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unpleasant extremity, explanations are neces- | conld not have any application, unless to the sary; and the matter is of so high an inport- single case in which the general will of a nation, ance, that the Executive Council did not think clearly and unequivocally expressed, should it proper to trust it to the ever-unacknowledg- call the French nation to its assistance and ed ministry of a secret agent; hence they have fraternity. Scdition can certainly never be deemed it to be expedient in all points to construed into the general will. These two charge citizen Chauvelin with it, though he ideas mutually repel each other, since a sedibe no otherwise acknowledged before his Bri. tion is not and cannot be any other than the tannic majesty, than on the late king's account. novement of a small number against the
The opinion of the Executive Council was nation at large; and this movement would justified on this occasion, by the manner in cease to be seditious, provided all the memwhich our negociations were at the same time bers of a society should at once rise, either to transacted in Spain, where citizen Bourgoing correct their government, or to change its form was exactly in the same situation as citizen in toto, or for any other object. Chauvelin at London; yet this did not pre- The Dutch were assuredly not seditious, vent the ministers of his Catholic majesty when they formed the generous resolution of from treating with him for a convention of shaking off the yoke of Spain; and when the neutrality, the declaration of which is to be general will of that nation called for the exchanged at Paris, between the minister for assistance of France, it was not reputed a foreign affairs, and the Spanish chargé crime in Henry the Fourth, or in Elizabeth of d'atfaires. We will even add, that the prime England, to have listened to them. Theknow. minister of his Catholic majesty, in writing ledge of the general will is the only basis of officially on this subject to citizen Bourgoing, the transactions of nations with each other ; did not forget to give him his title of Minister and we can only treat with any government Plenipotentiary from France. The example whatever on this principle, that such a goof a power of the first order, such as Spain, in- vernment is deemed the organ of the general duced the Executive Council to hope to find will of the nation governed. the same facility at London. However, the Thus, when by this natural interpretation Executive Council freely own, that this de the decree of the 19th of November is reduced mand of negociations has not all the rigour of to what it truly implies, it will be found, that diplomatic form, and that citizen Chauvelin is it announces nothing more than an act of the not regularly enough authorized. In order to general will, and that beyond any doubt, and remove this obstacle entirely, to discard every so effectually founded in right, that it was reproach of having stopped, by the mere want scarcely worth the trouble to express it. On of formality, a negociation, on the success of this account, the Executive Council thinks which the tranquillity of two great nations is that the evidence of this right might perhaps depending, they have taken the resolution of have been dispensed with by the National sending letters of credence to citizen Chauve- Convention, and did not deserve to be made lin, which would furnish him with the means the object of a particular decree. But with of treating in all the severity of diplomatic the interpretation which precedes it, it cannot forms.
give uneasiness to any nation whatever. Now, to come to the three points which can It appears that the ministers of his Brialone make an object of difficulty at the court tannic majesty have nothing to object to the of London, the Executive Council observe, res- declaration relative to Holland, since the pecting the first, which is the decree of the single observation made by them on that 19th of November, that we have not been subject belongs to the discussion of the Scheldt. prope:ly understood by the ministry of his It is this last point, therefore, to which we are Britannic majesty, when they accuse us of confined. having given an explanation which announces We repeat it, this question is in itself of to the seditious of all nations what are the cases little moment. The ministers of Great Briin which they may previously count on the tain conclude that it only serves to prove more support and assistance of France. Nothing clearly, that it was brought forward merely for could be more foreign than this reproach to the purpose of insulting the allies of England, the sentiments of the National Convention, &c. We shall reply with much less warmth and to the explanation we have given of them; and prejudice, that this question is absolutely and we did not think that it were possible indifferent to England; that it is of little imwe should be charged with the open design of portance to Holland; but that it is extremely favouring the seditious, at the very moment important to the Belgians. That it is indiffe when we declare, that it would be wronging rent to England it is not necessary to prove; the National Convention if they were charged | and its trivial import to Holland is evinced by with the project of protecting insurrections, and this fact, that the productions of the Belgians with the commotions that may break out in any pass equally by the canals which terminate at corner of a state, of joining the ringleaders, and Ostend. Its great importance to the Belgians of thus making the cause of a few private indi | is proved by the numerous advantages the viduals that of the French nation.
port of Antwerp presents to them. 'Tis thereWe have said, and we desire to repeat it, fore on account of this importance, 'tis to rethat the decree of the 19th of November store to the Belgians the enjoyment of so
precious a right, and not to offend any one, | deprive themselves of the navigation of the ihat France has declared herself ready to sup- Scheldt, France will not oppose it; she will port them in the exercise of so legitimate a know how to respect their independence, even right.
in their errors. But is France authorised to break the stipu- After so frank a declaration, which mani lations which are opposed to the liberty of fests such a sincere desire of peace, his Brithe Scheldt? If the rights of nature and those tannic majesty's ministers ought not to have of nations are consulted, not France alone, all any doubts with regard to the intentions of the nations of Europe are authorised to do it - France. If her explanations appear insuffithere can be no doubt of it.
cient, and if we are still obliged to hear a If we consult public law, we shall say that haughty language; if hostile preparations are it ought to be nothing but the application of continued in the English ports; atter having the principles of the general rights of nations exhausted every means to preserve peace, we to the particular circumstances in which na- will prepare for war, with a sense of the justions are placed with regard to each other; tice of our cause, and of our efforts to avoid insomuch that every particular treaty repug- this extremity: we will fight the English, nant to such principles can only be regarded whom we esteem, with regret, but we will as the work of violence. We moreover add, fight them without fear. in relation to the Scheldt, that this treaty was A copy conformalèle to the original. concluded without the participation of the
(Signed) F. CHAUVELIN. Belgians. The emperor, to secure the pos
No. XXV.-LETTER from Lord Grenville session of the Low Countries, sacrificed, without scruple, the most inviolable of rights.
to M. Chauvelin, dated Whitehall, Master of those fine provinces, he governed
January 18th, 1793. them, as Europe has seen, with the rod of I have examined, Sir, with the greatest at. absolute despotism, respected only those of tention, the paper which you delivered to me their privileges which it imported him to pre- on the 13th of this month. I cannot conccal serve, and destroyed or perpetually struggled from you that I have found nothing satisfacagainst the rest. France enters into war with tory in the result of that note. The explanathe house of Austria, expels it from the Low tions it contains are confined nearly to the Countries, and calls back to freedom those same points to which I have already given a people whoin the court of Vienna had devoted detailed answer. The declaration of an into slavery; their chains are broken; they tention to interfere in the internal affairs of re-enter into all the rights which the house other countries is there renewed. No menof Austria had taken away from them. How tion is made either of disavowal or reparation can that which they possessed with respect to for the offensive measures stated in my letter the Scheldt be excepted, particularly when to you of the 31:1 December. And the claim that right is only of importance to those who is still reserved of a right to annul treaties, are deprived of it? For what remains, France and to violate the rights of our allies; there has too good a political creed to be afraid to being only offered on this subject an illusory avow the principles of it. The executive negociation, which is referred, as well as the council declares, not with a view of yielding evacuation of the Low Countries by the French to some expressions of threatening language, armies, to the indefinite period, not only of but solely to render homage to truth, that the the conclusion of the war, but also of the conFrench republic does not intend to erect itself solidation of what is called the liberty of the into an universal arbitrator of the treaties Belgic people. which bind nations. She will know how to It is added, that if these explanations respect other governments, as she will take should appear to us unsatisfactory; if you are care to make her own respected. She does again obliged to hear the language of haughtinot wish to impose laws upon any one, and ness; if hostile preparations are continued in wilı not sufler any one to impose laws upon the ports of England, after having exhausted her. She has renounced, and again renounces, every thing which could lead to peace, you will every conquest; and her occupation of the dispose yourselves to war. Low Countries shall only continue during the If this notification, or that which related to war, and the time which may be necessary to the treaty of commerce, had been made to me the Belgians to insure and consolidate their in a regular and official form, I should have liberty; after which let them be independent found myself obliged to answer, that a threat and frappy, France wiil find her recompence of declaring war against England, because she in theis icticity.
thinks proper to augment ber forces, as well When that nation shall be found in the as a declaration of breaking a solemn treaty, full enjoyment of liberty, when its general because England has adopted, for her own will can lawfully declare itself without security, precautions of the same nature as shackles, then if England and Holland still those which are already established in France, attach some importance to the opening of the could neither of them be considered in any Scheldt, they may put the affair into a other light than that of new ofiences, which, direct pegociation with Belgia. If the Bel- while they subsisted, would preclude all negogians, by any motive whatever, consent to ciation.
In this form of unofficial communication, I received fresh orders from the Executive feel that it may still be allowed me to tell you, Council of France, to insist upon a speedy and without haughtiness, but also without dis- definitive answer; but there is yet another guise, that these explanations are not judged reason which urgently presses for the decision satisfactory, and that all the reasons
whịch of his Britannic majesty. I have learnt this have occasioned our preparations still subsist. day, that the law relating to foreigners obliges I have already made these reasons known to them to make their declaration within ten you by my letter of the 31st December, in days after the 10th of January; and in case which I have stated, in precise terms, what of any foreigner, who is amenable to this law, dispositions could alone contribute to the neglecting or refusing to make such declaramaintenance of peace and good understand- tion, the magistrates of this country would be ing. I do not see that it can be useful authorized not only to require him to do so, towards the object of conciliation to continue but even to imprison him. I know, my lord, to discuss with you, in this form, a few sepa. and all those who understand the rights of narate points, on which I have already made tions know it also, that I cannot be impliknown to you our sentiments. If you had cated in this law: the avowed and acknowany explanations to give me in the same ledged organ of a government which executes form, embracing all the objects which I men- laws to which twenty-five millions of men tioned to you in my letter of the 31st Decem- have submitted themselves, my person is, and ber, and all the circumstances of the present ought to be, sacred; and even under my dicrisis with respect to England, to its allies, plomatic character, my lord, I could not be and to the general system of Europe, I should ranked among the general common class of still willingly lend myself to it.
foreigners, until his Britannic majesty should I feel, however, that in answer to what you have definitively rejected the letters of cresay on the subject of our preparations, I ought dence which he knows I have received for to inform you, in the most express terms, him. But had I been implicated in this law, that, under the existing circumstances, all I owe to the government of a free and powerthose measures will be persisted in here which ful nation, which I represent, this declaration, shall be judged expedient for enabling us to that it would be impossible for me to submit protect the security, the tranquillity, and the to it; and that all the persecutions which it rights of this country, to support those of our might please his Britannic majesty to make allies, and to oppose a barrier to views of am- me endure, would fall upon the French nabition and aggrandisement always dangerous tion, in whose cause and for whose sake it to the rest of Europe; but which become would be my glory to suffer. inuch more so when they are supported by After this candid declaration, my lord, the propagation of principles destructive of thinking myself entitled to an equal sincerity all order and society. I have the honour to on your side, I will desire of you, in the conbe, &c.
versation which I solicit, to inform me, what
GRENVILLE. is the conduct which his Britannic majesty's No. XXVI.—Letter from M. Chauvelin to ministers mean to hold with respect io me, Lord Grenville, dated Portman-square,
and with respect to the persons who compose 17th January, 1793, Second year of the my household, in consequence of the law French Republic.
against foreigners. I have the honour to My lord; I have the honour of addressing
F. CHAUVELIN. myself to you, to beg of you to grant me an interview. I shall proceed to explain the
No. XXVII.-Letter from Lord Grenville motives of this request, and you will judge
to M. Chauvelin, dated Whitehall, 20th them to be such as will not admit of delay.
January, 1793. I shall first desire of you, my lord, security I have received, Sir, your letter of the 17th for my communications with the French go of this month. I have already informed you, vernment. Whatever may be the character that his majesty has reserved to himself the which you acknowledge me to possess, you right of deciding, according as he shall think have at least never doubted of the authen- fit, on the two questions, of acknowledging a ticity of the declarations which I have trans- new form of government in France, and of remitted to you in the name of the French na- ceiving a minister accredited on the part of tion. I will therefore propose to you, my any other authority in France than that of lord, either absolutely to refuse hearing me, his most Christian majesty. And in answer or to give orders for my couriers to be re- to the demand which you now make to me, spected, and the secrecy of my letters, as well whether his majesty will receive your new of those sent as received, to be observed. letters of credence? I am to inform you, that
I will then, my lord, require to be informed his majesty does not think fit, under the prewhether his Britannic majesty will receive sent circumstances, to receive those letters. my letters of credence, and if he be satisfied The demand which you make to me is equally with the declarations contained in the paper incompatible with the form of an official comwhich I had the honour of transmitting to munication, and with the character in which your lordship last Sunday. I have not only you have hitherto been acknowledged, of mi
nister from his most Christian majesty. It to ask of him a passport nearly of the same only remains for me then, on the subject of nature with that which I have received; and your letter, especially after what has just to make several observations to him with re. passed in France, to inform yod, that as agent, gard to the precautions which he may think charged with a confidential communication, fitting and necessary to be taken for the safe you might certainly have expected the neces-conveyance of these papers, for which he re sary measures on our part for the safety of mains responsible. I have the honour to your letters, and of your messengers; that as be, &c. minister from the most Christian king, you
F. CHAUVELIN. would have enjoyed all the exemptions which No. XXX.-Copy of his Majesty's Order in the law grants to public ministers, recognized as such; but that as a private person, you
Council, of the 24th January, 1793. cannot but return to the general mass of At the Court at the Queen's House, the 24th foreigners resident in England. I have the of January, 1793; present, the king's most honour to be, &c.
excellent majesty in council. His majesty in
GRENVILLE. council is pleased to order, and it is hereby No. XXVIII.-Letter from Lord Grenville received by his majesty, on the second day of
ordered, that Monsieur Chauvelin, who was to M. Chauvelin, dated Whitehall, May 1792, as minister plenipotentiary accreJanuary 24th, 1793.
dited by his late most Christian majesty, do I am charged to notify to you, Sir, that the depart this realm on or before the first day of character with which you had been invested February next; and that the right honourable at this court, and the functions of which have lord Grenville, his majesty's principal secrebeen so long suspended, being now entirely tary of state for foreign affairs, do make terminated, by the fatal death of his late most known this his majesty's order to the said Christian majesty, you have no more any | Monsieur Chauvelin. public character here. The king can no
(Signed) W. FAWKEYER. longer, after such an event, permit your residence here. His majesty has thought fit to Debate in the Commons on the King's order, that you should retire from this king; Message for an Augmentation of the dom within the term of eight days; and I Forces.] Feb. l. The order of the day herewith transmit to you a copy of the order being read for taking into consideration which his majesty, in his privy council, has his Majesty's Message of the 28th of given to this effect. I send you a passport for yourself and your suite ; and I shall not January, fail to take all the other necessary steps, in
Mr. Pitt rose and spoke as follows: order that you may return to France, with all Sir; I shall now submit to the House some the attentions which are due to the character observations on the many important obof minister plenipotentiary from his most jects which arise out of the communication Christian majesty, which you have exercised of his Majesty's message, and out of the at this court. I have the honour to be, &c.
present situation of this country. And in
proceeding to the consideration of that No. XXIX.—LETTER from M. Chauvelin message, the attention of the House should,
to Lord Grenville, dated Portman-square, in the first instance, be strongly directed 24th January, 1793, Second year of the to that calamitous event,* to that dreadful Republic.
outrage against every principle of religion, My lord ;-I received an hour ago, through of justice, and of humanity, which has Mr. Aust, the letter which you have done me created one general sentiment of indigna. the honour to write to me, together with the tion and abhorrence in every part of this papers annexed to it. I intend to set out to- island, and most undoubtedly has promorrow morning for France; those of my duced the same effect in every civilized household, who are not able to follow me, will all have departed before the period
country. specified in the order which you have trans
At the same time I am aware, that I mitted to me.
should better consult not only my own The precautions which you have announced feelings, but those of the House, if consito me as intended to be taken for the safety derations of duty would permit me to draw of my departure, will extend themselves as- a veil over the whole of this transaction, suredly, my lord, in a more particular manner, because it is, in fact, in itself, in all those to the papers of the French embassy, which circumstances which led to it, in all that have been deposited, in trust, with me since my arrival in this country.—Monsieur Rhein- attended it, and in all which have followed, hard, who is employed immediately next to
or which are likely to follow it hereafter, me in this mission, will remain here five so full of every subject of grief and horror, days after me to put them in order. I hope you will approve his waiting upon Mr. Aust, * The murder of the king of France.
that it is painful for the mind to dwell, itself. The consequences of these princiupon it. It is a subject which, for the ho- ples have been illustrated by having been nour of human nature, it would be better, carried into effect in the single person of if possible, to dismiss from our memories, one, whom every human being commiseto expunge from the page of history, and rates. Their consequences equally tend to conceal it, both now and hereafter, from to shake the security of commerce, to rob the observation of the world.
the meanest individual in every country of Excidat ille dies ævo, neu postera credant
whatever is most dear and valuable to him. Secula; nos certe taceamus, et obruta multa They strike directly against the authoNocte tegi nostræ patiamur crimina gentis. rity of all regular government, and the in
These, Sir, are the words of a great his-violable personal situation of every lawful torian * of France in a former period, and sovereign. I do feel it, therefore, not were applied to an occasion which had al- merely a tribute due to humanity, not ways been considered as an eternal re- merely an effusion of those feelings which proach to the French nation : and the I possess in common with every man in atrocious acts lately perpetrated at Paris this country, but I hold it to be a proper are, perhaps, the only instances that fur- subject of reflection to fix our minds on nish any match to that dreadful and com. the effect of those principles which have plicated scene of proscription and blood. been thus dreadfully attested, before we But whatever may be our feelings on this proceed to consider of the measures which subject, since, alas ! it is not possible that it becomes this country to adopt, in order the present age should not be contami- to avert their contagion, and to prevent nated with its guilt; since it is not
possible their growth and progress in Europe. that the knowledge of it should not be con
However, notwithstanding that I feel veyed by the breath of tradition to poste strongly on this subject, I would, if posrity, there is a duty which we are called sible, entreat of the House to consider even upon to perform—to enter our solemn that calamitous event rather as a subject of protestation, that, on every principle by reason and reflection, than of sentiment which men of justice and honour are actu- and feeling. Sentiment is often unavailated, it is the foulest and most atrocious ing, but reason and reflection will lead to deed which the history of the world has that knowledge which is necessary to the yet had occasion to attest.
salvation of this and of all other countries. There is another duty immediately rela- I am persuaded the House will not feel this ting to the interest of this and of every
as a circumstance which they are to take other country. Painful as it is to dwell upon themselves, but that they will feel it upon this deed, since we cannot conceal in the manner in which I state it, as a proof what has happened, either from the view of the calamities arising out of the most of the present age or of posterity, let us abominable and detestable principles ; as not deprive this nation of the benefit that a proof of the absence of all morals, of all may be derived from reflecting on some of justice, of all humanity, and of every printhe dreadful effects of those principles ciple which does honour to human nature; which are entertained and propagated with and, that it furnishes the strongest demonso much care and industry by a neigh-stration of the dreadful outrage which the bouring country. We see in this one ins- crimes and follies of a neighbouring nation tance concentrated together, the effect of have suggested to them. I am persuaded principles, which originally rest upon the House will be sensible that these pringrounds that dissolve whatever has hi- ciples, and the effects of them, are narrowly therto received the best sanctions of hu- to be watched, that there can be no leading man legislation, which are contrary to consideration more nearly connected with every principle of law, human and divine. the prospect of all countries, and most of Presumptuously relying on their deceitful all, that there can be no consideration more and destructive theories, they have re- deserving the attention of this House, than jected every benefit which the world has to crush and destroy principles which are hitherto received from the effect either of so dangerous and destructive of every blesreason, experience, or even of Revelation sing this country enjoys under its free and
excellent constitution. We owe our pre* De Thou, who applies these words to the sent happiness and prosperity, which has massacre of St. Bartholomew and wishes that never been equalled in the annals of manday could be blolled out of the history of kind, to a mixture of monarchical governFrance.
ment. We feel and know we are happy