of Europe, had in- of Elba by Buonaparte, and the duced his Royal Highness to give sovereignty of the Italian duchies directions for the augmentation conferred on his wife. He then of his Majesty's land and sea denied that any breach of this forces; and that he had deemed treaty had been committed by the it incumbent upon him to lose no King of France, as the first paytime in entering into communica- ment of the annual suin stipulated tions with his Majesty's allies for for Buonaparte had not become the purpose of forming such a due, nor had he made any repreconcert as might most effectually sentations to the allied powers on that head ; and his own proclama- tions. With respect io the situations proved that he had meant to tion of Buonaparte in Elba, and violate the treaty on the first op- the imputed neglect of a precau: portunity, and to resume his tionary security against his future power. This resumption was enterprises, he said that the powtherefore a positive and undenia- ers who had concurred in the ble violation of the treaties of treaty of Fontainbleau had never Fontainbleau and Paris, and gave intended to exercise a system of this country a just cause of war police or espoinage with regard against Buonaparte wielding the to him. He was invested with power of France. His Lordship, the sovereignty of the island, and however, did not mean to say, had a sort of naval equipment that because a war was just, it under his flag, which the British should therefore be entereil upon. officer on that station had no The policy of it was another part power of visiting. Col. Campof the question. It was impossi- bell, who had been one of his ble to conceal the dangers with conductors to Elba acccording to which this event threatened the treaty, had indeed been suffered country, but he did not wish that to remain between that island the House should be pledged to and Leghorn, for the purpose of any inconsiderate declaration. conveying occasional intelligence Between the two alternatives of to government, but his visits had armed and defensive preparation, latterly been discouraged by Buo. and actual war, he requested that naparte ; and a sort of English there might be no immediate de- vice-consul who resided on the cision, since it was not merely a island, was placed under the inBritish, but an European ques- spection of two gendarmes at the tion ; and nothing more was at time he was making his preparapresent called for than what the tions. With respect to the penmessage required. lie then mov- sion allotted to Buonaparte and ed the address.
his family, his Lordship said, that The following speakers, who having heard, whilst at Vienna, were lords Grenville, Wellesley, of some complaints on that head, and Grey, all approved of the ad- he had inquired concerning the dress, but made various remarks circumstance, of the French minion the circumstances which had ster, who had addressed his gobrought on this awful crisis. vernment on the subject. The The address was then agreed to reply was, that Buonaparte had nem. diss.
manifested a spirit of infraction On the same day the message of the treaty on his part, by rewas taken into consideration by cruiting for his guards in Corsica the House of Commons, where and other places. Lord C. afterthe subject was introduced by wards being told that he was unLord Castlereagh. He took in ge- der certain pecuniary embarrassneral the same ground with his ments, he spoke to Louis XVIII. colleague, but more at length, as on the subject, who caused a perhaving been personally engaged son to be dispatched to Elba for in many of the previous transac- the purpose of affording him
some present aid, but not to pay did before the treaty. He said he his entire stipend, until a satis- should never give a vote on the factory explanation were given of principle of imposing a specific some suspicious points of his governinent on any nation; and conduct. If, however, he had that he would to the last moment any ground of complaint in this cherish the hope that peace might matter, it should have been made be continued, especially when he to the allies, who were parties in recollected that the noble lord the treaty. After some remarks himself had been engaged in the on the precautionary measures negociations at Chatillon, when now proper to be pursued, he France was not under the governconcluded with moving an ad- ment of the Bourbons, but of dress corresponding to the Re- Buonaparte. gent's message.
Mr. Whitbread began a long Sir Fr. Burdett then rose to de- and warm speech with saying, clare his reasons for refusing to that they who should vote for the concur in the proposed address, address unamended, would fall which turned upon his conviction into the trap into which the mithat Buonaparte was the choice nisters were desirous of betrayof the French nation, and that ing the country; and that he any attempt to re-establish the could not let the occasion pass Bourbons by foree would be without contending with all bis equally unjust, and hopeless. He force against any of the grounds regarded the address as the first hypothetically stated by the noble step towards a war of which no lord for commencing a new cru-. man could foresee the termina. sade for the purpose of determition.
ning who should fill the throne Mr. Ponsonby said he should of France. He would maintain support the address, not consi- that it was the clear interest of dering it in the same light as the this country, and its allies, to hon. baronet, since it did not fulfil the treaty which they had bind the House by a single ex- made with France when under pression on the question of peace the Bourbons. After a variety of
With respect to what observations on this point, among was said of the contravention of which he introduced some very the peace of Paris, he interpreted severe animadversions on the un. it (as Lord Grey did in the House authorised concurrence of the of Lords) as referring to the cir- British minister at Vienna in the cumstance, that more favourable declaration of the allies on the terms having by that treaty been landing of Buonaparte in France, granted to France on the ground (see State Papers), he concluded that she was to return to what with moving the following awas called her legitimate govern- mendment to the address : ment, that condition no longer that at the same time we earnestsubsisting now that the govern- ly implore his Royal Highness ment had reverted to Buonaparte, the Prince Regent that he would the allied powers stood in the be graciously pleased to exert his sanie relation to France that they most strenuous endeavours to se
cure to this country the continu- attention of the house to the treaance of peace, so long as it can be ty entered into with Buonaparte maintained consistently with the at the conclusion of the late war. bonour of his Majesty's crown, He said, that regarding that perthe security of his dominions, and son as the main spring of the the faith to be preserved with his system against which this counMajesty's allies."
try had waged war, he conceived This motion was followed by that no controversy could be raised a mimber of speeches from both upon this proposition, that the sides of the house, of which it is two objects for consideration at unnecessary to enter into the par- the time when the allies were in ticulars. A passage, however, possession of Paris, were the exin Lord Castlereagh's reply may clusion of that person from power, be worth quoting, as it affords a and the provision of adequate tolerably clear view of the real means against his return to powdetermination of the English ca- It was then the duty of our binet at that period. He said, ministry to bave taken a leading " It might be thought that an pårt in the arrangement, and not armed peace would be preferable to have passively acquiesced, as to a state of war, but the danger the minister on the spot had done, ought fairly to be looked at : and in the engagement made by anoknowing that good faith was op- ther power before his arrival. posite to the system of the party The Marquis then proceeded to to be treated with, knowing that shew that the relative situation of the rule of his conduct was the allies and Buonaparte at that self-interest, regardless of every time did not in any degree render other consideration, whatever de- it necessary to comply with his cision they came to must rest on inconsistent demands; that the the principle of power, and not treaty was contrary to policy ; that of reliance on the man." It that there was no necessity for was scarcely possible after such a concluding it; and that no due declaration to doubt that war measures were taken to enforce would be the final result; but its performance. He particularthat, in the choice of evils, this ly censured the part we took in was generally regarded as the the tre:ity, by consenting to the least to be dreaded, was apparent most objectionable points in it, from the division on Mr. Whit- the granting to Buonaparte the bread's motion, which was reject- sovereignty of Elba, and the scted by 220 votes against 37. The tling of the Italian duchies upon address was then passed without his wife and son, whilst we refurther opposition.
fused to be pledged to the perA direct attack on the ministers formance of the part relative to on account of the escape of Buo- the payments to be made to him naparte from Elba, and the poli- and his family, which, though tical circumstances which led to highly improvident if brought to it, was made in the House of elect, guve il plausible ground Lords on April 19, when the Mar- of complaint when not fülilled. quis of Wellesley rose to call the With respect to his escape from
Elba, however difficult the entire equally easy for him to have carprevention of it might be, more ried on intrigues with his adhediligence ought to have been used rents in France, and ultimately in making use of such means of have effected his escape.
Was prevention as we possessed. The the noble Marquis aware, that but Marquis concluded with moving for the continuance of the Amefor an address to the Prince Re- rican war, the whole navy of gent for, “1. Copies, or extracts, England would not have had the or substance of any instructions power to search the meanest fishwhich may have been given by ing vessel. The establishment of his Majesty's government, to any a naval police to prevent his esof his Majesty's naval comman- çape from the island of Elba was ders respecting Napoleon Buona- then wholly out of the question. parte and the island of Elba. 2. With respect to the remark, that Copies, or extracts, or substance by a breach of the articles of the of any information which his treaty, a pretence had been given Majesty's government may have to Buonaparte for contravening received respecting the design of it, his Lordship observed that he Napoleon Buonaparte to escape had never in his proclamations from the island of Elba, together made use of such a justification, with the date of the reception of but had averred that he came to such information."
reclaim his crown, because sumThe Earl of Liverpool began his moned to it by the voice of the reply with expressing his surprise nation. Further, his Lordship asat an attack now commenced upon sured the House, that previously a treaty which had been known to Buonaparte's escape, the allies to the public for twelve months had taken measures to fulfil the past, and if so objectionable as articles, not to the letter, but now represented by the noble with a spirit of liberality becomMarquis, ought long ago to have ing great powers; and that it was been brought by him before the the intention of the court of notice of the House. He then France to have executed its part proceeded to consider the situa- of the engagement with the greattion of the allied powers and of est punctuality. France at the period of the treaty These topics were discussed af Fontainbleau, and asked what more or less at large, but with would have been the sentiment little variety of argument, by seof this country and of all Europe, veral other speakers, who were if a great addition of hazard and chieily the lords in opposition. bloodshed had been incurred for On a division, the numbers were the sole difference between treat- Contents 21, Non-contents 53. ing with Buonaparte, and making Majority against the motion, 32. him a prisoner. He then took The same subject was brought into consideration the choice of a before the House of Commons on place assigned for his retreat, and April 20, by a motion from Mr. contended that wherever he had Abercrombie which was a counterbeen, not being subject to per part of that of the Marquis of sonal restraint, it would have been Wellesley. The debate which fol.