페이지 이미지

he was successful, but the extravagant project of conquering England in India, its natural consequence in the discomfiture of their fleet, the impolitic insolence of the French Government and its agents at Rastadt, with a reviving sense of general interest, effected the present combination.

The power of the confederacy was certainly fatal to France, in depriving her of her conquests and resources of plunder. The policy of detaching some of its members from the alliance was again attempied. The republicans tried to make a breach between Russia and Austria, they found they could not succeed. Formerly they had detached the rest of Europe from England; now they formed a project of detaching England from the rest of Europe.

With this intent Bonaparte, on his usurpation of the supreme power, made proposals to the King of Great Britain. Before we come to the substance of the overtures, we have to make some remarks on the mode in which they were proposed. The established form of transactions between foreign courts has been, through their respective ministers for foreign affairs, and not by an immediate communication between the Sovereigns. Without entering here into any discussion of Bonaparte's right to the situation he holds, we must express our opinion, that he violated :he usual rules established between nations; and that his doing so could serve no useful purpose, as whatever he intended to convey could be sent in the old channel as well as in a new. Having said this much of the mode, we shall now proceed to the substance, which, that the

be able to see at the same time with the discussion to which it gave rise, we think it our duty to quote:

reader may




• I dispatch by order of General Bonaparte, First Consul of the French Republic, a messenger to London. He is the bearer of a letter from the First Consul of the Republic to his Majesty the King of England. I request you to give the necessary orders ihat he may be enabled to deliver it directly into your own hands. This step in itself announces the importance of its object, * Accept, my Lord, the assurance of my highest consideration, (Signed)

Ch. Mau. TALLEYRAND,' Paris, tbe 5tb Nivose, 8tb year of the French Republic, (Dec. 25. 1799.)'*

' Frencb Republic, Sovereignty of the People, Liberty, Equality. BONAPARTE, FIRST CONSUL OF THE REPUBLIC, TO HIS MAJESTY THE


Paris, ibe 5tb Nivost, $th year of the Republic, Called by the wishes of the French nation to occupy the first magistracy of the Republic, I think it proper, on entering into office, to make a direct communication of it to your Majesty,

“The war which for eight years has ravaged the four quarters of the world, must it be eternal ? Are there no means of coming to an una derstanding ?

How can the two most enlightened nations of Europe, powerful and strong beyond what their safety and independence require, sacrifice to ideas of vain greatness the benefits of commerce, internal prosperity, and the happiness of families? How is it that they do not feel that peace is of the first necessity, as well as of the first glory?

*These sentiments cannot be foreign to the heart of your Majesty, who reigns over a free nation, and with the sole view of rendering

it happy

*Your Majesty will only see in this overture my sincere desire to contribute eficaciously, for the second time, to a general pacification by a step, speedy, entirely of confidence, and disengaged from those forms which, necessary perhaps to disguise the dependence of weak States, prove only in those which are strong the mutual desire of deceiving each other.

France and England, by the abuse of their strength, may still, for a long time, for the misfortune of all nations, retard the period of their being exhausted. But I will venture to say it, the fate of all civilized nations is attached to the termination of a war which involves the whole world. Of your Majesty,



To these communications the following answers were returned:

[ocr errors]


Downing-street, Jan. 4, 1806. 'I have received and laid before the King the two leiters which you have transmitted to me, and his Majesty, seeing no reason to depart from those forms which have long been established in Europe for transacting business with Foreign States, has commanded me to return, in his name, the official answer which I send you herewith inclosed.

I have the honour to be,
With high consideration, Sir,

Your most obedient humble servant,


NOT E. "The King has given frequent proofs of his sincere desire for the re-establishment of secure and permanent tranquillity in Europe. He neither is, nor has been engaged in any contest for a vain and false glory. He has had no other view than that of maintaining, against all aggression, the rights and happiness of his subjects.

* For these he has contended against an unprovoked attack; and for the same objects he is still obliged to contend; vor can he hope that this necessity could be removed by entering, at the present moment, into negociation with those whom a fresh revolution has so recently placed in the exercise of power in France. Since no real advantage can arise from such negociation to the great and desirable object of General Peace, until it shall distinctly appear that those causes have ceased to operate, which originally produced the war, and by which it has since been protracted, and, in more than one instance,' renewed.

• The same system, to the prevalence of which France justly ascribes all her present miseries, is that which has also involved the rest of Europe in a long and destructive warfare, of a nature long since unknown to the practice of civilized nations.

* For the extension of this system, and for the extermination of all established Governments, the resources of France have, from year to year, and in the midst of the most unparalleled distress, been

lavished and exhausted. To this indiscriminate spirit of destruction, " the Netherlands, the United Provinces, the Swiss Cantons (his Ma

jesty's ancient friends and allies), have successively been sacrificed. Germany has been ravaged, Italy, though now rescued from its in. vaders, has been made the scene of unbounded rapine and anaichy. His Majesty has himself been compelled to maintain an arduous and burthensome contest for the independence and existence of his kingdoms.

Nor have thiese calamities been confined to Europe alone; they have been extended to the most distant quarters of the world, and even to countries so remote both in situation and interest from the

present contest, that the very existence of such a war was perhaps unknown to those who found themselves suddenly involved in all its horrors.

• While such a system continues to prevail, and while the blood and treasure of a numerous and powerful nation can be lavished in its support, experience has shewn that no defence but that of open and steady hostility can be availing. The most solemn treaties have only prepared the way for fresh aggression; and it is to a determined resistance alone that is now due whatever remains in Europe of stability for property, for personal liberty, for social order, or for the free exercise of religion.

* For the security, therefore, of these essential objects, his Majesty cannot place his reliance on the mere renewal of general professions of pacific dispositions. Such professions have been repeatedly held out by all those who have successively directed the resources of France to the destruction of Europe; and whom the present rulers have declared to have been all from the beginning, and uniforinly, incapable of maintaining the relations of amity and peace.

'Greatly, indeed, will his Majesty rejoice whenever it shall appear that the danger to which his own dominions, and those of his allies, have been so long exposed has really ceased; whenever he shall be satisfied that the necessity of resistance is at an end ; that after the experience of so many years of crimes and miseries, better principles have ultimately prevailed in France; and that all the gigantic projects of ambition, and all the restless schemes of destruĉion which have endangered the very existence of civil society, have at length been finally relinquished:-But the conviction of such a change, however agreeable to his Majesty's wishes, can result only from experience, and from the evidence of facts.

“The best and most natural pledge of its reality and permanence, would be the restoration of that line of Princes which for so many centuries maintained the French nation in prosperity at home, and in consideration and respect abroad :-such an event would at once have removed, and will at any time remove, all obstacles in the way of negociation or peace. It would confirm to France the unmolested enjoyment of its ancient territory, and it would give to all the other nations of Europe, in tranquillity and peace, that security which they are now compelled to seek by other means.

'But, desirable as such an event must be both to France and to the world, it is not to this mode exclusively that his Majesty limits the possibility of secure and solid pacitication, His Majesty makes no


claim to prescribe to France what shall be the form of her Government, or in whose hands she shall vest the authority necessary for conducting the affairs of a great and powerful nation.

‘His Majesty looks only to the security of his own dominions and those of his allies, and to the general safety of Europe. Whenever he shall judge that such security can in any manner be attained, as resulting either from the internal situation of that country, from whose internal situation the danger has arisen, or from such other circumstances of whatever nature as may produce the same end, his Majesty will eagerly embrace the opportunity to concert with his allies the means of immediate and general pacification.

“Unhappily no such security hitherto exists; no sufficient evidence of the principles by which the new Government will be directed no reasonable ground by which to judge of its stability. In this situation it can for the present only remain for his Majesty to pursue, in conjunction with other powers, those exertions of just and defensive war, which his regard to the happiness of his subjects will never permit him either to continue beyond the necessity in which they originated, or to terminate on any other grounds, than such as may best contribute to the secure enjoyment of their tranquillity, their constitution, and their independence, (Signed)


A second letter, dated January 14, was brought from the Foreign Minister of France to Lord Grenville, in the official and proper manner. This we also think it necessary to quote, with the reply.



Paris, 2416 Nivost, 8th rear, (Jan. 14, 1800.) I lost no time in laying before the First Consul of the Republic the Official Note, under date of the 14th Nivose, (Jan. 4), which you transmitted to me; and I am charged to forward the answer, equally official, which you will find annexed. * Receive, my Lord, the assurance of my high consideration. (Signed)

CH. MAU. TALLEYRAND. *The official note under date of the 14th Nivose, the eighth year, addressed by the Minister of his Britannic Majesty, having been laid before the First Consul of the French Republic, he observed with surprize, that it rested upon an opinion which is not exact, respecto ing the origin and consequences of the present war, Very far from


« 이전계속 »