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of the anticnt government of a great country, and os all its laws, orders, and religion, by the corruption of mercenary armies, and by the seduction of a multitude bribed by confiscation to sedition, in defiance of the sense, and to the entire destruction of almost the whole proprietary body of the nation. The fatal effects of this example must be felt i"n every country. New means, new arms, new pretexts, are furnished to ambition; and new persons are intoxicated with that poison.
8ih. Because our eagerness in suing for peace may induce the persons exercising power in France erroneously to believe, that we act from necessity, and are unable to continue the war; a persuasion which,-in the event of an actual peace, will operate as a temptation to them to renew that conduct ■which brought on the present war, neither shall we have any of the usual securities in peace. In their treaties they do not acknowledge the obligation of that law, which for ages has been common to all Europe. They have not the fame sentiments nor the fame ideas of their interest in the conservation of peace, which have hitherto influenced all regular governments; they do not in the lame manner feel public distress, or the private misery of their subjects; they will not find the lame difficulty on the commencement of a new war to call their whole force into sudden action, where, by the law, every citizen is a soldier, and the person and properties of all are liable at once to arbitrary requisitions. On the other band, no attempt has been made to shew in what manner, whether by alliances, by force, military or naval, or by the improvement and augmentation of
our finances, we shall be better able to resist their hostile attempts, after the peace, than at the present hour. If we remain armed, we cannot reap the ordinary advantage of peace in œconomy; if we disarm, we shall be subject to be driven into a new war, under every circumstance of disadvantage, unless we now prepare ourselves to suffer with patience and submission whatever insults, indignities, and injuries, we may receive from that insolent, domineering, and unjust power.
9th. Because the inability of humbling ourselves again to solicit peace, in a manner, which is a recognition of the French republic, contrary to all the principles of war, the danger of peace if obtained, the improbability of its duration, and the perseverance of the enemy throughout the interval of peace in their mischievous system, is not conjecture, but certainty. It has been avowed by the actual governors of France, at the very moment when they had before them our application fora passport. They chose that moment for publishing a state paper, breathing the most hostile mind. In it they stimulate and goad us by language the most opprobious and offensive. They frankly tell us, that it is not our interest lo desire peace, for that they regard peace only as the opportunity of preparing fresh means for the annihilation of our naval power. By making peace they do not conceal that it will be their object—" to wrest from us our ma-» ritime preponderancy—to re-establish what rhey invidiously call the freedom of the seas; to give a new impulse to the Spanish, Dutch, and French marines; and to carry to the highest degree of prosperity prosperity the industry and commerce of those nations," which they slate to be our rivals, which they charge us with " unjustly attacking, when we can no longer dupe," and which they throughout contemplate as their own dependencies, united in arms, and furnishing resources for our future humiliation and destruction. They resort to that well known and constant allusion of their's to ancient history, by which representing "France as modern Rome, and England as modem Carthage," they accuse us of national perfidy, and hold England up, as an object to be blotted out from the face of the earth." They falsely assert that the English nation supports with impatience the continuance of the war, and has extorted all his Majesty's overtures for peace " by complaints and reproaches;" and, above all, not only in that passage, but throughout their official note, they shew the most marked adherence to that insidious and intolerable policy of their system, by which they, from the commencement of the revolution, sought to trouble and subvert all the governments in Europe. They studiously disjoin the English nation from its sovereign.
10th. Because, having act.ed throughout the course of this awful and momentous crisis upon the principles herein expressed, and after having on the present occasion, not only fully reconsidered, and jealously examined their soundness and validity, but gravely attended to, and scrupulously weighed the merits of all those arguments which have been offered to induce a dereliction of them, conscientiously adhering to, and
firmly abiding by them, I thus solemnly record them, in justificacation of my own conduct, and in discharge of the duty I owe to my king, my country, and general interests of civil society.
Mrjsage from his Majsfty to the Hotife of Lords, I zth Dec. 1796. George R. HIS majesty is concerned to acquaint the house of lords that his endeavours to preserve peace with Spain, and to adjust all matters in discussion with that court by an amicable negotiation, ,have been rendered ineffectual by an abrupt and unprovoked declaration of war on the part of the Catholic king.
His majesty, at the fame time that he sincerely laments this addition li» the calamities of war, already extended over so great a part of Europe, has the satisfaction to reflect; that nothing has been omitted on his part which could contribute to the maintenance of peace, on grounds consistent with the honour of his crown, and the interest of his dominions; and he trusts, that, under the protection of divine Providence, the firmness and wisdom os his parliament will enable him effectually to repel this unprovoked aggression, and to afford to all Europe an additional proof of the spirit and resources of the British nation.
Mfsage from his Majffy to the Horse of Lords, I "ith Dec. 1 -j(j6. G. R. HIS Majesty thinks proper to acquaint the house of peers, that he is at present engaged in concerting measures with his allies, in
order erder to be fully prepared for the vigorous and effectual prosecution of the war, if the failure of his majesty's earnest endeavours to effect a general peace, on secure and honourable, terms, sliould unfortunately render another campaign unavoidable. And his majesty will not fail to take she first opportunity to communicate the. result ot these discussions to the house. In the interval his majesty concei> es that it may be of the greatest importance to the common cause, that his majesty sliould be enabled to continue such temporary advances for the service of the emperor as may be indispensably necessary, with a view to military operations being prosecuted with vigour and effect at an early period; and his majesty recommends it to the house to consider of making such, provision as may appear to them to be most expedient for this purpose.
Mfjs.jgt from his Majtjlj to the House of Prcn, zdth Dec. I 796. George R.
IT is with the utmost concern that his majesty acquaints the house of lords, that his earnest endeavours to effect the restoration of peace have been unhappily frustrated, and that the negotiation in which lie has been engaged has been abruptly broken off by the peremptory refusal of the French government to treat, except upon 21 balls evidently inadmissible, and by their having in consequence required his majesty's plenipotentiary to quit I'aris within 48 hours.
His majesty has directed the several memorials and papers which have been exchanged in the course
of the late discussion, and the account transmitted to his majesty of its final result, to be laid before the. house.
From these papers, his majesty trusts, it will be proved to the whole world that his conduct has been guided by a sincere desire to effect the restoration of peace on principles suited to the relative situation of the belligerent powers, and essential for the permanent interests of his kingdom, and the general security of Europe: whilst his enemies have advanced pretensions at once inconsistent with those objects, unsupported even on the grounds on which they* were professed to rest, and repugnant both to the system established by repeated treaties, and to the principle and practice which have hitherto regulated the intercourse of independent nations.
Iu this situation his majesty has the consolation of reflecting, that the. continuance of the calamities of war can be imputed only to the unjust and exorbitant views of his enemies; and his majesty looking forward with anxiety to the moment when they may be disposed to act on different principles, places in the mean time the fullest reliance, under the protection of Providence, on the wisdom and firmness of his parliament, on the tried valour of his forces by sea aud land, and on the zeal, publicspirit, and resources of his king-, doms, for vigorous and effectual support in the prosecution os a contest, which it does not depend on his majesty to terminate, and which involves in it the security and permanent interests of this country, and of Europe.
Kile, transmitted to M. Barthelemi, by Note, transmitted to Mr. Wickham, by Mr. IVickbam, March 8, 1796. M. Barthdsmi, March z6, 1796.
THE undersigned, his Britannic majesty's minister plenipoteniary to the Swiss Cantons, is authorized to convey to monsieur Barthelemi, the desire ot" his court to be made acquainted, through him, with the disposition* os France, in regard to the object of a general pacification He therefore requests monsieur Barthelemi to transmit to him in writing, (and aster having made the necessary enquiries) his answer to the following questions:
1. Is there the disposition in France to open a negotiation with his majesty aud his allies for the reefiablilhment of a general peace, upon just and suitable terms, by sending, for that purpose, ministers to a congress, at such place as may hereafter be agreed upon?
2. Would there be the disposition to communicate to the undersigned, the general grounds of a pacification, such as France would be willing to propose; in order that his majesty and his allies might thereupon examine in concert, whether they are such as might .serve as the foundation of a negotiation for peace?
3. Or would there be a desire to propose any other w ay whatever, for arriving at the same end, that of a general pacification?
The undersigned is authorized to receive from montieur Barthelemi, the answer to these questions, and to transmit to his cAurt: but he is not authorised to enter with him into negotiation or discussion upon these subjects.
Berne, March 8, I 796.
(Signed) VV. Wickham.
The undersigned, ambassador of the French republic to the Helvetic Body, has transmitted to the executive directory the note, which Mr. Wickham, his Britannic majesty's minister plenipotentiary to the Swiss Canton, was pleased to convey to him, dated the 8th of March. He has it in command to answer it by an exposition of the sentiments and ^dispositions of the executive directory.
1 he directory ardently desires to procure for the French republic a just, honourable and solid peace. The step taken by Mr. Wickham would have afforded to the directory a real satisfaction, if the declaration itself, which that minister makes, of his not having any order, any power to negotiate, did not give room to doubt of the sincerity of the pacific intentions of his court. In fast, if it was true, that England began to know her real interests; that she wislied to open again for herself the sources of abundance and prosperity j if she sought for peace with good faith, would the propose a congress, ot which the neceisary result must be,to render all negotiation endless?or would she confine herself to the alking, in a vague manner, that the French government should point out any other way whatever, for attaining the same obje£t that of a general pacification?
Is it that this step has had no other object than to obtain for the Britisli government the favourable impression which always accompanies the first overtures for peace? may it not have been accompanied
•with the hope that they would pro- the demands which it contains, duce no effect? and the manner of announcing
However that may be the exe- them, are remote from any diipocutivc directory, whose policy has lition for peace, no other guides than openness and good faith, will follow, in its explanations, a conduct which shall be wholly conformable to them. Yielding lo the ardent desire by which it is animated, to procure peace for the French republic, and for all nations, it will not fear to declare itself openly. Charged by the constitution with the execution of the laws, it cannot make, or
The inadmissible pretension u there avowed of appropriating to France all ibat the laws actually existing there may have comprized under the denomination of French territory. To a demand such as this is added an express declaration, that no proposal contrary to it will be made, or even listened to: And this, under the pretence of an internal regulation, the pro
listen to, any proposal that would visions of which are wholly foreign
be contrary to them. The consti- to all other nations
xauonal act does not permit it to While these dispositions shall be
consent to any alienation of that, persisted in, nothing is left for the
which, according to the existing king but to prosecute a war equally
laws, constitutes the territory of just and necessary,
the republic. Whenever his enemies (hall
With respect to the countries occu- manifest more pacific sentiments,
pied by the French armies.and which his majesty will at all times be
have not been united to France, eager to concur in them, by lend
they, as well as other interests, ing himself, in concert with his
political and commercial, may be- allies, to all such measures as shall
come the subject of a negotiation, be best calculated to re-establish
which will present to the directory general tranquillity, on conditions
the means of proving how much just, honourable and permanent.
it desires to attain speedily to a happy pacification
Baste, the 6th of germinal, the 4th vear of the French republic, a6th of March, 1796;
either by the establishment of a congress, which has been so often, and Ib happily, the mtrans of restoring peace to Europe; or by a preliminary discussion of the principles which may be proposed, on either side, as a foundation of a Note of observation.—The court of general pacification; or, lastly, by
London has received from its minister in Switzerland, theanswermade to the questions which he had been charged to address to monsieur siarthelemi, in respect lo the opening of a negotiation for the re-establilhment of general tranquillity.
This court has seen, with regret, how far the tone and spirit of that answer, the uature aud exteut of
an impartial examination of any other way which may he pointed out to him for arriving at the (ame salutary end.
Downing-fireet, April IO, 1796.
Explanatory Article, framed by the CommiJJiineri for carrying into tf~ feel the Treaty betvieen Great Bri' tain and America.