Слике страница
PDF
ePub

* Mr. Whitbread's Mation respecting Negociation.. MILTON, with that system of vacillating politics which has distinguished him since his election for Yorkshire; although “ he could “ not go so far in supporting ministers as the last hon. gentleman Mr. WILBERFORCE, was sorry to disagree with his hon. friends " third resolution, as he did not conceive it could be of any use. “ He was not satisfied that there was yet ground to address his Ma" jesty to remove his ministers, as being disinclined to peace, which “ he was of opinion must necessarily accompany the third proposi“ tion of his hon. friend." His lordship must possess an extraordinary degree of penetration to discover any thing in the third resolution connected with a removal of ministers. Even if this were the case, one might have hoped he would have had no great objection to such a measure ; but it is too evident he approves of their conduct in the main, in the prosecution of the war ; and that he does not consider them as disinclined to peace. We pow cease to wonder that his lordship has discouraged those “ idle clamours for “ peace," with which his constituents have of late so assailed him. The conduct of Mr. WILLIAM SMITH, who for so mauy years most honourably distinguished himself as the uniform, zealous friend of peace, must excite still greater surprise and regret.--" He thought & the two first resolutions involved in so much difficulty, that he se could not vote for them ; but if the third resolution was to be « brought to a division it should have his vote.” Mr. SHERIDAN, who followed Mr. Smith in the debate, might well say " he was “ surprised at the declaration of his bonourable friend, just as “ much as he was at the conduct of other friends of his who ap“ proved of the two first resolutions, but determined to oppose the “third. He could not conceive any ground of consistency upon « which such conduct could be justified.” Mr. SMITH, truly, after perusing the documents before the house on the subject of negociation, and observing the haughtiness and arrogance with which ministers have rejected overtures from France, and offers of mediation on the part of Russia and Austria, hesitates at voting their conduct to be “ unwise, inexpedient and impolitic!” No wonder he should discourage his constituents from petitioning for peace. The remark, however, of the hon. Mr. WARD, one might have hoped would have dissipated those clouds which hung over the mind of Mr. SMITH on this occasion. Mr. WARD observed, “ that as to the first and “ second propositions, he thought it impossible to read the corres" pondence of the right hon. secretary for foreign affairs, and not to “see, that he had no subject more completely at heart, than to shut the door against mediation. With a sort of microscopic eye, he “ seemed to have spied out, and anticipated objections against it.” Mr. PONSONBY, the distinguished leader of opposition in the lower house, seems to have had some strange.scruples in his head respegting

Mr.Whitbread's mation respecting Negociation. " the third proposition of his hon., friend, which if adopted, would " bind ministers to take immediate steps towards a negociation. “Now, although he agreed that negociation was the true policy of “the country, yet he was not prepared to say that it was so at the "present moment. ... If the house were to adopt the last resolutiou, “ would they not be giving countenance to the petitions for peace, " which the house were every day receiving, but which were pot “ only not encouraged by any political characters, but even thwarted " and discountenanced by them! On this ground he felt a difficulty “ in agreeing to the resolution. . . . . Although he did not believe " that ministers were desirous of peace, he was averse to push the ® matter at this moment. .... He, however, was eager for peace, " and only wished that the question should lie over a little longer " to try what might turn out. He did not say, that he might not " in the course of a month be of the opinion of his hon. friend, Mr, “ WHITBREAD.” Thus, after Mr. PONSONBY kad agreed to the two resolutions which declared the conduct of ministers in rejecting the proffered mediation of Russia and Austria, to be - inexpedient, “ impolitic, and unwisc," he hesitates to declare “ that there is po. “ thing in the present circumstances of the war to preclude his * Majesty from embracing any fair opportunity of acceding to, or " commencing a uegociation with the enemy ou the faqting of equa"lity, for the termination of hostilities on terms of justice and bo"", nour.” The hon. gentleman is unwilling to " push ministers;" he wishes to wait a few months longer to see if they will repeat those blunders which he, by agreeing to the two resolutions charges them with having so recently committed! Such remarks as we have noLiced in the speeches of the opposition members, must have the Jendency to lead the people to entertain but very slender hopes of peace from the exertions of either the ins or the outs, in the British sepate: the leaders on both sides seem to agree in discouraging the only means left on the part of this country to bring about the desirable blessing-Numerous, energetic, and repeated petitions froin the people at large. . . With such a wavering system of politics on the part of opposition, with such faint inclinations for negociation, we need not wonder that their efforts were not attended with greater success against the firm pbalanx of ministers, aided by their faithful allies, the evangelical party, and that the majority obtained by the two latter over the former was so considerable. We earnestly hope, however, that Mr. WHITBREAD will not be discouraged, but that he will take every opportunity of discharging his conscience on this important subject. The remark of one hon. gentleman, Mr. JOHŃ SMITH, will we trust tend to encourage him to persevere. “ As to the " hon. gentleman who brought forward the present resolutions, he šlii Mr. Whitbread's Motion respecting Negociation. “ was truly sorry not to have seen him 'supported by those with “ whom he had been in the habit of acting; but he had abundant. « consolation for the disappointment in his own breast, and the . " approbation of the thousands who hailed his effort of this day, si and who would join with him [Mr. Suith) in holding out that “ hon. gentlenian to the hopes of his country, as one of her warmest friends, and most able and independent supporters."

From the language of Mr. Secretary CANNING, who was the principal speaker against all the resolutions, it is evident that ministers are determined obstinately to persevere in the war, until they : shall reduce the French Emperor to the humiliating situation of complying with all their foolish fancies, about the manner, the time, " the place, and the basis of negociation, or until he shall have beaten them, as he has former ministers, into his own terms. The right honourable secretary observed that he " could not con“ ceive the policy of entering into negociation until the disposition “ of the enemy should be previously ascertained--until ministers “ should see the way clear before them. Negociation he could ne“ ver consider as a good per se, while he could easily imagine the “ many evils which might result from it, particularly if unsuccessful. “ It had a direct tendency to suspend the activity, and, as he should “ call it, to dismount the spirit of war; while the mischiefs arising “ out of the encouragement of false hopes in the country, must be “ obvious to every man's mind. For these reasons he protested on « against the proposition, that every opportunity for negociation « should be embraced without a due consideration of the conse« quences to which it was likely to lead." In opposition to such . opinions as these, which tend to perpetuate war, we beg leave to remark that “negociation is always to be considered, per se, as a good ;" it shews a disposition in the party proposing it to close the horrors of war; and as to its “suspending the activity or dis“ mounting the spirit of war," a reference to former negociations both successful and unsuccessful, prove the contrary. During the negociation which closed the war in 1763, the nation was never more actively employed in foreign expeditions. During the negociations conducted by Lord MALMESBURY last war, neither the spirit, nor activity of the nation were in the least diminished : the same Gazette which unexpectedly informed us of the signing of preliminaries by: which the war was terminated, informed us of the success of "his Majesty's arms in the conquest of Alexandria. Our ministers appear alarnied, lesť if they should accept the offer of mediation, or close with the overture of the enemy to appoint plenipotentiaries to commence the work of peace, they should not be able to prevent a favourable progress, and a successful termination. They might however have recollected, tbat by accepting such offers they

[ocr errors]

Mr. Whitbread's Motion.Motions, 8c. xliü do not pledge themselves to any conditions: but we thank them for not deceiving us: they “ delight in war;" and are determined that the people should be thoroughly acquainted with their disposition and design. en reflecting on the various opportunities we have unhappily lost, du. ng both the late and present administration, of making peace; on our recent refusal to negociate, and on the fatal consequences of our conduct; the ruin of Prussia, and of Portugal, the enormities of the Danish expedition, the increased power of France, the pre. sent situation of our country, to say nothing respecting the future, it is impossible in too strong terms to lament the infatuation which has attended our councils. To use the energetic language of Mr. WHITBREAD in the above debate: --" With unparalleled folly “ we have spurned the proffered blessings of peace, and with a ma" niac's fury dashed from our lips the draught which alone could “ rescue us from death!”

3.133 " In merey to a distracted world, we earnestly hope that the Almighty will never permit the French Emperor' to follow the exanple thus set him by our ministers. If once he should declare that he will not attend to any offers of mediation, from foreign powers, or to any overtures for peace from this country, until he is fully informed of the basis on which 'his enemy means to negociate; that he will never 'enter on a negociation unless at the place he himself may choose to appoint, and in the manner he may think proper to dictate; in short, if he should discover such a disposition as our ministers have discovered and brought into action, there can be no peace brought about between the two countries till the one or the other is so exhausted that she can fight no longer. - However ambitious the soul, or lowever vast the projects of BoNAPARTE, it so far redounds to his honour, that he has always avoided the fooleries of our ministers, discovered in their arrogant language to foreign powers offering their mediation, or in their captious 'objections about the manner, the time, the place, and the basis of negociation. At the close of victories the most brilliant, after atchieving conquests the most advantageous, and when nothing could be effectually opposed to his triumphant progress, he has not only accepted overtures for peace, but has been the first to propose overtures; herein shewing the superiority of his mind over those miserable statesmen who seem resolved to persevere in plans, the offspring of depiavity and phrenzy, till they have ruined their country and all Europe. .

. : -MOTIONS RESPECTING THE DANISH EXPEDITION..." * After' various motions which have been brought forward in both houses, on this important subject, with a view to procure informa

xliv Motions respecting the Danish Expedition.' tion as to the grounds on which ministers had acted after those ministers had been, convicted of one falsehood following another, im their different declarations; after their own defenders were obliged to abandon all that had been advanced about the secret articles of the treaty of Tilsit, information received from, ministerial informiers Irish traitors, &c. --Whien they were beaten off their only remain ing ground of defence, that taken by the abandonded of all descrip tions-NECESSITY ; when it was proved that even necessity, demanded that an action which set at defiance every principle of morality, should have been most carefully avoided, it was thought proper by those noblemen and gentlemen who have distinguished themselves by their endeavours to wipe off the stigma cast upon their country by a proceeding so atrocious, to bring forward a direct vote of censure ou its authors. Lord DARNLEY, agreeably to notice, on the 3d instant, after a suitable speech on the subject, in which he entered into a detailed examination of the comparative situation of Denmark and this country; of the rights of the former as an inn dependent kingdom; of the violation of those rights, by the seizure of her fleet; of the new relations in which she stood 10 France, in, consequence; of the little advantage we sliould derive from the acquisition of her navy; and of the odiuin and hostility we had incur. red from all Europe, in consequence of that nefarious act of aggrest. sion, concluded by moving an address to his Majesty, to the following effect :~" Unwilling as we are, even yet to pronounce " definitively on a subject, the full knowledge of which has been so " pertinaciously withheld from us, and reluctant as we must ever be “ to admit conclusions unfavourable to the justice of those councils. " by which his Majesty's conduct has been actuated, we, are yet compelled" on such dir occasion to speak to his Majesty the language of TRUTH. And we must therefore, with all bumility, « and with the niost unfcigned and heartfelt sorrow represent, that “ in a case which above all others required the clearest proof, every “ presumption is against us; and that no particle of evidence has yet been adduced by which var national character can be vindicated " from the guilt of an unprovoked and premeditated violation of that good faith, justice, and humanity which have , hitherto been, " at once the glory and the safeguard of the British empire." As. the subject had been nearly exhausted on former occasions, the house, after a short debate divided; when there appeared, for the address, including proxies, 51--Against it 110. Lord Elliot then moved a resolution “ highly approving the prompt and vigorous “ measures, which were adopted by his Majesty's ministers, for the “ purpose of removing out of the reach of his Majesty's enemies, the «s fleet and naval resources of Denmark.” On the division the num-i bers were, Contents-125_Non-contents-57. Against these deci...

[ocr errors]
« ПретходнаНастави »