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Adieu! I heartily congratulate the world that you are upon the spot to keep all things well together.
Yours most affectionately,
His Royal Highness the Prince of Orange to Lord Clancarty.
La Haye, le 7 Mars, 1814. Le Prince d'Orange présente ses complimens à Lord Clancarty, et a l'honneur de lui renvoyer les Papiers qu'il avoit confié à sa garde. Il se flatte que le Baron de Hogendorp aura déjà donné à connôitre sa détermination au sujet des désirs écrits par Lord Castlereagh, et espère qu'il y sera trouvé une preuve de son empressement à concourir aux vues de ce Ministre, et à ce qui est jugé utile et nécessaire pour la cause générale.
Le Prince n'a pas hésité un moment à porter le sacrifice de ses désirs, et même l'espérance qu'une défense future de ses États, devenant malheureusement encore nécessaire durant le cours de cette guerre, dependroit des væux qu'il auroit a cet égard. Il osé d'autant plus compter sur les dispositions des hauts Alliés de remettre à son administration civile et militaire, en leur nom, et comme Gouverneur-Général, le département francois dont la presque totalité est destinée à faire à la paix la barrière de la Hollande contre la France. Ce ne sont point de vues particulières où le désir de s'immiscer avant le temps dans l'administration des dites provinces, qui le portent à mettre ce point en avant, mais la pleine conviction que le bien de la cause générale et des hauts Alliés l'éxige pour pouvoir utiliser la Belgique, sans la pressurer, et, en cherchant à électriser ses habitans, les porter à des sacrifices et des moyens de défense, et à des armemens que la force seule auroit de la peine à effectuer.
Le Prince Royal de Suède auroit par là tout de suite un nombre de troupes disponibles plus considerable, puisque l'intérieur n'éxigeroit point de garnisons, et ses armées recevroient promptement des renforts composés d'une nation belliqueuse qui se battroit fort pour l'indépendance de ses propres foyers.
Lord Clancarty to Lord Castlereagh.
The Hague, March 7, 1814. My dear Lord-Since closing my former letter of to-day, I have received a letter from Mr. Johnson, dated Brussels, the 6th inst. He had intended to have been taken prisoner by the garrison at A[ntwerp), not conceiving any one so well qualified as himself to open his business with Csarnot). Sir Thomas Graham, however, and I have dissuaded him from this, from the improbability of success. He has, however, since pitched upon a person, who, he thinks, may be of service in the business, and whom he will send into the place to try his ground, but without specifying the amount of the consideration. Johnson has also opened a communication with Valenciennes, and is to meet a person thence as to-day: with the result I am to be made acquainted.
Some advance has been made also through him at Maestricht; and here the difficulty experienced is not I understand the principle, but the value of the purchase; 5,0001. have been offered : the result not yet known.
Mr. Johnson put into my hands accepted bills to the amount of 84,857,, 2,, 14 florins, which he had received from Lord Aberdeen, and he has now called for these, in order to carry on this service, if I approve of it. As I do not conceive that any better purpose can be answered by the disposal of any public money than sparing great expense of money, time, and, above all, blood, in the siege of strong places, I do not hesitate to comply with Mr. Johnson's wishes.
Mr. Johnson has transmitted me a bulletin, said to be received at Brussels on the 5th, from the Duke of SaxeWeimar ; its substance is, that Blücher arrived at Meaux on the 1st inst., Bülow and Winzingerode on the same day at
Soissons; that the Prussian General Thümen, having, on the 28th of February, directed himself on la Fère, took that place, after a short cannonade, with 400 prisoners, and magazines full of military stores, the value of which is estimated at twenty million francs.
Lord Liverpool cautions me against believing in French insurrections, because Robinson, who passed through Paris, and thence direct to Calais, saw nothing of them. Had he gone between Arras and St. Omer, near Aire, although he might not have seen, he would have heard of their existence; but, if he had gone by that route, he would have made a considerable detour.
Sir Thomas Graham has placed his troops so as to cut off all communication between Antwerp and Bergen-op-Zoom, and I hope he will shortly be able to accomplish the capture of this last place. His change of position a merchant who left Antwerp on the evening of the 5th states to have caused an apprehension that the bombardment was about to be renewed, and he says that two Dutch line-of-battle ships, the Tromp and Royal Hollandais, had been filled with stores, and sent half a mile lower down the river, in company with the French line-of-battle ships, Le César and l'Anversois, which last were armed, for what purpose I could not learn.
Sincerely do I hope your estimate for our army here is not much too high. The Dutch levies, though increasing in number, are still far behindhand in discipline and clothing equipments, and the economy of this army by no means yet montée. I must own, I have my apprehensions of the Commander you have given them and the other troops in this quarter, fearing that, unless you are successful in the South, he will make no effort in the North, but hang back, and under various pretences refuse to act. Farewell, my dear Lord, Yours most affectionately,
The Hon. Sir Charles Stewart to Lord Castlereagh.
Chatillon, March 8, 1814. My dear Castlereagh-If we did not approach so near our term, and that I was not unwilling to be out of the way, and if Caulaincourt did not dine with me to-day, I should have rode over to converse with you on the instruction received this morning. As it is, I have told my ideas to Stadion : I know not if he will think them worth making use of, but I give you them precisely with the same openness you always allow me.
I do not think it would have been difficult to have answered generally the points set forth in Count Stadion's despatch; by doing so, you would have provided for the most probable course from the French Plenipotentiary, and have countenanced some shade of discretion in your negociations : we should always have had the reference to head-quarters in our power; we never should have committed you; and you would have left us in the belief that you really are desirous of peace, if your projét is in substance admitted.
It appears to me, as instructions stand, that, if we were all sick, our lacquais de place could just as well do our duties here; everything is to be taken ad referendum ; and, in the letter of this day, it is rather curiously argued, that the delay of twenty-four hours can make no essential difference in the determination that may be taken by France. Now, this is entirely in the teeth of all our former doctrines; for, inasmuch as we have laid down that the events of the war must necessarily alter our terms, so in justice must France have the same
reference to head-quarters might entirely change Caulaincourt's answer. My impression on this is, that you must fix your general ideas better, and give us some more extended discretion, if you mean we should be an efficient congress for peace or war : if, on the contrary, you like to train on the things left us, we should know your drift. You have certainly so distinctly stated that every rejoinder that comes from the French Plenipotentiary should be taken ad referendum, that the only possible case where we should be puzzled would be the acceptance of our projét by Caulaincourt, and the request from him, on our part to sign the preliminaries. Now, though I admit this is very improbable, still it is in the cards, by a great defeat of Buonaparte by Blücher, and a sudden order sent here to close on the projét. As negociators, how should we stand, if we delayed accepting the terms we have laid down? and still, according to your orders, we must even in such case refer. It is most probable that Caulaincourt will accompany his projét, if he comes near our conditions, by a direct proposition for an armistice, yielding very likely to your line of demarcation. He has appeared very much cast down that this has fallen to the ground.
As events stand now, twenty-four hours may make the whole difference, and the Allies should not play so very changeable and undefined a game. I am told, if we do nothing here, and all breaks off, the armies and some of their chiefs will be again as clamorous for armistice, to change the theatre of the war, to give repose, &c., as they have been before. It is only the hope of our doing something that has reconciled them to the breaking off of the armistice. You should know all this better, but some of the contingents and their leaders think they have fought enough on French ground.
Now really, after having resounded ad referendum on every key in our ears, you put us in rather an awkward situation upon the only point on which you have taken a decision, and which you leave us to execute, but I defy the ingenuity of man to make the proceeding of the negociators under your orders consistent and dignified.
In our instructions of the 25th of February, which forms part of the Protocol, you direct : “ Vous vous concerterez avec le négociateur Français à l'égard du tems indispensablement