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FRANCE Pretended violation of the neutrality of the French soil-Ambiguous conduct of the French Ministry-Speech at the opening of the French Chambers-Duplicity of the Minister-The subsequent explanation attempted to be given of the doctrine contained in that Speech-Respective departures of the French and Spanish ambassadors-Debate in the Peers on the Address; amendments moved; speech of Talleyrand-Address of the Peers-Debate in the Chamber of Deputies on the Address; Address of the Deputies-The BudgetDiscussions on the War in the progress of the Financial measures; Chauteaubriand's speech-Course of observation pursued by Manuel: proceedings against him; his expulsion from the Chamber-Protest against this measure tendered and rejected-Secession of the Opposition-Riots-Addresses against the War-Annunciation of the commencement of the War-Exultation of the French in the success of the Spanish Campaign-Proceedings in Paris-Communications with England as to South America-Dismissal of the Duke of Belluno— Remarkable Trials at Paris-French Clergy-English artizans employed in France.
S the Spanish troops, at the end of 1822, had advanced in pursuit of the Royalist-insurgents to the very frontiers of France, it would not have been surprising if the animosity of civil war had led to some rash and partial inroad upon the French territory. The prudence of the chiefs, however, prevented any thing of this kind from taking place; and a transaction, which, in the early part of January, called forth the invectives of the French ministerial journals as an act of open hostility, turned out, upon further examination, to be of a character altogether different. The alleged violation of a neutral territory occurred under the following circumstances: On the 29th of December, 1822, after an engagement between the Constitutional troops
and the bands of the Faith, in which the latter were defeated, and fled, part into France, and part to Valcarlos, the Spanish colonel Assura, at the head of 200 men, presented himself at a village common to both countries, and requested guides from the French to point out the road. There was nothing hostile in this proceeding; on the contrary, it indicated a desire to respect the French soil. In the absence of the mayor, his deputy made no scruple to furnish the guides who were demanded: and the Spanish troops, having arrived at Valcarlos, completed the defeat of those enemies whom they had previously routed. When the prefect was informed of this proceeding, he suspended the civil officer who furnished Assura with guides.
The 28th of January was the day fixed for the meeting of the French Chambers; and up to that time the suspense with respect to the hostile designs of France towards Spain continued unimpaired. The elevation of Villèle, who was now president of the council of ministers, to be the acknowledged head of the administration, made no alteration in the conduct pursued by the government. The journal Des Debats, indeed, teemed with articles which delineated the dangers of war in glowing colours; that paper was known to be entirely in the interest of Villèle; and in fact, some of the most important of these articles were corrected with his own hand. Military preparations, however, went on; every thing that was done, bespoke war; and most of what was said tended to excite suspicion. Still, hopes were entertained, and more strongly in England than elsewhere, that peace would not be disturbed. But these hopes had no stable ground; they emanated from our wishesfrom the clear conviction entertained by all reasonable men, that an aggression upon Spain was alike impolitic and unjust, and that it could produce no beneficial result for France, but might endanger her throne and involve her in a maze of evils.
So little was known of the real purposes of the administration, that on the very day fixed for the meeting of the chambers, the complaint of the duke of San Lorenzo, the Spanish ambassador, against certain individuals who had attempted to negociate at Paris a loan for the Regency of Urgel, came on to be heard before a court of justice. For the defendants, it was objected, most unexpectedly, that the
diplomatic character of the plaintiff, in which alone he was entitled to prosecute the proceedings, had ceased on that very morning. The objection was sustained; and this was the first public intimation, that there was no longer any accredited minister of Spain to the court of the Tuilleries.
On Tuesday the 28th of January, the session of the chambers was opened, amid intense anxiety, and a numerous attendance of diplomatic personages. Among these, however, the ambassador of England was not to be seen; and it was well, that he was not to be found among them; for it would not have been becoming in the representative of England to have honoured with his presence a ceremony, in which he must have remained a silent acquiescent witness, while the first principles of rational government were trampled under foot. The king, in his speech to the chambers, began with describing the flourishing state of France and the blessings which she had derived from her return to legitimate rule, he then proceeded to consider her relations with Spain. "Divine justice permits," said he, "that after having for a long time made other nations suffer the terrible effects of our disorders, we should ourselves be exposed to dangers brought about by similar calamities among a neighbouring people. I have made every endeavour to guarantee the security of my people, and to preserve Spain herself from the extremity of misfortune. The infatuation with which the representations made at Madrid have been rejected, leaves little hope of preserving peace. I have ordered the recall of my minister: one hundred thousand Frenchmen, eommanded by a prince of
my family by him whom my heart delights to call my son-are ready to march, invoking the God of St. Louis, for the sake of preserving the throne of Spain to a descendant of Henry 4th of saving that fine kingdom from its ruin, and of reconciling it with Europe. Our stations are about to be reinforced in those places where our maritime commerce has need of that protection. Cruisers shall be established every where, wherever our arrivals can possibly be annoyed. If war is inevitable, I will use all my endeavours to confine its circle, to limit its duration it will be undertaken only to conquer peace, which the state of Spain would render impossible. Let Ferdinand 7th be free to give to his people institutions which they cannot hold but from him, and which, by securing their tranquillity, would dissipate the just inquietudes of France: hostilities shall cease from that moment. I make, gentlemen, before you, a solemn engagement on this point. I was bound to lay before you the state of our foreign affairs. It was for me to deliberate. I have done it maturely. I have consulted the dignity of my crown, the honour and security of France. Gentlemen, we are Frenchmen: we shall always be agreed to defend such interests."
This speech was the most deliberate avowal of the principles of tyranny, that ever was addressed to an assembly bearing the name and character of representative. Bad as the constitution of Spain was (and worse, we admit, democratic folly never framed)-wanting as her statesmen had shewn themselves in every quality that statesmen ought to have what justification did that afford to a
foreign power for invading her with an armed force? Louis and his cabinet dislike the internal administration of Spain: but are their likings the rule of right and wrong? what is the foundation of their prerogative to assault with 100,000 men whatever is not accommodated to their fancy? If the practical purport of the speech was infamous, the principle of their interference was still more worthy of reprobation. Let Ferdinand be free to give to his people institutions which they cannot hold but from him. What! is freedom to emanate only from the breath of a tyrant? Are law, and reason, and manly fortitude to exist only in and by an idiotic coward? Let the nations listen to the wisdom promulgated by the restored Louis, and re-echoed by his chambers.→→→ "The people have no rights; no rights can be derived from truth, or reason, or justice, or general utility-none from the constitution of human nature compared with the circumstance in which man is placed by his Creator-none even from the will or revelation of that Creator himself: all institutions, and of course all the rights which they confer, acknowledge, or protect, can proceed only from a monarch: what is not given by a despot ought not to be allowed to exist." Did the darkest of the dark ages ever produce any avowal more atrocious than this? We knew not till now, how perfectly Napoleon had disciplined the French into servitude. What must have been the state of the public mind, when a minister could without hazard put such maxims into the mouth of his sovereign?
It is not alone for the extravagance of the principles asserted in this speech, that the French minis
ters deserve deep condemnation: their dissimulation is equally reprehensible. Up to this time they had, in their communications with the British government, professed the most pacific wishes and hopes; and these professions were repeated with renewed ardour at the very moment when Mr. Canning received the first communication of, this extravagant manifesto. They had indeed called upon Spain to make some modifications in her constitution: but the basis, on which the question had been put, was, that if these modifications were -conceded, peace would be preserved, but that, though they were refused, war did not necessarily follow. Now, the speech of Louis entirely -overthrew both the positive and negative branch of the alternative: for its purport was, that war was unavoidable, so long as institutions existed in Spain, that were not freely given by and held of the good pleasure of Ferdinand.
Mr. Canning, indeed, suggested that another construction might be put upon the speech, and that the sentiment intended to be conveyed might be no other than "that, in order to give stability to any modification of the existing system, and in order to afford sufficient assurance to France to justify her discontinuing her warlike preparations, the king of Spain must be a party, and consent to such modification." But this is clearly a meaning which the words cannot fairly bear and the French ministers did not adopt it. M. de Chateaubriand assented to it as a proposition: and that he fairly might do; for it is perfectly consistent with the general proposition avowed by the king; but neither he nor his colleagues disavowed the obnoxious sense which
the speech naturally conveyed, nor stated that Mr. Canning's forced construction was that in which it was meant to be taken.
Before the meeting of the Chambers, orders had been sent to the count de la Garde, the ambassador at Madrid, to quit Spain, On the 26th of January, he demanded his passports; but did not receive them till midnight on the 28th, though he had ordered the arms of France to be taken down from his hotel; and it was not till the 30th that they were countersigned by the political chief at Madrid. At 6 o'clock on that day he set off, accompanied only by M. Belloc, his principal secretary of legation, and arrived at Bayonne on the 3rd of February. The duke of San Lorenzo was commanded to quit Paris within four and twenty hours.
The royal speech was immediately taken into consideration by the chambers; and in each the task of framing a reply was entrusted to a committee. On the 3rd of February, the duc de Levis, reporter of the special committee of the peers, presented the project of an answer which had been examined and approved in the committee. The baron de Barente moved an amendment in disapprobation of the intended war with Spain, which was supported by M. de Talleyrand. "It is now sixteen years,' said that experienced statesman, "" since, commanded by him, who then ruled the world, to deliver my opinion on a conflict in which he was about to engage with the Spanish people, I had the misfortune to displease him by unveiling the future, and pointing out the multitude of dangers that would arise out of an aggression equally rash