Eylau: Precis Des Travaux de la Grande Armée
Letter from Lauderdale, British Pleniportentiary to Paris to Henri Clarke, Secretary of the French Cabinet: August 9, 1806
No. XV. The undersigned plenipotentiary of S.M. of the British, does not believe it his duty to allow himself to go into a detailed consideration of the official note which has been just given to him on behalf of S. Exc. General Clarke, on August 8. According to the way in which the different points making up this note are treated, it would be impossible for me to discuss them with the calm and regard, suitable to the character required of me on behalf of my sovereign. But the subject of this note is of such a general and foreign nature to the object immediately in question; it would be perfectly useless to take it into account at the current moment.
The undersigned Count of Lauderdale, far from thinking that the manner of discussing the fundamental points of a negotiation in writing, can increase in any way the difficulty of the proceedings, believes in the opposite, as already he sees proclamations proof of its utility, in that the official note presented by him since his arrival, brought the negotiations to an unambiguous exit, and put an end to the evil heard undoubtedly really took place, and which could never have existed if the same method had been adopted as of the beginning of the negotiation.
The undersigned Count of Lauderdale sees himself obliged to reconsider the way in which he was given to understand as he disembarked at Calais assuming a public nature to make a peace treaty. He came to only return in person and with a sharp-voice, the response to a communication which he had been requested to make for the English government, founded on the basis of uti possidetis according to the following words of S.Exc. Mr. de Talleyrand: “let us not ask anything of you”; accompanied by positive insurances that the restitution of the German possessions of S.M. would not be subjected with any resistance. The same feeling is also expressed in the letter of Mr. de Talleyrand with Mr. Fox, on April 1. “the Emperor does not have a desire of what England has.”
The Count of Yarmouth also believes himself obliged not to overlook the remarks made by S. Exc. General Clarke, about the times in the negotiation and of the frequent communication by mails. The answers of S.M. of Britain were always honest and prompt, and if the number of the mails were considerable, it can be only attributed to reasons foreign to S.M.
The undersigned Counts of Lauderdale and of Yarmouth cannot at all subscribe to the opinion expressed by S.Exc. General Clarke in the aforementioned note, that the negotiation “was started and almost brought to its conclusion” in the interval between the time of the official knowledge given by the Count of Yarmouth of his full powers, and the arrival of the Count of Lauderdale. On the contrary, they look at this negotiation as having hardly started. The conversations to which one referred, consisted on behalf of the French plenipotentiary, to make requests that the undersigned Count of Yarmouth uniformly stated to be inadmissible: and on behalf of Lord Yarmouth, has had to cut off himself in the final stages from the uti possidetis, as not having any instruction on behalf of his government allowing other bases for negotiation; bases suggested by France in communication made by the Count of Yarmouth, and previously stated in the letter of Mr. of Talleyrand, April 1st.
The undersigned Counts of Lauderdale and of Yarmouth believe useless to repeat here the reasons stated in the official note presented by the Count of Lauderdale, which made S.M. consider the base of the uti possidetis proposed by France, as suitable for an particular application for the respective state of the two countries. It is for them a deep subject of regret, that by the absolute abandonment of this base, and in such a marked way as this on behalf of the French Government, to see the waiting and the hopes of the two people entirely frustrated. There remain of Counts of Lauderdale and of Yarmouth only to declare that S.M., always ready to listen to conditions of right and honorable peaces, rests with confidence on the means that provide him the honesty and the affection of its subjects. He will never lend himself to any proposals to negotiate on a basis incompatible with the honor of his crown and the true interests of his subjects.
Paris, August 9, 1806.
© Copyright 1995-2012, The Napoleon Series, All Rights Reserved.