Letter from Lord St Helens to the Hon. Arthur Paget (Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Austria).
Source: Paget, Right Hon. Sir Augustus B. Paget, G.C.B. The Paget Papers, Diplomatic and other Correspondence of the Right Hon Sir A. Paget. G.C.B., 1794-1807, 2 Vols. Longmans, Green and Co. New York 1896. Vol 2. Pages 39 - 41.
From Lord St Helens to the Hon. A. Paget.
St. Petersburg, 9th Feby. 1802.
It is most certain that the political Jockey-ship of that Arch-Trickster,
M. de Talleyrand, was never more fully displayed than in his artful management
of the Peace between France and Turkey,* for which he contrived to make three
distinet bargains, with England, with Russia, and with the Porte itself,
obtaining from each a valuable consideration in Exchange for a mere non-entity,
being the supposed lien of the French upon Egypt, from whence they had been
completely driven long before the signature of any of these Treaties. And
the embarrassments occasioned by this stroke of Machiavelism have been rendered
doubly perplexing by the preposterous conduct of M. de Marcoff and Genl Tamara
in demanding that according to the strict letter of the engagement between
France and Russia, the latter should not only begin anew her Negociations
with the Porte, but transfer them to Constantinople. Fortunately the
Ministers here are much too right-minded to concur in so absurd and extravagant
a proposal. However, they are still desirous that Russia should have an
ostensible share in the final termination of a Business in which she has
so near an Interest, and they therefore propose, by way of Mezzo Termine,
that this intended new Treaty should be negotiated and signed at Paras by
the Turkish Ambassador there, under the Direction of Ct Marcoff and Mr. Jackson,
and under His Majesty's and the Emperor of Russia's joint mediation and garanty.
I have submitted this expedient, by the desire of this Court, to His Majesty's
Ministers, who, I should imagine, will be disposed to adopt it ; more especially
as it is understood that the Treaty in question is to contain a distinct
reference (as circmnstances may require) either to the 5th Art. of the
Preliminaries of the 2d October or to its corresponding stipulation in the
Def : Treaty between His Majesty & the French Government. I purpose
communicating these particulars to Ld Elgin by a Messrr who will be dispatched
from hence to Constantinople in a few days ; however, you may as well mention
them to him when you have an opportunity of writing to him ; and you may
at the same time very safely assure him that the sentiments of the Russian
llinisters with regard to Turkish Politics are in perfect unison with those
of His Plajesty's Government, and that nothing can be further from their
thoughts than the joining with France in any Project for the dismemberment
of that Empire. By the way, I observe by my last letter from Ld Hawkesbury
that Ld Elgin's misgivings on this last head have made a very sensible impression
in England, and I am therefore particularly anxious to remove the Prejudices
which he seems to entertain against his Russian Colleague, who is in reality
a sincere well-wisher to the Interests of England as opposed to those of
France ; and in his Dispatches, which I often see, takes every opportunity
of pointing out the benefits that must accrue to this Country from the
continuance of our present ascendancy over the Turkish Councils.
M. de Sauran's Dispatches by this Messr no doubt relate chiefly to the aflair of the Indemnities ; § but I do not imagine that they contain anything very important or satisfactory on that head ; as, tho' the dispositrons of this Court towards Austria are still as friendly as can be wished, I do not find that they have had any, even the slightest, degree of success either in attempts to engage the Prussian Cabinet to reduce its pretentrons within a more moderate compass. ¤ They are accordingly (as I ventured to predict in my last) most heartily sick and weary of the task that they have undertaken, and look forward with much eagerness to the prospect of being released by the removal of the negotiation to Paris-an Event which can hardly fail of takmg place very speedily since it seems to be so anxiously desired by all the Parties interested. I have been fortunately relieved from any direct concern in this business by the arrival of a Minister from His Majesty's Electoral Government, whose principal Commission is to endeavour to obtain for H.M., thro' the good offices of this Court, either the whole of the Bishoprick of Hildesheim, in exchange for a reasonable Equivalent, or an indemnification for the loss of his Paramountship over that Bishopric in the event of its being secularised, and assigned to one of the ousted Lay Princes. As mattersnow stand it seems to be destined to the Prince of Orange ; but there is every reason to fear that it will ultimately fall to the lot of that very worst of all possible neighbours, the Govt of Prussia.
* Preliminary Treaty between France and Turkey, October 9, 1801 ;
definitive Treaty signed June 25, 1802. The French were to enjoy commercial
advantages in the Levant, and the right to enter the Black Sea ; and Turkey
was to agree to the Treaty of Amiens. Coming after the evacuation of Egypt,
these were startling concessions. Talleyrand had played on the pride of the
Turks by calling them to join the Council of civilised peoples who had united
in the Treaty of Amiens.
The Russian Ambassador in London was opposed to the Russian intrigues at the Porte, and considered the Russian diplomatists there as mere "agents of Napoleon." His brother, A. R. Woronzow, made Chancellor early in 1802, had in 1801 declared against guaranteeing the integrity of Turkey.
Bonaparte had proposed that England should keep her conquests, and France hold Egypt.
§ The discussions as to the '~ Indemnities" arose out of the proposed adjustments by which small states (lay and ecclesiastical) were to be given as compensation to Austria and Prussia for the Rhine Provinces and the Netherlands. The Treaty of Amiens settled that the bishoprics of Trient and Brixen were to be Austrian ; Tuscany and Plodena, wrested from Hapsbnrg Honse, were to be replaced by the Electorate of Salzburg and the Breisgau. Prussia was to receive Paderborn and Hildesheim, and the town of Mains ; Bavaria, the bishoprics of Würzburg, Bamberg, and Augsburg; Naussau, Orange, Fulda, and other ecclesiastical fiefs.
¤ Alexander and Napoleon had proposed to act as mediatora between Austria, Bavaria, and Prussia re indemnities. The Diet, or rather a committee or deputation of the Diet, was given prenary powers to decide these questions October 8, 1801.
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