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Under these circumstances, if you have any wishes of a personal nature, I have to request that you will address yourself to Mr. Cooke, at the Foreign Office in London.
I have, &c., CASTLEREAGH.
Lord Castlereagh to Lord Clancarty.
Chatillon sur Seine, February 8, 1814. My Lord—I have the honour to transmit to your lordship, under a flying seal, a despatch which I have this day addressed to the Earl of Liverpool, upon the subject of the military arrangements which it may be expedient to make for the defence of Holland.
Your lordship is at liberty to take a copy of this despatch, (so far as it relates to that point) and you will use your discretion in communicating the substance of that extract to the Prince of Orange; although I have reason to believe that the sentiments of the Prince Regent's Government upon this important subject do not differ from those which I have expressed. Your communication to the Prince of Orange respecting it must be made in the strictest confidence, until you shall receive (as you probably will at an early period) more precise and definitive instructions from England.
I have, &c., CASTLEREAGH.
Lord Castlereagh to Sir George Burgman.
Chatillon sur Seine, February 8, 1814. Sir— I have received from Count Nesselrode, the Russian Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, the official notification that his Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Russia has appointed M. de Gervais his commissioner for transacting all affairs connected with the Federative Paper lately established by the Allied Courts.
This gentleman has been directed by his Government to
proceed to Amsterdam, and I hereby authorize you to enter into official communication with him, on his arrival there, upon all the subjects relating to the important business with which you are charged.
I have, &c., CASTLEREAGH.
Lord Castlereagh to Edward Thornton, Esq.
Chatillon sur Seine, February 8, 1814. Sir—As there is reason to suppose that the Prince Royal will arrive on the Rhine, and that his army will be assembling in that quarter about the middle of the month, I deem it expedient that you should proceed, without loss of time, to his Royal Highness's head-quarters.
You will not disguise from the Prince Royal the disappointment, or rather the dissatisfaction, which was produced by his Royal Highness's movements, with the great mass of his force, to the Elbe, instead of to the Rhine, as he undertook to do when at Leipsick; the effect of which divergence from the main operation was to put the enemy in a situation to defend the Dutch fortresses and the Low Countries, which must otherwise have fallen without a blow.
You may state that your Court could have the better reconciled themselves to this departure from the understood principle upon which the campaign was to be conducted, if the necessity for it, on any grounds of Swedish policy, had been openly avowed, and if the various assurances transmitted through you, that it was not his Royal Highness's intention to carry the mass of his army to conquer Norway in Holstein, had not proved successively illusory.
Having done justice to the grounds on which your Court could not conceal their dissatisfaction, you will acquaint the Prince Royal that the British Government is not the less disposed to cultivate an intimate union with Sweden ; that they rejoice in the prosperous result of his Royal Highness's campaign; that they have cheerfully made the sacrifices to Denmark necessary to secure thc cession of Norway to Sweden. With respect to the Prince Royal himself, you may assure him that they are willing to give to what is past the most favourable construction, and to concert their views, with respect to the future interests of both States, cordially with his Royal Highness.
You may state to the Prince Royal that their first wish is that his Royal Highness would actually direct the force under his orders to the reduction of the military power of the enemy; being assured that the Allies have no disposition to impose upon France any terms of peace inconsistent with the honour or interests of the French nation, fairly understood.
You may represent to his Royal Highness, with respect to the British troops in Holland, that they have already been sent as an auxiliary force, and placed under the orders of the Prince of Orange; that the composition of the force in Holland with Dutch and British, and the state of the country, yet imperfectly delivered from the enemy, preclude either for the present from being employed in distant operations; that it is hoped hereafter this army may enter upon more active service, in which case, the Prince of Orange, if his Royal Highness should take the field in person, or whoever may be placed at the head of that army, will no doubt be prepared to combine their operations in the most cordial manner with those of his Royal Highness.
With respect to the views of Great Britain and the Allies, in the prosecution of the war, the four principal Powers, acting in the spirit of the known views of the other confederate States, are engaged in preliminary discussions with the enemy, with a view of ascertaining whether France is prepared to return to a a state of possession and power consistent with the security of other States, and calculated to re-establish a just equilibrium in Europe.
With respect to the existing ruler of France, (however personally calculated to inspire distrust) these discussions have been entered upon with him: so long as he shall continue to be recognised by the French nation in that character, these discussions will be pursued to their legitimate conclusion,
Whatever Great Britain might feel of increased confidence in signing a peace with the ancient family restored to the throne of their ancestors, it belongs not to her to excite or originate a change, which, to be stable, must be the act of the nation; and from the result of which, involving, as it must do, the personal safety of individuals, as well as the fortunes of a great nation, it is not for her to make herself responsible. So far as the British Government may be entitled, without an unbecoming interference, to express an opinion, or a wish, upon an event of such a nature, they would most strongly deprecate a recurrence, on the part of the French nation, (if Bonaparte should cease to rule) to any intermediate system, whether of Regency, or of substituting another military chief in his room.
Such a state of things would, in all human probability, be merely transitory, probably troubled, and most certainly weak. It might again divide Europe, as apparently tending to connect France too closely with one of the greater military Powers, and ultimately lead, through new convulsions, to the return of the ancient family, as the only remedy to rival and conflicting pretensions.
You may, at your discretion, open these views of this question to the Prince Royal; and I trust that, if there is to be a change, his Royal Highness, from a regard for the repose of the nation which gave him birth, would be disposed to employ his influence to give it a direction which could occasion umbrage to none of the Cabinets of Europe. Such would be the effect of the return of the Bourbons—such is likely to be the effect of Bonaparte's dreaded authority; namely, to preserve, as a defence to Europe, the system of union that has saved it.
You may state that no peace is looked to by Great Britain which does not substantially reduce France within her ancient limits, and that, to facilitate such an arrangement in favour of the Continent, Great Britain will be disposed to act most liberally towards France, being desirous to give such a peace stability, by rendering the arrangement at once honourable to France, and such as may promote her prosperity.
You may also apprize his Royal Highness that it is the intention of the Allies to annex the Low Countries, at least as far as the Meuse, to Holland. Less of territory would be insufficent to uphold the army requisite to defend her barrier, which is indispensable for her own security and that of the North of Germany. The experience of former times sufficiently proves how feeble that line of defence must be for any country, which is held by confederates of clashing interests.
I am not aware that any further explanations are at present called for Sweden may, as heretofore, rely upon a friendly support from Great Britain in the pending negociations : the point of Guadaloupe may make some difficulty ; and it is highly satisfactory to me to know that the Prince Royal is disposed to afford facilities. It may possibly be necessary to propose some exchange on this point. The British Government will not fail, however, to use its good offices to render the concession made by them to Sweden in this instance conducive to her future interests.
In giving you authority to open yourself upon these points, you will understand that it is not meant as an injunction, but a permission. You will do it with caution, and, as far as you can, upon a previous knowledge of the system of measures in which the Prince Royal may be at the moment embarked.
I have, &c., CASTLEREAGH.
Lord Clancarty to Lord Castlereagh.
The Hague, February 8, 1814. My dear Lord—The accompanying papers will acquaint you with all that I can inform you of since I last wrote. The draft of the despatch No. 29, sent to England by the last