« PreviousContinue »
burg negociations, were, as you will see, occasioned by the nonperformance by Prussia of the Vienna Treaty. When the enclosed letter reached me from M. de Nagell, communicating this, I immediately stated its substance to M. de Humboldt, who desired me to address him privately upon the subject. This gave rise to the enclosed correspondence between us, which I now forward for your information, as well as the copy of my answer to M. de Nagell.
Your time is so occupied that I shall say nothing upon these papers. Happily the main point of difficulty is done away by the order at length issued for the delivery of the enclaces ; and, if the new demand for a military road by Namur and Liege does not delay us, I scarcely think we shall be long in finishing this business satisfactorily. I shall only add that, though Humboldt's letter of the 26th is an amas of verbiage, his conduct on all points of discussion here has been perfectly fair.
Yours most affectionately, CLANCARTY.
Hague, March 17, 1816. My dear Lord—I avail myself of the opportunity which the messenger I send to Baron de Gagern affords me, to acquaint your Excellency that I have sent new instructions to the said Baron, relative to the Convention now negociating with Prussia. The reasons why they were kept back are—
Istly. That I fattered myself that the Treaty of Vienna of the 31st May, 1815, would at last be executed, the enclaces in Guelderland given up—the limits regulated.
2ndly. That Baron de Humboldt would be sufficiently instructed about the projet of the pending negociation at Frankfort.
In vain have I looked to the first. The enclaves are still in Prussian hands, and M. de Sack, disputing about Tegelen, a
village on the border of the Meuse, tries to keep possession of Gemnich, Moresnet, and the Calamine, by drawing a line to the west, instead of from south to north. On the 22nd inst., the respective Commissioners meet again, and a few days will bring this business to some issue or another. I fear we shall be obliged to appeal to the interference of Austria, Great Britain, and Russia, for the execution of a treaty which those Powers have signed and ratified.
Ad secundum, I am still ignorant, but do not accuse myself of slothfulness. I have instructed our Plenipotentiary, but under the express reserve to declare to Baron de Humboldt that, if the Treaty of Vienna is not executed after the most liberal offers (on which we are never honoured with an answer) made by my Royal Master to the King of Prussia, at Laken, in October, 1815, we must give up all hopes of seeing any other Convention adhered to. It is a mere mockery to say that M. de Sack will not obey commands. If Prince Hardenberg was serious, he certainly has means enough to make his orders respected. I am seriously concerned that these unfortunate circumstances keep your lordship so long from us; but at the same time I am convinced that your Excellency will approve our conduct, and will protect, by all the energy of your influence, our just claims upon Prussia.
I remain, &c., A. W.C. DE NAGELL.
Lord Clancarty to the Baron de Humboldt.
Frankfort sur Maine, March 21, 1816. My dear Sir-I yesterday received a private letter from M. de Nagell, in answer to one long since written by me, pressing for an answer to the last reference made from hence by M. de Gagern.
The difficulties are such as I had latterly apprehended they would prove to be. These, in consequence of that open communication which has subsisted between us on all the subjects of our discussion here, I suggested to you, as my surmises, the
moment they were formed. The feeling entertained by the Government of the Netherlands appears to be, and, I must own, I cannot blame it, that, till the Treaty of Vienna shall have been executed on the part of Prussia, by the delivery of the enclaces, and such reasonable and conciliatory proceedings adopted for the precise settlement of the frontiers between the two kingdoms, as ought to exist even between two of the most indifferent States, much more between those united by the closest family ties, and whose best interests are so much involved in the well-being of each other, there can be no security for the due execution of future treaties.
Notwithstanding the repeated assurances given by Prince Hardenberg to me, to Lord Castlereagh, and latterly, as I have been informed, by his Prussian Majesty himself, to the King of the Netherlands, these still remain without effect; the enclates continue in Prussian possession, and the treaty, at the end of ten months, as much unexecuted as on the day of its signature. How is this to be understood? Doubtless orders, and peremptory orders, were issued by the Prussian employés for the delivery of these enclares. Of this I can have no doubt, because Prince Hardenberg assured me at Paris, in August last, that such had been the case, and subsequently gave similar assurances to Lord Castlereagh.
Have they been received and not obeyed ? Would a highminded and justly proud Government for a moment tolerate such a disobedience in any case, but more especially in one wherein the froward conduct of the subordinate agent might tend improperly to compromise the good faith of his Court, and to interrupt that harmony and good understanding which, for the interest of both, and I may say of the whole world, ought to subsist between the two Governments! I am at a total loss how to answer these latter questions.
With respect to the arrangement of the precise line of division between the two Powers, the conduct of M. de Sack, to whom I am sorry that the direction on the part of Prussia has been given, seems, as represented by M. de Nagell, to have been the very reverse of conciliatory—I have in my possession a map describing the limits traced from the original now in possession of the King of the Netherlands, whereon the line of division was drawn by the hand of Mr. Hoffman, in the presence of M. Jourdan and me; we three having been formed into a Commission for this purpose at Vienna; and from this division the article of the treaty was framed.
No doubt the line of limit thus described was to be afterwards finally established upon the spot by Commissioners, and this subject to a reciprocal divergence to a certain extent, in consequence of the banlieus of such towns and villages as might intercept its course ; but, with this exception, it was to remain entire.
From the north of Schwalmen, this line, according to the map, and according to my thorough recollection, runs northward along the exact limits which divided the French department de la Meuse Inférieure from that of Roer, till it reaches the north-eastern point of that limit beyond Venloo. Nevertheless, M. de Sack, without any authority that I can discover, either in the Article or anywhere else, insists that this line between Schwalmen and Venloo is to take a western direction, to comprise the village of Tegelen within the Prussian possessions, and, on other points specified by M. de Nagell, shows a disposition as little conciliatory. Insomuch that, upon this subject, as well as on that of the Guelderland enclaves, M. de Nagell expresses his apprehensions that his Government will be necessitated to resort to the interference of the three other Courts, with whom the same treaties were signed at Vienna, and have since been ratified. You will observe that this is not put forward in a tone of menace by M. de Nagell—far from it; stated in a private letter to me the statement is accompanied with expressions of regret that such may become the necessary alternative.
You have long since been aware, my good sir, of the anxious desire of my Government to draw as close as possible the ties of good fellowship and confidence between Prussia and the Netherlands: that this is also the desire of the other high Allies, I am equally persuaded, and, to descend from the great to a very insignificant being, I am sure you will do me the justice to acknowledge that there exists no individual who more anxiously entertains this desire than he who has the honour of addressing you. Perhaps this address is an imprudent one. The confidence which has existed between usthe open and candid manner in which you have conducted such discussions as our mutual mission to this place have necessitated-lead me to think otherwise.
Its motive is that, avoiding official proceeding and consequent record, and much more, foreign intervention, through your private representations the Treaty of Vienna may be executed by Prussia with respect to the Netherlands. As far as relates to the enclaves, there can exist no reason why this should not immediately be done ; and, as relating to the fixture of limits, that this may be put in such a liberal and conciliatory train of arrangement as may tend to the final termination of this matter without unnecessary delay.
I am far from wishing that Prussia should give way upon any point to which she is justly entitled ; and, even if capable of harbouring such a desire, I should most certainly be far from borne out in it by my Government; but I am indeed most anxious that, to the transcendent glory which Prussia has so justly acquired, in putting down bad faith and breach of treaties, should be added that of furnishing a bright example of the very opposite of those qualities, and thus convincing Europe and the world that, not less by the skill and gallantry of her sons in war, than the loyalty and good faith of her Government in peace, the general interest of the community is in the fullest manner promoted by the conduct of Prussia.
I remain, &c., CLANCARTY.