Studies in Eighteenth-Century Diplomacy, 1740-1748

By Richard F. Lodge | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII
THE PRELIMINARIES OF AIX-LA-CHAPELLE

Newcastle's first instructions to Sandwich--Charles Bentinck comes to borrow a million--His Mémoire Instructif--Newcastle disillusioned and indignant--Cumberland's pessimism --Second instructions authorize offer to Don Philip--Siege of Maestricht--Third instructions allow signature without allies--Newcastle to go to Hanover--Final instructions to Sandwich--Robert Keith left at The Hague--Sandwich and St. Severin--Commanding position of France--French desire of peace--Successive discussions between St. Severin and Sandwich--St. Severin's bogus story of an Austro- Spanish agreement--Drafting of the Preliminaries--Their signature by three Powers--Approval in Holland, France, and England--Protest of Sardinia--Dissatisfaction of Spain --Austrian negotiations with France--St. Severin's motives for concluding with England--Attitude of Maria Theresa-- Protests of Kaunitz--Acceptance of the Preliminaries-- Newcastle and Prussia.

NEWCASTLE was no sooner settled in his new office and freed from the humiliating necessity of secrecy than he proceeded, with his usual promptitude, to draw up instructions to Sandwich for his conduct at the approaching Congress. They were sent off on 12 February (o.s.), the very day on which Bedford received the seals and Sandwich was promoted to be First Lord. The preamble asserts that the efforts of His Majesty and his allies have preserved to Maria Theresa all her dominions in Germany and Italy, except what she has yielded by separate treaties; they have also restored the imperial dignity to the House of Austria, prepared the way for the recent Revolution in Holland, which gives weight and consistence to the Government and support to the common cause, destroyed the French marine, interrupted French trade, and deprived France of considerable territories in North America. These efforts are to be continued and even increased in the present year, but there is no hope of their renewal. For this reason it is necessary to consider the terms of a definitive peace. Its basis should be the mutual restitution of conquests,

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