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Among many other instances of misrepresentation and falsehood employed for this purpose, a curious specimen of JACOBIN FORGERY may be seen in the Collection of State Papers on the War, published by DEBRETT:— the first page of which exhibits a pretended Treaty of Pavia, between Austria, Russia, Prussia, and Spain, containing a detailed and most extraordinary Plan for dismembering France, and dividing among themselves a large part of Europe. The object of this Fabrication cannot be mistaken : the conclusion which it is intended the Reader should diaw from it, is evidently this, – that France, in successively attacking all those Powers, and in afterwards declaring War, without any visible provocation, against Great Britain and Holland, was in fact acting defensively, and resisting a pre-concerted and long prepared aggression against herself.
The Forgery is, however, so gross and clumsy, that it is not easy to conjecture what Class of Politicians it was meant to deceive.
The Treaty is alledged to have been concluded in July 1791, at Pavia, a town in Italy, and it is signed “LEOPOLD," - "PRINCE NASSAU,” “ Count FLORIDA BLANCA,” - “ BISCHOPS WERDER.”
The mere comparison of these Dates and Signatures, would alone abundantly suffice to detect the imposture; since of the four persons there named, it may be easily ascertained that only two were in any part of Italy in 1791 ; and that no one of the four was at Pavia.
The Names, however, contain other obvious and indisputable proofs of Forgery. For instance, who is there so ignorant, as not to know that the Signature of a sovereign is never interchanged in a Public Instrument, with those of the Ministers of the Princes with whom he
treats? This blunder is decisive. The next is not less so. Any person acquainted with the usages of the Continent, must know that Prince Nassau is not the true Signature of the person here intended. That person is, besides, a Frenchman, a Foreigner in Russia, and could not therefore have been employed to sign any Public Treaty in the name of the EMPRESS, or to fill any diplomatic situation under her Government, without a breach of a declared rule of Policy, adopted at the first moment of her acces. sion, as a contrast to the conduct of her Predecessors, and never once deviated from, in the whole period of her reign.
Add to all this, that this Prince of NASSAU was not in Italy at all in 1791; that in the month of July of that year, instead of negotiating at Pavia, he was cruizing with the Russian Flotilla in the Baltic ; – that Count FLORIDA BLANCA was then First Minister in Spain; that the duties of his situation did not allow him to leave that Country; and that from the date of his appointment to that of his disgrace, his journies from Madrid extended only to St. Ildefonso or the Escurial :and lastly, that General BISCHOPS WERDER, the only one of these pretended Plenipotentiaries who was in Italy in 1791, did not then go to Pavia, and certainly signed no Treaties there, or elsewhere, with any Russian or Spanish Minister,
All this, however, though a detection against which the inost hardened impostors would blush to defend themselves, is nothing in comparison with the internal proofs of Forgery which the contents of the Articles themselves afford. To judge of these, does indeed require some knowledge of the past, and some general idea of the present state and interests of Europe: and, to persons so qualified, it is presurned that this Forgery was not ad
dressed. Otherwise, we should not have heard of Alsace being to be restored to the Empire, or of the ArchDUCHESS CHRISTINE being selected by the EMPEROR to hold the Hereditary Dominion of Lorraine, and to hold it conjointly with her Nephew; if indeed to those words any meaning whatever can be given. We should not be told, that the King of SARDINIA is the nearest descendant of the antient Dauphins ! - or that on such descent he founds, or could found, any claim to Dauphiny. Still less should we find the King of PRUSSIA stipulating that the House of Austria should keep Bavaria, which it never had, should acquire Alsace and Lorraine, and should make new Conquests on the Porte; and all this precisely at the moment when Prussia and her Allies were arming to oblige the EMPEROR to restore to Turkey the few Conquests he had already made. We should not have found Austria and Prussia contriving how to place a line of Russian Princes on the Throne of Poland, or the three Powers conspiring to make that Throne hereditary; — a Revolution the most contrary to all their interests, and the mere apprehension of which, occasioned their subsequent interference, and was the immediate, (though wholly unjustifiable) cause of the final Partition of the Polish Territories.
In addition to all these extravagant absurdities, it is asserted, in a Note annexed to this pretended Treaty, that Great Britain and Holland acceded to it in March 1792, namely, at the very time when the King of France actually sent over to this Country M. TALLEYRAND, now Minister for Foreign Affairs at Paris, and his pupil M. CHAUVELIN, charged with a Letter to the King of ENGLAND, thanking him for his steady adherence to his generous and impartial system of Neutrality; a Letter which has since been printed and is to be found in M. NECKAR's Work on the French Revolution.
To all this body of contradiction, nothing is opposed but the bare assertion of the Anonymous Editor of DeBRETT's State Papers. It should here be observed, that no Collection of this description can claim the smallest credit, or bear cven the semblance of impartiality, unless care be taken to rcfer the Reader, in every instance to the Authority on which euch Paper is inserted in it. This usual attention to accuracy has not, however, been omitted without design, in the Work in question, containing so many garbied Papers, and so many which are wholly spurious.
From that Work, or froin some other source of equal authority, this pretended Treaty of Pavia has been transcribed, as an authentic document of History, into the New Annual Register. * The good sense of the Public revolted at it; and the Editors were universally censured for giving sanction and currency to so shameless a fabrication. They were however unwilling to retract it, because it served the Party purposes of that most partial and wretched of all Compilations. To support it by argument was impossible :- they, therefore, in their next Volume, † had resource to a new and curious expedient: they assumed that some Treaty of Pavia must necessarily have existed, because they had published one which never could exist; and they called upon the Combined Powers, as they were pleased to style them, to declare in their own defence what were the contents of the real Treaty. These
* See New Annual Register for 1792, p. 119. + See ditto for 1793, p. 76
Gentlemen publish a groundless Libel on their own King, and on all the principal Sovereigns of Europe. The charge is proved to be absurd, inconsistent and false : not a tittle of evidence is found to support it. Instead of disavowing the Forgery, and apologizing for its insertion, they modestly demand that, for the important purpose of confuting their calumnies, the EMPEROR of GERMANY, the EMPEROR of Russia, the King of ENGLAND, and the Kings of SPAIN and Prussia, shcuid publish to the world the tenour of all Secret Engagements they may have contracted with each other. In default of which, or if, as in the present case, there should be none such to produce, all the said EMPERORS and Kings are to stand convicted of having signed any Treaty which the Writers of the New Annual Register think proper to publish as genuine. This is true JACOBIN Justice ;-he justice of Revolutionary Tribunals, or the “ Hellish Justice” (as, I think, Lord COKE calls it) of VIRGIL's Rhadamanthus, who first punishes the Defendant, then hears him, and then compels him to plead guilty to his Charge.*
Your Readers will probably think, that much more has been said than was necessary, to disprove the authenticity of this pretended Agreement between Powers, who, it is well known, were at the time alledged, not only not acting in any concert, but several of them on the very point of declaring War against each other. Unfortunately, every day's experience shows, and in no instance more than in the artifices used to palliate or disguise the Aggressions of France, that the gross absurdity or manifest inconsistency of a calumny, affords no sécurity against its pre
• Castigatque, auditque dolos, subigitque fateri,