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exil dans cette loi est d'avoir accepté un emploi de Napoléon; mais depuis ce moment j'ai été appelé au ministère par Louis XVIII. J'ai reçu de lui une lettre de reconnoissance de mes services. Ma mission à Dresde n'étoit pas une faveur, mais c'est une nouvelle nomination du Roi. De plus, je suis membre de la Chambre des Députés. J'ai été élu par cinq collèges électoraux les plus nombreux, notamment celui de Paris. J'aurois été nommé par la France entière si je l'eusse désiré. Il seroit un peu trop scandaleux de me voir banni en vertu d'une loi qui me laisse dans une exception si solemnelle, et si inviolable. La probité du Roi se révolteroit, si on lui présentoit à signer une ordonnance d'exécution où mon nom seroit inscrit. Non—l'iniquité ne sera pas consommée à mon égard. Qui pourroit compter sur la sainteté des engagemens du Roi, si les Chambres mêmes avoient le droit d'en arrêter l'effet! Qui croiroit à une Constitution, si les Chambres peuvent exclure un de leurs membres, sans jugement, sans même articuler son nom. Après une pareille violation où l'Europe trouveroit elle un gouvernement en France!
Il m'est impossible de concilier dans mon esprit la lettre du Roi qui m'a appelle au Ministère de la Police, celle qui m'a nommé son Ministre à Dresde, les promesses touchantes qui la terminent avec une ordonnance d'exil si,mé de la même
main. La postérité rechercheroit les causes de cette étrange contradiction; elle ne voudrait pas se persuader que des motifs qui n'ont pas empêché le Roi de me faire entrer dans son conseil, et dans la plus grande étendue de sa confiance, au moment du danger, m'en eussent fait éloigner et bannir de ma patrie quand on a cru le danger passé.
Sir Charles Stuart to Lord Castlereagh.
Paris, February 29, 1816. My dear Lord—Though the decided ascendency the UltraRoyalist party has acquired in the Chambers has some time since rendered the situation of the Ministry extremely uncertain, no admission of their embarrassment had allowed me to report to you the probability of a change in the direction of affairs, resulting from the want of influence on the part of the King's advisers in the Chambers, until the discussion respecting the erasure of that article from the budget relating to the arrears previous to 1814, which took place on Monday.
The result of this discussion has placed the Ministers in a most precarious situation; for, the support derived from the friends of M. de Talleyrand having been voluntarily sacrificed by the compromise which took place respecting the exceptions from the general amnesty, their own force does not give a majority upon any question which the views of the UltraRoyalists may induce that party to throw out. Their existence as a Ministry, therefore, depends upon the will of their opponents, and it is very clear that the slightest circumstance may lead to their removal.
This circumstance has occurred at the present moment; for your lordship is aware that the discussion on Monday last left the Ministers in a minority on the King's message, and the commission appointed to take the Budget into consideration decided on Tuesday that the message shall pass unnoticed, and that the report on the Budget, which is under consideration, shall be brought up next week.
As it is not likely that an Administration which succeeds M. de Richelieu under these circumstances can remain many weeks at tho head of affairs, the King will thus be placed in a situation which must endanger the safety of the country, and lead to the suspension of the payments due, under treaty, to the Allies. My colleagues, therefore, determined yesterday to devote the usual conference to the serious consideration of the measures the circumstances require. They invited the Duke of Wellington to be present, and the detail of the mischiefs which menace the country, unless the Court shall cease to
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oppose the Government, induced them to recommend that his Grace should address a letter to the King, stating the alarm to which the situation of affairs had given rise, and a hope that his Majesty will interfere to render the influence of the Court beneficial to the real interests of his Government.
During our deliberation, the Duke arrived, and, after telling us that the King had enjoined him directly to communicate his sentiments upon the state of public affairs whenever a proper opportunity shall offer for that purpose, he read, with some slight alterations, the accompanying letter, which had been drawn up before our meeting. The letter, having been approved in the present form, was delivered to M. de Pradel this morning; and I hope it will reach his Majesty in sufficient time to prevent the consequences which may result from the appearance of the report the Committee were expected to bring forward in the beginning of the next week.
My conversation with several persons who are aware of what is passing upon the subject of this measure leaves very strong doubts in my mind how far it is likely to succeed. The King has upon no occasion shown sufficient character to control the party, which, with the sole exception of the Duke de Berry, his own family decidedly espouse; and if his Majesty determines to maintain the Ministry in office, without giving them the necessary support, the Duke de Richelieu has no other alternative, after the report is presented, but to dissolve the Chambers, notwithstanding his dread of encouraging the party who were the former opponents of the Crown, and favouring Anti-Royalist elections.
If our efforts to support the Ministers are unavailing in this particular crisis, I am disposed to think that the return of M. de Blacas is the sole measure which can give the King that influence over the Princes necessary to control the party acting under their direction.
I remain, &c, Charles Stuart.
Extract of a letter from Sir Thomas Maitland to Lord Bathurst, dated Corfu, March 6, 1816.
Since I closed my letter to your lordship relative to Capo d'lstria, and in which you will find one to Lord Castlereagh open, I have seen the son, Vicaro Capo dlstria, twice, and have told him very fairly my feeling in regard to his father's conduct; when he several times repeated to me that I must not mind what his father did—that he was in the extreme of old age—and that all he did was to keep himself alive. He did not, in the first conversation, seem to wish to be employed; but in the second, I think his feelings rested more upon all the first places being already promised away, than on any disinclination for employment; and his professions were certainly strong.
Your lordship may rely upon it that, if I can with propriety, I will employ him, if it were only to show we have no disinclination to the family. But we must always look at him with a jealous eye.
Lord Castlereagh to Sir Charles Stuart.
Foreign Office, March 9, 1816.
My dear Sir—I send you an official instruction for the direction of your conduct in Sir R. Wilson's case, and I have sent to press the report of the Crown lawyers in reply to your reference.
What may be the means of proof to substantiate this more serious charge yet remains to be seen; but, if the French Government have in their possession the means of affording to the world even rational evidence that the conduct of these English gentlemen is not to be traced simply to an impulse of humanity, but that it was connected with a desire to screen all the French traitors from punishment, and to a wish to see the existing order of things subverted, I can neither wonder at nor blame their giving to the accusation that character which may let them into the whole of the case, involving, as it does, the interests of all Governments as well as that of France.
The assurances given to you by the Duke de R[ichelieu], as well as those received by me through the Marquis d'Osmond, sufficiently dispel any alarm as to the intentions of the French Government to inflict, even in the event of conviction, a capital punishment—a determination which we feel satisfied no ebullition of temper in the Ultra-Royalist party will shake; but it is nevertheless right that your Excellency should be prepared at a proper moment, if necessary, to support them in this determination.
I think it necessary in confidence to apprize you that, probably in consequence of representations from Paris, Lord Grey and Lord Grenville have had an interview with Lord Liverpool, who informed them that we had every reason to believe the intention of the French Government was not to push punishment to an extreme against the accused, but that we could not pledge that Government by such declaration. I think it extremely material to impress this on your mind, because these gentlemen may conduct themselves in such a tone of outrage to the Government and laws of France as to make it difficult for the King and his Ministers to treat them with clemency.
Whether Sir Robert Wilson and the other prisoners will or will not be made acquainted with the lenient intentions of the French Government as to punishment, or whether it is useful that they should, I profess not to be able to decide, but confident I am that they ought to be cautious not to provoke by unnecessary offence the Government of the country to whose laws they are now amenable. If I may judge from report, they have indulged in a most imprudent latitude in this respect since their first arrest.
I propose seeing the French Ambassador this forenoon, and shall request him to impress earnestly upon his Government that, whilst the British Government desires to abstain from