Eylau: Precis Des Travaux de la Grande Armée
Fox's Response to Tallyrand's Letter of 2 June 1806: June 14, 1806
Dsonning-Street, this 14 June 1806. (sic)
No IX.-Mister, I received, a few days ago, the dispatch of Y. Exc. having the date of the 2nd of the current month.
I cannot conceive how while dealing with Russia and us jointly, you have to recognize the principle of alliance between them and us. At most you recognize only the fact.
I even less then can guess how this manner of making a treaty supposes you in an unspecified state of being belittled. We by no means claim to impose on France neither the conditions of peace, nor a mode of negotiation contrary to custom. In 1782, a time that Y. Exc. quotes himself in his dispatch, we did not let ourselves believe we were in a state of belittlement; however, when Mr. de Vergennes said to us that what was needed, for the honor of his court, was that we dealt jointly with him, Holland and Spain, we adopted, without believing in any intent to degrade us, the mode to which this minister appeared to hold so dearly. Your Government wants peace sincerely, here is one who desires it also, and I could however say of England, what Y. Exc. knows as in France, that the prolongation of the war was never prejudicial neither with its glory nor with its grandeur; and has its permanent interests, perhaps well true, but also those of France.
So when there was secrecy in our treaty of alliance with Russia, Y. Exc. is too enlightened to know only from looking at the war and the proposals that one would have to make in Prussia and Austria, that the secrecy was necessary. All that passed. To act in concert to initially get peace in Europe and for preserving to it afterwards, is the main thing, I could even say the single object of our contact.
After the honest way in which you repudiate the intention that you were wrongly charged with, compared to that of our continental connections, it looks as if there cannot exist the slightest doubt anymore on this essential point, and one would only find troublesome difficulties, who looked at the form rather than the thing, that continues a war that both Governments also wish to finish.
Let us so come that which Y. E. proposes. The form which took place with the Minister, the marquis de Rockingham, to me is all the more present in my memory, for I occupied then the same station with which S.M. recently agreed to honor me. That France and England change positions, is precisely that which I proposed. We dealt then with France and its allies. Let France deal at this hour with us and ours.
The basis offered in your second proposal is perfectly in conformity with the aims of our Government; of course that, when we mutually recognize our respective rights of intervention and guarantee for the businesses of Europe, we also mutually agree to abstain from any encroachment of the share of others and States more or less powers which makes it up.
I do not regret less than Y. Exc. that this discussion finishes. For little of how we can act, so that one cannot reproach us for having missed good with you, with respect to an ally which deserves in all connections a whole confidence of our share, we will be content; all the more, that we know that a honorable peace would not be in conformity with the wishes of Russia than to those of France and England.
I have the honor to be with the distinguished consideration, of V Exc. the humble one and very-obeying servant, Signed C. J. Fox.
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