« AnteriorContinuar »
accelerating the conclusion of peace, it would not be, without doubt, when her demands are opposed by a resistance without motive, and contrary to the true direction which the force of things ought, at this day, to give to the politics of the princes of the Empire.
They demand, and they hope it is for the last time, a categorical and prompt answer. They give notice to the deputation of the Empire, that that answer will govern their future conduct.
The ministers plenipotentiary of the French republic assure the ministers plenipoientiary of his Iinperial Majesty of their most distinguished consideration.
BONNIER. Raftadt, 15 Fructidor, 6th year of JEAN DE BRIE. the French republic.
Note from the Imperial Commission to the Deputation of the Empire at
Rasadt, 3d September. THE Imperial commission annexed to the deputation of the Empire, approve of the offer of the demolition of the fortifications of Ehrenbreitstein, contained in the conclusum of the deputation of the 7th and 29th August, upon the conditions expressed in the said decisions. As the ministers plenipotentiary of the French republic have replied to the note of the deputation of the 31st August, by a counter note of the ift September, a copy of which is annexed, the Imperial legation expects the decision which the deputation of the Empire will adopt upon that subject.
Decree of the Imperial Commission to the Deputation of the Empire at
Rastadt, 4th September. THE Imperial commission annexed to the deputation of the Empire for the conclusion of peace, acquaint the deputation by the subsequent copy of the note transmitied yesterday to the mi. nisters plenipotentiary of the French republic, with the manner in which they have been informed of the sanction given to the 3d article of the conclusum of the 7th of August.
Note addressed to the Minifiers Plenipotentiary of the French Republic.
In the two notes that were transmitted on the 21st and 31st August, to the ministers plenipctentiary of the French republic, the undersigned reserved to himself the giving his decision respecting the demolition of the fortifications et Ehrenbreitttein, consented to by the deputation of the Empire upon conditions that 3 Q2
cannot be separated from it. He has just informed the deputation of this decision, upon giving it his approbation. It is only by that fan&tion, and from the moment it was given, that the proposition of the deputation of the Empire could have the form of an effective and formal offer from state to state ; and it only begins to possess all its validity from the instant that the undersigned, as he hereby docs, informs the ministers plenipotentiary of the French republic of it. He reiterates the assurance of his distin. guished consideration.
F. G. C. COUNT DE METTERNICH
WENNEBOURG BEILSTEIN. Rafiadt, 3d Sept. 1798.
Subfiance of the Conclusum of the Deputation of the Empire, on the
10th of September. THE deputation consents to cede the island of Peter save, but requires the restoration of Kehl and Caffel.
A second note was drawn up by the deputation of the Empire, on the roth of September, in which they demanded the recall of the republican troops on the right bank of the Rhine.]
drawn up brich they ihe Rhine.
Notes transmitted by the French Plenipotentiaries to the Imperial
Minister at Rastadt. THE undersigned ministers plenipotentiary of the French re. public for negotiating a peace with the German Empire, have received the note of the deputation of the Empire, which was communicated to them on the 25th Fructidor (September 1I), by the minister plenipotentiary of his Imperial Majesty.
Whatever may be the satisfaction which the undersigned may derive from the pacific language of the deputation of the Empire; whatever may be the confidence they are disposed to place in it, they are nevertheless compelled to observe, that after more than nine months spent in negotiation, words, and even intentions, are not fufficient; realities are necessary, in order to prove a fincere desire for peace. Peace must be concluded, and the underligned are unremiuing in their endeavours to obtain it. It is true, indeed, that the deputation seems at present disposed to emerge from that state of indecision in which it has been held; it has recently assented to one of the important demands which have been made in the name of the French republic; (to wit) the demolition of the fortifications of Ehrenbreiuffein ; and this ailent, which it this day renews, is expressed in a manner which shows that the underligned were not deceived when they made the uncontradicted declaration, that they regarded and accepted that affent as pure and simple.
But why permit to remain in one of the preceding conclufums, the conditional disposition that had crept into it? Why frustrate the good effects of a revocation, which, by obviating difficulties, and by restoring to the sacrifice made by the deputation the whole of its merit, might have given to the French government an additional alTurance of the reciprocal loyalty of the negotiations, and a firmer solidiiy to future engagemenis? It is also true that the deputation of the Empire Thows itfelt fully disposed to cede to the French republic the fortified illand of St. Peter ; but it seems to set an ex- . aggerated price upon that cellion, which would considerably reduce its value, and even the mere proposal of it would induce a belief that the deputation too easily forget the many facrifices which the French government has already made, with a wish to restore peace to the Empire. It is in general a mistake, and one can, and one ought to repeat it, to think of establishing between two contracting powers a reciprocity of advantages rigorously exact. That nice balance is scarcely ever to be found, either in the nature of things, or the respective position of persons; and it it could be admitted in the present negotiation, it is evident that there would result from it a real inequality for the French republic, which in that case would not only lose a considerable part of the proportional satisfaction which is due to it, but which should also see diminished in its hands the important advantages which it might have preserved, and which diminution would arise from the effect of that reciprocity. Such a system, utterly irreconcilable with any place whatever, and much more unfounded when contrasted with the splendour of the French victories, could never be serioully insisted on by sincere and judicious negotiators.
Notwithstanding these observations, which were deemed necefsary, the underligned will not deny but that the note of the deputation of the Empire has offered them some melioration in the state of affairs, and the happy though tardy possibility of a result impatiently looked for by both nations. It appears indeed, from ihe analysis of that note, that at least all the essential difficulties are now reducible to these three questions :
ist. The retaining by the French, or the restitution to the Empire, of the fortified places Kehl and Cailel.
2d. The transfer upon the countries given in exchange on the right bank of the Rhine, of the debts which shall fall upon those ccded on the left bank.
3d. The application or exemption of the French laws concerning the emigrants. All the rest, as the deputation observe, will be eafily adjusted when the great obstacles are removed.
The attention of the underligned is then wholly directed to ihese three questions; and the examination they have given to I hemn has been the more scrupulous, because the two last secm ncarly to affect the welfare, the liberty, and the fortune of a great
number of families in the two states ; objects which the French government holds sacred in its political relations with other countries, as well as in its internal administration: accordingly they do not hesitate to make the following proclamations and declarations, but under the express reservation that the fortified island of St. Peter Thall immediately be ceded to the French republic; and at the same time all the clauses and conditions annexed to the demolition of Ehrenbreitltein, and other demands of the underligned, thall be annulled.
it. It would be useless here to restate the well-known reasons which so powerfully induce the French republic to retain poffeffion of Castel and Kehl, with their dependencies. The same reasons still prevent them from agreeing totally to abandon these poffef. fions. It is natural to believe that the princes and other states of the Empire should consider this point in a political view ; that they should ultimately regret their not having futhiciently perceived or properly appreciated this object. But instead of a salutary confidence, in seeing several fortified places in the hands of the French, they seem to have experienced an opposite feeling. In order to dispel all apprehensions, the French republic gives up the fortreffes of Kehl and Caffel, which shall be demolished, and thall only retain the territories.
2d. With regard to the debts, the deputation surely have not presumed that the French government could agree to any arrangement which should be calculated too sensibly to depreciate the celfion of the left bank of the Rhine ; to perpetuate between the two nations the seeds of intricate discussions, and to transfer to a ter. ritory united to France the expenses of the war, which the Empire itself has incurred. The debts of the countries ceded, as the undersigned have uniformly said, shall be transferred to the countries on the right bank, given by way of indemnification ; but the republic will consent that the provincial and communal debts, with the exception of those which may have been contracted on account of and for the expenses of the war, shall be and continue to affect 'the ceded territories : the rights of third creditors are reserved.
311. The undersigned declare that the laws respecting emigration are not applicable to countries ceded and not united, not even to Mentz. They make this consolatory declaration with pleasure; but as the article to which this forms a reply is enumerated among the eighteen articles annexed to the note of the deputation of the 3d March, and this article is connected with articles mentioned in the note of the rith of the same month, it is proper here to explain this point precisely. The underligned declare then that they have now answered those articles and presuppofitions in every point capable of discussion, farther referring themselves to their note of the 19th Germinal, and declaring that the French legation does not, and never can, regard these articles and presup
positions pofitions but as insulated, distinct from one another, and independent of all others; and that they will oppose every application of them employed to invalidate or elude the point agreed upon.
The minilters plenipotentiary of the French republic present this note as the pledge of peace.
France and Germany being now the judges of the affair, the French legation flatter themselves that the deputation of the Empire will unite with them in this opinion, and that they will not lake upon them the responsibility of being the first to produce a rupture. They give the minister plenipotentiary of his Majesty the Emperor their assurances of the most distinguished confideration.
JEAN DEBRY. Rasiadt, 28th Fructidor (Sept. 14),
ROBERJOT. year 6 of the French republic.
THE undersigned ministers plenipotentiary of the French republic for the negotiation of peace with the Germanic Empire, received on the 25th (Sept. 10;, a fecond note from the deputation of the Empire, transmitted to them by the minister plenipotentiary of his Majesty the Emperor.
The particular object of this note is to demand the recall of the republican troops on the right bank. The undersigned invite the deputation of the Empire to weigh well this truth, so clearly demonstrated since the opening of the conferences, that the Executive Directory of the French republic is sincerely desirous of peace, and a speedy and perfect reconciliation between the two itates; that it delires nothing so much as to see not merely diminished, but entirely superseded by the happy inutility of defensive precautions, the circumstances connected with the prelent situation of affairs, and that this anxiety for precaution may utterly cease.
The deputation of the Empire cannot, upon its fide, fail to perceive that the demand which it renews at present is premature; ihat the abandoning the military politions being necessarily the first consequence of an effectual pacification, there is no peremptory reason why the troops of the republic should be withdrawn from the other side of the Rhine. By repeating an observation thus effentially just, the underligned will avail ihemselves of it, in order to destroy a very bold and ungrounded ailertion, propagated far and near, and which the enemies of the French nation will doubtless not be backward to circulate and enforce. It had been said that the republican troops had transgreffed the line marked by the amnesty. The ministers plenipotentiary of the French republic gave a formal and full contradiction to this pretended fact. They allert that the republican troops have not