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Lord Howick observed, that it would be to think of any thing in this life, of his extremely inconvenient that the house opinions, as to the means to be used for should that night divide upon the question: the purpose of restoring peace and prohe therefore proposed the debate should sperity to this country. It is that knowledge be adjourned until to-morrow. This pro- which alone can enable me, or rather enposition was accordingly agreed to. courage me adequately to perform the

(NEGOCIATION WITH FRANCE.] duty which I owe to his memory, to this - Lord Howick, having moved that the bouse, and to the public. Sir, if I could Papers presented to the house on the 22d be confident of 'a general concurrence in of December last (see p. 91) relating to the this house on this subject, such as I believe Negociation with France, be now taken into lo prevail abroad; or if I could even trust consideration, rose, and addressed the house that this house would follow the example as follows:-Mr. Speaker, the Papers which of the other house of parliament in the have been laid before the house in conse- unanimity of its vote, my task would inquence of his majesty's gracious command deed be grateful and easy; but I know for that purpose, having now been for a too well, the severity of criticism which I considerable time under consideration, it have to expect from some quarters in this: becomes my duty to offer that proposition house, and I am too apprehensive of a rae. to the house which has been usual on si-dical difference of opinion, to entertain milar occasions ; namely, a motion for an that confidence, or to think there will be humble address to his majesty, expressive any such unanimity of sentiment in this of such sentiments as the house may think house, as to the result of the negociation. fit to convey to the throne, after a careful I shall therefore endeavour, by as clear : review of the whole of this most important and detailed an exposition as I can make question. In rising to perform this duty, of the facts,' to shew, that as, on the one it is impossible for me not to experience hand, the king's government has, in no many painful feelings : in the first place, instance, committed the honour of the regret, deep and lasting regret, for the crown, by any manifestation or disposition failure of an effort sincerely directed to to make improper concessions and sacrifices the restoration of peace to this country and so, on the other, it has neglected no means to Europe, aggravated as that failure has within its power to conclude such a peace been by the increased difficulties which the as was consistent with the honour, prorapid succession of the most fatal events sperity, and interests of the country. I do has since opposed to the restoration of not know whether, on the present occasion, peace. But, sir, connected with these it will be necessary to shew to the bouse feelings, peculiarly affecting to myself, is that, at the time of opening the late negoanother event which it is impossible for me ciation, peace was in itself desirable. This, to pass by unnoticed, for it is impossible as a general proposition, is always true ; for me not to recollect by whom this busi- peace is always desirable. The only true ness would have been detailed to this house, and legitimate end of war is a safe and but for the dispensation of Providence. It honourable peace. But the question will is impossible for me to speak a word upon be, whether we stood in a situation, at the this occasion, either as to the effort itself, moment of opening the negociation, that or the fajlure of it, without recollecting the we could open it with a hope of obtaining great and irreparable loss the country has such terms as, under all circumstances, the sustained in the death of that loved friend country had a right to expect.' I think it and instructor, without whose guidance will hardly be denied, that after the failure and support I have no confidence in my of the third coalition," after the fatal day own strength. It is impossible for me to of Austerlitz, peace, if it could have been forget what he was, and what I am. In obtained without any important sacrifices, detailing his efforts, and defending his con- which should place us in a worse situation duct, I feel more than ever my own insuffi- as to the renewal of a war to which we ciency..for the performance of the task might be provoked by the injustice of the which he alone could adequately fulfill. enemy-if such a peace could have been Ifany thing can support me under such iobtained, I think that, merely 'with a view apprehensions, and upon such an occasion, to the temporary repose of the world, it it is the knowledge I have of those princi- would have been desirable. If it would ples, as-connected with this subject, which have been desirable, then, upon what prinbe held invariably until be ceased for ever ciple sought the negociation to have been Vol. VIII.


entered into ? And here I must refer to the a basis which could not conduct the 'ne. principle stated in Mr. Fox's first letter to M. gociation to any salutary end, because the Talleyrand, in answer to the first overture, basis of that treaty was so undefined and " that a peace, to be advantageous to the liable to cavil, that we should dispute about two countries, should be negociata on the basis itself. Accordingly, M. Talleyprinciples honourable to both, and, at the rand, in his answer, gives up the question same time, of a nature, as far as possible, almost in words; he says, that he does not to secure the future tranquillity of Europe." I think any of the articles of that treaty were This principle is what I wish the house to the cause of the war. Throughout the keep in mind, because it is that which was whole of his letter he expressly admits, invariably pursued by his majesty's minis- that actual possession was to be the basis ters. It was that which they made the of the negociation, for he tells you, that basis of the negociation. They insisted, France desires nothing that England posfirst; that we should treat in conjunction sesses; he wishes that the negociation may with our ally the emperor of Russia; and, be conducted on principles of reciprocal in the next place, that the negociation equality. He states that France is a great should be conducted upon the basis of power on the continent, England is a great actual possession, because they thought power by sea, and that France would make that a negociation, to be honourable, such concessions as, from the naval supeshould be equal, and, to be equal, it is riority of England, she had a right to exnecessary that at the outset each party pect.' In consequence of this admission should acknowledge that neither is in a the negociation was opened. Satisfactory situation to be under the necessity of pur- as the letter of M. Talleyrand was in this chasing peace of the other on terms of respect, it however contained another humiliation, or any other disadvantage; point not to be passed over, for it was then and this I say results as a necessary corol- proposed by the government of France Jary from that principle laid down by Mr. that we should treat separate from our Fox, in the outset, in his answer to the allies. This, Mr. Fox rejected at once. overture of M. Talleyrand for peace, that He rejected every idea of separating the the peace should be honourable to both interests of this country and Russia. This countries and their respective allies, and produced an answer from Talleyrand. The secure, as far as possible, the tranquillity discussion now was, the propriety of our of Europe. Then let us see how this mat- Jinsisting upon a joint negociation. It was ter stands at the outset of the negociation, contended by M. Talleyrand, that we were A right hon. gent. (Mr. Canning) upon a the allies of the powers of the continent former occasion said, that there were three for some purposes, but not for others. points to be made out by his majesty's mio that the war was not one war, but two wars nisters: First, that the first overture came that there was not only a war on the confrom the enemy; next, that the negociation tinent, but a war at sea--that we were not was instituted on the basis of actual pos- the allies of Russia ; forgetting what had session; thirdly, that we should act only been sn cften said by the French governin concert with our allies. Sir, as to the ment, that we were the instigators of all the first point, I think it has been proved. I do wars on the continent; and forgetting the not know whether the right hon. gent. glorious achievements of lord Nelson and means to recur to the truly fanciful argu- sir Richard Strachan. Three or four lines ment he threw out, that we should shew of Mr. Fox overturned all the lengthened something that came from the French go-sophisms of M. Talleyrand. Thus we vernment, prior to the letter of Mr. Fox, stand, ou the 20th of April, with a refusal on the subject of the assassin. I should to treat, 'except in conjunction with our suppose he does not think it necessary I allies. Then, what bas been done that should shew the existence of such a fact. should have had any ulterior effect upon In answer to that letter there came an over the negociation ? Every one must see that ture for a friendly discussion ; that is stated Mr. Fox thought the negociation at that to bave been the first overture, and it was time at an end. This was confirmed by the made by the enemy upon a different basis long interval of silence which afterwards than that which was afterwards adopted. ensued.-Here, then, I would ask, whether It was proposed that the basis should be up to this period of the negociation there the stipulations of the treaty of Amiens. is any thing which any man can blame, any What was the answer? It was, that it was thing which were it to do, any man


choose to alter? A right hon. gent. indeed, panied with an explanation of points he did choose to taunt ministers on a former considered too delicate to be in the first occasion with their simplicity and credulity, instance put into a dispatch. Upon this and affected to ridicule their diplomacy. point the evidence of lord Yarniouth is But is this what the right hon. gent, thinks full and decisive ; and after his explanadeserving of ridicule : If it be true that tion in the house a few days ago, it is imministers had claimed from the country possible for any man seriously, to doubt the praise of good faith, and dignity in con- that he was fully authorized by the French duct, and of openness and simplicity in minister to offer the uti possidetis, and, in diplomatic ļanguage, Mr, Fox's correspon- substance joint negociation. I beg, theredence with Talleyrand might be held forth fore, that gentlemen will resort to this the as their title to that merit. If the people best evidence, and not carp at any partiof this country had expected to see a noble cular expressions in lord Yarmouth's comsimplicity of thought and expression, com- munication of the 13th of June, a paper bined with the most dignified manliness of not drawn up with technical precision, nor proceeding, distinguish their diplomacy, intended for the public, but as a memothey would find the model in Mr. Fox's randum in the office of foreign affairs. Will letters. If the people of Englanu expec- it then be denied that lord Yarmouth ted to see a commanding superiority of brought for the consideration of ministers genius displayed in its diplomatic transac- an offer of negociation on the basis of the tions; if they wished to sce the honour of uti possidetis and jointly with Russia? Is their country strongly contrasted with that not the testimony of lord Yarınouth suffiof France, could they wish for a better in- cient? But is not lord Yarmouth's under. stance than the correspondence of Mr. Fox standing, that the proposal of France was with M. Talleyrand ? (hear ! hear !) I am such as he had described it, proved by the glad to perceive this opinion ratified by whole tenour of the papers on the table. In that of this bouse, as I'am convinced it the first conversation lord Yarmouth had must be by the judgment, not only of this with Talleyrand, does the latter deny those country, but of all Europe and of posterity points ? No; he, indeed, by his silence

After Mr. Fox's letter of the 20th April, admits them, and only says, that as circuma the negociation seemed to be at an end, stances had changed greatly, he did not as do answer was received till the 4th of consider himself bound to the extent of June, about which time also lord Yar- former proposals; that Russia was negomouth arrived from Paris. The letter of ciating separately, and Sicily had been M. Talleyrand, then received, reverts ge- found indispensable to Naples. Such are nerally to former discussions, and does not the topics advanced by M. Talleyrand, but distinctly admit, either the basis of actual never does he deny what lord Yarmouth possession, or that we should negociate asserts. Nay, in a subsequent conference, jointly with Russia; though, in point of when the acknowledgement of the French fact, it was accompanied with a direct over- titles and establishments is waved, it is protore, satisfactory on both these grounds. posed that Sicily should be given up for Talleyrand, however, proposes to recur to Hanover; thus in substance recognizing the precedent of 1782, though, indeed, he the basis of uti possidetis, by proposing that evidently misapprehends the true nature we should give up for an equivalent that of that proceeding. Yet it is nevertheless which it was agreed should be ceded purely true, that lord Yarmouth came over dis- and simply. The fact was never denied, tinctly authorized to make an offer of ne- though the terms were often changed. gociation on the basis of actual possession, There are, indeed, some expressions in one and to be carried on jointly with Russia. of the notes of the French plenipotentiaries, This, indeed, accounts for the delay which which indeed seem to contradict the fact had intervened. M. Talleyrand sent for of the basis of actual possession having lord Yarmouth, and told him that he had been admitted. It is said that such a thing been looking for a person to carry a confi- never could have entered Buonaparte dential communication to the British go head, and that, if he had negociated on vernment. It is clear, from this, that Tal- such a basis, he must have continued in leyrand was unwilling to commit himself possession of Moravia, Austria, &c. forin writing, particularly respecting Hanover, getting that at the time of this negociation and for that reason delayed sending the the French were in possession of none of letter of the 2d of June till it was accom- those objects, and their arguments are so

absurd they betray the consciousness of a the difficulty of the occasion, and the nobad cause. Can any one doubt then that velty of circumstances, to which assuredly the basis of actual possession was proposed the present can form no exception, it must by the French? Can it be denied at least, bappen that these unofficial proceedings that we understood that to be the basis iniust take place. If such dry, peremptory Is there any trace of our having at any rejection of overtures of this nature, as that period admitted another? Look at Mr. recommended, were to be given, it would Fox's letter of the 5th July, in which he encumber with new difficulties, that which instructs lord Yarmouth to put an end to with every facility is already so difficult, and the discussion if the French government peace would be rendered almost imposwill not "revert to its original proposals sible.-But, without referring to precewith which your lordship was charged." dents of the best times, and the examples Here I onght to take notice of a slight of the most skilful negociators, I will prove omission in the papers, which escaped my from instances, which some of the gentlenotice till pointed out. I had thought that men opposite will not dispute, that matters, the words "nous ne vous demandons rien,” fully as important as the offer of a basis of which lord Yarmouth mentioned as used negociation, have been considered perby Talleyrand, and which Mr. Fox says fectly proper and authentic, when presented had been employed by M. Talleyrand in in verbal communication. I will shew, that one of his letters

' to him, were actually in an'ultimatum in a negociation, previous to a letter among the papers on the table. It a rupture, an occasion surely not less imhas been observed to me, however, that portant than that under consideration, was Mr. Fox was too accurate to quote words deemed by lord Hawkesbury perfectly rewhich had not been used, though the senti- gular. I bave now in my band the document is found in substance in M. Talley, ments respecting the rupture with France, Frand's second letter. In reality it has been at the beginning of the present war. It is

discovered, that in the private letter of M. needless now to state what my own opini**Talleyrand, the latter uses the very words ons were respecting that transaction, but * in question, accompanied with other ex on this point at least I never saw any thing pressions explanatory of them, such as to disapprove. At the time alluded to,

“thatthe emperor had now greatly changed however, the noble lord (Castlereagh) was * his views of things, and was convinced that a member of the cabinet, and is respon

the greatness of England was compatible sible for any transaction to which his sancwith the greatness of France," &c. Clear tion was required. The learned gent. it is, however, that ministers acted upon (Mr. Perceval) was likewise committed to

the supposition that France offered the the approbation of the measures, and of -basis of actual possession. I might now the negociations which preceded that rupask gentlemen upon the other side, what ture, and defended them in parliament. conduct we ought to have pursued ? Having Another right hon. gent. '(Mr. Canning), received a verbal offer, do they think that indeed, is not so much implicated in this we ought drily and peremptorily to have proceeding, as he was not much in the * rejected it, though it was desirable to ne- habit of approving the conduct of that adgociate, and if possible, to conclude peace ministration, and though disposed rather to Do they think such a course would have arraign their conduct, yet he never exdeserved or obtained the approbation of pressed any disapprobation of this partithis house, of this country, or of Europe ? cular point, I find, however, that lord A noble'lord opposite remarked, that'we Whitworth insisted upon three articles, ought to bave obtained an acknowledgement which he had been instructed to demand in writing, of the basis; and something of as the ultimatum. M. Talleyrand desired the same sort' has been said by an eminent that the articles in question should be prestatesman in "atsother place. But is it in sented formally in writing, with which, i the nature of things, is it consistent with however, lord W. declined to comply. Lord the ordinary course of such transactions, Hawkesbury, in writing to him on the sub*that such an acknowledgement in writing ject, mentions that it had been left to bis can in the first instance be demanded or discretion to make the communication in obtained ? Has it not been usual in all the way the might consider i most advantimes and countries, that negociations have tageous, and he was authorized to do so. commenced with some such unofficial pro. When we then received a verbal .conimuceedinge? And, indeed, in proportion to nication from the French government,

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ought we at once to have called them French government conceived the highest rogues and traitors, and refused to have hopes, and in consequence of representaany farther intercourse, or ought we totions from Naples, a new importance was have got that verbal communication turned attached to Sicily. Soon after M. D'Ouinto writing ? Lord Hawkesbury saw 'no bril concluded a separate peace. It cerimpropriety in giving M. Talleyrand the tainly is true that lord Yarmouth had been written communication he asked; and we instructed not to produce his powers till did nothing more than what M. Tal- the French government reverted to the baleyrand had done when lord Whit-sis originally proposed. At the same timo, worth made a verbal communication ; le the difficulty of his lordship's situation at used no invective, the only asked it to that period was very great, and if he erred, be put in writing. The steps subsequent every one must acknowledge the rectitude to lord Yarmouth's communication bad of his intentions, and the fidelity with Do other view, and unless we had re- which he discharged the trust reposed in solved to give a rude, peremptory refusal, him. Nevertheless the production of his and to depart from uniform diplomatic powers was contrary to the intentions of precedent, we could take no other course this government, and to their views of the than that which the documents on the table policy which the moment required. Lord shew us to bave pursued. To the written Lauderdale was then pitched upon as a letter, a written answer was 'returned. To man, from his general ability, acquaintthe verbal communication, a verbal answer ance with business, and his intimate know. was made, and lord Yarmouth returned to ledge of the sentiments of ministers, emi

Paris with instructions to ascertain the sin- nently fitted to the difficult state of the cerity of the offer, and, in the regular pro- negociation at Paris. The first thing lord gress of the affair, to obtain its formal ac- Lauderdale did on his arrival at Paris was, knowledgement.-Here I must correct a to present a note demanding that the negomistake which appears to have arisen upon ciation sliould be placed upon the basis this point. When lord Yarmouth went which the French government had originalover to Paris, be was not authorized to in- ly proposed, and on which alone we had sist upon an acknowledgement in writing, consented to treat. But it will be said, of the offer be had first brought to this that the answer to this note was a denial country ; 'because, in fact, lord Y. having of the assertion. If, however, the papers no powers, could not ask or expect such be examined with care, it will be seen, that an official communication. But the ac- even the terms suggested by France amount knowledgement of the basis being made, and rather to an admission in substance, of what his powers produced, the authentic writ- we claimed, and of the basis, as it was un. ten communication of the proposed basis derstood by us, and explained by lord must immediately have followed. Lord Lauderdale. In general Clarke's note, it Yarniouth was sent to Paris to establish the is worthy of remark, that there is a word negociation upon this basis ; and the whole substituted apparently by the imperial peh. train of the trausaction evidently shews The word as it stands, is adopter. “The that this was the case. Indeed, so tho- only bases," it says,

“ which the emperor roughly am I satisfied that the assertions of veuille adopter." It appears, however, that bis majesty's government are in every the word as it first stood, was louver, and point strictly consonant with the real facts, probably was reconnaitre; and it seemed as that were they yet to be submitted to the if the French government had been resol. world, I should consider the shape they ved rather not to admit the uti possidetis, now bear, that wbich the history of the than bold enough to deny that it had been case naturally dictated, and most satisfac-once admitted. Be this as it may, lord torily proved. I cannot, indeed, conceive Lauderdale formally insisted on the acthat any man of common 'candour and in- knowledgement of the original basis, and on partiality can doubt that the basis of actual its being withheld, demanded his passpossession was proposed by the French, ports. After some delays on the part of and that his majesty's ministers uniformly the French government, and after a new cacted upon that belief and understanding. conference, and a partial return towards Upon lord Yarmouth's return to Paris, the former basis, lord Lauderdale found ihowever, he found circumstances conside- it impossible to place the negociation on tably changed. He found M. D'Oubril the only admissible ground, and with great engaged in a negociation from which the difficulty at last got his passports. Neves

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