A Narrative on Dwarfs and Giants: The Batavian Republic and the Franco-Anglo Peace

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

20 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2007  

Raymond Kubben

Tilburg University - Department of Public Law, Jurisprudence & Legal History; Tilburg Law School

Abstract

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'├ętat 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.

Keywords: history of international law, French Revolution, sister republics, Batavian Republic, Peace of Amiens, hegemony, equality

Suggested Citation

Kubben, Raymond, A Narrative on Dwarfs and Giants: The Batavian Republic and the Franco-Anglo Peace. 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. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=985323

Raymond Kubben (Contact Author)

Tilburg University - Department of Public Law, Jurisprudence & Legal History ( email )

Netherlands

Tilburg Law School ( email )

Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Paper statistics

Downloads
70
Rank
272,449
Abstract Views
880