Imágenes de páginas

tious to avoid every measure that could furnish any just ground of complaint to His Majesty. He might also well expect that France would have felt a proper degree of respect for the rights of himself and his allies. His Majesty might most of all expect, that, in the troubled state of that country, they would not have chosen to attempt an interference with the internal government of this country, for the sole purpose of creating dissension among us, and of disturbing a scene of unexampled felicity. But fortunately for this country, they did not succeed. The express assurances contained in the papers which have been printed and are now on the tablo, the very compact on the part of France does distinctly and precisely apply to every one of these points.

I have no doubt but gentlemen have applied the interval in perusing these papers with sufficient attenpion, to make it unde. cessary for me to trouble them with more than the leading points, You will perceive, that the very first communication is from M. Chauvelin, May 12th, 1792, and contains this passage:

“ Thus the King (of France) saw himself forced into a war, which was already declared against him; but, religiously faithful to the principles of the constitution, whatever may finally be the fate of arms in this war, France rejects all ideas of aggrandisement. She will preserve her limits, her liberty, her constitution, her unalienable right of reforming herself whenever she may think proper; she will never consent that, under any relation, foreign powers should attempt to dictate, or even dare to nourish a hope of dictating laws to her. But this very pride so natural and so great, is a sure pledge to all the powers from whom she shall have received no provocation, not only of her constantly pacific dispositions, but also of the respect which the French well know how to shew at all times for the laws, the customs, and all the forms of government of different nations.

“ The King indeed wishes it to be known, that he would publicly and severely disavow all those of his agents at foreign courts in peace with France, who should dare to depart an instant from that respect, either by fomenting or favouring insurrections against the established order, or by interfering in any manner whatever in the interior policy of such states, under pretence of a proselytism, which, exercised in the dominions of friendly powers, would be a real violation of the law of nations.”


This paper therefore contains a declaration, that whatever might be the fate of arms, France rejected all ideas of aggrandisement; she would preserve her rights, she would preserve her limits and her liberty. This declaration was made in the name of the King.

Gentlemen must remember, after the first revolution, and after the establishment of what they call the model of a government of liberty, the King wished it to be known, that he would publicly disavow all those of his agents at foreign courts, in peace with France, who should dare to depart an instant from that respect, either by fomenting or raising insurrections, or by interfering in any manner whatever in the internal government of such states, under pretence of proselytism, which would be a real violation of the law of nations. They have therefore passed, by anticipation, that sentence on their own conduct; and whether we shall pass a different sentence, is one of the objects of this day's consideration.

In the passage I have read, two distinct principles are laid down: the one, that whatever might be the fate of arms, France renounced all ideas of agrandisément, and declared she would confine herself within her own territories; the other, that to foment and raise insurrections in neutral states, 'under pretence of proselytism, was a violation of the law of nations. It is evident to all Europe, her conduct has been directly the reverse of those principles, both of which she has trampled under foot, in every instance where it was in her power. In the answer to that note of M. Chauvelin, His Majesty expresses his concern for the war that had arisen, for the situation of His Most Christian Majesty, and for the happiness of his dominions. He also gives him a positive assurance of his readiness to fulfil, in the most exact manner, the stipulations of the treaty of navigation and commerce ; and concludes with these words:

“ Faithful to all his engagements, His Majesty will pay the

strictest attention to the preservation of the good understanding which so happily subsists between bim and His Most Christian Majesty, expecting with confidence that, animated with the same sentiments, His Most Christian Majesty will not fail to contribute to the same end, by causing,won hiş part, the rights of His Majesty and his allies to be respectedlitandby rigorously forbidding any step which might affect the friendship which His Majesty has ever desired to consolidate and perpetuate, for the happiness

of the two empires." · We may also see what general assurances France thought fit to make to Great Britain, from a note from M. Chauvelin to Lord Grenville, dated June 8. 1792; where it is said,

“ The King of the French is happy to renew to the King of Great Britain the formal assurance, that every thing which can interest the rights of His Britannic Majesty will continue .to be the object of his most particular and most scrupulous attention.

“ He hastens, at the same time, to declare to him, that the rights of all the allies of Great Britain, who shall not have provoked France by hostile measures, shall by him be no less reliviously respected.

“ In making, or rather renewing this declaration, the King of the French enjoys the double satisfaction of expressing the wish of a people, in whose eyes every war, which is not rendered necessary by a due attention to its defence, is essentially unjust, and of joining particularly in the wishes of His Majesty, for the tranquillity of Europe, which would never be disturbed, if France and England would unite in order to preserve it.”

Such then, Sir, is the situation in which His Majesty stands with respect to France. During the transactions of the last summer, when France was engaged in a war against the powers of Austria and Prụssia, His Majesty departed in no shape from that neutrality. His Majesty did no one act from which it could be justly inferred, that he was friendly to that system. But what, let me ask the House, has been the conduct of France as to those

express reiterated assurances, applied to the public concerns which I have now detailed?

These assurances went to three points: to a determination to abstain from views of aggrandisement; not to interfere with the government of neutral nations, which they admitted to be a violalation of the law of nations; and to observe the rights of His Majesty and his allies. What has been the conduct of France on these three points, under the new system? She has, both by her words and actions, manifested a determination, if not checked by force, to act on principles of aggrandisement. She has completely disclaimed that maxim, “ that whatever was the fate of their arms in war, France rejected all ideas of aggrandisement." She has made use of the first moment of success to publish a contradiction to that declaration. She has made use of the first instance of success in Savoy, without even attempting the ceremony of disguise, (after having professed a determination to confine herself within her ancient limits,) to annex it for ever as an eighty-fourth department to the present sovereignty of France. They have by their decree announced a determination to carry on a similar operation in every country into which their arms can be carried, with a view, in substance, if not in name, to do the same thing in every country where they can with success.

Their decree of the 15th of December contains a fair illustration and confirmation of their principles and designs. They have by that decree expressly stated the plan on which they mean to act. Whenever they obtain a temporary success, whatever be the situation of the country into which they come, whatever may have been its antecedent conduct, whatever may be its political connections, they have determined not to abandon the possession of it, till they have effected the utter and absolute subversion of its form of government, of every ancient, every established usage, however long they may have existed, and however much they may have been revered. They will not accept, under the name of liberty, any model of government, but that which is conformable to their own opinions and ideas; and all men must

learn from the mouth of their cannon the propagation of their system in every part of the world. They have regularly and boldly avowed these instructions, which they sent to the commissiopers who were to carry these orders into execution. They have stated to them what this House could not believe, they have stated to them a revolutionary principle and order, for the purpose of being applied in every which the French arms are crowned with success. They have stated, that they would organise every country by a disorganising principle; and afterwards, they tell you all this is done by the will of the people. Wherever our arms come, revolutions must take place, dictated by the will of the people. And then comes this plain question, What is this will of the people? It is the power of the French. They have explained what that liberty is which they wish to give to every nation; and if they will not accept of it voluntarily, they compel them. They take every opportunity to destroy every institution that is most sacred and most valuable in every nation where their armies have made their appearance ; and under the name of liberty, they have resolved to make every country in substance, if not in form, a province dependent on themselves, through the despotism of Jacobin societies. This has given a more fatal blow to the liberties of mankind, than any they have suffered, even from the boldest attempts of the most aspiring monarch. We see, therefore, that France has trampled under foot all laws, human and divine. She has at last avowed the most insatiable ambition, and greatest contempt for the law of nations, which all independent states have hitherto professed most religiously to observe; and unless she is stopped in her career, all Europe must soon learn their ideas of justicelaw of nations - models of government -- and principles of liberty from the mouth of the French cannon.

I gave the first instance of their success in Savoy as a proof of their ambition and aggrandisement. I wish the House to attend to the practical effect of their system, in the situation of the Netherlands. You will find, in some of the correspondence

« AnteriorContinuar »