« PreviousContinue »
intention of the directory was sole- and indispensable to the execution, ly to transmit to us, through the of hostilites. medium of the minister for foreign The second point of the note of affairs, the result of their delibera. the executive directory concerns tions. But if the form surprised the defence of our territory and us, the contents of the paper ex- the demand of a sufficient guacited our surprise in a much great- rantee. No people can give such a er degree ; of this our reply will guarantee. If belligerent powers, convince your excellency.
with their fortresses, their arms, The executive directory an- their efforts in every sense, cannounce to us, that the corps of emi- not procure the guarantee, that grants meditates au invasion of our their territory shall not be vioterritory. It does not belong to lated, much less can a neutral us to call in question the proofs state procure and assemble forces, which the directory say they have whose mass would perhaps afford received ; we shall confine our- more umbrage.than it would inselves to observe, that at the open- spire security.
Besides the ex. ing of each campaign mention has pence of such a force, and the always been made of a project of provisions that it would require, this kind, and that nevertheless it are above means, which has never been carried into execu- the circumstances of the times tion ; so that we are still to know, weaken more and more. But there whether the reports that are spread is another kind of guarantee, which are merely a trick of war, or whe. we deem more sure than a great ther such a design has been re- assemblage of troops ; it is the nounced either from the uncer- firm resolution of all the governtainty of decisive success, or the ments of Switzerland, not to de. want of accordance with other part from the principles of neu. events that were to concur with it; trality which they have inherited or finally whether, and much more from their ancestors, and of which probably, it be because the em- all our neighbours have a positive peror, faithful to his engagement conviction ; it is the sacred word, to respect our neutrality, has for which the members of the Helvebidden the peace of an indepen. tic body, either separately or unident people to be disturbed, who ted, in solemn diet, have given. for several ages, contented with It is the local difficulties that would their limits, have taken no part attend a passage through our terriin the dissensions of the great ritory, without being exposed to powers of Europe. In short, we a certain loss from the measures can assure you that at present the of prudence, which the attacked danger, if danger does exist, does canton might take, and without not appear to be imminent. The renouncing every bope of retreat, corps of emigrants is at too great by the arrival of contingents from a distance from our frontiers; it does our confederates as zealous to not form a sufficient force to dare avenge the outrages offered to to attempt an invasion, and we do Deutrality, as religious in the obnot perceive yet preparations which servance of the duties of neutrality. are the forcrunúers of hostilities, It is the dispositions taken to be
warned in time of every species of true point of view would disclose ? danger, to circulate the alarm, and Finally, the executive directory to be in a condition even to repel render us responsible for the fatal and punish aggression when the effects which may result from midanger should have made its ap- litary operations.
Governments, pearance. Finally, it is the ex. we know, are responsible for the perience and the success of those faults which they commit with dispositions, during four years of the intention of violating their & war the most bloody of which duties. But tranquillized by our modern history bas preseived the principles, and proud of the sense remembrance.
of the purity and equity of our We proceed to the accusations, measures, we accept this responsiwhich tbe esecutive directory have bility. We are one for all in the made against certain magistrates and bosom of our councils, and it is in private persons of our canton and of the same sense that we rely not
the other states of the Helvetic only upon all our own resources, -1 body. So vague an accusation, but upon all the members of the
and of such a kind, is probably Helvetic confederation. Respon. without example. The moral per. sibility can only alarm those who, son of the sovereign in republics breaking the ties which have unit. is manifested only by resolutions ed for several ages the two emanating from the council of the tions, should prepare evils of which state, and not from the particular human prudence cannot calculate opinions of individuals; and what. the issue to their authors. ever be the difference of opinion Very different sentiments have amongst the latter, there is a first animated your excellency during opinion, which is as general as it the course of your painful mission. is essential and fundamental; it is the The executive directory have teslove of our country, and the deep tified in the renewal of your creand universal conviction, that neu- dentials their just and honourable trality is the basis of our political satisfaction. We have no doubt existence. It unites all minds, all that they will receive with favour. counsels, all governments. We, able dispositions the answer which invite the executive directory to we have the honour to address 10 consider here only the assembly. We your excellency, after having deli. are to be gained by proceedings of berated in concert with the Heljustice, benevolence, and friend- vetic representatives. ship; our hearts are to be alienat- We
God to take you into ed by indefinite reproaches and his holy and powerful keeping. random suspicions. What if these (Signed) The burgomasters and suspicions should perhaps be found
council of the city ed only on documents, dictated by
and canton of Basle. men, whose : reprehensible views Basle, April 9, 1790. eitber of vengeance or malevolence, of ambition or cupidity, Letter of M. Barthelemy, Ambassashould have led them to exaggerate
dor from the French Republic, to what is insignificant, to blacken the Canton of Basle, 20th Floreul, what is innocent ; and to disguise (May 9), 1796, Fourth Year of what our political actions in their the French Republic.
- Magnificent Lords,
is thus unacknowledged; whea, THE orders of the executive di. this neglect is founded on the rerectory of the French republic gard which is thought due to crioblige me to recall the attention of ninal fugitives, whose whole pro. your bonourable canton to the cir- ceedings tend only to harass their cumstances and motives which country, against which they are dictated the declaration of the di. in a permanent conspiracy, while rectory, I was charged to transmit their measures tend only to involve to you, on the 16th of Germinal in their fall the states blind enough last. The answer you have made to be misled by them ; when the has not been such as was expect- Swiss Cantons, the ancient allies ed. Charged with the care of the of France, dare to hold a conduct defence of the territory of the re- so reprehensible, it is very surpris. public, and of its glory, the exe- ing that the executive directory cutive directory was bound to look should, for a moment, withhold forward to events, and to render the aspect of kindness, to assume abortive, by denouncing to you, towards you that of inquietude ? the projects of the enemies of There are still other considerations, France, and of its republican con. on which I believe I need not enstitution. It was bound to invite large here. They are, doubtless, you to take measures capable of painful, and belong to the guaranremoving its apprehensions, and tee, that the French republic ex. making its neutrality respected ;' pects to find in the sentiments and and it has demanded of you what affections of the governments and were these measures.
people of neutral states. If the terms of its declaration Such are the views which have were severe, it was because the animated and still animate the object of it was serious: it was executive directory. They expect becauso experience of the attempts from you, with the least delay, a and projects of our enemies, al. frank and amicable explanation, ready more than once denounced, capable of dissipating the doubts gave it reason to conceive inquie- and reviving in our government tude and suspicion. It was be- the sentiments of good will. It cause positive reports announced has given me orders for my ultithat these projects were about to mate conduct, in case that your anbe renewed. It was because it swer shoud not fulfil this end. was then necessary to be certain, as to the more than equivocal sen- Answer of the Canton of Basle to M. timents of many of the Helvetic Barthelemy, Ambassador of the states, some of whom had not French Republic, May 11, 1796. dreaded to throw a doubt on the WE see with real pain, by your existence of the French republic, excellency's letter of the 20th Floby refusing to pronounce on the real, that our sentiments seem to acceptance of the credentials of its be inisunderstood, and that ambassador, and deferring the have reason to apprehend the exeepoch of their determination by cutive directory of the French re. insulting and ridiculous delays. public may suspend their disposi.
When a government so power. tions of kindness towards ful as that of the French republic When the war commenced, we de.
clared for a neutrality, to preserve few days. We have exercised our which has since that time been the troops, and they are ready to march constant object of our cares, of our on the first signal. They will be zeal, and of our solicitude ; and added to the contingents of the no sacrifice has been avoided for other cantons which assemble in maintaining it in proportion to our's, and are directed to redouble the dangers to whcih it was in cer- their vigilance in the posts confided tain epochs exposed. Nothing af- to them.
Nothing afo to them. The representatives of Micts us more profoundly, ihan the Helvetic body, deputed to us when the fidelity of our conduct for considering the state of affairs, and the purity of our intentions for acting in the name of the whole seem to be doubted, since these confederation, and informing their form the most solid basis of our constituents of every danger which happiness, independence, and tran- may approach our states, allow no' quillity.
means to escape them of consolidaWe pray your excellency to as. ting the repose of the common sure your government that we shall country. We have written to our never depart from the principles co-allies, to remind them that have been transmitted to us treaties which unite us, and from our predecessors, and that have received the unanimous asa our greatest ambition is to convey surance that all are ready to fly to the deposit unimpaired to those qur assistance and defend our fron. who shall succeed us. This is the tiers, first duty of our situations, and the
We conclude by praying your true means of conciliating the con- excellency to transmit those details fidence and the gratitude of our to the directory; and, above all, fellow-citizens. It is, however, to fortify them against the exaggenecessary to observe, that since our rated reports that an excess of zeal letter of the 9th of April, we have may have occasioned. not confined ourselves to wishes for the maintenance of our Oficial Note, transmitted by Mr. neutrality. Our uneasiness rela. Wickham, Minister Plenipotentiative to this object having been com- ry from his Britannic Majesty to municated to the minister of his the Senate of Berne, the 26th of Imperial majesty, he has written June 1796. to us, by order of the emperor,
AND POWER. that certainly he had not the least FUL LORDS, thought of acting, nor of permit. IN consequence of the resolution ting the emigrants to act against agreed to and published by your the cantons, in any manner which siate, respecting all the French in. might disturb the tranquillity of discriminately who have taken retheir territory. We have prepared fuge in your country, several of the our signals and our alarm guns, heads of families of these unfortu. which, on account of the armistice nate victims to their attachment 10 and the winter season, had been the ancient laws of their country, neglected ; and it is generally have addressed themselves to me, known that by these means a very to obtain the means to repair to great force can be assembled in a England, where they hope at last
to find repose, and a secure asylum also this delay may lead those against the cruelty of their persecu- persons, who have urged this mea. tors.
sure, to think deliberately both upIt is with extreme concern, on its nature and the consequences magnificent lords, that I find my- which may ensue from it. self obliged to refuse their request, Whatever may be the event, and to declare to all of them that magnificent lords, in adopting and I cannot grant a passportto any of communicating this resolution to them until I have received orders your lordships, if I can be the from my court. I think it neces- means of saving any one of those sary, magnificent lords, to commu• respectable families from exhaustnicate to you my resolution upon ing their last resources in taking a this subject, in order that the per- long and dangerous voyage, I shall sons, to whom it relates, may not think that I have performed my be suspected of any neglect or tar- duty to my God and my king ; and diness in obeying the ordonnance I dare answer, that whatever may inade respecting them. God for- be the affection and friendship bid that, in taking such a resolu. which the king, my master (after tion, I should pretend to set bounds the example of his august predeto the munificence of my sovereign, cessors) feels for your lordships, or the generosity of his subjects, these sentiments must be much which I hope will exist as long as strengthened, when I shall have the monarchy itself. We have laid before him a fresh act of your's always, magnificent lords, a con- -of that generous and enlarged fidence that our means will be in. humanity which forms the distin. creased by divine favour, in pro- guished character of his reign, and portion as they are employed in which our two nations have formerassisting the unfortunate.
ly exercised to the unhappy refugees But it is my duty, in this unfore- from that same country. seen case, to take no steps without With the sincerest wishes for having previousiy communicated the prosperity and happiness of to my court all the circumstances your state, I am, which have preceded, accompan Magnificent and powerful lords, nied, and followed this measure,
your lordship's most devoted and entreated his Majesty to give servant, me the most distinct orders for the (Signed) W. WICKHAM. regulation of my conduct in all that relates to this business. Articles of the Concordat agreed I do not hesitate to avow that I
upon among the different Parlies have not been without bope ibat in Geneva, as well as the Resolıthe delay, which might be caused tion taken by the Syndics and by my resolution in the execution Council on this Subject. of the order against those who have Art. 1. RESPECT to the law, no other asylum but England, obedience to the magistrate, enwould have offered to your lord- gage both parties united, to maiu. ships an opportunity of considering tain the government at the risk of of every mitigating circumstance, of their lives, with dispatch, and en. which ihis case is capable. Perhaps tire readiness, as often as necessity