Eylau: Precis Des Travaux de la Grande Armée
Letter from Lauderdale to Talleyrand Complaining about the Delay in Receiving Passports: 22 August 1806
Paris, this 22 August 1806.
NoXXV. – The undersigned ambassador plenipotentiary of H.M. of the British, sees himself in the need of recalling to H. Exc. the Minister for Foreign Relations, 1o. that in morning of the 12th of this month, a note signed by the undersigned and the Count of Yarmouth, dated on 11th, was given to H. Exc. General Clarke, in which the undersigned observed, “whom the British government, well far from claiming to require of the French Government all the restitutions within its propriety, without it being itself held with any restitution towards France, did not attest to any other desire than to deal with the French Government on the basis which was proposed to him by France itself, such that it is expressed in the note of Lord Lauderdale; understanding, 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 the British in its entirety. That nevertheless it would be possible to mistake, given the results, to draw necessarily from this principle, the sharp voiced discussions, which took place on the 9th of the current, between the French plenipotentiary and the undersigned, perfectly heard that these plenipotentiaries would not allow; that consequently, the undersigned had only to repeat that according to the instructions of their government, they could not do otherwise than to insist on this principle was beforehand recognized, and that it was only on this condition that they were allowed to continue the negotiation.”
2o. That the 14th of this month, the undersigned, jointly with the Count of Yarmouth, had still the honor to mark in the writing of H. Exc. the Minister for External Relations, “that the silence of their Exc. the French plenipotentiary, (compared to the note of the 11th of this month), gave place to the undersigned to suppose, that in the current moment they were not to expect an explanation such as they had asked for in the note of the 11th, to authorize the undersigned, in conformity with their instructions, to continue the negotiation.”
“That according to this idea, they desired to put a end to the general waiting of the two nations, considering the appearance of how little they saw of it to be realized. That they felt that the request made in similar circumstances, passports for their return, could be suitable for interpretations of a nature as to delay the happy moment when the sights of the French Government would approach more those one had supposed to him. That to remove until the possibility of a similar disadvantage, they believed it their duty to give insurances, that an unspecified step which would have the effect to put obstacles at the renewal of the negotiation, would be consequently contrary to their intentions, although, by the already detailed reasons, they saw themselves obliged to put an end to their mission.”
The undersigned, by seeing the delay in the response to these communications, convinced himself that this time could come from provisions favorable to the progress of the negotiation, and that he would be finally compensated by a response in conformity with this interpretation. At the time same as he saw nothing arriving, he also persevered in a conduct which had to prove the sincerity of the incontestable desire that he had expressed to receive from the explanations which would put him in a position to continue the objects of his mission.
But yet, as of 14th this month, the undersigned, jointly with the Count of Yarmouth, saw himself obliged to observe to H. Exc. the Minister for Foreign Relations, that he apprehended (according to the silence of their Exc. the French plenipotentiaries), that he would not be able to act on any response on this subject, etc, and if, at that time, they believed to have to declare the need where they were, in conformity with the orders of their sovereign, to ask for passports for their departure, the undersigned does not need to point out to His Excellence the Minister for Foreign Relations, how much the new delays which have occurred since this date, imperiously prescribe with the undersigned to renew this request urgently.
At the same time the undersigned must add, as being able to convince himself only if the answer did not have to be favorable, H. Exc. the Minister for Foreign Relations had differed during such a long interval the adoption of the only alternative of sending the passports, he does not even refuse entirely, today, with the hope to see established again the proposal such as the ministers of H.M. of Britain understood it to be made on behalf of the French Government, since it is thus only that waiting of the two nations could be finally carried out. Nevertheless these hopes would not be founded, the undersigned will never regret a time which provided him the occasion to prove, in an unambiguous way, the sincere desire for a solid and honorable peace, whose H. M. of the British did not cease being animated, and of which H.M. gave the best proof by authorizing the undersigned to be deal on the basis suggested initially by France. It is in this same sight as the undersigned supported such a long uncertainty without making in this respect the least complaint.
Today by requesting H. Exc. the Minister for External Relations to allow him to go temporarily, and to be put a use in the cases already indicated, the passports necessary for him and his continuation, the undersigned believes to have adopted the only means he saw of preventing being forced to renew this request, to accompany it by complaints such as the law of nations and the dignity of his sovereign would authorize it.
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