« PreviousContinue »
fully in possession of the sentiments of this Government, and will, with his accustomed zeal and precision, bring them so satisfactorily under his Imperial Majesty's consideration, as to leave me no reason to regret Lord Cathcart's absence.
I avail myself, however, with pleasure, of this circumstance, as affording me some excuse for recalling myself to your Excellency's recollection, and in the full confidence that, on this, as on so many other occasions, the counsels of the two States will be unanimous in rendering the proposed work of humanity and civilization consistent and effectual in all its provisions.
I am confident the Emperor will approve of the broad and simple basis given to the treaty. In laying down the maxims of Christianity as to the rule of conduct in Europe between State and State, it would have been unworthy to have assumed a less benevolent principle towards Africa. As the preamble stands, we may defy moral criticism, if our execution shall correspond to the principles we profess.
In strictness, no State carrying on the Slave Trade can or ought to be admitted into a league formed for the suppression of the piratical carrying away human beings, whether white or black, from their friends and country, for the purpose of using them as slaves; but, as this construction of the treaty might impede its own object, I wish you to bring under the Emperor's consideration what it might be reasonable to consider, on the part of Spain and Portugal, as such a satisfaction of the principle laid down in the treaty as might bring those States within this purview, without rendering the alliance nugatory to one of its most essential objects.
I presume his Imperial Majesty will at once feel that, to admit the accession of Powers professing an intention of continuing this traffic during the whole period for which the alliance is to endure, would be rendering the league, upon the face of it, inconsistent with itself; yet such would be nearly the case, if these Powers were to accede, under their declara
tion made at Vienna, of continuing to their subjects the permission to trade in slaves for eight years, to be computed from February, 1815. You will observe, by perusing the Protocols of the deliberations held upon this subject at that time, that the period then fixed by France for final abolition, viz., May, 1819, (five years from the peace of 1814) was declared by the plenipotentiaries of Russia, Austria, Prussia, and Great Britain, to be the utmost period which the respective Sovereigns could possibly be induced to recognize as justifiable or necessary for the trade to endure; and it was in contemplation of this period, as an extreme limit, that they reserved to themselves to exclude from their dominions, upon a principle of moral obligation, the colonial produce of States continuing to trade in slaves beyond that period. I therefore request you will submit to his Imperial Majesty, whether the parties of this alliance, reserving to themselves to bring Spain and Portugal, if possible, to an earlier abolition, should not consider the period above alluded to, viz., May, 1819, as the period sine quá non of abolition, by States desiring to accede to the proposed alliance. The Allies having already pledged themselves to this principle, neither State can either complain or be surprised at this condition. Spain can the less complain, as you will see her Indian Council has advised immediate abolition; and she has offered, within the last three months, to this Government to abolish in three years for a pecuniary consideration. I have said enough to point your attention to the principle upon which this question turns. The Emperor will find all the information necessary for its elucidation in the documents transmitted by Count Lieven. His Imperial Majesty will do the Prince Regent the justice to believe that nothing but a sense of duty would prompt his Royal Highness to press a principle which could by possibility operate as an exclusion of two Courts from the alliance, with whom his Royal High
ness has been so long and so intimately connected: but the Prince Regent feels, as he doubts not the Emperor will feel, a moral obligation not to sacrifice a principle which he has professed in the face of Europe, even to those two; and his Royal Highness doubly feels this duty to be imperative upon him when he is associating himself in an alliance against the States of Africa.
Forgive this intrusion ; present my respectful homage to the Emperor; and believe me, with distinguished regard,
Your Excellency's sincere and faithful servant, C.
Lord Castlereagh to Mr. Hamilton.
Mount Stewart, October 13, 1816. Dear Hamilton—I return you the Spanish despatches. It appears to me rather desirable to make my absence and the present dispersion of the Cabinet an excuse for not immediately replying to the Spanish proposition on the Slave Trade. I should wish, when the Cabinet deliberate upon this question, that they should have the means of judging how far the Allied Powers will push the point with Spain. This we shall be enabled to ascertain upon the return of the references lately made to the several Courts upon the proceedings in London.
If my colleagues in town concur in this policy, you may write to Vaughan, to say that he cannot expect an answer for the present, or until we are reassembled. In the mean time he will be enabled to turn my last instructions to account. I return Cardinal Consalvi's letter, in order that you may submit it to the Prince Regent.
Yours, &c., CASTLEREAGH.
Lord Castlereagh to Mr. Hamilton.
Mount Stewart, October 15, 1816. Dear Hamilton-Morier of course must have his pension till we can employ him, but I doubt a little whether we can sustain the principle of Canning's precedent in amount. It is true both acted as Ministers plenipotentiary, but then it was only ad interim, and to return upon their £1,000 a-year, as Secretary of Embassy. Now, if the pension for Secretary of Embassy so circumstanced is to be £1,200 a-year, he gets more for doing nothing, than he would for doing his duty if his principal had returned and the mission subsisted; I do not think this stateable or argueable ; I rather think the pension ought to be referable to his real not his temporary rank; and if this principle be the correct one, I do not think the pension ought to exceed £800.
In haste, yours, &c., CASTLEREAGH. Nicholas is to have the same at Ali Pacha's Court as he had at Heligoland. I believe, £1,000 a-year.
Mr. Edward Thornton to Lord Castlereagh.
Stockholm, October 17, 1816. My Lord—I have no subject of any public importance with which to trouble your lordship by the present mail. A few evenings ago, I took an opportunity of paying my court to the Prince Royal; and, in an accidental conversation, which was brought on by my inquiry after the health of the Princess Royal, whom I had seen at Paris, his Royal Highness took occasion to advert to the situation of the Princess's sister, the wife of Joseph Bonaparte, who is at present at Frankfort, and who, according to the destination assigned to her by the Allied Sovereigns, is hereafter to proceed to Kiew, in Russia.
The Prince observed that her state, as well moral as physical, was at present such as to make it extremely probable that she would sink under the journey and the privation of all her former friends and society; that her character was well known for the little part she had ever taken in political events, and for the exemplary conduct of her whole private life: and he could not but hope that the Allied Sovereigns would regard her present state with compassion, and would permit her to establish her residence in some country where she would not be so utterly deprived of the society and correspondence of her relations and friends.
It was on this subject that his Royal Highness begged me to say to your lordship that, if the Prince Regent's Government found no objection to it, your lordship would confer a particular obligation on himself personally, by authorizing Lord Cathcart at St. Petersburgh, and Sir Charles Stuart at Paris, to give it to be understood at those two Courts, that his Royal Highness's Government would take no umbrage, and would even consent without difficulty that the destination of Madame Joseph Bonaparte might be changed, and that she might be allowed to fix her residence in Switzerland, or in a rayon of about ten leagues about Frankfort. The former of the two places of residence would, I believe, be preferred.
The Prince Royal went into detail on the personal motives which induced him to interest himself in the fate of Madame Joseph Bonaparte, and which must be sufficiently obvious to your lordship without my mentioning them. I need only observe, that the Princess Royal has always lived with her sister on terms of the tenderest connexion, and that the Prince could not do an act more grateful to the former than by preventing a separation, which the distance and circumstances must, in all human probability, make a separation for ever.
Your lordship must be better acquainted than I can be with the personal character of the sister; all that I lave ever heard speak of her give her the reputation of the most exemplary and almost saint-like virtues.!
I have the honour to be, &c.,
This letter is endorsed—“There will be no objection on the part of the British Government, if the other Allied Governments think fit to change the place of retirement of this lady."