« 前へ次へ »
FROM THE ADVANCEMENT OF BONAPARTE TO BE CHIEF · CONSUL, TO HIS BEING CROWNED EMPEROR OF FRANCE.
Letter of Bonaparte to the King of England. Lord Grenville's Answer. Note of Talleyrand. Insurrection in Britanny.
It is not an improbable idea, and we have al. 10 ready hazarded the conjecture, that Bonaparte, 1 when in the regions of the east, contemplating the despotism and absolute power which reigned there, first projected the plan which, progressively acted uponi, led to his future greatness. The constitution of which the Abbé Sieyes was the architect, was founded on the basis of arbitrary power, and was in that respect totally dissimilar from the republican constitutions which preceded it. France was, in fact, nothing now but a nominal republic; it had a king, under the name of a consul: the
French, after all their bitter invectives against monarchy, were easily beguiled to make their popular idol, Bonaparte, a consular king. As for Napoleon he was duly sensible of the proud honor conferred upon him; and he pursued a line of policy upon his elevation to his new dignity, highly conciliating to a nation so long torn and distracted by factions and divisions. Some unpopular laws of the directory were repealed; a number of Jacobins who had been sentenced to be transported to Guiana, were pardoned. A proclamation was issued, assuring the purchasers of national domains, that a due attention had been paid to their interests in the new constitution. Changes were made in the ministry, Gaudin was appointed minister of finance, Berthier minister, of war, Abrial minister of justice ; Laplau minister for the home department, was replaced by Lucien Bonaparte ; Talleyrand was appointed to preside over foreign affairs, and Bourdon minister of marine. :
Penetrated with an idea, that the nations of Europe, particularly Great Britain, in consequence of his being at the helm of affairs, would be desirous of entering into negociations for the restoration of peace, as also to render his government more popular at home, he addressed the following letter, personally, to his Majesty the King of Great Britain : Bonaparte, First Consul of the Republic, to the King of
Great Britain and Ireland. 6 Called by the wishes of the French nation to occupy the first magistracy of the republic, I think it proper on entering into office to make a direct communication of it to your Majesty.
có The war which for eight years has ravaged the four quarters of the world, must it be eternal ? Are there no means of coming to an understanding? How can the two most enlightened nations of Europe, powerful and strong beyond what their safety and independence require, sacrifice to ideas of vain grandeur, commerce, prosperity, and peace? How is it that they do not feel that peace is of the first importance, as well as the highest glory?
6 These sentiments cannot be foreign to the heart of your Majesty, who reigns over a free nation with the sole view of rendering it happy. Your Majesty will see
in this overture iny sincere wish to contribute efficaciously, for the second time, to a general pacification, by a step speedy, entirely of confidence, and disengaged from those forms which, perhaps necessary to disguise the dependence of weak states, prove in those that are strong only the desire of deceiving each other.
66 France and England, by the abuse of their strength, may still for a long time, for the misfortune of all nations, retard the period of their being exhausted; but I will yenture to say it, the fate of all civilised nations is attached to the termination of a war which involves the whole world.
Your Majesty's, &c.
« BONAPARTE." “ Paris, 5 Nicose, Sth year."
This letter, addressed in a manner so contrary to the etiquette of the courts of Europe, to the Sovereigns of the British empire, was answered officially by Lord Grenville, the secretary of state for foreign affairs : .
“Sir, " I have laid before the King the letters which you have transmitted to me, and his Majesty seeing no reason to depart from those forms which have long been established in Europe, for transacting business with foreign states, has recommended me to return in his name, the official answer which I send.
5 I have the honor to be, &c.
Official Note. 66 The King has given frequent proofs of his sincere desire for re-establishing tranquillity in Europe. He neither is nor has been engaged in any contest for vain glory. He had no other view than that of maintaining, against all aggressions, the rights and happiness of bis subjects. For these he has contended against an unprovoked attack, and for the same objects is still obliged to contend. Nor can he hope that the necessity could be removed by entering at the present moment into negociation with those whom a fresh revolution has so recently placed in the exercise of power in France ; since no real advantage can arise from such negociation
to the desirable object of general peace, till those causes kave ceased to operate which originally produced the war by which it has since been protracted, and, in more than one instance, renewed. The same system to which France justly ascribes all her present miseries, has also involved Europe in a destructive warfare, of a nature long unknown to the practice of civilised nations. For the extension of this system, and the extermination of all established governments, the resources of France have been lavished and exhausted. To this indiscriminate spirit of destruction, the Netherlands, the United Provinces, and the Swiss Cantons, have successively been sacrificed; Germany has been ravaged ; Italy has been the scene of unbounded rapine and anarchy, His Majesty himself has been compelled to maintain an arduous contest for the independence and existence of his kingdom,
“ Nor have these calamities been confined to Europe alone, they have been extended to the most distant quarters of the world, and even to countries so remote, both in situation and interest, from the present contest, that the very existence of such a war was probably un, known to those who suddenly found themselves involved in its horrors.
“ Whilst such a system, therefore, prevails, and whilst the blood and treasures of a powerful nation can be - lavished in its support, experience has shewn that no
defence but that of open and steady hostility can be availing. The most solemn treaties only prepared the way to fresh aggression; and it is to determined resistance alone, that whatever remains in Europe of stability, for prosperity, for personal safety, for social order, or the exercise of religion, can be preserved. For the security, therefore, of these essential objects, his Majesty cannot place reliance on the mere renewal of general professions for pacific disposition. Such professions have been repeatedly held out by all who have successively directed the resources of France to the destruction of Europe, and whom the present rulers have declared all to have been incapable of maintaining the relations of amity, Greatly will his Majesty rejoice whenever it shall appear that the danger to which its own dominions and those of his allies have been so long exposed, has really ceased; whenever he shalļ be satisfied that the