HC Deb 26 January 1808 vol 10 cc100-2

No I.—Note from the Count de Starhemberg to Mr. Secretary Canning, dated London, April 18, 1807.

His majesty the emperor of Austria, king of Hungary and Bohemia, having resolved upon offering to the principal powers interested in the present war, his amicable mediation, in order by his intervention to bring on a negotiation for peace, the count de Starhemberg, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, has received orders to transmit to the ministry of his Briton-nick majesty, the accompanying Note, containing the offer of mediation which his imperial and royal majesty has caused to be presented in the same manner, and at the same time, to the cabinets of Petersburgh and of the Thuilleries, as well as to that of Berlin. In acquitting himself of this commission, the undersigned requests his excellency Mr. Canning will have the goodness to lay this offer of mediation of his imperial majesty before the king of Eng- land, and he ventures to hope that his excellency will not refuse to inform him as soon as possible of the resolutions taken by his Britannic majesty on this subject.—The count de Starhemberg embraces this opportunity to renew to his excellency the assurance of his high consideration.

(Note referred to in Number 1.)

The emperor Francis II. could not behold, without the deepest concern, the rupture which took place last autumn, between his majesty the emperor of the French, king of Italy, and his majesty the king of Prussia; and he was shortly afterwards still more painfully affected, by the extension of hostilities over a considerable part of Europe. If by observing a strict and scrupulous impartiality from the very commencement of the war, his imperial and royal apostolic majesty has had the satisfaction to maintain his system of neutrality in circumstances so critical, and to preserve his people from the ravages of war, he did not enter the less fully into the miseries which were multiplied around his states; and in his just solicitude for the tranquillity and the security of his monarchy, he could not but be sensible to the continually renewed alarms upon his frontiers, or to the fatal effects which they inevitably produced in various branches of his interior administration. The emperor, uniformly animated with the same dispositions, has had no other view from the commencement, and during the course of hostilities, than to endeavour to bring about a reconciliation, and to avail himself of every proper opportunity to put an end to the calamities of war. He judged he could not better effect this desirable result than by constantly impressing the belligerent powers with his sentiments of moderation and of conciliation, and in giving his whole attention towards producing in them a similar disposition. The reception which his first overtures to this effect have obtained, appears to announce that the moment of so desirable a reconciliation is not far distant. In the confidence inspired by so consolatory a prospect, the general welfare and the interest of his own dominions call upon his imperial majesty to offer to the belligerent powers his friendly intervention; and in consequence of this, he does not hesitate to make to his Britannick majesty, the offer of his mediation, and of his good offices.—But, in considering how very complicated and extensive the present war is become, the emperor would think that he had but imperfectly expressed his fer- vent desire for peace, and the hope of its compleat and speedy re-establishment, if he did not at the same time state the entire conviction he feels, that it is only by the united endeavours of the powers principally concerned in the war, and by a negotiation in common, which should embrace the whole of their reciprocal interests, that permanent tranquillity and a secure and solid peace can be attained, a peace which should secure the future political relations of Europe.—His imperial majesty, from that firm persuasion (which the frankness of his sentiments will not permit him to dissemble) conceives that this pacific overture should be made by him in common to those cabinets which are, in the first instance, to take a part in the conferences; and it is therefore with earnestness that he equally invites the cabinets of Petersburgh, of Berlin, and of the Thuilleries, to adopt the same conciliatory views, and to enter into negotiations for a peace, in which the essential relations of all the parties interested should, as far as is practicable, be combined.—The emperor has thus generally testified his wish for peace. He will not take upon himself to suggest the particular mode of negotiation, and still less to anticipate, the intentions of other powers, or to decide upon those measures which it may be thought necessary previously to settle, in order to determine the principles of the preliminary overtures between the belligerent powers.—Nevertheless, in the hope that this friendly offer of his interposition will be appreciated in such a manner as the rectitude of his intentions authorises him to expect, his imperial majesty is eager to propose (in order that the opening of negotiations may be facilitated by his good offices) any place in his dominions, the situation and locality of which might be reciprocally convenient, and which, from this consideration, ought not to be too near the theatre of war; and, in this respect, as in every other point, the emperor will feel pleasure in contributing to accelerate the period of so desirable a meeting.