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Paris, 25th August, 1806. The plenipotentiaries of Kis majesty the emperor of the French, king of Italy, wishing to confer with his excellency the earl of Lauderdale, his Britannic majesty's plenipotentiary, upon the subject of the last note his excellency addressed to them, request his lordship will call at the office of the minister of the interior to-morrow, about three o'clock in the afternoon, where they will meet, provided the hour is convenient to his excellency.
M. de Champagny has the honour of inviting the earl of Lauderdale to dine with him after the conference, and hopes that his excellency will bring with him to dinner, Messrs. Goddard, Stewart, and Maddison.
The French plenipotentiaries have the honour of repeating, to his excellency lord Lauderdale, the VOL. XLVIII
Paris, Aug. 27,1806. I called yesterday evening at your excellency's house, that I might have the honour of seeing you, and informing you that, in consequence of the request which was yesterday made to me by their excellencies the French plenipotentiaries, of another conference on Friday next, the 29th inst. I have postponed my demand for passports, which I intended to make this day to your excellency. Their excellencies the French plenipotentiaries appeared to attach so much importance to my consenting to another interview, that I gave with pleasure this new pledge of the pacific and conciliatory spirit by which I have ever been guided; and if I cannot flatter myself that there will result from this demand the prospect of a happy issue to the negotiation, I shall at least have the satisfaction of having again manifested, in the most unequivocal manner, how much my personal sentiments agree in this respect with those of my government, and with 3 D
* Lord Lauderdale's note of the 11th inst, vide p. 759,
what eagerness I avail myself of every opportunity of giving to the persons, with whom this negocia tion has procured me the advantage of being acquainted, fresh marks of the distinguished scntiments which I shall never cease, under any circumstances, to entertain towards them.
being bound to make any restitution to France,' never expressed any other wish than that of treating with the French government on the basis which was proposed to her by France herself; as it is expressed in the note of lord Lauderdale, viz. to treat generally on the basis of uli possidetis, which was to be scrupulously observed, except in the case of Lauderdale. Hanover, which was proposed to be ceded to his Britannic majesty, with all its dependencies."
Fourth Inclosure (D.) Copy of a Note from the Earl of Lauderdale to Messrs. Champagny and Clarke, dated August 29, 1806.
Paris, 29th August, 1806. The undersigned plenipotentiary of his Britannic majesty, being on the point of renewing with their excellencies the French plenipotentiaries the conference of the 26th inst. thinks himself obliged to lay before their excellencies the state of the negotiation, such as it stood af. ter the note transmitted on the part of the undersigned and of the carl of Yarmouth, on the 12th instant. Their excellencies, the French plenipotentiaries, will perceive from this statement, that the discussion is come to a pont which will no longer permit the undersigned to continue it, unless, by the admission of the only basis on which he is authorised to negotiate, their excellencies should afford him fresh motives to justify such a determination.
In the official note transmitted to their excellencies the French plenipotentiaries, on the 12th of August, it was observed to them, "That the British government, far from pretending to exact from the French government, every restitution which may suit their convenience, without
"That even if it were possible to mistake the result which would necessarily follow from this principle, the verbal discussions which took place on the 9th inst. between the French plenipotentiaries and the undersigned, leave no room for doubt, whether the proposition thus laid down was perfectly understood by those plenipotentiaries.
"The undersigned have, therefore, only to repeat, that they can. not, consistently with the instructions of their government, do otherwise than insist upon the previous recognition of this principle. It is on this condition alone that they are authorized to continue the negotia tion."
This note remained without answer till the 25th of that month, when their excellencies the French plenipotentiaries informed the undersigned by a letter, that, "The plenipotentiaries of his majesty the emperor of the French, king of Italy, wishing to confer with his excellency the earl of Lauderdale, his Britannic majesty's plenipotentiary, upon the subject of the last note his excellency addressed to them, request his lordship will call at the of fice of the minister of the interior to-morrow, about three o'clock in the afternoon, where they will meet,
provided the hour is convenient to his excellency."
The undersigned forbears making any observations on the length of the interval which lapsed between the sending the note of the 11th, and the period when it was answered; as well as on the manner in which their excellencies avoided entering into discussion in writing on the contents of that note, according to the usage of all times, and of all countries, whenever affairs of such importance are in question. He confines himself to remark that, when after so long a delay, and the undersigned accepted an invitation from their excellencies to renew the discussions, in the hope of receiving at length the decision of the French government, on the contents of the official note of the 11th, the conference appeared to tend on the part of their excellencies the French plenipotentiaries solely to engage the undersigned to present the detailed project of a treaty.
The undersigned, jointly with the earl of Yarmouth, had already, in the note of the 11th inst. formally declared, that, until France had adopted the basis, such as the British government understood it to have been originally proposed by her, he could not enter into a detailed negotiation. If, indeed, the undersigned could have forgot himself so far, as to accede to the proposition made at the last conference by their excellencies the French plcnipotentiaries, it would not only have been necessary, for that purpose, that he should have abandoned the only conditions which his instructions authorized him to admit as the basis of the negotiation, but moreover that he should expose him. self to a manifest contradiction, in
presenting at first an entire project of a treaty, the details of which were to result from the negotiation itself; a negotiation which the undersigned had declared that he could not enter upon, till after a previous acknowledgment of the basis in question.
In this state of things the undersigned, after having attended, conformably to the desire of their excellencies the French plenipoten tiaries, at the conferences which they proposed to him; after having maturely reflected on all the communications which he has received from their excellencies, and thus fully convinced himself, that the present views of the French govern ment are far different from those which his Britannic majesty had a right to expect from them; in a word, that the continuance of the present negotiation can henceforth have no other effect than that of keeping up, in both nations, a hope which cannot be realized, the undersigned thinks it his duty formally to declare to their excellencies the French plenipotentiaries, the resolution which he has taken, in conformity to the instructions of his sovereign, to put an end to his mission. The admission, in writing, of the basis so often brought forward by the undersigned, can alone occasion a change in this determination. (Signed) Lauderdale.
with which you must receive the intelligence, that I am now under au engagement to renew the conference with the plenipotentiaries of France on Thursday, the 4th of September.
On going yesterday, at three o'clock, to the office of the minister of the interior, I confess I did not foresee the possibility of any thing occurring that could prevent my executing the resolution I had formed, of demanding passports this morning, and of returning immediately to England. I trust I need scarcely assure you, that I have as strong an impression as any man can have, of the bad consequences that may attend exhibiting any thing which looks like versatility of conduct: and yet, under the circumstances in which I found myself placed, I am satisfied I had no choice, and that I could not refuse, with propriety, the solicitations of the French plenipo. tentiaries to renew the conference.
At the commencement of our interview I perceived a disposition to greater cordiality than I had hitherto experienced. To M. de Champagny's inquiry, whether they had been fortunate enough, by what they had said, to induce me to deliver the project of a treaty, I answered, by recalling to his recollection the reasons I had, formerly stated, for declining such a proceeding, till the basis that had originally been proposed, was again formally recognized; and I informed him, that, in order to give them an accurate view of my conception of the subject, I had prepared a note which I wished to submit to them, delivering to them the note, a copy of which I had the honour of inclosing in my dispatch of August 29th.
After reading this note, and ob
serving in general that they did not know whether, if we should come to a particular explanation, we might not arrive at a conclusion coincident in its effect wit the object I had in view, when I insisted on the general principle, they entered into a detail with respect to the necessity of some immediate determination on the subject of Hanover, and afterwards stated their views as to the French possessions in the East Indies, the Dutch colonies, St. Lucie, and Tobago; ou all of which they talked in a style so perfectly dif ferent from any thing I had before heard, that I should not be more surprised if, at our next conference, they were to give them up, than I was at the change of tone manifested on this occasion.
A great deal more passed in the way of general conversation; all of which tended to shew me, that, although they were still at a wide distance from such terms as I could ac cede to, they had wonderfully relaxed from the tone they had antecedently assumed.
M. de Champagny then invited me to name a day for resuming our conference. To this I decidedly objected, admitting, at the same time, that they had made conces sions in the course of our discus sion; but adding, that they were still so far from agreeing to admi what the English government uniformly conceived the original pro. position to have conveyed, that I could not yet indulge any hopes of our coming to an agreement, and should, therefore, feel it necessary to terminate my mission.
M. de Champagny asked me with some warmth, whether I wished for peace on the terms which I myself had stated? whether I thought my
self authorized, after the concessions they had just made, to refuse them time to consider how much further they might go? and whether I might not reasonably entertain hopes that, with a little time, the dif. ferences which appeared now to separate us might vanish?
.. On receiving such a remonstrance, I thought it impossible not to agree to a renewal of the conference; and, after some conversation, Thursday was fixed for the day of our meeting.
Extract from a Dispatch from Earl Spencer to the Earl of Lauderdale, dated Downing-street, Sept. 4th, 1806.
Downing-street, Sept. 4th, 1806.
I am commanded by his majesty to inform your lordship that he is pleased to approve entirely the conduct you have held, in the circumstances detailed in your last dispatches, and to express his majesty's satisfaction in the good effect which appears to have resulted from it.
It is proper, however, to remark, that as the French plenipotentiaries have not bound themselves as yet by any written note, nor have, even in conversation, agreed to replace the negotiation on its true basis; the present appearances of greater facility on their part, may probably arise only from their desire of keep ing your lordship at Paris, till the answer from St. Petersburgh shall be received; an object which your lordship's last note had shewn them they could no longer accomplish
without some departure from the ground on which they have hitherto stood.
If the Russian treaty shall not be ratified, his majesty is then, (as I have already observed to your lordship) replaced, with respect to the emperor of Russia, in the same situation as before the signature of M. d'Oubril's treaty; but with the additional tie, which the two courts would in that case feel from the fresh proofs each will have given to the other, of a steady adherence to the system of alliance: and it will then be necessary that our peace shall be so far made dependent on that of Russia, as is pointed out in the instructions originally given to lord Yarmouth.
Since the above was written, we have received the important intelligence contained in the indorsed papers, copies of which I have thought it necessary to forward to you, without a moment's delay, for your information; the case is already provided for in this dispatch, and in the present state of our information on the subject, I have nothing to add to what is above stated. A few days will now probably put us in possession of the further views and intentions of Russia, to which reference must of course be had in every succeeding stage of the negotiation; and as I shall lose no time in transmitting to your lordship such fresh instructions as these may give rise to, so we shall be anxious to hear as soon as possible from you, what effect this event may produce on the disposition of the French government.
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• Intelligence of the refusal of the emperor of Russia to ratify M. d'Oubril's Treaty.