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intention of the directory was solely to transmit to us, through the medium of the minister for foreign affairs, the result of their deliberations. But if the form surprised us, the contents of the paper excited our surprise in a much greater degree; of this our reply will convince your excellency.

The executive directory announce to us, that the corps of emigrants meditates au invasion of our territory. It does not belong to us to call in question the proofs which the directory say they have received; we shall confine ourselves to observe, that at the opening of each campaign mention has always been made of a project of this kind, and that nevertheless it has never been carried into execution; so that we are still to know, whether the reports that are spread are merely a trick of war, or whether such a design has been renounced either from the uncertainty of decisive success, or the want of accordance with other events that were to concur with it; or finally whether, and much more probably, it be because the emperor, faithful to his engagement to respect our neutrality, has forbidden the peace of an independent people to be disturbed, who for several ages, contented with their limits, have taken no part in the dissensions of the great powers of Europe. In short, we can assure you that at present the danger, if danger does exist, does not appear to be imminent. The corps of emigrants is at too great a distance from our frontiers; it does not form a sufficient force to dare to attempt an invasion, and we do not perceive yet preparations which are the forerunners of hostilities,

and indispensable to the execution of hostilites.

The second point of the note of the executive directory concerns the defence of our territory and the demand of a sufficient guarantee. No people can give such a guarantee. If belligerent powers, with their fortresses, their arms, their efforts in every sense, cannot procure the guarantee, that their territory shall not be violated, much less can a neutral state procure and assemble forces, whose mass would perhaps afford more umbrage than it would inspire security. Besides the expence of such a force, and the provisions that it would require, are above our means, which the circumstances of the times weaken more and more. But there is another kind of guarantee, which we deem more sure than a great assemblage of troops; it is the firm resolution of all the governments of Switzerland, not to de part from the principles of neutrality which they have inherited from their ancestors, and of which all our neighbours have a positive conviction; it is the sacred word, which the members of the Helvetic body, either separately or united, in solemn diet, have given. It is the local difficulties that would attend a passage through our terriritory, without being exposed to a certain loss from the measures of prudence, which the attacked canton might take, and without renouncing every hope of retreat, by the arrival of contingents from our confederates as zealous to avenge the outrages offered to neutralit, as religious in the observance of the duties of neutrality. It is the dispositions taken to be


warned in time of every species of danger, to circulate the alarm, and to be in a condition even to repel and punish aggression when the danger should have made its appearance. Finally, it is the experience and the success of those dispositions, during four years of a war the most bloody of which modern history has preserved the remembrance.

We proceed to the accusations, which the executive directory have made against certain magistrates and private persons of our canton and of the other states of the Helvetic body. So vague an accusation, and of such a kind, is probably without example. The moral person of the sovereign in republics is manifested only by resolutions emanating from the council of the state, and not from the particular opinions of individuals; and whatever be the difference of opinion amongst the latter, there is a first opinion, which is as general as it is essential and fundamental; it is the love of our country, and the deep and universal conviction, that neutrality is the basis of our political existence. It unites all minds, all counsels, all governments. We. invite the executive directory to consider here only the assembly. We are to be gained by proceedings of justice, benevolence, and friendship; our hearts are to be alienated by indefinite reproaches and random suspicions. What if these suspicions should perhaps be founded only on documents, dictated by men, whose reprehensible views either of vengeance or malevolence, of ambition or cupidity, should have led them to exaggerate what is insignificant, to blacken what is innocent; and to disguise what our political actions in their

true point of view would disclose ?

Finally, the executive directory render us responsible for the fatal effects which may result from military operations. Governments, we know, are responsible for the faults which they commit with the intention of violating their duties. duties. But tranquillized by our principles, and proud of the sense of the purity and equity of our measures, we accept this responsibility. We are one for all in the bosom of our councils, and it is in the same sense that we rely not only upon all our own resources, but upon all the members of the Helvetic confederation. Respon sibility can only alarm those who, breaking the ties which have unit. ed for several ages the two tions, should prepare evils of which human prudence cannot calculate the issue to their authors.


Very different sentiments have animated your excellency during the course of your painful mission. The executive directory have testified in the renewal of your credentials their just and honourable satisfaction. We have no doubt that they will receive with favourable dispositions the answer which we have the honour to address to your excellency, after having deliberated in concert with the Helvetic representatives.

We pray God to take you into his holy and powerful keeping. (Signed) The burgomasters and council of the city and canton of Basle.

Basle, April 9, 1796.

Letter of M. Barthelemy, Ambassa

dor from the French Republic, to the Canton of Basle, 20th Floreal, (May 9), 1796, Fourth Year of the French Republic.


Magnificent Lords,

THE orders of the executive directory of the French republic oblige me to recall the attention of your honourable canton to the circumstances and motives which dictated the declaration of the directory, I was charged to transmit to you, on the 16th of Germinal last. The answer you have made has not been such as was expected. Charged with the care of the defence of the territory of the republic, and of its glory, the executive directory was bound to look forward to events, and to render abortive, by denouncing to you, the projects of the enemies of France, and of its republican constitution. It was bound to invite you to take measures capable of removing its apprehensions, and making its neutrality respected; and it has demanded of you what were these measures.

If the terms of its declaration were severe, it was because the object of it was serious: it was becauso experience of the attempts and projects of our enemies, already more than once denounced, gave it reason to conceive inquietude and suspicion. It was because positive reports announced that these projects were about to be renewed. It was because it was then necessary to be certain, as to the more than equivocal sentiments of many of the Helvetic states, some of whom had not dreaded to throw a doubt on the existence of the French republic, by refusing to pronounce on the acceptance of the credentials of its ambassador, and deferring the epoch of their determination by insulting and ridiculous delays.

When a government so powerful as that of the French republic

is thus unacknowledged; when this neglect is founded on the regard which is thought due to criminal fugitives, whose whole proceedings tend only to harass their country, against which they are in a permanent conspiracy, while their measures tend only to involve in their fall the states blind enough to be misled by them; when the Swiss Cantons, the ancient allies of France, dare to hold a conduct so reprehensible, it is very surpris. ing that the executive directory should, for a moment, withhold the aspect of kindness, to assume towards you that of inquietude? There are still other considerations, on which I believe I need not enlarge here. They are, doubtless, painful, and belong to the guarantee, that the French republic expects to find in the sentiments and affections of the governments and people of neutral states.

Such are the views which have animated and still animate the executive directory. They expect from you, with the least delay, a frank and amicable explanation, capable of dissipating the doubts and reviving in our government the sentiments of good will. It has given me orders for my ultimate conduct, in case that your answer shoud not fulfil this end.

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clared for a neutrality, to preserve
which has since that time been the
constant object of our cares, of our
zeal, and of our solicitude; and
no sacrifice has been avoided for
maintaining it in proportion to
the dangers to whcih it was in cer-
tain epochs exposed. Nothing af
flicts us
more profoundly, than
when the fidelity of our conduct
and the purity of our intentions
seem to be doubted, since these
form the most solid basis of our
happiness, independence, and tran-

We pray your excellency to as sure your government that we shall never depart from the principles that have been transmitted to us from our predecessors, and that our greatest ambition is to convey the deposit unimpaired to those who shall succeed us. This is the first duty of our situations, and the true means of conciliating the confidence and the gratitude of our fellow-citizens. It is, however, necessary to observe, that since our letter of the 9th of April, we have not confined ourselves to mere wishes for the maintenance of our neutrality. Our uneasiness relative to this object having been communicated to the minister of his

Imperial majesty, he has written to us, by order of the emperor, that certainly he had not the least thought of acting, nor of permit. ting the emigrants to act against the cantons, in any manner which might disturb the tranquillity of their territory. We have prepared our signals and our alarm guns, which, on account of the armistice and the winter season, had been neglected; and it is generally known that by these means a very great force can be assembled in a

few days. We have exercised our troops, and they are ready to march on the first signal. They will be added to the contingents of the other cantons which assemble in our's, and are directed to redouble their vigilance in the posts confided to them. The representatives of the Helvetic body, deputed to us for considering the state of affairs, for acting in the name of the whole confederation, and informing their constituents of every danger which may approach our states, allow no means to escape them of consolidating the repose of the common country. We have written to our co-allies, to remind them of the treaties which unite us, and we have received the unanimous assurance that all are ready to fly to qur assistance and defend our frontiers.

We conclude by praying your excellency to transmit those details to the directory; and, above all, to fortify them against the exagge rated reports that an excess of zeal may have occasioned.

Official Note, transmitted by Mr.
Wickham, Minister Plenipotentia-
ry from his Britannic Majesty to
the Senate of Berne, the 26th of
June 1796.


IN consequence of the resolution agreed to and published by your state, respecting all the French indiscriminately who have taken refuge in your country, several of the heads of families of these unfortunate victims to their attachment to the ancient laws of their country, have addressed themselves to me, to obtain the means to repair to England, where they hope at last


to find repose, and a secure asylum against the cruelty of their persecu


It is with extreme concern, magnificent lords, that I find my self obliged to refuse their request, and to declare to all of them that I cannot grant a passportto any of them until I have received orders from my court. I think it necessary, magnificent lords, to communicate to you my resolution upon this subject, in order that the persons, to whom it relates, may not be suspected of any neglect or tardiness in obeying the ordonnance nade respecting them. God for bid that, in taking such a resolution, I should pretend to set bounds to the munificence of my sovereign, or the generosity of his subjects, which I hope will exist as long as the monarchy itself. We have always, magnificent lords, a confidence that our means will be in creased by divine favour, in proportion as they are employed in assisting the unfortunate.

But it is my duty, in this unforeseen case, to take no steps without having previously communicated to my court all the circumstances which have preceded, accompa nied, and followed this measure, and entreated his Majesty to give me the most distinct orders for the regulation of my conduct in all that relates to this business.

I do not hesitate to avow that I have not been without hope that the delay, which might be caused by my resolution in the execution of the order against those who have no other asylum but England, would have offered to your lordships an opportunity of considering of every mitigating circumstance, of which this case is capable. Perhaps

also this delay may lead those persons, who have urged this measure, to think deliberately both upon its nature and the consequences which may ensue from it.

Whatever may be the event, magnificent lords, in adopting and communicating this resolution to your lordships, if I can be the means of saving any one of those respectable families from exhausting their last resources in taking a long and dangerous voyage, I shall think that I have performed my duty to my God and my king; and I dare answer, that whatever may be the affection and friendship which the king, my master (after the example of his august predecessors) feels for your lordships, these sentiments must be much strengthened, when I shall have laid before him a fresh act of your's

of that generous and enlarged humanity which forms the distinguished character of his reign, and which our two nations have formerly exercised to the unhappy refugees from that same country.

With the sincerest wishes for the prosperity and happiness of your state, I am,

Magnificent and powerful lords,
your lordship's most devoted


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