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Accept my best thanks for your many and voluminous private letters, which have left me nothing to wish for, as far as your exertions are concerned, and little to say upon the important subjects to which they relate, so fully and fairly are the bearings of them examined in your correspondence with the Duke of Wellington. Assuming that the King of the Netherlands must, according to the principles of the constitution of his kingdom, remain exposed to the dangers of a free press, which may prove to him hereafter most serious, I do not see what better course can be taken to keep this mischief in some degree within bounds, than that which you are about to suggest; and I have myself nothing to offer, in improvement of the projet you have transmitted for the amelioration of the law of libel. With respect to your suggestion of calling upon the Netherlands Government to institute prosecutions against the libellous publications which are daily levelled in the Belgic newspapers against this country, we think it, upon the whole, inexpedient, considering our own helplessness in protecting other States against the abuses of the daily press of this country. In truth, our whole interference with his Majesty is made with rather a bad grace, in matters of libel, when the inefficiency of our own laws to repress the evil is considered; and nothing could justify us, in point of consistency, in so interfering, but a sincere conviction that, whilst the license of the press embarrasses Government in this country, it may bring upon his Majesty's kingdom actual hostilities from some of his powerful neighbours; and this is a distinction between the situation and policy of the two countries, of which the Sovereign of the Netherlands should, in prudence, never lose sight. With respect to the libellers in question, perhaps it may be more expedient to oppose them a little with their own weapons, if you can find any intelligent writer who can now and then fight our battle. If so, you may consider yourself authorized to apply a limited amount of secret service money to such an WOL. XI. B B
object. If you cannot manage this, take such measures for collecting the principal specimens of this species of detraction now circulating in Germany, and I will endeavour to prevail upon our friend Gentz, as he has done on former occasions, in one of his popular pamphlets to sweep away all these cobwebs together.
I am the more disposed to think this is the prudent course to take, as I am not very apprehensive that the principle of commercial exclusion is likely to be turned seriously against us. I do not believe such a system will be attempted; and, if it is, we know from experience how futile the attempt has always proved, even when backed by military cordons, confiscations, and burnings.
I am sorry the King should have been induced to interpose in favour of the four French refugees whose names you mention. Perhaps the original exception in favour of Loban, which appears to have given rise to the others, might have been as well omitted; for, however distinguishable his case might be, acts of personal indulgence are always embarrassing, and open to abuse; and where a number of Powers cease to act upon a general principle, they are sure to entangle themselves in difficulties.
The whole management of this Police question will require great delicacy, and we must have no more circular letters from our Ministers at Paris, which cannot fail to disgust the Powers to whom they are addressed, and, in fact, to diminish our means of managing by negociation what the common interests require. With respect to the French refugees who may be ordered to retire from the Low Countries, you will decline giving them passports to come to this country, notifying the same to me; that any attempt on their part to settle here may be watched. There can be no necessity for their seeking an asylum in Great Britain, as the Russian, Prussian, and Austrian dominions are open to them, and as, if their object should be to proceed to America, they may embark with equal facility in one of the ports of Holland or of the Baltic.
I have left my despatches and private letters to Mr. Gordon
open, for your perusal, that you may be fully apprised of what is passing upon a question not only of great importance in itself, but particularly affecting the interests of the country in which you reside. Perhaps, until the negociations of the four Powers on this subject are more advanced, it may be prudent not to agitate the question at the Hague: but I leave entirely to your discretion to use confidentially, as you may think best, the information contained in these letters, of which you may preserve copies.
You will have no difficulty, I should think, when the proper moment arrives, in convincing the King that some compromise on this subject is indispensable, and that, to abstain from all concession on the part of the Allies would be the surest course not only to deprive themselves of all reasonable prospect of realizing even a portion of these claims, but must terminate in involving them in endless discussions, and possibly in warfare with France.
I am, &c., CASTLEREAGH.
Count Münster to Lord Castlereagh.
Grosvenor Place, August 18, 1817. My Lord— Enclosed I have the honour to send your lordship a copy of the paper stating the claims made against France. Those from Spain, omitted in this list, are said to amount to 400 millions of livres.
I was unfortunately detained too late at Carleton House, the other day, to read to your lordship the account about the Russian army. I suppose Prince Esterhazy will have mentioned its contents.
Our secret bureau has discovered one more cipher. Rosenkrantz writes to Waltersdorf, that Alopeus reported to his Government that there existed at Berlin a secret society, at the head of which stood the Prince Royal, and whose object was the conquest of Hanover and of Saxony! I have the honour to be, &c., MÜNSTER.
Affaires liquidées, ou terminées avant le
30 Avril, 1817.
Grand Duchés del
et de Saxe-Weimar
The Prussian Military Establishment, 1817.
INFANTRY. 38 Regiments, inclusive of Guards and Grenadiers. These
regiments form 114 Battalions. 3 Battalions of Jägers. 3 Battalions of Sharpshooters. 34 Garrison Battalions.
" 114 Bars
3 Bations of
CAVALRY. 5 Regiments of Cuirassiers 9 — Dragoons including Cavalry of the 9 — Uhlans Guards. 13 — Hussars
1 Corps of Mounted Chasseurs.
4 Landwehr Battalions of the Guards.
4 — Grenadiers. 136 Battalions of Landwehr 136 Squadrons Landwehr Cavalry 136 Battalions of Landwehr 136 Squadrons Landwehr Cavalry
} second levée.
2 Battalions of Invalids. 19 Companies of Invalids.
Prussia, in case of war, would furnish—
1. Standing Army, with the Reserve, which would then join, and the Landwehr of the first levée, 298,187 men, with 40,587 horses.
2. Landwehr of the second levée, 180,000 men.
This force exceeds that of 1805 by 238,587 men.
The expense amounts, including bread and forage, to 21,000,000 dollars, about £2,500,000.
Sir Charles Stuart to Lord Castlereagh. Paris, August 21, 1817. My dear Lord—The language which M. de Richelieu has held to the Duke of Wellington upon the subject of a change in the French Ministry, to which I had the honour to advert