THE CORRESPONDENCE OF PRINCE TALLEYRAND AND KING LOUIS XVIII. DURING THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA
Letter III. Note 10.
EXTRACT from M. d'Hauterive's letter to M. de Talleyrand,
18th October, 1814:
"It is difficult to form an idea of the disorder and irregularity that pervade the administration. Each day brings us fresh proofs of them. If uniformitr of principle and action existed, we should not find the deputies creating a distinction in the mind of the nation between the King and his ministers. It is most unfortunate! The malcontents are coming forward, talking, acting with more audacity than ever. Even the most sensible people are led by this to apprehend disturbance. I have already written to you that trade is troubled; manufactures are paralyzed; landowners are overburthened with taxes which are exacted with barbarous rigor even in those districts where the Allies have left nothing but poverty. The excise duties and the tobacco monopoly are carried out as they were under Bonaparte, and with even greater severity. With all these grounds of displeasure against them, the administration lacks nerve and personal qualities. To all this has just been added what I call the fever of humiliation, with which people are bent on innoculating France. They are sure of touching a responsive chord when they tell us everywhere that we ought to avenge our injuries and wash out our disgrace in the blood of our enemies; that the English are everything, and can do everything in France; that England is hemming us in on the north with considerable forces, so that they may afterwards dictate laws to us; that Wellington governs at Paris; that we must shake off this ignominious yoke, etc.
"I beg you to pay serious attention to this observation, which perhaps escapes many people. Believe me that in this respect the evil is great. It is not that the Government does not possess the means of contesting this point of honor, which is at all events false under the present circumstances; it has all the journals and all the pamphleteers at its disposal. To get us out of the very unpleasant position in which we are, we need a man at the head of the administration who should enjoy the confidence and friendship of the King, and to whom he would reveal his mind unreservedly. But it would be necessary that this man should know France, should be of one party only, that of the French of 1814, and should be thoroughly convinced that the way to advance is not to go backward.
"Unfortunately this man exists only in two persons [ M. de Blacas and M. de Talleyrand]; you know them. Since your departure you have grown prodigiously in public estimation. The numerous blunders that are made here contribute to that aggrandizement. I have been well pleased to hear important persons say frankly that there was no means of safety except in holding by you, because that meant holding by the King and the Constitution. A rumor, true or false, which has circulated here among all classes, has been very favorable to you. It is generally said (and I assure you that I seriously believe it) that it is only to you personally that France owes her admission to the Congress; that Austria made some difficulties, but that you handed in a Note equally remarkable for the ability and the bold character which it displays."
Letter IV. Note 9.
"You already know the principles which the King has laid down as the rule of his ambassadors' conduct at the Congress. It was natural to think that all the Powers, animated by the same feelings, would have co-operated in the maintenance of those principles, since they had taken up arms to defend them. There is therefore cause for astonishment at finding them now disposed to follow the principles against which they had contended. Some are induced to do this from motives of ambition; others are influenced respectively by jealousy and distrust of the power of France, and from a desire to increase the strength of those whose position may bring their interests into opposition with those of France; and, lastly, some through timidity or indecision. The King, at the same time that he is resolved not to recognize the fact that conquest alone gives sovereignty, and not to participate in the violation of the principles of public law, is desirous to give facility to everything which does not attack those principles. This is what you have to say on all occasions, but always speaking with moderation of the opposition directed against principles." -- Circular to the political and consular agents, 29th October, 1814.
Letter V. Note 2.
"Friedrichsfeld, 19th September, 1814.
The King of Saxony wrote to Louis XVIII. on the 19th of September, 1814:
"The approach of the opening of the Congress of Vienna induces me to address your Majesty anew, in order to commend my interests to you, and to ask your support for my prompt reinstatement in my rights. I cannot imagine that I can have to fear being deprived of the possession of them, or that the Allied Powers or any Court of Europe could approve of a measure which would closely resemble the system that they have just struck down. Nevertheless, the reports that I shall be threatened with that dispossession gain such ground, and are so public, that I feel it due to myself and to the contracting Powers of the last treaty of peace to declare beforehand and against an attempts, that if such an idea could exist I never will consent to surrender the States which I have inherited from my ancestors, nor to accept any compensation whatsoever, no equivalent being capable of indemnifying me for their loss, and for separation from a people whom I love, and who have given me multiplied proofs of attachment and fidelity. But I repeat, the noble and lofty way of thinking of the Powers assembled at the Congress, and that of your Majesty in particular, reassure me in this respect, and is a pledge to me of the fulfilment of my desires.
"I beg you, my brother, to receive the renewed expression of the sincere friendship and high consideratign with which I am,
"Your Majesty's good brother,
(Signed) "FREDERICK AUGUSTUS."
THE MONT DE MILAN.
"The Emperor Napoleon I., when he instituted hereditary rights, reserved to himself the resources of an extraordinary fund, destined, by a Senatus-Consultus of 1810, to remunerate great civil and military services. This department possessed scrip of the Mont de Milan, on which were charged the en dowments that were to be the recompense of services rendered in the campaigns of Ulm, Austerlitz, Jena, and Friedland. The rights of the persons entitled to these endowments had been guaranteed by a clause of the Treaty of Fontainebleau; but Austria, after having paid in 1818 the arrears due in 1814, refused to continue the payment. The Government of the Restoration, having failed in every attempt to induce Austria to pay, was desirous of doing what they could for the endowed persons with the amount of the extraordinary fund that remained. The law of the 26th of July, 1821, substituted for the reversible endowments from male to male in order of primogeniture, reversible pensions for the widow and children of the first titulary only, in equal portions, with reversion in favor of the last survivor, being either the widow or child. These pensions are divided into six classes, and the figure was fixed: for the four first, at one thousand francs; for the fifth, at five hundred francs; and for the sixth, at two hundred and fifty francs.
"In 1861, after the War of Italy, Austria and Sardinia, upon the demand of France, placed at her disposal a sum of 12,500,000 francs, of which 6,250,000 francs was assigned to the former holders of endowments on the Mont de Milan. This sum was employed in the creation of rentes, which have been distributed proportionably to the titularies of the Mont de Milan, or those holding their rights, according to the rule of transmission fixed by the deed of endowment or by the decrees; the figure of the new registry never being below two hundred francs. The rente registered in their name. independently of the pension fixed in virtue of the law of 1821, returns to the Treasury in the case provided for by the constitutive deed." -- Summary of the Report of the Commission nominated by the decree of the 22nd of May, 1851.
The following letter, from Talleyrand to Metternich, dated 6th March, 1811, indicates the nature of the former personal relations between the two statesmen:
"I should have much liked to answer your letter sooner, my dear Count, but I have passed nearly three weeks in my room, ill enough. I began by being rather too ill. The terrible words 'malignant fever' were pronounced over me, but all that has calmed down. When one has been seriously ill, one comes back to life in a state of purity which leaves one very ignorant of the affairs of this world. I really do not know what is going on. My common sense tells me that the sovereigns who have you for their adviser are fortunate. But you cannot be everywhere, or at Paris, where you would surely have tried to console the Due de Bassano for the report of the Swedish Minister of Foreign
Affairs, which I have just read, and Madame Junot for her husband's departure. Each has his or her troubles, and you have remedies for all.
"When you turn your eyes towards France, and you think of those who care for you and your glory, I am inclined to believe that you will recall the friend of Marie [ de Hetternich]. He will always be as you have known, and liked him a little: and he would welcome renewed opportunities of telling you this, and proving that he regards you with friendship, esteem, and consideration.
The Minister of War writes to Talleyrand, 9th November, 1814:
"Our regiments are, in fact, very well organized, and our only difficulty has been to select the best among various officers. We have granted a great many furloughs, and we are below our formation on the peace footing; but I beg you to believe that I should be in a position to show you at this moment very fine corps d'armée on all our frontiers. Fifty thousand men upon the Rhine, fifty thousand on the north, twenty thousand on the Alps -- such are our available forces at present. It is a matter of course that fortresses and the interior should be suitably guarded besides, and that we are very little inclined to adopt the foolish tactics of stripping the inside of the country to make a great effect outside. On the first day of January, the available forces will be augmented by sixty thousand men, and If it were necessary they could be increased by one hundred thousand more in March. I judge by the statements sent to me by the Prefects that there are more than two hundred thousand men in the interior belonging to the colors, and intended to raise the active army to a high degree of force all at once, or to augment it successively and in detail during several years of peace. It is this reserve, so precious because it is composed of men already drilled, which renders a law for recruiting unnecessary just now. I do not speak of the artillery, for to do so would be vanity on my part. That arm is finer than ever. We have some new inventions . . . a new musket, new powder, very superior to the old, a more serviceable cuirass; these are three discoveries which do honor to our artillery, and which have excited the curiosity of our neighbors."
Fouché wrote to Talleyrand on the 25th of September, 1814, from the Château. de Ferriéres, as follows:
"A person who is going to Vienna as chargé d'affaires for the Marshals of France offers me his services in the matter of my dotations.
"Your Highness has given me assurances in this respect, on which I rely; I place my interests entirely in your hands.
"I presented myself twice at your Highness's house before your departure, but I had not the good fortune to find you and make my adieus. I should have wished to speak to you of the interior of France and of Paris, and especially of the Frenchmen who were in the first instance excluded from places, and will soon be forced to quit France. Garat has already passed through Bayonne, some days ago, but there are men who are not so timid, and who will remain in their country to defend themselves. Carnot is printing the memoir with which you are no doubt acquainted, as more than one copy is in circulation.
"Your Highness may rely on my information of the position of affairs and the real state of feeling: the King will find no peace or safety except in his moderation. Those who advised him to have the Mécontents and the Quotidienne [newspapers] published, journals filled with the grossest invectives, have consulted their own blind passions rather than the true interests of the King.
"If I were not kept in France by my property, I should be in London with my children; there will shortly be no tranquillity here for anybody. The Government is easy because everything seems to be making progress, but an unforeseen event may change all. I hope the continuity of your eminent services procures you at least repose.
"I will not speak to your Highness of the affairs of Naples; I know the interest which you take in them. I am writing upon them to Prince Metternich, to whom I have to write about a conversation he has had with M. Baudus on the subject of myself, and entering with him into some details respecting France and Europe.
"The Belgians who are in Paris are giving vent to their displeasure at the handing over of their country to the rule of Holland without consulting them. It seems to me that, since everything is being undone, it would be more fitting to restore Belgium to Austria, under which country Belgium was so prosperous. Besides, that would be to do homage to a century of possession, with only twenty years of interruption.
"I beg your Highness sometimes to remember a man who is and always will be attached to you."
At the same time D'Hauterive wrote to Talleyrand: "All parties seem to combine in the chorus, 'This cannot la t.' "
Jaucourt wrote to Talleyrand on the 18th of October, 1814:
"The alarm has been great among those around the King; restless Marshal Marmont gives himself infinite trouble to find out causes for apprehension.
"The petty police denounces the great, and the great has courage and boldness enough to arrest the petty.
"The King meets everything with his wisdom, his discretion, and his calmness: it is a crime to put all these royal qualities to the proof.
Jaucourt wrote on the 29th of November, 1814:
" MarshalMarmont, through restlessness, over-zeal, or I know not what motive, took fright at the idea of the King's going to the play at the Odéon, and imparted to the King the warnings he had received. He requested the King to send for General Maison and General Dessoles, which was done; but the King said to them very quietly, 'Gentlemen, your business is to guard me; mine is to go and amuse myself at the play.' "
The following description of a Ridotto is given by the Moniteur Universel in its Vienna correspondence:
"The grand Ridotto of the 2nd of December afforded a unique spectacle of magnificence and rich attire. It took place in three large halls connected by galleries and staircases, and forming so spacious an enclosure that from ten to twelve thousand persons could move about without inconvenience. The decorations were of the most elegant description. The passage which led from the apartments of the palace to the hall of the Ridotto was magnificentaly lighted and adorned with flowers and shrubs, as was the small hall, which looked like a garden in fairyland. We passed through an avenue of orange trees into the great hall, from whence, beyond the great staircase, we could see the immense space which forms the riding school of the Court. This building, which is a masterpiece of architecture, had been converted into a dancing room; the pure white hangings were relieved with white and silver most tastefully mingled, and from five to six thousand wax candles shed a marvellous brilliancy over the scene.
"The movement of so many personages in full dress, and the strains of an orchestra of one hundred musicians, lent this splendid fête animation which it is impossible to describe. At 10 o'clock their Majesties and the other august personages entered the hall to the sound of trumpets and cymbals. Their Majesties the Emperor of Russia and the Empress of Austria headed the procession. Then came their Majesties the Emperor of Austria and the Empress of Russia; his Majesty the King of Denmark, with her Imperial Highness the Archduchess Beatrix; their Majesties the King of Prus ia and the Queen of Bavaria; his Majesty the King of Bavaria, with her Imperial Highness the Grand-Duchess of Oldenburg, etc. After having walked several times through the three halls, the sovereigns took their places on a daïs in the riding school, and witnessed the performance of a ballet by children wearing masks. After the ballet their Majesties walked about separately in the hall until after midnight. The fête lasted until morning."
The Moniteur of the 7th of December publishes the following from a Vienna correspondent: "At the Carrousel yesterday, the quadrille was led off by the Countess de Périgord, niece of Prince Talleyrand, dancing with Count Trautmannsdorf. The quadrilles were composed of the greatest personages of the Court and of Germany.
On the 10th of November, 1814,
Jaucourt wrote to Talleyrand:
"I am assured that Monsieur has a great deal to do with the selection that has been made. Perhaps one day he who now congratulates himself on the influence which his presence exercises will regret to see him there. As for me, I believe in his capacity, and in his perfect indifference to what form a Government may take provided it gives him the exercise of a great authority; with all this he has, it is evident. the means of exerting influence."
On the 10th of December, 1814, D'Hauterive wrote:
"As we have no navy, and probably shall not have one for a long time, the selection of Beugnot has done neither good nor harm. People laughed, and that has been all about it. The sailors complain a little, but there are so few of them!"
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