Page images
PDF
EPUB

force, of which she may become the tem- the means employed against her own res porary depoîtary, shall not be employed pose ; that she will be just to those who but to fecure their tranquillity, and main- have not been fo to her ; that she wilt tain their laws. Proud of having re- every where pay as much respect to peace gained the rights of nature, she will never as to liberty; and that the men who still outrage them in other men. Jealous of presume to call themselves the masters of her independence, determined to bury her- oiher men, will have nothing to dread self in her own ruins, rather than suffer from her, but the influence of her exana laws to be taken from her, or dictated to ple. her, or even an insulting guarantee of The French nation is free; and, what those she has framed for herself; the will is more than to be free, she has the sentia never infringe the independence of other ment of freedom. She is free; the is nations. Her soldiers will behave on a armed ; she can never be reduced to nam foreign territory as they would on their very. In vain are her intestine divisions own, if forced to combat on it

. The da- relied upon : she has passed the dangerous mages which her troops may involuntarily moment of the reformation of her political occasion, fhall be repaired. The afylum laws; and she is too wise to anticipate the which she offers to foreigners shall not be lesson of experience ; she wilhes only to Thut against the inhabitants of countries maintain her conftitution, and to defend whose princes shall have forced her to at- it. tack them, and they fall find a sure re The variance of two powers proceeding fuge in her bosom. Faithful to the en- from the same fource, and directed to the gagements made in her name, she will fame end, the last hope of our enemies, fulfil them with a generous exactness; but has vanished at the voice of our country no danger shall be capable of making her in danger ; and the king, by the folemnity forget, that the soil of France belongs of his proceedings, by the frankness of his wholly to liberty, and that the laws of measures, shews to Europe the French equality ought to be universal. She will nation strong in her means of defence and present to the world the new spectacle of a prosperity. nation truly free, submissive to the laws of Resigned to the evils which the enemies justice amid the storms of war, and re- of the human race, united against her, specting every where, and on every occa- may make her suffer, she will triumph lion, toward all men, the rights which are over them by her patience and her courage; the same to all,

victorious, she will seek neither indemnifiPeace, which imposture, intrigue, and cation nor vengeance. treason have banished, will never cease to Such are the sentiments of a generous be the first of our wishes. France will people, which their representatives do take up arms, compelled to do so, for her theinfeives honour in expressing. Such safety and her internal peace; and she will are the projects of the new political system be féen to lay them down with joy, the which they have adopted to repel force, moment she is assured that there is nothing to resist oppression, to forget all when they to fear for that liberty--for that equality, have nothing more to fear, and to consider which is now the only element in which adversaries, if vanquished, as brothers; Frenchmen can live. She dreads not war, if reconciled, as friends. These are the but she loves peace; she feels that the has wiihes of all the French, and this is the need of it; and the is too conscious of ber war which they declare against their eneItrength to fear making the avowal. mies. When, in requiring other nations to refpect her repose, the took an eternal en.

The king returned the following angagement not to trouble others, the might

swer to the deputation : have thought, that the deserved to be life

• The National assembly may be assured, tened to; and that this folemn declaration, that I shall always maintain the dignity of the pledge of the tranquillity and happi- the nation.' nefs of other nations, might have merited the affection of the princes who govern for foreign affairs presented the following

On Saturday, Dec. 31, the minister them ; but luch of thote princes as ap- letter to the king froin the emperor, which prehend that France would endeavour to excite internal commotions in other coun

had been delivered to M. de Noailles, the

French minister at Vienna : tries, thall learn, that the cruel right of reprisal, justified by usage, but condemned Leopold II, emperor and king of the by nature, will not inake her refort to Romans, &c. Puriuant to our conititu.

tional laws, we have communicated to the the prejudice of our rights, of those of the electors, princes, and states of the empire, empire, and of our vaffals; and we are on the one part, the complaints of the convinced that we are bound not only to vaffals of our empire, which, agreeably interpose, in their favour, the most folemn to the wishes of our electoral college, we protestation, both in our name and the transmitted amicably to you on the 14th of name of the empire, but also to give to the December last, and on the other, the an. injured all the aid, which the dignity of fwer returned by your majesty. The more the imperial court, and the maintenance we have considered this affair, the more of the present constitution, require. we must regret that your majesty's answer Such is the resolution on which we was not comformable to our just expecta- have determined, and we should already tion. Besides its not being drawn up in have taken measures to signify it in the an idiom usual in discussing business be- most efficacious manner, if your majesty's tween the empire and your kingdom, we well known sentiments of justice and remarked that it called in question the equity had not left us the hope of obtaincompetence of the vassals of the empire to ing by an amicable negotiation, in favour implore our intervention at the diet, in of the vassals of our empire, a reintegraorder to secure them the same protection tion full and conforniable to the disposition of the emperor and the empire, which of those treaties. protected their interests on occasion of "Your majesty's prudence will easily public pacifications.

perceive the injury which a violation of the * To judge from the tenour of your promises, equally binding on both parties, answer, your majesty, no doubt, sup- reciprocally made to the empire by your poled, that all the possessions of our vassals crown, and even guaranteed by the latter, in dispute, were subject to the supremacy would do to the title by which the differof

your crown, so as to make it free to ent countries of Alsace and Lorraine have dispose of them as the public utility seems been successively transferred to you. It to require, provided a just indemnification will easily discover the consequences not were given ; but if your majesty will take to be calculated, which may be produced the trouble of examining more attentively both in Europe and the other parts of the the public pacifications in question, as well world, where nations exist that have at as all the other treaties between the empire any time entered into treaties with yours, and France since 1648, it certainly will not by so manifest a proof, that France, withescape your notice, that such a supposition out regard to the fan&tity of public cannot be well founded.

promises, thinks herself at liberty to vio* You will then see moft clearly, on the late them whenever her own interest makes one part, what are the lands that have been

it

appear convenient. hitherto transferred to the supremacy of

Your desire to cause justice between your crown, by the consent of the em nations to be observed, and to maintain perors, and the orders of the empire ; and the friendship, that fubfifts between your on the other, that the possessions of our kingdom and our empire, will certainly vassals in Alsace, Lorraine, and elsewhere, induce you to disregard this pretended which have not been transferred to your

convenience, which cannot be obtained crown by a similar consent, must remain in but by the violation of treaties, and their ancient relation to the empire, and does not allow us to doubt, that the incannot consequently be subjected to the stances which we now renew to you, both laws of your kingdom. But with respect in our own name, and the name of the even to the districts, the cession of which empire, will produce a cessation of all the is the most expressly ftipulated in the innovations made fince the beginning of treaties, France cannot be ignorant that August 1789, as far as they affect the these

states and vassals of our empire, that they treaties have given to the exervery cise of your supremacy, in regard to the will effect the re-establishment of the vaffals of the empire, different restrictions, latter in the enjoyment of all the reveboth spiritual and civil, which cannot in nues of which they have been deprived any shape be arbitrarily overturned by new and, finally, that the re-establishment of decrees of your nation.

all things, on the footing determined by • We have therefore reason to complain the treaties, will be the consequence. of the derogations which, fince the month We entreat your majesty to inform of August 1789, have been made to the us, whether this be your intention. terms of the said treaties, and infractions The more speedý your answer, and the which have followed in consequence, to more conformable to established usage, the

less

less doubt we shall entertain of the since- dated the 14th of November last, he has rity of your desire, and that of your na been authorized to explain himself, in retion, to cultivate

peace and friendship with turn, to the ambassador, on the contents the empire. We wish your majesty every of the said dispatch, and as far as it comes thing that can contribute to your happi- within his cognizance, with that intire neis.

frankness which his imperial majesty Given át Vienna, Dec. 3, 1791. thinks it his duty to observe on objects

that relate to the important crisis to which Notwithstanding the lofty tone by which the kingdom of France approaches. the feudal claims of the German princes The chancellor of the court and state has, are supported in this letter, it does not ap- therefore, the honour to communicate on pear but that this cause of contention may his part, that the elector of Treves has be removed by a proper indemnification to also imparted to the emperor a note, which the respective parties; for, after having the minister of France, at Coblentz, had read the emperor's ratification of the Con, been charged to present, as likewise the clufion of the diet, the minister informed answer which his electoral highness caused the assembly, that he should soon lay be- to be given to that note ; that this prince fore them the indemnification agreed upon had made known, at the same time, to with the prince of Lowenstein ; that the his imperial majelty, that he had adopted, prince of Hohbenloe and the prince of Salm- respecting the affemblages of the emigrants Salm were disposed to treat on the same and French refugees, with regard to furterms, so that the execution of one agree- nishing them with arms and warlike amment would almost conclude the other munition, the same principles and regulatwo ; and that negotiations were also well tions as had been put in force in the advanced with the duke of Wirtemburg, Austrian Low Countries. the duke of Deux Ponts, and prince Maxi But that strong alarms spreading among milian ; but they required, previous to his subjects and in the environs, that the any final agreement, the reimbursement of tranquillity of his frontiers and states: their revenues on the feudal rights in might be troubled by incursions and vioquestion, from the 4th of August 1789; lences, notwithstanding this wise measure, He added, that his majesty had charged the elector claimed the assistance of the his new minister at Treves to insist on the emperor, in case the event hould realize elector's dispersing the assemblages of the his' fears. emigrants within his states before the 15th

That the emperor is perfe&tly tranquil of January, on pain of being considered as to the just and moderate intentions of the as an enemy. He had also claimed anew most Christian king, and not less convinced the interposition of the empire, and repre- of the great interest which the French gosented to the emperor the inevitable conse- vernment has, not to provoke all foreign quences of a second refusal. Instructions, sovereign princes, by acts of hostility to the same effect, had been given to M. against one of them ; but that daily exSegur, the new minister at Berlin, and to perience not giving fufficient assurance of his other ministers at the principal German the stability and preponderance of mode

rate principles in France, of the subordiBeside the above letter to the king in fa- nation of powers, and especially of the vour of the claims of the German princes, provinces and municipalities, to prevent the following declaration was presented the apprehension that the acts of hostility, to the French minister at Vienna, in an- aforesaid, may be exercised in spite of the swer to the communication made to that king's intentions, and in spite of the dancourt, of the king's notification and re

gers of the consequences; his imperial quisition to the elector of Treves :

majesty sees himself necessitated, as well

by his friendship for the elector of Treves, Prince Kaunitz Rietberg, to the French as by the confideration he owes to the inAmbassador at Vienna.

terest of Germany as a co-estate, and to

his own interest as a neighbour, to enjoin Office of the Chancellor of the Court marshal de Bender, commandant general and State.

of his

troops in the Netherlands, to march Prince Kaunitz Rietberg, chancellor of to the states of his electoral highness the the court and state, having informed the most ipeedy and efficacious succours, in emperor of the official communication case they should be violated by hostile inmade by the French ambassador, of an cursions, or imminently menaced with oftensible dispatch from M. Delesfart, fuch.

The

courts.

The emperor is too sincerely attached Treves has not really and effe&tually difto his most Christian majesty, and takes persed the assemblages which exist in his too much interest in the well-being of itates, nothing shall prevent me from proFrance, and the general repose, not to de- posing to the national assembly, as have Lire ardently the prevention of this ex- already announced, to employ force of tremity, and the infallible consequences arms. which it will produce, as well on the part

“If this declaration does not produce of the chief and the states of the German the effect which

I have a right to hope ; if empire, as of the other sovereigns, united the destiny of France is to have to fight in concert for maintaining the public tran- with her children and her allies, I fall quillity, and the safety and honour of make known to Europe the justice of our crowns ; and it is in consequence of this cause. The French people will support latter, that the chancellor of the court and it by their courage; and the pation will ftate, prince Kaunitz Rietberg, is ordered see that I have no interest but hers, and to explain himself, without reserve, to the that I fall for ever maintain her dignity ambassador of France, to whom he has, and her safety, as the moit essential of my beside, the honour of repeating assurances duties, (Signed) LOUIS.' of the greatest respect.

(Underneath) DELESSART Vienna, Dec. 21, 1791. KAUNITZ.

This letter was applauded by all the The king's sentiments on the subjeet of

assembly, and every person present; and the above important communications from it was foop succeeded by the following the imperial court, were conveyed in the Proclamation of the King of the French, following letter to the national assembly :

for the Maintenance of good Order on • Gentlemen,

the Frontiers. I have charged the minister for foreign « The king communicated to the na. affairs to communicate to you the official tional assembly the note delivered on the notics which the emperor has caused to be 21st of December lait, to the French amdelivered to the ambasador from France at baslador at the court of his imperial maVienna, This notice, I must say, nas jesty. This note expresses the fear, that filled me with the greatest astonish- before the manifestation of the national ment. I had a right to depend on the will, and even contrary to the with of the fentiments of the emperor, and on his de- nation, the territory of the German emfire of preserving with France the good pire would be insulted by the French, undertanding and all the connexions that for these realons the emperor ordered his ought to subtilt between two allies. I generals in the Low Countries to march cannot yet think, that his difpofitions are

to the assistance of the elector of Treves. changed ; I wish to persuade myself that “The king feels how much such an he has been deceived respecting the true alarm might prove offensive to the French state of facts ; that he has supposed that people, the elector of Treves had fulfilled the du • Europe is in peace; and certainly the ties of justice and good ncighbourhood; French, who remain faithful to their and that, nevertheless, this prince had country and their king, will not deserve caule to fear that his territories might be the reproach of having disturbed its reexposed to violence, or particular in, pole.---Beside, who could believe that cursions.

the French would violate the rights of • In the answer which I have given to nations, and the faith of treaties, by conthe emperor, I repeat to him, that I have lidering as enemies those men againk demanded nothing but what is just from whom war had not been folemnly dethe elector of Treves, and nothing but clared ? -- French loyalty repels with inwhat the emperor himself had given an dignation a fupicion to repugnant to proexample of. I remind him of the care priety. the French nation took, immediately to

• He is, nevertheless, aware, that perprevent the affembling of the Brabaniers, fidicus tuggestions, that manquvres asiroitwhen they attempted it in the neighbour- ly concerted, may oscaion some differhood of the Austrian Netherlands. In ences between the inhabitants or the troops tire, I repeat to him the wish of France of the respective frontiers, and that incon. for the prefervation of peace. But, at liderate provocations may be productive the same time, I duciare, that is, after the of acis truly hoitiie. But to frustrate thete epoch which I have had, the elector of manquvres, it is difficient to point them

OUT,

out. The king, therefore, recommends to Done in the council of state, held at the administrative bodies, and to the ge- Paris, on the 4th of January 1792. perals, to employ all their efforts to pre

(Signed) LOUIS. vent the effects of the means which may (Countersigned) B. C. Cahier.' be employed, to irritate the impatience of the people and the ardour of the army. After the king had delivered his memo

*Frenchmen, in the preferit momentous able speech to the national assembly, on crisis, it depends upon you to give a me. the 14th of December, M. Narbonne, the morable example to Europe. Strong in minister of war, informed them, that he the goodness of your caufe-proud of should immediately repair to the frontiers, your liberty- let your moderation, and in order to inspect into the state of the your submission to the law, make you re- army, garrisons, &c. This circuit he fpected by your enemies. Know, that accordingly made ; and, on Tuesday the to wait the fignal of the law, is in you a 10th of January, he delivered his account duty; that to anticipate it, will be a' of it to the assembly. He bestowed warm crime.

eulogiums on the courage and patriotism • The king, in the name of the French of the troops in all the garrisons he had nation, aims at a fatisfa&tion which has visited. He assured them, that Life, equally for its object justice, the right of Maubeugue, Charlemont, Sedan, Metz, nations, and the interest of all Europe. If Britche, Landau, Strasburgh, Lotterthe king has made warlike preparations, it burgh, Hunningnen, Blamont, Belancon, was because he foresaw the possibility of a were all in the most respectable condition. refusal; and it was his duty to put him.' Some of them, indeed, had their weak self in a state to overcoine an unjult re- parts, but the efforts of art had been emfiftance. But his majesty does not yet de. ployed to put them above the danger of spair of the success of his representations. assault. The army of the north, by the He has repeated them-he follows them zeal of marshal Rochambeau, was in a up with energy-and he has reason to much better condition than could have believe, that more precise explanations been expected. The magazines and arsewill producę julter dispositions. Those, nals were well supplied with provisions, therefore, who shall dare to dilturb the forage, and arms. course of negotiatiors by precipitate steps,

M. Narbonne confirmed the favourable by private attacks, ihall be considered as report of the military committee, and public enemies, odious to all the people, praised the zeal of the national guards, and obnoxious to all the laws. In conse- the troops of the line, and the generals. quence,

The young officers under the old governThe king orders, and enjoins the ad- ment, he laid, were charged with Thewing ministrative bodies, the general officers, their courage by duelling, quarrelling with and commanders of the national and regus their hofts, and breaking glasses; and lar troops, to watch with the greatest at- perhaps the national guards, all young tention, that all foreign territory may be and impetuous, had too often followed inviolably respected ; to give equal atten- their example. He assured the assembly tion that all foreigners who may be found of the patriotism of the officers of the in France, of what nation foever, may enjoy my. The majority of them were finthere all the rights of hospitality, and the cerely attached to the constitution and the protection of the laws, while conformable king. We are now,' said he, on the to them. Lastly, to take the inost effica- eve of a dreadful war, or of a glorious cious measures to prevent any altercation peace; 'every thing ought to be hazarded taking place between the inhabirants, or to fave us from the disgrace of a treaty the troops, on the respective frontiers ; that would allow foreigners to interfere in and to quiet them speedily, if they should our affairs.'--He observed, that after gararife.

riioning all the fortified places, there were His majesty enjoins all adizinistrative seventy-five thousand men to take the field; bodies to repress, with all their power, but lie had seen with pain, that the army and to cause to be profecuted all thole who still wanted fifiy-one thousand of being may act contrary to the laws, or disturb complete to the war establishment. He public tranquillity. His viajesty, besides, proposed means of supplying this defici. orders, that this proclamation thall be ency; and concluded by calling the parprinted, published, and stuck up through. ticular attention of the assembly to the geout the kingdom.

neral ttate of the kingdom, the disposition I

of

« PreviousContinue »