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of government, the choice of a sovereign not being touched upon. The Duke of Otranto knew this most certainly, but he was obliged to temporise with the federates of the capital, and not to inform them at once of that truth which might have caused some desperate act of despair. The miserable prevarication of the sovereigns is scarcely worth notice. How could they suppose that they should be able to interfere with the form of government, and that any body suspected even their fears and follies of indulging such a design, after they had replaced the Bourbons on the throne? Besides, if they had chosen a sovereign, they had also chosen a government for France; at least they had excluded her from one form, to which she had before shown herself sufficiently attached. The truth is, that the exception to the eighth article of the treaty of the 25th of March, by the English cabinet, was a shameful mockery of France and of all Europe; and, so far from being stipulated in order to prevent an excuse for aggression on the part of Great Britain and the allies, was only intended either to separate the people from the Emperor, or to serve, in case of a defeat, that we might not appear bound to carry on the war for the reestablishment of the Bourbons, should we find such a scheme impracticable. I must repeat what I said in a former letter, that Lord Clan
carty's reasonable guarantees always left loopholes large enough to secure a retreat from our apparent promise of non-interference, and, indeed, to excuse any measures, even if extended to dismemberment, which the allies might choose to call cautionary. You have seen that the head of the British ministry was the very person to announce the insignificance and unobservance of the exception made by himself. If the allies had intended to adhere to their declaration, they could not have had a better opportunity, or have been furnished with excuses to the house of Bourbon so sufficient as were afforded them by the attitude assumed by France after she had deposed the Emperor. But the plenipotentiaries at Haguenau must have seen at once, that their enemies were determined to mistake the question, and to misunderstand the real state of France. Either the allies believed that the Bourbons were the choice of the greater part of the nation, and that it was their duty to crush the last efforts of an audacious minority, or they must have been persuaded that the mass of Frenchmen were culpable, and that no extremities were to be spared, to extirpate the jacobinical heresy of these political Albigeois.
The plenipotentiaries, on arriving at Hague
nau on the 1st of July, were not admitted to the sovereigns themselves, nor to their ministers, but were introduced to commissaries appointed to receive their communications. Count Walmoden was named for Austria, Count Capo d'Istria for Russia, and General Knesebeck for Prussia. Lord Stewart, it seems, was not invested with any direct powers, but invited to attend the conferences, where, I have been since assured, from Mr. L-t, one of the plenipotentiaries, his behaviour was worthy of the author of the famous Paris dispatches, in which the hands of the Emperor Alexander were literally devoured. The French commissioners were seated on one side of the chamber of meeting, and those of the allies on the other. Whether his unofficial character pointed out such a position, I know not, but so it was, my lord's chair was placed a foot or two in front of the combined counts, and its occupier, during the conference, acted in a manner savouring rather of military than diplomatic discipline. Mr. L-t and his friends stared; nay, they could scarcely restrain a smile at the perfect insignificance of the three, who were assiduously kept where their chairs had been placed, in the back ground, and were encouraged or restrained in their questions accord
ing to the molestation or repose of his lordship’s phlegm. Such hints as, “ that had better not be “ asked ;” or, “ this should be postponed ;” or, « I beg you to allow me to put that question ;' were sufficient for the representatives of the representatives of the sovereigns, and produced the commanded silence. The French gentlemen were told from the advanced chair, that they had talked of the chamber of representatives having enforced the abdication of Napoleon, and being occupied in preparing a constitution for the monarch who might be elected,“Now,what right “ can an assembly of this kind have to depose “ and choose kings?” Pray, my lord,” said Mr.L--,“what right had the convention par“ liament to depose James, and choose William?" The chair gave no answer, but went on : “ and
your army too-you talk of your army-what “ is your army, but a band of traitors in arms, “ who have all broken their oath to their lawful “sovereign ?” M. Laforet again replied, “what “ name does your lordship give to the English “ army encamped on Hounslow Heath, who to “a man went over to the Prince of Orange ?" He received no reply to this remark, and concluded, from the subsequent silence, that he had been the first person to convey those little incidents to the ear of the British general. But Mr. 1-tundervalued the education of our English gentry, and, for the moment, perhaps forgot, that a man may read history without recollecting it, or recollect it without being ready with its appropriate application. No farther strictures, however, were attempted, for fear, probably, of some other unlucky lurking similitude, which might again show, that the French had not acted on this occasion so entirely without precedent as an observer with less memory than passion might be apt to conceive. The general found, no doubt, the comparison odious, and when he heard of the disinclination of the French to this or that prince, or their attachment to these or those principles, was not a little at a loss to conceive what « they had to do with preference “ und aversion.” The plenipotentiaries touched upon one or two names boldly, but only sounded the ministers relative to Napoleon the Second, without a direct question on that subject. They were treated with much politeness by the allied commissaries, but received no definitive answer, except that a note informed them, that the first preliminary to any negotiation must be the certitude, that Napoleon had no longer any influence, or character, or authority of any kind, or through any channel; and that no step could be taken unless in concert with the English cabinet,