Слике страница

Lord Hutchinson's Conversations, &c.

XXV derstood, given them nearly as they were related by his lordship, and as they are deserving the serious attention of our countrymen, we have thought proper to present them in this place to our readers.

His lordship observed,

“ He had been employed on a verv important mission, and he thought it the more necessary to say something respecting that mission in consequence of partial extracts from his letters having been communicated in another place, by which he had been held out as giving opinions which had never been delivered by him. The Russian army in Poland never amounted to inore than 70,000 men, with the exception of two detached divisions, amounting to about 30,000. The French troops were estimated at 150,000. From the disasters sustained by the former, especially after the unfortunate battle of Friedland, in which the loss of the Russians amounted to 40,000 men, 1898 officers, and 20 yenerals, he was perfectly convinced that Russiu must make peace with France. He believed also that the Emperor of Russia was sincere in his desire to mediate, if possible, a peace between this country and France ; but at all events he then belicved that the relations of peace and umity might have been preserved between Great Britarn und Russia. The treaty of Tile sit was signed on the 7th of July.

“On the 23d. of August, my Lords, I had a conversation with the Em“peror of Russia at Kamincostroft. His Imperial Majesty asked me when “ther I had not admitiçd to Count Strogonoff, three days after the battle “ of Friedland, that it was nccessary for bim to make peacc. I told him " that I had done so, that I was of that opinion then, which subsequent events had confirmed ; that I thought myself bound in justice to him, and " to myself, publicly to avou) it, which I should continue to do as long as I lived. His Imperial Majesty sand, we are then hoth agreed on the necessity there was to make peuce. I unsuered in the affirmative.

“ His Imperial Majesty proceeded to state, that he bad offered his mc“ diation to England; that he had attached no false vanity (gloriole was “the French word) to the acceptance or rejection of his mediation; but " that it wus his most sincere and anxious wish that England should make peure, as he was sure that it was his interest, und also that of Europe, und ours, that we should restore tranquillity to the world.

" I said to his Imperial Majesty that he had not given sufficient time for Sc England to accept or reject his mediation, because a much longer period " than a month inust elapse before any answer could be received; and “ though the disposition of my mind inclined towards peace, I, nor no “other man in England would accept it, but on conditions the most rea“sonable and honourable; that as far as we were concerned, the events w of the war had been highly favourable.

" To which his Imperial Majesty replied, that the time allowed was of " no importance, because we might take three or four months, if we "pleased to accept or reject his mediation : but his anxious wish and “desire was, that we should make peace. That he had a perfect know"ledge of the feclings and character of the people of England; that he “had been made acquainted by Bonaparte with the conditions of peace "proposed to be offered, and that he had no doubt that even I myself * would consider them to be higlily reasonable and honourable. : Di...

VOL. III. : :


Lord Hutchinson's Conversations, &c.

“ Some confidential conversation followed, which I do not think myself at. liberty to disclose, but from what then passed, as 'I 'have already stated, I was justified in believing, that the relations of peace and amity might have been préserved between the two countries. It has been stated in another place, that I had given an opinion, that if the attack on Copenbagen had noć taken place, Russia would not have gone to 'war with this country. My Lords, I never gave any such opinion, nor do I mean now to say, that if that attack had not been made, there would have heen no war with Russia ; but I mean to say, that the result of that expedition did materially change the relations between Great Britain and Russia, and give rise to sentiments of a very hostile nature at the court of Petersburgh. Intelligence of the result of the attack on Copenhagen ärrived at St. Petersburgh on the 27th or 28th of August. On the 4th of September I saw the Emperor a second time at Kamincostroff.

“ His Imperial Majasty began the conversation by asking me, what I " thought of our attack upon Copenhagen ?

" I replied, that I was entirely ignorant of the circumstances which had " occasioned that attack, but that I hoped the administration in England

could justify themselves, aud prove to the world that the Danes were " on the eve of joining all their forces to the French, to make common “ cause against England.

“ His Imperial Majesty told me in reply, that it was impossible for me “ to be of that opinion, if I would recollect 'the repeated conversatious

which had taken place between us, on the subject of Denmark, at « Bartenstein, in which he told me that he had used every effort in his “ power to hring forward the Crown Prince of Denmark, and to induce « him to join the coalition against France ; the answers of the Prince had always been explicit and uniform; that he had maintained for many years a system of neutrulity, in which he was determined to persevere, as the people whom he governed had flourished and prospered under it ; and that no consideration should ever induce him to depart from it.-His Imperial Majesty added, that I must be acquainted with the decision of character

which belonged to the Crown Prince, that nothing was so difficult as to shake his determinations, or to induce him to change any line of conduct which he had once udopted ; AND THAT HE WAS SURE NO CONNECTION


" I then said, that I believed Lord G. L. Gower had delivered to his “ Imperial Majesty's minister a note on the subject; to which his Impe" rial Majesty answered that he had, but that the contents of it were “ nugatory, as it contained no sufficient explanation, or offer of satisfac“ tion. His Inperial Majesty then proceeded to state the great concern “ which our unjustifiable aggression 'had given him ; that the French government never had done any thing so strong-that it justified every thing " they had done or might do liereafter, If such proceedings were admissable

there was an end of all those relations which had usually influenced the con? “duct of nations towards each other;'that every body wus at liberty to do just

r what they pleased, and that he might attack Sweden to-morrow. His Imperial o Majesty then told me in the most peremptory language, tone and manner, " THAT HE WOULD HAVE SATISFACTION, COMPLETE SATISFACTION FOR THIS

VNPROVOKED AGGRESSION! Thal it was his duty as Emperor of Russia to

Lord Hutchinson's Conversations, &c.


" demand it, and that he would have it; and he asked me whether even I « myself could venture to differ with him on that subject?. He then said st that he was bound to Denpark by the most solemn treaties' and engage“ments, which treaties and engagements he was determined to adhere to " and fulfil. His Imperial Majesty then added, that he supposed we “ meant to make an attack on Cronstadt; he did not know what the "event of that attack might be, but this he knew, that he was determined “ to resist to the last man, and to prove loimself not entirely unworthy, of “ filling that high station to which it had pleased Providence to call him,

“I told his Imperial Majesty that I had strong reason to hope and he “ lieve, that no attack would be made on Cronstadt. His Imperial' Ma“ jesty said he was prepared for such an event, and had taken his deter“ mination upon it, which was that which he had before stated to me. He " then closed the conversation, by repeating wishi much emphasis, that " HE WOULD HAVE SATISFACTION FOR, DENMARK !" 999179 1 ,1 pisi

Froin the above statement it is obvious, in the first place, that Lord HUTCHINSON, a soldier, and on the spot; bad been an attens tive observer of eveiits during the late campaign, and that from his acknowledged talents and experience he was a compétent judge of the state of affairs between Russia and France. Hisi-lordship had witnessed the different actions which had taken place, with their cons sequences: le on the present as well as on other occasions, in the house of Lords, acknowledged that the French accounts of the various battles had in general been correct : froint what he saw of the hostile armies, it appears to have been his decided opinion, that any attempt on the part of the British'ininisters to send an army to the theatre of action would have been the height of absurdity : his lordship’s evidence therefore-affords a complete exculpation of the late ministers for not attempting to aid Russia with a military force. His Lordship's judgment concerning the necessity of peace, for the safety of the missian empire, after the battle of Friedland, proves the wisdom of his Imperial Majesty in putting an end to the war. What opinion 'then must rational observers' entertain of the conduct of our harebrained ministers, who have in their official documents, beeir casting their sarcasms on the Emperor, reproaching him for making peace, and hinting to him the advantages which might result from his violating the treaty of Tilsit almost immediately after its ratification ? "In the British Declaration, in answer to that of Russia, ministers affect to lament, that "his Imperial Ma"jesty skould in a mòment of despondency and alarm have resor" ted to the precipitate and fatal measure of concluding the peace “ of Tilsit :" they assure him “ that his Britannic Majesty was “ preparing to employ his forces for the advancement of the com“mon objects of the war." They farther assure his Imperial Ma

jesty, they had indulged the hope “ that a review of the transactions ." of that unfortunate negociation would have induced him to extricate

[ocr errors]


Lord Hutchinson's Conversations, fc.

“ himself from his new councils and connections."* In perfect agreement with these sentiments, Mr. Secretary CANNING in an official dispatch addressed to Lord Gower, at Petersburgh, dated Sept. 2d. expresses his hope that the Emperor of Russia “ stillen“ tertained his former opinions of the danger to be apprehended * from the preponderance of France." The right hon. Secretary expresses his “ persuasion in that case, that,” what he is pleased to call “ the independence of Europe was by no means desperate !"+ From Lord HutcHINSON's statements, however, it appears highly probable, that had his Imperial Majesty attended to the sugges, tions of the British minister ;--had he, following the example of this country respecting the peace of Amiens, perfidiously broken the treaty he had so recently concluded, the same ruin would have followed him that has been the fate of all those sovereigns who had attended to similar, counsels, and that his capital, and his crown would shortly have been at the mercy of France ! 1

The second point deserving serious attention in Lord HUTCHINS SON's statement is, that relative to the Emperor's offer of mediation between France and this country. Our ministers in very captious and unbecoming language had stated the time first mentioned as an objection to their acceptance of the offer, but Lord 'HUTCHINSON with the respect due to the distinguished personage with whom he was conversing, simply stated," that the time proposed was not “ sufficient for England to accept or reject this mediation;" on. which the Emperor to prove his readiness to nieet the wishes of the British cabinet declared, “, that the time allowed was of no im“portance, because we might take three or four months, if we "pleased to accept or reject his mediation, but his anxious wish “and desire was that we should make peace.” On Lord HUTCHINSON's expressing on behalf of himself and his countrymen, that whatever might be “ their inclination towards peace, it would not “ be accepted, but on conditions the most reasonable and honour“able,” his Imperial Majesty made this remarkable reply :-"That !! he had a perfect knowledge of the feelings and character of the “ people of England ; and that he had been made acquainted by: “Bonaparte with the conditions of peace proposed to be offered, and “ that he had no doubt that even Lord HUTCHINSON himself would consider them to be highly reasonable and honourable.. We should have lamented that his lordship did not think proper to

* British Declarațion. Pol. Rev. Vol. II. p; 426. . is Cr..

. t P. R. Vol. III. p: 76. .... This offer is termed in the Britisha declaration “: offensive to the dig. “ nity of an independent Soveriegn, and which his Majesty might have s been well justified in the refusal of." P. R. Vol. II. p. 426.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

state the conversation that immediately followed on this interesting subject, were it not evident from the good sense, candour and frankness discovered by his lordship on this, as well as on various other occasions, that the disclosure would have been imprudent, We may however judge something of the nature of it from the împression it made on the mind of his lordship.“ From what then “passed” he adds, “I was justified in believing that the relations of peace and amity might have been preserved between the two countries.Thus we have strong presumptive evidence, not merely that there were no stipulations entered into at Tilsit, which had any relation to any plan for the seizure of the Danish feet for the purpose of invading Great Britain or Ireland, but that there was nothing in those stipulations which ought to have prevented our ministers from readily, chearfully, and unconditionally taking this first step towards peace, the acceptance of the mediation so frankly offered on the part of bis Imperial Majesty. But all his Majesty's professions and offers, all Lord HUTCHINSON's opinions were of no weight with our ministers, when balanced against the evidence received by their respectable allies, whose intelligence they profess to have long been in the habit of' regarding,--that correct and valuable information presented by those who were always 80 early acquainted with the most important plans of BONAPARTE,

IRISH TRAITORS!'. :'', . .. But the prospect of negociation which in consequence of the disposition of Russia, appeared so fair, was suddenly and entirely overclouded by the frantic 'conduct of our ministers towards Dennark. Although Lord HUTCHINSON does not go so far as to assert, “ that if the attack had not been made there would have been "no war' with Russia,” he affirnis, “ that the result of that expe“dition did materially change the relations between Great Britain

and Russia, and gave rise to sentiments of a very hostile natyre " at the court of Petersburgh.” Let any impartial person only attend to the conversation on this subject; the " great concern”, and indignation expressed by the Emperor at our “ unjustifiable aggres“ sion;" the fatal effects he predicted it would have on on the politics of the different states of Europe ; the assurance that “ no connec“ tion existed between the French and Danish government previous “ to our attack on Copenhagen;" the “ peremptory language, tone, " and manner,” in which his Imperial Majesty declared, “ he would “ have satisfaction, complete satisfaction, for this unprovoked ag“ gression;"-after attending to such conclusive evidence, in addi- . tiou to the mass before produced, every person of common sense, or who is not wilfully blind, must surely, with the deepest regret acknowledge, those irreparable mischiefs, the consequence of the measures of the British cabinet, and cannot possibly have a doubt left

« ПретходнаНастави »