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the principles of justice and equity, if they oppofed the restoration of that place at the certain profpect of conciliation, and at a time when the negotiations were near a conclufion. The minifter Bonnier replied, that the ftate of things was exactly what the Count de Metternich required, inafmuch as the republic was in poffeffion of the forts of Kehl and Caffel, and Germany of Ehrenbreitftein; therefore, that they were upon an equal footing. To this ftrange obfervation it was replied, that certainly fuch was the ftate of things at the time; but was it to be fuppofed that a place, after having been vigorously maintained from the commencement of the war, would neceffarily furrender at the end of it, efpecially when the means of repairing it were confidered? that the propofition they had made was inapplicable to the present time, but was referable to a future period; and that it was important to give effect to a principle, the justice, equity, and perfect reciprocity of which had been demonftrated by evidence. Citizen Bonnier added, that the Empire fhould make peace, and then the bafis agreed upon would be fully executed; that the French government would furnish proofs of its good intentions, and of the loyalty of its conduct; that orders were given for the retrograde march of the French troops on the right bank of the Rhine; that every step would be taken to reftore comfort to the country; and that all depended on the restoration of peace. He concludes by faying, that the republic had made great facrifices to attain this object, but that it was neceffary to maintain its dignity and politi cal confequence, principles from which it never departed.
The Count de Metternich replied, that the fame principle was common to all governments; and he could not avoid frankly obferving, that it was particularly upon the faith of treaties and conventions that the political confequence of a government depended; and it was upon this confideration he claimed the restoration of Ehrenbreitstein.
The minister Bonnier then warmly infifted upon all he had advanced, giving reiterated affurances of the pacific intentions of the French government, and expreffing his wishes that the first anfwer of the deputation fhould tend to the definitive attainment of peace, without entering into difcuffions of too extenfive a nature, the French government being already fatigued, and not wishing to make new conceffions. He further defired that the period thould be stated when an answer might be expected.
Citizens Jean Debry and Roberjot from time to time took part in this conversation, but merely to fupport the affertions and anfwers of their colleague Bonnier. Count Metternich put an end to the conversation, by faying that he flattered himself he should in a few days have it in his power to tranfmit them the result of the latest deliberations of the deputation of the Empire, in which,
doubtless, the objects relative to Ehrenbreitstein would be fully
Raftadt, Oct. 14, 1798.
Subfiance of the Vote of Auftria in the Sitting of the Deputation of the Empire of the 11th of October.
A SINCERE love of peace makes it impoffible to forbear remarking that it was much to be wifhed that, in a diplomatic and official act that ought to accelerate peace, and tend, in all probability, towards its conclufion, there fhould nothing have appeared to betray even the appearance of a menace of introducing French principles; an attempt which is contrary to particular declarations that have hitherto been made, and in which was manifefted a determination to fteer clear of any fuch defign.
This very threat already ftamps a character on the thing itself, and ought to excite the attention of every ftate, and confequently compel them to adopt correfponding measures. The French conftitution itfelf ordains refpect to the forms of government that differ from its own; and menaces ferve only to propagate eternal feeds of diftruft. The happiness of the people in and under every government, is the firft law; and in a state where they maintain their authority, where juftice admits no diftinction of ranks, of dignities, or of fortune, the people may enjoy a durable welfare and a genuine liberty, which can leave no other defire ungratified.
There is alfo too much confidence repofed in the French government, to permit the poffibility of imagining that it thould entertain the defign of giving further difturbance on that fcore to the tranquillity of Germany, or of retarding the coming and near approaching hope of peace.
Such a threat would alfo infinuate that advantage might be taken and acted on, of the declaration of nations who find themfelves placed under a mild government, who labour under no violence, or who may themselves be forced to accept a form of government, though the voice of the people exifts in every ftate, and though it be properly what is called the will of the public.
Subftance of the Conclufum of the Deputation of the Empire, 15th of October.
THE deputation of the Empire refolve, that the following anfwer ihall be returned, in conjunctinn with the Imperial minister plenipotentiary, to the note of the French legation of the 3d of October.
The renunciation of the territories of Kehl and Caffel, which the French plenipotentiaries have pledged in their note of the 3d of October, the deputation of the Empire confider as the most agreeable proof that the French government feriously intends to meet the defire fo often manifefted by the deputation, of a speedy conclufion of peace. They therefore lofe not a moment in accepting with pleasure this renunciation, fo long wifhed, of all fortified places and points of contact on the right bank of the Rhine, and they haften to communicate to the French plenipotentiaries in a detailed note, obfervations on every point in their note, in the firm hope, that although they differ in some respects from the propofed determinations, yet the new explanations with which this agreement is fupported, will be taken into proper confideration by the French minifters, in order to facilitate the great object of abfolute conciliation.
1. With regard to the barrier of the Rhine, it has always been understood that the Thalweg would every where form the boundaries of the two ftates, and that by the Thalweg was to be understood the middle of the principal and navigable courfe of the Rhine. At the fame time, as by this divifion the Pruffian island of Buderich, fituated near Wefel, on the Lower Rhine, would belong to France, the court of Pruffia has feveral times formally infifted on retaining poffeffion of this ifland, which contributes to the fafety of the city and fortress of Wefel, the deputation entertain hopes that the French government will accede to the defire of Pruflia, which coincides fo clofely with the intereft of the Empire, and that it will allow this ifland to remain attached to the German part.
With regard to the islands in the Rhine, it has already been agreed in notes exchanged, that the iffands on the right fide of the Thalweg fhould belong to the Empire; thofe on the left fide to the French republic. Subfequently likewife, the particular demand made in the French note of the 19th July, that the changes which might take place in the Thalweg fhould occafion no change in the rights of fovereignty over the islands, has also been acceded to. It has been agreed that they fhall continue according to their prefent divifion of French and German, even although they should happen to be thrown upon the other fide of the Thal-, weg. The minifters plenipotentiary of the French republic, in declaring in their laft note that the French republic would never cede any poffeffion to the Empire, or any of its members, on the left fide of the Thalweg, probably did not intend to recur to what had previously been decided; and the import of this declaration doubtless alludes only to the courfe of the Rhine from Huninguen to the grand bailiwick palatine of Guermerfheim, where the Rhine had previously formed the boundary between Germany and France, and where the reciprocal referve has been made of France
France retaining the islands on the right of the Thalweg, which at prefent belong to her. But as the actual ceffion of the left part of the Thalweg to the French republic properly begins near the grand bailiwick of Guermerfheim, as the first point of the conquered country on the left bank of the Rhine, and not at the point where Germany was previoully contiguous to France, the French government will furely make no difficulty in leaving things in the state in which they stand at prefent by the treaties and conventions relative to this part of the Rhine and its islands, and particularly to maintain the communes on the right fide which poffeffed any of thefe ifles on the left fide, in the full enjoyment of them, without interrupting their taking fuch wood as might be necessary to fupport the bank.
Concerning the free navigation of the Rhine, the deputation had already more than once manifefted their confent, by agreeing that it should be free to both nations. This confent was at the fame time accompanied with a wifh that an arrangement fhould be made jointly with Holland, to fecure the navigation of the Rhine to its mouth; but the French minifters plenipotentiary have lately declared, that they could not at prefent accede to this defire of the deputation. As fuch an arrangement with Holland would be of great importance to the Empire in a commercial view, the fuppreffion of the tolls impofed by the Batavian republic may be productive also of fome advantage, at least till the Germanic Empire, in the interval of the time fixed for the fuppreffion of the tolls on the Rhine, fhall have agreed with the Batavian republic upon fome plan for a fimilar fuppreffion of the tolls on the Rhine.
On the fubject of the road ufed in towing veffels, the deputation may confent to the fuppreffion of this addition propofed, according to what neceffity and the cafe may require, efpecially as the road ufed for this purpofe is at prefent as wide as it ufed to be.
The confent given on the fubject of the transportation of materials from the left bank to the right, cannot apply to the keeping up of the road for towing, but to the fupport of the bank; and it is hoped that the internal arrangements of the republic will not prohibit thefe materials from being obtained for fo useful and public a purpose.
It is agreed that the fuppreffion of the tolls of paffage of the Rhine fhall be ftipulated in the treaty of peace. It is only defired, that instead of fix months, a period too fhort for any new establishment, there fhould be fixed, at leaft for the accomplishment of this fuppreffion, the term of a year after the exchange of the ratification of a treaty of peace.
2. The French minifters plenipotentiary have, for the first time, demanded in their note that the toll of Elsfleth, on the Wefer, thall be fupprelled in favour of the French republic. As
this toll belongs to the Counts, now Dukes of Oldenburgh, confirmed to them by the 10th article of the treaty of Munster, is fituated in a part of Germany not occupied ; and as the deputation of the Empire can decide nothing on this point, it is left to the French republic to make an arrangement with the houfe of Holftein Oldenburgh.
The French minifters plenipotentiary have at the fame time interpofed to preseve the conftitutional existence of the Imperial cities of Hamburgh, Bremen, and Frankfort. The prefervation of these cities, and all other Imperial cities, is of the greateft confequence to the Empire in the way of its commerce. All the free Imperial cities, which form the third body of the Germanic union, are, in virtue of the conftitutional connexion, under the protection of the laws with regard to their ancient conftitutions. The deputation of the Empire confiders it as one of their first duties, as much as lies in their power, to watch over the prefervation of the ftates of the Empire and the Germanic body; and to comprehend, in the expreffion of the wishes of the French minifters, all the ftates of the Empire and thofe dependent on it.
3d. On the subject of commercial bridges it is agreed, that those which have hitherto existed on the Rhine, fhall continue to be re-established and fupported at the charge of those at whose expense they have always been upheld. With regard to thofe bridges which from this moment only fhall become common, fuch as those between Mentz and Caffel, each bank fhall be obliged to maintain that which is fituated on their fide of the Thalweg of the Rhine. With regard to the commercial bridges, which in future may be constructed according to an arrangement mutually to bet made between the oppofite banks, it is impoffible generally beforehand to give the confent of the Empire neceffary for this object, which muft ever be regulated by advantage and neceffity.
4th. The propofition of the French minifters, that the dependencies of ecclefiaftical establishments fituated on the left bank, shall belong to the Empire, is agreed to; and this difpofition is understood to extend to all pious foundations, and particularly to hofpitals, charitable establishments, univerfities, and fchools, under refervation of the particular arrangements and treaties existing, or which may be made on this fubject. The deputation are convinced, that by these means the difficulties with which every other mode would be attended will be entirely removed. At the fame time, however, in order to adhere to the principle which has been adopted in its utmost extent, the moveables of all these corporations fhall belong to the banks of the Rhine on which they are at prefent placed; and the active hofpitals, which are at prefent dependencies of them, fhall belong to the bank to the ufe of which they are applied, and where the creditor has at prefent his fixed refidence.
1. VOL. VII.