A Narrative on Dwarfs and Giants: The Batavian Republic and the Franco-Anglo Peace
Tilburg University - Department of Public Law, Jurisprudence & Legal History; Tilburg Law School
IN THE EMBRACE OF FRANCE: THE LAW OF NATIONS AND CONSTITUTIONAL LAW IN THE FRENCH SATELLITE STATES OF THE REVOLUTIONARY AND NAPOLEONIC AGE (1789-1815), R.C.H. Lesaffer, R.M.H. Kubben and B.C.M. van Erp-Jacobs, eds., Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlag, 2007
Tilburg University Legal Studies Working Paper No. 001/2007
The ideal of legal equality, firmly based in natural law, stands as a cornerstone of eighteenth century thought on the law of nations and Revolutionary ideology. And yet, in the years after the thermidor coup d'état the French Republic reached a hegemonic position. The advance of the French Revolutionary armies caused the creation of sister republics in the Netherlands, Italy and Switzerland. Politically, at least, their regimes were dependent on the French government. However, the factual inequality in power and influence, does not give a conclusive indication of the sister republics' legal position. So the question remains whether the French hegemony, despite the ideological stress on equality, translated into unequal juridical status and forms? To find a beginning of an answer to this question this paper focuses on a heyday of the modern law of nations: the conclusion of a treaty. The involvement of the Batavian Republic in the Franco-Anglo peace negotiations leading to the Treaty of Amiens of March 1802 is analysed. To answer the question whether the Batavian Republic did have legislative equality in this peace settlement, four aspects of the Treaty of Amiens and its formation are being discussed: 1) the formation of the preliminary articles of peace of London; 2) the admittance of the Batavian representative to the conferences in Amiens; 3) his part in the negotiations; and 4) the text of the treaty. The analysis will show that the principle of consent was formally upheld and that the treaty text shows hardly a sign of inequality, whereas the Batavian Republic's representative clearly played a secondary role during the negotiations and the Batavian Republic thus did not participate on equal terms in the formation of the treaty. Although France clearly dominated the peace conference in accordance with its leading role in the revolutionary alliance, at least in public, appearances were still being kept up.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 20
Keywords: history of international law, French Revolution, sister republics, Batavian Republic, Peace of Amiens, hegemony, equality
Date posted: June 24, 2007