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first consul, was more disposed to contest the substance of the last note of the British government, than to afford any further explanation. He said, that in order to proceed regularly, it would be necessary that the French government should be informed precisely what were the objects which had created such uneasiness, and on which it had been alleged that all explanation had been refused. That although this had, perhaps, been touched upon in general conversation, yet no specific charge had been adduced in such a manner as to demand a formal explanation. Lord Whitworth told him, that if the object of the French government was to protract the present state of suspense and uncertainty, that object might be answered to the extent indeed of a

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of it (which he was confident she, would not do further than was necessary as a measure of security), an undoubted right to seek a counterpoise. M. Talleyrand did not seem inclined to dispute this position; but rather to admit, that such a right did exist, and might be claimed in consequence of the acquisitions which had been made by France, On the point of satisfaction, however, he was much more obstinate. He said, that the first consul was hurt at the expression (satisfaction), to which he ignorantly gave an interpretation, which the word certainly does not admit—as implying superiority; so that, if the British government required satisfaction of the French, it arrogated to itself a superiority. Lord Whitworth justly replied, that the demand of satisfaction implied, that one party had been offended by another, and of course had a right to demand such satisfaction; that an inferior had an equal right with his superior to demand it; but in the case in question, there was perfect equality, and consequently there was no of. fence to be found but in the conduct which rendered such an appeal necessary. The discussion of this point took up considerable time without producing any thing decisive. We, at last, says lord Whitworth, came to the main point of the business;–though on this he could not say that any real proi. had been made. M. de Taleyrand asked, if there were no means of satisfying both parties? for, at the same time that the first consul insisted, and would always insist, on the full execution of the treaty, he would not object to any mode by which the British govern

ment might acquire the security they thought so necessary. You are not satisfied, said he, with the independence of Neapolitan troops. What others will answer the purpose? He then started the idea of a mixed garrison, composed of English, French, Italians, Germans, &c. He begged that lord Whitworth would refer once more to his government, and submit a paper he drew up in his lordship's presence. Lord Whitworth answered, that they were only losing time by such a reference; that his instructions were positive, and certainly had not been sent him without the fullest consideration ; but he could not refuse what was so earnestly required. The paper of M. Talleyrand, just mentioned, stated merely, that every o; which might tend to violate the independence of the order of Malta would never be consented to by the French government; that respecting every thing which might tend to put an end to the existing difficulties, or be agreeable to the English government, and which should not be contrary to the treaty of Amiens, the French government had no objection to make a particular convention: that the motives of this convention should be inserted in the preamble, and should relate to the respective grievances concerning which the two governments should think it adviseable to come to an understanding with each other. The negotiation was now at a stand till the arrival of an answer from England. When it arrived, it stated that the execution of the article of the treaty relative to , Malta had become impracticable from causes which it had not been in the power of his majesty to con1808,

troul; that the greatest part of the funds assigned to the support of the order, and indispensably necessary for the independence of the order and defence of the island, had been sequestrated since the conclusion of the definitive treaty, in direct repugnance to the spirit and letter of that treaty; and that two of the principal powers who were invited to accede as guarantees to the arrangement had refused their accession, except on the conditions that the part of the arrangement which was deemed so material relative to the Maltese inhabitants should be entirely cancelled. Moreover, that the conduct of the Freneh government, since the conclusion of the definitive treaty, gave his majesty a right, which was now at length admitted by themselves, to demand some compensation for the past and security for the future; and that such compensation could never be considered as obtained by the possession of an island, which would only entail a very heavy expense on this country; and the degree of security which would be provided by these means would only be such as his majesty, under the existing circumstances, was en

titled to demand. As to the independence of the order of Malta—if this were meant to apply to the order exclusively— his majesty would be willing, for the preservation of peace, that the civil government of the island should be given to the order of St. John ; the Maitese enjoying the privileges which were stipulated in their favour in the treaty cf Amiens; and that, conformably to principles which had been adopted on other occasions, the fortifications of the island should be garrisoned for ever by the troops of his majesty. That in the event of either either of these propositions being found unattainable, his majesty might be disposed to consent to an arrangement by which the island of Malta would remain in his possession for a limited number of years, and to wave in consequence his demand for a perpetual occupation, provided that the number of years were not less than ten, and that his Sicilian majesty could be induced to cede the sovereignty of the island of Lampedosa for a valuable consideration. That if the propositions were admitted, the island of Malta should be given up to the inhabitants at the end of that period, and it should be acknowledged as an independent state; in which case, that his majesty would be ready to concur in any arrangement for the establishment of the order of St. John in some other part of Europe. To establish the principle with the French government, of our keeping possession of Malta in perpetuity, the British ambassador found utterly impracticable; nor was the difficulty, which was considered as insurmountable, conceived to be removed by these last propositions of the British cabinet. It was objected, that although the order was restored, it could not be considered as independent; and, in fact, Malta would belong to that power which had possession of the forts. This conversation took place with Joseph Bonaparte, who promised to take this last project of the English government to the first *...of at St. Cloud. He added, that he was not without hope that he might be authorised to propose to the ambassador the occupation of the sortresses for a term of years. Not long after, lord Whitworth saw Joseph Bonaparte again, when he positively

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to admit the demand, sub sperati, on the condition that the cession should be made for a considerable term of years; that Holland and Switzerland should be evacuated; and that a suitable provision should be made for the king of Sardinia. Joseph Bonaparte seemed to think that there could be no difficulty in

this arrangement. Two days elapsed before the British ambassador sent off his dispatches, and no summons had been received by him from M. Talleyrand, as he had been given to expect; nor was any further notice taken of the business., Lord Whitworth, therefore, requested of his government to be furnished with the terms on which his majesty’s ministers would be willing to conclude, that he might propose them in the form of an ultimatum; and that at the expiration of the Period allowed for deliberation, he might be authorised not only to declare that he was to leave Paris, but actually so to do, unless in the intermediate time the French government should accede to his de- mands. mands. The answer to this request of the British ambassador stated, that it was his majesty's pleasure that he (the ambassador) should communicate officially to the French government that he had gone, in point of concession, to the full extent of his instructions; and that if an arrangement founded upon one of the above-mentioned propositions could not be concluded without further delay, he had received his majesty’s commands to return to England. On the next interview between , the ministers of the respective , countries, M. Talleyrand told lord Whitworth that the first consul would, on no terms, hear either of a perpetual or of a temporary possession of Malta; that his object was the execution of the treaty of Amiens; and that rather than submit to such an arrangement as that last proposed, he would even consent to our keeping the object in dispute for ever, on the ground that, in the one, there was an appearance of generosity and magnanimity; but in the other, nothing but weakness and the effect of coercion: that therefore his resolution was taken ; and what he had to propose was, the possession we required of the island of Lampedosa, or of any other of the small isles, of which there were three or four between Malta and the coast of Africa; that such a possession was sufficient for the object we had in view, which was a station in the Mediterranean, as a place of refuge and security for any squadron we might find it convenient to keep in that sea. To this proposition lord Whitworth replied, that he was extremely sorry to find they had made such little progress in the negotia

sion; that his orders were positive? that he could hear no hong short of what he had proposed; neither could he possibly undertake to make such a proposal to his majesty, since every word of his instructions applied positively to Malta, unless an equivalent security could be offered; and surely he could not pretend to say that Lampedosa could be considered as such ; that the possession of Malta was necessary for our security, and

was rendered so not from any de

sire of aggrandisement on the part of his majesty, but by the conduct of the French government; and that so strongly were we impressed with the necessity, that, rather than abandon it, we were prepared to go to War. To alii could say, adds lord Whitworth, M. Talleyrand objected the dignity and honour of the first consul, which could not admit of his consenting to any thing which might carry with it the appearance of yielding to a threat. His lordship rejoined—It never could be admitted that the first consul had a right to act in such a manner as to excite jealousy and create alarm in every state of Europe; and, when asked for explanation or security, say that it was contrary to his honour or his dignity to afford either. Such arguments might perhaps do when applied to some of those governments with which France had been accustomed to treat, or more properly to dictate to ; but never could be used to Great Britain : that his majesty had a right to speak freely his opinion, and possessed also the means, whenever he chose to employ them, of opposing a barrier to the ambition of any individual, or of any state which S 2 should

*hould be disposed to threaten the security of his dominions or the tranquility of Europe. It was now the middle of April before the discussion had been brought to a close; and the conduct of the French government in the latter conversations which have been noticed, evinced enly a system of procrastimation, without any sincere desire of terminating the difference, or giving to England that security and satisfaction which even the declarations of the first consul himself had rendered necessary. . In a subsequent conversation with Talleyrand on the 24th of April, lord Whitworth learned that the first consul neither could nor would relinquish his claim to the full execution of the treaty of Amiens, but was disposed to accede to the demand of Lampedosa, or any of the neighbouring islands. In the course of the conversation, Talleyrand intimated that Holland and Naples, and other countries connected with Great Britain, would be the first victims of the war; on which lord Whitworth asked whether he thought that such a conduct would add to the glory of the first consul; observing, that it would not only unite against him the honest men in his own country, but in all Europe ; ; and that it certainly would excite more detestation than terror in England. In the mean time fresh instructions had been forwarded to lord Whitworth, and on the 26th he communicated them to Talleyrand. The ultimate demand of Great Britain amounted in substance to the absolute possession of Malta for 10 years, after which, it was to be given up to the inhabitants, and not to the order; the

cession to Great Britain of Lampedosa; that Holland should be evacuated by the French within a month after the conclusion of the convention; and that his majesty would then acknowledge the new Italian states, provided stipulations were made in favour of his Sardinian majesty and of Switzerland, On the 28th a person called upon kord Whitworth, whom he supposed to be employed by the first consul, and who told him he would receive in the course of that day a letter from Talleyrand, drawn up under the inspection of the first consul, which was so moderate as to afford a well-grounded hope that it would induce his lordship to defer his departure. The letter, however, did not arrive, and at four o’clock lord Whitworth waited on M. Talleyrand, and demanded his passports. He appeared embarrassed, and observed that he could not suppose that his intention was really to go away; but at all events the first consul would never recal his ambassador. On the 2d of May lord Whit: worth again pressed the same subject, in an official letter; and on the following day he received an answer to the ultimatum of the British cabinet to the following ef. fect:—That as the island of Lampedosa did not belong to France, it was not for the first consul either to accede to or refuse the desire testified by his Britannic majesty, of having it in his possession.

That with respect to Malta, as the

demand of his Britannic majesty would change a formal disposition in the treaty of Amiens, the first consul could not but previously communicate it to the king of Spain and the Batavian republic, as


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