THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA (1814-1815)
BY C. K. WEBSTER, M.A. - [continued]
THE WORK OF THE CONGRESS
The Polish-Saxon Problem. The failure of Castlereagh's first plan. -- The decisions of the Congress of Vienna, as has been stated above, 1 depended almost entirely on the settlement of the Polish-Saxon question. As has been seen, Metternich and Castlereagh hoped to achieve their ends in Poland by sacrificing Saxony. If Poland could be saved from falling, almost entirely brought under Russian rule, or, instead of this, partitioned anew among the three Powers, Metternich appeared willing to agree to the lesser evil of the absorption of the whole of Saxony by Prussia. The territories in the west of Germany, which were at the disposal of the Congress, could then be used to a large extent to build up Holland and Hanover, and there would be a surplus left to facilitate arrangements between Austria, Bavaria, and Baden. Nothing had, however, as yet been agreed to in writing The plan depended on an informal understanding between Hardenberg and Metternich, which Castlereagh had enthusiastically supported. Two great obstacles still stood in the way. Metternich had to fear the hostility of an Austrian party, led by Stadion and Schwarzenberg; while Hardenberg could not count on the support of his King against the Tsar. There were also other questions in dispute between the two German Powers which threatened to break up their alliance.
Of all these difficulties Castlereagh was fully aware, but he was under the impression that, by himself direct-
1 See above, Section 14.
ing the negotiations, he could overcome them and force Russia to give way before the united opposition of her three allies. The instructions which Castlereagh certainly drew up for himself for the Congress of Vienna have never been discovered. The principles on which he acted are, however, not in doubt. His main object, as he told his Cabinet in November, was the establishment of a "just equilibrium" in Europe; 1 and his conception of a "just equilibrium" meant strengthening the centre of Europe against the East and the West. For this purpose he wished, not only for a strong Prussia, but also for an alliance between Prussia and Austria. The extension of Russian dominion over the whole of Poland he regarded as a real menace to the security of Central Europe. He would naturally have been glad to obtain an independent Poland. But, though he constantly rendered lipservice to this idea, it was never really contemplated as a possible solution either by him or by any other statesman at the Congress.
The attack against Alexander was begun, not by Hardenberg and Metternich, whose countries were mainly concerned, but by the English Minister acting as mediator. The Tsar condescended to argue his own case, which he first stated in an interview with Castlereagh at the end of September. Castlereagh, after establishing the fact that neither Russia nor her Allies were prepared to create an independent Poland, set out once more all the arguments against the Russian plan. Alexander's wish to give the Poles a Constitution would, he maintained, ensure the disaffection of such Poles as were still left under Prussian and Austrian rule; and he insisted that Alexander was defying the opinion of all Europe, including his own
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Nov. 11, 1814, F.O. Continent 8. See an article by the present writer on England and the PolishSaxon Problem at the Congress of Vienna in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 3rd series, vol. VII, where a selection from Castlereagh's despatches is printed.
Russian subjects. In reply, Alexander said his policy was directed, not by Russian interests or his own ambition, but with a view to the happiness of the Poles and from a sense of "moral duty"; and he hinted that public opinion in Great Britain approved his scheme. The impression he produced on Castlereagh, however, was that he was prepared to give up the idea of a Polish Kingdom if he could be allowed to retain Polish territory; and in an interview with Nesselrode next day, Castlereagh made it clear that he was not prepared to allow the odium of vetoing a Polish Constitution to fall on Great Britain. His objection, he said, to Alexander's plans lay more in the extension of territory which Russia would obtain than in the system by which she proposed to administer it. 1
In order to set the Austrian and Prussian Ministers on a line of attack which he could himself support, he drew up a memorandum for their guidance, which based the opposition to Alexander's designs on the fact that they were contrary to the treaties signed in 1813. A second interview with Alexander followed. His plea that he had a duty to the Poles was turned by Castlereagh against him. "I asked His Imperial Majesty how he distinguished between his duty to the Poles on one side of his line and on the other." He insisted that the matter must be argued on grounds of expediency, which were the real motives animating the Powers concerned. It would be an injustice to Alexander to suppose that the interests of the Poles did not play a considerable part in his decisions; and he ultimately showed his good faith by granting them the Constitution which he had promised. But it was useless for him to plead his motive when he was not prepared to press it to its logical conclusion and reestablish a free Poland. It was Russian interests that governed the major decision against independence; and, on this point, Castlereagh fastened. Beaten in logic, Alexander could only rely on the argument of
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Oct. 2, F.O. Continent 7.
force. On this point, too, Castlereagh had an answer: --
"The Emperor insinuated that the question could only end in one way, as he was in possession. I observed that it was very true His Imperial Majesty was in possession, and he must know that no one was less disposed than myself hostilely to dispute that possession; but I was sure His Imperial Majesty would not be satisfied to rest his pretensions on a title of conquest in opposition to the general sentiments of Europe."
He transmitted the same day to the Tsar the memorandum he had drawn up for the guidance of Metternich and Hardenberg, together with a letter worded with the utmost frankness, so that there might be no doubt as to his opinions. 1 Meanwhile Alexander, in interviews with Talleyrand and Metternich, had adopted an even more menacing tone. 2 He made no secret of the fact that he intended to keep almost all the Duchy of Warsaw, and he would make no concessions of any kind.
The reason why Castlereagh had had to enter the lists single-handed, instead of the three Courts making a united protest, lay in the fact that the AustroPrussian Alliance was not yet completed. On his arrival at Vienna, Castlereagh found that both Metternich and Hardenberg were loth to commit themselves. Metternich, indeed, talked loudly of war; but, in spite of the negotiations of the summer, he would not make in writing that definite offer of Saxony to Prussia which alone could induce her to join him in opposing Alexander; while Hardenberg dared take no step that would risk a rupture with Russia, lest he should be left without an ally. In these circumstances it was impossible to get either Power to oppose Alexander's threats by a show of force. But Castlereagh endeavoured to get them to combine to refuse to recognise Poland as Russian territory. He personally
1 Castlereagh to Alexander, Oct. 12, 1814, W.S.D., 330. The memorandum is printed in D'Angeberg, 265; W.S.D., I, 332.
2 Pallain, Correspondence inédite du Prince Talleyrand et du Roi Louis XVIII, p. 18.
tried to influence the King of Prussia, but found him unwilling to oppose Alexander, though he admitted that he disapproved of his plans.
Castlereagh had more success with Metternich and Hardenberg, between whom he contrived an interview. Hardenberg explained very frankly that he could not join in exposing Russia while assurances as regards Saxony were still lacking. He promised, however, that, if Austria and Great Britain would guarantee Saxony to Prussia he would unite with them "to oppose such resistance as prudence might justify to Russian encroachments." Metternich was without a fixed plan, and appeared already to have abandoned hope, but the insistence of Castlereagh at last induced him to agree. 1 Hardenberg immediately tried to obtain these promises in writing by a letter of October 9, which formally asked for the assent of England and Austria to the incorporation of Saxony in Prussia, as well as the acquisition of Mainz. Castlereagh gave immediate consent. Metternich still hesitated. Hardenberg pressed for reply, and at last, on October 22, Metternich agreed to the proposal. 2 He made it conditional, however, on the success of the Polish negotiations, and he declared that Bavaria must have Mainz. This was not sufficient to satisfy Hardenberg; and it was only by again bringing the two Ministers to a conference at his hotel that Castlereagh at last got them to agree, Hardenberg waiving the point of Mainz for the moment. Castlereagh himself drew up a plan for joint action. Alexander was to be threatened with a refusal of all the Powers to recognise his Polish acquisitions.
The suggestion of an independent Poland on a large scale was to be made, but this was not seriously intended. A partition of the Duchy of Warsaw
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Oct. 9, 1814, F.O. Continent 7.
2 Hardenberg to Metternich, Oct. 9, 1814, D'Angeberg, 1934; Castlereagh to Hardenberg, Oct. 11, 1814, Ibid., 274, W.S.D., IX, 339; Hardenberg to Metternich, Oct. 21, 1814, F.O. Continent 7; Metternich to Hardenberg, Oct. 22, 1814, D'Angeberg, 1939.
between the three Eastern Powers was the real objective. 1 The two Emperors and the King of Prussia were about to visit Buda-Pesth, and here Alexander was to be told of the united demand of his allies. Castlereagh had great hopes of success, but he made a fatal mistake in allowing the plan to be disclosed when he was not himself on the scene. Alexander showed that his reliance on his personal supremacy over the Prussian King was well founded. He attacked Metternich and Hardenberg with bitter fury in the presence of their masters; and, though the Emperor of Austria was firm, Frederick William immediately gave way. The whole edifice that Castlereagh had built up thus collapsed at the outset. 2 When Metternich, on their return to Vienna, asked the Prussian Minister to co-operate against Alexander, an evasive answer was returned, deprecating steps that might lead to hostilities, and suggesting various lines of compromise which Castlereagh was to submit to Alexander in the name of the two Powers. Even this answer was considered too anti-Russian by Frederick William. 3 Castlereagh and Metternich refused to consider joint discussions under these conditions. The rôle of mediator which the former wished to play was only possible if he had the two German Powers united behind him, while the Austrian Cabinet was now growing restive on the question of Saxony, with the result that Metternich's tone stiffened considerably. Castlereagh accordingly withdrew from the negotiations, and Metternich also intimated to Prussia that their joint action against Russia was at an end. 4
In narrating his failure to his Cabinet, Castlereagh could only reiterate his opinion that, had it not been
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Oct. 24, 1814, F.O. Continent 7.
2 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Nov. 11, 1814, F.O. Continent 8.
3 Metternich to Hardenberg, Nov. 2, 1814, D'Angeberg, 379; Hardenberg to Castlereagh, Nov. 7, 1814, F.O. Continent 8; Delbrück , Friedrich Wilhelm III und Hardenberg auf dem Wiener Kongress, Historische Zeitschrift, LXIII, 263.
4 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Nov. 21, 1814; Metternich to Hardenberg, Nov. 12, 1814, F.O. Continent 8.
for the King of Prussia, the plan would have succeeded. The two Central Powers would then have been able to settle their difficulties on friendly terms, and it would have been easy to confront Alexander with a united Germany. He admitted that he had been led to take a more active share in the negotiations than he had thought was possible, but he felt that a mediator was necessary to unite Europe against Russia. All this had now failed, and he gave it as his opinion that, "unless the Emperor of Russia can be brought to a more moderate and sound course of public conduct, the peace which we have so dearly purchased will be of short duration." 1 The Emperor meanwhile had been forced by the Poles to reply to Castlereagh's written communication. The memorandum was drawn up by Czartoryski, as Alexander had now ceased to employ any of the Russians on these transactions; and Nesselrode had so completely fallen into disfavour that it was expected every day that he would be superseded. In these circumstances it is not surprising that no suggestion of compromise was made. Castlereagh found himself under the necessity of replying, though he refused to treat Alexander as personally responsible for the memorandum. He reiterated the argument that Alexander was breaking the treaties of 1813; and, though the Poles insisted on an answer to this attack, Alexander forwarded it with a cold note asking that in future only official channels should be used. Neither Castlereagh nor Alexander had much reason to be satisfied with this method of conducting business. The Tsar had doubtless thought that, by negotiations in person, he could bear down Castlereagh's opposition, but the result was only to expose their differences. It may be noted, however, that, while Alexander permitted himself to indulge in ungovernable displays of temper towards Metternich, Hardenberg, and Talleyrand, he never
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Nov. 11, 1814, F.O. Continent 8; Nov. 18, 1814, W.S.D., IX, 451.
treated the British Minister otherwise than with the greatest courtesy. 1
Where Castlereagh had failed it was not likely that Hardenberg would succeed, though for the sake of appearances it was necessary for him to make some attempt. He proposed to Alexander considerable cessions of his Polish territory, which would have given to Prussia the fortress of Thorn and the line of the river Wartha, and to Austria Cracow and the line of the river Nida. It was added that no further objection would be made to the Emperor's plans for a Polish Kingdom. The answer, delayed by Alexander's illness, was delivered by Czartoryski and Stein. The only concession made on the Polish frontier was to offer to make Thorn and Cracow free towns. At the same time even this concession was linked up with a demand that Saxony should be given to Prussia, and that Mainz should be a fortress of the Confederation. 2 The Russo-Prussian Alliance was thus demonstrated. Metternich could not accept such a proposal. His offer of Saxony to Prussia had been conditional on active co-operation against Alexander. It was now, therefore, withdrawn, and a complete deadlock ensued. The Saxon question now opened, especially in the inflamed state of public opinion in Germany, was a problem which appeared to have no solution; and, as Prussia had now to seek compensation in Germany for her losses in Poland, all the minor States were threatened. Thus the first phase of the negotiation closed with a heavy defeat for Castlereagh. The scheme was his, and he had failed owing to Alexander's control of the Prussian King. Hardenberg had, indeed, acted against his own wishes, and bitterly repented of his
1 Alexander to Castlereagh, Oct. 30, 1814, W.S.D., IX, 386; Castlereagh to Alexander, Nov. 4, 1814, Ibid., 410; Alexander to Castlereagh, Nov. 21, 1814, Ibid., 441. The last reply was delayed by the Emperor's illness.
2 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Dec. 5, 1814, F.O. Continent 8; D'Angeberg, 485, 493; Münster, p. 194.
folly in not settling the Polish frontiers in 1813. But Prussia was now relying on Russia to get Saxony, which was transferred from Russian to Prussian occupation in a manner which asserted in the eyes of Europe Prussia's intention to keep the whole of it. 1 The two German Powers were hopelessly at variance; and the situation which Castlereagh had feared from the first had arisen. The failure to check Russia had made Prussia and Austria irreconcilable rivals in Germany. For the moment Castlereagh could do nothing but let events take their course. As soon as he abandoned the conduct of the negotiations they became more embittered every day. Even the decencies of diplomacy were no longer observed, and military preparations were hastily begun by all the Great Powers.
Section 25. The Deadlock over Saxony. The Secret Treaty of January 3, 1815, between Austria, Great Britain, and France. -- Castlereagh was not long to remain a spectator of this impossible situation. He was soon called back to construct an entirely new combination. Beaten on the question of Poland, he was yet able to preserve the peace of Europe and build up a barrier, as he thought, to Russian power. In this he acted entirely on his own responsibility in a situation which cannot have been covered by his instructions, and, to a certain extent, in defiance of the wishes of his Cabinet. He received no official instructions of any importance from London until December. Liverpool carried on a voluminous private correspondence with him, throwing out suggestions, and giving some account of Parliamentary and public opinion at home; but it took between ten
____________________ 1 Russia had pressed this transfer, to which Castlereagh and Metternich had given only provisional assent, at a much earlier date, in order to embroil Prussia with Austria. Hardenberg refused; but, acting on orders from Russia, Repnin, the Russian commander, issued a proclamation, which produced at Vienna exactly the effect desired by Alexander. Münster, p. 105.
and twelve days for a courier to get to Vienna, and situations changed so rapidly that it was not possible for the Cabinet to exert much control. Its opinion on these European problems was, however, clear. On the Polish question it was exceedingly lukewarm, and it wished to have as little to do with this as possible. Liverpool was much afraid lest Great Britain should appear to oppose Polish independence, and, in the middle of October, he thought it advisable to press this point on Castlereagh's notice. 1 The account of Castlereagh's activities increased the alarm in London; and, at the end of October, Vansittart attacked Castlereagh's display of initiative in a memorandum which Liverpool said had made a deep impression on the Cabinet. 2 These warnings were repeated during the middle of November, and the dangers of war, and the necessity of at least an interval of peace, were pointed out again and again. 3
Public opinion in favour of the independence of Saxony was now growing in London, and this was also expressed in Liverpool's letters; 4 but his main preoccupation was to keep Great Britain out of war. Castlereagh's despatches, recounting the failure of his policy of mediator, and hinting at hostilities, produced a definite instruction from the Cabinet. On November 27 an official despatch was sent to him, which contained the sentence: --
"It is unnecessary for me to point out to you the impossibility of His Royal Highness consenting to involve this country in hostilities at this time for any of the objects which have been hitherto under discussion at Vienna." 5
Three weeks after he received this instruction, Castlereagh signed a treaty which made definite pro-
1 Liverpool to Castlereagh, Oct. 14, 1814, W.S.D., IX, 342.
2 Liverpool to Castlereagh, Oct. 28, 1814, W.S.D., IX, 383.
3 Liverpool to Castlereagh, Nov. 2, Nov. 18, Nov. 25, 1814, W.S.D., IX, 402, 438, 285.
4 Liverpool to Castlereagh, Nov. 18, 1814, W.S.D., IX, 408.
5 Bathurst to Castleregh, Nov. 27, 1814, F.O. Continent 6.
vision for war. He did indeed alter his policy on the question of Saxony, but that was the natural outcome of the failure of the first plan. The offer of Saxony was conditional on the co-operation of Prussia in the question of Poland; and, when that was refused, the offer was withdrawn. The change arose, not from any instructions from home, but as a natural result of Castlereagh's attitude; he could not now desert Austria, whom he had compelled to follow the policy of co-operation with Prussia. It was indeed believed by many at the Congress that Castlereagh's change of policy was due to definite instructions from his Cabinet, whose timid attitude was fully known. 1 But, though this weakened Castlereagh's position, it did not affect his policy nor move him from the course he felt it necessary to follow. 2
Castlereagh now regarded the Polish battle as lost. But, as relations between the three Eastern Powers grew more and more strained, it became evident that no settlement could be produced between them, except by the active interference of Great Britain. At the beginning of December, therefore, he began to attempt to reconcile the differences between Austria and Prussia. He joined, it is true, the Austrian side, but he never abandoned his policy of constructing a strong Prussia; and, as will be seen, he found it necessary to check her opponents after he had thwarted her in her main ambition. His first step, however, was to join Metternich in withdrawing his offer as to Saxony. In an interview with Hardenberg, he made it clear that he considered Austria could not be expected to give way on her Bohemian frontier now that she had lost her line of defence in Poland. She could not submit to see both Dresden and Cracow in the hands of Great Powers. The Prussian Chancellor, who now saw himself faced with the prospect of being beaten both in Poland and
1 Münster, p. 201. The question is discussed in Delbrück, op. cit., p. 249, and in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 3rd series, vol. VII, p. 61.
2 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Dec. 7, 1814, F.O. Continent 9.
Saxony, flared up and talked of war, but Castlereagh used his favourite argument that war was no remedy. How could Prussia expect to govern Saxony, he said, unless she had the consent of Europe? This language produced some effect, and Hardenberg promised to listen to an Austrian proposal. Castlereagh did his best to persuade Metternich to make this as conciliatory as possible. This Metternich promised to do, and both he and the Emperor of Austria had interviews with the Emperor of Russia to get him to make some concessions to facilitate the general arrangement.
In these circumstances there was some chance of a compromise; but, though Hardenberg and Metternich had been calmed down, they were both surrounded by soldiers and officials who were exasperated by what they considered the weakness of their chiefs. 1 "I witness every day," wrote Castlereagh, "the astonishing tenacity with which all the Powers cling to the smallest point of separate interest," 2 and he was not sanguine. In a private letter to Liverpool, written at the same time, he recapitulated the chances of war, and discussed how far an armed mediation could prevent it. These fears proved only too well founded. The Austrian proposals, besides rejecting the offers of Thorn and Cracow as free towns, refused to allow Prussia to incorporate Saxony, and reserved the point of Mainz. 3 Hardenberg was so exasperated that he communicated to Alexander the whole of Metternich's confidential letters. Metternich in his turn had to defend himself, and the result was a tremendous explosion and numerous hot and excited interviews between the Emperors and their Ministers. But as Castlereagh phrased it, "the climate of Russia is often
1 Even Hudelist was now inveighing against Metternich's weakness; and Gentz had already drawn up a project for a Triple Alliance of Austria, Great Britain, and France. Münster to the Prince Regent, Nov. 27, 1814; Hanover Archives.
2 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Dec. 7, 1814, F.O. Continent 8; Dec. 5, 1814, W.S.D., IX, 463.
3 Metternich to Hardenberg, Dec. 10, 1814, D'Angeberg, 505.
the more serene after a good squall"; and Alexander, after vainly trying to get Metternich dismissed, made a personal cession to the Emperor of Austria by offering to give back the Tarnopol Circle of Galicia, which he had obtained at the Peace of 1809. 1
But the two German Powers were still hopelessly divided. Hardenberg and Metternich, embittered by their mutual treachery, disputed every fact and figure, and compromise seemed hopeless. It was Talleyrand's opportunity. Had his hands been free he might now have made a great bargain, but he was already committed. The attitude he had adopted from the first at Vienna had made it necessary for him to join Castlereagh and Metternich. The steps which led to this situation go back to the interview of September, which laid the foundations of the Franco-British Alliance.
As has been seen, Castlereagh from the first adopted an attitude different from that of any of the other Ministers towards the rights of France in the Congress. Talleyrand's insistence on the point of Saxony, and his refusal to subordinate it to the question of Poland, had caused some friction between them. 2 But Castlereagh succeeded in limiting Talleyrand's public activities, and prevented him from bringing forward the Saxon question by inopportune notes. When he suspected that the French Minister was endeavouring to make some arrangement with the Tsar concerning Saxony, he took steps to act on the French Government through Wellington. 3 In this he had some success; and Talleyrand kept very quiet through all the critical stage of the negotiations, though he encouraged the popular movement in favour of Saxony in every quarter. When the Polish negotiations had broken down, there was no longer any need to hold back. Castlereagh, therefore, gradually grew more and more
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Dec. 17, 1814, W.S.D., IX, 483.
2 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Oct. 20, Oct. 24, 1814, F.O. Continent 7.
3 See above, Section 23.
intimate in his relations with Talleyrand, without, however, giving him his whole confidence. 1 "I have not deemed it prudent to disclose to him my operations in detail, finding that he was not always discreet, and that I should lose influence in other quarters if I was understood to be in close confidence with the French Minister. I have endeavoured, however, to treat him with all proper regard, and to keep him generally informed of our endeavours to promote common objects. He is becoming infinitely more accommodating in our general conferences than at the outset." When the moment of crisis arrived, and the deadlock had to be solved by a show of force, he had France at his back, and he knew that his policy was one favoured by both the French and British Cabinets.
At the same time Metternich began to look to Talleyrand. Their relations had not been close until the month of December. But, after the storm between Hardenberg and Metternich, the latter sought Talleyrand's assistance. He appears to have been eager to anticipate Castlereagh, and on December 16 he made formal overtures to Talleyrand for joint action. Talleyrand's answer was a lofty defence of the integrity of Saxony, but in his private interviews he showed himself very accommodating. It was sufficient for him that the Alliance had broken to pieces, and he only required assurances on the question of Naples. 2 These could not be given him at once, but both Castlereagh and Metternich began to examine their archives to ascertain whether they could escape from the engagements made to Murat, while the French Government was asked to give proofs, if possible, of his treachery. 3
Before, however, France was openly brought into the discussion, one more effort was made to come to a settle-
1 Castlereagh to Wellington, Nov. 21, 1814, W.S.D., IX, 447:
2 Pallain, pp. 181, 183. Castlereagh to Liverpool, Dec. 18, 1814, F.O. Continent 9, W.S.D., IX, 483; Metternich to Talleyrand, Dec. 16, 1814, D'Angeberg, 1961; Talleyrand to Metternich, Dec. 19, 1814, D'Angeberg, 540.
3 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Dec. 18, 1814, W.S.D., IX, 485. For the development of the Neapolitan question see below, Section 27.
ment through the intervention of Great Britain alone. This was directly requested by both Austria and Prussia, while Czartoryski, in the name of the Emperor of Russia, also pressed Castlereagh to accept the office of mediator. The result was that conferences were held between Castlereagh, Stein, Hardenberg, Humboldt, and Czartoryski in which a new proposal was broached. This plan, which had already been submitted to Metternich, was to compensate the King of Saxony with territory on the left bank of the Rhine, including Luxemburg, Trêves, and Bonn.
On December 21, in a long discussion, the Prussians in vain endeavoured to make Castlereagh yield on this point. Apart altogether from his engagements to Austria, Castlereagh did not want the left bank of the Rhine to be in the hands of a small Power, which he thought must come under the influence of France. He told the Prussians candidly that they must be content to acquire only a part of Saxony, and accept compensation elsewhere. At the same time he made it clear that he wished to make Prussia a powerful State, and, in order to win Russia over, he definitely promised that he would not press the Polish question further if Austria and Prussia consented to abandon their claims. 1 He had indeed hopes of some compromise, and finding that the dispute as to the statistics of populations caused much friction, he proposed the special Statistical Committee. 2 The appointment of this Committee revealed the attitude of Austria and England towards Talleyrand. The French Minister made it a point of honour that a French member should be appointed on it; and, though rather unwilling to expose his hand, Castlereagh acquiesced, and insisted that the concession should be made. He was anxious, however, not to allow a premature revelation of the close relations of himself and Metternich with Talleyrand, which might give an excuse for an immediate rupture of relations on
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Dec. 24, 1814, F.O. Continent 9.
2 See above, Section 21.
the part of Russia and Prussia. If the rupture was to come, he wished the other two Powers to furnish the excuse. 1
Meanwhile, the Tsar was showing every sign of desiring a compromise. He interviewed the Emperor of Austria, and expressed his wish to finish everything amicably and without delay. The minor German Powers were now all rallying round Austria; and Metternich was coquetting with the idea of establishing a German Confederation under the Habsburgs without Prussia. Alexander brought matters to a head by desiring formal conferences on the Polish question. Castlereagh consented to attend 2 on condition that he was not supposed to be waiving his objection to the principle of partition, though agreeing to its expediency. The Conference which met on December 29, however, proceeded to discuss Saxony as well as Poland, and the time had come for Austria and England to reveal their connection with France. They demanded Talleyrand's admission to the formal conference. Prussia vehemently objected. The arguments used were formal; but all knew that the introduction of Talleyrand meant the end of Prussian hopes of obtaining all Saxony. The Prussians knew, too, that Alexander was weakening; and they attempted to force a settlement in their favour before it was too late. Hardenberg intimated that Prussia could not afford to remain longer in a state of provisional occupation of Saxony, and that, if recognition of her rights was refused, she would consider it as tantamount to a declaration of war. This truculent language produced an immense effect on Castlereagh.
"I took occasion to protest," he reported, "in the strongest terms against this principle as a most alarming and unheard-of menace: that it should be competent for one Power to invade
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Dec. 25, 1814, W.S.D., IX, 511; Pallain, p. 199.
2 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Dec. 25, 1814; F.O. Continent 9; Münster, p. 219.
another, and by force compel a recognition which was founded upon no treaty, and where no attempt had been made to disturb the possession of the invading Power in the territory to which he laid claim. Such an insinuation might operate upon a Power trembling for its existence, but must have the contrary effect upon all that were alive to their own dignity; and I added that, if such a temper really prevailed, we were not deliberating in a state of independence, and it were better to break up the Congress." Hardenberg's words were explained away, but the effect remained, and was increased by the knowledge that the Prussians were organising their army for the field and fortifying Dresden. Castlereagh's scruples about signing a treaty were overcome. He summoned Talleyrand and Metternich, and submitted a draft of a secret treaty which he had drawn up with his own hand. It was defensive in character, but made definite provision for war in case of attack by Prussia, on the model of the Chaumont Treaty against France. Any danger of its being used to extend French influence was guarded against by a clause stipulating that the Treaty of Paris was to regulate the future frontiers of Europe; and Holland's acquisition of the Low Countries was specially protected. Talleyrand and Metternich accepted this draft as it stood, though Castlereagh made it clear that he did not mean the treaty to prevent considerable concessions being made to Prussia in Saxony; and it was signed by all three on January 3. When it is remembered that Castlereagh's last official instruction had definitely forbidden him to involve his country in war, the boldness of this action will be realised. The news of the signing of the peace with America, which arrived on January 1, doubtless helped him to a decision, and he knew that his Cabinet would welcome an alliance with France. 2 But the treaty
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool (Nos. 43, 44, 45), Jan. 1, 1815, F.O. Continent 10?. Pallain, p. 210. The draft of the treaty enclosed agrees almost entirely with the French text subsequently signed. Talleyrand made the translation.
2 A memorandum had been drawn up by Bathurst urging an alliance with France ( W.S.D., IX, 480). There is no evidence that Castlereagh knew of this.
meant war if Prussia did not give way; and in signing it on his own responsibility, Castlereagh showed how great was his courage and decision of character in moments of great emergency. In his private letter to Liverpool, he defended his action on the ground that, if war took place, Great Britain was bound to be involved, and it was necessary, therefore, to safeguard her interests. 1 Bavaria, Hanover, and Holland were all ready to sign; and there can be no doubt that, if war had broken out, all Europe would have joined in opposing Prussia, the behaviour of her soldiers having made her detested in every quarter. But the treaty was meant to prevent war, not to make it, and it succeeded in its object. In a few days all danger of a rupture was over.
Section 26. The Final Settlement of the German and Polish Territorial Questions. -- The effect of the treaty of January 3 was immediately apparent in the firm tone held by Metternich and Castlereagh in the second and third meetings of the four Powers. They declared peremptorily that they would not negotiate about Saxony until France had been admitted to the conferences. Hardenberg was at once intimidated, and went privately to Castlereagh to inform him that he would yield. He obtained in return an assurance that the settlement would be a real compromise, and would in no way depend on the consent of the King of Saxony himself; and Castlereagh secured Talleyrand's consent to this promise. More alarming was a revival of the proposal to get the Saxon Monarch to consent to be transferred to a new kingdom, composed of the Rhine provinces. Castlereagh again declared this to be an impossible idea, and again got
____________________ 1 Castleragh to Liverpool, Jan. 2, 1815, W.S.D., IX, 523. He seems to have had no doubt as to its reception; and his ascendancy over the Prime Minister was shown by the fact that Liverpool did not even call a full Cabinet to consider it, but ordered the ratification to be despatched post haste. Liverpool to Bathurst, Jan. 15, 1815, W.S.D., IX, 535; Liverpool to Castlereagh, Jan. 15, 1815, W.S.D., IX, 536.
Talleyrand's support, sorely tempted though the latter perhaps was to establish a weak and subservient Power on the left bank of the Rhine. 1 Next day Castlereagh had an interview with Alexander, in order to put an end, once for all, to this scheme, which some of the Prussians were pressing hard. He found the Emperor in a very peaceful mood. Rumours of the secret treaty had already reached him, and he challenged Castlereagh pointblank on the subject. The reply he received could have left him little doubt as to what had happened; and henceforward the Russian plenipotentiaries worked their hardest for a settlement. 2 In these circumstances the settlement of the Polish question advanced quickly; and the question of admitting France to the rest of the negotiations was also now only a matter of procedure. On January 9, Castlereagh secured it by a memorandum in which France was declared to be bound, through the second secret article of the Treaty of Paris, by the stipulations of the treaties of 1813; while it was definitely laid down that the King of Saxony's consent should not be considered necessary to any arrangements made. This memorandum was accepted by the others; Talleyrand gave a written consent; and the Committee of Five was thus constituted, and held its first meeting on January 12. 3
All immediate danger of war might now be considered as past, but the situation was still full of
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Jan. 3, 1815, F.O. Continent 10; Jan. 5, 1815, W.S.D., IX, 527. 2 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Jan. 8, 1815, F.O. Continent 10. When, therefore, Napoleon sent to Alexander this treaty, which he found in the Paris archives on his return from Elba, it can have produced no surprise. Münster reported that Castlereagh's answer had dissipated the suspicion, and that rumours of the Alliance had died down ( Münster to the Prince Regent, Jan. 22, 1815, Hanover Archives); but, in spite of Castlereagh's later fears, there can be no doubt that Alexander knew that a treaty had been made.
3 B. and F.S.P., II, 601; Talleyrand to Castlereagh, Jan. 8, 1815, F.O. Continent 10.
difficulty. It was not easy to find a sufficient number of inhabitants to compensate Prussia for the loss of a great portion of her Polish territories, if only a small part of Saxony was to be used for this purpose. The Austrian war party, feeling protected by the secret treaty, wished to press their victory home, and began to make inordinate demands. But Castlereagh had anticipated this situation. Having prevented Prussia from dictating terms to Europe, he had no intention of allowing the Austrians to make demands which would have been unattainable without his assistance. In the final stage of the negotiations, therefore, Castlereagh was engaged more in combating the extravagant pretensions of all sides than in merely supporting his own special allies. The construction of a powerful Prussia was, in his eyes, one of the essentials of the equilibrium of Europe; and it was largely by his assistance that she obtained so great an extension of territory. In the task of producing a territorial settlement he had now to work with feverish haste. Liverpool was pressing him by every courier to come back and defend the Tory Ministry in the House of Commons. But he had no intention of leaving Vienna until the main problems were settled. For six weeks he worked with immense energy, keeping the conduct of the negotiations almost entirely in his own hands, acting as a real mediator, and by persuasion and firmness obtaining concessions from all sides, until at last an agreement had been produced on all the main questions.
The Austrian soldiers wished to deprive Prussia of Torgau on the Elbe as well as Erfurt, and Metternich was forced to second their demands. To these pretensions, urged by Stadion and Schwarzenberg, Castlereagh opposed an uncompromising negative. Austria's strength against a united Prussia and Russia must lie, he said, in the support of her allies; against Prussia alone she was strong enough to stand, and he could not admit that Saxony was to be considered as a State in the Austrian orbit. He told Metternich frankly that he would not support him in these strategical details, and, when he found that the Austrian Minister could not control his subordinates, he went to the Emperor himself. He found the latter fully determined to support the militarists, while Talleyrand joined Metternich in the endeavour to keep as much as possible of Saxony out of Prussian hands. Castlereagh, however, refused to "sacrifice the peace of Europe for two or three hundred thousand subjects more or less"; and, after a long wrangle, he at last made Metternich give way, and secured a proposal which he thought he could support. 1
It was now necessary to get Prussian consent to this offer. Hardenberg asserted that he dared not return to Berlin without Leipzig. Castlereagh retorted that the feelings of Berlin were not so material as the public opinion of the rest of Europe, and that a partition which separated Leipzig from Dresden was just what sound policy ought to avoid. Hardenberg remained unconvinced; and it was obvious that the pressure of the Prussian militarists was being exercised on him in the same way as Metternich was being coerced by the Austrian soldiers. Castlereagh, therefore, approached the King of Prussia himself. In an interview, which he described as "the most painful in all respects that it has been my fate to undergo since I have been upon the Continent," he endeavoured to win his consent to the loss of Leipzig. This stormy interview produced no result; and a new deadlock threatened once more the peace of Europe. In this extremity Castlereagh turned to Russia. Alexander was exceedingly anxious for a compromise; but, when he was pressed for further concessions to assist the general arrangement, he again pleaded his duty to the Poles. The reply was that Polish discontent could be easily overcome by uniting more of Russian Poland to
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Jan. 11, 22, 29, 1815, F.O. Continent 10 and 11; Metternich to Schwarzenberg, Jan. 27, 1815; Klinkowström, p. 823; Münster, p. 222; D'Angeberg, p. 677; Fournier, Die Geheimpolizei, &c., p. 349.
the new kingdom. These arguments at last extracted Alexander's consent to the cession of the fortress of Thorn and a rayon round it to Prussia. With this bribe Castlereagh succeeded in obtaining the Prussians' consent to the loss of Leipzig, and the main difficulty was overcome. Prussia was, however, still intent on retaining more of Saxony than Austria would allow. In these circumstances Castlereagh, on his own responsibility, made Hanover and Holland reduce their claims to territory, so that Prussia might receive further compensation to the west of Germany; and by this bold exercise of authority he at last succeeded in producing an arrangement which all the Great Powers could accept. 1 By February 6, therefore, he was able to announce "the territorial arrangements on this side of the Alps as, in fact, settled in all their essential features." It cannot be doubted that this result was very largely due to the energy, firmness, and diplomatic skill of the British Minister.
After Castlereagh's departure there was no subject of controversy likely to disturb the peace of Europe; and, though the return of Napoleon brought new subjects for deliberation, yet it also furnished another reason for hastening the close. Yet the Congress lasted four months longer. The final arrangements as to Germany were hindered by a long struggle between Austria and Bavaria as to the town of Salzburg; and this matter was not finally solved until long after the signature of the Vienna Treaty. Both the settlement of Italy and the construction of the German Confederation progressed slowly. In this last phase Metternich took the lead in all matters not specially concerned with the prosecution of the war. But his energy was not equal to the demands on it; and, when he was dilatory, others had perforce to mark time. To a certain extent he deliberately delayed matters in order to give time for new combinations to appear more suited to his designs.
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Feb. 6, 1815, F.O. Continent 11; Gagern, II, 124.
All this bargaining produced a settlement in Central Europe which almost entirely subordinated considerations of nationality to the idea of the balance of power and strategical necessities; yet, if this was so, a great advance on previous conditions had been made, even in respect to national interests in the case of Poland. Though Posnania and the outlet to the sea at Dantzig remained in Prussian hands and Galicia was retained by Austria, Cracow remaining a free city, the mass of Polish territory remained intact under Russian sovereignty; and, though the idea of associating with the Duchy of Warsaw any portion of the old Polish territories now incorporated in the Russian Empire was abandoned, the rest was made into a kingdom which was soon to be endowed with a Constitution. Further, all the Powers had found themselves forced to recognise in theory the principle of Polish independence, though they had never the slightest intention of sacrificing their national interests to it. Castlereagh also, before he left, addressed a circular to all the Ministers, solemnly affirming his preference for a free Poland, and admonishing the three Eastern Powers that, only if the Poles were treated as Poles, was their future happiness and loyalty likely to be of long duration. 1 Both Prussia and Austria, as well as Russia, were forced to subscribe to these sentiments; and the final treaties in theory secured to all the Poles a separate administration. It must be admitted, however, that Castlereagh's declaration was made mainly with the view of being produced in the British Parliament; and, except Alexander and one or two of his advisers, none of the statesman at the Congress were prepared to risk anything substantial for the sake of conciliating Polish national sentiment.
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Jan. 11, 1815, F.O. Continent 10; "I am convinced that the only hope of tranquillity now in Poland, and especially of preserving to Austria and Prussia their portions of that kingdom, is for the two latter States to adopt a Polish system of administration as a defence against the inroads of the Russian policy." The note and replies are in B. and F.S.P., II, 642.
In Germany, Prussia obtained about two-fifths of Saxony, containing about 850,000 subjects, and including the Elbe fortresses, while she also obtained the main share of the left bank of the Rhine and the Duchy of Westphalia. The new Kingdom of the Netherlands had to be content with a small extension of territory beyond the Meuse. Castlereagh had, in fact, sacrificed the project of making a large Holland to the necessity of finding compensation for Prussia; and the attitude of Münster contributed to this result. The ancient Belgian province of Luxemburg was actually severed from the new realm. Prussia wished for the possessions of King William, i.e., the Nassau principalities of Dillenburg, Siegen, and Dietz; and the greater part of Luxemburg (a part was retained by Prussia) was given to the King, in exchange for his German principalities, he receiving the title of Grand-Duke, and the GrandDuchy becoming a sovereign State of the German Confederation. The town of Luxemburg itself was regarded as a federal fortress, and received a Prussian garrison.
The idea of creating a great Hanover was also abandoned, though she was raised to the dignity of a kingdom. Her acquisition of East Frisia was, however, considered important and bitterly lamented by some of the Prussians, while she obtained other valuable accessions of territory. 1 But the British Ministers were anxious that the old charge of sacrificing British interests for the continental possessions of the royal house should not be revived; and Castlereagh had no
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Feb. 13, 1915, F.O. Continent 12: "The Hanoverian arrangement will not only give that Power the command of the Ems, but place it in direct contact with Holland throughout the greater part of its eastern frontier -- an arrangement which, in a European point of view, must be considered of the utmost importance for the purpose of strengthening Holland and of securing the Low Countries. The general arrangement of the Prince of Orange's interests has given great satisfaction to his Ministers here; and I trust by his contiguity with Hanover, with Prussia advanced beyond the Rhine, and with Bavaria on the other flank, a better defence has been provided for Germany than has existed at any former period of her history."
scruples in cutting down her increase of territory when it was needed to compensate Prussia. Between the two, Prussia got a solid block of territory in the west, though she failed to secure a line of territory uniting it to Brandenburg as had been planned. Swedish Pomerania, the last relics of an old domination, also fell to her; Denmark, to whom it had been promised, being forced to accept in its stead Lauenburg, which Hanover had made great efforts to regain, and a monetary indemnity, which was partly a compensation for Heligoland. 1
Prussia's gains were thus of far more importance than the Polish territory she had lost; and one of the chief results of the Congress of Vienna was to establish her preponderance in the north of Germany. This reconstruction must be largely attributed to Castlereagh, for without his insistence Austria and France would never have consented to give her so much, whatever had been the fate of the Polish provinces.
Austria, meanwhile, though she regained Tirol and Salzburg from Bavaria, had retired from Germany to a large extent, and abandoned all share in the defence of the west. Stadion lamented that she had ceased to be a German Power. She still, however, maintained her ascendency in the German Confederation, while her territorial power was increased in Italy. Bavaria, though she was not allowed to hold Mainz, which was made a fortress of the Confederation, was given the Lower Palatinate, which brought her into contact with Alsace. The series of exchanges between her and Baden and Austria were not, however, fully concluded until three years later. This individual bargaining was, indeed, never fully completed, and pro-
____________________ 1 The history of this tedious and obscure diplomacy has been illuminated by the work of Commandant M. H. Weil, Joachim Murat, Roi de Naples, la Dernière Année de Règne, 5 vols., Paris, 1910, which is based on an exhaustive study of the European archives. His conclusions are, however, open to objection on some points, and he has neglected to a certain extent the British papers.
duced some strange compromises on the map of Germany. Such points as were left by the Congress to be settled by the Powers concerned were, in fact, more unsatisfactorily handled than any others.
The Italian Problem. Murat. Spain and Portugal. -- The Italian States were the subject of an intricate and sustained diplomatic duel between Talleyrand and Metternich, in which the former suffered heavy defeat. While this was largely due to circumstances over which he had no control, the situation was one in which Metternich's subtle dishonesty found an ideal opportunity; and he used it to great advantage. Austria had already secured for herself both Venetia and Lombardy by the Treaty of Paris. 1 But Metternich intended, if possible, to make her influence dominant in the whole Peninsula, and to perpetuate the victory of Habsburg over Bourbon.
The problem revolved round Murat, King Joachim Napoleon of Naples, whose throne had been guaranteed by Austria in unequivocal language in a treaty of January 11, 1814. Great advantages had been obtained by this treaty; for Murat's desertion of Napoleon resulted in the collapse of the resistance made by Eugène Beauharnais in the north. Both Great Britain and Russia had assented to Austria's action; and the former had immediately abandoned the attack on the mainland which she was organizing from her base in Sicily; but they did not enter into diplomatic relations with Murat or sign treaties with him. As to the rest of Italy, it had been agreed at Paris that Genoa should be incorporated in Piedmont, while the Duchies of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla were given to Napoleon's wife and son by the Treaty of Fontainebleau, when Napoleon himself was granted Elba for his lifetime. The fate of Tuscany, Lucca, and a few other smaller principalities was, however, undecided. The Pope had been
1 There is no truth in the contention, believed by many historians, that a secret treaty was signed at Prague in July 1813 between Great Britain and Austria regarding Italy.
restored to Rome and the Papal State round it, but his Minister, Cardinal Consalvi, had in vain pressed at London and Paris for the restoration of the three Legations in the north of his territory, while Murat refused to give up the Marches of Ancona in the south.
Talleyrand from the first demanded the overthrow of Murat and the restoration of Ferdinand of Sicily in his place. To allow Napoleon's brother-in-law to remain on a throne was intolerable to Louis XVIII, but the policy was also Talleyrand's own. He wished by dynastic changes to increase French influence in Italy at the expense of Austria. In this demand he was vehemently supported by Labrador, who pressed also for the restoration of the Parma Duchies as well as Lucca to the Spanish Bourbons. This was also Talleyrand's object, but he knew its difficulties. He subordinated everything, therefore, to the overthrow of Murat, hoping to obtain some of his other aims in the resulting adjustment.
Murat had no friend amongst the Great Powers. Metternich realised as well as any how dangerous it was to allow a remnant of the Napoleonic régime to exist in Italy. England, the saviour of Sicily, whither she had conveyed both British armies and a British Constitution, saw in a Napoleonic Naples a danger to her control of the Mediterranean. The Tsar, while chivalrously anxious to protect the rights of the Empress and her son, had no inclination to protect Murat. Prussia had from the first given her opinion that Murat must go. Murat had to sustain, therefore, the active hostility of France, Spain. Sicily, and the Pope, without a single friend. His only safeguard was the treaty, and the rivalry between France and Austria. Two other forces might also work for him, but only at the cost of a war. The growing dislike of Austrian domination in Italy and the revival of hopes of liberty and independence, which had been implanted by Napoleon and encouraged at one time by the Whig representatives of Great Britain, might rally all Italy to his side. There was also the Emperor at Elba. But, while these possibilities made it more dangerous to attack him, they provided also additional reasons why his throne should fall.
Metternich's plan at the Congress was to postpone the settlement of Italy until the last, and wait upon events. The incorporation of Genoa in Piedmont was, therefore, the only point finally settled in the first period of the Congress. Though Talleyrand objected, he could do nothing until the Polish-Saxon question enabled him to make the destruction of Murat a condition of his alliance. Both Castlereagh and Metternich had, as a matter of fact, long made up their mind that Murat must be abandoned to his enemies. The only question was the method and the time. Metternich had to break a treaty for which all Murat's mistakes gave no real excuse, while Castlereagh had to think of the Whigs who took an intense interest in Italy, and had already protested against Genoa's loss of independence. Both were agreed that French troops must not march through Italy; and to this condition Talleyrand was forced to agree. But Metternich wished to use the Neapolitan question to secure his other aims in Italy, and, Talleyrand proving obdurate, he had recourse, to Paris. He had already in December been in direct correspondence with Blacas, who was jealous of Talleyrand. At the beginning of January, he sent through his Ambassador direct proposals to Blacas, of which step Castlereagh, who appears to have had his entire confidence, was fully informed. In these proposals the certainty of the ultimate fall of Murat was demonstrated, as well as the impossibility of Austria acting at the moment, or of allowing French troops to go through Italy. The advantages of direct correspondence with the Court of Versailles were also dwelt upon. This overture was well received at Paris, and Blacas was ready to act with Metternich to the exclusion of Talleyrand.
The finishing touches to this diplomacy were to be made by Castlereagh, who, in spite of the remonstrances of Bentinck, had pledged himself to Metter- nich's policy. He had obtained the consent of Liverpool to the destruction of Murat in time for him to win Talleyrand's consent to all arrangements in Germany. 1 Castlereagh and Metternich determined that the final arrangements should, if possible, be made at Paris; and with this object in view Castlereagh, on his return, paid a special visit to Louis XVIII. He succeeded in inducing the King to go a long way towards granting the other Austrian arrangements in Italy in return for the promise that Murat should be overthrown; and new instructions were sent to Talleyrand, who was, however, ignorant of the game that was being played. 2
This was the situation when the return of Napoleon broke up all these combinations. While it deprived Talleyrand of influence, it drove Murat into action. Though Metternich by skilful manuvres had endeavoured to lull him into security, he could not help being aware of the danger of his position. He had probably had no share in Napoleon's return, which he regarded as a fresh danger to himself; but he thought that it gave him an opportunity to rally Italy round him while Europe was otherwise occupied. His troops marched to the north, and by the end of March he was virtually at war with Austria. England also declared war; and, as the Neapolitan Army failed entirely, Murat fled, and Ferdinand's restoration was accomplished. Metternich secured his main aims; for Ferdinand, who had been made into a constitutional monarch by England, was now pledged by a secret treaty to avoid any such experiment in Naples. Castlereagh defended his own conduct in the House of Commons by producing evidence, from documents supplied by the Bourbons, of Murat's so-called treachery; but even Wellington admitted that no
1 Bentinck to Castlereagh, Jan. 7, 1814, F.O. Continent 11; Castlereagh to Liverpool, Jan. 29, F.O. Continent 11.
2 Weil M. H., Joachim Murat, Roi de Naples, III, p. 12 ff. A copy of the document which Louis XVIII drew up is in F.O. Continent Archives 8.
case was made out against him. The perfidy of the statesman was, however, hidden from Europe to a certain extent by Murat's own hasty conduct. This dubious incident is one of the greatest blots on Castlereagh's conduct, and it is made even blacker by the fact that he was at once made aware of the secret treaty with Ferdinand. 1 He could not indeed be held responsible for the extravagant promises which Bentinck and other Whigs had made to Italians. His consent to the overthrow of Murat may be defended by the great necessity of securing a settlement at Vienna. But this does not excuse his active participation in Metternich's aims, which were not only to extend Austrian influence over the whole of Italy, but to stamp out the ideas of nationality and liberalism which threatened Austrian domination.
With Talleyrand impotent, the rest of Italy was partitioned to Metternich's liking. Piedmont, increased by Genoa and some accessions from France, was the only State which Metternich did not fully control; and even there he was aiming at changing the succession in Austrian interests. The Parma Duchies went to Marie Louise, the settlement of the reversion being left open; 2 Tuscany and Modena to an Austrian Archduke, while only Lucca was left to the Infanta Maria Luisa, the representative of the Parma Bourbons. The Pope regained the Legations of Ravenna, Bologna, and Ferrara, where, however, Austria kept the right of garrison. Austrian influence was thus perpetuated in the centre of the Peninsula. Spain refused to sign the Final Act because of the
1 A'Court to Castlereagh, July 15, 1815, F.O. Continent 11. The treaty was dated June 12, 1815. So early as September 24, 1814, Castlereagh had pressed for a modification of the Sicilian Constitution which should strengthen the power of the Crown.
2 A secret protocol was signed at Vienna on May 31, 1814, at the instance of Alexander, without the knowledge of England and France, which would have preserved the rights of succession to the young Napoleon. It had, however, later to be disavowed, and the succession went to the Spanish claimant, the Duchess of Lucca, and her issue.
neglect of the claims of her house; and only later rearrangements won her assent in 1817. The Ionian Isles, which had been originally designed by Castlereagh as compensation for Ferdinand of Sicily, were also affected by the changes in Italy. After Murat's fall, Austria would not consent to allow Naples and the Ionian Isles to be under the same sovereignty. The idea of handing them over to Austria herself was opposed by Russia, though England would readily have consented, and pressed this solution on the Congress. The matter was not settled until the second Peace of Paris, when a plan was accepted which had long been advocated by Capo d'Istria, to whom Alexander gave all his authority in this question; and the islands remained under British protection. 1
Spain, whose interests had been handled in the worst possible manner, was also required by the Final Act to restore to Portugal Olivenza, which she had occupied in 1801: but this restitution, which was to be the cause of much trouble in succeeding years, was never carried out. For the rest, neither Spain nor Portugal received any recognition of their efforts in the struggle against Napoleon. The question of their colonial possessions was excluded from all consideration, no less by their own wishes than by the determination of Great Britain not to allow the Congress to discuss extra-European affairs, except in so far as they were connected with the slave trade.
The Making of the German Confederation. 2 The Swiss Constitution. General Questions. -Though the Congress did not give Europe a Constitution, it at least laid down the principles of a Constitu-
1 See Schiemann, Geschichte Russland's, I, 558.
2 There is an enormous bibliography on this complicated subject. The documentary evidence is largely printed in Schmidt W. A. , Geschichte der Deutschen Verfassungsfrage während der Befreiungskriege und des Wiener Kongresses. The account by Sir Adolphus Ward, in the Cambridge Modern History, vol. IX, is the most impartial that exists, and is based on an unrivalled knowledge of the subject.
tion for Germany, but the result of months of intense effort on the part of many sincere and able personalities was only to produce a Confederation which was a mere mockery of the hopes of German patriots. The truth was that there was not yet a sufficiently organised body of public opinion strong enough to overcome Prussian militarism, Habsburgism, and the selfishness of the smaller monarchs of Germany.
The factors of this intricate and obscure diplomacy reach back into the mediæval history of Germany. Napoleon had substituted the Confederation of the Rhine for the worn-out shell of the Holy Roman Empire, which, in the hands of the Habsburgs, had been the only bond linking together the multitude of petty States, princes, and free cities which constituted Germany. The dissolution of the Confederation of the Rhine by Napoleon's defeat, and the reconquest of the territory which had been incorporated in France, raised the question as to what was now to be created in Germany. There was in Germany a strong feeling that German weakness before France had been due to disunion; and that some form of unity must be created to prevent a recurrence of past evils. There was also a strong democratic movement, somewhat academic in character, which hoped that this united Germany might be given representative institutions. The princes, however, had no intention either of sharing their sovereignty with their peoples, or of subordinating it to the common welfare of Germany; and their sovereignty had indeed been guaranteed in the treaties signed in the autumn of 1813, when they joined the Grand Alliance. Had Metternich, therefore, in 1813 or early in 1814 consented to revive the shadowy suzerainty of the Holy Roman Empire in the Habsburg house, as he had been pressed to do from many quarters, there is no doubt that he would have had a large following. But he did not think it advisable to risk the opposition that would ensue from Prussia and the German patriots; and, though this idea was more than once revived in various shapes, it was never seriously pressed.
It was Stein, one of the creators of regenerated Prussia, who was foremost among the statesmen in pressing the schemes for a united Germany. He had the ear of Alexander, as well as a considerable following among German Liberals, and would have sacrificed Prussia's, or any separate interest, to the construction of a powerful central Constitution. By both Prussia and Austria, however, the interests of Germany were subordinated to their own advantage. Thus, when the question of a German Constitution came to be discussed between them early in 1814, it was directed mainly by the desire to secure their own position against one another and the other German States. The result was the adoption of the principle that Germany should be united by a Federal bond, which, as has been seen, was agreed to at Chaumont, and inserted in the Paris Treaties. Discussions as to the nature of this bond were carried on by Stein, Hardenberg, Münster, and Metternich throughout the whole of the summer of 1814; and by September a sketch of a Constitution had been drawn up, which would have revived the system of division into "circles" which had at one time prevailed in the Holy Roman Empire. This scheme, which secured the lukewarm approval of Austria, was based on a plan drawn up by Stein. Though the position of the secondary States was recognised, the result would have been to place Austria and Prussia in dual control.
Had not the Polish-Saxon question hopelessly divided Austria and Prussia in the first months of the Congress, there might have resulted from this proposal a Federal Germany, united by many more legislative and economic ties than ever before; for a joint effort on the part of the two Great Powers might have overcome the opposition of the secondary States to surrendering any real portion of their sovereignty. But in the German Committee, which, as has been seen, was set up to draft the scheme, though the two Powers adhered to their proposals, their rivalry in other matters, no less than the opposition of Bavaria and Württemberg, prevented any real progress towards the acceptance of the Constitution. Münster, in spite of his jealousy of Prussia, 1 and though he personally had many objections to the scheme proposed, supported a strong Germany, which was also greatly desired by the British Ministers.
The result of this disunion was to open the way for many other combinations. The petty States, having no means of securing representation on the Committee, united amongst themselves, and sent in a formal protest at their exclusion, while at the same time they declared for a single head to the Federation. In the circumstances this could only have been Austria; and, when the Committee suspended all operations towards the end of November, after repeated refusals of Württemberg and Baden to submit to the proposed scheme, Metternich seriously considered the revival of the Germanic Empire under the presidency of Austria to the exclusion of Prussia. Had a compromise not been found in the Polish-Saxon question, there can be little doubt that this scheme would have been used; and, as nearly all the smaller States were disgusted with the overbearing character of Prussian diplomacy, it might have stood a chance of acceptance. As it was, the period of rupture only produced from every conceivable quarter a host of ill-digested proposals, which revealed the outstanding fact that there was in Germany no real consensus of opinion on which a Constitution could be provided. Nor can it be said that the attempts to reconcile the conflicting interests of the two Great German States, the secondary Powers, the minor princes, and the peoples, showed any signs of political genius. The small body of really patriotic and liberalminded persons, who desired a strong Germany, endowed with institutions capable of giving expression to ideas of self-government, had no influence among the diplomatists on whom the decisions really depended.
The scandal was, however, too great to be endured;
1 Münster to the Prince Regent, Sept. 17, 1815, Hanover Archives.
and when, by the end of February, the main territorial difficulties were solved, Austria and Prussia agreed to take up the task once more. The German Committee was to be reconstituted on a much wider basis, and the proposals to be laid before it were to be of a less ambitious nature. But the Prussian projects, of which there always appeared to be an inexhaustible supply, were not approved by Metternich; and three months elapsed before the subject was in a sufficiently advanced state to be discussed officially. It was Wessenberg who produced a scheme sufficiently innocuous to be laid, on May 23, before a committee which consisted, besides Austria and Prussia, of Hanover, Saxony, Bavaria, Hesse-Darmstadt, and Baden, as well as delegates of the princes and free cities. Both the Netherlands (for Luxemburg and Denmark (for Holstein) were also represented. In eleven sessions this Committee worked out, not a detailed Constitution, but merely the outline of a Confederation which it was intended to supplement at a later date. This was finally agreed to in the shape of Twenty Articles, which were signed on June 9, eleven of them being incorporated also in the Final Act itself.
A Federal Diet was to be the central organ of the thirty-eight States, of which Austria and Prussia were to be reckoned members for their German possessions only, while the Kings of the Netherlands and Denmark were included for Luxemburg and Holstein respectively. Austria had the presidency of this Diet, a position which, though it seemed merely a recognition of her ancient prestige, was of real importance, especially as, though the votes were unevenly distributed, the overwhelming preponderance of the two Great Powers was not expressed in the Constitution. Beyond recognising a common necessity to act together in war, and hinting at a Federal army, there was no common institution created except the Diet itself. Even the military union, which the measures at the moment in progress against Napoleon showed to be so urgently necessary, was not constructed. To the Diet was left the elaboration of the fundamental laws of the Confederation, including such principles as the liberty of the press; but Metternich, at a later date, was to use that central body simply as an organ of reaction. There was indeed in the Act no safeguard for the liberties of the people, except a clause that an Assembly of Estates would be set up in each country of the Confederation, and the insertion of a few fundamental rights, such as freedom of religion and permission to move from one State to another. The "liberties" of the "mediatised" Princes were treated with little more consideration, but they obtained many personal privileges to compensate them for their loss of sovereignty.
In these discussions the other Powers of Europe, though they took the Constitution of Germany under their protection in the Final Act, had scarcely any influence. In the earlier stages, it is true, Talleyrand had sought with some success to increase the dissensions in Germany. But both Great Britain and Russia were sincerely anxious for the construction of a united Germany, Alexander being predisposed by the influence of Stein to this view, which was, perhaps, against Russian national interests. His connections with Württemberg and other small States, at any rate, played no real part in increasing the difficulties of the situation. Castlereagh throughout used all his influence to promote union, which he regarded as a fundamental necessity for the equilibrium of Europe. The failure to produce anything better than the emasculated Constitution, which left a large part of Germany at the mercy of a host of petty sovereigns, was the result of many causes, but the responsibility must lie with the Germans themselves, and not with the other States. The rupture between Austria and Prussia over the Saxon question prevented a settlement such as Stein had planned, which, owing to their diverse interests, was, perhaps, in any case, impossible. The smaller States, already secured in their sovereignty by the treaties of 1813, made the most of this opportunity. The reduction of these States to thirty-eight was indeed a great advance, but this was mainly due to the French Revolution and to Napoleon, and not to the Congress. The institutions under which Germany had now to live were really quite inadequate to solve the problems raised by the Napoleonic upheaval, and contained the seeds of a generation of war and revolution.
The affairs of Switzerland, though complicated and full of intrigue, were settled without serious friction among the Great Powers, whose fundamental interests were not in conflict. A new Constitution was drawn up which modified the Act of Mediation of 1803, one of the most successful emanations of Napoleon's genius; and by the addition of Geneva, Valais, and Neuchâtel a Confederation of twenty-two cantons was formed. Stratford Canning and others held the balance between the more democratic schemes of Capo d'Istria, whose attitude was determined by La Harpe's influence on Alexander, and the reactionary views of Austria and France, who after some delay was allowed a representative on the Committee. The Constitution was ultimately accepted by the Swiss Diet, and was followed, as had been promised, on November 20, 1815 by the guarantee of the neutrality of Switzerland and the inviolability of its territory, which was also extended to parts of Savoy. This established a new principle in the public law of Europe law of Europe, and may be considered as one of the most important results of the period, for the Great Powers had definitely recognised that their own interests, as well as those of all Europe, were best served by the exclusion of a small State from participation in future conflicts.
Of the three general questions brought before the Congress, that of the abolition of the slave trade was forced on the other Powers by the vehemence of English public opinion, which acted as a never-ceasing spur to the English plenipotentiaries. As Castlereagh more than once complained, this insistence rather hindered than helped the cause, for the Continental Powers were convinced that it was due more to self-interest than to humanitarian motives. Castlereagh used every expedient to compel France, Spain, and Portugal to agree to an immediate abolition. Talleyrand gave him some support on the general principle, with a view to conciliating British public opinion, but refused immediate abolition, which was only granted by Louis XVIII after Napoleon had set the example on his return from Elba. Castlereagh succeeded, however, in obtaining a declaration condemning the practice of the slave trade, which was annexed to the Final Act, while, by a monetary equivalent, he induced Portugal to abolish the trade north of the Equator. Concessions in money and colonies were the chief expedients he used. But one suggestion of an economic character deserves special notice. It was proposed to exclude from the European markets the produce of those colonies which refused to abolish the trade; and, though this provision was never put into force, it served as a basis for a similar proposal made by Alexander in 1817 to put pressure on the revolted Spanish colonies. The use of the economic weapon in peace time for political purposes was, therefore, seriously contemplated by the Great Powers at this period.
The regulations for settling the precedence amongst the Powers and their diplomatic representatives showed a great advance on all previous discussions of this subject, and henceforward these formalities occasioned little inconvenience.
THE COMPLETION OF THE CONGRESS
The Return of Napoleon and the Second Peace of Paris. -- The position of Napoleon was one of the first points discussed at Vienna by the Ministers of the four Powers, 1 and they were all agreed on the danger of leaving him at Elba. All they could do, however, was to watch his activities as closely as possible by an elaborate system of espionage, and rely on British ships to prevent his escape. These precautions failed, and Napoleon was eagerly welcomed by a France that had already learnt to distrust and despise the Bourbons. The crisis at Vienna was already past, and the Powers were unanimous in desiring Napoleon's immediate overthrow. The eight Powers issued a declaration on March 13, which denounced him as a public enemy. The news of his success produced a renewal of the Treaty of Chaumont on March 25; and the huge forces of the Coalition were set in motion once more. But it was only with great difficulty that the military machine could again be organised. Austria was occupied in Italy, many British troops were still in America, Russia's forces had retired to Poland, and only in the Low Countries was there the nucleus of an army within striking distance of France. There were renewed the usual squabbles about the troops of the German contingents, the methods of subsistence, and the plan of campaign. Wellington brusquely refused Alexander's outrageous demand for his own nomination as Generalissimo, and a grand General Headquarters was again formed to direct the strategy of the armies which
1 See Appendix IV, p. 160.
were to invade France from every side. Napoleon was thus given three months to organise an offensive, but the British-German and Prussian forces in the Netherlands sufficed to destroy it, and the imposing allied array was never brought into action.
During the Hundred Days it seemed as if the Bourbons had lost the throne of France. Alexander felt confirmed in his dislike and distrust of their methods; Metternich opened secret negotiations with Fouché whose Jacobin intrigues Napoleon, posing as a constitutional monarch, had perforce to tolerate; Clancarty chivalrously defended Bourbon interests at Vienna; but the British Government added a declaration to the treaty of March 25 to the effect that the war was not being waged to impose a special dynasty on France; and Wellington, the strongest supporter of the Bourbons, in April regarded their cause as lost. A third declaration against Napoleon, drawn up in their interests, had to be abandoned owing to the differences of opinion among the Powers. A republic, the Duc d'Orleans as King, a regency, were suggested as expedients. Only as to the exclusion of Napoleon was there complete and irrevocable agreement.
The British Government, however, at heart wished well to Louis XVIII, and were secretly pressing his return on the other Powers; and, as Talleyrand had foreseen from the first, the new Coalition, of which Britain was the paymaster, immensely increased British influence on the Continent. The Waterloo campaign made Wellington and the Prussians masters of Paris at the critical moment; and, as the latter cared for nothing but revenge, the former had the game in his hands. Fouché played the same part as Talleyrand had played in 1814; and this strange combination triumphed over the republican factions. Louis XVIII was brought back soon after the allied armies had entered Paris, to make once more terms with the conquerors of France; and, when the Sovereigns and the diplomatists arrived, they could do nothing but accept the situation.
The negotiations for the new treaty extended over four months. The allied troops, to the number of 900,000, poured into France, and lived there at the cost of the inhabitants. As they were at the same time earning subsidies from Great Britain, they showed no signs of wishing to leave. The brutal conduct of the Prussian and other German troops towards the French population was both militarily and morally indefensible, and merited the severe condemnation which the British Ministers hastened to express. Even these latter, however, pressed on the King a policy of severity towards Napoleon and his generals. In such an atmosphere a treaty was not easy to construct. Talleyrand, though entrusted with the negotiations, had not now the confidence of the King. Nor were the allies by any means united on the terms to be offered. From Prussia and the German States arose a loud cry for the dismemberment of France. The Prussian soldiers, intoxicated with their victory, demanded the final voice in their Cabinet; and Hardenberg confessed to Cathcart that "he felt himself in the midst of Prætorian bands." They were seconded by the Nether lands and the smaller German States, while Austria, afraid to oppose this national outcry, was vacillating. Huge indemnities, Alsace and Lorraine, French Flanders, Savoy, were considered as just spoil to be taken from a France which had brought upon herself this second defeat.
This insatiate rage was opposed by the Tsar and the British Ministers -- the one from motives of generosity as well as policy, the latter, so they avowed, solely for reasons of State. Alexander hated the Bourbons, and bore a grudge against Talleyrand, but he was sincere in his assertions that he wished well to France. Castlereagh and Wellington, in insisting on a policy of moderation, were in opposition to the wishes of the Prince Regent, the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, and British public opinion. For two months there ensued a fierce struggle between the Allied Powers as to the terms to be offered to France; and Talleyrand had to
look on, impotent to influence the decisions in the slightest degree. The Prussians came forward with large schemes for territorial changes on the northeastern frontier. They wished to absorb large portions of Hanover, compensating the latter with Luxemburg, while the kingdom of the Netherlands was to receive large increases in French Flanders. Gagern, the Dutch Minister, was won over to this point of view, and did his best to persuade his King. At the same time Alsace and Lorraine were claimed by certain minor German Powers; and Austria, to some extent, supported them, looking to obtain compensation for herself elsewhere.
Castlereagh's first task was to convince his own Cabinet of the unwisdom of these schemes. In despatch after despatch he reiterated the dangers of tearing provinces from France. "Security, and not revenge" must be the policy of the Allies. What was needed was to destroy the aggressive revolutionary spirit in France, and prevent the return of Napoleon. If this was assured, a strong France would be a beneficial factor in Europe, and useful as a counterweight against both Prussia and Russia. If the French were deprived of the conquests of Richelieu and Louis XIV, England would be committed to defend Europe against an irreconcilable and infuriated nation. Moreover, if once a policy of spoliation were begun, every Power would claim compensation, and another Congress would almost be necessary. The brutality of the Prussian soldiers produced an immense effect on Castlereagh, and modified the views which he had held at Vienna, while he had also detected a spirit of Jacobinism in their army. 1 In conjunction with Wellington, he did everything possible to put a
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Aug. 24, 1815, F.O. Continent 24: "The influence in their councils is at present almost exclusively military.... You may rest assured that there is a temper in the Prussian Army little less alarming to the peace of Europe, and little less menacing to the authority of their own Sovereign, than what prevails in the Army of France."
stop to the system of pillage and systematic plundering, which they had from the first inaugurated in the occupied provinces; and he refused to listen to the wild schemes of dismemberment proposed. He succeeded at last in convincing his Cabinet. Having secured their assent, he pressed on the Powers his own schemes, which were meant, without inflicting permanent injury on France, to provide security for the future and reparation for the past. Security he proposed to obtain through temporary occupation by a European army of the northern fortresses of France, as well as by the dismantling of other French fortresses, and the cession of some frontier districts; reparation by the payment of an indemnity and the return of the works of art of which France had plundered Europe during the last twenty years, and which she had been allowed to keep by the first Peace of Paris.
Even these moderate proposals went further than Alexander desired, but it was not difficult to secure his consent. Metternich was at heart convinced of the truth of Castlereagh's views, and was easily satisfied as long as he could obtain some relief for the Austrian finances. The Prussians had, therefore, to give way; and these proposals were, with only small alterations, proposed to Talleyrand on September 20. He refused to accept them, but his position had already been made untenable by the Royalist reaction. Fouché had already been dismissed, and the King forced Talleyrand's resignation. He was succeeded by the Duc de Richelieu, an émigré, but a loyal and upright Frenchman, as well as a close friend of Alexander. He accepted the conditions, and secured, by the influence of the Tsar, some further modifications. Alexander, indeed, tried to claim all the credit for thwarting the Prussians; and the necessity for preventing him from obtaining too great an influence at Paris was urged by Castlereagh to his Cabinet as a reason for his own policy. But the real battle was fought by the British Ministers, for, if they had joined the Prussians, there can be no doubt that the scheme of dismemberment would have been carried.
The final result was that France surrendered a small strip of frontier to the Netherlands; portions of territory to Prussia, which included the fortresses of Saarlouis and Landau; and a part of Savoy to Piedmont, besides demolishing the fortress of Huningen, which threatened Bâle. An indemnity of 700,000,000 francs, the payment of which was regulated by a special convention was levied on her, while she had also to agree to pay the claims of private creditors for injuries inflicted by the French armies. Part of this indemnity was to be used in erecting fortresses on her borders. An army of 150,000 men was to occupy the northern departments of France for five years, which might possibly be reduced to three. This army was placed under the command of the Duke of Wellington; and the ambassadors of the four Powers were to form a council of Ministers at Paris to regulate its relations with the French Government. Its expenses were estimated at 150,000,000 francs for each year of occupation.
There was thus a heavy financial burden. Efforts were indeed made by Prussia and the German States to make it overwhelming. The total of private claims submitted amounted to 1,200,000,000 francs, but Richelieu refused to consider such a sum. England and Russia supported him; and, after a long series of negotiations, the matter was settled in April 1818 for 240,000,000 francs. Some relief was also obtained by the fact that the army of occupation was reduced by 30,000 men in 1817, and removed altogether after the Conference of Aix-la-Chapelle in October 1818. Since Napoleon had left France without a debt, having made Europe pay for the wars he had waged, she was well able to bear the penalties thus inflicted on her, and found no difficulty in raising the money necessary from European financiers. The final result was, therefore to leave her still a strong and vigorous State, which had suffered less materially than any of the Continental Powers.
But, though the statesmen at the time scarcely realised it, the balance of power in Europe had been permanently modified by the result of the Napoleonic régime. The male population of France had been seriously reduced in numbers. France had lost colonies, and, while all the other Great Powers had received large additions of territory, her own frontiers were substantially the same as in 1789. Even more important was the fact that the system of conquest pursued by Napoleon had been a complete failure, and only served to strengthen the enemies of France. Though there still existed an aggressive faction in the French nation, these results produced a permanent effect on the national spirit, which was to influence events in 1830, 1840, and even during the revival of the Empire under the third Napoleon.
The Renewal of the Quadruple Alliance. The "Holy Alliance." -- In the opinion of all the four Powers, the peace of Europe needed some further safeguard than the treaties with France. This was to be found in a renewal of the Treaty of Chaumont, which had already been reaffirmed at Vienna. Castlereagh regretted that some guarantee had not been made against Napoleon's return at the first Peace of Paris; and his intention from the first was that treaties should now be signed which would "make a European invasion the inevitable and immediate consequence of Bonaparte's succession or that of any of his race to power in France." 1 He secured the approval of his Cabinet, and submitted the proposal to the Allied Powers. Alexander received the idea with alacrity, and ordered Capo d'Istria to draft a treaty. This draft met, however, with grave objections from Castlereagh. It would have pledged the allies to support the Bourbon dynasty on the throne of France, as well as the Constitution which Louis XVIII had again granted to his subjects, a policy which Castlereagh thought bad in itself; while
____________________ 1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, July 17, 1815, F.O. Continent 21.
no British Minister could sign a document which showed "too strong and undisguised a complexion of interference on the part of the Allied Sovereigns in the internal affairs of France, without sufficiently connecting such interference with the policy which a due attention to the immediate security of their own dominions prescribed." He prepared a draft himself in which his object was "to keep the internal affairs of France in the background, and to make the colour of our political attitude and of our contingent interference as European as possible." 1
With a few small alterations, this draft was adopted. The treaty signed on November 20 consisted of seven Articles only, which affirmed the determination of the Powers to maintain the stipulations of the Treaty of Paris signed on the same day, and to exclude Napoleon or any of his family from the throne of France. It was this treaty that was the basis of the "Alliance" of the Great Powers which now assumed the control of European affairs; and all the efforts of Metternich and Alexander in the following years to extend its scope were defeated by the tenacious opposition of Castlereagh and the open defiance of his successor. But, though confined to the specific case of guarding against the dangers of a Napoleonic régime in France, it marked definitely the ascendency of the Great Powers and the principle of the European Concert. Castlereagh throughout his career was an enthusiastic advocate of the system of diplomacy by which the Ministers of the Great Powers met together at frequent
1 Castlereagh to Liverpool, Oct. 25, 1815, F.O. Continent 29, enclosing the Russian and English projets. Liverpool objected to the phrase "souverain légitime" in Castlereagh's draft, and substituted "Louis XVIII ou ses héritiers successeurs." There is a note in his hand on the document: "The right of the people to choose their King will become the subject of debate in Parliament if 'le souverain légitime' remains in the treaty." He insisted on the same deference to public opinion in the phraseology of the treaty with France.
intervals to discuss international affairs, and he was only too ready to incorporate the idea in the treaty. It was expressed in Article VI, which ran as follows: --
"To facilitate and to secure the execution of the present treaty, and to consolidate the connections which at the present moment so closely unite the four Sovereigns for the happiness of the world, the High Contracting Parties have agreed to renew their meetings at fixed periods, either under the immediate auspices of the Sovereigns themselves or by their respective Ministers, for the purpose of consulting upon their common interests, and for the consideration of the measures which at each of these periods shall be considered the most salutary for the repose and prosperity of nations and for the maintenance of the peace of Europe."
This was a real recognition of the advantages of a permanent Concert of the Great Powers. France was admitted to this Concert in 1818, when a union, and consequently the ascendency, of the Great Powers was at the highest point. But unfortunately the Continental Powers were to use these reunions to assert the rights of legitimacy against liberal and constitutional ideas; and the Concert, from which at one time much -- and with reason -- had been hoped was soon dissolved.
On September 26, 1815, the sovereigns of the three Eastern Powers had signed the Treaty of the Holy Alliance. This notorious and much misunderstood document was simply the expression of Alexander's mystical religious beliefs, which, under the influence of Madame de Krudener, had grown daily stronger during the campaign of 1815 and the stay at Paris, though, as has been stated, the idea was first suggested to him by Castlereagh's project of guarantee at Vienna. The document simply stated that the sovereigns would regulate their public acts according to the benign principles of the Christian religion. This "piece of sublime mysticism and nonsense," as Castlereagh called it, was meant to be signed by the Christian Sovereigns of Europe. The position of Great Britain was difficult -- "what may be called a scrape" wrote Castlereagh -- and it was eventually solved by the Prince Regent sending a personal letter which did not commit his Ministers. The Pope and the Sultan were also excluded from participating in the Christian fraternity. The Holy Alliance had no influence on affairs, except to produce in the minds of the peoples the suggestion that the sovereigns were leagued together against them. This suspicion was transferred to the real Treaty of Alliance signed on November 20, and in later years with truth. But the two instruments signed at Paris can in no way be considered as open to the reproaches which were later justly levelled at those who tried to use them for their own purposes. Both expressed in different form the longing for a period of peace after a generation of warfare. On this point there were few optimists among the statesmen; and scarcely one expected that the peace of Europe would long remain undisturbed.
General Observations. The work of the Congress of Vienna was dealt with faithfully by the publicists of its own time, and has been severely handled by historians in the century that followed. The spectacle of a dozen sttesmen transferring "souls" by the 100,000 from one sovereign to another has inspired many mordant pens; and in the light of the history of the nineteenth century the validity of these criticisms cannot be disputed. Such criticisms, however, neglect the fact that the Congress was the close of one epoch as well as the beginning of another. The main object of the statesmen of the day was to overthrow the Napoleonic Empire completely; and in that object they succeeded to a much greater degree than they expected. The settlement of 1814-1815 was governed by the expedients necessary to gain this end, which could not be ignored when the final decisions had to be made. Had any attempt been made to substitute for the contracts, written and unwritten, which had united Europe against Napoleon, the vague principles of nationality and democracy, so imperfectly understood alike by the peoples and the statesmen, the result would certainly have been disastrous. The primary need of Europe, once the Napoleonic tyranny was overthrown, was a period of peace; and this the statesmen at Vienna undoubtedly secured in a far greater degree than the most sanguine of the publicists of the time dared to hope.
The Congress was not without a principle; and it is not strange that this principle was derived from the eighteenth century rather than from the new forces that were springing into life. The moving spirit of any age is seldom judged accurately by the men of action who live in it; and it was not to be expected that the principles of nationality and democracy, which had inspired the first attacks of the Revolution and Napoleon, should be judged fairly by the statesmen who had the task of rescuing Europe from French domination. Nor were any of the dismembered nationalities, except Poland, yet ready to receive national institutions. The national spirit in Germany and Italy was there, in the sense of hatred of the foreigner, but not in the sense which made it possible for Germans and Italians to attain to national unity; the subject nationalities of Austria and Hungary had scarcely awakened to consciousness; and, if in the Balkans the Serbs and the Greeks were already alive, this area did not come within the competence of the Congress. To a generation, therefore, which had seen the dominance of a single Power, it is not strange that the principle of the Balance of Power should have appealed with great force. This, as has been seen, was the governing motive of Castlereagh's policy, which attempted to strengthen the centre of Europe against both the West and the East; and, as during his lifetime the West and the East had almost entirely swallowed up the dismembered and demoralised centre, no other judgment could have been expected from him.
Talleyrand also endeavoured to bring forward "legitimacy" as a governing principle; but, though Saxony (mutilated in the process) and Naples returned to their legitimate sovereigns, it cannot be said that this principle was followed with any consistency. On the contrary, a large number of the potentates, dispossessed by the French Revolution, never regained their sovereignty, and their protests at Vienna were unavailing. The Congress, in fact, found it necessary to accept the faits accomplis of the Napoleonic régime; and this meant the suppression of a number of small States, republics as well as monarchies -- on the whole to the great good of Europe. In this way, though not consciously, much progress was made towards a united Germany and a united Italy; though, paradoxically enough, these very changes were fiercely attacked by many of those most in sympathy with national aspirations.
More worthy of reprobation is the discouragement of the idea of self-government, which had already come to a fuller consciousness than that of nationality. Alexander alone, with some of his advisers, showed any sympathy with it; and it was he who secured the "Charte" for the French with the assistance of Talleyrand, who was also aware of the fundamental importance of this aspect of the French Revolution. To almost all the other statesmen democracy meant nothing but anarchy and revolution; and among these must be included the Tory Ministers of Great Britain, who even secretly encouraged the attacks on the constitutions which had been set up with the direct connivance of British representatives. It was this policy that made the subsequent national movements take strange paths, instead of being an expression of the peoples' desires.
The failure of the Congress to give any adequate expression to the nobler ideals of universal peace may also perhaps be condoned. As has been seen, the statesmen, once their dissension had been adjusted, did turn their attention to the possibilities of safeguarding the new Europe from aggression. But the return of Napoleon again made them direct their energies to preventing aggression from one quarter only. In inventing the "Concert" they undoubtedly contributed in a very marked degree to the security of Europe, for it cannot be doubted that, in spite of all its failures, that system did much for the nineteenth century. For schemes of disarmament there was in Europe then no articulate demand. The French had still an inordinate pride in their army; Prussia had just passed a universal service law which evoked a willing response from the people; Great Britain was not prepared, in the slightest degree, to apply the principle of disarmament to sea-power, in which she had attained complete and overwhelming supremacy; the Tsar, though he initiated proposals on the subject in 1816, appears to have had no real intention of allowing them to affect his own vast armies; and in no country was there any attempt to coerce the Governments on this subject. Accusation on this score must, in fact, be levelled against the age as a whole and not against the statesmen.
These considerations mitigate the severity of the judgment that history must pass on the Congress. Yet it cannot be asserted that the statesmen concerned were equal to the opportunity presented to them. They were limited in outlook, too prone to compromise, lacking in faith and courage. None, except Alexander -- and he only fitfully and irresolutely -- made any attempt to do more than the obvious. They were content with expedients. They were men of their own generation; and, though they secured for Europe a breathing-space of peace, and in one or two minor points, such as the regulation of International Rivers, did much for the future government of Europe, they did little else to win the gratitude of posterity.
DESPATCH OF VISCOUNT CASTLEREAGH TO THE EARL OF LIVERPOOL, VIENNA, SEPTEMBER 24, 1814 1
My letters of the 21st instant will have apprized your lordship of my arrival here. I found the Russian Minister, Count Nesselrode, and the Chancellor, Hardenberg, reached Vienna the day but one after. The Ministers of the Allied Powers have had four conferences, which have been principally occupied in discussing the form and course of our future proceedings. There has been but one opinion on the point, "that the conduct of the business must practically rest with the leading Powers"; and with the exception of a doubt on the part of the Russian Minister, whether the Emperor may not press the introduction of the Swedish plenipotentiary, we are agreed that the effective Cabinet should not be carried beyond the six Powers of the first order, with an auxiliary Council of the five principal States of Germany for the special concerns of Germany. You will observe from the Protocol [A], 2 officially transmitted, as well as from that which I now inclose, that the Allied Powers have deemed it necessary to preserve the initiative in their own hands. I have concurred in thinking this line expedient; but, considering the complexion of the protocol prepared upon this subject (which is Prussian) to be rather repulsive against France, and a little more conclusive in its expressions than I quite liked, I thought it right to give my acquiescence to it with the qualification contained in the note annexed to it. 3
The mode of assembling the Congress and conducting business next occupied our attention; and that you may see the succession of ideas that have prevailed upon this subject, I inclose unofficially and confidentially for your perusal the memoranda which have been given in, rather as throwing out ideas than containing
1 F.O. Continent 7.
2 Protocol of Sept. 22, 1814; D'Angeberg, 249; British and Foreign State Papers, II, p. 554.
3 Ibid., p. 555.
a formal opinion on the part of those who prepared them. 1 The idea that first occurred naturally was to constitute the Congress, and when constituted to propose to nominate a Committee to prepare a Projet of Arrangement for the consideration of Congress. But this course of proceeding was soon dismissed, as involving us without previous concert in all the preliminary questions of difficulty -- namely, what Powers shall be admitted to sit and deliberate, and what only to petition and negotiate; what are to be the functions and attribution of the Congress; and by what mode they are to act and conclude. This led to another view of the question, which you will find in two papers of mine, 2 the object of which was to see whether, saving all questions in the first instance, we might not, through a preliminary meeting of plenipotentiaries, get the conduct of the business with a general acquiescence into the hands of the six Powers, with their auxiliary Council for German affairs.
The assembling of such a preliminary meeting of plenipotentiaries is certainly by no means free from objection. You will find this subject investigated in a further memorandum, prepared by Baron Humboldt, who assists Prince Hardenberg 3 ; but the substitute he proposes has its awkwardness, as it too broadly and ostensibly assumes 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.
The question remains open till the French and Spanish plenipotentiaries join us. Perhaps the most prudent course may be between the two propositions, and that the declaration of the six Powers should not contain any public avowal of what they mean in point of form to do; but that it should state reasons why the Congress should not be constituted till the plenipotentiaries, after their assembly at Vienna, have had full opportunity for confidential intercourse, and till there is a prospect that by such communications (without saying of what nature) some projet of general arrangement may be devised, more likely than anything that could now be hazarded, to meet the sentiments and provide for the interests of all concerned.
I have endeavoured, as much as possible, to effect a coincidence of sentiment between the French and Allied Ministers, and I hope I have in a considerable degree succeeded; but, whatever may be their differences with each other, the three Continental Courts seem to feel equal jealousy of admitting France either to arbitrate between them or to assume any leading influence in the arrangements consequent upon the peace. . . . .
1 See Appendices. II and IV.
2 See Appendix III.
3 See Appendices V and VI.
MEMORANDUM UPON THE MEASURES TO BE ADOPTED PREPARATORY TO THE MEETING OF THE CONGRESS IN FORM FOR THE DESPATCH OF BUSINESS,
VIENNA, SEPTEMBER 1814
It appears clear, upon the first assembling of a body so numerous as the plenipotentiaries deputed to the Congress of Vienna, that no effectual progress can be made in business till some plan of European settlement can be prepared and ready to be submitted for their consideration, and, further, till the form to be given to the Congress, and the manner in which the business is to be conducted, shall have been previously considered and reported upon.
It is equally clear that such plan or report cannot at once originate advantageously with any individual plenipotentiary, unaided by the councils and suggestions of others, and that it can still less be expected to originate in the body at large. If so, it follows that a limited number of plenipotentiaries must be charged to prepare and bring forward the same.
The Powers most competent to frame for consideration a projet of European settlement, at once likely to meet the views and interests of the several States, are evidently those who have borne the principal share in the Councils and conduct of the war, and in the formation of the several treaties, which by the first secret article of the Treaty of Paris are recognised and declared to constitute the basis of the intended arrangement.
With this view it is proposed that the plenipotentiaries of Russia, Austria, France, Great Britain, Spain, and Prussia should charge themselves with this preparatory duty, and that until they shall be prepared to report upon the same the other plenipotentiaries deputed to Congress will, by temporary adjournments, suspend all further proceedings towards opening, in form, the said Congress.
That, in the aid of the above general Commission, a special Commission, composed of the plenipotentiaries of Austria, Prussia, Bavaria, Württemberg, and Hanover be appointed for the consideration of German affairs.
That to these Commissions should be referred all communications which may be addressed to Congress, and, in order the better to enable them to meet the general wishes, that the several pleni-
1 F.O. Continent Archives 8. The English draft in Castlereagh's own handwriting, with pencilled corrections. There is a French translation in F.O. Continent 7.
potentiaries not forming a part of the Commissions should be invited to a free and confidential communication of their sentiments to the same.
That the said Commissioners shall invite the other plenipotentiaries, as soon as their report is ready for discussion, to assemble and deliberate upon the same, first determining as to the form and mode in which the Congress shall constitute itself for despatch of business. In which consideration it will be requisite to decide what Powers shall be admitted to sit and deliberate in the Congress and what Powers shall only be permitted to appear before the Congress to seek restitution of territories of which they have been dispossessed during the war, or for the confirmation of titles to possessions [of] which, being acquired during the war, the sovereignty has not as yet been regularly ceded upon a peace by the lawful sovereigns.
It is conceived that no doubt can exist as to the indispensable necessity of a preliminary proceeding of this nature. The six Powers in Europe most considerable in population and weight have been suggested for the reasons above stated, as, upon the whole, the most competent to execute this duty.
Were the number of six to be materially extended the business of such a Commission must be proportionately retarded, and were any addition to be made a selection, in some measure invidious, would become necessary, unless an entire class of Powers of nearly equal dimensions should be included, to which there appears the strongest objection.
It is proposed that the above six Powers should be charged ad interim with arranging the police necessary for the Congress, and with the organization of a bureau for the receipt and preservation of papers and for the giving copies of the same to the plenipotentiaries who may require them.
TWO PROJETS OF CASTLEREAGH ON THE METHOD OF OPENING CONGRESS, VIENNA, SEPTEMBER 1814 1
. . . . A notice to be published in the Court Gazette of Vienna, desiring the several plenipotentiaries now at Vienna to assemble at the .................... on the .................. to consider of the measures proper to be adopted preparatory to
1 F.O. Continent 7. The English draft is in F.O. Continent Archives No. 8. Article XXXII of the treaty was to be quoted at the beginning of the document.
the formal opening of the said Congress for the despatch of business, in conformity to the stipulations of the Treaty of Paris. 1
A list of the persons presenting themselves for admission to the said meeting, to be taken on their entrance, describing on the part of what sovereign or State they allege to be charged with full powers, and no person to be admitted who does not claim to be so authorised.
When the meeting is assembled the Austrian Minister to announce to the persons there presenting themselves as plenipotentiaries the arrangements made by command of the Emperor His Master for the accommodation of the intended Congress, the local assigned for its sittings, the guard of honour and the officers to be in attendance upon it, and that the emplacement so assigned for the assembling of Congress would be considered by His Imperial Majesty as possessing all the privileges, &c., attached to an ambassadorial residence, with the police thereof subject to the direction of the Congress itself.
The said Minister, or any other selected for that purpose, may then call the attention of the meeting to the situation in which they find themselves, and to the necessity of taking some measures preparatory to the meeting of Congress, for the purpose of ascertaining with more precision than is set forth upon the face of the article above referred to the nature and functions of the proposed Congress, and also of bringing before the Congress when regularly constituted the business on which they are called to deliberate, in such a form as may best admit of deliberation and of a final decision. He may state that this subject having occupied the attention of certain of the plenipotentiaries then present, a memorandum had been prepared for the consideration of the meetings, which he might then desire leave to read. The memorandum in question, being previously approved by the six Powers, it would be for them to communicate it privately and confidentially to [such of 2 ] the other plenipotentiaries now at Vienna [as they can confide in 3 ], so as to secure their support of its contents at the intended meeting. The proposition is so reasonable in itself as to render opposition from any quarter improbable; it must, at all events, be futile if the six Powers and their connections support it. The advantage of this mode of proceeding is that you treat the plenipotentiaries as a body with early and becoming respect. You keep the power by concert and management in your own
1 F.O. Continent 7 has: "and also to secure the means of bringing before them the business, etc."
2 Not in F.O. Continent 7.
3 F.O. Continent Archives 8.
hands, but without openly assuming authority to their exclusion. You obtain a sort of sanction from them for what you are determined at all events to do, which they cannot well withhold. and which cannot, in the mode it is taken, embarrass your march; and you entitle yourselves, without disrespect to them, to meet together for despatch of business for an indefinite time to their exclusion, having at the same time the option to confer with any of the plenipotentiaries separately upon the points in which they are more immediately interested. The further advantage is that, as you meet informally in the first instance as plenipotentiaries and not as a Congress, nothing is prejudged and nothing admitted till the leading Powers have had full time to weigh all questions well and to understand each other. It is quite impossible this measure can meet with any serious opposition. If such a temper should exist in any of the plenipotentiaries, it is better it should be compelled to show itself openly, in order that it may be met and suppressed at the outset.
Should the preliminary form of proceeding be approved, it remains to adjust the course of business to be observed in the Commission of Six.
As the happy result of the Congress will depend on the spirit of justice, moderation, and accommodation which shall really subsist among the leading Powers towards each other, it is submitted that all definitions which seem at the outset to draw a distinction between them should be avoided. That the four Powers which have hitherto acted together should, upon the first meeting, endeavour to impress the two others with a conviction that they desire to act cordially and confidentially with them for the common interest, and anything marking a different sentiment can only be justified by some attempt on the part of the latter to disturb the course of policy on which the Allies were agreed, and which they still consider themselves as confederated to carry into execution.
That they should confer with the French and Spanish Ministers on the nature and division of the business, and the order in which it is most convenient that the questions should be taken for deliberation; and, as having been the parties to originate the several treaties which are recognised as the basis of the proposed arrangements, and to conduct down to the period of the peace the Councils growing out of them, the four Powers should declare their intention of bringing forward for the consideration of their colleagues such propositions on the questions in succession as appear to them best calculated to satisfy the spirit and provisions of their treaties.
This, without bearing the character of offence or distrust, will secure to them an initiative which neither France nor Spain can complain of. In order to put into form these several propositions, they must meet apart, and such meeting will afford them a facility for concert without appearing to act upon a principle of dictation. When they bring forward their propositions they will hear the arguments of their colleagues, and if a separate reconsideration is necessary it can always be secured by any individual member, without putting forward any offensive reason for the postponement. The good sense of the proceeding will establish its own purposes as we advance, the understanding being honestly to tranquillise Europe, and by every reasonable and becoming sacrifice to preserve the concert between the four Powers, which has hitherto saved Europe.
BARON HUMBOLDT'S PROJET FOR THE REGULATIONS OF THE CONGRESS, VIENNA, SEPTEMBER 1814 1
On est convenu dans les conférences précédentes:
Que la multiplicité des objets rend nécessaire de les diviser, et de les traiter séparément;
Que le nombre des Cours qui prennent part au Congrès et la situation des choses exigent qu'un petit nombre dirige et surveille la négociation.
L'application de ces principes demande que la division des objets se fasse d'après un système fixe et général.
Qu'on éloigne toute idée d'un pouvoir usurpé ou arbitraire que l'exclusion de certaines Puissances de la direction de la négociation pourrait faire naître, même dans la partie la plus impartiale du public; qu'on tâche, ce qui plus est (sic), de ménager l'amourpropre des Puissances et des Princes moins considérables.
Enfin, qu'on évite que des Puissances qu'on ne peut ni ne veut exclure de la direction générale de la négociation ne prennent par là une part directe à des affaires auxquelles, d'après la nature des choses, elles ne peuvent point intervenir d'une manière principale.
Il est indispensable après cela qu'à l'ouverture du Congrès même, on s'explique d'une manière franche et précise vis-à-vis des autres Puissances et à la face de l'Europe, dont les regards atten-
1 F.O. Continent 7 and F.O. Continent Archives 8. The copies of a document of which the French is execrable have been rather carelessly made. There is also another Prussian memorandum which appears to be a shorter form of this one.
tifs sont fixés sur une réunion aussi extraordinaire, sur la nature, le but et la forme du Congrès.
C'est de ces considérations que sont nées les idées suivantes, qui, en renfermant des propositions sur la forme à donner au Congrès, pourraient en même tems faire le fonds de la Déclaration qui doit précéder son ouverture, et qui pourraient y entrer, quoique seulement en partie et avec de certaines restrictions.
Le Congrès de Vienne n'est pas un Congrès de paix, car la paix est faite: il se distingue des Congrès de Münster et d'Osnabrück, de Ryswick, d'Utrecht, etc., non seulement par le plus grand nombre, ou la plus grande variété des objets, mais aussi par là, qu'il n'a point du tout un but unique, fixe et déterminé. Le Congrès de Vienne n'est point une assemblée délibérante de l'Europe. Car l'Europe ne forme pas un ensemble constitutionnel, et, pour qu'il pût y avoir une pareille assemblée, la part que chaque Puissance devrait y prendre à la décision devrait être fixée. ce qui n'est, ni ne saurait être le cas.
Qu'est-ce donc que le Congrès de Vienne? Ceci ne peut s'expliquer qu'historiquement. La Révolution française et le régime de Napoléon avaient changé presque toute la face politique de l'Europe. La guerre actuelle a mis fin à l'un et à l'autre, mais les différents rapports politiques des Puissances n'ont été fixés qu'en égard à la France, et que par le Traité de Paris. Il reste encore à compléter cette pacification générale, à remplacer par de nouvelles, les institutions que les évènements des dernières années ont renversées et déraciner quelques restes de l'Usurpation Napoléonienne qui menacent d'inquiéter l'Europe. Pour parvenir à ce but, on a appellé à un même endroit les Plénipotentiaires de tous les Princes et États qui, de part et d'autre, ont pris part à la guerre. On évite par là que les négociations particulières de Puissance à Puissance ne fassent pas naître des malentendus dangereux; on s'assure que les arrangemens qui résultent de ces négociations ne soyent point contraires à l'intérêt général et leur donne plus de force par la sanction, ou du moins la reconnaissance commune; on peut enfin convenir de certains arrangemens généraux contribuant à la tranquillité ou au bonheur de l'Europe. Par une pareille marche on supplée en quelque fa? on à l'institution d'une république Européenne à jamais et par elle-même impossible. Le Congrès de Vienne n'est donc pas une négociation seulement, pas même un ensemble de négociations étroitement liées par un même but, mais simplement un complexe de négociations différentes qui conduisent à autant de traités particuliers et qui n'ont d'autre rapport ensemble que l'intérêt général de l'Europe. La question Européenne se retrouve dans toutes, mais du reste elles se sont plus ou moins étrangères. Il résulte de là que toutes les Puissances qui y interviennent doivents' abandonner mutuellement, avec la confiance commandée par la grandeur des circonstances, le soin de faire entre elles les arrangemens qui leur semblent con- venales, et de délibérer librement et isolément sur ces objets, jusqu'à ce qu'elles viennent à s'accorder sur les mêmes principes, mais aussi prendre l'engagement de proposer ce dont elles sont convenues aux autres, de demander qu'elles le sanctionnent par leur accession aux traités, et d'écouter et de discuter les objections qu'elles pourraient leur opposer. D'où il suit de soi-même que chaque négociation peut être entamée isolément, que plusieurs peuvent marcher de front, mais que toutes doivent rentrer au centre pour y être munies de l'assentiment et de la reconnaissance de l'Europe entière rassemblée ici dans les personnes des différens Plénipotentiaires.
D'après ce qui vient de se dire ici, il est impossible de déterminer les objets qui peuvent se présenter à la discussion. Chaque Puissance et chaque jour peut en apporter de nouveaux.
On ne peut déterminer que le genre de ces objets, et c'est aussi le genre seulement qui influe sur la grande question qui doit être décidée ici:
Par quelles Puissances et dans quelle forme tel ou tel doit être traité?
Il y a trois de ces genres d'objets entièrement différens l'un de l'autre:
I La distribution des Provinces qui par suite de la guerre et de la Paix de Paris sont devenues disponibles.
La discussion sur cette distribution et la conclusion des Traités qui la régleront appartiennent exclusivement aux Puissances coalisées contre la France, qui en ont fait la conquête. Ce sont leurs Plénipotentiaires seuls qui peuvent se réunir aux conférences sur cet objet. La France et les États neutres en restent exclus. Ceux à qui ces conquêtes ont premièrement rendu la vie y interviennent, non comme des juges qui décident, mais comme parties qui demandent à être écoutées et allèguent leurs titres.
En même tems la France a un double intérêt à la décision de cet objet.
Elle a le droit d'y juger la conformité avec le Traité de Paris et la question Européenne. Cette dernière question y intéresse tous les États neutres; dès que la négociation est parvenue jusqu'au moment de la conclusion, la France et ces États doivent par conséquent en recevoir connaissance et être écoutées, s'ils trouvent à y objecter.
Les Princes qui ont pris part à la guerre ne peuvent pas non plus être appellés tous simultanément à cette distribution; il y en aurait évidemment qu'on aurait également tort d'admettre et d'exclure sans distinction. Il faut donc séparer la distribution:
de la Pologne, de l'Allemagne, de l'Italie.
La distribution de la Pologne et la forme qui doit être donnée à la partie qui deviendra Russe sont du ressort de la Prusse, de l'Autriche et de la Russie, les seules Puissances qui peuvent signer comme Parties principales le traité qui la réglera. L'Angleterre y intervient pour la question Européenne, mais elle y intervient aussi d'abord puisque les trois autres Puissances sont intéressées à se prévaloir de son intervention.
Quant à la distribution de l'Allemagne, il faut distinguer entre la discussion sur les bases et les principes qui doivent les diriger, et sur l'application de ces principes, et le détail qui en résulte.
Il faut considérer ensuite, qu'outre la question généralement Européenne, la distribution de l'Allemagne intéresse (a) les Princes de l'Allemagne sous le rapport de leurs forces respectives, et de leur organisation intérieure. (b) L'Angleterre, par l'importance qu'elle doit attacher à fortifier la Hollande, et à empêcher un agrandissement excessif de la France. La Russie, par l'expérience qu'elle a faite qu'elle peut être inquiétée jusques dans son sein, si l'Allemagne n'est point indépendante, sans parler des autres États limitrophes.
L'Autriche et la Prusse sont dans tous ces rapports à la fois et ont par conséquent éminemment le droit d'attendre qu'on ait égard à leurs propositions.
Or, la discussion sur les bases et les principes ne peut appartenir parmi les Puissances appellées en général à cette discussion qu'à celles qui peuvent se placer et se maintenir dans un point de vue Européen.
Ces Puissances sont la Prusse, l'Autriche, la Russie, et l'Angleterre.
Il faut en exclure:
La France, la Hollande, le Dannemarc, la Suisse, puisque, quoiqu'ayant un grand intérêt à l'objet, ils n'ont, par différentes raisons, aucun droit d'y mtervenir;
La Suède, puisque quoiqu'ayant sans contredit le droit d'intervenir comme Puissance alliée et belligérante, elle n'y a plus aucun intérêt direct, ayant échangé la Poméranie, et s'étant concentrée dans le Nord.
La Bavière et le Wurtemberg doivent intervenir à cette discussion, puisqu'ils y ont et droit et intérêt, mais il ne faut les écouter que lorsqu'on sera déjà d'accord, puisqu'ils n'ont point de point central hors de la question et ne sauraient jamais la juger d'une manière grande et impartiale.
Les questions qui se lient à cette discussion sont, pour en citer quelques exemples, celle de la Saxe, celle si la Rive gauche du Rhin doit appartenir exclusivement à de Grandes Puissances? Si
la Belgique et même toute la Hollande doit faire partie intégrante de l'Allemagne? Si les Princes aggrandis par les Médiatisations doivent conserver toutes leurs acquisitions ou si l'on veut leur demander des sacrifices?
Les principes une fois fixés, l'application en détail doit appartenir aux Princes Allemands exclusivement, car une bonne constitution exige une certaine répartition des forces respectives, et la division des cercles demande de certains arrondissemens.
(3) La distribution de l'Italie est étrangère aux Puissances du Nord, et à la Prusse.
Elle est du ressort de l'Autriche, de la Sicile, de l'Espagne, de l'Angleterre, comme Puissance maritime éminemment intéressée à la situation politique des côtes de la Méditerranée et ayant une possession importante dans cette mer.
Le Roi de Sardaigne et le Pape y interviennent, comme États formant des prétentions.
Le Roi de Naples est par la nature des choses exclu de toute part au Congrès, auquel ne peuvent être admis que des Souverains qu'on veut généralement reconnaître.
Comme ces trois divisions de la distribution des provinces conquises sont, malgré leur séparation, pourtant, liées par des rapports généraux, il est à savoir s'il ne faudrait pas créer pour cette partie si importante de la négociation un comité dirigeant général, qui, sans entrer dans les négociations particulières, surveillerait et réglerait l'ensemble. Si l'on ne croyait pas trop compliquer la chose par là, la Russie, l'Angleterre, l'Autriche et la Prusse pourraient seules le former.
II Second genre d'objets: Les arrangemens particuliers que quelques Puissances peuvent faire entr'elles, et qu'elles soumettent seulement aux autres pour être reconnus d'elles. Ces arrangemens peuvent être de différente nature et il est même impossible de les prévoir à présent.
Mais il y en a un infiniment important qui appartient à cette classe. L'organisation intérieure de l'Allemagne, où une nouvelle ligue doit remplacer l'Empire qui a disparu.
La discussion sur cette affaire intérieure et domestique appartient exclusivement aux Princes de l'Allemagne. Même la Russie et l'Angleterre ne voudront point intervenir à une affaire à laquelle elles ne peuvent prendre qu'un intérêt général, et où l'intérêt particulier qu'elles y prendraient naîtrait toujours seulement de considérations également particulières, et par conséquent étrangères au bien-être commun.
La Hollande, le Dannemarc, la Suisse pourraient y être appellés, la première pour s'unir en partie ou en entier à l'Alle- magne; le second, y rattacher le Holstein; et la troisième puisqu'une alliance à perpétuité entre l'Allemagne et la Suisse serait on ne peut pas plus désirable.
Troisième et dernier genre d'objets, arrangemens communs pour le bien de l'Europe.Les objets qui se rangent sous cette classe sont les suivans: 1. Les dissensions intérieures dans la Suisse. Les Puissances ne peuvent point permettre une guerre intestine dans le centre de l'Europe, et la confédération Helvétique elle-même demandera probablement la médiation des Grandes Puissances. Si elle s'adresse au Congrès, c'est-à-dire à toutes, ou si les Puissances sont forcées à se déclarer médiatrices sans sa demande, la discussion sur cet objet sera du ressort des Puissances à qui il appartient de délibérer sur cette classe d'objets en général. 1 Si la confédération ne s'adresse qu'à quelques-unes des Puissances, le cas rentre dans la seconde classe des objets: c'est-à-dire des arrangemens particuliers faits de gré à gré. Mais aussi alors les résultats devront toujours être soumis à toutes les Puissances pour juger de la question Européenne.
2. Le Royaume de Naples actuel. Les Puissances ne peuvent souffrir qu'il continue à exister en Europe un Souverain que quelques-unes des plus considérables entr'elles se refusent à reconnaître; on ne saurait souffrir non plus que Naples et la Sicile restent dans une attitude continuellement hostile.
3. Le séjour de Napoléon à l'Ile d'Elbe, et les individus de sa famille. On ne peut plus nier que Napoléon et les individus de sa famille inquiètent l'Italie, la Suisse et la France. La Convention du 11 février 2 ne peut pas être un obstacle à lui assigner même, malgré lui, un autre sort. Car l'Angleterre et la France n'y ont accédé que pour certains points qui ne les lient pas envers Napoléon, et si l'on veut parler impartialement d'après les principes de la justice, les Puissances contractantes n'avaient aucunement le droit de placer au sein même des autres une cause et un prétexte de troubles. Quant aux individus de la famille, rien n'empêche de les faire aller où l'on voudra.
4. L'abolition de la traite des Nègres.
5. La navigation libre des grandes rivières sur laquelle la discussion a été expressément réservée dans le Traité de Paris.
1 Note by Humboldt: "M. le Prince de Metternich a observé que d'après le Traité de Paris, la France n'a pas le droit d'intervenir dans les affaires de la Suisse, et je me range entièrement de son opinion."
2 The Treaty of Fontainebleau of April 11, 1814, is meant.
6. Le rang entre les Ministres de différentes cours, objet dont il a déjà été parlé dans les Conférences de Paris.
La discussion sur les objets de cette classe appartient à toutes les Puissances sans exception.
C'est la question Européenne qui y est principalement, pour ne pas dire uniquement, agitée. Mais toutes les Puissances ne peuvent point délibérer à la fois, ni avec une égalité parfaite; il faudrait donc abandonner la discussion sur ce point, et [laisser] la fixation des principes aux six Grandes Puissances, l'Angleterre, l'Autriche, l'Espagne, la France, la Prusse et la Russie, qui écouteraient après les autres, sur les principes qu'elles auraient posés.
Une réunion telle que le Congrès actuel, même avec la division la plus exacte de tous les objets, ne saurait travailler sans être dirigée; le cas se présentera d'ailleurs qu'on s'adressera au Congrès, et que le Congrès, comme tel, devra répondre à des demandes. Pour le pouvoir, il faut qu'il ne soit pas simplement un être idéal, pas seulement un complexe d'un grand nombre de Plénipotentiaires.
Il faut en conséquence au Congrès un Comité dirigeant, et ce Comité doit etre formé par les mêmes Puissances qui décident la question éminemment Européenne qui forme la troisième classe des objets de la négociation. Car le Congrès lui-même est une affaire Européenne et une des plus importantes. Ce Comité forme le centre du Congrès; le Congrès n'existe qu'en autant que ce Comité s'est constitué: il est terminé lorsqu'il se dissout. Toutes les négociations particulières et les traités qui en résultent doivent rentrer dans lui, et c'est lui qui doit les proposer à la discussion générale de toutes les Puissances, et y soigner leur accession. Il doit encore avoir le droit de presser les négociations particulières pour ne pas laisser devenir le Congrès interminable.
Comme les négociations particulières doivent être soumises à l'accession et à la reconnoissance de toutes les Puissances Européennes, il faut encore déterminer:
Le nombre des États et des Princes qu'on veut admettre, comme siégeant dans le Congrès Européen;
Le mode de les consulter.
Il a déjà été observé que les États qu'on se refuse de reconnaître, et auprès desquels la continuation de l'existencé est mise en doute, ne peuvent point entrer dans ce nombre. Ceux qui venant d'être rétablis, ne sont par là point encore reconnus généralement, sont dans le cas diamétralement opposé. Ils commencent, tandis que les autres finissent. Ils ont un intérêt manifeste à chaque question Européenne, et leur voix ne saurait être exclue.
En ayant égard au degré de forces et d'indépendance, on ne peut admettre aucun Prince de l'Allemagne qui n'a point des pos-
sessions hors de ce pays, à l'exception seulement de la Bavière (et du Wurtemberg). Les raisons de cette exception tombent sous les yeux; d'après ces principes il siégerait donc dans ce Congrès les seize États suivants: le Portugal, l'Espagne, la France, l'Angleterre, la Prusse, l'Autriche, la Bavière (le Wurtemberg), la Hollande, la Suisse, la Sardaigne, le Pape, la Sicile, le Dannemarc, la Suède, la Russie.La marche très simple pour chaque objet en particulier serait la suivante:Qu'il fût discuté jusqu'à la rédaction approuvée et paraphée du Traité, entre et par les Puissances qu'il concerne directement;Que le Traité fût porté aux Comité dirigeant, discuté et paraphé par lui;Que ce Comité convoquât les Plénipotentiaires des États qui resteraient encore à consulter, et que le Traité fût aussi approuvé par eux.La marche du Congrès lui-même serait:De dresser et publier la déclaration sur sa forme;De convoquer et de constituer le Comité dirigeant qui s'occuperait incessamment, et de ses fonctions comme tel, et des objets de la troisième classe.D'établir les conférences sur les objets particuliers, et nommément: 1. Celles pour la distribution des Provinces conquises; 2. Celles sur l'organisation intérieure de l'Allemagne.
PROPOSAL OF BARON HUMBOLDT TO PUBLISH A DECLARATION, VIENNA, SEPTEMBER 1814
1 La pièce approuvée dans la conférence d'hier 2 forme l'ouverture du Congrès pour les Grandes Puissances. Pour l'ouvrir également avec et vis-à-vis de tous les autres Princes et États, on peut adopter la mode d'une réunion de tous ceux qui prétendent être munis de plein-pouvoirs, ou celui d'une déclaration adressée par les six Puissances à tous les autres Gouvernemens et leurs Plénipotentiaires indistinctment.
1 F.O. Continent 7; F.O. Continent Archives 20.
2 Apparently the Protocol of September 22.
Je proposerais de s'en tenir à ce dernier.
Le premier a l'inconvénient d'agiter dès le premier abord la question de l'admission ou de la non-admission de certaines Puissances. Car si l'on appuye fortement sur la circonstance, qu'on n'examine dans cette réunion les titres de personne, ceux qui ont mauvaise conscience sentiront ce que cela veut dire. Si l'on n'y appuye pas, ceux, qui voudraient exclure d'autres, comme la Sicile est disposée ainsi contre Naples, les Princes souverains de l'Allemagne contre les Princes médiatisés, deviendront inquîets et chercheront des éclaircissemens. Or, il est de l'intérêt des Puissances alliées d'éviter cette question jusqu'au moment où l'on pourra frapper efficacement ceux qui sont à exclure.
Une réunion où tout le monde est admis, où chacun retrouve son antagoniste et où tous sont congédiés sans apprendre bien précisément quand leur tour d'agir arrivera, trompera l'espoir qu'il vaut mieux de ne pas réveiller par une invitation personnelle.
La légitimité du Comité préparatoire enfin n'y gagnerait guères beaucoup.
Car on dirait toujours qu'il n'avait eu aucun moyen de s'opposer dans une Assemblée où ni le nombre des personnes admises, ni leur droit de votes, ni celui de ceux qui n'auraient pas pû paraître, rien enfin n'est fixé.
Une pareille réunion ne saurait, selon moi, être bonne, que si elle avait le but d'examiner les pouvoirs et le droit de comparaître de chacun; mais c'est précisément ce qu'on ne veut pas. Il ne faut point se dissimuler que le Congrès actuel est de nature à rendre également impossible d'inventer et de puiser dans l'expérience du passé une forme entièrement bonne et convenable.
Mais une déclaration imprimée au nom des six plus Grandes Puissances de l'Europe obvie au moins à plusieurs des inconvéniens d'une réunion personnelle.
Elle ne préjuge rien; elle rassure le grand public, qui, confiant plus volontiers les intérêts de l'Europe à 6 qu'à 16 Puissances, est tranquille de voir travailler les premières entr'elles; elle n'inquiète point les Plénipotentiaires, mais leur montre même que, selon les objêts, ils seront appelés successivement à plaider leur cause. C'est dans ce sens que la déclaration devrait être écrite. Le fonds en serait le contenu de la pièce d'hier, 1 les deux séries d'objets; les deux comités préparatoires; on ferait entrevoir que l'édifice de la reconstruction de l'Europe repondra aux plans con?us par les Grandes Puissances alliées dès le commencement de la guerre; on s'y arrêterait surtout sur le grand but du Congrès, le complètement de l'uvre de la paix; la fixation de grands principes tendrait au bonheur général de l'Europe; on ne préciserait rien sur la marche des affaires en détail, mais, en parlant de la multiplicité
1 F.O. Continent Archives 8.
des objets et de la nécessité de terminer bientôt, on ferait voir que chaque objet qui est de nature à le permettre, sera traité pour lui seul et entre les Gouvernemens qui y sont intéressés.
Cette déclaration devrait être écrite d'un style simple, et plutôt raisonné que déclaratoire, pour que, quelque soit l'issue du Congrès, on ne fût pas resté au-dessous de ce qu'on aurait annoncé. Immédiatement après la publication, le travail serait commencé et presque tout le monde serait trop occupé pour glosser ou manuvrer.
Les six Puissances entreraient en discussion sur des objets généraux, dont quelques-uns, comme l'abolition de la traite de Nègres, exigeraient d'y appeller d'autres Puissances pour être écoutés.
Les quatre en délibérant sur la distribution des territoires disponibles en Allemagne ne pourraient se dispenser d'y admettre dans l'occasion, la Hollande, la Bavière, le Wurtemberg et d'autres Princes Allemands, même le Danemark et la Suède. Le même cas existerait dans les discussions sur la Constitution de l'Allemagne. La Sardaigne et les autres cours d'Italie auraient enfin également bientôt leur tour.
Quant à la légitimité du Comité préparatoire, mon opinion est la suivante: L'Europe ne forme qu'un ensemble idéal et la politique n'est point astreinte à des normes constitutionnelles. La seule mode dont les Puissances Européennes peuvent agir en commun est, en conséquence, que les plus grandes conviennent entr'elles, et se mettent en avant; que les autres y consentent tacitement; qu'on laisse la liberté à chacun parmi ces dernières d'énoncer son opinion contraire, et qu'on prenne même l'engagement de discuter cet avis avec elle.
Or, c'est là exactement ce qui se fait à présent par les six Puissances. 1
PROJET OF BARON HUMBOLDT: MODE OF PUBLISHING THE DECLARATION OF THE OPENING OF CONGRESS
1 Pour obvier au double inconvénient de faire signer la déclaration des six Puissances par tous leurs Plénipotentiaires, ou de la laisser sans signature, et par là sans toute marque d'authenticité, on pourrait adopter le mode suivant:
On dirait à la fin de la déclaration que, pour éviter qu'une déclaration qui n'avait pas pû être remise individuellement et qu'il avait fallû publier par la voye de l'impression ne soit point falsifiée, on avait résolu de n'émettre aucun exemplaire sans le faire vidimer auparavant par un des six Cabinets.
1 F.O. Continent 9.
1 F.O. Continent 9.
Chaque exemplaire porterait pour lors au bas la phrase:
Pour copie conforme et la signature des Plénipotentiaires d'une des six Puissances.
On regarderait de cette manière la déclaration comme une pièce arrêtée et rédigée par tous les six Cabinets en commun, mais rendue publique par chacune des six en particulier. On se tirerait aussi par là de la question embarrassante: dans quel ordre on doit placer dans la déclaration même les six Puissances. Car il serait naturel que dans chaque exemplaire la Puissance dont les Plénipotentiaires en auraient attesté l'authenticité paraît à la tête des autres, puisque cet exemplaire serait regardé comme une pièce émise par son Cabinet. Il n'y aurait enfin, en adoptant ce mode, aucun inconvénient qu'un des six Cabinets communiquât, s'il le jugeait à propos, la déclaration à une puissance qui n'eût pas été reconnue par les autres.
VISCOUNT CASTLEREAGH'S PROJET FOR THE FORMATION OF A COMMISSION TO VERIFY STATISTICAL CALCULATIONS
There appearing a great Discordance in the Statistical Calculations furnished by the different Cabinets, Lord Castlereagh suggests that the 5 Principal Powers who take the chief interest in the Territorial Arrangements on the side of Germany: viz., Austria, Prussia, Great Britain, France, and Russia, or, if it is thought better in the first Instance, that the 4 Powers in execution of whose Treaties these arrangements are to be made, should each appoint a Person to verify conjointly these Calculations, and to settle by a common accord at what rate of Population the respective Possessions should be taken in the Distribution to be made.
It seems also of pressing importance to have a combined statement made of all the disposeable Territories and of all unsatisfied Claims upon them, distinguishing those Claims that rest upon the Faith of Treaties, &c., from those that rest upon Grounds of Conscience and Favor.
That this Commission should be especially required to report:
What the Nature of the Engagements are with respect to the reconstruction of Austria and Prussia.
What progress has been made in Execution of the same.
To what further Possessions that Power lays Claims.
What Territories can be conveniently assigned in satisfaction of the same.
That a Similar Report be made under their respective Treaties, compared with their actual State of Possession for Prussia, Hanover, Bavaria, Holland, and Wirtemberg.
That a further Report be made distinguishing how the other German Powers, whose Territorial Rights were by their Treaties at Frankfort less beneficially secured to them than was the Case with Bavaria and Wirtemberg, are likely to be affected by any arrangement which may be proposed in favor of the six Powers specially named.
MEMORANDUM ON THE TREATIES OF 1814 AND 1815 SUBMITTED BY THE BRITISH PLENIPOTENTIARIES AT THE CONFERENCE OF AIX-LA-CHAPELLE, OCTOBER 1818 1
The benign principles of the Alliance of September 26, 1815, 2 having been either formally or substantially adhered to by all Powers, may be considered as constituting the European system in matter of political conscience.
It would, however, be derogatory to this solemn act of the Sovereigns to mix its discussion with the ordinary diplomatic obligations which bind State to State, and which are alone to be looked for in the treaties which have been concluded in the accustomed form.
The present diplomatic position of Europe may be considered under two distinct heads: Firstly, the treaties which may be said to bind its States collectively; secondly, the treaties which are peculiar to particular States.
Under the first head may be enumerated the Treaty of Peace, signed at Paris, May 30, 1814; the Act of the Congress of Vienna, signed June 9, 1815; and the Treaty of Peace signed at Paris, November 20, 1815.
These transactions, to which all the States of Europe (with the exception of the Porte) are at this day either signing or acceding parties, may be considered as the Great Charte, by which the territorial system of Europe, unhinged by the events of war and revolution, has been again restored to order. The consent of all the European States, France included, has not only been given to this settlement, but their faith has been solemnly pledged to the strict observance of its arrangements.
These treaties contain some few regulations not strictly territorial, but it may be asserted that the general character of their provisions is of that nature, and that they contain in no case
1 F.O. Continent 35.
2 The "Holy Alliance."
engagements which have been pushed beyond the immediate objects which are made matter of regulation in the treaties themselves.
It is further to be observed that none of these three treaties contain any express guarantee, general or special, by which their observance is to be enforced, save and except the temporary guarantee intended to be assured by Article 5 of the Treaty of 1815, which regulates the army of occupation to be left in France.
There is no doubt that a breach of the covenant by any one State is an injury which all the other States may, if they shall think fit, either separately or collectively resent, but the treaties do not impose, by express stipulation, the doing so as matter of positive obligation.
So solemn a pact, on the faithful execution and observance of which all nations should feel the strongest interest, may be considered as under the protection of a moral guarantee of the highest nature; but as those who framed these Acts did not probably see how the whole Confederacy could, without the utmost inconvenience, be made collectively to enforce the observance of these treaties, the execution of this duty seems to have been deliberately left to arise out of the circumstances of the time and of the case, and the offending State to be brought to reason by such of the injured States as might at the moment think fit to charge themselves with the task of defending their own rights thus invaded.
If this analysis of these treaties be correct, they cannot be said to form an alliance in the strict sense of the word. They no doubt form the general pact by which all is regulated, which at that moment was open in Europe to regulation; but they can hardly be stated to give any special or superior security to the parts of the European system thus regulated, as compared with those parts which were not affected by these negotiations, upon which, consequently, those transactions are wholly silent, and which rest for their title upon anterior treaties or public acts of equal and recognised authority.
Under the second head, viz., that of treaties which are peculiar to particular States, may be enumerated the Treaties of Alliance of Chaumont and Paris, as signed by the four Great Allied Powers. There was a Treaty of Alliance, deriving its principle from that of Chaumont, intermediately signed at Vienna, viz., on March 25 1815, by nearly all the Powers; but as the stipulations of this treaty are declared to have been satisfied by the Treaty of Peace of November 1815, and to have thereby become extinct, it will make the statement more clear to omit the further mention of it in the present discussion.
The treaties anterior to that of Chaumont between the same Powers may be usefully referred to, as explaining the events which first gave birth to this combination between the four principal Powers of Europe, as opposed to France, at a moment when the great mass of those States, who afterwards joined the Allies and constituted with them the coalitions which, in the years 1814 and 1815, operated against France, were yet under the yoke of that Power.
The treaties of Quadruple Alliance concluded at Chaumont and Paris may be considered as treaties of alliance in the strictest and most enlarged sense of the word. They have a professed object; they define the steps to be taken in pursuit of that object, and they declare the stipulated force by which that object is to be attained and secured. These two treaties form one system, consistent in its purpose, but varying in its means.
The restoration and conservation of Europe against the power of France may be stated to be the avowed principle and object of both treaties.
The Treaty of Chaumont, in 1814, aimed at effectuating an improvement in the state of Europe as the preliminary condition to a peace with France, and at defending, by the force of the Alliance, the terms of that peace, if made. The Treaty of Paris, in 1815, had only to place the state of things, as established by the Treaties of Paris and Vienna, under the protection of the Quadruple Alliance.
The Treaty of Chaumont gave to this Alliance that character of permanence which the deep-rooted nature of the danger against which it was intended to provide appeared to require, viz., twenty years from March 1814, with an eventual continuance. This character of permanence was additionally recognised by the language of the Paris Treaty, 1 the whole of the provisions of which proceed not only upon the admission of a danger still existing, but upon the necessity of keeping alive the precautionary arrangements of the treaty, even after the army of occupation shall have been withdrawn.
The Paris Treaty also aimed at specifying with precision, as far as possible, the casus fderis upon which the contracting parties should be bound to furnish their stipulated succours.
Where that could not be done the object was to provide a mode by which the case in doubt might be decided at the time it should arise.
Three distinct cases are provided for in Articles 2 and 3 of the treaty. The two first, being cases of fact, are clear and specific; the third being a case of a mixed nature, dependent for its just solution upon the circumstances of the event which shall be alleged to give occasion to it, is left to be decided in concert by the Allied Courts when the moment shall arrive.
In construing the obligations of this treaty, the recital which its preamble contains is, no doubt, to be held in view. It serves to
1 Of November 20, 1815.
show the degree in which the order of things then established in France operated as a motive with the Allies in making the treaty, and the deep interest they felt in their consolidation as a means to the general tranquillity; but as it was not required that France should bind herself, in the enacting part of her treaty, to maintain inviolate the political order of things then existing, it does not appear competent for the Allies to consider an alteration in that order of things, whether legally effectuated or brought about by indirect means, as in itself constituting such an infraction of the peace as the Allies are entitled to take notice of, independent of the consideration of how far that change goes immediately to endanger their own repose and safety.
The principle of guaranteeing to both King and people the established order of things was much talked of at the time. By some it was contended that a species of guarantee having been given to the King by the arrangement for placing an army of occupation in France, coupled with the instructions to the Duke of Wellington for the employment of the troops whilst they should remain there, that the Allies should give the nation the same security for their liberties by guaranteeing the Charte; but neither alternative was adopted and no guarantee was given beyond what grew out of the circumstances above alluded to; a guarantee which was, in its nature, temporary, and was expressly limited to a period not exceeding five years by the provisions contained in Article 5 of the general treaty of peace.
The four Powers, it is true, took further measures of precaution in their Treaty of Alliance, signed the same day, as will appear by reference to the Fifth Article; but this article proceeds upon the principle that after the army of occupation should be withdrawn the Allies could only justify an interference in the affairs of a foreign State upon the ground of considering their own safety compromised, and that, independently of such a consideration, they could not justly claim any right of interference, or in prudence charge themselves with the task of redressing violations of the internal Constitution of France; in this sense the latter part of Article 3 is framed, being the only article in either treaty which touches the question. The true point, therefore, for consideration under this article must always be, Is the safety or interest of the Alliance so far compromised by the event as to justify recurrence to war; or is it a case, if not for actual war, at least for defensive precautions; or, finally, is it a case which, though more or less to be disapproved or regretted, neither justifies the former nor requires the latter alternative? The case admits in good sense, as well as according to the words of the treaty, of no other solution. It would have been impossible to have proposed to France an express article to preserve inviolate the order of things as therein established, for no state of things could be more humiliating than that of a State which should be bound to its neighbours to preserve unchanged its internal system, and that any fundamental change in it, without their consent first had and obtained, should in itself be cause of war. If such a principle cannot be maintained for a moment in argument, the qualification of it, that the change to be tolerated must be legally made, is not less so; for how can foreign States safely be left to judge of what is legal in another State, or what degree of intrigue or violence shall give to the change the character which is to entitle them to interfere? The only safe principle is that of the law of nations: that no State has a right to endanger its neighbours by its internal proceedings, and that if it does, provided they exercise a sound discretion, their right of interference is clear. It is this right upon which the latter part of Article 3 expressly founds itself, and not upon any covenant supposed to be made by France.
The Allies are presumed to have a common interest in judging this question soundly when it arises, if they are of opinion that the circumstances of the case, prudentially considered, constitute the existence of the danger, against which the article intended to provide. Then they are bound to concur in furnishing the stipulated succours; but till the case arises none of the contracting parties are engaged for more, under this branch of the article, than an eventual concert and decision.
Having discussed and endeavoured to state with precision what the existing treaties have really done, there will remain open to fair discussion the question, Have they done enough, or does not much remain yet to be done? No question can be more proper for examination, and no Government more disposed to consider it, than that of Great Britain, whenever any clear and specific proposition shall be brought forward, always holding in view the inconvenience of agitating in time of peace questions that presuppose a state of war or disturbance.
The desire of the Prince Regent always is to act cordially with his Allies; but, in doing so, to stand quite clear in the view of his own engagements not to be supposed to have taken engagements beyond the text and import of the treaties signed.
The problem of an universal Alliance for the peace and happiness of the world has always been one of speculation and of hope, but it has never yet been reduced to practice and if an opinion may be hazarded from its difficulty, it never can; but you may in practice approach towards it, and perhaps the design has never been so far realised as in the last four years. During that eventful period the Quadruple Alliance, formed upon principles altogether limited, has had, from the presence of the Sovereigns and the unparalleled unity of design with which their Cabinets have acted, the power of travelling so far out of the sphere of their immediate and primitive obligations, without, at the same time, transgressing any of the principles of the law of nations or failing in the delicacy which they owe to the rights of other States, as to form more extended alliances, such as that of March 25, 1815, at Vienna, to interpose their good offices for the settlement of differences subsisting between other States, to take the initiative in watching over the peace of Europe, and finally in securing the execution of its treaties in the mode most consonant to the convenience of all the parties.
The idea of an "Alliance Solidaire," by which each State shall be bound to support the state of succession, government, and possession within all other States from violence and attack, upon condition of receiving for itself a similar guarantee, must be understood as morally implying the previous establishment of such a system of general government as may secure and enforce upon all kings and nations an internal system of peace and justice. Till the mode of constructing such a system shall be devised the consequence is inadmissible, as nothing would be more immoral or more prejudicial to the character of government generally than the idea that their force was collectively to be prostituted to the support of established power without any consideration of the extent to which it was abused. Till, then, a system of administrating Europe by a general alliance of all its States can be reduced to some practical form, all notions of general and unqualified guarantee must be abandoned, and States must be left to rely for their security upon the justice and wisdom of their respective systems, aided by such support as other States may feel prepared to afford them, and as circumstances may point out and justify without out-stepping those principles which are to be found in the law of nations as long recognised and practised.
The beneficial effects which may be expected to be produced by the four Allied Powers consulting together, and interposing from time to time their good offices, as they have hitherto done, for the preservation of peace and order, is considered as equally true with respect to five Powers, the introduction of France into such a system not rendering it too numerous for convenient concert, whilst it must add immensely to the moral weight and influence of such a mediating Power ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(A)TREATIES, PROTOCOLS, &c.:
D'ANGEBERG Comte. Le Congrès de Vienne et les Traités de 1815, 4 parts. Paris, 1864. With an introduction by J.-B. Capefigue.
British and Foreign State Papers, vol. I, 1812- 1814; vol. II, 1814-15; vol. III, 1815-16. London, 1838-41.
KLÜBER J. L. Acten des Wiener Congresses, 9 vols. Erlangen, 1817-35.
(B) DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE, PRIVATE LETTERS, DIARIES, &c.:
GENTZ F. VON. Dépêches inédites aux Hospodars de Valachie, vol. I. Paris, 1876.
KLINKOWSTRÜM A. F. VON. Oesterreichs Theilnahme an den Befrciungskriegen. Vienna, 1887. Containing Gentz's letters.
METTERNICH-WINNEBURG Prince C. W. N. L.,. Mémoires, Documents et Écrits divers, vols. I and II. Paris, 1880. Also German and English editions.
CASTLEREAGH Viscount. Correspondence, edited by his brother, vols. IX, X, XI. London, 1852.
JACKSON Sir GEORGE. Diaries and Letters, edited by Lady Jackson , 2nd series, vol. II. London, 1873.
WELLINGTON Field-Marshal the Duke of. Despatches. edited by Col. Gurwood; vol. XII. London, 1847.
WELLINGTON Field-Marshal the Duke of. Supplementary Despatches, Correspondence, and Memoranda, edited by his son; vols. VIII, IX, X, XI. London, 1860- 1864.
TALLEYRAND-PÉRIGORD C. M. DE. Mémoires, vols. II and III. Paris, 1891.
TALLEYRAND-PÉRIGORD C. M. DE. Correspondance inédite pendant le Congrès de Vienne, edited by G. Pallain. Paris, 1881.
JAUCOURT Comte DE. Correspondance avec le Prince de Talleyrand pendant le Congrès de Vienne. Paris, 1905.
PERTZ G. H., and DELBRÜCK H. Leben des Feldmarschalls N. von Gneisenau, vols. III and IV. Berlin, 1864-81.
PERTZ G. H. Leben des Ministers Freiherr von Stein, vols. IV, V, VI. Berlin, 1850-55.
MARTENS F. DE. Recueil des Traités et Conventions conclus par la Russie avec les Puissances étrangères, vols. III, IV, VII, XI, XIV. St. Petersburg, 1875, &c.
MIKHAILOVITCH Le Grand Duc NICOLAS. L'Empereur Alexander 1 er, 2 vols. St. Petersburg, 1912.
Sbornik of the Imperial Russian Historical Society, vols. XXXI, CXII. St. Petersburg, 1880, 1904.
GAGERN Freiherr H. C. E. VON. Mein Antheil an der Politik, 5 vols. Stuttgard, Tübingen, and Leipzig, 1823- 1845.
MÜNSTER Count E. F. H., VON. Political Sketches of the State of Europe, 1814- 1867. Edinburgh, 1868. Fuller than German edition. Leipzig, 1867. FOURNIER AUGUST. Die Geheimpolizei auf dem Wiener Kongress. Vienna and Leipzig, 1913.
WEIL M. H. Les Dessous du Congrès de Vienne, 2 vols. Paris, 1917.
(C) HISTORIES, MONOGRAPHS, &c.:
BERNHARDI T. VON. Geschichte Russlands und der Europäischen Politik im XIXten Jahrhundert, vol. I. Leipzig, 1863.
Cambridge Modern History, vol. IX. Cambridge, 1906.
DUVERGIER DE P. HAUVANNE Histoire du Gouvernement parlementaire en France, 1814- 1848, vol. II. Paris, 1857. FOURNIER A. Der Congress von Châtillon. Leipzig, Vienna, and Prague, 1900.
FOURNIER A. Historische Studien und Skizzen, 2e Reihe. Vienna and Leipzig, 1908.
FYFFE C. A. A History of Modern Europe, vol. I. London, 1880.
ONCKEN W. Das Zeitalter der Revolution, des Kaiserreichs, und der Befreiungskriege, vol. 2. Berlin, 1887.
ONCKEN W. Lord Castlereagh und die Ministerconferenz zu Langres am 29 Januar, 1814; Raumer Historisches Taschenbuch, VI, 3. Leipzig, 1884.
ONCKEN W. Die Krisis der letzten Friedensverhandlung mit Napoleon I; Raumer Historisches Taschenbuch, VI, 5. Leipzig, 1886.
PHILLIPS W. ALISON. The Confederation of Europe. London, 1914.
RAIN P. L'Europe et la Restoration des Bourbons. Paris, 1905.
SALISBURY Marquess of. Biographical Essays. London, 1905. Contains an essay on Castlereagh published in the Quarterly Review in 1862.
SCHAUMANN A. F. H. Geschichte des 2er Pariser Friedens. Güttingen, 1844.
SOREL A. L'Europe et la Révolution française, vol. VIII. Paris, 1904.
SOREL A. Essais d'Histoire et de Critique. Paris, 1883, 1894.
TREITSCHKE H. VON. History of Germany. English edition, vols. I and II. London, 1915- 1916.
VIEL-CASTEL Baron L. DE. Lord Castlereagh et la Politique extérieure de l'Angleterre de 1812 à 1822. Revue des Deux Mondes, June 1, 1854.
For fuller list, see the Cambridge Modern History, vol. IX.
Printed by His Majesty's Stationery Office at the Foreign Office Press.
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