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I have suggested to Mr. Wilberforce the advantage which might arise from his sending Mr. Macaulay, or some person conversant in their African concerns, to assist Mr. Vaughan in the negociation on this subject.
Believe me to be, &c, Liverpool.
Brighton, September 25, 1815.
My dear Lord Liverpool—I return your lordship many thanks for your obliging communication of Mr. Vaughan's despatches; and, forgive me if I say that they confirm the strong persuasion I before entertained, that Sir H. Wellesley cannot have pressed as he ought the extreme perverseness of the Spanish Government in selecting for their slaving ground the very district which the other Powers, though not consenting to give up the Slave Trade entirely, had agreed to abandon. Had Sir Henry seconded Lord Castlereagh's efforts with any share of the same intelligence and spirit, that point might at least have been carried.
I am rather of this opinion, because, when the topic was touched on at Vienna, Count Labrador's language rendered it clear that he thought the district ten degrees north of the Line had been specified by mistake; and Sir H. Wellesley's letter, to say the least, suggested the idea that it was a mistake in which he participated. But, with this persuasion, I had no doubt that the mistake would be rectified, on Count Labrador's, and still more Lord Castlereagh's, statements from Vienna. And it is a sad disappointment to find that, on the 23rd of August last, the British Minister at Madrid had advanced no farther than his despatch of that date indicates, and that the idea of the former arrangements having been a mistake seemed to be wholly lost sight of; as, if (which I fear must have been the case) the British Minister at Madrid had never read Count Labrador's declaration at Vienna, as I stated to Lord Castlereagh in the spring, (though even then he had anticipated me; for I assure you, my dear lord, that I do feel justice both to his, and to your own, and to Lord Bathurst's procedures also, as far as I have been acquainted with them) the Spanish Court had far better be apprised that no restriction at all on the limits for carrying on the Slave Trade would be infinitely preferable to this.
That Spain will not give up the trade altogether I am so firmly convinced, that I myself should have questioned the policy of urging her on the new ground of the French abolition, unless on the principle (which is not, however, pressed as dexterously as perhaps it might have been) that if you will not give us all we ask, do not, however, render your withholding what you keep, doubly injurious and provoking. I cannot help most earnestly imploring your lordship to instruct our Minister at Madrid to be as explicit as possible on this point; I foresee that otherwise the northern shore of Africa will, ere long, swarm with slave ships. I trust your lordship will immediately execute your idea of sending a ship of war, to see to the execution of the Portuguese stipulation to give up the Slave Trade north of the Line. I presume that would be understood to prevent their suffering ships under the Spanish flag to slave in their settlements—at Bissao, for instance; because otherwise an easy opening would be provided for the carrying on the Slave Trade to as great an extent as before.
The letter in which the fact I before named to your lordship was specified, that, I mean, of the slaves which used to be shipped from the factories in the rivers near Sierra Leone, being now carried to and shipped from Bissao, is dated the 26th of May; and the writer stated that he had recently received the intelligence, not, as I said, through mistake, from a missionary, but from an English factor. It would have indicated greater than Portuguese celerity in any instance, more especially in a case in which they cannot be supposed to move from any strong stimulus, either of interest or feeling for the Convention (made, I presume, at Paris, by Lord Castle
reagh) abolishing the Portuguese Slave Trade north of the
Line, to have been not merely announced, but carried into
execution in Africa on May 26th; but there has now been
time enough for both, and therefore this is just the time when
the execution should be insisted on.
I am always sorry to engross your lordship's time; I will
therefore trespass on it no longer than to assure you that I am
always, with respect and regard, my dear Lord Liverpool, your
lordship's very sincerely,
The Bight Hon. N. Vansittart to Lord Castlereagh.
Blackheath, October 4, 1815.
Dear Castlereagh—I have accidentally omitted to forward to you the enclosed letter from Dumouriez, which fully explains his views with respect to his friend Morgan. I shall add nothing on the subject, as you have the best opportunities of knowing Morgan, and whether it can be worth while to employ him. I suppose you have seen his defence of Fouché to the Duke of Wellington.
You will be sorry to hear that your caution with respect to the Spanish subsidy has not been effectual. More bills are come upon the Treasury, and we have no distinct account of the amount to which they extend. We have directed them to be paid, for the sake of public credit, but written to Carroll and Tupper, the Consul at Cadiz, that we shall hold them responsible for the money, unless they can show proper authority for drawing. It will, however, of course, be difficult to enforce this threat, but it is necessary to check them; and I think you ought to write pretty sharply to Mr. James upon the subject. "The Morning Chronicle" has got hold of this business already, and we shall find it hard enough to explain in the House of Commons.
In other respects, I think the little Spanish invasion has done good, by giving the King an opportunity of coming forward in a popular manner, and raising the character of the Duke d'Angouleme.
I heartily congratulate you on the favourable turn the negociation seems to be taking. I never have been relieved from more unpleasant feelings than I was by your last despatch. From that which preceded it, I had conceived the greatest apprehensions that the King, under the impression of feelings of national pride, and embarrassed by the inconceivable blunder of allowing Talleyrand and Fonché to answer the propositions of the Allies, when he had decided to dismiss them, would have been induced in despair to have laid the propositions before the Legislature, instead of proceeding with the negociation. In this case, I have no doubt that the different parties would have vied with each other in flattering the national vanity, and that such an Address would have passed as to preclude the possibility of concession. Under such circumstances, an immediate rupture must have taken place, and a scene of discord would have been opened, of which no mortal can pretend to foresee the issue. Thank God, we have better hopes now! though I am far from thinking all difficulties will be removed, even when peace is signed.
I do not know whether Liverpool has mentioned to you that he thinks it not improbable that, when the arrangement of the contribution has been finally settled, the French may offer to compensate our share of part of it by colonial cessions. If such an idea should be started, it will probably be the subject of a reference home; but it may not be amiss to give it a little previous consideration. We think in general that the idea ought not to be suggested or encouraged by us, because it is desirable that the views of France should not be wholly diverted from colonial objects, and that she ought to have something to lose by a maritime war. But, supposing the offer to be made, and rather pressed by her, we must look a little at the different objects she has to offer. Martinique and Guadaloupe are the only colonies of real value to France, and, though we must be sensible of their commercial importance, I think they ought to be the last colonies we should retain. The Saintes are of no use to France, and would be worth having as a naval station; but, after what passed last year, the French Government might feel some reluctance to ceding them.
The settlements in India are not worth having, except for the sake of saving the rent of i?40,000 a-year the East India Company are to pay, in compensation of their commercial exemptions. The Isle of Bourbon has no harbour, but, as it produces excellent cotton and coffee, it is of some value. The settlements on the coast of Africa are of small value to France; but they would, particularly Senegal, be of great importance in forwarding our plans for abolishing the Slave Trade, and promoting civilization and commerce in Africa. I should, therefore, think them more desirable than any other colonies France could offer us.
I had forgotten Cayenne. It is now of little value, and very unhealthy, but it might, in time, be of some use, as connected with our Guyana settlements: and there is some danger of its becoming a depot for smuggling slaves into them, as slaves may be imported into the neighbouring ports of Brazil, though not directly into the Cayenne river, since the French abolition of the trade.
As for the other most curious paper you sent, I think the turn Liverpool proposes to give the transaction renders it perfectly innocent, and that, however strange it may appear, it will rather do good than harm.
Believe me ever most faithfully yours,
Let me know what arrangements have been made with respect to the ten millions of livres which you said we were to receive immediately. If ready money cannot be obtained, it is very desirable to get bills to as large an amount as is practi