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Eylau: Precis Des Travaux de la Grande Armée

Letter from Talleyrand to Lauderdale on Napoleon’s Feelings on Negotiations: 30 September 1806

A.H. Exc. mylord Count of Lauderdale.

Mainz, September 30, 1806.

No.  XXXVIII. – The undersigned Minister of Foreign Relations put under the eyes of H. M. Emperor, King of Italy, the note that H. Exc. milord Count of Lauderdale, ambassador plenipotentiary of H. M. of the British, made him the honor of addressing to him on the 26th of this month.

H. M., after having lent himself, in the desire of peace, to all the proposals which could have made for that which would be durable and respectively useful for the two contracting powers with their allies, will see with sorrow the rupture of a negotiation of which his personal provisions had made him expect other results.  If the English cabinet wants to give up the prospect for peace, if its plenipotentiary minister must leave France, H. M. humors himself however that the English cabinet and Lord Lauderdale, when they measure the extent of the sacrifices which he was prepared to make, to advance the return of a sincere reconciliation, having the intimate conviction that H. M. wanted, for the happiness of the World, not to put out of balance any advantage with those at peace, and that the intention to ensure the benefits of his people, could only decide his paternal heart felt sacrifices, not only of self-esteem, but of power, more considerable than that  in the milieu of a war where it would have obtained, without any mixture of reverse, of constant advantage.

However, if it were in the destiny of the Emperor and the French people, still living in the milieu of the wars and the storms that the policy and the influence of England would have caused, H. M., after having done everything to put an end to the evils of the war, seeing the disappointment of his dearest hopes, counts on the justice of his cause, on courage, the love, the power of his people.

But still remembering the provisions that he had always expressed in the course of the negotiation, H. M. can only see with regret that England, which is able to illustrate and strengthen its vast power by the benefit of the peace, for which the need is felt with the present generation and with the English people as on a more beautiful occasion.  The future will reveal if a new coalition will be more contrary to France than the three first:  the future will reveal if those which prosecute the grandeur and the ambition of France, do not have to charge to their hatred, their injustice, and the size and the ambition of which they show it.  France increased only by the renewed efforts that so many times tried to oppress it.

Nevertheless, whatever inductions which one can draw for the future from the examples for the past, H. M. will be ready, if the negotiations with England must be stopped, to start them again, with the milieu of all the possibilities of the outcome:  he will be ready to restore on the bases posed in concert with the famous minister that England lost, and who, not having more anything to add to his glory than the bringing together of two people, had conceived the hope of it, and rose in the world in the milieu of his work. 

The undersigned has the honor to warn H. Exc., milord Count of Lauderdale, that Mr. de Champagny was authorized to deliver the passports which were asked for.  He seizes with eagerness the occasion of him renew the insurances of his high consideration.

Signed, CH M. TALLEYRAND, prince de Bénévent.


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