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ionally. He said however that he should be very ready to concur
in any plan for the accommodation both of the civil and criminal
jurisprudence of the two nations to each other, but that in that
respect he could only meet me on the ground of perfect reciprocity.

The whole body of the parliament of Bordeaux has received
orders to come to Versailles without passing through Paris. Such
an act of severity in displacing so great a number of magistrates
from the seat of their most material concerns, is without example ;
but, although it is generally believed that many of them will be
exiled on account of the offensive form of their proceedings, the
main point for which they have contested will be given up to them.
The Parliament of Toulouse, whose cause is the same as that of
Bordeaux, on account of the course of the rivers in that part, has
passed a similar law in opposition to the Court. Indeed, it may
be said to be the common cause of the whole kingdom to oppose
the Crown's appropriation to itself of those lands which may
happen to be left dry by the change of the course of its rivers.

I understand that the Court of Madrid demands as a condition
of its accession to the Treaty of Alliance between France and
Holland, that the full and free navigation to the Cape and in India
should be confirmed to Spain. The mediation of this Court
between those of Madrid and Naples seems to take no very
favourable turn, altho' frequent Couriers are sent backwards and
forwards.

A few days since, the Dauphin, a ship belonging to the East
India Company, arrived at 1'Orient from China, and is said to have



1786 BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 123

brought a cargo worth five millions of livres. This event is much
spoken of, and it is said it will give a very advantageous turn to
the Company's affairs. But it is a natural reflexion to make that if
the arrival of a single ship can create much sensation it must be
proof that the condition of the Company is not very flourishing.
His Majesty arrived in perfect health on Thursday last from
Cherbourg. The Queen is expected to lie in in the course of a
few days. The Court goes into mourning that is to last three
weeks for the King of Portugal ' on Monday next.

The Marechal de Soubise * is restored to his place in the Council
from which he had been absent since the commencement of the
Cardinal de Rohan's affair. This morning the Earl of Northington
died in the city after a very long illness.

33. HAILES TO CARMARTHEN.

9 July 1786.

I was greatly surprised to find M. de Vergennes entirely

ignorant of the event that has happened in India, and the more so as
M. de Rayneval, who was present at our interview, had heard of it and
even knew the name of the ship (La Bengale) which had brought
the news of it to L'Orient. M. de Vergennes has promised me to
apply to the Marechal de Castries in order to learn from him if he
has received any account of the affair. In the mean time he has
desired me to beg your Lordship will have the goodness to trans-
mit to France such detail as Government may have received of it
in England, for the purpose of comparing the two accounts
together. M. de Vergennes assures me that he has no doubt but
that the King his Master will readily comply with His Majesty's
requisition for an enquiry to be made into the conduct of those who
may have been concerned, on the part of the French, in the dispute
and in answer to the assurances I gave him of His Majesty's firm
intensions of adhering not only to the letter but to the spirit of the
12th Article of the Definitive Treaty, in regard to the freedom of

1 Peter III, King (1777-1786), died June 25.

1 Charles de Rohan, Prince de Soubise, Marechal since 1758, head of the
House of Rohan.



124 DESPATCHES FROM PARIS 1786

French trade in India, he said that he did not apprehend that any
little mercantile disagreement, arising from the avidity natural to
that class of people, was at all likely to lessen the good understand-
ing now subsisting between the two nations ; and the more
especially, as the 13th article, which stipulates that the French shall
enjoy the liberty of trade on the coasts in our possession, in the
same manner and extent as it was formerly enjoyed by their East
India Company, is extremely clear and liable to no misinterpretation.

34. HAILES TO CARMARTHEN.

13 July 1786

M. de Vergennes has spoken to the Marechal de Castries

about the account arrived here from India of the dispute between
the English and the French, and he finds it not to be an official one.
He again expressed his desire to be made acquainted with that
which had been received in England, as soon as convenient The
ship's company of the Dauphin, lately arrived at L'Orient, brings a
complaint of the officers and men of the Harwell, which ship they
met with at Vampoo in China. Two or three of the officers of the
Barwell went one day on board the Dauphin, and, in the name of
the whole crew, challenged the French to fight. According
to M. Berard, who is at the head of the East India Company, and
from whom I learn this account, no provocation whatever had been
given to the English, and the unexpected and hostile proposal is
supposed to have been made out of jealousy of the French trade
in that quarter. The French dismissed the English officers from
their ship and declined the combat, but a few days afterwards,
part of the French crew having occasion to go on shore, they were
attacked by the English and treated as if the two nations had been
at war. Several of the French were wounded, and among the
rest a lieutenant of the name of Vigoureux. Nothing of this
circumstance has been mentioned to me at Versailles

35. HAILES TO CARMARTHEN.

20 July 1786.

It has been currently reported for some days past that the



1786 BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 125

Stock of the East India Company was to be increased either by a
loan or by the creation of an additional number of shares but I have
good reason to believe that such reports have been fabricated only
for the purpose of stockjobbing, that practice being now carried on
to so ordinate an extent, that the mercantile people begin to lose
all confidence in each other ; and there can be no doubt, should it
continue, that it will have the most fatal effects upon the commerce
of the country. The manoeuvres that are employed in raising and
bringing down the prices of Stocks in this City are endless and
often in the highest degree extraordinary. And, as it is worthy
remark that although it be known that an operation, depending
solely upon the will of a minister, may be changed from day to day,
yet so great is the confidence of the speculators in their own
opinions and information, that they risk everything upon them. I
was assured yesterday by a person employed in one of the most
capital mercantile houses in Paris that the contagion of public
gaming was becoming so universal that he no longer knew whom
to trust to. Individuals were one day possessed of immense
fortunes and the next reduced to insolvency, and that very often to
the ruin of many honest and industrious families. People of the
highest rank, depending upon the means of better information, are
also deeply concerned in these speculations, and contribute much
to the detriment of trade and credit.

The existence of a Treaty of Commerce between the King of
Prussia and the United States has always been considered as very
problematical here, and M. de Vergennes, but a short time ago,
was entirely ignorant of it. I can now assure your Lordship, with
great certainty, that the ratification of that Treaty is daily expected
in Europe.

On Sunday last the Marechal de Castries delivered a letter to the
King, which he had just received from M. de la Peyrouse, l dated
the 15th of November last, from the Island of St. Catherine on
the coast of Brazil. That officer speaks of no new discovery, nor
of any thing important having happened during his voyage. Both

1 Jean Francois Galaup de la Perouse, (1741-1787) famous navigator.



126 DESPATCHES FROM PARIS 1786

the ships companies were in good health, and they left the Island
of St. Catherine on the 17th of the same month.

Everything wears an appearance of the most profound tranquil-
lity, and I have the greatest pleasure in repeating the wish His
Majesty did me the honour to express to me a few days since for
its continuance. In speaking of his late journey, he said he had
been told that the cannon at Cherbourg had been heard as far as
the Isle of Wight. He was pleased to add " II fait bon de les
entendre comme cela, et j'espere ce sera bien longtemps avant
qu'on les entendra autrement. " The expenses of the journey to
Cherbourg, as I am credibly informed including the presents made
by the King, amount to no more than twelve thousand pounds
sterling. Another journey to Brest is spoken of for next year but
without any certainty.

36. HAILES TO CARMARTHEN,

27 July 1786.

The objects recommended to my attention by your Lordship's
letter by Lauzun, and particularly that of the accession of Spain to
the Treaty of Alliance between this Court and Holland, have for
some time past been the occasion of much enquiry amongst the
Ministers of the different Courts residing here. The opinions of
those whom I have found disposed to converse upon the subject
have always been consonant to that which I had formed myself,
which is that the Court of Madrid, seeing that France makes so
great a point of their joining in the Alliance, is determined to take
advantage of the eagerness of the French Minister, and to obtain
some sort of advantage for their complaisance. Of what nature
this advantage is (supposing the conjecture well founded) we are
yet to learn, but your Lordship may rest assured that I shall use
my best endeavours to find it out, or whatever may be the real
cause of this impediment to the gratification of the wishes of the
French Ministry.

M. de Vergennes has certainly declared that Spain was the only
power in Europe for whom an accession to the Treaty could be
suitable, and the well-grounded policy of avoiding everything



1786 BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 127

that might wear the appearance of a league has no doubt made
him meet the overtures of the King of Sweden with so little cord-
iality. Notwithstanding the steady attachment of the King of
Sweden to the French, and all the little arts to which he has con-
descended in order to captivate the public opinion whilst he was in
this country, he certainly left it without having made any impression
in his favour, and it seems reasonable to conclude that his late
declaration at the Hague, by His Minister, of his never having
desired to acceed to the Treaty of Alliance, after all the fruitless
steps which he had taken for that purpose, has not tended to raise
his reputation here either for prudence or fair-dealing. His failure
in his undertakings at the late Diet has been spoken of too, as
owing to little foresight and judgement, and as ill an opinion is
entertained of his domestic as of his foreign Politics. With respect
to his ambassador, the Baron de Stael, it is agreed by every one
that he is a person of a very mean capacity ; and, as it cannot be
expected that the affairs of Sweden will be much advanced by him,
I am inclined to think that no great confidence is reposed in him.

What I had the honour of observing to your Lordship in my last
respecting the East India Company is verified by the event, and no
loan or augmentation of stock is likely to take place this year.

The King has received the Parliament of Bordeaux, and has
ordered that body to lay its registers before the Committee appoin-
ted for their examination. To-day they will have a second aud-
ience, when His Majesty's pleasure will be farther made known.

The Marechal de Castries, at the instance of M. de Vergennes,
has at last consented to the giving an account of the deductions
made from the value of the ships agreed to be restored to the
English owners. The papers stating those deductions have been
delivered by me to M. Perregaux, in order to their being forwarded
to the several claimants.

37. HAILES TO CARMARTHEN

3 August 1786.

The affair of the Parliament of Bordeaux, which has for

some time past engrossed the attention of the public, was concluded



128 DESPATCHES FROM PARIS 1786

on Saturday last to the entire satisfaction of that magistracy. The
King entered himself in the most particular manner into the inves-
tigation of the business, and after having reprimanded the Parl-
iament for their want of respect in their language and proceedings
told them that, although he allowed the Sovereign Courts of his
kingdom to represent their grievances to him, he would never suffer
them to interfere with his authority, or to annihilate laws which he
thought fit to establish for the happiness of his people. He then
ordered the letters patent to be read. They annul the Arret of the
Parliament of Bordeaux of the 19th of May, which had been
published in opposition to his first letters patent. But they also
fully declare that the rights of proprietors of the banks of rivers
were fully secured to them, and that it had never been His Majesty's
intention, in any shape, to invade them. With respect to some
other points of much less importance than upon the Registers of
Parliament, the King, attributing to himself the sole cognizance of
them, laid his positive commands on that Body not to interfere.
Thus, by a just and reasonable concession on the part of the Court,
an affair is terminated, which, had it been persisted in, might have
raised a ferment in the Kingdom, which, in all probability, it would
not have been easy to compose. It is farther observable, with
regard to this event, that, notwithstanding it has been formally
declared in some of the Foreign public papers that the Duke of
Polignac was not at all interested in the grants of the lands against
which the opposition of the Parliament had so naturally been
directed, there is the greatest reason to believe that it was solicited
by him and his friends. It seems equally probable too that, not-
withstanding the good grace with which the Court has yielded on
this occasion, there still remains the painful impression of a failure
in a measure precipitately undertaken, and in which the will of the
sovereign has been successfully opposed.

I continue to use my best endeavours, according to your Lord-
ship's instructions, to learn whether anything has been done
towards the accession of Spain to the Treaty of Alliance between
France and Holland, but I find all those who are likely to be
informed unanimous in their opinion that M. de Vergennes and



1786 BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 129

M. D'Aranda ' do not advance in their negotiation of that business.
I can with more confidence assure your Lordship that, whatever
may be the difficulties into which the King of Sweden has precipit-
ated himself, he will meet with no assistance from this quarter, for
I know that the Minister was heard to declare the other day that
France had been already too much the dupe of her former ally.

I conceive thatM.de Simolin 8 has received very pressing instruc-
tions from his Court to obtain every possible degree of information
respecting the progress of the Commercial Treaty now in negot-
iation here between France and England, for he appears uncom-
monly inquisitive and solicitous about it.

Letters have been received here recently from India overland
bringing an account of the English Company, amounting to twenty
thousand Sepoys and three thousand Europeans, having marched
into and taken the province of Oude.

38. HAILES TO CARMARTHEN,

10 August 1786.

The account of the atrocious attempt 3 made on the person of our
most excellent sovereign arrived at Paris on Sunday last in a letter
from the Chevalier del Campo to the Spanish ambassador. Your
Lordship's dispatch acquainting me with that shocking event I re-
ceived early on the following day, and I want expressions to convey
to you the horror which the account inspired me with. It is equally
impossible for me to describe the joy I felt at your Lordship's
assurance that, by the blessing of God, His Majesty had not received
the least injury. It is an increase of satisfaction to be able to
assure your Lordship of the concern shewn at this event by all
ranks of people in this metropolis, and of the unfeigned pleasure
which manifested itself when it was known that his Majesty had
not been hurt.

1 Don Pedro Pablo Abaraca of Boleo, Count of Aranda, (1718-1799) was Span-
ish Ambassador at Paris.

1 Ambassador of Russia at Paris.

3 On August 2, 1786, an attempt was made to stab George III at the gate of
St. James's by a mad woman named Margaret Nicholson.



DESPATCHES FROM PARIS 1786

39. HAILES TO CARMARTHEN,

10 August 1786

The body of East India correspondence, which your Lordship
has done me the honour to communicate to me, and which accom-
panied your last dispatch, I have received and perused with the
greatest attention. I shall follow your directions on every point
recommended in your letter, and I have already cautioned Mr. Eden
as to the touching upon the East India commercial arrangements
with the French Ministry, till he has read the papers your Lordship
has been pleased to send me. As I have occasionally the means
of conversing with M. Berard of the French East India Company,
I do not neglect to draw from him whatever information I can,
with respect to its affairs. I had yesterday an opportunity of
speaking to him upon the subject of them, and, as I affected to be
entirely uninformed of any particulars of the late transaction in the
Ganges, I asked him how that affair happened. He told me very
openly that M. Dangereux, the French Agent in Bengal, had (as
our Governor and Council there have concluded) dispatched the
two vessels, the Auguste Victor and the Esperance, up the river
for the sole purpose of trying the question of right to pass the forts
unsearched, and of bringing it to issue. The French, in general,
as I learn from the same authority, are by no means satisfied with
their Agent, and it is well known here that he is a man of the most
violent disposition, and very likely to occasion much misunder-
standing between the two Countries.

I believe there is no Minister in the Cabinet that looks with so
jealous an eye on our superiority in India as the Marechal de
Castries, who I think would go farther to raise the French interest
from the state of subjection in which it languishes at present. I
judge of this disposition in him in some measure from short and
unconnected conversations I have had with his son the Due de
Castries. ' But there wants no public proofs of the Marechal's
vigilance and attention to every thing that concerns that part of

1 Armand Charles Augustin Due de Castries (1756-1842). Fought a duel with
Charles de Lameth.



1786 BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 131

the world. It is from this idea that I am led to suspect that
M. Dangereux, whatever may be his natural temper, would never
have ventured to go the lengths he has done, if he was not backed
by some extraordinary Ministerial instructions and support from
Europe, and it appears not improbable that they may be afforded
by the Minister of Marine.

There is a person at this time in Paris from whose abilities and
particular knowledge of our affairs in India I cannot but entertain
some apprehension. This person is Mr. Boltz, formerly in the
service of the Emperor, and entrusted with the direction of his
East India Company, so long as it lasted. Mr. Boltz, during the
late war, had two ships taken from him on their return from India
by the French, and altho' the Courts of Law have decided that
their value shall be restored to him, the Minister of Marine has
hitherto withheld the payment, and has only granted to Mr. Boltz a
sauf conduit to protect him from his creditors, who, I am told, are
chiefly English, and who were concerned in the cargoes of his
ships to nearly two thirds of their value. Whether this delay of
justice proceeds from the Minister or the Merchant, or from the
collusion of both, I know not, but it appears that the English cred-
itors are likely to be great sufferers by it. Mr. Boltz, in the mean
time, I am assured, enjoys the confidence of the Marechal de
Castries, and, as there is reason to think that his long residence in
India may make him a useful counsellor to the French Minister, I
cannot help expressing my wishes that some means might be found
that could detach him from the interest of this country.

There has existed for several years a discussion between France
and Spain relative to the frontier of the two Kingdoms, at the foot
of that part of the Pyrenees called the Pays de Basques. But it
was not until very lately that the line could be agreed upon and
settled definitely by the Commissioners which had been appointed
by the respective Courts for that purpose. A district held by
France for upwards of four centuries, near twelve leagues in length,
and tho' naturally unproductive rendered by the industry of its
inhabitants uncommonly fertile, is ceded to the Spanish Monarchy
by this demarcation. It is farther remarkable that there is now on



132 DESPATCHES FROM PARIS 1786

this territory a quantity of wood capable of supplying the whole
navy of France, and the inhabitants of it have at all times shewn
themselves uncommonly attached to the French Government.
Those who are acquainted with this circumstance are at a loss to
guess what could induce the Minister to suffer such a dismember-
ment, as hitherto the Spanish Government has never made any
demands that bear any proportion to a sacrifice of so much conse-
quence. I have learnt from a gentleman of the country, who has
lately remonstrated with the Minister on this subject, that the
Marquis d'Ornano (a Corsican), the Commissary employed on the
part of France, is suspected of having been bribed by the Spanish
negotiator. Perhaps, but what I offer is merely surmise, this extra-
ordinary facility on the part of the French government may be
owing to their wish to forward as much as possible the accession
of Spain to the Treaty of Alliance ; and the more so as it appears
that the Dutch continue firm in their resolution not to allow the
Spaniards the passage of the Cape to the Indian seas.

40. HAILES TO CARMARTHEN,

16 August 1786.

I have the honour to inclose to your Lordship a letter which I
received some days since from M. de Vergennes in answer to one
which I wrote to that Minister, acquainting him with the last
atrocious attempt on His Majesty's sacred person, and enclosing
the Gazette extraordinary published on that occasion. The Court
of Naples has deputed a confidential person, of the name of Brissac,
a native of France or of French parents, to their Court, in order to
endeavour to forward the reconciliation which France has under-
taken to mediate between their Most Catholic and Sicilian Majesties,
but I do not find that any progress has hitherto been made towards
the attainment of that much desired object. The negotiation be-
tween France and Spain for the accession of the latter to the Treaty
of Alliance still continues, according to the best information that I
can obtain, in the same state as when I had last the honour to
write to your Lordship on the subject.

By a gentleman very lately arrived in a Corvette at L'Orient from



1786 BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 133

Pondicherry I learn that there is but one regiment at that place,
and that there was no expectation of any increase of military
force there.

41. HAILES TO CARMARTHEN.

24 August 1786.

There is lately arrived in Paris a person of the name of Culan

(the Marquis de Culan, if I am rightly informed) who has resided
eleven years in different parts of India, and who is presumed to
possess more knowledge of that part of the world than anyone
employed under the French government. The language held by this
gentleman on board the ship on which he returned to Europe, and
in which there were several English passengers, was full of affected
contempt of the British military force and discipline in India. But
I learn from good authority that, at his interview with the Ministers
at Versailles, the opinions he gave were of a totally opposite nature,
and that he declared himself fully convinced that it was impossible
for France to make, openly, any attack upon the firm and consol-
idated power of Great Britain in India. But it appears highly
important that your Lordship should be informed that this same
person has given it also as his opinion that the British Empire in
Asia is by no means invulnerable on another side, and that by a


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