DES RELATIONS EXTERIEURES,
AU GENERAL ANDREOSSI,
SUR SON AMBASSADE
EN DATE DU 28 VENDEMIAIRE AN XI
20 OCTOBRE 1802
At your interview with the British Minister, you have to declare, in the name of the First Consul, his great esteem for them all ; but particularly for Mr. A…, and Lord H… ; and that is the sincere wish of France, to continue in peace with England. You hope they will not listen to the clamours and complaints of the personal enemies of the First Consul, and the implacable and hereditary enemies of France : you may insinuate, that their own honour and interest, and the welfare of England, is nearly connected with such conduct ; because the Pitts, the Windhams, the Grenvilles, the Bourbons, and their friends the Chouans, and the emigrants, are as much their enemies, and the enemies of the peace, as the enemies of the present French Government ; and care little if war ruin England, so that it only displaces the present Ministers, and gives some trouble to the First Consul. On all occasions, hold this same language, and try to penetrate into the impression it makes upon Mr. A…, and Lord H…, individually ; if they believe its truth, or doubt its sincerity ; and if ambition and interest blind, or patriotism, guidetheir judgments, actions, and answers.
At your first audience of his B… M…, present him with the high respect and admiration of the First Consul for all his royal and personal virtues ; to which alone, and to his present able and wisc. Ministers, France and Europe ascribe the general peace with which the world is blessed, and which it is the intent of the First Consul inviolably to preserve. At every other audience, until otherwise instructed, you are to touch with as much delicacy as possible on the merits of his present Ministers, and his own great judgment in choosing such just, meritorious, and patriotic counsellors.
To his Royal Highness the P… of W…, you have to insinuate, that the First Consul has always admired his generous and noble mind, and that it has been a source of the greatest regret to him, during the late contest, not to be able sooner to express his respectful admiration, and to gain the good opinion of such a great Prince ; pay particular attention to the Prince’s answers and conversation ; and if he throws out any hints that he knows what the First Consul had said about him in a conversation with some of his friends who visited France last summer ; but by your conduct, you are to appear prefectly ignorant on this subject. Try to find out who are the Prince’s principal friends and favourites ; if those persons whose names you already know, continue to advise and govern him, or if they have been succeeded by others and who they are. If you can insinuate yourself into the confidence of any one who you are certain possesses the entire confidence of the Prince, you may let him understand, as from yourself, that you suffer to see his (the Prince’s) retired situation ; and that, although you had no permission so to do, yet you would take upon yourself, from the known sentiments of the First Consul, if approved by the Prince, to ask any sum of money H. R. H. should fix upon, as a loan, to be repaid when the Prince succeeds to the throne. This transaction is of the most delicate and secret nature, and must be kept entirely from the knowledge of the King, his family, and the Ministers ; and you cannot be too careful not to commit (compromettre) yourself or your character. Should the Prince accept of the offer, and you of course receive private audiences, impress strongly upon the Prince’s mind the necessity for secrecy. When the question is about the sum he should want, you should observe, that, to avoid exciting suspicion, which may be followed by discovery, and be hurtful to the Prince in the public opinion, you think a certain annual sum (any sum under one million) would be the best and most convenient arrangement. When this point is settled, and that you have received the first remittance for the Prince, and, of course, are offered his bond, you are to refuse it, saying, the First Consul trusts entirely to the honour of the Prince ; but you have at the same time to declare,, that it would give the First Consul the biggest satisfaction, if, in a letter from the Prince’s hand, he was assured that H. R. H. would by degrees cease all future acquaintance and connection with the Bourbons ; and, at his accession to the throne, not permit them, or the other emigrants, to reside any longer in his dominions. Be attentive to what the Prince says, and if he is sincere in what he says : after your report, you shall receive further instructions how to act. If the Prince or his friends decline your offer, endeavour to find out the reason ; and if he has not a previous engagement with the Bourbons, and if he entertains any hatred or prejudice against the First Consul. In her present disgrace, avoid great attention to, or notice of the P… of W…, because it might hurt her, and offend the P… ; as you know that next summer a French lady, who knew the Princess at Brunswick, intends to renew her acquaintance, and to inspire her with a good opinion of the First Consul, and then you shall receive directions how to assist her. Inform yourself, however, if her daughter, the young Princess, shows any genius and abilities ; in what manner she is educated ; if her governess, and the persons educating and attending her have talents ; to what party they belong, and if they are known to like or to hate France. If, by some discreet attentions, you can gain their good opinion, do not neglect it. If they are to be gained over to our interest only by money, make your report, and you shall receive orders how to conduct yourself.
With respect to the other branches of the Royal Family, you have to follow the examples, customs, and etiquette of other ambassadors ; but when you speak with the D… of Y…, remember to throw out delicate compliments on his military abilities, from which France has suffered so much ; and to the D… of C… express the obligations of France to him for not employing his great naval talents during the late war.
Endeavour to be as popular ; never refuse an invitation from the chief of the city, or of the wealthy citizens ; imitate as much as possible their manners of society, and their custom of conversation ; as at their feasts and assemblies, where you are invited, some members of the government will probably be present. As a Frenchman, you may, without giving offence, mix water with your wine whilst they drink their’s undiluted ; and thus often, perhaps, you may discover their secrets without exposing ours.
It is not necessary to remind you to be polite and condescending at the balls and routs of the English nobility ; but not so as to forget your rank, and that of the nation which you represent. Your own judgment will tell you when i twill be necessary to be prouder than the proudest, and to resent with indignation or contempt, offenses orneglect. Never forget or forgive the presence of a Borbon, of any noble emigrant, or one decorated with the proscribed orders. Should you meet with Pitt, Windham, Grenville, or any other known enemies of the First Consul, be civil, but forma land distant ; and at any future invitation to the same place, refuse your presence. On the contrary, to those of Mr. Fox’s party, who have opposed the late war, and whose liberal opinion, and attachment to the cause of the Revolution are known, you cannot be affable enough ; and amiableness, to prove to them that the First Consul knows, remembers, an dis grateful for their past conduct and behaviour.
As in most societies, you will probably meet with military men of the army and navy, if they do notshun yours, court their acquaintance and conversation,, and report your opinion of their principles, talents, and abilities ; lay it down as an invariable rule to address yourself to the passions and not to the reason of those men, particularly if they are over-heated by drinking ; and you may dependupon it you will pick up some, to us undknown, useful truths and discoveries. If they are dissatisfied or disaffected, endeavour to find out if ambition, avarice, or patriotism, is the cause of their disaffection or complaint ; and should they be men of parts, rank, and distinction, give with nonchalance as a consolation, an indirect condamnation of their government, by hinting, that under monarchical governments those things happen, and men are neglected who in republics would probably be at the head of the state ; and instead of suffering from princes, would command emperors and kings. Your own discretion will tell you when such complaints are to be heard, such conversations to be suffered, and when such hints are to be thrown out ; but at all times observe, that you speak not in your official capacity, but as an individual, and a military man, who interest yourself in the honourand content of all military men. Should any such conversation, with firm and distinguished characters, be followed with any overtures or intrigues, make your report, and expect orders before you engage yourself any further.
With the chief of the demagogues or democrats associate seldom in public, but in private keep up the spirit of discontentment, of faction, and of hope ; with inferior members of parties decline all both public and private society and connection ; leave it to your inferior agents. As to pensions to individuals, or money to factious societies, make always your report before you give your promise, and gain time to inquire into the characters of the persons, and what probable service may be derived from their societies. I. X. is, however, the fittest person to transact thse things ; leave them, therefore, to him, least you should expose or commit yourself ; and avoid, as much as possible, all such intriguers or intrigues, except when some decisive blow is to be struck.
Should you, by chance, meet in company with known republicans and reformers, take care to hint, that they are not to judge of the future conduct of the First Consul in favour of liberty, from that which necessity forces him to adopt at pretent ; that you are confident, should Providence preserve his life, and Europe once enjoyed the tranquility it has lost, by the many late revolutionary convulsions, he will restore to Frenchmen a greater portion of liberty than the Romans enjoyed in the time of Gracchi ; and that posterity shall not have to reproach him with permitting any other government to exist in Europe, but thatof an universal republic.
In the company of aristocrats you are to hold a different language : speak of the dangers of innovation, the horrors of revolutions, and the necessity of ceasing to be any longer the dupes of speculative philosophers and revolutionary sceptics ; that the privileged orders are as necessary and indispensable in the present civilized state of mankind, as equality is absurb, dangerous, and impossible : and that such are the real sentiment of the First Consul, his whole conduct since in power has proved.
England is the only country in the world where a diplomatic of talents and judgment has so many and repeated opportunities to injure, to intrigue, and to embroil, anda t the same time to complain of wrongs and insults, and, even when he is himself the offender, to speak as the offended ; a paragraph in a newspaper, a word in a debate, or a toast at a club, which hem ay have, paid for or provoked, will furnish him easily with complaints every week, if not, every day.
As the English ministers will probably show some jealousy of our aggrandizements and our endeavours, to excluceEngland from its former connexions with the Continent – should they make you any representations, on this or others subjects, meet their representations with complaints of the non-execution of the treaty of Amiens ; of their tyranny in the East Indies ; of the libels in the newspapers ; of the injuries and calumnies of their writers against the First Consul ; and of the protection offered to the Bourbon, and others French rebels. Should, however, some unforeseen demand be made, or explanation insisted on gain time – by referring to the decision of the First Consul, and await his orders.
If any complaints are made about the seizure of British ships, or confiscation of British property in France ; say always that France is the proper place to arrange those matters ; as England is for the arrangement of the claims of French citizens there.
Never give a direct answer to any proposal made, or to any sudden complaints or offers. The want of instructions, and the necessity to consult your government, are always acceptable and accepted excuses for delays, in political transactions ; make use of them, even if your mind is made up on the subject in question, for fear of committing yourself or blundering. Few political transactions are of a nature not admitting delays, and no delays can, in the present state of Europe, ever hurt any political transactions ; but a negociator or minister, let his presence of mind be ever so great, and his abilities ever so tried ; by giving a decisive, and not a temporizing answer may, by one moment’s forgetfulness, do his cause and his country more harm, than services of years could repair.
Endeavour, if possible, to get an account of the real state of the East India Company’s finances ; and an exact list of all native and European forces, in the English pay, in the East Indies ; of what force they are, of what religion and language, and to what divisions they belong. Until our colonies there are in our power, and the forces intended to be sent there have arrived, avoid all discussions concerning the usurpations of England, the complaints of the native Princes, or any thing that can give reason to suspect our future plans. – On this subject, until further orders, observe the silence of the Treaty of Amiens.
Spare no pains to obtain every information possible of the weak or vulnerable parts in India ; where the greatest discontentment reigns ; where the English are most hated, and the French most liked.
Amuse the Ministers with the details of our misfortunes in the western hemisphere, so as to divert their attention from what we intend to do in the East. Be unceasing in your endeavours to persuade them that, without their assistance in ships and money, we are unable to conquer the Negroes in St. Domingo ; observe, that it is the common cause of France and England to prevent a Republic, or rather of anarchy, of Negroes in the West Indies ; which, sooner or later, must extend to Jamaica, and the other British colonies, and cause their ruin or separation from the mother country. Should thse arguments fail to determine England to afford us any assistance, and that you think the offer will be accepted, you may propose that England should keep St. Eustatia as a security, until what it at presnt may advance to France, shall be repaid ; and should the advances of England exceed 120 millions, any other Dutch colony in the West Indies – Surinam excepted – may be added as further security. Be careful, however, not to make those offers, without a certain prospect of success ; and after all other means have been tried in vain.
Inquire how the public spirit is in Canada ; if the inhabitants are yet attached to France ; and, if assisted by arms, ammunitions, and money, whether there would rise and throw off the English yoke : should any person of consequence and of sense from that country call upon you, say, that his countrymen who emigrate to Louisiana shall there be received with the same protection and privileges as French citizens, and that it was one of the motives of the First Consul, in getting back that settlement, to afford an asylum there to his oppressed and injured countrymen at Canada.
With the Spanish, Prussian, and Dutch ministers, you are to live upon the most friendly and intimate terms ; do not, however, lose right of vtheir movements and transactions. Gain the friendship of the Russian ambassador, and endeavour to persuade him, that i twas not the intrigues of France, but those of his enemies in Russia, that caused his disgrace by the late Emperor. Should you conceive that any seasonable present of value from the First Consul would be acceptable, mention it an dit shall be sent you, accompanied with a letter from the First Consul’s hand. Make, however, no unbecoming or degrading advances.
With the present Austrian ambassador be rather distant, not however to offend, but enough to show that he is under the personal displeasure of the First Consul. Watch his actions strictly, and report if he continues to see the Bourbons, and the Emigrants ; and if those speak well, or complain of him and with what other members of the diplomatic body he is most intimate. Accept of his invitations ; but be forma land regular, in returning invitation for invitation – visit for visit.
Find out in your conversation with the Portuguese ambassador, if he has abilities to see, and patriotism to feel for the degraded bondage in which England keeps his country ; if he has any partiality for England, or antipathy for France – if he mentions the conduct of Lasnes with prudence, anger, or contempt ; if he be liked or disliked by the English ministers, and if his reception at Court is as gracious as that of the Imperial ambassadors : flatter him sometimes, if you judge it proper – but watch him at all times.
With the Ministers and Diplomatic agents from the others powers and states, you are to follow the etiquette established in England ; never forgetting, nor suffering to be forgotten, that you are the representative of the first nation upon earth.
Should any one of them be particularly distinguished for great talents ; for great defects ; for hatred or partiality for England or France ; a favouritewith his own sovereign, or with the English Ministers, - report it. Be condescending to them individually, but keep a vigilant eye upon them all, and upon what they are about.
For the reasons explained to you, pay particular attention to every thing concerning the English finances, manufactures, and commerce. Of the financial agents under you, you may trust 15, 51, and 60 ; 29 is doubtful, but 18 is a traitor to whom, when sufficient proofs of his deliquency are collected, you may give a mission either to France or Holland, and he shall be taken care of. The reports of 29 must always be compared with those of 15, 51, and 60, before believed or depended on, as he is very interested, and has many underhand transactions not concerning France. Citizen Otto will leave you some notes regarding those and others agents, which you must often consult. His plan of influencing and depressing the public funds, you must study, and follow at all times ; it is a master-piece. In the financial and commercial intrigues, as well as in those with the factions, you are always to remain the mobile invisible ; you are to command, instruct, and protect ; but your agents are only seen to act and transact.
Procure a correct list of all the persons possessing great property, with remarks of what their properties consist ; whether in landed estates, in the funds, or in goods ; whether in the colonies of the East or West Indies, the amount of their certain revenue ; if they are supposed to spend the whole, or only a part ; if they increase it or decrease it. The list copied from the Income Tax, and sent by Mr. Otto is incorrect ; but since this tax has ceased, English vanity will get the better of English cupidity, and a correct one may be easily procured, and is absolutely necesary for fixing loans and requisitions a tour future invasion.
Buy up all plans, drawings, and maps of the English coasts, provinces, cities, fortifications, dock-yards, and warfs ; all writings and remarks on the soundings, tides, and winds of England, Scotland, and Ireland ; the productions, poverty, or riches, of all countries where a landing may take place with advantage ; the character of the people of those countries, their political opinions, their vices and prejudices.
Endeavour to find out if the officers of the English navy have a favourable opinion of the First Consul, if they speak the French language, and are of Whig or Republican principles ; and send over the names of those distinguished for naval abilities, and political or senatorial talents.
Of those agents employed to watch the conduct of the Bourbons, you can trust 2, 5, and 52 ; read the reports of the others, and pay the reporters, but do not depend upon them : of those about Pichegru and George, 19, 44, and 66, may be believed ; the others are too stupid to be either of service or harm, and may, without danger, be dismissed : those about about the bishops, and others emigrants and Chouans, 10, 12, 33, 42, and 55, may be continued ; but let the others known, that their services are no longer wanted in England : give them passes to France, with promises of employement there under the police.
Give seldom any grand feasts, but when you do give them, let them surpass others in splendour, taste, delicacy, and elegance. On some occasions, such as the Birth-day of the First Consul, the Anniversary of the Republic, or, if approved by the Consul, in honour of the Birth-day of the King of England, no money is to be splared to impress upon the minds of the English nation the greatness and generosity of the French. Do not forget to order your subaltern agents to have all the particulars of these feasts noted in all the newspapers : the lower classes in England devour the description of feasts in their public prints, with the same avidity as the higher classes eat of your dishes and drink of your wine.
Citizen Otto’s list of authors and men of letters is to be attented to ; but should you bear of, or discover any great talents in any other persons, court their acquaintance, offer a place in the National Institue, or a literary pension. To men of letters you are always to insinuate that pensions and places from the First Consul, are only rewards for past labours, and not any pretensions or expectations for future services ; that he looks on men of letters as fellow citizens of all countries, and that their talents belong to no country ; neither to France nor to England, but to the Universe.
In your transactions with Irish Patriots, or with any other persons, or in any things not mentioned here, you are to follow the instructions to Citizen Otto, of the 10th October, 1801 ; or, if you judge it necessary, ask for new ones.
C. M. TALLEYRAND
Paris, October 20, 1802.
T. HUGHES, Stationer's Court
JORDAN and MAXWELL, Fleet Str.
and C. CHAPPEL, Pall Mall and at Russel Square
Ci-après vous trouverez le scan de la version anglaise des instructions données au général Andréossi pour son ambassade à Londres en date du 20 octobre 1802.
Ces instructions sont tirées d'un opuscule contenant différents pamphlets contre les généraux chargés de préparer l'invasion de l'Angleterre.
Cet opuscule, imprimé à Londres, est inconnu à la British Librairy.