« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
himself by saying, That the duke of Leeds, the earls of Pembroke, Jersey and Marlborough, the lords Sommers and Hallifax, and Mr. Vernon, had their share in that Negotiation as well as himself; whereupon the peers his lordship had named did readily acknowledge, that they had, indeed, seen the rough draught of the Treaty, but that the earl of Portland had drawn it up by himself in French; and as for themselves, that they had neither given, nor refused their consent to it; because the Treaty was never communicated to the privy-council. Upon this occasion the marquis of Normanby made an eloquent speech, which was generally applauded; and because some peers had spoke very reflectingly of the king of France, the earl of Rochester took them up, and said, That all men ought to speak respectfully of crownedheads, and that this duty is more particularly incumbent on the peers of a kingdom, who derive all their honour and lustre from the crown. This was backed by another earl, who said, That the king of France was not only to be respected, but likewise to be feared: To whom another member replied, That he hoped, no man in England needed be afraid of the French king; much less the peer who spoke last, who was too much a friend to that monarch to fear any thing from him.
Message to the Commons relative to the said Treaty.] After a long and warm debate, the lords sent a Message to the commons, to acquaint them, "That there baving been lately a Treaty made with France, extremely dangerous in itself, and transacted also in a most irregular manner, the lords had thought fit to communicate it to the commons, and to desire them to appoint a Committee for meeting a committee of the lords, in order to their joint consideration of some method to be used in making such an application to his majesty about this matter, as might for the future prevent any proceedings of this kind." At the same time, the lords desired the commons, that Mr. Vernon, one of their members, might come to a Committee of the upper house, to give an Account of some matters relating to the Treaty of Partition, which the commons readily granted. Facts respecting the Treaty of Partition stated] March 15. The earl of Nottingham reported from the Committee appointed to draw up and state the Facts, as to the Treaty of Partition, that they had thought proper to set down such Facts as appeared to them. And the second lead being read, viz. That the emperor was not a Party to this Treaty, though principally concerned,' The question was put, Whether this paragraph shall stand? It was resolved in the negative. Contents 24; Not contents 40.
Protests thereon.] "Dissentient 1. Because it is manifest by the treaty itself, that the matter of fact is true. 2. Because the emperor, as we conceive, had been the most proper to have treated with on this occasion, for it was more prudent and safe to have treated with the emperor to have restrained the
pretensions of France, than with France to lessen the dominion of the house of Austria, which, in its full strength, and in conjunction with the most considerable powers in Europe, and with the expence of more than sixty millions sterling to our share, was scarce able to withstand the arms of France. 3. But, admitting that the emperor was not the most proper to be treated with, yet, to prevent the umbrage that might be taken by uniting too many dominions under one prince, especially such a prince as, without any additions, was formidable to all Europe, of all others the emperor was the most improper to be left out of such a treaty, for he was most concerned in it ; and our ministers could not, or at least did not, sufficiently support his interest, or the just balance of Europe; but, on the contrary, as we are informed, by one lord who signed the Treaty, it was concluded against the express desire of the emperor. (Signed) De Longueville, Howard, Thanet, Craven, Hereford, Tho. Roffen', Granville, Scarsdale, Jeffreys, Leeds, Weymouth, Abingdon, Normanby, Guilford, Nottingham, Poulett."
Then the third Head was read, viz. no minister of the States-General met with the Plenipotentiaries of England and France, as were required by the powers at the making the treaty in London. The question was put, Whether this paragraph shall stand? It was resolved in the Negative.
"Dissentient' 1. Because the truth of this proposition is reason enough for asserting it, and it must certainly be of fatal consequence, if ministers without any directions by instructions in writing, shall presume to act contrary to the very commission that empowers them; and, in this case, the assistance of the Dutch ministers was the more necessary, because the emperor was no party to this treaty, and the States-General are more immediately concerned, than we are, to promote his interests. 2. But if this treaty was concerted with the Dutch ministers in 1699, before his majesty's return into England, as was asserted by one of the lords who signed it afterwards in London, then, ist, This treaty was made by those who had no authority to transact it, for the power was not granted by his majesty till the 2d of January following. 2dly. As they acted without power, so without instructions too in writing, which never was practised in any former transactions abroad. Lastly, We conceive, that neither of the foregoing facts ought, in reason, or according to the method of parliament, to be ordered to be omitted, because, till the committee had formed the address, pursuant to the order, it was impossible to know what use would be made of those facts; for as they might have been improperly applied, and then would have been justly rejected, so there might have been so great use made of them, and so opposite to the design of the house, in the intended address, that it will be improper to omit them. (Signed) Thanet, Leeds, Tho. Roffen', Hereford, De Longueville, Granville, Craven,
Weymouth, Normanby, Howard, Jeffreys, Abingdon, Nottingham."
March 18. After debate concerning the Treaty of Partition, it was proposed, "That it appears, that the French king's acceptance of the Will of the king of Spain is a manifest violation of the Treaty, and humbly to advise the king, that, in all future Treaties with the French king, his majesty do proceed with such caution as may carry along with it a real security." After debate thereupon, the question was put, Whether the said Proposal shall go to the Committee to be one of the Heads for the Address? It was resolved in the affirmative.
"Dissentient' 1. Because it must be construed to be an approbation of the Treaty, which (as we conceive) was not intended by the house. 2. Because it is impossible to know the full meaning and extent of real security.' (Signed) Nottingham, Granville, Normanby, Rochester, Weymouth, Abingdon, Guildford, Godolphin."
The Lords' Address respecting it.] In conclusion, after three days debate, the house of lords resolved to set out this whole matter in an Address to the king, complaining both of the Partition Treaty, and of the method, in which it had been carried on. The lord Wharton moved an addition to the Address, That, "whereas the French king had broke that Treaty, they should advise his majesty to treat no more with him, or rely on his word, without a real security. This was much opposed by all those, who were against engaging in a new war: they said, all motions of that kind ought to come from the house of commons, who only could *support such an advice, which did in effect engage us in a new war; nor would they lay the blame on the breaking of a treaty, which they were resolved to condemn. They also excepted to the words 'real security' as ambiguous; but the majority of the house agreed to it, for there was such treachery in the French negotiations, that they could not be relied on without a good guarantee, and the pledge of some strong places. It now plainly appeared, that the design was to set on the house of commons to impeach some lords, who had been concerned in the Partition Treaty; for it was moved to send the Address to the commons for their concurrence, but that was not carried. The Address was to this effect:
"That their lordships, having considered the Treaty of the 21st of Feb. or the 15th of March 1700, made with the French king, together with the separate and secret articles, which bis majesty had been pleased to communicate to them, did most humbly represent to him, that, to their 'great sorrow, they found the matters thereof to have been of very ill consequence to the peace and safety of Europe; for that, besides the occasion it might have given to the late king of Spain, to have made his will in favour of the duke of Anjou, if that treaty had taken effect; the prejudice to his majesty and his subjects, and indeed to all Europe, by the addition of Sicily, Naples, several ports of the Mediterra
nean, the province of Guipuscoa, and the duchy of Lorrain, had been not only very great, but contrary to the pretence of the treaty itself, which was to prevent any umbrage, that might have been taken, by uniting so many states and dominions under one head. That, by all the informations they had had of that fatal treaty, they could not find, that the verbal orders and instructions (if any were given to his majesty's plenipotentiaries) were ever considered in any of his majesty's councils; or that the draught of that treaty had ever been laid before his majesty, at any meeting of his council, much less that it was advised or approved of by any council or committee of council. Wherefore they thought themselves bound in duty to his majesty, and justice to their country, most humbly to beseech him, that, for the future, he would be pleased to require and admit, in all matters of importance, the advice of his natural born subjects, whose known probity and fortunes might give him and his people a just assurance of their fidelity to his service; and that, in order thereunto, he would be pleased to constitute a council of such persons, to whom his majesty might be pleased to impart all affairs both at home and abroad, which might any way concern him and his dominions. For as interest and natural affection to their country would incline them, to wish the welfare and prosperity of it much more than others, who had no such ties upon them; and as their experience and knowledge of their country would also render them more capable than strangers of advising his majesty in the true interests of it; so they were confident, that, after such large and repeated demonstrations of his subjects duty and affection, his majesty could not doubt of their zeal in his service, nor want the knowledge of persons fit to be 'employed in all his most secret and arduous affairs. that, since it appeared, the French king's accepting of the king of Spain's will was a manifest violation of that treaty, they humbly advised his majesty, in future treaties with that prince, to proceed with such caution, as might carry a real security."
This Address being carried by the Lord Keeper alone to Kensington, who there found two or three of the lords in waiting, to make a shew of a house, it was presented, on the 14th of March, to his majesty, who answered, "That it contained matter of very great moment; and that he would always take care, that all treaties he made, should be for the honour and safety of England."
The King's Message concerning the French King's Answer.] March 31. Upon the French Ambassador's declining to give a satisfactory Answer to the Memorials presented by Mr. Stanhope and the Dutch, his majesty sent this Message to the house of commons :
"W. R. His majesty having received an Account from Mr. Stanhope, his envoy extraordinary at the Hague, that the French ambassador there had declared to the Pensionary, that the king his master had no other Answer to return to the Demands made by the States Gene
ral of the United Provinces, than that he is ready to renew and confirm the Treaty of Ryswick, it being all the security the States are to expect; and that he has no orders to give any Answer to his majesty's said envoy; but if his majesty has any thing to demand, it may be done by his ambassador at Paris, or to the French minister at London; and that he has no commission to treat with any but the States. And his majesty having also received two Resolutions of the States, and a Memorial from their envoy here, relating to the Ships they are sending to join his majesty's Fleet, and the succours they desired may be hastened to them, by virtue of the Treaty made the 3rd of March, 1677: His majesty has thought fit to communicate the whole to this house, that they may be particularly informed of the present State of Affairs abroad, where the Negotiations seem to be at an end, by the positive Answer the French ambassador has given to the States. Which his majesty recommends to the serious consideration of this house, as a matter of the greatest weight and consequence; and desires that they will give his majesty such Advice thereupon, as may be for our own security, and that of the States General, and the peace of Europe. Kensington, 31st March 1701."
The humble Advice of the Commons thereon.] April 2. When this Message was taken into the consideration of the house, they resolved, nem. con. "That the humble Advice of this house be given to his majesty, to desire, that his majesty will be pleased to carry on the Negotiations in concert with the States General, and take such measures therein as may most conduce to their security; and that his majesty will pursue the Treaty made with the States General the 3rd of March, 1677, and to assure his majesty, that this house will effectually enable him to support the said Treaty of 1677."
The King's Answer.] When this Resolution of Advice was presented to his majesty, Mr. Secretary Hedges reported his majesty's Answer to this effect:
"That according to the Advice of the house of commons, his majesty has given Orders to his envoy extraordinary at the Hague, to carry on the Negotiations in concert with the States General, and to take such measures therein, as may most conduce to their security. His majesty thanks you for the assurance you have given, that this house will effectually enable him to support the Treaty of 1677, and will pursue the same as you advise. He does not doubt, but the readiness you have shewn upon this occasion, will very much contribute to the obtaining such a security as is desired."
The Earl of Portland impeached.] April 1. The commons resolved, "That William earl of Portland, by negociating and concluding the Treaty of Partition, (which was destructive to the Trade of this kingdom, and dangerous to the peace of Europe) is guilty, and shall be impeached, of high Crimes and Misdemeanors." And they ordered sir John Levison Gower to go up to the lords, and at their bar to impeach
the said earl, and to acquaint their lordships, that they will in due time exhibit particular Articles against him.
Paper delivered to the Lords at a Conference.] They then desired a Conference with the lords upon matters relating to the Treaty of Partition; at which Conference the commons delivered this Paper to the lords:
"It appearing by your lordships Journal, that your lordships have received Information of some transactions between the earl of Portland, and Mr. Secretary Vernon, relating to the Partition of the Spanish monarchy, the commons having the said matter under their consideration, desire your lordships will be pleased to communicate to the commons, what İnformations your lordships have had, of any Transactions relating to any Negotiations or Treaties of Partition of the Spanish monarchy, by letters or otherwise. And the commons are fully assured, that your lordships will readily concur in assisting them in this enquiry, which they conceive absolutely necessary for the safety and honour of this kingdom, and the preservation of the peace of Europe."
Upon this the lords ordered the two Latin Commissions of Powers granted to the earls of Portland and Jersey, for negotiating the said treaties, one dated the 1st of July, 1699, the other on the 2nd of January, 1700, as also a private Paper of the lord Portland's running thus:
"At the beginning of the Summer of 1699, when I was in Holland, at my country house, and when the king would have me concerned in the negotiation of this Treaty with the emperor, the French king, and the States; being very unwilling to meddle with business again, from which I was retired, before I would engage myself, I advised with my friends in Holland and writ into England to Mr. Secretary Vernon, as my particular friend, whether it was advisable for me to engage in any business again ? To which Mr. Vernon answered in substance, That this would not engage me but for a little while: that I being upon the place, and generally acquainted with the Foreign ministers, it would be easier for the king, and more proper for me to be employed in it, than any body else, that must be otherwise sent for on purpose."
The Lord Sommers impeached.] The next person whom the commons intended to call upon, was John lord Sommers, late Lord Chancellor of England, on whose judgment and fidelity the king had very much. relied his lordship being sensible of the storm that was coming on, desired the earl of Portland, with leave of the house, to declare if he pleased, Whether the lord Sommers's name was mentioned in the Letter he received from Mr. Secretary Vernon? The earl of Portland stood up and declared, "That if he had remembered any such thing in the Letter, and had not inserted it in the Paper which he had delivered to the house, he should have thought he had deceived the house."
the favour of being heard; and that, if that question was asked to bring the least prejudice to any man in England, he would not only be content to lie under the censure of the house, but suffer the worst thing, that might befal him upon earth, rather than do such a dishonest thing." He then withdrew, but came back immediately, and desired to leave with the house the king's Letter to him, and the copy of his Answer; which, he acquainted the house, he had leave to lay before them. His defence of himself was so full and clear, that it was believed, if, upon his withdrawing, the question had been quickly put, the whole matter had been soon at an end, and the prosecution let fall. But his enemies drew out the debate to such a length, that the impression, which his speech had made, was much worn out; and the house sitting till it was past midnight, they at last carried this Resolution by a majority of 198 to 188. "That John lord Sommers, by advising his majesty, in the year 1698, to the Treaty for Partition of the Spanish monarchy, whereby large territories of the king of Spain's dominions were to be delivered up to France, is guilty of a High Crime and Misdemeanor." And the house ordered Mr. Simon Harcourt to go up to the lords, and impeach him.
The Earl of Orford and Lord Hallifax impeached.] The like question was afterwards put in relation to the earl of Orford and lord Hallifax; and was carried on two several divisions in the affirmative; to wit: against lord Orford, by 193 against 148: and against lord Hallifax, by 186 against 163.
April 14. The lord Sommers sent in an information to the house of commons, that having heard the house was upon a debate concerning him, he desired that he might be admitted in and heard this was granted, and a chair was set by the Serjeant, a little within the bar on the left hand; then the serjeant had directions to acquaint the lord Sommers, that he might come in; and the door being opened, his lordship came in, and Mr. Speaker acquainted his lordship, that he might repose himself in the chair provided for him; and his lordship was heard what he had to offer to the house, which he did with great plainness and presence of mind. He told them, the king had writ to him, that the state of the king of Spain's health was desperate; and that he saw no way to prevent a new war, but to accept of the proposition, which the French made for a Partition. That the king sent him the scheme of this, and ordered him to communicate it to some others, and to give him both his own opinion and theirs concerning it, and to send him over powers for a treaty, but in the most secret manner possible. Yet his majesty added, That if he and his other ministers thought, that a treaty ought not to be made upon such a project, then the whole matter must be let fall, for he could not bring the French to better terms. Lord Sommers upon this said, that he thought it was the taking too much upon himself if he should have put a stop to a treaty of such consequence. If the king of Spain had died before it was finished, and the blame had been cast on him for not sending the necessary powers, because he was not ordered to do it by a warrant in full form, he could not have justified that, since the king's letter was really a warrant, and therefore he thought he was bound to send the powers, that were called for, which he had done. But at the same time he wrote his own opinion very fully to his majesty, objecting to many particu- "At Loo, 15-25 of August, 1698.-I imculars, if there was room for it, and proposing parted to you before I left England, that in several things, which, as he thought, were for France there was expressed to my lord Portland the good and interest of England. That soon some inclination to come to an Agreement with after the powers were sent over by him, the us, concerning the Succession of the king of treaty was concluded, to which he put the Spain; since which, count Tallard has menGreat Seal, as he thought he was bound to do; tioned it to me, and has made Propositions, and that in this, as he was a Privy-Counsellor, the particulars of which my lord Portland will he had offered the king his best advice, and, write to Vernon, to whom I have given orders as he was a chancellor, he had executed his not to communicate them to any other besides office according to his duty. That as for put-yourself, and to leave all to your judgment, ing the Seal to the powers, he had done it upon the king's letter, which was a real warrant, though not a formal one; that he had indeed desired, that a warrant in due form might be sent for his own security; but he did not think it becaine him to endanger the public, only for want of a point of form, in so critical a time, wherein great dispatch was requisite. Having finished what he had to say, the Speaker asked him the question, which had been resolved before his admission, Who had informed him, that there was a debate in the house about him? To which he answered, "That he was strangely surprised at a question, that he never knew was put to any man, that came to desire
The King's Letter to Lord Sommers.] The lord Sommers had delivered to the house of commons a copy of the Letter which he had sent to his majesty, in Answer to one from his majesty, upon occasion of that Treaty: both which are here inserted.
and to whom else you would think proper to impart them; to the end that I might know your opinion upon so important an affair, and which requires the greatest secrecy. If it be fit this Negotiation should be carried on, there is no time to be lost, and you will send me the full powers under the great seal, with the names in blank, to treat with count Tallard. I believe that this may be done secretly, that none but you and Vernon, and those to whom you shall communicate it, may have knowledge of it; so that the clerks who are to write the Warrant and the Full Powers, may not know what it is. According to all intelligence, the king of Spain cannot out-live the month of Oc
tober, and the least accident may carry him off every day. I received yesterday your letter of the 9th. Since my lord Wharton cannot at this time leave England, I must think of some other to send ambassador into Spain; if you can think of any one proper, let me know it, and be always assured of my friendship.
The Lord Sommers's Answer. "Tunbridge Wells, 28th August, 1698. O, S. Sir; Having your majesty's permission to try if the waters would contribute to the re-establishment of my health, I was just got to, this place, when I had the honour of your commands; I thought the best way of executing them would be to communicate to my lord Orford, Mr. Montagu, and the duke of Shrewsbury (who, before I left London, had agreed upon a meeting about that time) the subject of my lord Portland's Letter; at the same time letting them know, how strictly your majesty required that it should remain an absolute secret. Since that time, Mr. Montagu, and Mr. Secretary are come down bither; and upon the whole discourse, three things have principally occurred, to be humbly suggested to your majesty. 1. That the entertaining a Proposal of this nature, seems to be attended with very many ill consequences, if the French did not act a sincere part; but we were soon at ease, as to any apprehension of this sort, being fully assured your majesty would not act but with the utmost nicety, in an affair wherein the glory and safety of Europe were so highly concerned.-The second thing considered, was the very ill prospect of what was like to happen upon the death of the king of Spain, in case nothing was done previously towards the providing against that accident which seemed probably to be very near: the king of France having so great a force in such a readiness, that he was in a condition to take possession of Spain, before any other prince could be able 10 make a stand. Your majesty is the best judge whether this be the case, who are so perfectly informed of the circumstances of parts abroad, --But so far as relates to England, it would be want of duty not to give your majesty this clear Account, That there is a deadness and want of spirit in the nation universally, so as not at all to be disposed to the thought of entering into a new War; and that they seem to be tired out with Taxes to a degree beyond what was discerned, till it appeared upon the occasion of the late elections. This is the truth of the fact, upon which your majesty will determine what resolutions are proper to be taken. That which remained, was the consideration what would be the condition of Europe, if the Proposal took place of this we thought ourselves little capable of judging; but it seemed that if Sicily was in the French bands, they will be entirely masters of the Levant-Trade; that if they were possessed of Final, and those other sea-ports on that side, whereby Milan would be entirely shut out from
relief by sea, or any other commerce, that Duchy would be of little signification in the hands of any prince; and that if the king of France had possession of that part of Guipuscoa, which is mentioned in the Proposal, besides the ports he would have in the Ocean, it does seem he would have as easy a way of invading Spain on that side, as he now has on the side of Catalonia.-But it is not to be hoped that France will quit its pretences, to so great a Succession, without considerable advantages; and we are all assured, your majesty will reduce the terms as low as can be done, and make them, as far as is possible in the present circumstances of things, such as may be some foundation for the future quiet of Christendom; which all your subjects cannot but be convinced is your true aim. If it could be brought to pass that England might be some way a gainer by this transaction, whether it was by the elector of Bavaria (who is the gainer by your majesty's interposition in this Treaty) his coming to an agreement to let us into some Trade to the Spanish Plantations, or in any other manner, it would wonderfully endear your majesty to your English subjects.-It does not appear, in case this Negotiation should proceed, what is to be done on your part in order to make it take place, whether any, more be required than the English and Dutch should sit still, and France itself to see it executed. If that be so, what security ought to be expected, that if, by our being neuters, the French be successful, they will confine themselves to the terms of the Treaty, and not attempt to make further advantages of their success?--I humbly beg your majesty's pardon that these thoughts are so ill put together: these waters are known to discompose and disturb the head, so as almost totally to disable one from writing: I should be extremely troubled, if my absence from Loudon has delayed the dispatch of the Commission one day. You will be pleased to observe that two persons (as the Commission is drawn) must be nained in it, but the powers may be executed by either of them. I suppose your majesty will not think it proper to namię Commissioners that are not English, or naturalized, in an affair of this nature.-I pray God give your majesty honour and success in all your undertakings. I am with the utmost duty and respect, sir, &c."
"P. S. The Commission is wrote by Mr. Sccretary, and I have had it sealed in such a manner, that no creature has the least knowledge of the thing, besides the persons named."
The Commons Address to remove the impeached Lords from the King's Presence for ever.] April 25. The commons in pursuance of Resolutions taken the 15th of April, did this day present the following Address to the king:
"Most gracious Sovereign; We your majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons in parliament assembled, do humbly crave leave to represent to your majesty, the great satisfaction we have from our late Enquiry