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“ne serviroit qu'à le compromettre seul, en pure perte ".18 Ewart reported that this reply had much irritated Frederick William; and the princess was aware of his change of front. What circumstance led her to believe that Great Britain was ready to intervene is matter for conjecture. Carmarthen, and still more so Pitt, had enjoined on Harris a policy of watchful but strict neutrality, and these orders were repeated on June 6. He was urged to prevent the break-up of the United Provinces, if possible ; if it occurred, he might remove from the Hague with the deputies of the seceding provinces; but England must not be committed to a policy of intervention.20

On hearing, however, of the energy and hopefulness of the Princess of Orange, Carmarthen sent the following despatch to Harris. In view of the statement of French historians—e. g., that of M. Dareste-" Il (i. e., Pitt) nous prépara un échec diplomatique en Hollande "21-it should be noticed how exceedingly cautious and pacific was the tone of the British minister:

The communication made to the King of Prussia by the Princess of Orange can certainly in no degree pledge His Majesty, and perhaps it may be attended with advantage if the general idea that this country may possibly take some share in the events now depending is conveyed in this Manner to the French Court. At the same time His Majesty's servants think that the expressions, particularly the concluding part of the last par.—“ qu'Elle prend Intérêt, que son discours au Parlement le prouve, et qu'Elle le montrera dans l'occasion "-seem to imply that H. M. had given some positive assurances that there might exist an occasion on which H. M. had already determined to take part by open interference if the constitution and independence of the Republic were in danger. I am persuaded you did not, and I hope the Princess did not, consider them as conveying this meaning, which would certainly go beyond the sentiments I have so often expressed to you and which are particularly repeated in my last despatch; that H. M.'s conduct in any future contingency must depend upon the view of many circumstances, which it has not yet been possible to ascertain, particularly the strength and exertions of the well affected part of the Republick.

He then added that Great Britain must not be involved in any intercourse which may take place between the Princess of Orange and the Prussian court; and that any arrangement between Great Britain and Prussia must depend on the international situation. The Emperor Joseph II. would be more likely to intervene effectively than Prussia.22

As has been hinted, the Dutch Question entered on a new phase when the Princess of Orange attempted to make her way into Hol

18 F. O., Prussia, no. 11, Ewart to Carmarthen, June 16 and 23. 20 Ibid., Holland, no. 14, Carmarthen to Harris, June 6, 1787. 21 Dareste, Histoire de France, VII, 112. 22 F. O., Holland, no. 15. AM. HIST. REV., VOL. XIV.-18.


land. She was stopped near Schoonhoven on the border of that province by a body of the Free Corps and was compelled by the decision of the States of Holland to return to Nimeguen. The motives which induced that princess to undertake the journey to the Hague, the change in the policy of Frederick William and of Pitt, and the discussions which ensued with France, are too complex to be set forth here. They will be recounted in the forthcoming work of the writer-" The Life and Times of William Pitt the Younger". Here it must suffice to quote some of the despatches which prove that the British government, while resolving to support the King of Prussia in his demand for complete reparation for the insult to his sister, yet continued to press for a friendly mediation of Great Britain, France and Prussia in Dutch affairs, such as had been mooted shortly before the occurrence of the incident at Schoonhoven. The following despatch of July 17, from Carmarthen to Ewart, was called forth by a report industriously circulated by Thulemeyer, and sent by him to Berlin, that in no case would England intervene by force on behalf of her partizans. The first sentence merely states that Ewart's despatch of July 7 had arrived yesterday. The despatch then continues :

No report could be falser than this—“ That His Majesty had determined not to interfere at all in the Dutch affair, or that Mr. Pitt had made any representations against it"; and it is impossible that M. de Thulemeyer (if he in fact transmitted it) could believe it to be true. Altho' His [Britannic] Majesty would never set the example of foreign interference in the domestic concerns of the Republic, he could by no means see with indifference the attempts of any other Power to destroy its independence. And in fact H. M. has instructed His Minister at The Hague to observe attentively what was going on there with a view to any measures that might contribute to the restoration of harmony and the support of the constitution. You may add that H. M.'s first step in such a business would have been a direct communication with His Prussian Majesty, who, on account of the near relationship of the Princess of Orange towards His Prussian Majesty, and of his connections as so near a neighbour to the Republic, must be deeply interested in whatever concerns her, had not H. M. received repeated accounts from The Hague that the conduct of M. de Thulemeyer had been in uniform hostility to the interests of the House of Orange, and in direct concert with the emissaries of France-a circumstance which could not but shake the opinion H. M. would naturally have formed of the King of Prussia's sentiments on those subject. But if M. de Thulemeyer has ventured to pursue the conduct he has held without authority from his Court, and H. P. M. feels an interest in the independence of the Republic, in the preservation of its constitution, and in the support of the rights of the Stadtholder, H. M. will be extremely ready to enter into a most confidential communication with His Prussian Majesty on the means of preserving the essential objects I have just mentioned.

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Carmarthen then stated that Montmorin had explicitly declared that France did not think herself authorized to intervene, as that would draw on an interference from other powers; that France desired to settle the dispute amicably by a joint mediation. His Majesty had not thought that the Province of Holland could have been so mad as not to have instantly complied with His Prussian Majesty's very just demand of reparation and punishment. Any steps His Prussian Majesty may be under the necessity of taking on this occasion must be considered as totally distinct from an open interference in the domestic affairs of the Republic (which of course will depend on other grounds), and as only requiring that satisfaction which is due from one of the Provinces for a gross insult offered to H. P. M. in the person of his sister.

Carmarthen further states that the emperor is equally concerned in restoring order to his Netherlands; and he asks whether an agreement could not be arrived at, seeing that the Patriots are SUSpected of fomenting the discontents in the Austrian Netherlands”.

“ Could such a good understanding be agreed on, there can be little doubt but the affairs of Holland would be settled in an amicable way to the satisfaction of all those who are interested in the welfare of the Republic."23

This last sentence of the draft of the despatch is in Pitt's handwriting, and it is significant that he should have appended a sentence of this markedly pacific tendency. The standpoint of the British government, therefore, was perfectly clear. One of the Dutch provinces had insulted the sister of the King of Prussia. It must apologize for that insult; and thereafter Great Britain, France, Prussia and the emperor could arrange for a joint mediation in the affairs of the United Provinces. France also did not at that time dispute the right of the Prussian monarch to gain satisfaction; and had she used her great influence in the States of Holland to procure an adequate apology, it is probable that such a mediation would have been amicably arranged. In order to gain further information on the complex constitutional questions there at issue the British government despatched Mr. William Wyndham Grenville (afterwards Lord Grenville) to the Hague, where he arrived on July 30. He was then joint paymaster of the forces and had undertaken no diplomatic duties; but his cool and practical nature qualified him for the task; and the long letters which passed between him, Pitt and others, from July 31 to August 20, when he returned, throw much light on the situation.24 They prove the urgent desire of Pitt for a peaceful solution of the problem, but also his resolve to make preparations for war in case France threatened to intervene by orce against the Prussians. In the British Foreign Office Records (France, no. 25) there is a draft of a despatch to Eden, dated Whitehall, August 10, 1787, entirely in Pitt's writing, and the official copy sent off is identical with it. Therein Pitt informed Eden of the rumored preparations by France which would thwart “the great work of conciliation which it is so much the object of the two Courts to forward and promote". He added that Great Britain would probably respond to the appeal of the loyal provinces, Friesland and Zeeland, for her intervention on their behalf, and then referred to the increasing violence of the Free Corps and the need of bringing about a complete cessation of hostilities before the mediation of the three powers could take place with effect. Eden had been authorized to propose that England and France should agree to discontinue their naval preparations until further notice; and on August 4 the French foreign minister acceded to this plan.25 But it is clear that the entry of French volunteers into the United Provinces and the excesses of the Free Corps (as notified by Harris in his urgent despatch of August 20) led the British government to take more decided measures on August 24, as will presently appear.

»F. O., Prussia, no. 11, Carmarthen to Ewart, July 17, 1787. The proposal to include the emperor as mediator was soon dropped.

24 See the Addenda in Dropmore Papers, III. 408 ff.; also two of the same letters (cut down) in the MSS. of P. V. Smith, reprinted in the Beaufort MSS., Historical Manuscripts Commission Report, XII., part ix., pp. 355-357; also the excellent monograph of Professor E. D. Adams, The Influence of Grenville on Pitt's roreign Policy (Washington, 1904).

Meanwhile the refusal of the States of Holland to accord adequate reparation to the King of Prussia led to the assembly of the expeditionary force at Wesel; but the vacillations at Berlin continued and were the cause of much perplexity to Hertzberg, Ewart and Harris. Dr. Luckwaldt has also shown that the force at Wesel was not ready to march by July 20, as M. de Witt had asserted, but was scarcely prepared by September 7, so the Duke of Brunswick averred.26 In fact, the dénouement came very slowly, owing to the influence which the French party at Berlin brought to bear on the king, and the apprehensions which he entertained of Austria. His fears of a joint attack from France and the Hapsburg Power, together with the intrigues of Finckenstein at Berlin, Thulemeyer at the Hague, and the equally Francophile Goltz at Paris, probably account for the overture which the court of Berlin sent to that of Versailles in the third week of July, with a view to a joint mediation by those two governments alone in the Dutch Question. Had the three ministers above named solely directed the course of affairs, the result would probably have been a shabby compromise. But Hertzberg, as he informed Ewart, had taken care to work on the susceptibilities of Frederick William by suggesting that any action conjointly with France would be impossible unless she consented to the following preliminary conditions: (1) a full reparation to the Prince and Princess of Orange for the insult; (2) the recognition of the Stadholder as forming an integral part of the Dutch constitution and not as a personage whose claims might be considered separately (as France had recently claimed); (3) a formal request emanating from the States General for the two powers to mediate; (4) the withdrawal of the troops of the province of Holland from the province of Utrecht, and an undertaking of Holland not to interfere with that or the other provinces; (5) the according permission immediately by the States of Holland to the princess to proceed to the Hague. Hertzberg informed Ewart that the king had accepted these conditions and that the court of Versailles would almost certainly reject them.27

25 F. O., France, no. 25, Eden to Carmarthen, August 4, 1787.

28 Luckwaldt, op. cit., p. 80, note; P. de Witt, Une Invasion Prussienne en Hollande en 1787, p. 235.

This proved to be the case. The resolve of the French court to treat the insult as a negligible affair, and to regard the Prince of Orange as almost external to the Dutch constitution made a bad impression on the Prussian monarch, so Ewart reported on August 9; and, as the States of Holland still refused the required reparation, the question of a Franco-Prussian mediation lapsed. Nevertheless there was more wavering at Berlin, owing to some indiscreet words which Eden let fall at Versailles, probably to Count Goltz, which he transmitted to Berlin, implying that he [Eden) said " that the satisfaction (for the insult] was not a point worth enforcing by arms, and that the march of the Prussian troops must be in the way of the mediation [sic]”. The report of these words, whether correct or not, produced a sensation at Berlin, and caused ministers to write at once to their envoy at London, Count Lusi, to inquire whether the British minister was about to change front. Of course it met with an entire denial; and Pitt, on September 8, sent a courteous but firm rebuke to Eden, accompanied with a request for an explanation of the incident. It is unfortunate that this part of his letter should have been omitted by the editor of the Auckland Correspondence, and quite needlessly, for in a letter of September 19 to Eden, Pitt frankly accepted Eden's explanation of “the supposed conversation between you and Baron Goltz" 28

. * F. O., Prussia, no. 11, Ewart to Carmarthen, July 17. See also Luckwaldt, op. cit., pp. 65 ff.

* The parts omitted from the Auckland Correspondence, I. 191-192, are given in the MSS. of P. V. Smith in the Beaufort MSS., Historical Manuscripts Commission Report, XII., part ix., p. 357. See also the Auckland Correspondence, I. 198.


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