Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

They add to this a topographical draught upon the object of the true course of the Rhine, with an explanatory note, which will clearly make known the sole principles to be followed upon this occasion.

The isle of Buderich forms another object of the note of the 8th instant. It has not been treated of in writing by the undersigned, except in that same note. In recognising the justice of the application of the acknowledged. principle, they cannot refolve nevertheless to abandon the hope of a complete deference on the part of the Directory to the wish of the King and the whole German Empire, respecting the object of this ifle. The deputation of the Empire have decided in a similar case to consent (as an exception to an acknowledged principle) to the tession of the fortified ille of St. Pierre, notwithstanding the immense sacrifices they had already made to the love of peace. Every thing thus concurs to induce a hope beforehand, that by a just return, and considering above all that the ille of St. Pierre is infinitely of less importance to the existence of Mentz than the isle of Buderich, with its canal, to the maintenance of the fortress, and to the preservation of the inhabitants of the town of Wesel, the Direc. tory will not helitate to leave this latter ille in the hands of the King and the Empire, to which besides there remains no fortress on the right bank for its defence, whilst the posseflions of the republic on the left are defended by a triple chain of impregnable fortresses. Under all these considerations, the undersigned, with the greatest earnestness, renew their requests, that the ministers plenipotentiary of the republic will no longer hesitate once more to lay before the Directory all their demands, and to that end, that they will, without delay, present to the Directory their note of the 8th of this month, as well as the present one. They flatter themselves, that the Directory, agreeing in that respect with the principles adopted by his Pruilian Majesty on every negotiation, will never consent that the communications between the plenipotentiaries of Prusia and those of the republic should be obitructed upon any point of respective conferences, before they are definitively acknowledged by the two governments as termi. nated. The undersigned repeat their assurances of their high confideration for the citizens ministers plenipotentiary of the republic. (Signed)

GORTZ. Rafiad, 08. 16, 1798.

JACOBI.
Dohm.

l'erbal Note of his Imperial Alajesty to the Ministers Plenipotentiary

of the French Republic. THE pegotiation for peace between the Empire and France is so far advanced, its basis is so perfely satisfactory, the desire on

the the part of the Empire is so completely demonstrated by the inva. luable sacrifices it has made, that the obstacles which still oppose its accomplishment are neither to be attributed to its dispositions nor to its conduct.

In this state of affairs one cannot but be surprised to see the Commandant General of the French troops on the Rhine continue the blockade of the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein, and the ministers plenipotentiary of the republic refuse an answer to the reiterated remonstrances which have been made to them relative to the suspension of those menaces, which are not only contrary to the armistice, and the conventions which have followed it, but which are besides absolutely useless, and without any object, except that indeed which cannot be supposed, that the French go. vernment has determined to alter the state of possession in the midst of the negotiations, and that too after having received on the part of the Empire every proof imaginable of the good faith with which it has invariably directed them towards their conclufion.

If the republic refuses to cvacuate the right bank of the Rhine, upon the principle of preserving its advantages until the signing of peace ; if, even after having confented to them, it continues to keep possession of the forts of Kehl and Cassel, the same principle ought to preserve the fort of Ehrenbreitstein to the Empire until the same period, and ought also to guarantee the execution of those conventions, made solely to preserve the possession of it without interruption during the whole course of the negotiations.

The minister plenipotentiary of his Majesty the Emperor would willingly persuade himself that any other mode of proceeding cannot enter into the views of the French republic; and that it would be equally repugnant to the character of its ministers, charged on every occasion to give assurances of its loyalty and uprightness. In fact, nothing can more effectually tend to destroy that confidence, without which the negotiations can never attain their object, peace be concluded, or, if attained, become permanent.

He therefore requires the ministers plenipotentiary of the French republic to explain themselves upon this subject, and in such a manner as to answer to those proofs, as multiplied as evident, which the Empire has not ceased to give of its frankness and incontestable desire to inspire confidence, and to obtain peace, even at the price of the greatest sacrifices.

FRANÇOIS GEORGE CHARLES, ·

Count de Metternich Winnebourg Beilstein, Raftadt, Of. 14, 1798.

[blocks in formation]

Abstract of a Conversation which took place between the Minil· ter Plenipotentiary of the Emperor and those of the French Repub

lie, respecting the object of the Verbal Note.

AFTER having explained to the ministers plenipotentiary of the French republic the points contained in the verbal note which the Count de Metternich had just read, the minister Bonnier ad. dressed himself, and observed, that they, the ministers plenipotentiary of the French republic, expected, in the first place, the official answer of the deputation, according to the established custoin. The Count de Metternich easily perceived, that the minister Bonnier wished by this means to avoid a detailed discusfion upon the principal object of the conference. He further thought that this answer of the ininifter Bonnier tended to destroy the principle which gave the minister plenipotentiary of the Emperor the power of concluding the negotiations with respect to Those objeéts, the basis of which had been considered by the deputation, and sanctioned by him. It was important to establith this incontestable right in the minister plenipotentiary, and not to have it supposed by the minister of the republic that such a pro. ceeding could be di&tated by secondary views. The Couni de Metternich then observed to the ininifter Bonnier, that all he had had the honour of presenting on this subject was the result of those principles and bases which had been adopted, though they had not been so detailed in the preceding notes ; that furthermore, the minister plenipotentiary of the Empire did not wish to dis. guise the real state of affairs; and that he would not fail to inform the deputation of the result of the conference, reserving also to himself to transmit to the ministers plenipotentiary of the republic an official note in the course of the week. The minister Bonnier replied, by observing, that the demand of the Counc de Metternich could only proceed from a conviction that the deputation had only to accelerate the conclusion of peace, and that then the object relative to Ehrenbreitstein would be accomplished. The Count de Metternich replied, that this observation was unan. fwerable; but that his object for the moment was to establish the principle which declared that the status quo, and the actual pos. session, should not be altered ; that France had cautiously ftipulated for the possession of the forts of Kehl and Caffel, until the conclusion of peace; and therefore that the Germanic Empire could not renounce the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein as a fortress upon the principle of perfect reciprocity ; that, besides, he did not argue for new ftipulations, but only proposed to carry into complete execution the convention concluded between the respective generals at the armistice; and that the effect of such convention was, that there should be no obstacle to the restoration of Eh. senbreitstein ; that the French government would act contrary to

the the principles of justice and equity, if they opposed the restoration of that place at the certain prospect of conciliation, and at a time when the negotiations were near a conclusion. The minister Bunnier replied, that the state of things was exactly what the Count de Metternich required, inasmuch as the republic was in possession of the forts of Kehl and Cassel, and Germany of Ehrenbreitstein ; therefore, that they were upon an equal footing. To this strange observation it was replied, ihat certainly such was the State of things at the time; but was it to be supposed that a place, after having been vigorously maintained from the commencement of the war, would necessarily surrender at the end of it, especially when the means of repairing it were considered ? that the proposition they had made was inapplicable to the present time, but was referable to a future period ; and that it was important to give effect to a principle, the justice, equiry, and perfect reciprocity of which had been demonstrated by evidence. Citizen Bonnier added, that the Empire should make peace, and then the basis agreed upon would be fully executed ; that the French government would furnith proofs of its good intentions, and of the loyalty of its conduet ; that orders were given for the retrograde march of the French troops on the right bank of the Rhine ; that every step would be taken to restore comfort to the country ; and that all depended on the restoration of peace. He concludes by Saying, that the republic had made great facrifices to attain this object, but that it was necessary to maintain its dignity and politis cal consequence, principles from which it never departed.

The Count de Metternich replied, that the same principle was common to all governments; and he could not avoid frankly observing, that it was particularly upon the faith of treaties and conventions that the political consequence of a government depended ; and it was upon this consideration he claimed the restoration of Ehrenbreitstein.

The minister Bonnier then warmly infifted upon all he had ad. vanced, giving reiterated assurances of the pacific intentions of the French government, and expressing his wishes that the first answer of the deputation should iend to the definitive attainment of peace, without entering into discussions of too extensive a nature, the French government being already fatigued, and not wishing to make new concessions. He further desired that the period should be stated when an answer might be expected.

Citizens Jean Debry and Roberjot from time to time took part in this conversation, but merely to support the assertions and anSwers of their colleague Bonnier. Count Metternich put an end to the conversation, by saying that he flattered himself he should in a few days have it in his power to transmit them the result of the latest deliberations of the deputation of the Empire, in which,

doubtless, doubtless, the objects relative to Ehrenbreitstein would be fully detailed. ei

Rastadt, 08. 14, 1798.

790.

Substance of the love of Austria in the Sitting of the Deputation of

the Empire of the 11th of October. TA SINCERE love of peace makes it impossible to forbear remarking that it was much to be wished that, in a diplomatic and official act that ought to accelerate peace, and tend, in all proba. bility, towards its conclusion, there should nothing have appeared to betray even the appearance of a menace of introducing French principles ; an attempt which is contrary to particular declaratjons that have hitherto been made, and in which was inanifested a determination to steer clear of any such design.

This very threat already stamps a character on the thing itself, and it ought to excite the attention of every state, and consequently compel them 10 adopt corresponding measures. The French constitution itself ordains resped to the forms of govern. ment that differ from its own; and menaces serve only to propagate eternal seeds of distrust. The happiness of the people in and under every government, is the first law; and in a state where they maintain their authority, where justice admits no diltinction of ranks, of dignities, or of fortune, the people may enjoy a durable welfare and a genuine liberty, which can leave no other desire ungratified.

There is also too much confidence reposed in the French government, to permit the possibility of imagining that it thould en. tertain the design of giving further disturbance on that fcore to the tranquillity of Germany, or of retarding the coming and near approaching hope of peace.

Such a threat would also insinuate that advantage might be taken and acted on, of the declaration of nations who find themfelves placed under a mild government, who labour under po violence, or who may themselves be forced to accept a form of governinent, though the voice of the people exists in every state, and though it be properly what is called the will of the public.

Subiance of the Conclusum of the Deputation of the Empire,

15th of Oxtober. THE deputation of the Empire resolve, that the following an{wer thall be returned, in conjundinn with ihe Imperial minister pinipotentiary, to the note of the French legation of the 3d of October.

Tbe

« AnteriorContinuar »