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for the Convention (made, I presume, at Paris, by Lord Castlereagh) abolishing the Portuguese Slave Trade north of the Line, to have been not merely announced, but carried into execution in Africa on May 26th; but there has now been time enough for both, and therefore this is just the time when the execution should be insisted on.
I am always sorry to engross your lordship's time; I will therefore trespass on it no longer than to assure you that I am always, with respect and regard, my dear Lord Liverpool, your lordship's very sincerely,
The Right Hon. N. Vansittart to Lord Castlereagh.
Blackbeath, October 4, 1816. Dear Castlereagh, I have accidentally omitted to forward to you the enclosed letter from Dumouriez, which fully explains his views with respect to his friend Morgan. I shall add nothing on the subject, as you have the best opportunities of knowing Morgan, and whether it can be worth while to employ him. I suppose you have seen his defence of Fouché to the Duke of Wellington.
You will be sorry to hear that your caution with respect to the Spanish subsidy has not been effectual. More bills are come upon the Treasury, and we have no distinct account of the amount to which they extend. We have directed them to be paid, for the sake of public credit, but written to Carroll and Tupper, the Consul at Cadiz, that we shall hold them responsible for the money, unless they can show proper authority for drawing. It will, however, of course, be difficult to enforce this threat, but it is necessary to check them; and I think you ought to write pretty sharply to Mr. James upon the subject. “ The Morning Chronicle" has got hold of this business already, and we shall find it hard enough to explain in the House of Commons.
In other respects, I think the little Spanish invasion has done good, by giving the King an opportunity of coming forward in a popular manner, and raising the character of the Duke d'Angoulême.
I heartily congratulate you on the favourable turn the negociation seems to be taking. I never have been relieved from more unpleasant feelings than I was by your last despatch. From that which preceded it, I had conceived the greatest apprehensions that the King, under the impression of feelings of national pride, and embarrassed by the inconceivable blunder of allowing Talleyrand and Fouché to answer the propositions of the Allies, when he had decided to dismiss them, would have been induced in despair to have laid the propositions before the Legislature, instead of proceeding with the negociation. In this case, I have no doubt that the different parties would have vied with each other in flattering the national vanity, and that such an Address would have passed as to preclude the possibility of concession. Under such circumstances, an immediate rupture must have taken place, and a scene of discord would have been opened, of which no mortal can pretend to foresee the issue. Thank God, we have better hopes now! though I am far from thinking all difficulties will be removed, even when peace is signed.
I do not know whether Liverpool has mentioned to you that he thinks it not improbable that, when the arrangement of the contribution has been finally settled, the French may offer to compensate our share of part of it by colonial cessions. If such an idea should be started, it will probably be the subject of a reference home; but it may not be amiss to give it a little previous consideration. We think in general that the idea ought not to be suggested or encouraged by us, because it is desirable that the views of France should not be wholly diverted from colonial objects, and that she ought to have something to lose by a maritime war. But, supposing the offer to be made, and rather pressed by her, we must look a little at the different objects she has to offer. Martinique and Guadaloupe are the only colonies of real value to France, and, though we must be sensible of their commercial importance, I think they ought to be the last colonies we should retain. The Saintes are of no use to France, and would be worth having as a naval station; but, after what passed last year, the French Government might feel some reluctance to ceding them. The settlements in India are not worth having, except for the sake of saving the rent of £40,000 a-year the East India Company are to pay, in compensation of their commercial exemptions. The Isle of Bourbon has no harbour, but, as it produces excellent cotton and coffee, it is of some value. The settlements on the coast of Africa are of small value to France; but they would, particularly Senegal, be of great importance in forwarding our plans for abolishing the Slave Trade, and promoting civilization and commerce in Africa. I should, therefore, think them more desirable than any other colonies France could offer us. I had forgotten Cayenne. It is now of little value, and very unhealthy, but it might, in time, be of some use, as connected with our Guyana settlements: and there is some danger of its becoming a depôt for smuggling slaves into them, as slaves may be imported into the neighbouring ports of Brazil, though not directly into the Cayenne river, since the French abolition of the trade. As for the other most curious paper you sent, I think the turn Liverpool proposes to give the transaction renders it perfectly innocent, and that, however strange it may appear, it will rather do good than harm. Believe me ever most faithfully yours, N. WANSITTART. Let me know what arrangements have been made with respect to the ten millions of livres which you said we were to receive immediately. If ready money cannot be obtained, it is very desirable to get bills to as large an amount as is practicable, not only on account of the old proverb of a bird in the hand, but because I hear they are easily discounted at Paris, as low as at four per cent. ; and the money so raised might be employed very advantageously in improving the exchange. I am told the Prussians have realized a very large sum (fifty millions) in that way. In any arrangement of this kind, you would find Rosenhagen of use.
Lord Liverpool to Lord Castlereagh.
Walmer Castle, October 5, 1815. My dear Castlereagh-Bathurst will have communicated to you officially the Prince Regent's approbation of all your proceedings, and particularly the memorandum of conditions on which the pacific relations of the Allies with France are to rest, which are certainly more favourable than those to which your instructions would have authorized you in agreeing : you will now, therefore, have only the trouble of settling the treaty in its detail. My letter from London will have apprised you of the importance we attach to the stipulation for the return of the fortresses occupied only to the lawful Sovereign, as we are persuaded a provision of this nature will have the most beneficial effect, in reconciling the French nation to the existing Government, as the necessary instruments for recovering those places which they must otherwise have submitted to the humility of losing.
If the nation can be brought to submit for five, or even for three years, to Louis XVIII., this Government will have become habitual, and it is not likely to be overturned, unless by the folly of his successors. I shall be curious to hear what are the first proceedings of the new Assemblies.
Is the Duke of Wellington likely to remain at Paris much longer? I put the question because I understand he has written to the duchess to say he was going to take a house, and to desire that she would come over.
I send you enclosed a memorandum of Harrowby's, on the subject of the claims of the British creditors in France. The suggestion appears to me to be a good one, and at least deserving attention, in bringing this matter to a conclusion. You are aware we have Guadeloupe and the Saintes in our hands, which have in fact been conquered. We have no desire for any more colonies, but it may not be amiss to consider them as fair pledges for the just claims of our own subjects. The loyalty of Martinique ought to be respected, and the island surrendered to the King as soon as he can send troops to take possession of it.
How much longer do you think you are likely to stay at Paris? I was happy to find that you were able to walk out.
Ever most truly yours, LIVERPOOL.
Lord Bathurst to Lord Castlereagh.
Downing Street, October 6, 1815. My Lord— I have the honour of enclosing to your lordship the projet for placing the United Ionian Islands under British protection, with the modifications which it has appeared desirable should be introduced. The absence of the King's Advocate and of the Attorney and Solicitor-General from London, has prevented me from availing myself of their assistance ; but, as the first-named is at Paris, your lordship may consult him, if you think proper.
It appears so very desirable that this matter should be definitively arranged, either before the signature of preliminaries with France, or at least at the same time, that your lordship will not think it necessary to suspend the conclusion of the business, if you should find any serious objection to any of the modifications herewith recommended to your Lordship's consideration.
I have the honour to be, &c., BATHURST.