페이지 이미지

“were inaccurate.” Just say whether I have taken your expression correctly or not. Moir A.

(C.) Holland House, May 31, 1812. My dear Lord, I cannot sufficiently thank you for your kind anxiety to procure an accurate statement of the words spoken by me in the House of Lords. It is difficult to remember precise expressions so long after they were spoken; but I am sure I cannot be far wrong in stating the substance of what I said, as follows:—I was speaking on the subject of the Irish Catholics, and particularly on the charge of intemperate conduct which had been made against them. I stated, that great allowances were to be made for this, considering their repeated disappointments; and I cited, as instances of these, the recall of Lord Fitzwilliam, and the Union. I then said, that the most distinct and authentic pledges had been given to them, of the Prince's wish to relieve them from the disabilities of which they complained; that I spoke in the hearing of persons who could contradict me if what I said was unfounded, and who would, I was sure, support its truth if questioned; that now, when the fulfilment of these pledges was confidently expected, to see an Administration continued in power, which stood on the express principle of resisting their claims, was, perhaps, the bitterest disappointment they had yet experienced; and that it was not surprising, if, under such circumstances, they felt, and acted, in a way that all well wishers to the peace of the empire must regret.—This I give as the substance, and by no means as a correct repetition of the particular expressions used by me; and this statement I can neither retract, nor endeavour to explain away. If, in consequence of it, the Prince feels a strong personal objection to me, I can only repeat, what I have already said to you, that I am perfectly ready to stand out of the way; that my friends shall have my full concurrence and approbation in taking office without me, and my most cordial, support in the government of the country, if their measures are directed, as I am sure they must always be, by the principles on which we have acted together.—I write this from Lord Holland's, in a great hurry, and in the middle of dinner; but I was unwilling to defer, even for a minute, to answer an inquiry, which I feel to be prompted by so friendly a solicitude for me. I have not the means of taking a copy of this letter.

I shall therefore be obliged to you to let me have one; and I am sure, if, upon recollection, I shall think it necessary to add any thing to what I have now said, you will allow me an opportunity of doing so. GREY.


ENGLAND and FRAN ce. Overtures for Peace by the Emperor Napoleon.

Copy of a Letter addressed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs to Lord Castlereagh, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to His Britannic Majesty.—Paris, April 17, 1812.

Sir, His Majesty, constantly actuated

by sentiments friendly to moderation and peace, is pleased again to make a solemn and sincere attempt to put an end to the

miseries of war. The awful circumstances in which the world is at present. placed, have induced a resolution in the mind of his Majesty, the result of which has been to authorize me to explain to you, Sir, his views and intentions. Many changes have taken place in Europe for the last ten years, which have been the necessary consequence of the war between France and England, and many more changes will be effected by the same cause. The particular character which the war has assumed, may add to the extent and duration of these results. Exclusive and arbitrary principles cannot be combated but by an opposi

tion without measure or end; and the system of preservation and resistance should have the same character of universality, perseverance, and vigour. The peace of Amiens, if it had been observed, would have prevented much confusion. I heartily wish that the experience of the past may not be lost for the future.—His Majesty has often stopped when the most certain triumphs lay before him, and turned round to invoke peace. In 1805, secure as he was by the advantages of his situation, and in spite of the confidence which he might reasonably feel in anticipations which Fortune was about to realize, he made propo

sals to his Britannic Majesty, which were rejected, on the ground that Russia should be consulted. In 1808, new proposals were made, in concert with Russia. England alleged the necessity of an intervention, which could be no more than the result of the negociation itself. In 1810, his Majesty, having clearly discerned that the

British Orders in Council of 1807, render-
ed the conduct of the war incompatible
with the independence of Holland, caused
indirect overtures to be made towards pro-
curing the return of peace. They were
fruitless, and the consequence was, that
new Provinces were united to the Empire.
In the present time are to be sound
united all the circumstances of the various
periods at which his Majesty manifested
the pacific sentiments which he now orders
me again to declare that he is actuated by.
The calamities under which Spain,
and the vast regions of Spanish America
suffer, should naturally excite the interest
of all nations, and inspire them with an
equal anxiety for their termination. I
will express myself, Sir, in a manner
which your Excellency will find conform:
able to the sincerity of the step which I
am authorized to take; and nothing will
better evince the sincerity and sublimity of
it than the precise terms of the language
which I have been directed to use. What
views and motives should induce me to en-
velope myself in formalities suitable to
weakness, which alone can find its interest
in deceit? The affairs of the Peninsula
and the Two Sicilies are the points of dif-
ference which appear least to admit of being
adjusted. I am authorized to propose to
you an arrangement of them on the }.
ing basis:—The integrity of Spain shall
be guaranteed. France shall renounce all
idea of extending her dominions beyond
the Pyrennees. The present dynasty shall
be declared independent, and Spain shall be
governed by a National Constitution of her
Cortes. The independence and integrity
of Portugal shall be also guaranteed, and
the House of Braganza shall have the So-
vereign authority. The kingdom of
Naples shall remain in possession of the
present Monarch, and the kingdom of Si-
cily shall be guaranteed to the present fa-
mily of Sicily. As a consequence of
these stipulations, Spain, Portugal, and Si-
cily shall be evacuated by the French and
English land and naval forces With re-
spect to the other objects of discussion,
they may be negociated upon this basis,
that each power shall retain that of which
the other could not deprive it by war.
| Such are, Sir, the grounds of conciliation
offered by his Majesty to his Royal High-
ness the Prince Regent. His Majesty
the Emperor and King, in taking this step,
does not look either to the advantages or
losses which this Empire may derive from
the war, if it should be prolonged; he is

influenced simply by the considerations of the interests of humanity, and the peace of his people, and if this fourth attempt should not be attended with success, like those which have preceded it, France will at least have the consolation of thinking, that whatever blood may yet flow, will be justly imputable to England alone. I have the honour, &c.

The Duke of B.Assano.

Copy of the Answer of Lord Castlereagh,

Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of

His Britannic Majesty, to the Letter of

the Minister for Foreign Relations, of

the 17th of April, 1812.-London, 0f

fice for Foreign Affairs, April 23, 1812.

Sir, –Your Excellency's Letter of the 17th of this month has been received and laid before the Prince Regent.—His Royal Highness felt that he owed it to his honour, before he should authorize me to enter into any explanation upon the overture which your Excellency has transmitted, to ascertain the precise meaning attached by the Government of France to the following passage of your Excellency's Letter, the “actual Dynasty shall be declared independent, and Spain governed by the national Constitution of the Cortes.” If, as his Royal Highness fears, the meaning of this proposition is, that the Royal authority of Spain, and the Government established by the Cortes, shall be recognized as residing in the brother of the head of the French Government, and the Cortes formed under his authority, and not in the legitimate Sovereign, Ferdinand the Seventh, and his heirs, and the Extraordinary Assembly of the Cortes, now invested with the power of the Government in that kingdom, in his name, and by his authority—I am commanded frankly and explicitly to declare to your Excellency, that the obligations of good faith do not permit his Royal Highness to receive a proposition for peace founded on such a basis. But if the expressions cited above, apply to the actual government of Spain, which exercises the Sovereign authority in the name of Ferdinand the VIIth, upon an assurance of your Excellency to that effect, the Prince Regent will feel himself disposed to enter into a full explanation upon the basis which has been transmitted, in order to be taken into consideration by his Royal Highness; and it being his most earnest wish to contribute, in concert with his Allies, to the repose of Europe, and to bring about a peace, which may be at once honourable, not only for

[ocr errors]

Great Britain and France, but also for those States which are in relations of amity with each of these Powers. Having made known without reserve the sentiments of the Prince Regent, with respect to a point on which it is necessary to have a full understanding, previous to any ulterior discussion, I shall adhere to the instructions of his Royal Highness, by avoiding all superfluous comment and recrimination on the accessary objects of your letter. I might advantageously for the justification of the conduct observed by Great Britain at the different periods alluded to by your Excellency, refer to the correspondence which then took place, and to the judgment which the world has long since formed of it. As to the particular character the war has unhappily assumed, and the arbitrary principles which your Excellency conceives to have marked its progress, denying, as I do, that these evils are attributable to the British Government, I at the same time can assure your Excellency, that it sincerely deplores their existence, as uselessly aggravating the calamities of war, and that its most anxious desire, whether at peace or way with France, is to have the relations of the two countries restored to the liberal principles usually acted upon in former times. I take this opportunity of assuring your Excellency of my respect. CASTLEREAGh.

[blocks in formation]

Count—His Majesty the Emperor of Russia had acknowledged at Tilsit the principle, that the present generation should not have looked to the enjoyment of happiness, but on the ground that the nations in the full enjoyment of their rights might give themselves up freely to the exercise of their industry; that the independence of their flag should be inviolable; that the independence of their flag was a right belonging to each of them, and its protection a reciprocal duty of the one towards the other; that they were not less bound to protect the inviolability of their flag, than that of their territory; that if a Power cannot, without ceasing to be neuter, allow its territory to be taken away by one of the Belligerent Powers, so neither can it remain neuter, in permitting to be taken

away from under the protection of its flag, by one of the Belligerent Powers, the property which the other has placed there; that all Powers consequently have the right of exacting, that nations, pretending to neutrality, should cause their flag to be respected in the same manner as they enforce respect to their territory; that so long as England, persisting in its system of war, should disavow the independence of any flag upon the seas, no Power, which is possessed of coast, can be neuter with respect to England. With that penetration and elevation of sentiment by which he is distinguished, the Emperor Alexander also perceived that there could not be any prosperity for the Continental States, but in the establishment of their rights by a maritime peace. This great interest was predominant in the Treaty of Tilsit, and every thing else was the immediate result of it. The Emperor Alexander offered his mediation to the English Government, and engaged, if this Government would not consent to conclude peace upon the principle of acknowledging that the flags of all Powers should enjoy an equal and perfect independence upon the seas, to make common cause with France, to summon, in concert with her, the three Courts of Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Lisbon, to close their ports against the English, to declare war against England, and to insist upon the adoption of the same measure by the various Powers. The Emperor Napoleon accepted of the mediation of Russia, but the answer of England was a violation of the rights of nations, till then unexampled in history. She, in the midst of peace, and without any preliminary declaration of war, attacked Denmark, surprised her capital, burned her arsenals, and took possession of her fleet, which was dismantled and lying secure in her ports. Russia, in conformity to the stipulations and principles of the Treaty of Tilsit, declared war against England; proclaimed anew the principles of the armed neutrality; and engaged never to swerve from this system. Here the British Cabinet threw off the mask, by issuing, in the month of November, 1807, those Orders in council, by virtue of which England levied a toll of from four to five millions upon the continent; and she compelled the flag of every Power to submit to the regulations which were the result of her principles of legislation. Thus, on the one side, she made war upon all Europe; and, on the other, she secured to herself the means of perpetuating the duration of that war, by founding her financial system upon the tributes which she arrogated to herself Ta right of imposing upon all people. Already in 1806, and while France was at war with Prussia and Russia, she had proclaimed a blockade which had placed under an interdict the entire coast of an empire. When His Majesty entered Berlin, he answered this monstrous presumption by a Decree of blockade against the British Isles. But to meet the Orders in Council of 1807, more direct and specific measures were necessary; and His Majesty, by the Decree of Milan, of the 17th of December of the same year, declared all those flags denationalized which should permit their neutrality to be violated by submitting to those Orders. The attempt on Copenhagen had been sudden and public. England had prepared in Spain new attempts, hatched with reflection and in the dark. Not having been able to shake the determination of Charles IV., she formed a party against that Prince, who would not sacrifice to her the interests of his kingdom. She used the name of the Prince of the Asturias, and the father was driven from his throne by the name of the son. The enemies of France and the partisans of England took possession of the Sovereign authority. His Majesty, called upon by Charles the Fourth, sent troops into Spain, and war was commenced in the Peninsula. By one of the stipulations of Tilsit, Russia was to evacuate Wallachia and Moldavia. This evacuation was deferred — new revolutions, which had taken place at Constantinople, had several times bathed in blood the walls of the Seraglio. Thus scarcely a year had elapsed from the peace of Tilsit—the af. fairs of Copenhagen, of Constantinople, and the Orders in Council, published in 1807, in England, had placed Europe in so unlooked-for a situation, that the two Sovereigns thought proper to come to an understanding, and the interview at Erfurth took place. With the same designs, and inspired by the same spirit which had directed their proceedings at Tilsit, they agreed as to what exacted from them such considerable changes. The Emperor consented to withdraw his troops from Russia, and at the same time consented that Russia should not only evacuate Wallachia and Moldavia, but that she should unite these provinces to her empire. The two Sovereigns, inspired with one

and the same desire of re-establishing a i - - - ,

maritime peace, and then as much disposed as at Tilsit to defend those principles for the defence of which they had entered into an alliance, resolved to make a solemn application to England. You, Count, came, in consequence, to Paris, and a correspondence ensued between you and the British Government. But the Cabinet of London, which had perceived that war was about to be rekindled on the Contiment, rejected all overtures towards negociation. Sweden had refused to shut her ports against England; and Russia, in conformity to the stipulations of Tilsit, had declared war against her. The result to her was, the loss of Finland, which was united to the Russian empire; and at the same time the Russian armies occupied the fortresses on the Danube, and made war with effect upon the Turks. Nevertheless, the system of England was triumphant. Her Orders in Council threatened to produce the most important results; and the tribute, which was to furnish the means of supporting the perpetual war which she had declared, was perceptible upon the seas. Holland and the Hanseatic Towns continuing to trade with her, their commerce frustrated the salutary and decisive regulations of the Decrees of Berlin and Milan, which alone were calculated to effectually resist the principles of the British Orders in Council. The execution of these Decrees could not be assured, but by the daily exercise of a firm and vigilant Administration. Unexposed to the influence of the enemy, Holland, and the Hanseatic Towns, it was necessary, should be united. But while the sentinents dearest to the heart of His Majesty yielded to the interest of his people and that of the Continent, great changes were taking place. Russia abandoned the principle to which she had pledged herself at Tilsit, viz. to make common cause with France, which she had proclaimed in her Declaration of War against England, and which had dictated the Decrees of Berlin and Milan.--—They were evaded by the Ukase which opened the ports of Russia to all English ships laden with colonial produce, English property, provided that they were under a foreign flag. This unexpected blow annulled the Treaty of Tilsit, and those important transactions which had put an end to the struggle between the two greatest Empires of the World, and which had afforded to Europe a probability of obtaining a maritime peace. Approaching commotions and bloody wars wers of course to be immediately expected. The conduct of Russia at this time was constantly directed towards these fatal results. The uniting of the Duchy of Oldenburgh, dovetailed, as it were, into the countries recently brought under the same principles of Government as France, was a necessary consequence of the uniting of the Hanseatic Towns. An indemnity was offered. This object was easy to regulate with reciprocal advantage. But your Cabinet made an affair of State of it; and, for the first time, was seen a Manifesto of an ally against an ally. The reception of English vessels in Russian ports, and the regulations of the Ukase of 1810, had made it known that the treaties were dissolved. The Manifesto showed that not only the bonds which had united the two Governments were broken, but that Russia had publicly thrown the gauntlet to France, for a difficulty which was foreign to her, and which could not be solved but by the method which His Majesty had proposed.—It was not to be concealed that the refusal of this offer disclosed the project of a rupture already formed. Russia prepared for it at the very time that she was dictating terms of peace to Turkey; she suddenly recalled five divisions of the army of Moldavia: and, in the month of February 1811, it was known at Paris that the army of the Duchy of Warsaw had been obliged to repass the Vistula, in order to fall back upon the Confederation, because the Russian armies, on the frontiers, were so numerous, and had assumed so menacing a posture.—— When Russia had resolved on measures contrary to the interests of the active war which she had to support—when she had imparted to her armies a developement burdensome to her finances, and without any object, in the situation in which all the Powers of the Continent were then placed, all the French troops were within the Rhine, except a corps of 40,000 men, stationed at Hamburgh for the defence of the coasts of the North Sea, and for the maintenance of tranquillity in the countries recently united; the reserved places in Prussia were occupied only by the Allied troops. A garrison of only four thousand men had remained at Dantzic; and the troops of the Duchy of Warsaw were on the peace establishment, a part of them even was in Spain. The preparations of Russia then were without object, unless she entertained an expectation to impose upon France by a grand array of forces, and to oblige her to put an end to the discussions respecting

Oldenburgh, by sacrificing the existence of the Duchy of Warsaw; perhaps, also, Russia, not being able to disguise from herself the fact of her having violated the Treaty of Tilsit, had recourse to force, for no other purpose but to seek to justify violations which could not be defended. His Majesty nevertheless remained unmoved (impossible). He persevered in his desire of an arrangement: he was of opinion, that at any period it would be time enough to resort to arms; he required only that powers should be sent to Prince Kurakin, and that a negociation should be opened with respect to these differences, which might be thus easily terminated, and which were by no means of a nature to call for the effusion of blood. They were reducible to the four following points: 1st. The existence of the Duchy of Warsaw, which had been a condition of the peace of Tilsit, and which, since the close of 1809, gave Russia occasion to manifest those instances of defiance to which His Majesty answered with condescension, carried as far as the most exacting friendship could desire, and honour could allow. 2d. The annexation of Oldenburgh, which the war against England had rendered necessary, and which was conformable to the spirit of the Treaty of Tilsit. 3d. The Legislation respecting trade in English merchandises and denationalized vessels, which ought to be regulated according to the spirit and the terms of the Treaty of Tilsit. 4th. Lastly, the dispositions of the Ukase of 1810, which, by destroying all the commercial relations of France with Russia, and opening her ports to simulated flags freighted with English property, were contrary to the letter of the Treaty of Tilsit. ——Such would have been the objects of the negociation. As to what concerned the Duchy of Warsaw, His Majesty would have been forward to adopt a Convention, by which he would pledge himself not to encourage any enterprise which might have a tendency, directly or indirectly, to lead to the re-establishment of Poland.——As to Oldenburgh, he offered to accept the intervention j Russia, which nevertheless had no right to interfere in what involved a Prince of the Confederation of the Rhine, and he agreed to give that Prince an indemnity. With regard to commerce in English merchandises and to denationalized ships, His Majesty desired to come to some understanding, in order to reconcile the wants of Russia with the principles of the Continental System, and the spirit of the

« 이전계속 »