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Eylau: Precis Des Travaux de la Grande Armee

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Eylau: Precis Des Travaux de la Grande Armée

Letter of British Pleniportentiary in Response to Tallyrand’s Letter of 11 August: 11 August 1806

No. XXII.  – The undersigned plenipotentiaries of H.M. of the British would not have deferred the response to the note from August 11 which was given to them on behalf of their excellence the plenipotentiary of the French Government;  but with the reiterated requests that they had made with his Excellence the Minister of Interior Department, passports even for their messengers, having remained without answer, they believed beforehand to have to question if they continued to enjoy the free and unstopped communication with their government, such as it always remains in such a case for all the governments of Europe. 

The explanation that the undersigned received on behalf of H.Ex. the Minister for foreign relations was their hope that in this circumstance, a similar delaying action will not take place any more.  After having maturely weighed the note of their Exc., the undersigned observe, that the British government, “well far from claiming to require the French Government the restitutions of all within its propriety, without it being held with any restitution to France,” did not testify to another desire to deal with the French government on the basis which was proposed to it by France itself, such that it is expressed in the note of the Lord Lauderdale;  to understand:  “to generally deal on the basis of uti possidetis, which one was to observe scrupulously, except in the case of Hanover, which one proposed to yield to H.M. of Britain in its entirety.” 

Nevertheless it would be possible to draw from the results that this principle has mistakenly necessitated, in the sharp voiced discussions which took place on the 9th of the current month, between the French plenipotentiary and the undersigned, did not make it possible to doubt that the proposal thus stated had not been heard perfectly by these plenipotentiary.  Consequently, the undersigned have only to repeat that, according to the instructions of their government, they cannot proceed differently than to insist on what this principle is recognized beforehand.  It is only on this condition that he has allowed to them to continue the negotiation. 

As soon as one agrees on this principle, the undersigned will be ready to start the discussion of the other points indicated in the note of Lord Lauderdale.  It only remains to be added by the undersigned that, if the French government testifies to the provision to adhere to the proposal, such as H.M. of the British supposes it to have been made by the French government, they will be congratulated upon a most fortunate event, an event which promises (according to the feeling of Mr. Fox, quoted by their Ex.)  “a honorable peace for the two nations, and at the same time likely to ensure the future rest of Europe.” 


Paris, this 11 August, eleven o’clock, p.m.1806.




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