Treaty of Amiens

Treaty of Amiens
"Definitive Treaty of Peace"
James Gillray, The first Kiss this Ten Years! —or—the meeting of Britannia & Citizen François (1803)
TypePeace treaty
Signed25 March 1802
LocationAmiens, France
Effective25 March 1802
Expiration18 May 1803
SignatoriesJoseph Bonaparte for the French Republic
Marquess Cornwallis for Britain
José Nicolás de Azara for the Kingdom of Spain
Rutger Jan Schimmelpenninck for the Batavian Republic

The Treaty of Amiens (French: la paix d'Amiens) temporarily ended hostilities between France and the United Kingdom during the French Revolutionary Wars. It was signed in the city of Amiens on 25 March 1802 (4 Germinal X in the French Revolutionary calendar) by Joseph Bonaparte and Marquess Cornwallis as a "Definitive Treaty of Peace." The consequent peace lasted only one year (18 May 1803) and was the only period of general peace in Europe between 1793 and 1814.

Under the treaty, Britain recognised the French Republic. Together with the Treaty of Lunéville (1801), the Treaty of Amiens marked the end of the Second Coalition, which had waged war against Revolutionary France since 1798.

Early diplomacy

The War of the Second Coalition started well for the coalition, with successes in Egypt, Italy and Germany. After France's victories at the Battles of Marengo and Hohenlinden, Austria, Russia and Naples sued for peace, with Austria eventually signing the Treaty of Lunéville. Horatio Nelson's victory at the Battle of Copenhagen on 2 April 1801 halted the creation of the League of Armed Neutrality and led to a negotiated ceasefire.

The French First Consul, Napoleon Bonaparte, first made truce proposals to British foreign secretary Lord Grenville as early as 1799. Because of the hardline stance of Grenville and Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger, their distrust of Bonaparte and obvious defects in the proposals, they were rejected out of hand. However, Pitt resigned in February 1801 over domestic issues and was replaced by the more accommodating Henry Addington. At that point, according to Schroeder, Britain was motivated by the danger of a war with Russia.[1]

Addington's foreign secretary, Robert Jenkinson, Lord Hawkesbury, immediately opened communications with Louis Guillaume Otto, the French commissary for prisoners of war in London through whom Bonaparte had made his earlier proposals. Hawkesbury stated that he wanted to open discussions on terms for a peace agreement. Otto, generally under detailed instructions from Bonaparte, engaged in negotiations with Hawkesbury in mid-1801. Unhappy with the dialogue with Otto, Hawkesbury sent diplomat Anthony Merry to Paris, who opened a second line of communications with the French foreign minister, Talleyrand. By mid-September, written negotiations had progressed to the point that Hawkesbury and Otto met to draft a preliminary agreement. On 30 September, they signed the preliminary agreement in London, which was published the next day.

Britain's foreign secretary Robert Jenkinson, Lord Hawkesbury, portrait by Thomas Lawrence

The terms of the preliminary agreement required Britain to restore most of the French colonial possessions that it had captured since 1794, to evacuate Malta and to withdraw from other occupied Mediterranean ports. Malta was to be restored to the Order of St. John, whose sovereignty was to be guaranteed by one or more powers, to be determined at the final peace. France was to restore Egypt to Ottoman control, to withdraw from most of the Italian peninsula and to agree to preserve Portuguese sovereignty. Ceylon, previously a Dutch territory, was to remain with the British, and Newfoundland fishery rights were to be restored to their prewar status. Britain was also to recognise the Seven Islands Republic, established by France on islands in the Ionian Sea that are now part of Greece. Both sides were to be allowed access to the outposts on the Cape of Good Hope.[2]

In a blow to Spain, the preliminary agreement included a secret clause in which Trinidad was to remain with Britain.[3]

News of the preliminary peace was greeted in Britain with illuminations and fireworks. Peace, it was thought in Britain, would lead to the withdrawal of the income tax imposed by Pitt, a reduction of grain prices and a revival of markets.

Other Languages
العربية: معاهدة أميان
azərbaycanca: Amyen sülhü
français: Paix d'Amiens
한국어: 아미앵 조약
Bahasa Indonesia: Persetujuan Amiens
къарачай-малкъар: Амьен мамырлыкъ
Nederlands: Vrede van Amiens
Plattdüütsch: Freed vun Amiens
português: Tratado de Amiens
Simple English: Treaty of Amiens
slovenščina: Amienski mir
српски / srpski: Амијенски мир
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Amienski mir
українська: Ам'єнський мир
Tiếng Việt: Hiệp ước Amiens
中文: 亞眠和約