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conditions which had already been rejected at the very commencement of the negotiation, and from which the French plenipotentiaries h3d in effeft departed, by a formal notification of the meafiires which the directory were, inconfequence, taking for the purpofe of coming to fome arrangement with their allies.
5. That it is, therefore, only by contenting to treat upon the bafis of the projet, detailed with fo much opennefs, which was prefented by the underfigned a few days after his arrival at Lifle, or by returning a centre projet of a conciliatory nature, agreeably to the aflurances which he received fo long ago, that it appears poflible to continue the negotiation, which the plenipotentiaries have fo firongly allured him that the directory did'not wifh to break off, notwithftanding the meafiires lately adopted with reipedl to him: a meafure which the underfigned forbears to characterize, but which could not fail to produce in this country the impreffion of a difpofition by no means pacific on the part of the directory.
The underfigned is directed to add, that his majefty would fee with real regret the certainty of the exiftence of fuch a diipofition, fo little compatible with the ardent delire with whicla he is animated to reftore peace to the two nations; but that if, without having.himfelf contributed to it on his part, he fhonld again find himfelf under the neceffity of continuing the war, he will conduft himfelf upon every occafion agreeably to the fame principles, doing every thing which can depend upon him for the re-eftablifliment of peace, but perfifting to defend with an unfiiaken firmnefs, the dignity of his crown, and the interefts of his people.
The minifter plenipotentiary of
his Britannic majefty requefbth* minifters' plenipotentiary of the French republic to accept the aflurance of his high confi deration. (Signed) Malmesbcry4
London, the lid September, 1797.
(No. 52.) Note from the Fretcb Plenipotentiariet to Lord Malmejbury.
The minifters plenipotentiary of the French republic, commiffioned to treat of peace with England, have received the note dated from London, which has been brought to them by an extraordinary meffenger from lord Malmefbury. They have the honour to anfwer him, that their note of the 191b. Fru&idor, to which they refer, offered the double affurance of the fettled intention of the French government to continue the negotiations for peace, and of its conftanf determination not to agree to any other conditions than fuch as are compatible with the dignity of the French republic.
A peace, of which the baf» fhould be contrary to the laws, or to the engagements taken with its allies, would never fatisfy the hopes of the nation. It is a point from which the executive directory has never departed, and upon which its fentiments have never varied.
Lord Malmefbury having formally declared in his notes of the 1 Jth and 24th of July, and in the fall inftauce in that of the 17th September, that he had not the powers necefiary for reftoringthe Dutch and Spanifh pofTeffions, occupied by the troops of his Britannic majefty, the executive directory has given a new proof of its opennefet and of its defire to accelerate the conclulion of peace, in requiring lord Malmelbury to return to his court, for the purpofe of obtaining the authority, without which he cannot conclude; a meafure rendered neceflary by the declaration of the minifter plenipotentiary of his Britannic majefty, and upon which it is impoflible to give a wrong imprelBon to any thinking and impartial mind.
The minifters plenipotentiary of
the French republic requeft lord
Malmelbury to accept the aflur
ances of their high confideration.
Lij7c, $th Vcttdemlairty $th Year ofthe Republic.
(Sept. 25, 1797.) Derche.
(No. 53.) Note from the French Plenipotentiaries to Lord Malmefbury.
The minifters plenipotentiaries of the French republic, charged to treat for peace with England, have the honour to inform lord Malmefbury, that having fent a copy of bis laft note to their government, the executive directory has directed them to declare in its name, that it has never ceafed to wifli for peace; that it gave an unequivocal proof of the fentiment which animates it, when it ordered the minifters plenipotentiary of the republic to require a categorical explanation as to the powers given by the Englifti government to' its minifter plenipotentiary; that this demand had, and could have, no other objetft but to bring the negotiation to a fpeedy and fuccefsful illue:
That the order given to the plenipotentiaries of the republic to remain at Lille after the departure of lord Malmelbury, is another proof that the directory had defired and
forefeen his return with powers that fliould not be illufory, and the limitation of which fliould no longer be a pretext for delaying the conclulion of peace:
That fuch are ftill the hopes and intentions of the executive directory, which enjoins the minifters plenipotentiary of the republic not to quit Lille till the continued abfence of the negotiator fhall no longer leave any doubt of the intention of his Britannic majefty to break off all negotiation:
That confequently the 25th Vendemiaire (16th of October, old ftyle) is the period fixed for the recall of the minifters plenipotentiary of the French republic, fuppofing that at that time the minifter plenipotentiary of his Britannic majefty fiiall not have arrived at Lille.
The executive directory will feel' the greateft regret that a reconciliati6n, already twice attempted, fliould not be perfected; but its ccnfcience, and the whole of Europe, will bear it teftimony, that it is the Englilh government alone that will have indicted the fcourge of war upon the two nations.
The minifters plenipotentiary of the French republic entreat the minifter plenipotentiary of his Britannic majefty to accept the aftiirances of their high confideration.
Ltfle, 10th Vendcmiaire, 6th Year of the French Republic. (Oilobcr 1, 1797.)
The fee. of the legation,
(No. 54.) Vote from Lord Malmefbury to the French Plenipotentiaries.
The underfigned having laid before the king's minifter the note of (T) the the plenipotentiaries of the French republic, is directed to obferve to them,
That it is only in confequence of the formal nnd pofitive injunction of the directory that he quitted Ufle; that his powers were neither illufory nor limited; and that nothing was omitted on his part to accelerate the negotiation, which has been onlv retarded by the delays of tie direcVory, and which at this fnoment is only fufpended by its acr.
With regard to the renewal of the conferences, the underfigned can only refer to his laft note, where he has explained with franknefs and precifion the only means which remain for continuing the negotiation; obferving at the fame time, that the king could no longer" treat in an enemy's conntry,without being certain that the cuftoms eftabliflied amongft all civilized nations, with regard to public minifters, and efpecially to thofe charged to negotiate for the re-eftablifhment of peace, would be refj efted for the future in the perfon of his.plenipotentiary.
The mir.ifter plenipotentiary of bis Britannic majefty requefts the minifters _pl nipotentiary of the French republic to accept the aflurance of his high confideration.
(Signed) Malmesbury. London, yh Oft. 1797.
Declaration of the King of Great Britain to the People., ref/ufling the Rupture of the late Negotiation.
His majefty's benevolent endeavours to reftore to his people the bleffings of fecure and honourable peace, again repeated without fuccefs, have again demonftrated, beyond the poflibility of doubt, the determined and perfevering hoitility
of the government of France, in) whofe unprovoked aggreffion the wanoriginated, and by whofe boundlefs and destructive ambition it is frill prolonged. And while, by the courfe of thefe tranfaetions continued proofs have been afforded W all his majefty's faithful ftibjefls, of his anxious and unremitting foltri' tude for their welfare, they cannot, at the fame time, have failed to recognife, in the uniform conduct of the enemy, the fpirit by which the councils of France are ftill actuated, and the objects to which they are directed.
His majefty could not but feel how much the means of peace had been obftru<fted by the many actional difficulties which his enemies had fo repeatedly thrown in the way of every negotiation. Neverthelefs, on the very firft appearance of circumftances in fome degree more favourable to the interefb of humanity, the fame ardent defire for the eafc and happiuefs of his fiibje&s induced his majefty to renew his overtures for terminating the calamities of war: thus availing himfelf of every opening which coukf in any manner lead to fecure to honourable peace, and consulting equally the wifhes of his own heart and the principles Jiy which his conduct has invariably been guided. New obftacles were immediately interpofed by thofe who ftill directed the councils of Franc*, and who, amidff. the general defire for peace, which they could not at that time openly difclaim, ftill retained the power of fruftrating the wifhes of their own country, of counteracting his majefty's benevolent intentions, and of obftru&ing that refult which was fo neceflary for the hap» pinefs of both nations. Difficulties of form were fhidioufly created; modes of negotiation were inGffcd
infilled upon, the mod inconfident with their own conduct in every other inftance; the fame fpirit appeared in every flep which was taken by them; and while the moll unwarranted indnuations were thrown out, and the mod unfounded reproaches brought forward, the eftablifhed cudoms and ufages, which have long prevailed in Europe, were puj-pofely departed from, even in the fimple acts which were to be done on their part for the renewal of the negotiations. All thefe things his majefty determined to disregard; not as being infenfibie of their purport and tendency, nor unmindful of the importance of thefe points, in the public intercourfe of great and independent nations, but refolving to defeat the object of thefe artifices, and to fuffer no Subordinate or inferior con fideration to impede, on his part, the difcuflion of the weighty and extenfive intends on which the termination of the war mud neceffarily depend.
He directed his minifter to repair to France, furnifhed with the moft ample powers, and indrueted to communicate at once an explicit and detailed propofal and plan of peace, reduced into the fliape of-a regular treaty, juft and moderate in its principles, embracing all the interefts concerned, and extending to every fubjedt connected with the wftoration of public tranquillity. The communication of this paper, delivered in the very firft conference, was accompanied by fuch explanations as fully dated and defailed the utmod extent of his majedy's views, and at the fame time gave ample room for the examination of every difputed point, for mutual arrangement and conceffion, and for reciprocal facilities arifing out of the progrefs of fair difcul£oj.
To this proceeding;, open and liberal beyond example, the conduct of his majedy's enemies oppofes the mod driking contrail. From them no coqnter-project has ever yet been obtained: no ftatement of the extent or nature of the conditions on which they would conclude any peace with thefe kingdoms. Their 'pretenfions have always been brought forward either as detached or as preliminary points, didiuct from the main object of negotiation, and accompanied, in every inftance, with an exprefs referve of farther and unexplained demands.
The points which, in purfuance of this iydem, the plenipotentiaries of the enemy propofed for.Separate difcuflion in their fird conferences with his majedy's minider, were at Once frivolous and offenfive; none of them productive of any folid advantage to France, but all calculated to raife new obdacles in the way of peace. And to thefe demands was foon after added another, in its form unprecedented, in its fubdance extravagant, and fuch as could originate only in the mod determined and inveterate hoftltity. The principle of mutual compenfatioti, before exprefly admitted by common confent, as the jud and equitable bafis of negotiation, was now difclaimed; every idea of moderation or reafon, every appearance of judice, was difregarded; and a conceffion was required from his majedy's plenipotentiary, as a preliminary and indifpen fable condition of negotiation, which mud at once have fuperfeded all the objects, and precluded all the means of treating. France, after incorporating with her own dominions fo large a portion of her conqueds, and affecting to have deprived herfelf, by her own in* (T a) ternal ternal regulations, of the power of alienating thefe valuable additions of territory, did not fcruple to demand from his majefty the abfolute and unconditional furrender of all that the energy of his people, and the valour of his fleets and armies, have conquered in the prefent war, either from France, or from her allies. She required that the power of Great Britain fliould be confined within its former limits, at the very moment when her own dominion was extended to a degree almoft unparalleled in hiftory. She infifted, that, in proportion to the inCreafe of danger, the means of refiftance fliould be diminifhed; and that his majefly fliould give up, without Compenfation, and into the hands of his enemies, the neceflary defences of his pofleflions, and 'the future fafeguards of his empire. ^Jor was even this demand brought forward as conflituting the terms of peace, but as the price of negotiation; as the condition on which alone his majefty was to be allowed to learn what further unexplained demands were ftill referved, and to what greater facrifices thefe unprecedented conceflions of honour and fafety were to lead.
Whatever were the impreflions which fuch a proceeding created, they did not induce the king abruptly to preclude the means of negotiation. In rejecting without a moment's hefitation a demand, which could have been made for no other reafon than becaufe it was jnadmifiible. his majefty, from the fixed refolution to avail himfelf of every chance of bringing the negotiation to a (avourable iflue, directed that an opening fliould ftill be left, for treating on reafonable and equal grounds, fuch as might become the dignity of his crown, and the rank and ltation in Europe in
which it has pleafed the divine providence to place the Britifh nation. This temperate and conciliatory conduct was ftrongly expreffive of the benevolence of his majefty'' intentions; and it appeared forfome time to have prepared the way for that refult which has been the uniform object of all his meafures. Two months elapfed after bis majefty had unequivocally and definitively refufed to comply with the unreafonable and extrav.-gant preliminary which liad been demanded by his enemies. During all that time the negotiation was continued open, the conferences were regularly held, and the demand thus explicitly rejected by one parry was never once renewed by the other. It was not only abandoned, it was openly difclaimed; afluranres were given in direct contradiction to it. Promifes were continually repeated, that his majefty's explicit and detailed proposals fliould at length be anfwered by that which could alone evince a real difpofition to negotiate with (incerity, by the delivery of * counter-project, of a natute tending to facilitate the conclufion of peace; and the long delays of the French government in executing thefe promifes were excufed and accounted for bv an unequivocal declaration, that France was concerting with her allies for thofe facrifices on their part, which might afford the means of proceeding in the negotiation. Week after week pafled over in the repetition of thefe folemn engagements on the part of his majefty's enemies. His defire for peace induced him to wait for their completion, with an anxiety proportioned to the importance of the object; nor was it much to expect that his minifter fliould at length be informed what was the extent and nature of the condition!