Do you believe it was inevitable that the Peace of Amiens (1802) would eventually break down?

Mar 2016
727
Australia
#1
Do you think is was an inevitable clash of conflicting politics and ideology that meant there would never be permanent peace between Revolutionary/Napoleonic France and the United Kingdom, or you do you think that with a bit more compromise and level-headed leadership on both sides the peace could have held and there would be no Napoleonic Wars?
 
Likes: Futurist
Feb 2019
210
Serbia
#2
If Napoleon was leading France and was still as ambitious as he was then no, there could be no long-lasting peace. The treaty was full of flaws and Britain and France violated it on several occasions. Britain refused to return Malta to the Knights of St. John, breaking the treaty and refused further compromise when Talleyrand offered a 20 year lease of Malta as a base. Napoleon built up his forces and sent naval expeditions to Haiti, Louisiana and the West Indies as well as aiming to expand and isolate Britain from the continent. Directly threatening Britain and its interests. Britain was also outraged when Napoleon took over Switzerland and further flaws of the treaty were the facts that the fate of Piedmont and the Low Countries remained unresolved. For there to be peace it would've needed a whole new treaty with different terms, while the common people welcomed the peace and aristocracy of Britain flocked to France many politicians were unsatisfied with the treaty (For good reasons.) and as time passed more and more realised that there couldn't be peace with the Amiens settlement. Britain would also hardly tolerate a strong France which threatened to isolate it from the continent and could and did threaten the established order in Europe. Maybe the peace would've lasted longer if both sides miraculously accepted the terms of the treaty but as it was the dissatisfaction and unresolved points as well as the interest of both Britain and France conflicting in several fields would lead to a new war as I think the problems were simply too great to resolve diplomatically.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,537
SoCal
#3
Do you think is was an inevitable clash of conflicting politics and ideology that meant there would never be permanent peace between Revolutionary/Napoleonic France and the United Kingdom, or you do you think that with a bit more compromise and level-headed leadership on both sides the peace could have held and there would be no Napoleonic Wars?
I think that this peace could have held, but it would have required either restraint on both sides or an unusually conciliatory and forgiving attitude on one side.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,485
#4
None of the provsions about Malta were even vaguely workable, the Order had been decaying for some time and was basically non functional. Also once France and Spain took heir reveneues in those countries it simply did not have the revenue to Garrison Malta. Naples was hardly a strong state. You were left with some vague multi-nation guarantee that was basically worthless. There was no real way of making it a functionally strong neutral state. If Britain gave it up in it's weakened state it was prone tyo be quickly siezed by any agressive power.Britain was very reluctant to give it up and perhaps would have been much better off making it a unconditional demand.

The British were very unhappy with the treaty, it was a function of a weak government, the moment there was stronger leadership the unhappyness would be much more irritating and unacceptable. British commitmnet to a lastig peace on these terms was very thin at best, they wanted peace but these terms were not very acceptable at the moement of the treaty being signed. The british did disarm to a reaonable degree which is a sign of some commitioment to trying a lasting peace, but it was not strong, and would be less so once the Government changed.

Napoloen's nature. His "Hegemonistic" streak. Not that he was nessacarily planning on conquering the world, but once he partial control of something, his instinct was the thing needed to fix whatever the problems were was more of his control. Napoleon was very opportunistic/tactical in treaties rather than strategic it's what he could obtain from his current advanatges, rather than what was workable (and his not alone in this regard but more pronounced) and once the treaty was signed, he had a very "real polticics" approiach, this is in my sphere of influence, France is the big dog, other powers will just have to accept French adjustments regardless of what the letter of the treaty says.

Britain feeling somewhat unhappy woith the treaty quickly become more so as Napoleon revised and used the advantages of Amiens and Luneville to effectively expand and bring more regions very much under his direst control. His curt dismissal of any British protests or questioning was that the Continent was no affair of the British nor was Luneville treaty, certainly rankled and made British convinced there was no real commitment on Napoleon's part. Some of this may be differing perceptions of what these treaty provsions actually meant. Other powers took respecting the indepeence of Italay, Switerland and Holland as whiel be in tehFrech sphere they would not have french garrasions and be totally under French control, buffer state clients. Napoleon's view was they were in the French sphere he could do what he willed.

Given that niether side had much commitment a lasting peace, and their differing interpretations of what the treaties meant, teh slide back to war was very highly likely given the nature of Brittan and Napoleon.
 
Likes: Futurist
Feb 2019
210
Serbia
#5
None of the provsions about Malta were even vaguely workable, the Order had been decaying for some time and was basically non functional. Also once France and Spain took heir reveneues in those countries it simply did not have the revenue to Garrison Malta. Naples was hardly a strong state. You were left with some vague multi-nation guarantee that was basically worthless. There was no real way of making it a functionally strong neutral state. If Britain gave it up in it's weakened state it was prone tyo be quickly siezed by any agressive power.Britain was very reluctant to give it up and perhaps would have been much better off making it a unconditional demand.

The British were very unhappy with the treaty, it was a function of a weak government, the moment there was stronger leadership the unhappyness would be much more irritating and unacceptable. British commitmnet to a lastig peace on these terms was very thin at best, they wanted peace but these terms were not very acceptable at the moement of the treaty being signed. The british did disarm to a reaonable degree which is a sign of some commitioment to trying a lasting peace, but it was not strong, and would be less so once the Government changed.

Napoloen's nature. His "Hegemonistic" streak. Not that he was nessacarily planning on conquering the world, but once he partial control of something, his instinct was the thing needed to fix whatever the problems were was more of his control. Napoleon was very opportunistic/tactical in treaties rather than strategic it's what he could obtain from his current advanatges, rather than what was workable (and his not alone in this regard but more pronounced) and once the treaty was signed, he had a very "real polticics" approiach, this is in my sphere of influence, France is the big dog, other powers will just have to accept French adjustments regardless of what the letter of the treaty says.

Britain feeling somewhat unhappy woith the treaty quickly become more so as Napoleon revised and used the advantages of Amiens and Luneville to effectively expand and bring more regions very much under his direst control. His curt dismissal of any British protests or questioning was that the Continent was no affair of the British nor was Luneville treaty, certainly rankled and made British convinced there was no real commitment on Napoleon's part. Some of this may be differing perceptions of what these treaty provsions actually meant. Other powers took respecting the indepeence of Italay, Switerland and Holland as whiel be in tehFrech sphere they would not have french garrasions and be totally under French control, buffer state clients. Napoleon's view was they were in the French sphere he could do what he willed.

Given that niether side had much commitment a lasting peace, and their differing interpretations of what the treaties meant, teh slide back to war was very highly likely given the nature of Brittan and Napoleon.

While I don't disagree with this I would like to comment on Malta. My point was not if it was valuable for Britain or if the fate of Malta was concluded well (It wasn't.) but that Britain broke that part of the treaty. From a strategic viewpoint it makes sense that Britain would keep it and that they refused to give it up. The guarantee of independence was indeed vague and minor, to avoid confusion I managed to find the original text in some places, primarily here:

The Treaty of Amiens 1802

Official text - Treaty of Amiens, March 25, 1802 - Napoleon & Empire

The bold-underlined text are my personal comments and not part of the original treaty. The 10th article that deals with Malta states:


Article X.


The islands of Malta, Gozo, and Comino, shall be restored to the order of St. John of Jerusalem to be held on the same conditions, on which it possessed them before the war, and under the following stipulations.


1. The knights of the order whose Langues shall continue to subsist after the exchange of the ratification of the present treaty, are invited to return to Malta, as soon as the exchange shall have taken place. They shall there form a general chapter, and proceed to the election of a grand master, chosen from among the natives of those nations which are to preserve their Langues, unless that election has been already made since the exchange of the preliminaries.


It is understood that an election made subsequent to that epoch, shall alone be considered valid, to the exclusion of any other that have taken place at any period prior to that epoch.


2. The governments of the French republic, and of Great Britain, desiring to place the order and island of Malta in a state of entire independence with respect to themselves, agree that there shall not be in future either a French or an English Langue; and that no individual belonging to either the one or to the other of these powers shall be admitted into the order.


3. There shall be established a Maltese Langue, which shall be supported by the territorial revenues and commercial duties of the island. This Langue shall have its peculiar dignities, an establishment and a mansion-house. Proofs of nobility shall not be necessary for the admission of knights of the Langue; and they shall be moreover admissible to all offices, and shall enjoy all privileges, in the same manner as the knights of the other Langues. At least half of the municipal, administrative, civil, judicial, and other employments depending on the government, shall be filled by inhabitants of the islands of Malta, Gozo, and Comino.


4. The forces of his Britannic majesty shall evacuate the island, and its dependencies, within three months from the exchange of the ratifications, or sooner if possible. At that epoch it shall be given up to the order in its present state, provided the grand master, or commissaries, fully authorized according to the statutes of the order, shall be in the island to take possession, and that the force which is to be provided by his Sicilian majesty, as is hereafter stipulated, shall have arrived there.
Britain broke this part full-stop as they did not evacuate, regardless if it was sensible to do so or not.

5. One half of the garrison at least shall always be composed of native Maltese; for the remainder, the order may levy recruits in those countries only which continue to possess the Langues. The Maltese troops shall have Maltese officers. The commandership in chief of the garrison, as well as the nomination of the officers, shall pertain to the grand master, and this right he cannot resign even temporarily, except in favour of a knight, and in concurrence with the advice of the council of the order.


6. The independence of the isles Malta, of Gozo, and Comino, as well as the present arrangement, shall be placed under the protection and guarantee of France, Great Britain, Austria, Spain, Russia, and Prussia.
This is the guarantee, no one really followed it to begin with.

7. The neutrality of the order and of the island of Malta, with its dependencies, is hereby proclaimed.


8. The ports of Malta shall be opened to the commerce and the navigation of all nations, who shall there pay equal and moderate duties : these duties shall be applied to the maintenance of the Maltese Langue, as specified in paragraph 3, to that of the civil and military establishments of the island, as well as to that of a general lazaret, open to all colours.


9. The states of Barbary are excepted from the conditions of the preceding paragraphs, until, by means of an arrangement to be procured by the contracting parties, the system of hostilities, which subsists between the states of Barbary, and the order of St. John, or the powers possessing the Langue, or concurring in the composition of the order, shall have ceased.


10. The order shall be governed, both with respect to spirituals and temporals, by the same statutes which were in force when the knights left the isle, as far as the present treaty does not abrogate them.


11. The regulations contained in the paragraphs 3, 5, 7, 8, and 10, shall be converted into laws ,and perpetual statutes of the order, in the customary manner; and the grand master, or, if he shall not be in the island, at the time of its restoration to the order, his representative, as well as his successors, shall be bound to take an oath for their punctual observance.


12. His Sicilian majesty shall be invited to furnish 2000 men, natives of his states, to serve as a garrison in the different fortresses of the said islands. That force shall remain one year, to bear date from their restitution to the knights; and if, at the expiration of this term, the order should not have raised a force sufficient, in the judgement of the guarantying powers to garrison the island and its dependencies, as is specified in the 5th paragraph, the Neapolitan troops shall continue there until they shall be replaced by a force deemed sufficient by the said powers. Naples' protection was apparently temporary, however we can only guess if the other powers would've stuck to this provision.


13. The different powers designated in the 6th paragraph, to wit, France, Great Britain, Austria, Spain, Russia, and Prussia, shall be invited to accede to the present stipulations.
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
8,485
#6
While I don't disagree with this I would like to comment on Malta. My point was not if it was valuable for Britain or if the fate of Malta was concluded well (It wasn't.) but that Britain broke that part of the treaty. From a strategic viewpoint it makes sense that Britain would keep it and that they refused to give it up. The guarantee of independence was indeed vague and minor, to avoid confusion I managed to find the original text in some places, primarily here:

The Treaty of Amiens 1802

Official text - Treaty of Amiens, March 25, 1802 - Napoleon & Empire

The bold-underlined text are my personal comments and not part of the original treaty. The 10th article that deals with Malta states:
The Order was not recreated. How can you hand the Island over to non-exisistnet order? Now was the Order a signatory, how could this treaty dictate the rules and elections of the Order. And as the Order was technically under the Russsian crown why was the Russians not consulted?

The Powers alledgedly guaranteeing the independence of Malta, were not signatories to the treaty how were they going to bound by it?
 
Likes: Futurist