Letters relating to the Treaty of Vienna (1727)

Pages 357-362

The History and Proceedings of the House of Commons: Volume 8, 1733-1734. Originally published by Chandler, London, 1742.

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From the London Gazette, of Saturday, March 4, 1726-7.

Whitehall March 4.

THIS Day Mr. Inglis, Marshal and Assistant Master of the Ceremonies, in the Absence of Sir Clement Cotterell, Master of the Ceremonies, went by his Majesty's Order to M. de Palm, the Emperor's Resident, and acquainted him, that he having, in the Audience he had of the King on Thursday last, delivered into the Hands of his Majesty a Memorial highly injurious to his Majesty's Honour, and the Dignity of his Crown; in which Memorial he has forgot all Regard to Truth, and the Respect due to his sacred Majesty; and the said Memorial being also publickly dispersed next Morning in Print, together with a Letter from the Count de Sinzendorff to him the said Palm, still more insolent and more injurious, if possible, than the Memorial; his Majesty had thereupon commanded him to declare to him the said Resident, Palm, that his Majesty looked upon him no longer as a public Minister, and required him forthwith to depart out of this Kingdom.' [See the Proceedings of the House of Commons on this Affair. Vol. I. p. 390.]

The Memorial and the Letter abovementioned, are as follows:

Memorial presented, in Latin, to the King of Great Britain, by M. de Palm, the Imperial Resident, upon the Speech which his Britannic Majesty made to the two Houses of his Parliament, on the ½ ⅞ of January, 1726-7.

Most Serene and Potent King,

As soon as the Speech made by your Majesty to the Parliament of Great Britain now assembled, came to the Knowledge of his Imperial and Catholic Majesty, my most gracious Master; he was struck with the utmost Astonishment, that your Majesty could suffer yourself to be prevailed upon to declare from the Royal Throne, to that most renowned Nation, in a manner hitherto unheard of, as certain and undoubted Facts, several Things, some of which are strained in that Speech to a wrong Sense, some are entirely distant from the Intentions of his Imperial and Catholic Majesty; and lastly, (which affect much more sensibly than all the rest) some Things absolutely void of all Foundation.

For as to what regards the Peace concluded at Vienna with the most Serene King of Spain, who can forbear being astonished, that this very Peace, which is built on the Quadruple Alliance signed at London, and other Treaties contracted with your Majesty, as its solid and sole Foundation; and for the obtaining of which Peace, your Majesty, together with your Allies, waged so bloody, so long, and so glorious a War, and took yourself so much Pains to procure, should now be alledged by your Majesty as a just Ground of Complaint, and should be made use of as a Pretence for these Things, which hitherto your Ministers have been doing in all Parts, to the great Detriment of the Emperor and the Empire, and the public Tranquillity, and should be represented by your Majesty to the British Nation, with so much Animosity against the Emperor and King of Spain, as a Violation of Treaties.

After complaining of the Peace made at Vienna, Complaint is likewise made of the Treaty of Commerce entered into with Spain, which is calculated to promote the mutual and lawful Advantages of the Subjects of both Parties, which is agreeable to the Law of Nations, and to the Customs of all People in Amity with each other; which can in no Respect be of any Prejudice to the British Nation, whether we regard the Situation of the Countries, or the particular Nature of the Trade, and which is not in the least repugnant to the Treaties made with Great Britain. So that if this Treaty he considered with a Mind free from Prejudice, and from all Design of inflaming the Nation, there will remain no Pretence to say, that this Treaty can be grievous or hurtful to a Nation for which his Imperial Majesty has the greatest Affection and Esteem, and whose glorious Exploits and important Succours no Time will efface out of his Memory.

The other Head of Complaint, which contains such Things as are void of all Foundation, relates principally to that imaginary Alliance which in the Speech is called Offensive, and is there supposed to have been made against your Majesty, between the Emperor and King of Spain. But it will not only appear how groundless and frivolous this Supposition is, from the Offer lately made by his Imperial and Catholic Majesty, of entering into a Convention, De se mutuo non Offendendo, but will be entirely refuted by the Consideration of the Tenor of the Treaty of Alliance and Friendship itself made with the Crown of Spain, and communicated in its whole Extent to your Majesty when it was proper; from the Words of which, whether the least Shadow or Appearance of an Offensive Alliance can be drawn, is submitted to the Judgment of the whole World.

Another Part of the Complaint relates to the Secret Articles made in Favour of the Pretender, whereof your Majesty asserts that you have certain and undoubted Informations, by which Articles it should have been agreed to set the Pretender on the Throne of Great Britain. With what View, on what Motive, and to what Purpose, these Informations, founded on the falsest Reports, were represented to the People of Great Britain, is not only easy to be understood by his Imperial and Catholic Majesty, but is obvious to the meanest Capacity. But since the inviolable Dignity and Honour of such Great Princes cannot suffer that Assertions of this Nature, intirely unsupported by Truth, should be advanced from the Royal Throne to the whole Nation, and to all Mankind; his Sacred Imperial and Catholic Majesty has expressly commanded me, that I should declare to your Majesty, and to the whole Kingdom of Great Britain, how highly he thinks himself affronted thereby, solemnly affirming, upon his Imperial Word, that there exists no secret Article nor Convention whatsoever, which contains, or can tend to prove the least Tittle of what has been alledged.

But that the secret Designs, which lie concealed under a Conduct 'till this Time unheard of, may more manifestly, appear, it must be observed, that the Time is purposely taken for doing this, when a Negotiation is on Foot at Paris, for composing the Differences which have arisen without any Eault of his Imperial and Catholic Majesty; which Negotiation sufficiently shews how much his Imperial and Catholic Majesty is at all Times inclined to Peace, and to the religious Observation of his Treaties.

As to what is said of Gibraltar, and concerning the Siege thereof, under which in the Speech it is insinuated, as if some other Design was concealed; the Hostilities notoriously committed in the Indies and elsewhere, against the King of Spain, in Violation of Treaties, seem to have given a very just Occasion to the King of Spain for attempting that Siege. But as to the Intentions and Engagements of the Emperor upon that Article, it is easy to see what they are, by the Treaty abovementioned, which has been communicated.

As to what is said in the last Place, concerning the Ostend Trade, which the Goodness of the Catholic King induced him to favour, (being bound by no Treaty) after he had been apprized of the just Reasons for the Establishment of it, various Expedients for a Composition have been proposed, not only at the Hague, but even lately at Paris, lest this harmless Method of providing for the Security of the Barrier, should prove an Obstacle to the common Friendship of Neighbouring Powers.

Which Things being thus, the Injury offered to Truth, the Honour and Dignity of his Sacred Imperial and Catholic Majesty require, that they should be exposed to your Majesty, to the Kingdom of Great Britain, and to the World. And his Sacred Imperial Majesty demands that Reparation which is due to him by all manner of Right, for the great Injuries which have been done him by these many Imputations.

A Letter from the Count de Sinzendorf, Chancellor of the Court to his Imperial and Catholic Majesty, sent to Mons. de Palm, the Emperor's Resident at the Court of Great Britain, dated from Vienna the 20th of February, 1727.

His Imperial and Catholic Majesty judges it indispensably necessary, upon the Step which has been lately taken in the Country where you are, to send you in the Dispatch here annex'd, a Memorial, which you are to present to the King of Great Britain, and to publish afterwards, that the whole Nation may be acquainted with it, whilst Answers are preparing to certain Pamphlets published before the opening of the Parliament.

It is easy to see that the Speech was made for no Purpose, but to excite the Nation to a Rupture, and open War with the Emperor and Spain, and to make the Parliament approve the precipitate and burthensome Measures which the Government has taken for private Ends, but too well known: That not only unwarrantable Inferences and Pretences have been made use of, but that manifest Falshoods have been boldly advanced for indisputable Facts, a Proceeding never seen before among Powers who ought to respect each other, when in the most flagrant Wars; from whence it ought to be presumed, that the King, whose Sacred Mouth ought to be an Oracle of Truth, must have been himself abused by the Suggestions and false Reports of those, who have the Honour to possess his Confidence; and who think it their Interest to inflame, by these Means, both the Prince and the Nation, for their own private Views and Personal Preservation, without any Regard to the Honour of the Majesty of the Throne, or to the Evils which may result from hence to their own Country, and to all Europe.

For these Purposes they establish a Foundation, and say down as a certain Fact, that there is a positive Article in the Treaty of Alliance between the Emperor and the King of Spain, to place the Pretender on the Throne of Great Britain, and to invade that Kingdom with open Force; and this they do, a few Days after the Minister Plenipotentiary of the Catholick King had, before his Departure from London, in a Memorial presented in the Sacred Name of his Master, publicly and in the most authentic Manner, disavowed these Imputations, which sufficiently prove the Emperor's Disavowal of the same, since the pretended Article was equally imputed to the two Powers, and one of them could not have stipulated any thing in the same Treaty without the other. Besides which, it is to be considered, that six Months ago, upon the first Reports of these false Suppositions, the Emperor and King of Spain, in order to silence them, proposed a formal Act, de non offendendo, into which all the Allies on one Side and the other might enter, and which would effectually have secured the peaceable Possessions, of each of the Powers contracting, either in the Treaty of Vienna, or that of Hanover, 'till such Time as it had been possible by one general Treaty to remove and quiet the Complaints of all Sides: But these Proposals were rendered ineffectual, by the same Views of those Persons, who chose rather to hinder the peaceable Effects of these just Designs, by Attacks and open Hostilities.

It is further known, and it is even notorious by the folemn Communication made to the King of Great Britain, of the Treaty of Peace concluded at Vienna, between the Emperor and King of Spain, that the Treaty of the Quadruple Alliance, trade at London the 2d of August, 1718, has been laid down as the unalterable Basis of their Peace; and that all the Articles of this Quadruple Alliance are therein confirmed and corroborated, as if they had been inserted anew: How then can it be supposed, and even given out as a Matter of Fact, that by another Secret Treaty, signed on the same Day, Conditions have been established, and Engagements taken entirely repugnant to the same?;

Such a Thing cannot be advanced, without insulting and injuring, in the most outrageous Manner, the Majesty of the two contracting Powers, who have a Right to demand a signal Reparation and Satisfaction proportioned to the Enormity of the Affront, which equally interests their Honour, and that Faith which ought always to be respected among Sovereign Princes.

But if those who endeavour to avail themselves of such feigned Recriminations, and to excuse themselves from the Blame which their rash and turbulent Measures deserve, imagine that this unjustifiable Conduct may at last oblige the Emperor and King of Spain, to repel Force by Force, and to defend themselves by all those Means which God has put into their Hands, from the Mischiefs with which they are threatened, and from the Insults and Attacks which have been actually made use of against them, so far that it has been even attempted to engage the Ottoman Porte in these unparallelled Designs; at least, ought they not to publish as antecedent Facts, those Things which they have Reason to apprehend may be the Consequence of a War, into which they will have forced these two Powers to enter in their own just Defence?

The Emperor and King of Spain hope however from the Divine Goodness, and from the Wisdom of Persons less prejudiced, and less passionate, that more mature and serious Reflections will be made, in order to restore amicably the public Tranquillity, and to save all Europe from the Misfortunes of a War, stirred up by Motives so trifling and groundless, which can tend to nothing but the Destruction of the Subject, of his Estate, and of his Commerce.

Their Majesties, the Emperor and the King of Spain, ardently desire the Blessing of Peace, and to observe their Treaties with all their Allies, with the strictest Fidelity: But as a mutual Contract can subsist no longer on one Side, than while it remains unbroken on the other; the evil Consequences of a Rupture, if that should happen, ought to be imputed to those alone who have been the Authors of those Infractions.

I have the Emperor's express Order to write this to you in his Name, that you may be able to destroy the Falshoods and Calumnies, which have been charged on the high contracting Parties of the Treaty of Vienna, who have no other View, but that of making Peace between themselves, without hurting any one else. I am, &c.