Графични страници
PDF файл

part of the stipnlations of the treaty of Amiens, was that which it was possible to maintain, those powers would have a right, at least, to claim the benefit of this principle, in every case of difference between the two countries. The indignation of all Europe must surely then be excited by the declarations of the French government, that, in the event of hostilities, these very powers who were no parties to the treaty of Amiens, and who were not allowed to derive any advantage from the remonstrances of his majesty in their behalf, are never{j to be made the victims of a war which is alleged to arise out of the same treaty, and are to be sacrificed in a contest which they not only have not occasioned, but which they have had no means whatever of F.; His majesty judged it most expedient, under the circumstances which then affected Europe, to abstain from a recurrence to hostilities on account of the views of ambition and acts of aggression manifested by France on the continent; yet an experience of the character and dispositions of the French government could not fail to impress his majesty with a sense of the necessity of increased vigilance in uarding the rights and dignity of is crown, and in protecting the interests of his people. Whilst his majesty was actuated by these sentiments, he was called upon by the French government to evacuate the island cf Malta. His majesty had manifested, from the moment of the signature of the definitive treaty, an anxious disposition to carry into full effect the stipulations of the treaty of Amiens relative to that island. As soon as he was informed that an election of a grand

master had taken place, under the auspices of the emperor of Russia, and that it had been agreed by the different priories assembled at St. Petersburg to acknowledge the person of... the court of Rome should select out of those who had been named by them to be grandmaster of the order of St.John, his majesty proposed to the French government, for the purpose cf avoiding any difficulties which might arise in the execution of the arrangement, to acknowledge that election to be valid : and when, in the month of August, the French government applied to his majesty to permit the Neapolitan troops to be sent to the island of Malta, as a reliminary measure for preventing any unnecessary delay, his majesty consented without hesitation to this proposal, and gave directions for the admission of the Neapolitan troops into the island. His

majesty had thus shown his disposition not only to throw no obstacle in the way of the execution of the treaty, but, on the contrary, to fa. cilitate the execution of it by every means in his power. His majesty cannot, however, admit, that at any period since the conclusion of the treaty of Amiens, the French government have had a right to call upon him, in conformity to the stipulations of that treaty, to withdraw his forces from the island of Malta. At the time when this demand was made by the French government, several of the most important stipulations of the arrangement respecting Malta remained unexecuted: the clection of a grand-master had not been car. ried into effect. The tenth article had stipulated, that the independence of the island should be. placed under the guarantee and protection of Great Britain, France, (G 2) Austria,

Austria, Russia, Spain, and Prussia. The emperor of Germany had acceded to the guarantee, but only on condition of a like accession on the part of the other F. specified in the article. The emperor of Russia had refused his accession. except on the condition that the Maltese langue should be abrogated; and the king of Prussia had given no answer whatever to the application which had been made to him to accede to the arrangement. But the fundamental principle, upon the existence of which depended the execution of the other parts of the article, had been defeated by the changes which had taken place in the constitution of the order since the conclusion of the treaty of peace. It was to the order of St. John of Jerusalem that his majesty was, by the first stipulation of the tenth article, bound to restore the island of Malta. The order is defined to consist of those langues which were in existence at the time of the conclusion of the treaty: the three French langues having been abolished, and a Maltese language added to the institution. The order consisted, there. fore, at that time, of the following langues, viz. the langues of Arro. gan, Castile, Germany, Bavaria, and Russia. Since the conclusion of the definitive treaty, the langues of Arrogan and Castile have been separated frcm the order by Spain; a part of the Italian langue has been abolished by the annexation of Piedmont and Parma to France. There is strong reason to believe that it has been in contemplation to sequestrate the property of the Bavarian langue, and the intention has been avowed of keeping the Russian langues within the dominions of the emperor. Under these circumstances the

order of St. John cannot be consi. dered as that body to which, according to the stipulations of the treaty, the island was to be restored; and the funds indispensably necessary for its support, and for the maintenance of the independence of the island, have been nearly, if not wholly, sequestered. Even if this had arisen from circumstances which it was not in the power of any of the contracting parties to the treaty to control, his majesty would nevertheless have had a right to defer the evacuation of the island by his forces, until such time as an equivalent arrangement had been concluded for the preservation of the independence oš the order and of the island. But if these changes have taken place in consequence of any acts of the other partics to the treaty; if the French government shall appear to have proceeded upon a system of rendering the order, whose independence they had stipulated, incapable of maintaining that independence, his majesty’s o to continue in the occupation of the island, under such circumstances, will hardly be contested. It is indisputable that the revenues of the two Spanish langues have been withdrawn from the order by his catholic majesty; a part of the Italian langue has, in fact, been abolished by France, through the unjust annexation of Piedmont and Parma, and Placentia, to the French territory. The elector of Bavaria has been instigated by the French government to sequestrate the property of the order within his territories; and it is certain that they have not only sanctioned but encouraged the idea of the propriety of separating the Russian langues from the remainder of the order. As the conduct of the govern: - - - - - * * ments

[ocr errors]

ments of France and Spain have, therefore, in some instances directly, and in others indirectly, contributed to the changes which have taken place in the order, and thus destroyed its means of supporting its independence, it is to those governments, and not to his majesty, that the non-execution of the tenth article of the treaty of Amiens must be ascribed. Such would be the just conclusion if the tenth article of that treaty were considered as an arrangement by itself. It must be observed, however, that this article forms a part only of a treaty of peace, the whole of which is connected together, and the stipulations of which must, upon a principle common to all treaties, be construed as having a reference to each other. His majesty was induced by the treaty of peace to consent to abandon and to restore to the order of St. John the island of Malta, on condition of its independence and neutrality. But a further condition, which must necessarily be . to have had considerable influence with his majesty in inducing him to make so important a concession, was the acquiescence of the French government in an arrangement for the security of the Levant, by the eighth and ninth articles in the treaty stipulating the integrity of the Turkish empire, and the independence of the Ionian islands. His majesty has, however, since learnt, that the French government have entertained views hastile to both these objects; and that they have even suggested the idea of a partition of the Turkish empire. These views must now be manifest to all the world, from the official publication of the report of colonel Sebastiani; from the con

[ocr errors]

duct of that officer, and of the other French agents in Egypt, Syria, and the Ionian islands; and from the distinct admission of the first consul himself, in his communication with lord Whitworth. His majesty was, therefore, warranted in considering it to be the determination of the French government to violate those articles of the treaty of peace, which stipulated for the integrity and independence of the Turkish empire, and of the Ionian islands; and consequently he would not have been justified in evacuating the island of Malta; without receiving some other o: which might equally provide for these important objects. His majesty accordingly feels that he has an incontestible claim, in consequence of the conduct of France since the treaty of peace, and with reference to the . which made part of

the stipulations, of that treaty, to

refuse, under the present circumstances, to relinquish the possession of the island of W. - * * Yet, notwithstanding this right, so clear and so unquestionable, the alternative presented by the French government to his majesty, in language the most peremptory and menacing, was, “the evacuation o Malta, or the renewal of the war.” If the views of ambition and aggrandisement, which have thus been manifested by the French government since the conclusion of the treaty of peace, have in so very particular a manner attracted the attention of his majesty, it has been equally impossible for him not to feel, and not to motice, the repeated indignities which have been offered by that government to his crown and to his people. The report of colonel Sebastiani contains the most unwarrantable insinuations and charges against (G 3) his

his majesty's government, against the officer who commanded his forces in Egypt, and against the British army in that quarter. The paper cannot be considered as the publication of a private individual; it has been avowed, and indeed bears evidence upon the face of it, that it is the official report of an accredited agent, published by the authority of a government to which it was addressed, who thereby have given it their express sanction. This report had been published a very short time, when another indignity was offered to this country in the communication of the first consul of France to the legislative body. In this communication he presumes to affirm, in the character of chief magistrate of that country, “that Great Britain cannot singly contend against the power of France;” an assertion as unfounded as it is indecent, disproved by the events of many wars, and by none more than by those of the war which has been recently concluded. Such an assertion, advanced in the most solemn official act of a government, and thereby meant to be avowed to all the powers of Europe, can be considered in no other light than as a defiance publicly offered to his ma-. jesty, and to a brave and powerful people, who are both willingandable to defend his just rights, and those of their country, against every insult and aggression. The conduct of the first consul to his majesty's ambassador, at his audience, in presence of the ministers of most of the sovereigns and states of Europe, furnishes another instance of provocation on the part of the French government, which it would be improper not to notice on the present occasion; and Whe subsequent explanation of this

*

transaction may be considered as having the effect of aggravating instead of palliating the affront. At the very time when his majesty was demanding satisfaction and explanation on some of the points above-mentioned, the French minister at Hamburg endeavoured to obtain the insertion in a Hamburg paper of a most gross and opprobrious libel against his majesty; and when difficulties were made respecting the insertion of it, he availed himself of his official character of minister of the French o to require the publication of it, by order of his government, in the Gazette of the Senate of that town. With this requisition, so made, the senate of Hamburg were induced to comply ; and thus: has the independence of that town been violated, and a free state made the instrument, by the menace of the French government, of propagating throughout Europe, upon their authority, the most of fensive and unfounded calumnies against his majesty and his govern

ment. His majesty might add to this list of .#. e requisition which the French government

[blocks in formation]

viction that they are not the effect of accident; but that they form a part of a system whish has been adopted for the purpose of degrading, vilifying, and insulting his majesty and his government. Under all these insults and provocations, his majesty, not without a due sense of his dignity, has proceeded with every degree of temper and moderation to obtain satisfaction and redress, while he has neglected no means, consistent with his honour and the safety of his dominions, to induce the government of France to concede to him what is, in his judgement, absolutely necessary for the future tranquillity of Europe. His efforts in this respect have proved abortive, and he has therefore judged it necessary to order his ambassador to leave Paris. In having recourse to this proceeding, it has been his majesty’s object to put an end to the fraitless discussions which have too long subsisted between the two governments, and to close a period of suspense peculiarly injurious to the subjects of his maJesty. But though the provocations which his majesty has received might entitle him to' larger claims than those which he has advanced, yet, anxious to prevent calamities which might thus be extended to every part of Europe, he is still willing, as far as is consistent with his own honour, and the interests of his people, to afford every facility to any just and honourable arrangement, by which such evils may averted. He has, therefore, no difficulty in declaring to all Europe, that, notwithstanding all the changes which have taken place since the treaty of peace, notwithstanding the extension of the power of France, in repugnance to

that treaty, and to the spirit of peace itself, his majesty will not avail himself of these circum

...stances, to demand in compensa

tion all that he is entitled to require, but will be ready to concur, even now, in an arrangement by which satisfaction shall be given to him, for the indignities which have been offered to his crown, and to his people, and substantial security afforded against further encroachments on the part of France.

His majesty has thus distinctly and unreservedly stated the reasons of those proceedings to which he has found himself compelled to resort. He is actuated by np disposition to interfere in the internal concerns of any other state; by no projects of conquest and aggrandisement; but solely by a sense of what is due to the honour of his crown, and the interests of his people, and by an anxious desire to obstruct the further progress of a system, which, if not resisted, may prove fatal to every part of the civilised world.

House of Lords. Aug. 12. Address of the Commons to the King. His majesty having taken his seat on the throne, the gentleman usher of the black rod was desired to require the attendance of the speaker of the house of commons. The speaker attended accordingly, and read the following address:— “Most Gracious Sovereign, “Your majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the knights, citizens, and burgesses of the united kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in parliament assembled, have at length completed the supplies granted to your majesty for the service of the present year—a pe: (G 4). riod

« ПредишнаНапред »