PUBLISHED FOR THE HISTORICAL SECTION OF THE FOREIGN OFFICE.
BY C. K. WEBSTER, M.A.
Professor of Modern History in the University of Liverpool Captain, General Staff, War Office
OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS
LONDON EDINBURGH GLASGOW NEW YORK TORONTO MELBOURNE CAPE TOWN BOMBAY
THIS monograph was written at the request of the Librarian of the Foreign Office in eleven weeks of this year, extending from May to August. It is purely a pièce de circonstance, and will be followed, I hope, by a larger work on the same subject when I am released from my present duties. No one could be more conscious of its faults and omissions than its author; and the only justification for its publication is the fact that it may be of some interest to the general public in view of recent events and present conditions.
It is a surprising but none the less authentic fact that there is no standard history of the Congress of Vienna. We thus stand on the threshold of a new Congress without any adequate account of the only assembly which can furnish even a shadowy precedent for the great task that lies before the statesmen and peoples of the world. This small book makes no pretensions to fill that gap, but it may serve to show how much still remains to be done before the history of the Congress of Vienna is fully known.
I have written for the information of officials and men of action rather than historians, but I have tried to give them some authorities for my conclusions. Throughout I have avoided any reference to or comparison with present circumstances, such applications being outside the province of the historian as such. So far, indeed, as any precedents are provided by this period of history, they may probably be considered useful rather as warnings than as examples; and the book will have served its purpose if it draws attention to some errors of statesmanship, which we may hope will be avoided at the present day. Fortunately for Englishmen, though no complete work yet exists on this subject, the brilliant monographs of Professor Alison Phillips in the Cambridge Modern History, as well as his lectures published in the "Confederation of Europe," have already established Castlereagh's position as a diplomatist; while Sir Adolphus Ward chapters on the "Congress of Vienna," also published in the Cambridge Modern History, are the most impartial and authentic account that at present exists of the Congress itself.
The acknowledgements, which I owe to a large number of foreign historians and archivists, I must reserve till the publication of my larger study. I cannot forbear, however, from paying here a tribute to the scholarship and learning of Professor August Fournier, which he placed unreservedly at my disposal; and, like all students of the modern papers at the Record Office, I have experienced the great kindness and patience of Mr. Hubert Hall and Mr. Headlam.
Nor could this little work, produced at such short notice at a time of great pressure, have ever seen the light at all, had it not been for the help and encouragement of friends in London. To Mr. Alwyn Parker, the Librarian of the Foreign Office, who suggested my writing this work; to Dr. G. W. Prothero, the Director of the Historical Section of the Foreign Office, who brought into some shape and form my hastily constructed pages; and to Mr. Moreton Macdonald, Captain C. R. M. Cruttwell, and Dr. Headlam-Morley, who gave me much valuable advice at a time when they were overwhelmed with other important duties, I owe my most grateful thanks, as well as to Major H. W. V. Temperley, who, at considerable inconvenience to himself, procured me an interval in which to write.
The Bibliography merely gives a selection of a few useful authorities. The documents in the Appendix have been read with the original texts, and should prove to be accurate.
CHARLES K. WEBSTER.
London, December 1918.
THIS book is one of a series of Handbooks on countries and subjects likely to come under discussion during the peace negotiations, which have been or are being edited, under my general supervision, by the Historical Section of the Foreign Office, with the aid of expert scholars, and that of the War Trade Intelligence Department, the Intelligence Division of the Admiralty, and the Geographical Section of the General Staff. It is hoped to publish other volumes in the series which are likely to be of use to the reading public interested in international affairs.
G. W. PROTHERO.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PART I. THE PREPARATION OF THE CONGRESS
2 Situation of Europe at the end of 1813. The policy of the Continental Powers
3 The policy of the British Government. The character and aims of Castlereagh
4 The memorandum of December 26, 1813, on the negotiations for peace
5 First conferences at Bâle and Langres
6 The conference of Châtillon
7 The maintenance of the Alliance
8 The Treaty of Chaumont. The construction of the Quadruple Alliance
9 The problem of the conquered territories
10 The Allies and the restoration of the Bourbons
11 The overthrow of Napoleon and the first Peace of Paris
12 The attempt at Paris to settle the disposition of the conquered territories
13 The preliminary discussions in London. Diplomatic preparations
PART II. ORGANIZATION OF THE CONGRESS
14 The problems and personalities of the Congress
15 First discussions as to the organization of the Congress
16 The second attempt to constitute Congress. Further postponement
17 The constitution of the Committee of Five. The real Congress
18 The functions of the Committee of Eight and of the German Committee
19 The preparation of the form of the Treaty
20 Project of a Special Guarantee of the Vienna Treaty
21 The method of transacting business. The functions of the Committees. The Statistical Committee
22 Espionage. The social life of the Congress
23 Attempts to influence the decisions of the Congress through public opinion and the home governments
PART III. WORK OF THE CONGRESS
24 The Polish-Saxon problem. The failure of Castlereagh's first plan
25 The deadlock over Saxony. The Secret Treaty of January 3, 1815, between Austria, Great Britain, and France
26 The final settlement of the German and Polish Territorial questions
27 The Italian problem. Spain and Portugal
28 The making of the German Confederation. The Swiss Constitution. General questions
PART IV. COMPLETION OF THE CONGRESS
29 The return of Napoleon and the second Peace of Paris (Nov. 20, 1815)
30 The renewal of the Quadruple Alliance. The "Holy Alliance"
31 General observations
I. Despatch of Viscount Castlereagh to the Earl of Liverpool, Vienna, September 24, 1814
II. "Memorandum upon the measures to be adopted preparatory to the meeting of Congress in form for the despatch of business." Vienna, September, 1814
III. Two Projets of Viscount Castlereagh on the method of opening Congress, September, 1814
IV. Baron Humboldt's Projet for the regulations of Congress. Vienna, September, 1814
V. "Proposal of Baron Humboldt to publish a declaration." Vienna, September, 1814
VI. Projet of Baron Humboldt: Mode of publishing the declaration of the opening of Congress
VII. Viscount Castlereagh's Projet for the formation of a Commission to verify statistical calculations
VIII. Memorandum on the Treaties of 1814 and 1815 submitted by the British Plenipotentiaries at the Conference of Aix-la-Chapelle, October 1818
LIST OF AUTHORITIES
February 28 ..... Treaty of Kalisch between Russia and Prussia.
(An offensive and defensive alliance against France, which included a secret Russian guarantee for the restoration to Prussia of the political position of 1805.)
March 16 .... Prussia declares war against France.
June 4 ..... Napoleon concludes the Armistice of Pleswitz with Russia and Prussia.
June 27 ..... Austria concludes the Treaty of Reichenbach with Russia and Prussia, and undertakes to enter the war if Napoleon refuses the terms offered by the Allies. August 12 ..... Austria declares war on France.
September 9 ..... Treaty of Toeplitz between Austria, Russia, and Prussia.
October 8 ..... Treaty of Ried between Austria and Bavaria.
October 16-19 ..... Battle of Leipzig, after which all Central Europe joins the Allies.
November 9 ..... The "Frankfort Proposals," offering France the Rhine boundary.
November 16 ..... Napoleon returns an evasive answer. (Caulaincourt's attempt to revive the proposals is rejected by the Allies in the beginning of December.) December 26 ..... Castlereagh's Cabinet Memorandum on the British policy towards the Allies and Napoleon.
January 11 ..... Treaty of Alliance between Austria and Naples (Murat).
January 18 ..... Castlereagh arrives at Bâle.
January 29 ..... The "Langres Protocol," in which the four Allied Powers formulate their peace proposals.
February 5 to ..... The abortive Conference of Châtillon between March 19 the representatives of the Allies and Caulaincourt.
March 9 ... Treaty of Chaumont (dated March 1) between the four Allied Powers -- the "Quadruple Alliance."
March 31 ..... The Allies enter Paris. Provisional Government under Talleyrand set up.
April 11 ..... Treaty of Fontainebleau : Abdication of Napoleon.
April 23 ..... Armistice between France and the Allies signed.
May 3 ..... Louis XVIII enters Paris.
May 30 ..... First Peace of Paris.
June and July ..... The Allied Sovereigns and Ministers visit England.
September 15 ..... Informal Conferences begin at Vienna between the Ministers of the "Four."
September 22 ..... Protocol of the "Four," keeping affairs in their own hands.
September 23 ..... Arrival of Talleyrand.
October to Refusal of France and Spain to accept the
November propositions of the "Four." Discussions of the Polish Question. Failure to reach agreement. October 14 ..... Meeting of the German Powers ( Austria, Prussia, Bavaria, Hanover, Württemberg) to discuss the German settlement. November 1 ..... Verification of the full-powers of the Plenipotentiaries begins.
November to Deadlock on the Polish-Saxon Question.
December December 24 ..... Peace concluded between Great Britain and U.S.A.
January 3 ..... Secret Treaty between the British, Austrian, and French Plenipotentiaries at Vienna.
January 9 ..... France admitted to the Directing Committee.
January 12 ..... First meeting of the Committee of Five.
January to Adjustment of the German and Polish February territorial problems.
February 3 ..... Wellington arrives at Vienna.
February 15 ..... Castlereagh leaves Vienna. Wellington first English Plenipotentiary.
March 1 ..... Napoleon lands in France. The Hundred Days begin.
March 13 ..... The Allies declare Napoleon a public enemy.
March 25 ..... Renewal of the Treaty of Chaumont.
March 28 ..... Wellington leaves Vienna. Clancarty first English Plenipotentiary.
April 11 ..... Austria declares war on Murat.
June 9 ..... Final Act of the Congress of Vienna
. June 18 ..... Waterloo.
September 26 ..... The Treaty of the "Holy Alliance" between Prussia, Russia, and Austria. November 20 ..... The second Peace of Paris. Allied troops to occupy the northern provinces. Renewal of the Quadruple Alliance.
THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA, 1814-1815
Section 1. Introductory.
-- A general account of the formation of the last alliance against Napoleon and of the organization of the Congress of Vienna has been given in two other papers of this series. 1 The object of the present paper is to describe in some detail the course of the negotiations in the years 1814 and 1815 and especially to show the motives which determined the policy of British statesmen during the period and the methods by which they tried to obtain their ends. During these years, by a series of treaties concluded at Paris and Vienna, the frontiers of almost every country in Europe were to be redrawn, and the overseas possessions of the Continental Powers were to be reallotted on a new basis. The military despotism of Napoleon had completely transformed Europe, while the French, Dutch, and Dutch, and Danish colonies had been conquered by Great Britain. The destruction of the Napoleonic Empire, therefore, necessitated both the construction of a new Europe and a new distribution of colonial power; the parallel between the problems of that age and those of the present day is in some respects an exceedingly close one. The Congress met in the autumn of 1814; but it was the result of diplomatic transactions of the earlier part of that year at Paris and elsewhere, and its work was completed by the second Peace of Paris, which was made after the return and second defeat of Napoleon. An attempt has been made, therefore, to review events from the
1 Coalitions, Alliances, and Ententes of more than two Powers since 1792(No. 158) and International Congresses (No. 154).
entrance of Lord Castlereagh into the council of the Allies in January 1814 until the final conclusion of peace in November 1815.
Though an authoritative history of the Congress of Vienna is still to seek, the plans and motives of the Continental Powers have been studied by many historians, and it appears probable that almost all the available evidence of importance has been published. Less attention has, however, been paid to the policy of Great Britain, and there is still much unpublished material in the Foreign Office papers. This material, as well as some from other archives, has been used in the preparation of the present work.
THE PREPARATION OF THE CONGRESS
Section 2. Situation of Europe at the end of the year 1813. Policy of the Continental Powers. -- By the end of 1813 all Europe north of the Alps was in arms against Napoleon; and, though French troops still held out in many of the great fortresses of Central Europe, the armies of Blücher and Schwarzenberg had crossed the Rhine. This coalition was something very different from all previous combinations against Napoleon. It was a coalition of peoples as well as Governments. The national movement, which had caused the failure of Napoleon in Spain and Russia, had also arisen in Germany, and the great empire of Napoleon, which had stretched from the Douro to the Niemen, had been dissolved in the course of a single year. After Napoleon's disastrous failure in Russia in 1812, Prussia, and then Austria, had joined forces against him; and, as his power declined, all the minor States of Germany had, more or less willingly, gone over to the Coalition. Sweden, Holland, and Portugal were also members, while in Italy Murat was about to conclude an alliance with Austria against his brotherin-law. Spain had been liberated, and Wellington had already entered France in the south. Nothing could save Napoleon from complete defeat if the Coalition against him held together.
But it was doubtful, to say the least, if the Allies would remain united. Having driven Napoleon from Central Europe, they were in no sort of agreement as to how they would deal with the problems raised by his defeat. The three principal Continental Powers had already made it clear that their interests conflicted as to the divisions of the spoil. Their political dissensions had been made more serious by personal friction, while their generals were no more in agreement than their statesmen. They had not yet even decided whether their ultimate object was to capture Paris and overthrow Napoleon completely, or merely to compel him to accept a peace which might still leave him the master of a France possessing its "natural" boundaries of the Pyrenees, the Rhine, and the Alps.
The three great Continental Powers were all autocratic monarchies, and their policy was in each case decided mainly by one man. Alexander I, the Tsar of Russia, personally directed the affairs of his country. After the defeat of Napoleon in Russia, he had engaged his people in the war of liberation much against their wish; but from the first he set himself the task, not only of freeing Europe from the domination of Napoleon, but of leading his armies into Napoleon's capital. The great successes of 1813, culminating in the overwhelming victory of Leipzig, had strengthened this resolve; and the Tsar had already begun to be influenced by the religious emotions which were greatly intensified in the course of this period. The extraordinary vanity of Alexander, as well as his persistence, may be partly explained by his belief that he was the instrument of God. But he was also a man of great intelligence and imagination, with a keen eye for the interests of his country. He had learnt from close intercourse with a number of gifted individuals much about the new forces of nationality and democracy which the French Revolution had liberated, and of which Napoleon had been in succession the instrument, the master, and the victim. Alone of all the statesmen of the Great Alliance he appreciated their strength and possibilities, and to a certain extent he sincerely believed in them and wished to give them expression. But he was never prepared to sacrifice to them his desire to increase his personal reputation or what he conceived to be the interests of his country. Besides the dethronement of Napoleon, the Tsar had one main object in view. He was now in possession of the Duchy of Warsaw, which Napoleon had created out of the Prussian and most of the Austrian share of the Polish partitions of the eighteenth century. It was his fixed resolve to create from this conquest (to which might possibly be added some parts of the Russian share of the partitions) a united, autonomous, but not independent, kingdom of Poland, over which the Tsar of Russia was to rule. In this design he was supported by the Polish nobility, whom the defeat of Napoleon had left to the mercy of their former conquerors; and the pose of generosity towards them was as precious to him as the increase of territory which the plan would give to his dominions. His Russian subjects were as much opposed to this plan, at any rate to the political aspect of it, as they had been to the prosecution of the European war. But his Ministers now and throughout the period were nearly all of nonRussian blood. Stein, the German patriot; Czartoryski, the most influential of Polish nobles; Capo d'Istria, a native of Corfu; together with Laharpe, the Swiss republican, were the men to whom he turned for advice on affairs of State. Anstett, an Alsatian with Polish possessions, who had long been in the Russian diplomatic service, was often used for delicate negotiations. Nesselrode, the Foreign Secretary, also of German blood, was just beginning to be known. His ideas were very different from those of his master, but his influence was small. He was a secretary, and not a Minister. His real importance soon came to lie in the fact that he became a medium through which Metternich and Castlereagh attempted to thwart the wishes of the Tsar. They supplied him with facts and arguments, with which he endeavoured, at this period more often than not in vain, to influence the policy of his master.
Next to Alexander, Metternich had been the principal figure of the Alliance in 1813. In a sense, he had controlled its decisions more than any other single man. The doubtful issue of the first conflicts between Napoleon and the Russo-Prussian forces had given him a position as mediator of which he had made skilful use, and he maintained in some sense this rôle to the end of the year. As the complete defeat of Napoleon was seen to be more and more probable, Metternich had become increasingly alarmed at the plans of Alexander, and sought already for some combination to keep him in check. A timid statesman, though fertile in diplomatic expedients, he was an opportunist pure and simple. The designs of Russia on Poland, as well as those of Prussia on Saxony, he was determined to frustrate if he could; but he regarded the first as by far the more dangerous of the two. Though he did not yet see his way clear, his policy was to awake every possible suspicion against Alexander, and gradually to build up an alliance against him. For this purpose he was using every expedient to detach Prussia and other German States from Russian influence. The dynastic connection between the Habsburgs and Napoleon provided him with another weapon which he was prepared to use if necessary; while, more than any other Continental statesman, he realised the strength of Great Britain, and the possibility that her influence would determine the character of the settlement. Metternich was in almost complete control of Austrian policy. Schwarzenberg, the nominal generalissimo of the alliance, for the most part agreed with him at this time; but an opposition group was forming which looked to Stadion, a former Chancellor, but now subordinate to Metternich, to lead them. The Emperor, Francis II, however, a colourless, though occasionally obstinate man, was, on the whole, under his influence, and Metternich was generally at liberty to act as he thought fit.
Prussian policy was directed by the Chancellor, Hardenberg; but, partly owing to his physical infirmities, he never obtained such an ascendancy as that of Metternich. Humboldt, who acted as his second had necessarily to transact much business, and his influence greatly increased in the course of the year. The weak and sensitive King of Prussia, Frederick William III, was devoted to Alexander; while the Prussian generals, especially Gneisenau, had views and objects of their own. Hardenberg came under the influence of Metternich, and later of Castlereagh; and, if his position was much stronger than that of Nesselrode, he was used to a certain extent in the same way. Still, he had a considerable power of transacting business, and was one of the principal figures of the Great Alliance. Like all Prussians, he expressed always, and without abatement, an undying hatred of France, which no victories or conquests could assuage.
Of the minor Powers, Sweden was now ruled by the French Marshal Bernadotte, who obtained notoriety by his designs on the French throne, which were supported by Alexander. Denmark had suffered like Saxony, though not in the same degree, for her support of Napoleon. Hanover was represented by Count Münster, who was the trusted confidant, not only of the Prince Regent of England, but also of Castlereagh. But, though a skilled and shrewd observer, he did not contribute very much to decisions except those affecting the interior politics of Germany. Bavaria, who changed sides in the nick of time, Baden, and Württemberg hoped to gain as much from the destruction of French power in Germany as they had obtained by their subservience to Napoleon. Holland was controlled by British policy. Spain, with her colonies in open revolt, and impotent outside the Peninsula, was too proud to admit her weakness, and hoped to re-establish her influence in Italy. Portugal, whose Court was in Brazil, depended, like Holland, on Great Britain. Sardinia-Piedmont had a policy of its own; but Sicily was, at this date, controlled by Great Britain. The minor States, both of Germany and Italy, were, in fact, pawns at the disposition of the Great Powers. The Pope had only just recovered
his personal liberty, and had lost practically all influence. The Sultan also had been, to a great extent, outside the orbit of European affairs since the Peace of Bucarest ( 1812) with Russia. All the minor States knew that the Great Powers could do what they liked with the Napoleonic Empire if only they remained united.
But, as has already been indicated, the Great Powers were far from being united. their rivalry and suspicion increased as it became clear that the Napoleonic Empire was completely dissolved. The various treaties concluded in the course of the year 1813 had been made purposely vague, except on a few points, and provided neither a specific object to pursue nor machinery by which to pursue it. Thus by the Treaty of Kalisch of February 28, 1813, concluded after much hesitation on the part of Frederick William, Russia had guaranteed by a secret article to restore Prussia to the political and financial position she occupied prior to 1806. The restoration of Polish territory necessary to join Silesia to Old Prussia was specifically mentioned, but, apart from this, it was clear that Russia intended to retain all Prussian Poland. The Treaty of Reichenbach, however, concluded between Austria, Russia, and Prussia during the armistice of Pleswitz, and signed on June 27, 1813, immediately after Napoleon had rejected Austria's mediation, had laid down that the fate of the Duchy of Warsaw should be decided by the three Powers in concert, without the concurrence of France. These two treaties were reinforced by the Treaties of Toeplitz, concluded on September 9, 1813, by which Russia agreed with Austria and Prussia that their States should be reconstructed on the scale of their possessions in 1805, while the Confederation of the Rhine and all Napoleon's other creations beyond the Rhine or the Alps were to be dissolved, Hanover was to be restored, an amicable arrangement was to be made as to the Duchy of Warsaw, and Austria was to recover her provinces on the Adriatic. Thus but little had been definitely settled as to the disposal of Napoleon's Empire, except that Prussia and Austria
were to be at least as big as in 1805. Other treaties which were concluded with the minor Powers, such as the Treaty of Ried, between Bavaria and Austria ( October 8, 1813), by which the latter Power obtained the promise of Tirol, had not been accepted by all the members of the Alliance, since it was impossible to decide the fate of the conquered territories while the claims of the Great Powers themselves were still unsatisfied. Sweden, who had received the promise of Norway from Russia in 1812(subsequently confirmed by Great Britain in a subsidy treaty of 1813), was in a sense the only Power which had been granted a specific extension of territory that satisfied its expectations. Nearly all the rest of the reconstruction of Europe was still a matter of dispute.
After Leipzig the aims of the Treaties of Toeplitz seemed to have been attained; and Metternich persuaded both the Tsar and Lord Aberdeen -- then the British representative accredited to the Austrian Court -- that an answer should be made to Napoleon's recent offer of negotiations. This was done on November 7, through the intermediary of St. Aignan, whom Metternich informed, in the presence of Nesselrode and Aberdeen, that the French territories must be reduced to the "natural limits" of the Rhine, the Alps, and the Pyrenees. An offer based on these terms was sent to Napoleon on November 9. This offer, which is known as the "Frankfurt proposals," was made with the concurrence of Alexander as well as of Aberdeen; and the latter had even promised to restore some of the French colonies, and neglected to make any effective protest against the British maritime law being brought into the discussion. How far the offer was sincerely meant has been doubted by some historians: 1 but, in view of the grave dissensions between the Continental Powers, it is probable that
1 Sorel, L'Europe et la Révolution fran?aise, VIII, 200; but see Fournier, Napoleon I, Eng. edn., II, 330. The other British representatives, including Stewart, were furious with Aberdeen. Diaries and Letters of Sir George Jackson, II, 360, 368, 376.
Napoleon could have had peace on these terms had he accepted the offer at once; and Great Britain, committed to a certain extent through Aberdeen's imprudence, would have been powerless to prevent it, however much she might have objected. But Napoleon already saw opposition rising to his power in France, and he could not accept such terms except at the risk of his throne. He still hoped to better his position, and therefore returned an evasive answer ( November 16); and, when a fortnight later Caulaincourt, his new Foreign Minister, declared himself ready to accept the terms, it was then too late. The Allied armies were in march towards the Rhine, and the opportunity was lost. Before he could again enter into negotiation Castlereagh was at Allied Headquarters.
Section 3. The Policy of the British Government. The Character and Aims of Castlereagh. -- Throughout the year the British Government had acted as the paymaster of the Coalition, and had endeavoured to combine all Europe towards the common end. But it had exercised little influence on the diplomatic transactions between the Powers or on their negotiations with Napoleon. Its representatives on the Continent with the Great Powers were not men of sufficient weight to obtain a commanding influence, and only imperfectly understood the problems with which they had to deal. Of these, Viscount Cathcart and Sir Charles Stewart ( Castlereagh's half-brother), attached to the Russian and Prussian headquarters respectively, were soldiers rather than diplomatists. The Earl of Aberdeen, sent out in August as Ambassador to Austria, then a young man, was not subtle enough to cope with Metternich, though not so simple as the Austrian diplomatists thought him. He had certainly not played the part expected of him at the time of the Frankfurt proposals. These ambassadors had been specially instructed to make an offensive and defensive alliance with the European Powers, but their personal jealousies and the rivalries of the Powers to which they were accredited made it impossible for them to do so. The treaties between the Continental Powers were drawn up and generally signed before the British representatives were informed; while the British treaties were almost entirely confined to subsidies and the conduct of the war. Only the reconstruction of Hanover, a point which affected the Royal Family, had been promised to Great Britain. Her interests in Spain, Sicily, and, most important of all, in Belgium, had not been considered; and how far she was from obtaining security for the last was seen in the Frankfurt proposals, which would have left Antwerp in French hands.
Thus at the end of 1813 the Alliance appeared to be dissolving into fragments. It had neither military nor diplomatic unity. It had neither decided to overthrow Napoleon nor devised any method either of obtaining peace or of prosecuting war. The task of reconciling the differences of the Allies, of binding them closer together, of creating machinery by which they could act in unison against Napoleon, and of providing some plan by which Europe could be reorganised so as to obtain a period of stability after a generation of warfare, was largely the work of Great Britain, and more especially of her Minister for Foreign Affairs, Lord Castlereagh.
The character and achievements of Castlereagh, Foreign Minister since 1812, were long misunderstood, owing to party prejudice and the lack of scientific research. More recently justice has been done to his career by historians, as the Foreign Office papers have been more closely studied; and, if the favourable estimate which Lord Salisbury formed in 1861 has not been entirely confirmed, yet it has been clearly proved that for courage and common sense he has rarely been equalled among British diplomatists, and that his influence over the settlement of 1814-15 was greater than that of any other European statesman. By working with intense energy, and utilising to the full his unique opportunities, he acquired a great knowledge of Continental affairs, and became one of the least insular of British Foreign Ministers. Brought up amidst the passions roused by the conflict with the French Revolution and Napoleon, his dominating idea was naturally security against France, to obtain which he had in his mind various schemes, partly inherited from Pitt, partly devised by himself to suit the exigencies of the time. He was now to endeavour to bring these into operation with a large measure of success; and it will be seen that in the negotiations of these years it was on many occasions Castlereagh who provided the plan of action and eventually secured its acceptance by the Allies.
By obtaining at the earliest possible opportunity the recognition in treaties by the other Powers of the special interests of Great Britain, he was left free to act throughout 1814 and 1815 as mediator in the disputes between his Allies. He suffered some grave defeats, but on the whole the main outlines of his policy are clearly apparent in the treaties which governed Europe for over thirty years. This work he did almost entirely in the council chamber. He was no orator, though he could marshal facts clearly, and he never had any hold on the imagination of his contemporaries. He knew how to manage the House of Commons; but, associated as he was with and approving, as he did, of a reactionary domestic policy, he was hated and despised by the growing liberal forces in England. He failed, as almost all his contemporaries failed, to see the strength of the national and democratic forces which the French Revolution had liberated. He had not that sympathy with liberal and national ideas which Canning acquired and used later to the great advantage of England and Europe. But within his limits he was clear-sighted and courageous, a real statesman in that his policy was founded on principle, a real diplomatist in that he was fertile in expedients to put his principles into action.
Throughout his career he found little support in his Cabinet. The Tory Ministry of Liverpool contained few men of much intelligence; and they knew little, and cared less, about the affairs of Europe. The Earl of Liverpool had, indeed, to concern himself closely with foreign policy, which the English Prime Minister must always, in a sense, direct and formulate in the Cabinet. But he was a man of only moderate parts; and, while nearly always loyal to Castlereagh, he had little real sympathy with anything which did not concern a purely British interest. It was only the Foreign Minister who saw that the interests of Great Britain were bound up with those of Europe. Wellington, owing to his intercourse with Continental statesmen, came to share and support this view; but the only other prominent Minister ever associated with Castlereagh who had a knowledge of Europe was Canning, who had no influence on events at this time. The Prince Regent himself, who had a shrewd knowledge of men and affairs, was also conversant with European politics. But he was influenced largely by personal motives, was not to be depended upon in a crisis, and, owing to his own unpopularity, was not in a position to give much assistance. His vanity, moreover, often made him interfere in affairs in a most inopportune manner; and his co-operation was often more embarrassing than helpful, and in many cases intended to secure objects which Castlereagh had no wish to obtain.
The British Cabinet had already been informed by their representatives of the growing disunion amongst the Allies. The discussions of Frankfurt, with their references to British maritime rights and surrender of colonies, and the absence of any guarantee of her special interests, showed how little England could expect unless she were better represented in the councils of the Alliance. Castlereagh was in sympathy with the growing desire in Great Britain that Napoleon should be dethroned, and already hoped for a peace which would confine France within her "ancient limits." He was determined, above all, that Antwerp should not be left in French hands; and this was the main point that he pressed on Aberdeen in the autumn of 1813. 1 But the problems were so difficult and pressing that it was decided that Castlereagh himself must proceed to the Continent. His representatives were not in agreement amongst themselves, and it was impossible to ascertain from them clearly the policy of the different Courts to which they were accredited. Some special effort was necessary to weld more closely together the Alliance, in which the elements of disruption were already to be clearly discerned, and to endeavour to make it the instrument of British policy on the Continent of Europe. Thus, at the end of December, Castlereagh set out for the Allied Headquarters, taking with him Robinson, the VicePresident of the Board of Trade, as his assistant. His instructions, contained in the form of a Cabinet Memorandum written in his own hand, were dated December 26, 1813. They contain the policy which he was, on the whole, to carry out to a successful conclusion during the next two years.
Section 4. The Memorandum of December 26, 1813, on the Negotiations for Peace. -- The instructions 2 were written from inadequate information as to the intentions of the Allies. They had to provide for various contingencies which depended on the military situation and the persistence of the Powers in pursuing their ends. They were naturally dictated mainly by purely British interests, but these were brought into relation to the general scheme of reconstruction of the Continent, and it was clearly recognised that the one depended on the other. 3 Before the instructions were
1 Castlereagh to Aberdeen, Nov. 13, 1813, Castlereagh Correspondence, IX, 75: -- "The destruction of that arsenal is essential to our safety. To leave it in the hands of France is little short of imposing upon Great Britain the charge of a perpetual war establishment."
2 F.O. Continent Archives, I. See an article by Mr. S. F. Ormond in the "Nineteenth Century", Mar. 1918.
3 Castlereagh had discussed the whole question with Prince Lieven, the Russian Ambassador, and Pozzo di Borgo, who had been sent over by Alexander specially for the purpose. -- Martens F. , Recueil des Traités conclus par la Russie, XI, 198.
drawn up, and before it had even been decided to allow Castlereagh to go to the Continent, the Ambassadors of Austria, Prussia, and Russia had been induced to agree that the question of British maritime rights should not even be discussed during the negotiations, Aberdeen's negligence at Frankfurt thus being repaired. But this fundamental condition of the peace negotiations was to be again secured from the Allied Ministers themselves at headquarters immediately on Castlereagh's arrival. The British doctrines on this subject, which had been so often challenged by France, with the sympathy of many other nations, and for which England was even then at war with the United States, were to be accepted in full, both by the Allies and France, as the law of nations without further question before any negotiations with the enemy could be begun.
When he had fully secured this point, Castlereagh was "to establish a clear and definite understanding with the Allies, not only on all matters of common interest, but upon such points as are likely to be discussed with the enemy, so that the several Allied Powers may in their negotiations with France act in perfect concert, and together maintain one common interest."
For this "common interest" Great Britain was prepared to cede a large portion of the French and Dutch and Danish colonies which she held. If, however, a peace were made which failed to obtain the cardinal points of British policy, these conquests were to be retained as a security against French power. The objects which were made specific conditions of the restoration of the British conquests were: -- (1) The absolute exclusion of France from any naval establishment on the Scheldt, and especially at Antwerp. (2) The establishment of the security of Holland by giving to that Power a barrier in the Netherlands which should include Antwerp. (3) The complete freedom of Spain and Portugal, and the guarantee of their European territory by the Continental Powers against attack from France. Under these conditions Great Britain was prepared to consider as "objects of negotiation" all her conquests from France except Malta, the Mauritius and Bourbon Isles, and the Saintes Islands, as also Guadeloupe, which had already been promised to Sweden in 1813. This last, however, might possibly be given to France, and Sweden compensated.
The fate of the whole of the Netherlands, however, could not yet be definitely settled, since the extent to which the whole could be wrested from France was yet uncertain. If Austria wished to resume her old possession she was to be supported, but this was not expected. The really essential point was Antwerp and the barrier round it, which was held to be as essential to the security of the Continent as to that of Great Britain. Only if this point was secured were the colonial conquests to be surrendered. The instructions were explicit on this question:-
"As the barrier for Holland is an object most deeply interesting to all the Allies, Great Britain is willing to purchase it by a double sacrifice, by cessions both to France and to Holland. If the Allies should not carry this point, so important to their own security, as well as to that of Great Britain, the latter Power will, in that case, have no other alternative than to preserve her colonial conquests as a counterfoil to the dominion of the enemy, and on these grounds to withhold these cessions, which she would otherwise be prepared to make to France. The cession of the conquests by Great Britain being declared to be contingent upon equivalent securities to result from the Continental arrangements, and especially on the side of Holland and the Low Countries, any general stipulation which does not expressly declare the principle by which it is to be regulated, and connect it pointedly with these objects, appears objectionable."
It was also the intention of the British Government to obtain a dynastic connection with Holland by a marriage between Princess Charlotte of Wales and the Prince of Orange. For this Castlereagh was first to obtain the assent of the Prince himself, and then open the matter confidentially with the allied sovereigns at headquarters.
Other matters were indicated as desirable, but not made conditions sine quibus non. Thus the restoration of the ancient States of Italy was recommended as "highly expedient," especially that of the King of Sardinia, who, it was suggested, should receive Genoa. British mediation was offered to help to settle internal German affairs. She was also to declare herself ready to sign a peace with the United States "without in"volving in such treaty any decision upon the points "in dispute at the commencement of hostilities." Subsidies were to be granted to the Continental Powers; but here again opportunity was to be taken to insist on "the signing of such engagements, especially as to "Holland and the Peninsula, as may justify so great "an exertion on the part of Great Britain."
Lastly, a point of great importance, the alliance against France was to continue after peace had been made. The construction of a defensive and offensive alliance had been vainly pressed on the Powers in the autumn of 1813. It was now intended to make an alliance whose objects should not be limited to the present emergency.
"The Treaty of Alliance," ran the instructions, "is not to terminate with the war, but to contain defensive engagements, with mutual obligations to support the Powers attacked by France, with a certain extent of stipulated succours. The casus fderis is to be an attack by France on the European dominions of any one of the contracting parties."
Both Spain and Holland were to be included in the Alliance, as well as the Great Powers, but it was the latter whom it was especially meant to bind. This project was the origin of the Quadruple Alliance created at Chaumont by Castlereagh as a special safeguard against French aggression in the future. It will be noticed that it was limited to this special object, and differed widely from other schemes of alliance brought forward by Alexander at a later stage. Castlereagh had his own ideas as to a wider application of the ideas of "alliance" and "guarantee," but these were always subordinated to the special alliance against France, which must first be secured at all costs.
He had also other objects which were not so susceptible of being made into definite instructions. There is no hint in this Memorandum of the dethronement of Napoleon. Yet most of the Cabinet, supported by public opinion in England, were desirous of attaining this object. Castlereagh himself appreciated, however, the dangers of such an attempt, and as yet he was prepared to make peace with Napoleon if he could obtain a satisfactory one, though he was ready to work for the restoration of the Bourbons if an opportunity presented itself. Secondly, it was his desire, and that of his Cabinet, if possible, to confine France strictly to her "ancient limits," those of pre-Revolutionary France. But here again he could not, as yet, press for too much. Part of Belgium and the left bank of the Rhine, as well as Savoy, might have to be surrendered. The extension of Holland was to depend on the wishes of the Great Powers. The desire that France should give up all her conquests is, however, clearly indicated in a "Memorandum on the Maritime Peace," which is contained in the same volume as the instructions. In this it is clearly stated that the restoration of the French colonies should depend, if possible, upon the reduction of France to her "ancient limits" as well as on an amicable arrangement among the Allies as to their own possessions.
This last point was one of special importance. Castlereagh knew that the peace of Europe depended as much on an amicable arrangement among the Allies touching their own possessions as on the treaty to be made with France. He was well aware of the dissensions between Austria and Russia on the sujects of Poland and Saxony, and he was subsequently forced to devote himself as much to the solution of these difficulties as to the treaty of peace with the enemy. It was his opinion that a lasting peace could only be obtained if a real balance of power were established in Europe; and he was afraid that the plans of Alexander might make this impossible. These were objects, however, on which he did not find it possible at the moment of the final conflict with France to lay down express conditions. He reserved them to be dealt with as circumstances might dictate. His first task was to attain the objects of special interest to Great Britain, but at the same time he knew that it would be necessary for him to act as mediator between the Allies on the points of dispute between them.
Section 5. First Conferences at Bâle and Langres. -- The relations between Alexander and Metternich had been still more embittered by a dispute as to the passage of the Allied troops through Switzerland. The Tsar was now also actively supporting Bernadotte's pretensions to the throne of France; and no plan had been made either for carrying on military operations against Napoleon or for discussing with him a treaty of peace. Castlereagh's arrival was awaited with the keenest anxiety by the rival Powers, for they knew that on his decisions their future conduct would depend. 1 Having at the Hague settled to his satisfaction with the Prince of Orange the delicate matters of the marriage, the Dutch barrier, and the colonies, Castlereagh proceeded to Bâle, where he arrived on January 18, 1814. Alexander had been obliged to leave, but Castlereagh found a note awaiting him entreating him not to make up his mind until he had met the Emperor. Castlereagh had, however, immediately interviews with Metternich, Stadion, and Hardenberg. The Austrian Ministers were loud in their complaints of Alexander's intrigues with Bernadotte, and Metternich declared point-blank that the Austrian army would refuse to march unless the Tsar's project was abandoned; while the Prussians were on his side in this matter. Metternich further declared that, while Austria was prepared to renounce all the advantages of her dynastic connection with Napoleon in favour of the Bourbons, if circumstances permitted, neither her pride nor her interests could allow a French general to be placed with
1 Cathcart to Castlereagh, Jan. 8, 1814, Correspondence, IX, 249; Metternich to Schwarzenberg, Jan. 16, 1814;
Klinkowström, Oesterreichs Theilnahme an den Befreiungskriegen, p. 797.
the help of Alexander on the throne of France. With this point of view Castlereagh was in full agreement; but he subsequently won Metternich's consent to the proposition that there really existed no middle course between Bonaparte and the Bourbons, thus using the Austrian objection to Bernadotte to bring about the abandonment of the idea of a regency under MarieLouise. 1
Castlereagh then proceeded to consider with Metternich and Hardenberg the method of negotiation with France. After a delay of nearly a month, Caulaincourt, the French Foreign Minister, had been invited to Châtillon, where a conference with the enemy was to take place; and the Allies were already pledged to a discussion of peace terms. The Ministers in this discussion at Bâle had therefore immediately to consider how far France was to be allowed to influence, or even to be informed of, the disposition of the conquered territory. At previous discussions at Prague and at Frankfurt Napoleon had clearly shown that it was his intention to claim a voice in the shaping of Central Europe, and he hoped to use the rivalries of the Allies for his own purposes, and thus to produce a peace much more favourable to France. At Prague such a demand could not well be refused, but after Leipzig the Allies were resolved to keep these matters in their own hands. Castlereagh now found that it was determined to
"exclude France practically, but in the least offensive way, from any interference in the arrangements beyond her own limits,"
and that the Tsar was especially insistent on this point, and even wished that Napoleon should be refused all information on the subject. To Castle-
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Jan. 22, 1814, F.O. Continent Archives, 2.
In a private letter to Liverpool of the same date, Castlereagh pointed out that, while Great Britain could not take up the cause of the Bourbons without prejudicing her position in other matters, yet it might be possible for the Bourbon Princes to make efforts on their own behalf in order to make their cause more prominent.-Correspondence, IX, 186.
reagh, however, this proposal appeared to be too great an insult to French pride. He therefore hoped that "the relative shape of Europe, at least in outline, as proposed by the Allies, might be presented to the enemy at the same time as the proposition as to his own limits was tendered to him."
Napoleon might then fairly be called upon to give an answer within a specified time. This, of course, meant that the Allies must at once settle their own differences, and Castlereagh hoped to achieve this end at once, so that a complete scheme might be presented to France. That this view was far too optimistic was soon to become apparent, but as yet none of the Powers realised that the problems before them were so complex that they would take eighteen months to solve. 1
With regard to the boundaries of France, Castlereagh made considerable progress in the direction of reducing the terms to be offered to the "ancient limits." He induced Metternich to agree that both Luxemburg and Mainz must be taken from France, and the erection of a barrier in the Netherlands was also agreed to, though its exact extent could not yet be determined. Austria had decided to abandon the Netherlands and to refuse any compensation on the left bank of the Rhine. 2 Castlereagh, who wanted effective support for Holland by a Great Power, therefore began to look to Prussia to act as the guardian of the western frontier of Germany. 3 The chief importance of this
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Jan. 22, 1814; Wellington, Supplementary Despatches, VIII, 537.
2 Metternich had already refused Alsace, which Alexander had proposed that Austria should take in exchange for Galicia. -- Fournier , Napoleon I, Eng. edn., II, 340.
3 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Jan. 22, 1814, W. S.D., VIII, 537. "I was induced to throw out the idea of thus bringing forward Prussia, as I recollected it was a favourite scheme of Pitt.... I doubt much the policy of making Holland a Power of the first order, to which she would approach if she possessed the whole of these territories." Hanoverian interests were not without influence in this decision. Münster was much afraid lest Holland should become a dangerous rival to Hanover. Münster to the Prince Regent, Feb. 19, 1814. Hanover Archives.
first meeting lies, however, in the harmonious relations established between Castlereagh and Metternich. The latter was completely won over, though he had but just declared that the objects of the Coalition were already achieved, and had refused to allow the Austrian armies to march. His despatches to his trusted subordinate, Hudelist, were full of praise of Castlereagh; 1 and, feeling now less afraid of Alexander, he was ready to continue the war against Napoleon. He also flattered himself that Castlereagh had fallen under his influence. In this, however, he was mistaken. Castlereagh's view, expressed to Liverpool a month later, showed that, while he wished to co-operate with Metternich, whom he regarded as the most practical of the European statesmen, he was not blind to his demerits. 2
The two Ministers, having thus established a preliminary agreement, proceeded from Bâle to headquarters at Langres, where the whole matter had to be thrashed out with Alexander. It was Castlereagh who immediately took the lead in the discussions. His first task was to attack Alexander on the question of the candidature of Bernadotte. Alexander, while he asserted that he would take no steps in favour of Bernadotte, revealed an intense hostility to the restoration of the Bourbons, and expressed his intention of leaving the French to choose whom they liked. The Tsar was also at first determined to press on to Paris at all costs; while the Austrians, diplomatists and soldiers alike, held the view that, as complete victory was not certain, it was better to get a good peace while they could. It was Castlereagh's object to harmonise these points of view by insisting both on the forward march
1 Metternich to Hudelist, Jan. 17, 20, 21, 1814. Fournier, Congress von Châtillon, pp. 250 ff. 2 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Feb. 26, 1814. F.O. Continent Archives 2. "He is constitutionally temporising; he is charged with more faults than belong to him, but he has his full share, mixed up, however, with considerable means for carrying forward the machine, more than any other person I have met with at headquarters." See an article on their relations in Transactions Royal Hist. Soc., 3rd series, vol. VI.
of the operations and the opening of peace discussions. If Napoleon refused terms which would now be considerably more stringent than those offered at Frankfurt, then he felt sure of persuading Metternich to go as far as was necessary. Meanwhile, Alexander must consent to negotiate.
On January 29 the Ministers of the four Powers met to endorse these decisions by a written agreement, which is known as the Langres Protocol. It was agreed that there should be no suspension of operations, and that Schwarzenberg should have a free hand to direct them as he liked. With regard to the offer to be made to France, Castlereagh insisted that the progress of the Allied armies and the defection of Murat entitled them to demand a peace which substantially reduced France to her "ancient limits." 1 He carried his point after much discussion, and was able to report that "we "may now be considered as practically delivered from "the embarrassments of the Frankfurt negotiations." He also insisted that France must be informed, so far as possible, of the method by which the Powers intended to dispose of their conquests, though she was to have no right to interfere in their disposal. His insistence that all question of maritime rights must be entirely excluded from discussion, and France so informed at the outset, was at once accepted. Finally, he made it clear that, while he was ready to make peace with Napoleon, this disposition depended on the latter retaining the support of his subjects, and that the restoration of the Bourbons was regarded by him as the inevitable consequence of Napoleon's fall. This frank conference, which was resumed on three succeeding days, produced an immediate diminution of the tension between the Allies "owing to the natural vent which "this species of Cabinet has afforded to the diverging
1 Protocol of Jan. 29, 1814. The "ancient limits" were to be offered, but modifications of them were to be discussed. Oncken, Lord Castlereagh und dìe Ministerconferenz zu Langres, Historisches Taschenbuch, VI, 3, p. 34; Sbornik of the Russian Imperial Historical Society, XXXI, 360.
"sentiments of the respective Governments." 1 Their decisions were embodied in the instructions drawn up for the representatives they intended to send to Châtillon to meet Caulaincourt, in which the "ancient limits," with possible modifications, were laid down as the basis of negotiation. 2 Less satisfactory was the explanation to be given to Caulaincourt as to the future arrangement of Europe, which was in the vaguest terms. The restoration of Holland, "with an increase of territory and a suitable frontier," was, however, specially mentioned; and this had been the main point in Castlereagh's instructions. All discussion of the maritime code was also, of course, to be excluded from the peace negotiations. Castlereagh had thus made great progress in obtaining what he had set out to win. He had also succeeded in obtaining some sort of harmony in the Alliance by at once taking the lead in all diplomatic and even military questions, and forcing, so far as possible, a decision on his Allies. 3
Section 6. The Châtillon Conference. -- At the Châtillon Conference, which extended from February 4 to March 19, Napoleon was represented by the sincere and devoted Caulaincourt, whose eager desire for peace stands out in marked contrast to the cynical attitude of the Allied plenipotentiaries. But his master never yielded entirely to the entreaties of his Minister; and thus the exact course of the negotiations need not be entered into, since for the most part the conferences were without real substance. This Conference, however, provides an interesting precedent for a Peace Conference sitting while hostilities are still proceeding. The disposition of one side or the other to compromise depended to a great extent on the position in the field. The two sides were, however, so far from agreement at the outset that no peace could have possibly resulted. Napoleon, the heir of the Revolu-
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Feb. 1, 1814, F.O. Continent 2.
2 Fournier, Congress von Châtillon, p. 306.
3 Oncken, Historisches Taschenbuch, VI, 4, p. 36.
tion, could not sign a peace which brought back France to the boundaries of the ancien régime. His victories in the middle of February made him obdurate; and even in March, when these successes had been shown to be only ephemeral, he could not bring himself to sign a peace which would leave France smaller than he found it. For Castlereagh the Conference was mainly important in the effect which it was likely to produce on France and on Europe. He wished the onus of the continuance of the war to be thrown on Napoleon and not on the Allies. That he attached considerable importance to the method by which the negotiations were conducted is shown by the fact that he alone of the principal Ministers attended any portion of the conferences, though he left the actual conduct of the negotiations to his subordinates. The delegates nominated by the other Powers were all men of second rank.
It was soon apparent that some central control was needed. The Russian plenipotentiary, Razumoffski, had received orders from the Tsar to delay peace as long as possible, 1 this being Alexander's method of escaping from the obligations of the Langres Protocol; and the other plenipotentiaries were, for one reason or another, not likely to keep him in check. 2 As a result of Blücher's success at La Rothière on February 1, Alexander, without consulting his allies, sent a peremptory order for the negotiations to be suspended. Castlereagh, at the urgent request of Metternich, hurried back to re-establish the concert, and on his return had again to leave when the successes of Napoleon had produced a new crisis. In these circumstances, the negotiations were largely a duel of words. Caulaincourt demanded in vain to know the plans which the Allies had made for Ger-
1 Sbornik of the Russian Imperial Historical Society, XXXI. 370.
2 Stadion, the Austrian, was opposed to Metternich's plans, Humboldt, the Prussian, simply wanted revenge on France, and none of the English plenipotentiaries were men of diplomatic ability.
many and Italy. This was just what the Allies could not tell him, since they had not agreed amongst themselves. They were only decided that such matters were no concern of France, and reiterated the question, Would France accept or not the return to the "ancient limits," or something like them? These terms Caulaincourt could not get his master to accept; and, as soon as the Treaty of Chaumont, which was signed on March 9, had terminated the internal difficulties of the Alliance, the negotiations were ordered to be broken off.
"I wish it had been possible," reported Castlereagh, "with less sacrifice in point of time to have ascertained, in a manner that would satisfy the world of the fact, the impracticability of concluding peace with the existing ruler of France; but it has, at length, been accomplished in a manner which I am persuaded can leave no reasonable doubt in the view even of the French nation." 1
The Maintenance of the Alliance,-Castlereagh's principal task was to keep the Alliance together while the issue was still in doubt, and to construct a treaty which should provide for the security of Europe after the war. There were two occasions, at least, when it seemed that he had failed, in spite of the promising opening of his negotiations at Langres. The first was on the suspension of the negotiations at Châtillon on February 8. Alexander thought he could march straight to Paris, dethrone Bonaparte, and set up any claimant whom he regarded as likely to win the support of the French. Castlereagh hurried to headquarters, and had two long and very stormy interviews with the Tsar, in which he stressed the dangers of making the fall of Napoleon the direct object of the war. 2 He pointed out that it was one thing to take Paris as a natural result of military operations; it was another to go there to set up a new government the character of which was not yet determined. In Castlereagh's view, such a new government could only be the Bourbons, but he urged
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Mar. 22, 1814, F.O. Continent 3.
2 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Feb. 16/31, 1814, F.O. Continent 3.
that there was, as yet, no sign that the French wanted them back, in spite of the fact that Allied armies were on French soil. He asked the Tsar:-
"how long he would undertake to keep his army in France to fight the battles of a Bourbon against Bonaparte, and whether his Allies would engage for theirs,"
and what would be the attitude of the French people towards a sovereign whom the Allies, rejecting a peace on their own terms, had forced on them at the point of the bayonet. He told the Emperor that the Ministerial Council had considered the matter that morning, and that they felt that Alexander's idea was "full of hazard, at direct variance with the principle upon which the confederacy had been cemented amongst the Allies and supported by Europe, and that they feared it might lead to failure, disgrace, and disunion."
Alexander could make no reply to this attack; but he attempted to refute Castlereagh by denying that he really represented the opinions of his Government or his people. The Tory press was, as he knew, loud against Bonaparte and in favour of the Bourbons. But, further than this, the Prince Regent and the Prime Minister had been indiscreet in their conversations with Lieven, the Russian Ambassador. Alexander now endeavoured to use the wishes of the Prince Regent, as reported by Lieven, as a means of weakening Castlereagh's opposition. 1 It was not the last occasion on which this game was played, but it made no impression, either now or later, on the Foreign Minister. He claimed full powers to act as he wished, denied Alexander's right to question it, and sent Robinson home post-haste to bring back definite instructions that he had full support, and to stop all such intrigues in the future. He told his Cabinet plainly that he would never support a war prolonged merely to
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Feb. 18, 1814, enclosing Lieven to Nesselrode, Jan. 26, 1814, Correspondence, IX, 266.
See also Princess Lieven's account in her diary in the Grand Duke Nicholas Michaelovitch's Correspondence de l'Empereur Alexandre avec sa Sur la Grande-Duchesse Catharine, p. 226.
dethrone Bonaparte if other objects were secured, however much he would welcome his fall if it were brought about by the natural sequence of events. Liverpool, of course, gave him full support, and though there was some difficulty with the Prince Regent and some members of the Cabinet, instructions such as Castlereagh had requested were sent to him to strengthen his position. 1 The result was that he secured a continuance of the negotiations with Napoleon which the Allies had, as yet, no excuse for breaking off. New instructions were sent from Allied Headquarters to Châtillon which went still further in the direction of the "ancient limits," with corresponding cessions of colonies, while France was to be expressly excluded from intervening in the disposition of the conquered territories. 2
"What will be the fate of the whole, I cannot guess," wrote Castlereagh, "but we have acted consistently and honourably; and if we are still exposed to Bonaparte, with a defensive alliance (upon which I have made useful progress) and such a peace we need not trouble for the future."
The second occasion on which Castlereagh had to intervene to save the Coalition from dissolution was almost immediately after this decision. Napoleon's victories of February 8-10 over Blücher had had the effect of making Alexander more reasonable. Those of February 17, 18, and 21 against Schwarzenberg, which forced the main Allied army to retreat, turned
1 Bathurst to Castlereagh, Feb. 27, 1814, F.O. Continent Archives 2. Liverpool spoke very strongly to Lieven on the use that had been made of the Ambassador's letter. According to the Russian Ambassador, Bathurst, Harrowby, and Eldon were strongly against a peace with Napoleon. Lieven to Nesselrode, Mar. 1, 1814, Petrograd Archives. The Prussian Ambassador reported that it was only with the greatest difficulty that the Prince Regent's predilections for the Bourbons were overcome, and that the Cabinet was very divided. Jacobi to Hardenberg, Feb. 18, 1814, Berlin Archives. Liverpool and Sidmouth, however, threatened to resign if the Prince Regent persisted. Wessenberg to Metternich, Feb. 15, 1814, Vienna Archives. 2 D'Angeberg, Le Congrès de Vienne, p. 111.
his self-confidence into something like panic. On the 18th Schwarzenberg, with the assent of Alexander and the King of Prussia, thought it well to ask for an armistice rather than risk a decisive battle. Castlereagh learnt of the fact at Châtillon, whither he had returned to set the negotiations in train on the basis of the new instructions, by a letter from Metternich to Stadion which hinted that peace must be made. 1 He made immediately an indignant protest in a letter to Metternich. 2 He then hurried to headquarters, where he found an alarming situation. The recriminations between Austria and Russia were at their height, and Castlereagh confessed that his patience was almost worn out in dealing with them both. Austria, in the depths of despair, was eager for peace; and Alexander, who considered that he had been betrayed by the Austrians, was now also ready to give way. 3 Each Power, indeed,
1 Metternich to Stadion, Feb. 18, 1814. Metternich had, however, not been consulted before the offer was made. Fournier, Congress von Châtillon, p. 324.
2 Castlereagh to Metternich, Feb. 18, 1814, F.O. Continent Archives 2: "I cannot express to you how much I regret the proposition of armistice.... An offer so inconsistent with the proceedings here, and of so little dignity in itself, cannot fail to invite the enemy to assume a tone of authority. I feel it more than ever necessary to conjure you and your colleagues at headquarters not to suffer yourselves to descend from the substance of your peace. You owe it, such as you have announced it to the enemy, to yourselves and to Europe, and you will now more than ever make a fatal sacrifice, both of moral and political impression, if, under the pressure of these slight reverses, which are incident to war, and some embarrassments in your Council which I should hope are at an end, the great edifice of peace was suffered to be disfigured in its proportions.... If we act with military and political prudence, how can France resist a just peace demanded by 600,000 warriors? Let her if she dare; and the day you can declare that fact to the French nation, rest assured Bonaparte is subdued." See also Oncken, Die Krisis der letzten Friedensverhand'lung mit Napoleon I, Historisches Taschenbuch, VI, 5, 48.
3 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Feb. 26, 1814, F.O. Continent 3: "The Emperor was the first to descend from the project of Paris to that of armistice, and I received last night a message from His Imperial Majesty by Count Nesselrode, probably embroidered by the bearer, to urge the expedience of an early peace. But I do not altogether despair of his perseverance, and if I can get him to speak out to Austria and allay all her alarms, real or pretended, I am confident she could not leave us upon the main question. .... The Emperor of Russia, not quite satisfied with himself, is loud against the Austrians for not giving battle, and told me that Schwarzenberg had secret orders from his Court not to fight a general action in the then state of the negotiations."
suspected that the other was trying to keep its army intact in order to influence future decisions as to the division of the spoils. 1 Castlereagh only succeeded in reuniting the Alliance by a great effort. He told the Allies that Great Britain would never restore her conquests unless she got a peace on the Continent such as she desired.
"Nothing keeps either Power firm but the consciousness that without Great Britain the peace cannot be made. They have all been lowering their tone to me, but I have explicitly told them that if the Continent can and will make a peace with Bonaparte upon a principle of authority, for such a peace Great Britain will make the greatest sacrifices. But if they neither will nor can, we must, for their sake as well as our own, rest in position against France...Whatever may be the issue, I have thought our line, to do any good, must be a decided one, and I have represented to them all the hopelessness of their future security against France re-established, if they shrink now from the contest when they are reunited."
At the same time, he took energetic measures to strengthen the military position. At his suggestion troops were detached from Bernadotte's force and given to Blücher, "who is too daring to be trusted with a small army, but a host at the head of 100,000 men," and an attack on Antwerp by the Swedes was ordered. He also proposed that a Military Commission should be formed to investigate the exact numbers of the Allied forces and prepare a plan of campaign. 2 In short,
1 Münster to the Prince Regent, Feb. 25, 1814: "Je ne doute pas que les Autrichiens songent à tenir leur armée intacte, afin de conserver leur influence sur les affaires de Pologne: de l'autre côté, on accuse les Russes de ménager leur belle cavalerie." Fournier , op. cit., p. 303. 2 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Mar. 4, 1814, F.O. Continent 3.
by pointing out to the Allies the real strength of their position, by allaying their mutual suspicions, and especially by showing them that he held the key to peace in the colonial conquests, which he would only use if he was satisfied with the Continental position, he succeeded in reconstructing the Alliance and bringing it once more to energetic action.
The Treaty of Chaumont. The Construction of the Quadruple Alliance. -- A treaty had, however, yet to be made; and these two incidents had shown how necessary it was. Castlereagh had already submitted his proposals for a defensive alliance to the Ministers of the Great Powers, and secured their general approval. 1 Now he wanted to complete this treaty, which should give complete security against France in the future, and at the same time obtain the objects which Great Britain had most at heart. He had already made his subsidy proposals conditional on the separation of the Netherlands from France. For on Antwerp he knew that Napoleon would insist to the very last; and it was therefore all the more important to bind his Allies to go on until this object were attained. 2 At last, on March 9, the Treaty of Chaumont was signed. The four Powers bound themselves to continue the war until their objects were attained. These objects were, as defined in secret articles, a confederated Germany, an independent Switzerland, an Italy comprised of separate independent States, a free Spain under the Bourbon House, and an enlarged Holland, of which the Prince of Orange was to be Sovereign. All the other articles except this last were matters, of course, on which there was no dispute. The aggrandisement of Holland was the main instruction given to Castlereagh, and he here obtained it by treaty from the Allies. For this he had indeed to pay heavily. In money and men combined England's con-
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Feb. 18, 1814, F.O. Continent 3.
2 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Mar. 4, 1814, F.O. Continent 3.
tribution was to be twice as large as that of each Continental Power.
But Castlereagh also secured the other point of his instructions, on which, perhaps, he laid more stress than on anything else. The Alliance was to continue for twenty years after war had ceased, and the Powers were to protect one another against any attempt by France to upset the arrangements made in the forthcoming peace. This was the origin of the Quadruple Alliance which was to dominate European politics for thirty years and far outlast its purpose. It was made under the strain of the overwhelming military superiority which France had obtained under the Napoleonic régime, and the helplessness of all the rest of Continental Europe against her, except in combination. The object, therefore, as laid down in Article XVI of the treaty, was to secure "the balance of power"; and, though there were to be many changes in the attitude of the various Powers during the next eighteen months, this idea persisted to the end of the European settlement, and on the whole may have been said to have been achieved. The treaty was intended, as Castlereagh told his Government, to be regarded
"not only as a systematic pledge of persevering concert amongst the leading Powers, but a refuge under which all the minor States, especially those on the Rhine, may look forward to find their security upon the return of peace relieved of the necessity of seeking a compromise with France." 1
It was, in fact, to be a League of Nations against France, to which all Powers, great and small, could look for protection. This device, invented by Castlereagh himself, and forced by him on the Allies, is perhaps his greatest achievement and title to fame. How hard it was to construct it has been shown in the preceding pages.
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Mar. 10, 1814, F.O. Continent 3. Spain, Portugal, Sweden, and Holland were to be invited to accede.
Section 9. The Problem of the Conquered Territories. -- But, though he had secured the Alliance, the barrier in the Netherlands, and practically the left bank of the Rhine -- though, that is, the boundaries of France had been largely determined -- little progress had yet been made in settling the claims of the three Continental Powers, which had been at the bottom of all their recriminations and disputes. Ceaseless negotiations had taken place amongst the Ministers of the Powers on this point, and a plan was already being drawn up; but nothing definite had yet matured. The exact course of events is not easy to trace, since there are few official transactions, and each Minister was moving with extreme caution, uncertain alike of the course he ought to pursue and what were the real intentions of his Allies. The only point on which the Great Powers were really in agreement was that they were to settle these matters among themselves, and that neither France nor the smaller European States were to do more than acquiesce in their decisions. It had already been arranged at Langres that a Congress should be held at Vienna, which the three Sovereigns promised to attend in person; and a formal invitation was procured from the town of Vienna for that purpose. 1 But this Congress was meant merely to ratify decisions previously made by the Great Powers, and these decisions it was intended to make at the earliest opportunity. They were, at any rate, to be incorporated in the peace treaty with France, so that her signature might be obtained before the meeting of the Congress.
Castlereagh was exceedingly anxious to settle these questions, which he could perceive were
1 Münster to the Prince Regent, Feb. 2, 1814, Hanover Archives. As to why Vienna was chosen for the meeting-place of the Congress see the paper on International Congresses. Details as to the discussions on this point are lacking. Not only, however, was Vienna in a convenient central position, but the attitude of mediator which Metternich had assumed in 1813 had caused the Austrian capital to be considered as the natural locality for such an assembly.
exercising a profound and dangerous influence on the progress of the war, and he was at no loss to decide where British interests lay. The foundation of all the subsequent negotiations lies in a verbal agreement between Metternich and Hardenberg, made early in January, that Austria would agree to Prussia's claims on Saxony if Prussia would unite with Austria to defeat Alexander's plans for the creation of a Polish kingdom. 1 Castlereagh, who had inherited from Pitt an extreme distrust of Russia, from the first made this agreement the foundation of his diplomacy. It suited his policy in two particulars. He was anxious to make Prussia a strong and united State, so that she might play her part in re-establishing the territorial equilibrium which it was his main object to produce, and he wished to keep Russia as far as possible from Central Europe.
Alexander, however, regarded the creation of a Kingdom of Poland as already settled. In January, indeed, he promised Cathcart that he would not press his claims on Prussian Poland, but this promise was not seriously meant. 2 To Austria he first proposed that she should take Alsace from France, and cede him the whole of Galicia. 3 In February, it is true, he was prepared to accept only Western Galicia, over which he declared Austria had no claim; but beyond this he would not go. Czartoryski was received at headquarters, and there were rumours that he would replace Nesselrode. Castlereagh threw his whole weight on the other side. He told the Austrians that he was in entire agreement with them on the subject of Poland, 4 and at the begin-
1 Hardenberg Tagebuch, Jan. 8, 1814. Fournier, Congress von Châtillon, p. 361. See also Cathcart to Castlereagh, Jan. 16 1814, Correspondence, IX, 171. 2 Cathcart to Castlereagh, as above.
3 Münster to the Prince Regent Feb. 23, 25, 1814. Fournier, Congress von Châtillon, pp. 302, 303.
4 Stadion to Metternich, Feb. 9, 1814. Fournier, Zur Vorgeschichte des Wiener Kongresses: Hist. Studien und Skizzen, II, 297.
ning of March he had an interview with Czartoryski and Radziwill. 1
"I hope I have succeeded," he wrote, "in discrediting their views, considering them in truth a diversion in favour of France; the former, who is a person both of principle and merit, promised to absent himself from the headquarters if his presence was considered as calculated to create disunion, which I ventured with every possible sentiment of regard to assure him was the fact."
No impression was, however, made on the Tsar, who remained in constant communication with Czartoryski and no progress could be made towards an agreement.
Other points were under constant discussion among the Allied Ministers. As has been seen, the aggrandisement of Holland and the independence of Switzerland and Spain had been put into treaty form. As to Germany, all that had been decided was that it should be composed of independent States united in a "lien fédératif." 2 This federal Constitution had, however, been already much discussed, and the bases of it laid at Langres in January; 3 and a draft scheme was drawn up on March 10 by Stein, with the assistance of Humboldt. In this matter Castlereagh himself took little part, either now or later, Münster being used to represent the British Government as well as Hanover. More important from the present point of view was, however, the territorial distribution. But though the outlines of a scheme gradually appeared, everything depended on the Saxon question, and, as the settlement of this depended on the Polish one, no decisions could be made. As to Italy, it had been generally agreed that Austria should be compensated there, but, though the treaty with Murat had, temporarily at least, settled
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Mar. 3, 1814, F.O. Continent 3.
2 Münstr, p. 160.
3 In Oct. 1813 England had urged Austria to assume once more the Imperial Crown, but Metternich had refused. Oncken, Aus den letzten Monaten des Jahres 1813. Historisches Taschenbuch, VI, 2, p. 66.
the south, the disposition of the States of the north could not yet be decided. 1 Here again, then, only a vague principle had been recognised. Section 10. The Allies and the Restoration of the Bourbons. -- The question whether Napoleon was to remain on the throne of France, and, if not, who was to succeed him, had always underlain all these discussions. Castlereagh's position, as has been shown, was that peace must be made with Napoleon if he would consent to the "ancient limits." But he did not expect him to do so, and in that case he wished the Bourbons to return. He would not be a party, however, to any overt attempt to set up the Bourbons while the Allies were still in negotiation with the Emperor, and he was confirmed in this view by the absence of any signs that the French people were ready of their own will to dethrone Bonaparte or welcome back the ancient family. 2 His Cabinet were, reluctantly for the most part, forced to support this point of view, but they grew more and more restive as time went on and peace and final victory were still delayed. Public opinion in England grew more and more vehement in favour of the overthrow of Napoleon, though Liverpool himself distrusted the Bourbons, and took all steps to prevent the imprudences of the Prince Regent from committing British policy. 3 The Bourbon Princes at last began to act, and the Comte d'Artois went to Switzerland in
1 The Cabinet were dissatisfied that Castlereagh had not made the establishment of Sardinia a special point of the Chaumont Treaty, but the latter pointed out that the omission was intentional on his part, "the object of that instrument not being to declare a comprehensive arrangement for the Continent, but to secure on the part of Great Britain the points most essential to her honour and interest." He had, therefore, wished "to avoid swelling the catalogue of special concessions by including in it objects otherwise secured." Castlereagh to Liverpool, Mar. 5 1814, F.O. Continent 3.
2 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Mar. 4, 1814, F.O. Continent 3.
3 Liverpool to Wellington, Feb. 9, 1814, Wellington: Supplementary Despatches, VIII, 580.
February, 1 while the Duc d'Angoulême went to the south and the Duc de Berri to Brittany. At Paris also Talleyrand and others were already thinking of the Bourbons; but no communication with the Allies was established until the Châtillon Conference was dissolved and Napoleon had refused the terms offered.
Thus it was not until March 22 that Castlereagh was able to report the appearance of a secret envoy at headquarters. This envoy, Baron Vitrolles, had set out in March, but was not received until after the Chaumont Treaty had been signed. He had then interviews with Metternich, who welcomed him, and Alexander, who told him that the Bourbons were unfit to govern France. Castlereagh, as soon as he knew of the definite breach of Châtillon, supported Metternich, and made preparations to bring the Bourbon Princes to headquarters, a confidential mission being sent to the Comte d'Artois in Switzerland for this purpose. By now Bordeaux had proclaimed its adhesion to the Bourbons; and Castlereagh thought the time had come to act. On March 28, at a dinner at Dijon, at which Castlereagh, Metternich, and Razumoffski were present, the Bourbons were publicly toasted by the Allied Ministers. Castlereagh did not wish, however, to play a very prominent part in this movement, but to leave the initiative to the Continental Powers. 2 In all this he only anticipated the intentions of the home Government. On March 19 instructions had been sent that the negotiations should be brought to an immediate close; while, on the receipt of the news that Bordeaux had declared for the Bourbons, Castlereagh
1 See the correspondence of the Comte d'Artois -- "Monsieur" -- with Alexander, in Wellington: Supplementary Despatches, VIII, 619.
2 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Mar. 22, 30, 1814, F.O. Continent 3: "The object I have in view...is to bring Great Britain forward in whatever may regard the interior of France rather as the ally and auxiliary of the Continental Powers than as charging herself in chief, and making herself responsible for what cannot be conducted under the superintendence of her own Government"
was ordered not to be a party to any treaty with Napoleon. 1 The Cabinet were prepared to back the Bourbons now that part of France appeared to be on their side.
The Overthrow of Napoleon and the First Peace of Paris. -- Thus at the final stage of the fight with Napoleon, England and Austria were eager that the Bourbons should be brought back, though Alexander was still hostile. The Allies were linked together by the Treaty of Chaumont; their different claims on the Napoleonic Empire, though unsettled, were postponed for the moment; their military machinery had been overhauled and improved. In short, under the energetic leadership of Castlereagh the Coalition had survived, and even profited from, a period of defeat. The Allies knew from intercepted letters the desperate plight of Napoleon. Peremptory orders were sent to Chaumont that the negotiations must be terminated. 2 Caulaincourt was even yet not able to obtain from Napoleon instructions that authorised him to make any approach towards the terms offered by the Allies. While he was still offering counter-projects which discussed the fate of Saxony and Italy, the farce was terminated; and on March 19 the Conference of Châtillon broke up, a manifesto to the French nation being issued on the 25th by the Allies, which laid the blame for the continuance of the war entirely on Napoleon. Five days later the Allies were at the gates of Paris; and Napoleon's last desperate effort to stave off his ruin was frustrated by the defection of his generals. On March 31 Alexander, accompanied by Frederick William, realised his long-cherished wish, and entered Paris as a conqueror, or, as he would have preferred to phrase it, as liberator.
1 Bathurst to Castlereagh, Mar. 19, 22, 1814, F.O. Continent Archives 1. 2 Instruction envoyée à Châ tillon, Mar. 11, 1814. Fournier, Congress von Châtillon, p. 343.
Both the Emperor of Austria and Metternich, together with Castlereagh, remained at Dijon. Francis II was not eager to appear as conqueror in the capital of his son-in-law. Nor was Castlereagh anxious to take part in the negotiations at Paris. He was convinced that the steps taken by himself, in conjunction with Metternich and Hardenberg, would result in a declaration for the Bourbons. Nesselrode was on their side and, in communication with Talleyrand, ready to check any move of Bernadotte or the Bonapartists. 1 Thus Alexander, who entered the city convinced that the Bourbon cause was without support, found there a vigorous and active Bourbon party, which Talleyrand, the most astute head in Europe, was leading. He had no alternative but to bring back to the French throne the Bourbons whom he detested and despised. He insisted, however, on the promise of a Constitution, and prevented the exiled King from returning as an absolute monarch.
Castlereagh from the first had intended to keep apart from these arrangements. A Convention between Austria, Russia, and Prussia had been signed so long ago as February 14 for the regulation of the procedure of the Allies in the event of a march to Paris, by which the Bourbons were to be proclaimed if there was sufficient popular support. 2 Alexander had seen, but not signed, this document; but he was now, much against his will, the instrument by which it was to be put into force. Castlereagh, though cognisant of all these matters, and largely inspiring them, refused to give any signature. He did not reach Paris till April 10 when the whole affair was over. His subordinates, who objected to Alexander playing the leading rôle,
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Dijon, Apr. 4, 1814, F.O. Continent Archives 2. A more general view is that Talleyrand planned the whole matter and convinced Alexander, but the evidence of the British Archives shows that Castlereagh and Metternich were quite assured as to the result.
2 Oncken, Das Zeitalter, &c., p. 769, from the Foreign Office Records.
were urgent he should appear on the scene. But he had no wish to take a prominent part in a transaction which might give a considerable opportunity to the Opposition in the British Parliament. Similarly, he wanted to be not more than an acceding party to the Treaty of Fontainebleau, by which Napoleon was made sovereign of Elba; indeed, he seriously objected to the chivalrous terms which Alexander granted to his conquered foe.
These matters being settled, the Allied Ministers could proceed to draw up the Treaty of Peace with the Bourbon Government. The first step was to arrange for a cessation of hostilities which would free France from the Allied troops. Operations had now ceased except in the south of France, and by a convention of April 23 the Allies engaged to withdraw their forces from France in return for the surrender of the fortresses which were still held by French troops in Germany and Italy. 1 Louis XVIII returned to France on April 24, but the negotiations for the Treaty of Peace lasted till the end of May. Castlereagh, who was being constantly pressed to return home, was anxious to come to a conclusion as soon as possible, but, as he confessed to Bathurst, Paris was "a bad place for business," and the balls, dinners, reviews, and fêtes did much to distract the Sovereigns and their Ministers from more serious work, a situation which pleased Talleyrand, who hoped to profit by the prolongation of the discussions. Eventually it was only by a threat to transfer the negotiations to London that Castlereagh obtained his signature to the treaty by the end of May.
The construction of the treaty with France raised, however, big problems which could not be disposed of without considerable expenditure of diplomatic energy. A Bourbon King could readily accept the ancient frontiers of France; but Talleyrand was anxious to obtain as much prestige as possible, both for himself and the restored monarchy. Castlereagh, who considered that
1 See the paper in this series on International Congresses, where the text is given.
he had obtained from France the main securities necessary for the peace of Europe, was inclined to be liberal. 1 In this view he was supported to a considerable extent by Liverpool, who, like Castlereagh, had an eye to using French influence in the European settlement. 2 Thus, in refusing to demand a monetary indemnity from France such as Prussia desired (presenting for herself a bill of over one hundred million francs), or to allow the works of art of which Napoleon and his generals had plundered Europe to be restored to their owners, and in giving France a substantial increase on her 1792 boundaries, Castlereagh's influence was, in company with that of Alexander, on the side of generosity. When, however, Talleyrand attempted to take advantage of this attitude to refuse the cession of St. Lucia and Tobago, and to avoid all reference to the abolition of the slave trade, he was met with a peremptory negative. Still more indignant was Castlereagh when a strong movement arose, supported not only by the Napoleonic generals but even by the King, to extend the French frontier on the side of Belgium. 3 He told Talleyrand that no peace could last unless the French people gave up "this false notion of Flanders being necessary to France"; and it made him the more determined to secure a full recognition of the frontiers of the kingdom of the Netherlands in the Treaty of Peace. 4
With regard to the slave trade, both Castlereagh and his Cabinet were urged on by an almost fanatical public opinion in England. The trade had been abolished in the colonies which we were now handing
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Apr. 19, 1814: "I am myself inclined to a liberal line upon subordinate questions, having secured the Continent, the ancient family, and the leading features of our own peace." Correspondence, IX, 474.
2 Liverpool to Castlereagh, May 19, 1814, W.S.D., IX, 89.
3 Castlereagh to Liverpool, May 19, 1814, F.O. Continent 4.
4 Castlereagh to Liverpool, May 23, 1814: "I felt it of the first importance not to go to a Congress without having this most essential point acquiesced in by that Power." F.O. Continent 4.
back to France. The French view was that England, having stocked her own colonies with labour, was anxious to prevent those of other Powers obtaining a similar advantage. Castlereagh was anxious to get the abolition recognised by all Europe; but it was more difficult to refuse a term of years of delay if the principle was conceded, since the British abolition was so recent. Eventually France agreed that the trade should be abolished after five years' delay, and undertook to support the general principle at the Congress.
The final result of the treaties, which were signed on May 30, was that France received the boundaries of 1792, with certain additions which extended her northeastern frontier so as to include districts round Philippeville and Saarbruck, the fortress of Landau, and a considerable portion of Savoy. Further territories belonging to other Powers and enclaves in France, such as Mülhausen and Avignon, of which there were also many on the north-eastern frontier, were now incorporated in her territory under her full sovereignty. She regained also most of her colonies except Tobago, St. Lucia, and Mauritius and its dependencies; while she was restricted to commercial privileges in India, giving up all sovereign rights. She also recognised the British possession of Malta. 1
Section 12. The Attempt at Paris to settle the Conquered Territories. -- These treaties, however, besides regulating the relations of France with Europe, mark also a stage in the discussion of the problems that still divided the Allies. Castlereagh had at first intended that the future of Europe should be decided in London after the signature of the treaty with France. 2 But it
1 Separate treaties were signed between each of the belligerent Powers and France. Including that with Spain, who did not sign until July 20, 1814, there were thus seven treaties, which were identical as regards the main instrument, though they varied to some extent in the secret and additional articles, in which the stipulations as to the rest of Europe were recorded.
2 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Apr. 13, 1814, Correspondence, IX, 460.
was later decided that the main points of the European settlement should be settled in Paris; and, if the Powers could have come to an agreement, the main provisions would have been incorporated in the treaty with France and the future Congress have been merely concerned with the ratification of these decisions. In this, however, as at Langres and Chaumont, those who hoped to effect a settlement proved to be over-sanguine. But a determined and serious effort was now made. Hardenberg and Metternich, secure in the knowledge that Castlereagh would support them, wished to bind Russia to the recognition of their scheme before the treaty with France was signed. 1 Hardenberg, after long conferences with Stadion, who represented Metternich, produced a plan for the future arrangement of Europe. By this scheme all Saxony was to go to Prussia, as well as the left bank of the Rhine; while Austria received Tirol and compensation in Italy. The Duchy of Warsaw was to be partitioned in such a manner that, while Russia obtained the largest part, both Prussia and Austria received substantial shares, the latter especially retaining Cracow and the Tarnopol district, which had been ceded by her in 1809. Compensations for Bavaria, Baden, and Piedmont were all indicated, and the plan of a German Constitution, such as had already been prepared at Langres, was added. 2
On May 5 Hardenberg submitted this plan to Alexander, but met with a peremptory refusal. Not only was the Tsar unwilling to cede territory to Austria,
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, May 5, 1814: "A strong desire felt by Prussia and Austria to bring both Russia and France to some understanding upon the main principles of the Continental arrangements in a secret article or otherwise previous to our stipulating away our conquests has led to a tedious and elaborate examination of this very complicated and arduous question." F.O. Continent 4.
2 Hardenberg's plan "pour l'arrangement futur de l'Europe" in F.O. Continent 4. Described by Münster, Political Sketches, p. 159, and Treitschke, History of Germany (English edition), I, 661.
but he persisted in pressing for an extension of the western frontier of Poland, so as to include Thorn and a large rayon beyond it. The Polish question thus reached a deadlock. The agreement between Austria and Prussia was also an uneasy one; for, though Metternich was prepared to give Saxony to Prussia, he insisted that she should not obtain Mainz, the great fortress of Southern Germany, which was greatly coveted by the Prussian generals. Prussian troops now took possession of this place, a proceeding at which Austria was highly indignant; and the question of Mainz was to be a great stumbling-block to peace until the end. A final settlement as to Germany had, therefore, to be postponed until the London Conferences, though Stein was eager to get all signed at Paris, and attempted to get Alexander to insist on it.1 The uncertainty of the territorial settlement was, indeed, felt by all to be a great disadvantage. All Powers were eager to enter into provisional occupation of the countries which would fall to their share; and meanwhile in the territories that were likely to change hands there was the utmost confusion and grave acts of tyranny on the part of masters who felt that their reign of power was to be brief.
On May 21 Metternich, Hardenberg, and Münster again attempted to come to a settlement, but in vain. On the Polish question also, at the last moment, Alexander urged that a decision should be made; 1 but Metternich and Castlereagh by this time thought it more likely that settlement on these lines would be reached in London, where Polish influence was not so strong as in Paris, and this matter was also postponed. 2
When the Peace of Paris was signed it contained, therefore, only the recognition of a small part of the European settlement. The incorporation of the Low Countries with Holland was agreed to, as well as the restoration of the King of Sardinia to Piedmont, with which was to be incorporated Genoa (to remain a free
1 Münster, pp. 169, 171.
2 Münster, p. 184.
port), while the frontier of the Austrian possessions in Italy, which gave her Lombardy and Venetia, were defined; as regards the territories ceded on the left bank of the Rhine it was simply stated that they should serve as compensations to Holland, Prussia, and other German States. The only articles devoted to general interests were those which recognised the principle of free navigation of international rivers, 1 and one containing a promise by France to support the abolition of the Slave Trade at the Congress. All the rest of the matters in dispute had to be postponed. It was agreed by Article XXXII of the public treaty that
"all the Powers engaged on either side in the present war shall within the space of two months send plenipotentiaries to Vienna for the purpose of regulating in General Congress the arrangements which are to complete the present treaty."
But the four Powers, though unable to make express stipulations in the treaty, made it clear that they had no intention of allowing the decisions to be made by a general assembly of the European States. By a secret article France agreed that the disposition of the territories ceded by her, and "the relations from whence a system of real and permanent balance of power in Europe is to be derived, shall be regulated at the Congress upon the principles determined upon by the Allied Powers amongst themselves."
The Treaties of Paris were made with Portugal, Sweden, and Spain as well as the four Great Powers; but the latter did not intend the three smaller to have much share in the decision. It was still hoped to settle these matters before the Congress met in London, whither the Emperor of Russia, the King of Prussia, and their Ministers, as also Metternich, were now proceeding. It cannot too often be insisted on that, throughout the whole of these negotiations, the future Congress was intended to be only a ratifying instrument of the decisions of the four Great Powers. The signing of the first Peace of Paris marks, however, a
1 Fournier, Zur Vorgeschichte des Wiener Kongresses, Hist. Studien und Skizzen, II, 299.
very definite stage in the transactions. In spite of all their endeavours, the Powers had not been able to come to an agreement before France secured liberty of action by signing the treaty. They had thus been unable to bind her to recognise the distribution of the spoils. Had Hardenberg's plan resulted in agreement, it is certain that the territorial arrangement of Germany would have been included as a secret article in the treaty in the same way as the reconstruction of Holland and Sardinia, and the subsequent proceedings of Talleyrand at Vienna would have been impossible. As it was, the Powers could only bind France by the first secret article to recognise that they had the ultimate decision. It was, indeed, already apparent to some that a Bourbon France could not be treated as a quantité négligeable. 1 If, however, the four Powers, as they hoped, could conclude their preliminary arrangements, they did not expect to have much trouble from Talleyrand at the Congress.
Section 13. The Preliminary Discussions in London. Diplomatic Preparations. -- The Tsar and the King of Prussia and their Ministers accepted the invitation of the Prince Regent to England, while Metternich represented the Emperor of Austria. It had been Castlereagh's intention to utilise this opportunity to complete the arrangements for the settlement of Europe. 2 Though this expectation was not fulfilled, a very profound effect was produced by this visit on the political situation. The attitude which Castlereagh had adopted in France towards the Powers by no means
1 Münster to the Prince Regent, May 5, 1814, Political Sketches, p. 162: "The existing Government of France cannot be excluded from taking any part in the arrangements made to settle the relations of the different Empires of Europe as it was formerly intended that Bonaparte's should be." 2 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Apr. 13, 1814: "That the three great monarchs...proceeding there accompanied by their respective Ministers, our conferences might be continued in London and all essential points arranged for the ratification of Congress." Correspondence, IX, 460.
represented the opinions of the Cabinet. Both the Prince Regent and the Prime Minister were at this time well disposed towards Alexander, and they distrusted Austria, and especially her Foreign Minister. 1
Had the Tsar played his cards well, he might have made the position of Castlereagh an exceedingly difficult one. As events fell out, however, he permanently lost the friendship, not only of the Prince Regent, but also of the Tory Ministry. The Tsar's sister, the Grand Duchess Catharine, with whom his relations were of the most intimate kind, had preceded him to London. Despite the entreaties and protests of the Russian Ambassador and his wife, she flouted all social conventions, and, what was even worse, cultivated the Whigs rather than the Tories. 2 She even threatened to visit the unhappy Princess of Wales, with whom the Prince Regent had now publicly broken off relations, while to her influence on the Princess Charlotte was later ascribed the latter's refusal to marry the Prince of Orange. These strange proceedings were thoroughly approved of and closely imitated by Alexander. He won the plaudits of the mob and the half-hearted support of the Whigs at the cost of the hatred of the Prince Regent and the dislike of his Ministers. So far as his motives were political and not personal, he seems to have thought that he could best win support for his Polish schemes by an alliance with the leaders of the Opposition, 3 while the unpopularity of the Prince Regent and some of his Ministers may have given him the idea that the Tories would not remain long in power. If these were his motives, never was a greater political mistake committed. The
1 Merveldt to Metternich, Apr. 12, 1814, Vienna Archives.
2 See the diary of Princess Lieven in the Correspondence de l'Empereur Alexandre avec sa Sur, edited by the Grand Duke Nicholas Michaelovitch . 3 Merveldt to Metternich, July 9, 1814: "Lord Castlereagh me parla du mouvement que se donnaient ici les Princes Tzartoriski et Radziwill pour engager des members de l'opposition à porter devant le Parlement la question sur l'avenir de la Pologne." Vienna Archives.
Prince Regent and a Tory Ministry controlled British policy during Alexander's lifetime, and the effects of this visit were never eradicated. Metternich meanwhile paid assiduous court to the Prince Regent, and avoided all intercourse with the Opposition. 1
This situation, while it brought Castlereagh and Metternich more closely together, prevented that settlement before the meeting of Congress which all the four Powers desired. The Polish and Saxon questions were, indeed, discussed by the four Ministers, but the Tsar showed himself even less conciliatory than at Paris. No formal consideration of these questions could, therefore, take place, and it was agreed to postpone it until the meeting at Vienna. 2 It had been originally intended that the Congress should meet at the beginning of August. But Castlereagh found that he could not get through his Parliamentary business in time; and, as Alexander now realised that the Congress was likely to last longer than had at first been anticipated, he wished first to visit Russia. This decision he announced only when on his way back to the Continent; and the Ministers had perforce to postpone the meeting till the end of September. 3
The four Powers were also now faced with the fact that they had to meet Congress without having obtained a decision on the principal points in dispute. But they were still firm in their intention to decide these points by themselves. They resolved, therefore, that while the Powers who had signed the Treaty of Paris had the right to formulate a plan for the organization of Congress, this must only be "d'après le plan qui aura été arrêté entre les quatre cours." 4
1 He had instructed Merveldt to pursue a similar course of policy as early as Jan. 1814. Vienna Archives.
2 Klinkowström, p. 393.
3 Protocol of June 20, 1814, F.O. Continent 5.
4 "Points de délibération" endorsed Conference of June 16 F.O. Continent 5. These protocols, hitherto unpublished, are the only direct evidence of these meetings, and historians have been puzzled. It is probable, however, that, as the meetings were mainly informal, no others exist except those concerning Belgium and the maintenance of the Allied armies, which have long been known.
For this purpose the Ministers of the four Courts were to meet at Vienna some little time before the rest of Congress assembled. Alexander was somewhat suspicious of this last step, and only agreed to it on condition that nothing was to be definitely decided before he appeared on the scene. 1 The four Powers also agreed that no action should be taken in the countries which they provisionally occupied except in so far as their fate had already been definitely decided by treaty. 2 This was a point of great importance. Russian troops held all Poland and Saxony, as well as Holstein and other places in the north, while Prussia was in possession of the territories on the left bank of the Rhine and Mainz. The temptation to produce a fait accompli was, therefore, considerable. Lastly, in order that there might be no danger from France or other disturbing elements, the four Powers agreed that each should maintain at least 75,000 troops on a war footing until the new order should be finally consummated. 3 This was almost superfluous, for none of the Continental Powers had the slightest intention of disarming so long as their territories were undefined.
The only specific question which made any progress in the London Conferences was that of the incorporation of the Low Countries in Holland. The principles on which the new State was to be governed were submitted to the Conference by the Sovereign Prince and approved by the Allies; and the provisional administration of the Belgian provinces was transferred from the Austrians to its new ruler. 4 The frontiers of Holland beyond the Meuse could not, however, yet be
1 "Déclaration au protocole du 10/22 Juin," F.O. Continent 5. Nesselrode to Alexander, June 12/24, 1814, Petrograd Archives. 2 Protocol of the Conference of June 20, 1814, F.O. Continent 5.
3 "Conventionsupplémentaire" of June 29, 1814, D'Angeberg , 183.
4 Protocol of June 14, D'Angeberg, 182. The question of the Dutch colonies was finally settled by a Convention of Aug. 13 between the Netherlands and Great Britain, by which the latter retained the Cape of Good Hope and some minor possessions, but returned the Dutch East Indies. A sum of two millions sterling was also paid to the Dutch to create fortifications on the French frontier; D'Angeberg, 209. See the paper on Holland in this series (No. 37); also that on Indemnities (No. 159).
decided, since they depended on the other arrangements; and the recognition of the new State was deferred until the Congress.
In the interval between the London Conferences and the Congress the activities of the Ministers of the Great Powers were necessarily absorbed to a considerable extent by domestic affairs, but they were also engaged in endeavouring to produce situations favourable to their own plans for the Congress. Thus Metternich attempted to strengthen in every way the coalition he was endeavouring to build up against Alexander. At a meeting in London, Münster and Hardenberg had attempted to settle the vexed questions of Luxemburg and Mainz, while Metternich had discussed with the Prussian Minister the constitution of the German Confederation. 1 On his return to Vienna he renewed his negotiations with Hardenberg; and, despite the fact that he found a strong party, headed by Stadion and Schwarzenberg, working against him, persisted in his offer of Saxony if Prussia would join him wholeheartedly in opposition to Alexander. Now was the time, he urged on Hardenberg, to undermine the influence which Alexander had acquired over the Prussian King. He also sent an emissary to Russia to ascertain how far opposition to the Tsar's plans could be discerned there. 2 In all these negotiations he had a considerable measure of success, but an attempt to bring them to a conclusion by a preliminary meeting of the four Ministers at Baden was a failure. 3
1 Memorandum of Hardenberg and Münster, June 15, 1814 F.O. Continent 5.
2 Fournier, Zur Vorgeschichte des Wiener Kongresses, Historische Studien und Skizzen, II, p. 304.
3 Fournier, Die Geheimpolizei auf dem Wiener Kongress, p. 116.
Nor was Castlereagh idle during this time. Much trouble was caused by the refusal of the Norwegians to accept Swedish rule; and a British fleet had to blockade their coasts. Eventually this matter was settled; and Prussia also signed a treaty with Denmark, by which the latter was promised Swedish Pomerania. The larger question was also not neglected. Castlereagh called Hardenberg's attention to Alexander's organization of the Polish Army, and warned him to watch the activities of Russian troops in the north. In his reply the Prussian Minister stated that he hoped that Alexander was going to give way, as Metternich professed to believe; and he explained his own plans for the reconstruction of Europe. That Prussia would receive the whole of Saxony was, of course, assumed; but he also showed great jealousy of Austria's connections with Bavaria, and suggested that the two Great German Powers should partition the left bank of the Rhine between them. 1 This correspondence revealed how much there was still dividing Austria and Prussia. Nevertheless, Castlereagh saw in their union the sole hope of checking Russian aggrandisement.
Meanwhile, Talleyrand was drawing up his instructions for the Congress. This brilliant and deservedly famous document based the settlement of Europe on the principle of legitimacy, which would restore Saxony and Naples to their old rulers, and hoped to effect France's entrance into the European directorate by insisting on the rights of the smaller Powers. But Talleyrand was also seeking other means by which he might make his presence felt at the approaching reunion, while none of the Great Powers was unconscious of the fact that France was a possible ally, should all other resources fail to settle the difficulties between them. Alexander was endeavouring to conclude a marriage between his sister Anne and the Duc de Berri, but he had failed to conciliate Louis XVIII. Metternich had visited Paris on his way to Vienna, but
1 Castlereagh to Hardenberg, Aug. 8, 1814; Hardenberg to Castlereagh, Aug. 27, 1814; F.O. Continent Archives 20.
he had adopted an attitude of precaution that had alarmed Talleyrand and his master. 1 It was to England that Talleyrand looked.
When, therefore, Castlereagh took the precaution of communicating the convention of June 29 to Talleyrand, and explaining the reasons for the postponement of the opening of the Congress, he was met with an eager request that France and England should act together at Vienna as the only two disinterested Powers. Talleyrand, who was greatly alarmed at the news that preliminary meetings would be held at Vienna previous to his arrival, opened his mind on the questions of Poland and Italy. He cleverly did not lay too much stress on the project of the dethronement of Murat, which his colleagues were now loudly advocating, and endeavoured to bring forward points in which he believed Castlereagh's views would coincide with his own. The negotiations culminated in an urgent request for Castlereagh to visit Paris on his way to Vienna. 2
The advantages of Talleyrand's support were fully realised at London. Castlereagh had been rather uneasy from the first at the position in which the Coalition had placed France. But he was no more prepared than any other Minister of the four Powers to go back on his engagements and admit France as an equal party to their discussion. While, therefore, he received Talleyrand's overture cordially, he immediately made it clear that he would only consent to meet him on the understanding that the Alliance of the four Powers remained intact. But he agreed to visit Paris on his way to Vienna, and in two long interviews with Louis XVIII and his Minister he went over with them the whole of the questions at issue. Their support on the
1 Sir Charles Stuart to Castlereagh, July 4, 1814, F.O. France 97. 2 Castlereagh to Sir Charles Stuart, July 4, 1814; Stuart to Castlereagh, July 28; F.O. France 96 and 97. Later letters in W.S.D., IX, 180-186. Wellington to Castlereagh, Aug. 18, 1814 Correspondence, X, 94. Polish question was freely offered; and Castlereagh had rather to repress than encourage their desire to cooperate with Great Britain. He succeeded in placing the preliminary meetings at Vienna in such a light that Talleyrand could offer no objections, and he allowed Castlereagh to be the agent to express the views of the French Government until his own arrival. This important interview placed Castlereagh at the outset in a position towards France somewhat different from that which his Allies had adopted, though he had not committed himself to any definite line of action. 1 The special influence which he had thus acquired he was to use with advantage at the Congress in the course of the next few months.
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Sept. 3, 1814, F.O. Continent 7; Sbornik of the Russian Imperial Historical Society, vol. CXII; cf. Alison Phillips, The Confederation of Europe, p. 96.
PART II. THE ORGANIZATION OF THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA
The Problems and the Personalities of the Congress. -- When the Powers, by Article XXXII of the Treaty of Paris, agreed that the settlement of European affairs should be regulated at a Congress, they struck the imagination of all Europe. The peoples did not know of the first secret article by which the Allied Powers intended to keep affairs in their own hands. They had vague historical recollections which carried them back to the treaties of Westphalia, and they looked on the Congress as a constituent body of Europe which should settle on lofty principles of justice and equity the great problems resulting from twenty years of war. The dispossessed princes and potentates, who had been submerged in the great flood of the Revolution and Empire, saw, indeed, in the Congress an assembly which would restore their stolen "rights," while the Governments of the smaller States looked to Europe to round off their possessions by giving them long-coveted cities and counties. But the peoples as a whole expected something more. Many of the Germans, whose nationality had been awakened by the victorious struggle against Napoleon, were eager to obtain new institutions by which they would be able to express their new ideals. Similar aspirations, though not so strong and widespread, were also to be found in Italy. In England it was hoped that the humanitarian movement for the abolition of the slave trade would be strengthened by the approval of all Europe. In all countries there was a feeling, if vague and ill-defined, that some means should be found to prevent the recurrence of those evils from which the existing generation had so grievously suffered.
It has been seen how little the statesmen who were directing the affairs of Europe were occupied with these matters. For all of them, except for Talleyrand, who was vainly attempting to place himself at their side, the Congress was little more than a convenient assembly of diplomatists which would make it easier for them to consign to paper the agreements they would ultimately conclude. They had put forward the word "Congress" imprudently, without reflecting upon all the results that the word implied. It had been an expedient to postpone, and perhaps to solve, their difficulties. But the invitation had been given and accepted by all the States of Europe; and the Great Powers were committed to admit them in some way to their councils. The result was that there came to Vienna an enormous number of plenipotentiaries imbued with vague aspirations and ill-considered designs, only to find no principle which should govern their procedure and no machinery by which they could be made into a coherent body. No appreciable difference would have been made in the final settlement at Vienna if the large majority of the plenipotentiaries had never appeared there at all. They merely acted as a picturesque and expensive background to the real Congress of Vienna. The stages by which this result was brought about will be described in the succeeding sections, but the problems of the Congress and the representatives who took part in it may be briefly indicated here in order to render what follows more intelligible.
The Congress had been called into being by the Treaties of Paris, and its programme was, in a sense, provided at the same time. Certain matters had been indicated for settlement in the public and secret articles of the treaties, such as the extension of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the creation of a German Federation, and a Constitution for Switzerland and the more general topics of the navigation of international rivers and the abolition of the slave trade; but the most important subject of the Congress, the territorial changes to be made in Poland and Germany which affected 32,000,000 inhabitants, had not even been mentioned. The wording of Article XXXII of the Paris Treaties allowed any subject to be brought forward which could be considered necessary to complete the few and vague specific references that had been given.
The primary task of the Congress was the redistribution of the conquered territories. In effecting this redistribution it was necessary to take into account not only the stipulations of the Treaties of Paris but also the treaties made in 1813 by the three Eastern Powers, both among themselves and with the minor States. As has been seen, these Powers had so far exhausted in vain every expedient to come to a decision. The principal stumbling-block had been the question of Poland. On this depended the fate of Saxony; and on the disposal of Saxony depended all the other arrangements in Germany, so that the frontier of almost every German State was likely to be affected. In Italy the frontier of the Austrian dominions and the incorporation of Genoa in Sardinia were already determined. But the fate of the territory that lay between the Papal dominions and Austria, including the three Legations, was still uncertain, while the Bourbon Powers had determined never to recognise Murat, and the Great Powers were already repenting of the treaty which, with their consent, Austria had signed with him. The fate of the Ionian Isles, then in British occupation, depended ultimately on the problem of Sicily. In the north, while the Norwegians had submitted at last to come under Swedish rule, there were still complicated questions to be settled in which Sweden, Hanover, and Prussia were interested. The boundaries of the new Kingdom of Holland had also to be defined. When it is remembered that constitutions had also to be given to Germany and Switzerland -- problems in which the history of centuries was accumulated -- it can be seen that the time available for the treatment of more general questions, such as those of the international rivers and of the abolition of the slave trade, was not likely to be great, while only great pressure of public opinion could be expected to make the statesmen consider seriously such problems as the construction of an international tribunal, the possibilities of general disarmament, or the creation of representative institutions.
By the Treaties of Paris all the States of Europe which had participated in the war had the right to send plenipotentiaries to Vienna; and every State availed itself of the privilege. The four Great Powers were represented by the same Ministers who had so long transacted business together, but to each were added new assistants, who in some cases played a considerable part in affairs. Thus Castlereagh took with him his half-brother, Lord Stewart, together with Lord Cathcart, both of whom had represented him on the Continent since 1813. To these he added Lord Clancarty, recently his Minister at The Hague, and the holder of minor offices in the Ministry, an indefatigable and tenacious diplomatist, who was to be one of the real workers of the Congress. These three were all plenipotentiaries, but the first two gave him little assistance, and Lord Stewart was to be the laughing-stock of Vienna. Wellington relieved Castlereagh in the middle of February. He was no diplomatist, but his courage and military reputation were used to advantage when Napoleon's escape was announced. Clancarty was in charge after Wellington's departure at the end of March. Castlereagh's technical staff included Edward Cooke, the Assistant Under-Secretary, an experienced official, who got into close touch with Metternich's secretaries. His mordant letters to the Prime Minister gave great satisfaction. Castlereagh also took with him Planta, his private secretary, and other officials, while Stratford Canning, the Minister at Berne, was summoned to assist at the Conferences on the Swiss Question. For military opinions Castlereagh relied almost entirely on Wellington, when he was not content to use those supplied by the Prussian and Austrian General Staffs. The British personnel was far too small in number for the vast amount of business to be got through; the mere copying of despatches was at times overwhelming. But it was well organized and disciplined, at any rate during Castlereagh's own stay at Vienna.
Hardenberg and Humboldt represented Prussia, whose King was forced to take a considerable share in events. They had a very efficient staff, which included real experts, among them Hoffmann, one of the best statisticians in Europe, who was to prove very useful. They produced more memoranda than any other Power, but their diplomacy did not prove equal to their technical ability. This last fact was partly the fault of the General Staff, who constantly interfered.
Alexander surrounded himself with Ministers who were almost purely non-Russian. Nesselrode was still Foreign Secretary, but he was entirely out of favour during the critical period of the Congress; Razumoffski and Stackelberg, the other two plenipotentiaries, were colourless persons. Czartoryski continued to advise the Tsar on Poland, and wrote most of his memoranda concerning that country; Capo d'Istria had great influence on Alexander's general policy; Stein, though somewhat disillusioned, still advised on German affairs; Laharpe controlled the attitude of Russia in the discussions on his native country; while the Corsican Pozzo di Borgo was summoned from Paris to give advice, which was not, however, well received. The Tsar himself exercised complete control, and chose the instruments of his policy as the situation of the moment dictated.
As for Austria, Metternich was in his own capital, and had a large and, on the whole, very efficient diplomatic machine at his disposal. Wessenberg, the second Austrian plenipotentiary, was a good diplomatist, and supplied the industry which his chief lacked. Hudelist, a permanent official, and Gentz, one of the most facile writers in Europe, who was just beginning to gain his chief's confidence, inspired much of Metternich's policy, and helped to draft his memoranda.
Throughout there was a party, of which Stadion and Schwarzenberg became the leaders, which objected to his policy, and did their best to discredit him.
France was represented by Talleyrand, who brought with him as plenipotentiaries three rather mediocre diplomatists, of whom the most important, Dalberg, though hard-working, was self-opinionated and very indiscreet. His principal assistant was La Besnardière, a permanent official of wide experience and a brilliant writer, who exercised great influence until the return of Napoleon.
Of the three other signatories of the Paris Treaties, Spain was represented by Labrador, who most ineptly tried to imitate Talleyrand; Portugal principally by Palmella, whose Court in Brazil was so distant that he was not able to play much part; and Sweden by Lövenheilm, who passively looked on at the struggles in which his master, Bernadotte, now professed to take no interest.
Of the minor Powers, only a few of the plenipotentiaries exercised much influence. Münster, who represented the Prince Regent as ruler of Hanover, was also at times used by Castlereagh for other purposes. Holland was represented by Van Spaen and von Gagen, who resented keenly, without being able to alter, the secondary part which they were forced to play. Their policy was settled in the last event by England; and Clancarty corresponded with the Dutch Sovereign throughout the Congress. Field-Marshal Wrede arrogantly defended Bavaria's interests. Both Murat and Ferdinand of Sicily had representatives at the Congress. All the minor States of Italy and Germany, as well as well as a large number of German princes and counts of the Empire who had been deprived of their sovereign rights during the upheaval in Germany, sent representatives. There were also present a large number of royalties, including the Kings of Bavaria, Württemberg, and Denmark, and many smaller monarchs. The Pope was represented by Cardinal Consalvi, who played a singularly narrow rôle,, in spite of his undoubted ability; the Sultan by Mavrogeni, his chargé d'affaires at Vienna, a Greek by nationality.
Added to these were representatives of many special interests, some as imposing as the German Catholics or as influential as the German Jews, others of little importance, amongst them the Order of St. John, which still had hopes of compensation for Malta. Even the deposed King of Sweden had Sir Sidney Smith, the defender of Acre, to uphold his cause. When it is remembered that a large number of the sovereigns and diplomatists brought with them their wives and other female relations, the extraordinary spectacle which Vienna presented can be imagined. It attracted, naturally, a large number of visitors, who seem to have been admitted without even the excuse of business; and the presence of the courtiers and rich of all countries added to the difficulties of accommodation and supply which were throughout harassing to all concerned. Section 15. First Discussions as to the Organization of the Congress.-- By September 13, 1814, the Ministers of the four Powers had reached Vienna; and discussions were immediately begun touching the organization of the Congress. They were agreed in substance as to the necessity of keeping the control of the decisions in their own hands, but the delicate question as to how this determination was to be communicated to the other plenipotentiaries had now to be faced. There were no precedents of much value as to how the Congress should be constituted. The Congress had not met to make a treaty of peace; and to define the status and powers of the vast number of plenipotentiaries who wished to take part was not easy, even if there had been anything like a consensus of opinion on the subjects to be discussed.
The informal meetings, in which Castlereagh and Metternich consulted first Nesselrode and then Hardenberg and Humboldt, began on September 15; and these led to four Conferences, at which these Ministers met in order to give their discussions a shape in which they could be communicated to the rest of Europe. It was universally agreed "that the conduct of the business must practically rest with the leading Powers" ; but in defining the "leading Powers" an entirely new distinction was now introduced for the first time. "We are agreed," wrote Castlereagh, "that the effective Cabinet should not be carried beyond the six "Powers of the first order." 1 Thus the final directing Cabinet was to be based, not on the Treaty of Parisy or on any other public document, but on a distinction between "great" and "small" Powers. The four Allies, together with France and Spain, were to be considered the Great Powers. The first expression of the idea of the Great Powers, with rights as such, distinct from any derived from treaties, may perhaps be dated from this meeting.
But this was to be merely the formal directing Cabinet. The Allies deemed it necessary to preserve the "initiation" in their own hands and by "initiation" they really meant "decision." They based their claim to effect this on the first secret article of the Paris Treaty, which, according to their interpretation, gave them the right to come to a preliminary decision, not only on the subjects mentioned in the articles attached to the Paris Treaty, but also on the disposition of the whole of the conquered territories. This principle was definitely stated in a protocol of September 22, which had been drawn up by the Prussians. Its object was to prevent France from mingling in the discussions and using the differences of the Allies to further their own designs. The blunt way in which this was stated was considered by Castlereagh, fresh from his conciliatory interview with Talleyrand, "to be rather repulsive against France and a little more conclusive in its expressions" than he quite liked. He accordingly added a separate declaration to the protocol, 2 which
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Sept. 19, 24, 1814, F.O. Continent 7.
2 Protocols of Jan. 22, British and Foreign State Papers, II, p. 554-5.
asserted that the discussion with France or Spain was to be conducted as towards friendly and not hostile Powers. He further reserved to himself the right to dissent from any decision of the "four" with which he could not agree.
There was then to be a sham directing Committee of the six Powers, with a real inner Committee of the four Powers; but what of the Congress as a whole? How was it to be assembled, and how was its business to be conducted? How was the decision of the Great Powers to keep matters in their own hands to be communicated to the other States without provoking a united protest? On this point none of the Ministers had at the outset any very definite plan; and the record 1 which Castlereagh despatched to London shows how diffidently they approached the subject and how their ideas changed in the course of the discussion. The first proposal was to constitute the Congress by summoning the plenipotentiaries, and then getting them to appoint a Committee to prepare a scheme for their consideration. But, as Castlereagh pointed out, this would have immediately involved the Powers
"without previous concert in all the preliminary questions of difficulty -- viz., what Powers shall be admitted to sit and deliberate and what only to petition and negotiate, what are to be the functions and attributions of the Congress, and by what mode they are to act and conclude."
It was at once abandoned, therefore, and a scheme substituted by which the six Powers should simply assume control, without any authorisation, and announce that the preliminary decisions must first be made by themselves, other Powers being consulted when the necessity arose. This point of view was strongly urged by the
1 See Appendices I, II, III, IV, V, VI. There is an account by Gentz, but it merely indicates the difficulties. The protocols or some of the letters are published in D'Angeberg and B. and F.S.P. vol. II., Some of the points are still obscure, and it is not easy to assign to some of the memoranda in the F.O. Records their exact place in the discussions.
Prussians in a memorandum written by Humboldt, which, after dividing the subjects to be discussed by various Committees in a manner which in effect would have given control to the four, suggested that these Committees should first draw up in treaty form their decisions, that these decisions should then be discussed by the formal directing Committee of the six, and, lastly, communicated by it to the Powers whom it concerned. This procedure he proposed to set in motion at once, without any preliminary meeting. 1
To Castlereagh, however, though he agreed with the substance of these proposals, this appeared too open a disclosure of the intentions of the four. He preferred, if possible, to obtain the sanction of the rest of Europe to the ascendency of the Great Powers. Accordingly, he suggested a scheme by which, at a preliminary meeting of all the plenipotentiaries, they might be induced to allow the six Great Powers to manage affairs for them. In two papers he worked out the whole plan in great detail. 2 It is characteristic of his policy that he proposed to get the scheme through by making it as palatable as possible to the smaller Powers and using the influence of the Great Powers to manage the voting. In this way he thought that the six Powers would be accepted as a formal directing Committee almost universally, and that any opposition would be easily overcome. It was impossible to be certain, however, how the Conference of Plenipotentiaries would act; and the question of the exact status of the Neapolitan and Saxon plenipotentiaries would, in a sense, be raised merely by summoning the plenipotentiaries together. These difficulties were insisted upon in a second memorandum drawn up by Humboldt, which, with true Prussian disregard of nice susceptibilities, proposed to issue a declaration that the six Powers would direct the business of the Congress, and would summon other Powers to such discussions as they
1 See Appendix IV.
2 See the papers in Appendix III, p. 152.
thought fit. 1 Castlereagh thought that this idea was objectionable, as
"it too broadly and ostensibly assumed the right to do what may be generally acquiesced in if not offensively announced, but which the secondary Powers may protest against, if recorded to their humiliation in the face of Europe."
He had not, however, sufficient confidence in his own proposal of an opening meeting to press it further in the face of this opposition.
The question was thus left open until the plenipotentiaries of France and Spain arrived, with the intention that the Congress should simply be postponed until there had been "confidential intercourse" between plenipotentiaries. Neither Castlereagh nor the others quite realised the opportunity which their indecision would give to Talleyrand. Castlereagh had loyally endeavoured to arrange a working agreement on the lines he had laid down at Paris, but he found that the other three Courts were strongly against "admitting "France either to arbitrate between them or to "assume any leading influence in the arrangements "consequent upon the peace." The final result was that the four Powers signed a protocol which reserved the settlement of the territorial questions to themselves. Their decisions were to be first communicated to France and Spain, and then to the Congress as a whole. The arrangements for the formal Congress were to be discussed between the six Powers. A Special Committee of the five principal German Powers was to be set up to draft the scheme for a German Federation. 2
1 "Proposal of Baron Humboldt to publish a Declaration." See Appendix V, p. 162. He also ingeniously suggested that the Declaration might be issued by each of the six Powers individually in its own name on behalf of the others. By this means one Power could communicate it to plenipotentiaries whom the others did not wish to recognise without committing the rest. See Appendix VI.
2 Projet des 4 Cours sur les Formes du Congrès, Sept. 22 1814, B. and F.S.P., I, 556.
Talleyrand arrived on the evening of the 23rd; and on the 30th, together with Labrador, the Spanish plenipotentiary, he was invited to a Conference in order that these decisions might be communicated to him in as palatable a fashion as possible. The scene described by himself in much detail has become memorable in history, and has perhaps had too much importance attached to it. Talleyrand, supported by Labrador, used all his diplomatic arts of persuasion, insinuation, and intimidation to claim from the first a position of full equality with the four Powers, and he endeavoured to appeal from their authority to the Congress as a whole. 1 In this he was not successful, but he was able to disarrange the plans the four Powers had made. A protocol was shown him, which, though less strongly worded than those which recorded the decisions of the 22nd, of which he was not to know till much later, yet was sufficiently inept in that it emphasised the word "Allies." 2 Talleyrand refused even to consider this document. It was therefore withdrawn, and a Projet of Declaration for the opening of the Congress was submitted to him, which simply left the general direction of affairs in the hands of the six Powers. This was reserved for consideration; and the meeting broke up after Talleyrand had expatiated on the responsibilities of Constitutional Powers such as England and France, and intimated that he saw no reason why the Congress should not at once assemble. That evening he addressed a formal reply to the Ministers of the four Courts, 3 in which he claimed that the Congress must meet at once, and, while he admitted that a directing Council was necessary, suggested that the only legal body that could act as a preliminary Committee was one consisting of the eight Powers which
1 Pallain, Correspondance de Talleyrand' pendant le Congrès de Vienne, p. 10; Gentz, Dépêches Inédites, I, 108.
2 The exact form is not known except from his own account. Talleyrand did not know of the protocols of the 22nd until March 1815. See Pallain, p. 337.
3 B. and F.S.P., II, 559.
had signed the Treaties of Paris, which would have added Portugal and Sweden to the six. For it was by the Paris Treaties that the Congress itself had come into being; and the position of the convening Powers must be immediately made regular by the approval of the whole Congress.
The four Ministers met on the morning of October 1 to consider their reply. 1 The formal character which Talleyrand had given to his answer was viewed with great disfavour, as they had intended their overtures to be regarded as unofficial and confidential. They decided to abandon the idea of the six Powers altogether, since it rested on no documentary ground, and to accept Talleyrand's proposition of the eight Powers, signatories of the Paris Treaties, as the formal directing Committee. 2 They adhered, however, to their determination that the Congress itself should not meet until the directing Powers had determined its procedure and method of business. It was also decided that this reply should be submitted to Talleyrand verbally, and that no formal answer should be sent if it could be avoided. Talleyrand was accordingly told their opinion at a social meeting in the evening. 3 He discerned the embarrassment of the "four," and endeavoured in every way to increase it. He allowed the fact of the controversy to become known; and a meeting of the smaller German Powers was held to support him. Fortified by assurances of support, he formally rejected the projet de déclaration originally drawn up by Castlereagh, which was submitted to him
1 "Conférence du 2 Octobre entre les Ministres d'Autriche, de Prusse, de Russie et d'Angleterre" bears the note: "Il a été décidé que cette pièce sera simplement conservée comme mémorandum de la susdite Conférence," F.O. Continent 7.
2 Palmella, the Portuguese plenipotentiary, had already sent, in collusion with Talleyrand, a protest against his exclusion from the first meeting. Palmella to Castlereagh, Sept. 30, 1814, F.O. Continent 7. Lövenheilm, the Swedish representative, contented himself with formally announcing his arrival. Fournier, Die Geheimpolizei, etc., p. 221.
3 Talleyrand, Mémoires, II, 328.
as an alternative method of procedure, 1 and in a letter 2 to Castlereagh of October 5 he again insisted on the necessity of the Congress being at once constituted.
An informal Conference between Talleyrand and the Ministers of the four Powers followed on October 5, in which the former was asked to withdraw his note. He refused; but, after some discussion with Metternich, consented that the Congress should be postponed, provided, however, that it was for a definite period only, and that a règle of his own composition, in accordance with which the plenipotentiaries were to meet, should be at once announced. 3 This règle, which was expressly designed to admit Saxony and exclude Neapolitan plenipotentiaries, broke up the meeting, Castlereagh, as they departed, in vain endeavouring to secure Talleyrand's acquiescence to his views. But, if Talleyrand had scored a formal victory in substituting the "eight" for the "six" he had already given way on the point that the Congress must be postponed; and his règle, which opened up the Neapolitan question at the very outset, was premature and ill-advised. Yet without some such rule even a meeting of the plenipotentiaries was impossible, since it was imperative to decide who had a right to be summoned. 4 Hardenberg was clearly on unshakable ground when he said that no plan could be considered which would give the
1 B. and F.S.P., II, 560. 2 Ibid., II, 561.
3 Talleyrand, Mémoires, II, 339. The règle, which was not, of course, invented at the moment, but drawn from his instructions, was as follows: "Que tout Prince ayant sur des États qui ont été engagés dans la dernière guerre un droit de souveraineté qui a été universellement reconnu, qu'il n'a point cédé, et qui n'est reconnu à aucun autre, peut, de même que tout État que la dernière guerre a trouvé libre, qui y a été engagé et qui est actuellement libre, avoir des plénipotentiaires au Congrès; qu'aucun autre Prince ou Étate ne le peut pas." F.O. Continent 7. This, as a marginal note on the F.O. copy points out, "would have excluded Naples, but admitted Saxony; considered, therefore, by Prussia as particularly hostile to her interest." See Alison Phillips, op. cit., p. 102. 4 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Oct. 9, 1814, F.O. Continent 7.
minor princelings the right to intervene in the general arrangements of Europe.
The four Powers, therefore, stuck to their idea; and Gentz was set to the task of preparing another declaration. A further Conference did not take place till October 8th, Talleyrand being flattered by Metternich 1 in a special interview before the meeting with some general observations on the Polish-Saxon questions. At this Conference the four Powers unanimously decided to adopt Gentz's declaration, which merely announced the postponement of the Congress till November 1, in order to give time for reflection. Talleyrand this time gave his consent. He covered his defeat by insisting on the addition of a sentence that the Congress would conform "aux principes du droit public." According to Talleyrand's own account, a tumult was produced at this simple proposal, which the Prussians took as deliberately aimed at themselves. But the addition of the words to the declaration in no way altered its character. While Talleyrand, therefore, had prevented any formal recognition of the rights of the four Powers or the Committee of Six, he had secured little else. The opening of the Congress was postponed; and, if he could not appeal to Congress he was helpless against the four, so long as they were united in their decision to keep control. But the real business of the Congress was already being carried on in informal meetings of the Ministers of the four Powers and private correspondence between them and Alexander; from these momentous discussions Talleyrand was entirely excluded. Section 16. The Second Attempt to Constitute Congress. Further Postponement. -- This situation continued throughout the whole of October. The four Courts engaged in violent controversy over the SaxonPolish question; but the only formal Conferences which took place were those assembled to consider the ques-
1 Talleyrand, Mémoires, II, 342.
tion of the German Constitution. A committee of the five principal German Powers ( Austria, Prussia, Bavaria, Hanover, and Württemberg) met on October 14 for this purpose, entirely in defiance of Talleyrand's ideas, and without any authority from the Congress, the eight, or any other body. It based its existence simply on the Treaty of Paris, and itself decided who should be members of it. 1 At the end of the month the question of the opening of the Congress had necessarily to be further considered. The energies of the four Powers had been absorbed in the Polish-Saxon controversy, and they appear to have devoted little time to considering the question of organization. Talleyrand, excluded from all participation in these critical debates, was able to prepare his own plans at leisure. He had already, however, receded somewhat from his first uncompromising attitude; and both Castlereagh and Metternich, by keeping him to some extent informed as to their disputes, had made him still more conciliatory. The threat of an appeal to the Congress had been even contemplated by Castlereagh as a means of intimidating the Emperor of Russia, though he does not seem to have had any clear idea of what he meant by the term, 2 while Metternich did actually use the threat in a conversation with Alexander, who simply replied that he did not care for
1 Premier Protocole du Comité institué pour les affaires d' Allemagne, Séance du 14 Octobre, 1814 D'Angeberg, p. 289.
2 He proposed to Austria and Prussia in the Memorandum on Poland, dated Oct. 24, 1814, that copies of the correspondence concerning Poland should, if necessary, "be laid before Congress," and "that the several Powers of Europe should be invited .... to declare to the Emperor of Russia to what extent and upon what conditions Europe in Congress can or cannot admit His Imperial Majesty's pretensions to an aggrandisement in Poland.""It is desirable," he added, "that the Emperor should be made distinctly to understand that.... it would rest with the Powers in Congress assembled to decide upon the measures which should be called for by so alarming an infraction of treaties." F.O. Continent 7. D'Angeberg, p. 291. French translation with wrong date.
the Congress. 1 But the two Ministers do not seem to have done more than see what the effect of the threat would be.
It was the full Committee of the eight which met on October 30 to consider once more the constitution of Congress; and Talleyrand was further flattered by a request from Castlereagh to submit a plan to this body. 2 At this meeting and a subsequent one on the next day Talleyrand therefore brought forward a new scheme. He proposed as a directing Committee for the Congress a Commission générale, comprised of representatives of all the sovereign heads (including the Pope). By this General Committee four sub-Committees were to be nominated to discuss the questions of Poland, Saxony, Switzerland, and Italy. The sub-Committees were to report to the General Committee, which in its turn was to report to the Congress. Plenipotentiaries (such as those of Murat or the King of Saxony), whose position might be challenged, were to be present at discussions, but not to vote. Meanwhile, the full powers of all plenipotentiaries were to be examined, with a view to the whole Congress being summoned to consider the work of the Commission générale. 3 But, despite their dissensions, the four were no more ready than before to submit. The difference between them and Talleyrand was, indeed, too great to be bridged by any scheme, however ingenious. Talleyrand postulated that the Congress as a whole should be the supreme Council of Europe, and really should decide the questions in dispute. The four Powers regarded it merely as a convenient assembly to facilitate their own decisions. 4
1 Münster to the Prince Regent, Oct. 25, 1814, Hanover Archives: "Il ( Metternich) n'a réussi qu'à s'attirer une sortie des plus vives de la part de l'Empereur, qui l'a accusé de vouloir le menacer de l'appui d'un Congrès pour lequel il n'avoit aucun égard."
2 Pallain, p. 91.
3 B. and F.S.P., II, 563 ff.
4 The situation was well described by Lövenheilm on November 5: "La seule démarche à laquelle les plé nipotentiaries russes, prussiens, anglais et autrichiens se soumettent vis-à-vis du Congrès est la connaissance qu'ils veulent donner à toute l' Europede leurs arrangements respectifs. .... Les plénipotentiaires fran?ais entendent le mot 'Congrès' dans son acceptation ordinaire,.... les Ministres des autre grandes puissances ne veulent point s'en tenir à cette notion connue mais le considérer simplement comme une réunion de toutes les puissances sur un même point pour faciliter leurs arrangements." Fournier, Die Geheimpolizei, &c., p. 278.
The only step that was taken, therefore, was the appointment by lot of a Committee of three Powers to verify the full powers of the plenipotentiaries, while Metternich was formally elected president 1 of the Committee of Eight. Talleyrand's agreement, with scarcely a struggle, can only be explained by the fact that he was beginning himself to realise the hopelessness of his position, and hoped to gain more by an alliance with Castlereagh and Metternich than by maintaining his previous attitude. He passes over these decisions with few words in his letters to the King, for he could not claim to have played a beau rôle. Thus, though the plenipotentiaries hastened to send in their full powers, which were duly examined, there was no word of the opening of Congress; and at a meeting of the eight on November 18 it was postponed to an indefinite date. 2 That date was, of course, never reached, and the Congress of the whole body of plenipotentiaries never came into existence at all.
Meanwhile, the organization for the transaction of business grew out of the necessities of the situation; and machinery was set up which derived its authority from no consistent principle. The Committee of Eight assumed without further authorisation the position of a formal directing Committee; the Federal Constitution was continually discussed by the German Committee, which also at times discussed the territorial arrangements. The reunion of Sardinia and Genoa,
1 B. and F.S.P., II, 563.
2 Ibid., 570.
already decided on in principle at Paris, was ratified by the Committee of Eight, the request of Talleyrand and Labrador to proceed with the other Italian affairs being refused; and special Committees were formed on the nomination of the four Powers to consider the affairs of Switzerland. But the real kernel of the whole settlement, the Polish-Saxon question, which involved also the whole territorial distribution of Germany, was discussed in no formal Committee at all, but merely by interviews and the exchange of letters and memoranda between the representatives of the four. The determination of the four to keep these matters in their own hands persisted until they found themselves on the verge of war, and neither Talleyrand nor anyone else could alter their decision. The only thing that he had done was to prevent these meetings of the four Powers from being officially recognised; but all knew that, if once an agreement could be reached, their decisions must be ratified by the rest of Europe. The reason why they allowed the matter to drag on was because they had drifted into open opposition, which grew daily more and more irreconcilable.
The attention of the principal statesmen was, in fact, directed so much to the substance of the negotiations that the form had become a secondary matter, and the ascendancy of the four was so great that the plenipotentiaries of the other Powers had no business to transact. Castlereagh did not even report on these changes in organization until November 21, when he was able to announce that all opposition was dying away, and that the impossibility of assembling Congress and the gradual growth of a suitable organization had been submitted to, both by Talleyrand and by the other plenipotentiaries. 1 Both Metternich and Castlereagh, despairing of overcoming the Prusso-Russian alliance, were indeed now beginning to treat Talleyrand with more confidence, with the result that the latter showed himself more and more accommodating
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Nov. 21, 1814, F.O. Continent 9.
in the matter of organization. Conferences of the eight Powers were held on December 9, 10, and 14, at which, on the initiative of Talleyrand, Committees were set up on the question of the rank of diplomatic representatives (all the eight Powers having members) and on the navigation of international rivers, Austria, France, Great Britain, and Prussia being represented; while only the opposition of Spain and Portugal prevented a formal Committee from being also appointed to consider the abolition of the slave trade. 1
Section 17. The Constitution of the Committee of Five; the Real Congress. -- This rapprochement between France and Great Britain and Austria was soon to receive more formal expression. Towards the end of December Castlereagh proposed to the other members of the four the formation of a Statistical Commission to ascertain the real numbers of the populations of the territories in dispute, and provide some basis of settlement. 2 It had not at first been his intention to include a French plenipotentiary on this Committee, which would have to play an important part in determining the territorial distribution; but, when Talleyrand made it an essential condition for the continuance of his support that France should be represented on it, both Castlereagh and Metternich acquiesced. 3
There shortly followed a complete change in the constitution of the Congress. Again it was the logic of events and not the deliberate planning of the statesmen that determined the forms by which they worked. On December 24 Alexander insisted on bringing to formal conferences the discussion on the Polish question, which had now lasted three months, and had reached a complete deadlock. The Committee of Four, therefore, which had hitherto only met in the most in-
1 B. and F.S.P., II, 573, 578. 2 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Dec. 24, 1814, F.O. Continent 9. See below, Section 21. 3 Pallain, p. 200; W.S.D., IX, 503.
formal way, was now constituted as a formal conference. 1 At its first meeting Castlereagh and Metternich insisted that France should be represented. 2 explosion that ensued and the signature of the Secret Treaty of January 3, 1815, are narrated in a subsequent section (see pp. 106 - 115 ). 3 But the result of the defeat of Prussian truculence was to turn the Committee of Four into a Committee of Five. 4 For over a week the issue hung in the balance; but eventually Prussia gave way, and at the last meeting on January 9 Castlereagh made a formal demand for the inclusion of France, which was agreed to by all the four Powers.
Thus, at last, Talleyrand had won his way into the real directing Committee. This result had, however, been less due to any effort or intrigue on his part than to the fact that the four Powers had been unable to agree, and had, in fact, come to the verge of war. But Talleyrand, now that he was admitted to the inner Committee, abandoned all ideas of constituting a general Congress; and no more was heard of the rights of the small Powers. The result was that the formal Committee of Five, originally designed merely to settle the Saxon question, became the real directing Committee of the Congress. It at first settled, piece by piece, the territorial distribution of Germany; and, when this was accomplished, it reviewed and adjusted the reports of the other Committees. In fact, it worked out the territorial details of the Treaty of Vienna, and the actual agreements were recorded in its protocols. The Committee of Eight only met nine times before the last Conferences to sign the Final Act, while in the same period the Committee of Five held forty-one meetings. The truth is, that at last the natural and normal organ of work had been found. The Committee of Five represented the force that governed Europe. Once the five Great
1 D'Angeberg, p. 1861.
2 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Jan. 1, 1814, F.O. Continent 10.
3 See Section 25.
4 Protocol of Jan. 9, B. and F.S.P., II, 597, 601.
Powers were really determined on settlement, this was the obvious means to bring it about. The proposal, therefore, which had been suggested in the early meetings of a Committee of the Great Powers directing the Congress, was finally brought about, though only by the admission of France to an equal place with the four and the recognition that Spain was not a Great Power.
The Committee of Five, then, is the "real Congress of Vienna." 1 Its first business was to arrange the compromises on the main territorial settlement which were concluded between January 7 and February 13. Castlereagh, who was determined not to leave Vienna while a subject was left open which was likely to lead to war amongst the Great Powers, took the lead in these transactions. Using the information provided for him by the Statistical Commission, by interview after interview with Sovereigns and Ministers, he gradually secured a distribution of the German and Polish territories, which all the three Powers interested were able to accept. These arrangements were then formally adopted in the Committee of Five, and recorded on its protocols; and so rapidly was the work done that on February 8 a Drafting Committee was appointed by the Five to work out the plan of a general treaty. Though some thorny questions, such as the territorial arrangements between Austria and Bavaria, were to occupy the Committee for a considerable time, the main difficulties were now over. Except in one particular, the Committee of Five, after Castlereagh's departure, was dealing with questions of which the principle had been settled, and which were, therefore, susceptible of treatment by minor diplomatic functionaries; and officials so skilled as Gentz and La Besnardi ère soon turned the complicated discussions as to territory, servitudes, boundaries, royal and feudal domains, debts and commercial interests, into articles
1 So described by Humboldt in his Systematic Description of the Proceedings of the Congress of Vienna, June 15, 1815 quoted in Treitschke, op. cit., II, 72.
which were attached to the protocols, and thus made ready for a treaty. The exception was the situation created by the return of Napoleon. For the Committee of Five also acted as a political and military Committee to direct the coalition against France, and on its protocols were recorded the decisions necessary to meet the new danger.
Section 18. The Functions of the Committee of Eight and of the German Committee. -- Though the Committee of Five became the centre of the Congress, the Committee of Eight still existed, and met on several occasions. It was retained as an organ for those questions of wider interest which did not involve territorial alterations. Thus the Committees that had been appointed to deal with the questions of international rivers, precedence of ambassadors, &c., reported to it; while it also received the report of the Conference on the Slave Trade, and drew up a formal declaration on the subject. The Swiss Committee also reported to the Committee of Eight, which approved the final declaration on the subject, though the Committee of Five also considered this question. The Committee of Eight was also chosen as the organ of the declaration of March 13 against Napoleon, when it spoke in the name of all Europe, much to the discontent of some of the minor Powers. 1 Its protocol of May 13 on this subject was also subsequently signed by many of the minor Powers. In short, the Committee of Eight was apparently intended to be used, when it was necessary, to consider subjects affecting the general interests of all Europe; and it was to this Committee that the Final Act, when the Committee of Five had prepared it, was given for signature.
1 Münster, op. cit., p. 228: "It is reasonably asked by what right the eight Powers signing the Treaty of Paris speak in the name of all the Sovereigns of Europe, whom they were not at the trouble of consulting; by what right Sweden and Portugal decide for Sardinia, Denmark, the Low Countries, or Bavaria. The Kings of Bavaria and Denmark, both present, have with reason regarded this omission as an insult."
Lastly, it must be remembered that, side by side with the Committee of Five, and in no way constituted by it or depending on it, sat the Committee to consider the German Constitution. 1 The original Committee, which held thirteen meetings, perished in the midst of the dissensions of November. It was not until May 23 that a new Conference was instituted, containing representatives of all the minor States of Germany except Württemberg, which would have nothing to do with it. In the time at its disposal it could not work out a full scheme. It merely created a central body and laid down some general principles; and the Constitution of Germany was not completed until the final meeting at Vienna five years afterwards. But it is noteworthy that both the Germanic Committees were separate from the rest of the organization of the Congress. Their only connection with the central Committees was the incorporation of some of the articles they had agreed upon in the Final Act, which set the seal of the Great Powers on their work. It is seen, therefore, that the Congress of Vienna as a Congress of all Europe was never constituted. It remained a Congress of the Great Powers, who for their convenience had summoned the smaller Powers of Europe to meet them. The idea of a constituent assembly, imagined by some, which Talleyrand had tried to use for his own purposes, was found to be impossible. The large number of small States made such an assembly impracticable in any case. But the wishes of the masters of Europe were from the first clear and unbending on this point. They considered themselves as "Europe," and at the Congress they asserted successfully the ascendency of the Great Powers. The smaller States were only to be admitted at such times and on such terms as suited those who had great resources and armies at their command.
Section 19. The Preparation of the Form of the Treaty. -- The exact form in which the treaty should be
1 See below, Section 28.
finally drawn up was a subject of controversy almost to the close of the Congress. The problem was not an easy one, and on the whole it was solved in a manner which did credit to the diplomatists concerned. In this question, as in so many others, it was the insistence of the British plenipotentiaries which finally settled the points in dispute. When the discussions in January and February had resulted in agreement on the territorial arrangements in Germany and Poland, the Committee of Five nominated a Commission de rédaction, which contained mostly the same members as the Statistical Commission, which had just been investigating the territories in dispute. This reported on February 10 a plan for the first thirty-two articles of a treaty, which covered the points already discussed; and this scheme was approved by the plenipotentiaries at this and the next Conference. 1 The actual drafting of the articles had, however, yet to be undertaken. Many of these had been agreed to and consigned to the protocols by the end of February, and the final rédaction could now be begun. On March 6, therefore, the Committee of Five appointed two chief draftsmen ( Gentz and La Besnardière) to draw up a treaty from the protocols; and a Committee, containing a representative of each of the five Great Powers, was associated with them in the work. It was decided, however, to refer the matter to the Committee of Eight; and in this Committee a third chief draftsman was added in the person of Anstett, a Russian, and a representative of each of the eight Powers was appointed to supervise the work. Anstett, however, was ill, and La Besnardière was unable to work, so moved was he by the return of Napoleon. To Gentz alone, therefore, was left the task of drawing up the form of the treaty, and he submitted a scheme at the end of March. 2
1 D'Angeberg, 707, 737, 774, 776.
2 Clancarty to Castlereagh, April 1, 1815, F.O. Continent 7; B. and F.S.P., II; Gentz, Dépêches Inédites, p. 162. Stein also drew up a plan for the treaty. Pertz G. H., Das Leben des Ministers Freiherrn von Stein, VI, 2, 13.
The decision to have one general treaty had not, however, been arrived at without some controversy. The idea had been persistently opposed by the Russians, who wished merely to have each separate transaction recorded in its own treaty. But Castlereagh insisted on the inclusion of all the agreements in the general treaty; and this view was upheld with success by Wellington, who, however, never realised all the difficulties of securing the rédaction of so formidable an instrument, and expected everything to be concluded in a very short space of time. 1 Difficulties, however, continued to arise; and, now that Europe was again being organized for battle against Napoleon, it was impossible to delay the settlement of the final agreements on the territorial arrangements by formal treaty between the Powers specially interested. 2 Separate treaties were, therefore, concluded concerning Poland between Russia, Prussia, and Austria, Great Britain acceding, but not being a principal party, since Castlereagh wanted to appear as little responsible as possible for the Polish partitions. A similar treaty was concluded as to Saxony, and this example was followed in other matters as they became ripe for a full settlement; while on other questions, such as the slave trade, a form of declaration was drawn up. The Russian plenipotentiaries used this situation to attempt once more to avoid the signing of a general treaty, but Clancarty insisted on concluding it before the diplomatists separated. He suspected, not without reason, that Russia wished to avoid committing herself at this moment on several questions which would necessarily be included in the Final Act. He carried the day, assisted by the Prussians, who wanted as much guarantee for their new possessions as possible, and by Talleyrand, who wanted Louis XVIII's
1 On March 12 he thought the final treaty would be signed by the end of the month, and when he left he only gave it to the middle of April. 2 This course was urged by Castlereagh as soon as he received news of Napoleon's escape. W.S.D., IX, 590.
name on a public treaty. By a protocol of May 26 Gentz was again entrusted with the rédaction of the general treaty, while Clancarty and Humboldt were appointed to watch in the interests of the other Powers. 1 A treaty of 110 articles was thus drawn up. Not all the separate agreements were included in the articles, but the other treaties and declarations were added as appendices, and given the same force as if they had been embodied in the treaty itself. The actual subjects chosen for insertion in the general treaty were somewhat arbitrarily selected, but were intended to include all the most important territorial changes. At the last moment Metternich insisted on the basis of the German Confederation being included in the treaty, which necessitated the addition of eleven articles, the total being thus 121. Next came the question as to who was to sign the instrument thus prepared. The mere labour of preparing copies would alone have prevented all the sovereign States affected being made parties. 2 Many of the Powers had now no plenipotentiary left at Vienna, while some would have been certain to raise objections. It was therefore decided to confine the signatures to the eight Powers, which, since Spain would have nothing to do with a treaty which it considered had entirely neglected its interests, meant seven Powers only. 3 On June 9 the plenipotentiaries
1 Münster, op. cit., 268; Clancarty to Wellington, May 26, 1815, W.S.D., X, 380; Protocol of May 26, 1815, B. and F.S.P., II, 738; Talleyrand to Louis XVIII, May 23 and 27, 1815. Pallain, pp. 426, 428; Talleyrand, Mémoires, III, 193; Gentz, Dépêches Inédites, p. 165. 2 It took twenty-six secretaries, working from morning to night, to prepare a copy of the treaty. Klinkowströ m, p. 538. 3 Clancarty to Castlereagh, June 10, 1815, F.O. Continent 19; Münster, op. cit., p. 274: "It is agreed that the Powers subscribing the Treaty of Paris should alone sign, and that the rest of the Courts should accede separately. This distinction is arbitrary in itself, and even unsound.... But it was difficult to find another way of diminishing the number and the intricacy of the ratifications, which would amount to more than 1,600 if all the Courts had signed and exchanged formal Acts."
of these seven Powers met and initialled all the articles except those concerning the German Constitution, which were not yet ready. The Russian plenipotentiaries, however, declared that they could not sign the treaty until Alexander had seen it in its completed form. There were no sinister motives in this refusal, which simply marked the subordination in which Alexander kept his Ministers. The other plenipotentiaries, and especially Clancarty, were, however, so dismayed at this news that Nesselrode set out in haste to get permission to sign. 1 Clancarty's anxiety on June 19, when a final sitting was held to affix the formal signatures, may therefore well be excused. Amid the sarcasms and scarcely hidden jeers of the other plenipotentiaries he insisted on re-reading the whole treaty, and kept them waiting till midnight before he would sign.
"On ne peut pas être trop scrupuleux," he said, "dans cette affaire; cet instrument sera un titre de famille pour ceux qui y ont mis leur nom." 2
As it was, permission for the Russians to sign did not arrive till eight days later, and the treaty was not finally completed till June 26. All the Great Powers, as well as Portugal and Sweden, had then signed, the last-named, however, protesting against certain articles, notably that which restored Ferdinand to Naples. A protest by Consalvi by Consalvi on behalf of the Papal Court, which dealt mainly with the neglect of the Pope's temporal interests, did nothing to lower the importance of the Final Act in public opinion.
A general instrument had thus been created which served as a basis for the international life of Europe for nearly fifty years. It was of first-class importance
1 Clancarty to Castlereagh, Ibid.: "We strongly represented not only the inconvenience and delay which would be thus incurred but the incalculably pernicious consequences which must infallibly follow from the appearance thus afforded of difference and disunion, or at least of strong jealousies being prevalent among the Allies." 2 Klinkowströ m, p. 537
that the insistence of the British and French plenipotentiaries on this form of treaty had met with success. By uniting all the separate instruments in the Acte final a much more solemn document was constructed than would have been a collection of treaties and declarations, some of which would have lacked the signature of many of the Powers. By the procedure adopted, each Power, in order to obtain from the Vienna Treaty the protection and guarantee of its own special interests, had also to agree to the rest, however much it might object to any particular portion of it. As almost every State was affected by the treaty, the result was to place the Vienna settlement in a special position, which no other instrument has ever attained The rest of Europe was invited to sign the treaty by accession. Several of the minor Powers refused for some time, either because they violently disagreed with some of the stipulations, or because there were still some arrangements outstanding which they desired to see completed before they committed themselves. But, in the end, practically the whole of Europe acceded to the treaty; and its stipulations were thus in a special way agreed to, and in a sense guaranteed by all the sovereign States of Europe. The Pope and the Sultan were, of course, exceptions, both for rather petty reasons, and both, ultimately, much to their own disadvantage.
As has been seen, when the Congress met there had been in Europe a desire to give the new arrangements something more than the form of a treaty -- a desire to add such special guarantees of the whole as would intimidate any Power which might try to overthrow it. Such an attempt to give permanence to a territorial settlement which was defensible solely by the principle of the balance of power would, in any case, have been doomed to failure. But the idea formally brought forward by Castlereagh, and warmly welcomed by the Emperor of Russia, is worthy of more extended consideration as the first attempt by European statesmen to make their agreements permanent.
The Project of a Special Guarantee of the Vienna Treaty. -- This project for a special guarantee of the Vienna Treaty was brought forward by Castlereagh just before his departure. After the crisis of the Polish-Saxon question was ended, both the contending parties wished to renew their alliances with Castlereagh before he left Vienna. The Tsar, who knew of the secret treaty of January 3, 1815 rather cleverly pressed for a renewal of the Quadruple Alliance, while Metternich and Talleyrand wished to conclude further secret engagements. Castlereagh, in order to check both these proposals, and at the same time give a special safeguard to that territorial equilibrium which he hoped had been successfully established, brought forward a scheme for a special declaration to safeguard the arrangements which had cost so much effort to conclude.
"I submitted to the Emperor," he reported, "that the best alliance that could be formed in the present state of Europe was that the Powers who had made the peace should, by a public declaration at the close of the Congress, announce to Europe, whatever difference may have existed in the details, their determination to uphold and support the arrangements agreed upon; and, further, their determination to unite their influence, and if necessary their arms, against the Power that should attempt to disturb it." 1
Alexander had himself long ago put forward ideas not altogether dissimilar, 2 and he professed himself enthusiastic over the proposal.
Gentz was accordingly asked to draw up the declaration, and produced a verbose and not very happily worded document. 3 It would, however, have bound the Powers to oppose, with arms if necessary, any attempt to overthrow "l'ordre établi" by the treaty; and Castlereagh at this time undoubtedly expected the declaration to be issued to the world. 4
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Feb. 13, 1815, F.O. Continent 7.
2 Alison Phillips, op. cit., p. 32.
3 D'Angeberg, p. 864; Klinkowströ m, p. 529.
4 Castlereagh, Circular Despatch, Feb. 13, 1815: "It affords me great satisfaction to acquaint you that there is every prospect of the Congress terminating with a general accord and guarantee between the Great Powers of Europe, with a determination to support the arrangement agreed upon, and to turn the general influence, and if necessary the general arms, against the Power that shall first attempt to disturb the Continental peace." F.O. Continent 8. See also the "Déclaration des Plénipotentiaires de la Grande-Bretagne par rapport à la garantie," annexed to the protocol of February 11; D'Angeberg, p. 1860.
Castlereagh united this scheme with a project for obtaining in the Vienna treaty a guarantee of the integrity of the Ottoman Empire. The Porte, genuinely alarmed at the increase of Russian power, had been pressing this idea on both the British and Austrian Governments for some time. 1 Metternich had been unwilling to risk a proposal of this nature in the state of his relations with Russia, but Castlereagh seized this opportunity to bring the matter before Alexander. If the Tsar's new possessions in Poland were to receive the special guarantee of Europe, a guarantee of those of the Porte might be claimed as a quid pro quo. Alexander could not very well refuse, without betraying designs which were in direct contradiction to the lofty principles he was joining in defending. But he made it a condition that the points in dispute between Russia and the Porte, which had arisen since the hastily-executed Treaty of Bucarest ( 1812), should first be settled through the intervention of Great Britain, France, and Austria; and he also wished that something should be done to prevent the massacre of the Serbs, to which the Turks had now turned their energies. 2 These conditions were sufficient to make his consent useless; and, though the British Ambassador did his best to get the Porte to agree, the proposal was
1 Sir Robert Liston to Castlereagh, Mar. 10, July 25, 1815, F.O. Turkey 82; Gentz, Dépêches Inédites, 1, 121, 142. 2 Castlereagh to Liston, Feb. 14, 1815, F.O. Continent 12; Fournier, Die Geheimpolizei, &c., p. 411, where the report of the Turkish representative, Mavrojeni, is given; Wellington to Castlereagh, Feb. 25, 1815, W.S.D., IX, 578.
rejected even before the news of Napoleon's return reached Constantinople. 1
This rebuff was not likely to make England press the general scheme; and the return of Napoleon, which brought about a renewal of the Quadruple Alliance, inevitably increased the difficulties of guaranteeing the new order in Europe. It is, however, surprising to find Russia, at a later stage, pressing the adoption of a special guarantee, while Austria and England opposed it. 2 The motives which led to this result are not fully known, but they appear to have been based on the uncertainty of the situation in Europe and the failure of the negotiations concerning Turkey. The Final Act, therefore, had no greater sanction than any other treaty. The impression produced on Alexander by the transaction was, however, immense. It awoke ideas that had been in his mind at previous epochs, and these, twisted into a strange shape by the emotional crisis he was to experience during the course of the year, produced the strange document of the Holy Alliance. 3 The Holy Alliance, however, was drawn up on lines very different from those of Castlereagh's scheme, which was simply a territorial guarantee. It should also be noted that, while Castlereagh's scheme was specially suited to protect the interests of the
1 Liston to Wellington, Mar. 25, Apr. 4, 1815, F.O. Continent Archives 26, F.O. Miscellaneous 95/23.
2 See a paper on Some Aspects of Castlereagh's Foreign Policy by the present writer in the T ransactions of the Royal Historical Society, 3rd series, vol. VI, Nov. 16, 1911. A subsequent examination of the Petrograd Archives confirms the fact that Clancarty refused to agree to the scheme at a later date; Nesselrode to Lieven, June 5-17, 1815. The refusal was attributed by the Russians to secret projects between Austria and England on the model of the treaty of January 3, 1815. 3 There can be no doubt that the idea of the Holy Alliance was given to Alexander by this proposal. Castlereagh was of that opinion (see Castlereagh to Liverpool, Sept. 28, 1815, W.S.D., XI, 176), and the Tzar confessed as much to his religious confidant, Prince Golitzin, at a later date. Grand Duke Nicholas Michaelovitch , L'Empereur Alexandre 1er I. 524.
Porte, the Holy Alliance was so worded that only Christian sovereigns could sign it.
It may be well also to remember that, in the discussions that were to ensue during the period following the Congress of Vienna on the exact character of the treaties signed in his period, Castlereagh adopted the view that the Vienna Treaty was no more sacred and special than any other treaty which settled the limits of the European States. By that time he had learnt how difficult it was to guarantee territorial rights without at the same time touching upon internal questions. The extravagant schemes of Alexander had made him welcome the fact that the Treaty of Vienna was no European Alliance, but simply an ordinary treaty, the breach of which gave any Power affected the right to recourse to arms, but which implied no general promise on the part of Europe to come to its support. 1
The Method of Transacting Business. The Functions of the Committees. The Statistical Committee. -- The charge of idleness made against the Congress is, on the whole, unfounded. The real work could only be transacted by a comparatively small number of people, and these were most of the time overwhelmed with business. It was only the sovereigns, minor plenipotentiaries, and the mass of irresponsible visitors, who really had time to enjoy the daily routine of pleasure provided by the Austrian Court. The principal Ministers and their subordinates put in an appearance only when it was necessary for them to approach some royal personage or to meet some rival or ally. Metternich was the least industrious of the principal Ministers, as Gentz often complained, but the others never relaxed their efforts.
At the formal meetings of the Eight, held in Metternich's room, there were usually eighteen to twenty persons present; and the scene has been perpetuated in
1 See Appendix VIII, p. 166 Memorandum presented to the Conference of Aix-la-Chapelle, Oct. 1818.
a picture by Isabey. Metternich was President of this Committee, and Gentz acted as its secretary; and in this sense they were President and Secretary of the Congress. 1 At the Committee of Five Wessenberg acted as protocolist. Gentz, however, and his subordinates kept what was substantially a "Bureau de Protocole," which served as the business centre of the Congress; and Gentz expressly styled himself "First Secretary of the Congress." 2 The main business was, however, transacted informally. During the first four months the Ministers of the four Powers met nearly every morning at Metternich's for an informal conference. For some time also the three Sovereigns met in the afternoon to review the matters which had been discussed by their Ministers in the morning. It was necessary for innumerable private interviews to take place between the Ministers and the representatives of smaller Powers; and it was in these private conferences that the decisions on the big questions were arrived at. Castlereagh, especially, who was acting as mediator, scarcely allowed a single document to be exchanged between the Powers on the Polish-Saxon question without either preparing the way for it by an interview or smoothing away difficulties by personal explanations. The technical work by which the ideas and compromises of the Ministers were put into shape was managed by a small group of men. Of these the chief were Humboldt, who was mainly responsible for the numerous Prussian papers; Clancarty, who was one of the most industrious and conscientious workers at the Congress; Dalberg, who added the practical touches to Talleyrand' s outbursts; La Besnar-
1 Metternich, however, disclaimed the title of "President of the Congress". D'Angeberg, 197.
2 Klinkowströ m, p. 538. One of Talleyrand's original ideas was the formation of a Bureau de Protocole for the Congress, which he suggested should be in charge of La Besnardière, Cook, the British Under-Secretary, and Binder, an Austrian diplomatist. The nationality of the three officials is significant. Münster, Sept. 2. 1814. Hanover Archives
dière, who composed many of his ablest papers; Wessenberg, who made up for Metternich's lack of industry; and Gentz, who drew up nearly all the most important declarations, drafted the treaty, and found time to send long despatches to the Hospodar of Wallachia. Both Prussia and Austria had also a number of capable civil servants who rendered invaluable service.
Special Committees. -- As has been seen, various Committees 1 were set up to deal with special questions. These were constituted on no set principle, being appointed from time to time as circumstances required. The members of them were not always plenipotentiaries, minor officials being allowed to take part. The Committee of Five, the real Congress, however, kept so much of the work in its own hands that the total number of these Committees is surprisingly small, when the large number of subjects covered is considered. The Committees were all nominated by the Committee of Eight or the Committee of Five (except the German Committee, which arose of itself, and the Swiss Committee), and to these two directing Committees the sub-Committees reported -- to the Committee of Eight if the subject were of a general nature, and to the Committee of Five if territorial questions were concerned. The Committees consisted for the most part of representatives of the five Great Powers, though in one or two the minor Powers were also represented. Not all of the five Powers were, however, represented on all the Committees, only those specially interested having members.
The most important Committee was that on Switzerland, consisting of representatives of the four Powers, a French one being added later. It was appointed apparently by the Ministers of the four Powers, and met first formally on November 14, 1814. 2 It conferred
1 For details of the constitution of the Committees see also the paper on International Congresses, No. 154, Part II, Section 10.
2 D'Angeberg, 430. The exact occasion on which it was appointed is obscure.
with the Swiss representatives, and eventually reported to the Committee of Eight, but its territorial arrangements were also considered by the Committee of Five, altered, and referred back by them. 1 A Committee on Tuscany, appointed by the Committee of Eight, contained representatives of Spain and France, as well as of Austria, Russia, and England. There were also small Committees appointed to consider the transfer of Genoa to Sardinia and the complicated question of the Duchy of Bouillon.
Three Committees were also appointed by the Committee of Eight to deal with the three general questions brought before the Congress. That on the slave trade, however, was not allowed to call itself a Committee, but only a Conference. Spain and Portugal had members on it, as well as England and France, while Sweden, Russia, and Austria were also represented. The important Committee on international rivers at first consisted only of the Great Powers interested, but subsequently representatives of the smaller riparian Powers were added to it. Each of the eight Powers was represented on the Committee appointed to examine the relative status of European Powers and their diplomatic agents. These three Committees reported to the Committee of Eight, and their reports were adopted by it.
The functions and constitution of the drafting Committee has already been considered. 2 The Statistical Committee, of which details are given below, was the only other formed. The total, not counting the Committee of Eight, and that of the Five, was only ten, including the German Committee. The small size of the directing Committee and the wish of the principal plenipotentiaries to keep affairs in their own hands accounts for the small number necessary to deal with so many complicated questions. It may be doubted if the efficiency of the Congress would have been increased by any further devolution of business.
1 D'Angeberg, 735, 930, 932.
2 See above, Section 19.
The territorial questions were all closely related, and needed consideration as a whole, and, if separated, would have constantly needed reference back to the Committee of Five.
One of the conspicuous successes of the Congress was the Statistical Committee. As has been stated, this Committee was one of Castlereagh's ideas, and it is difficult to see how the Congress could have come to any definite conclusion without it. There had already been considerable recrimination as to the population of the territories under discussion. The problem of the reconstruction of Prussia was largely an arithmetical one. The Committee was ordered to make a complete enumeration of all the territories conquered from Napoleon and his Allies. Martens, the international lawyer, acted as its secretary, but the chief work was done by Hoffmann, a Prussian statistician of deserved reputation; and the result was to establish, in the main, the Prussian figures. The sources on which the Commission drew were, of course, largely non-official, since a systematic census had never been taken of many territories. Nevertheless, the only serious difficulties were found in the enumeration of the Duchy of Warsaw, where a mean between two disputed figures was accepted. The Commission was not appointed till December 24; and on January 19 it was able to furnish the Committee of Five with a report, which gave statistics of population of all the territories with which they were concerned. It had been originally the intention, both of Castlereagh and Metternich, that something more than a mere evaluation of numbers should be made, and that the riches of the respective provinces and the quality of their inhabitants should be taken into consideration. 1 But this view was successfully opposed by Prussia; and the Committee was
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Dec. 24, 1814, F.O. Continent (9 (see Appendix VII); Pallain, p. 201; D'Angeberg, p. 61. See C. Dupuis , Le Principe d'Equilibre et le Concert européen, pp. 60 ff.; F. von Arneth, Johann Freiherr von Wessenberg, I, 233. Münster also tried to use this Commission for political purposes.
eventually strictly enjoined not to take into consideration anything but the actual numbers. Talleyrand, indeed, made some protest against a valuation which reckoned an inhabitant of Poland and one of the rich territories of Saxony and the Rhine as of equal worth. But it was impossible to put these ideas into practice, as they would have introduced standards of value which could not be really weighed by the statisticians. The result was, of course, much to the advantage of Prussia.
Espionage. The Social Life of the Congress. -- At Vienna there was in existence the most completely organized secret police in Europe; 1 not even Napoleon, with the help of Fouché, possessed a machine of such efficiency. When it was known that the Congress was to meet at Vienna, immense preparations were made to strengthen the personnel of this secret service. Not only was there engaged a large number of new agents in every class of society, but also a number of volunteers, many of the highest rank, were enlisted in the service of the Emperor by Hager, the industrious head of the secret police. From the opening of the Congress to its close the vigilance of these agents never relaxed. The wastepaper-baskets of the diplomatists, whose contents were obtained by servants placed there for the purpose, provided a rich store of material. Every letter that came through the post was, of course, opened. This was the usual custom, and known to all diplomatists. If they sent anything by post which they did not wish to be read, cipher was always used. 2 But the Austrian police obtained, through the venality
1 The activities at the Congress of the secret police have recently been revealed by two historians who have had access to the documents of the Ministry of the Interior in Vienna. See Fournier (A.) , Die Geheimpolizei auf dem Wiener Kongress; Weil (M. H.), Les Dessous du Congrès de Vienne, 2 vols. 2 But some ciphers were known. The Prussians obtained a copy of the British cipher during the Napoleon ic wars, and this fact was not discovered till 1817. The Prussians also had the Austrian and Swedish cipher, F.O. Prussia, 108, 114.
of couriers and servants, many letters and notes which were thought to have been despatched quite safely. A daily report of these documents was sent to the Emperor by the chief of the secret police, together with a record of a large number of conversations which had been shared in or overheard by his agents. Even the austrian Court and Ministers were not exempt from this espionage, which attempted to include in its meshes every person of the slightest importance at Vienna.
By such means the police did find out a very great deal. Their reports were, perhaps, most useful in furnishing details of the relations of one person to another and in gauging the public opinion of the Congress. The principal Ministers used their own couriers, and thus their despatches were generally safe, while the actual facts as to the most important transactions were only known to a very few people. Still, a great many very secret things were ascertained in this way. 1 The French Embassy, in particular, was indiscreet; and the inner motives of Talleyrand's campaign were fully known to the Austrians. The relations of Alexander and Metternich with the Princess Bagratian and the Duchess de Sagan were reported in the greatest detail. A record of the visits that each important Minister paid or received each day was carefully made. How far the Austrian Foreign Office was able to use this information to advantage is not known. It appears possible that the Foreign Minister himself was not shown all of it, the reports being made direct to the Emperor. But it must have played a part in the decisions of November and December, when the issue of events was so uncertain; and it was very useful to Metternich in the deep game of intrigue he played in the Italian questions.
1 For example, the French Consul at Leghorn was engaged in a plot to kidnap Napoleon. His report, written in sympathetic ink between the lines of an ostensibly commercial report, was torn up by Dalberg and thrown into the wastepaper-basket. It was secured and pieced together by the secret agents.
The secrets of the British mission were better guarded than those of any other mission at Vienna. The despatches were, of course, sent by couriers of tried fidelity. The only intercepts were some sent to Constantinople by Austrian couriers, the contents of which were already known to Metternich. Special instructions had also been given at the outset that the contents of the wastepaper-baskets were to be carefully burnt; and the Embassy staff was specially warned against the dangers of Vienna social life. Thus, though at one time some of the Embassy servants seem to have been in the pay of the secret police, nothing of the slightest importance was found out. In short, Castlereagh anticipated the other diplomatists in precautions the necessity for which they only found out by experience.
The social side of the Vienna Congress has impressed itself on history, but its importance has been exaggerated. As has been pointed out, the unending series of balls, dinners, reviews, and fêtes did not greatly hinder the work of those whose industry was important. More serious were the rivalries of various ladies, in which Metternich and Alexander were involved, and which certainly increased the friction between them; and a certain amount of indiscreet conversation was due to the presence of so many women. Almost all the crowned heads and diplomatists brought their wives and other female relations to Vienna. Gentz's remark to Wessenberg:
"Rien de plus choquant que des généraux et des Ministres qui traînent avec eux des femmes (épouses surtout) dans leurs campagnes ou dans leurs missions,"
may be considered just, but on the whole the results were less pernicious than might have been expected.
Section 23. Attempts to Influence the Decisions of the Congress through Public Opinion and the Home Governments. -- The endeavours of the diplomatists at Vienna to influence the course of events at the Congress
by applying pressure elsewhere, either through public opinion or, in the case of Great Britain and France, through the home Governments, though on the whole entirely unsuccessful, are worthy of some notice. Public opinion in Germany was greatly stirred by the Saxon question and the problem of the German Constitution. There was a great journalistic battle on these subjects, in which all the Courts were concerned; and Talleyrand was suspected on more than one occasion of stirring up strife for his own purposes. It cannot, however, be said that they affected the decisions of the statesmen in any material degree. The PolishSaxon question was settled purely on grounds of ex. pediency; and the populations of Germany were transferred from one monarch to another, with scarcely the slightest reference to their wishes. The public opinion of the Habsburg Kingdom was directed (in the interests of Metternich) by Pilat in the Oesterreichische Beobachter, while Gentz disseminated his chief's views throughout Europe in articles which have been described as masterpieces of force and point.
Public opinion in England was closely watched, and especially the debates in the House of Commons. "Tant que nous aurons un Parlement en Angleterre, il y aura une tribune pour toute l' Europe," said Sir Sidney Smith at the Congress; and his words were repeated by a more profound publicist, the Abbé du Pradt. 1 The idea of using British public opinion to inlfuence Castlereagh occurred to more than one Power. Talleyrand's notes were written to a certain extent with this end in view, though he appears to have taken no steps to act directly on the British Government. 2 Other diplomatists, however, wrote to the British press, amongst them the Bavarian Minister, who sent a letter to the Morning Chronicle, the principal opponent of the Government, under the
1 Du Pradt, Congrès de Vienne, I, 51.
2 The Comte de la Chastre, his representative at London, was, however, ordered to discuss the Neapolitan question with the Ministry, and to try to find out their real opinions. To La Chastre, Dec. 14, 1814, Archives des Affaires Etrangères, Paris.
pseudonym "Saxon." 1 Metternich might have been satisfied that he could not better the position which Castlereagh had assumed; but he tried to put pressure on the Prince Regent in the question of subsidies, only to meet with a complete rebuff. His Ambassador, Merveldt, was also ordered to insert articles in the press. Merveldt, however, who was not in Metternich's confidence, spent much time in trying to remove a deeplyrooted feeling in political circles that Austria was both financially and militarily exhausted, but he received a severe reproof for discussing the affairs of the Congress with Liverpool and the Prince Regent. 2
It was the Russians, however, despite their failure in the early part of the year, who made the most determined attempt to undermine Castlereagh. Lieven was instructed, in a series of despatches of December 1814 that Castlereagh was deliberately attempting to keep the Continent in a state of unrest in order to establish British influence in the rest of the world. He was ordered to obtain access to the members of the Cabinet who did not agree with Castlereagh's policy, especially Bathurst, Sidmouth, and Vansittart. The principal leaders of the Opposition were also to be sounded, while every effort was to be made to influence public opinion in a direction favourable to Russia's interests. For this purpose the principal journalists were to be approached, and views suitable to their different party opinions were to be suggested to them. Special stress was to be laid on the commercial advantages of a good understanding with Russia; and it was to be suggested that the liberties of the English people were themselves threatened by the support which the Foreign Minister was giving to the most reactionary Continental Powers.
1 Pfeffel to Wrede, Jan. 19, 1815; Fournier, Die Geheimpolizei, &c., p. 365.
2 Merveldt to Metternich, Sept. 22, Oct. 4, Dec. 2, 1814, Vienna Archives. The Courier was the paper chosen by Merveldt, and some money appears to have changed hands, though the Ambassador reported that "English journalists affect not to be bought."
The various stages of the plan were carefully indicated. First there was to be the attempt to win over the Cabinet; only if this failed was recourse to be had to the Opposition and the press. 1
Subsequent experience showed the Russians that they could do little by these means. Lieven reported that the best way of winning a more favourable position was to flatter the Prince Regent and to try to overcome the marked hostility he displayed towards the Russian Court. Orders were accordingly given for orders and uniforms to be sent for the delectation of His Royal Highness. 2 Special instructions were also sent, however, to watch over the discussions on the Polish question in the British Parliament, in order that the Russian point of view might be brought before the British public. The total effect of all this was not great. It is true that Castlereagh's policy was not popular with his colleagues, but they were unable to influence him. As for public opinion in England, it was never sufficiently instructed and organized to produce any effect except in the question of the slave trade.
Castlereagh adopted with more success a similar policy towards Talleyrand. When he was not satisfied with the latter's attitude on the main points in dispute, he endeavoured to work on the King and Blacas through Wellington, hinting that, unless they agreed, he might be compelled to recognise Murat, and was able to get instructions sent which placed the Polish question for the moment before the Saxon one. 3 The readiness of his home Government to come into line with Great Britain undoubtedly affected Talleyrand's policy, but it was also at bottom his own real desire; and the total effect of the pressure cannot be said to have been of great importance. Metternich also en-
1 Projet d'Instruction pour le Comte de Lieven, Dec. 1814, Petrograd Archives. See Martens (F.), Recueil des Traités, &c., XI, 211.
2 Nesselrode to Lieven, June 5-17, 1815, Petrograd Archives.
3 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Oct. 24, 1814, F.O. Continent 7; Correspondence, X, 182, 185; W.S.D., IX, 417, 493, 494.
deavoured to circumvent Talleyrand by opening direct negotiations with Paris on the Italian question, and in this scheme he had considerable success. But events made this transaction of less importance than at one time seemed probable. 1 The truth was that nearly all that was most powerful in Europe was concentrated at the Congress, and distances were too great and the means of communication too slow for much effect to be produced by action elsewhere.
1 See below, Section 27.
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