THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA I:
THE CRISIS OF RECONSTRUCTION, SEPTEMBER 1814-JANUARY 1815
1. THE PERSONNEL AND PROCEDURE.
2. CASTLEREAGH AS MEDIATOR.
3. THE SECRET TREATY.
"Le véritable but du Congrès était le partage entre les vainqueurs des dépouilles enlevées au vaincu."--GENTZ.
1. THE PERSONNEL AND PROCEDURE
SINCE the only invitation to the Congress of Vienna was a public announcement that it would open on October 1, almost every sovereign and statesman in Europe might cherish some hope of being present at what was naturally regarded as a unique occasion. Some were necessarily disappointed, including the Prince Regent, but a large number of states were represented, not only by their principal Ministers, but also by their crowned heads. By September they had already begun to assemble at Vienna, whose resources were hardly able to cope with their numbers, for almost all the guests brought their wives and other female relations, and a mass of visitors poured into the city merely to enjoy the spectacle. The impoverished Austrian Court and the principal nobles strained their resources to the utmost to provide hospitality for all, but where crowned heads were so numerous lesser men had to be content with very narrow quarters.
Castlereagh was well within his promised date when he arrived on September 13, ready to discuss with the other Ministers of the Alliance the programme and procedure of the Congress, as well as to make a last effort to settle the main problems of reconstruction before the other plenipotentiaries arrived. Nesselrode and Hardenberg arrived two days later, and though Metternich had to give up his plan of a little preliminary party in the quiet of Baden, a pleasant resort near Vienna, private discussions at once began.
The quantity of business was, indeed, formidable. Outside France hardly anything had been settled as to the territorial reconstruction of Europe. From the Rhine to the Vistula, from the North Sea to the Mediterranean, the frontier of every state had to be reconsidered. Germany and Switzerland had also to be given constitutions, while the Pope and the Sultan raised special problems. Nor were the questions merely territorial. The old dynasties were hastening to Vienna to claim their "rights," so that questions of succession were involved. Lastly, there were such general problems as the Abolition of the Slave Trade, the Navigation of International Rivers, the Emancipation of the Jews, the Regulation of Diplomatic Etiquette. In the background was the all-important question whether some new method was to be instituted for the new Europe, once it was made, to prevent the recurrence of the evils of war.
Though Britain's own claims had been largely satisfied at the Peace of Paris, Castlereagh was still convinced that these European questions were of vital concern to the peace and prosperity of his country. For twelve months he had been preparing for the settlement, which could no longer be postponed. Now at last the principles and expedients which he had so often discussed with Pitt were to be applied. The "balance of power" or "just equilibrium," as he more often called it, had now to be transferred from the preamble of state papers to the map of Europe. The experience of the last eight months had shewn how difficult it was to obtain agreement amongst the continental Powers. Failure to do so now threatened disaster of great magnitude--at the worst, war; and even if an immediate outbreak was avoided, a Europe so badly reconstructed that war would follow in a short interval. To avoid such a catastrophe was to Castlereagh's mind the chief duty of a British statesman. Alone of all the plenipotentiaries he had no territorial claims to urge. It is true that the frontiers of the Netherlands had still to be settled and the claims of Hanover to expansion adjusted. But these were, after all, secondary matters; while Russia, Prussia, and Austria were vitally affected by the settlement. Britain could act, therefore, as the mediator in their disputes, with an eye to Europe as a whole rather than any special interest.
As has been seen, Castlereagh had to some extent compromised this situation by the attitude which he had adopted at an early period on the questions of Poland and Saxony. He had already shewn himself violently opposed to the Tsar's schemes, and was preparing to combine all Europe against him. He had already taken sides. But his position was still that of a mediator and not of a principal in the dispute. He was convinced that without him the other Great Powers would be unable to come to satisfactory conclusions, and that he must take the lead in the discussions. He could not remain merely as a judge; action was necessary. The deadlock had already come, and no one else appeared to possess the energy, resolution, and courage to solve it.
The British delegation seems small enough to cope with its formidable task. Castlereagh had no one to help him of firstrate calibre. He was perhaps glad to have no other Cabinet Minister with him, yet it seems strange that in view of the magnitude of the problems and the distance of Vienna from London no suggestion should have been made to send one of his colleagues to share his responsibility. The other British plenipotentiaries were diplomatic assistants. "You would find the others useful in matters referred to subordinate commissions to report upon, but they take no part in transactions between Cabinet and Cabinet," Castlereagh explained to Wellington when he offered him his own place. 1 Wellington carried out his duties with his usual efficiency and coolness, and as a good soldier with careful attention to the orders which Castlereagh left behind him. The main questions of reconstruction were settled before he took charge, but it was of great importance that he was at Vienna when the news of Napoleon's return arrived, where his prestige and authority did much to make the military plans of the Allies less dilatory than in previous years and to compose the inevitable rivalries of strategy and command which immediately arose.
Lord Stewart, as Ambassador to Vienna, had necessarily to be a member of the delegation, but his brother's affection would have given him the opportunity wherever the Congress had been held. No one enjoyed its magnificence more than he did, but the energy and heartiness, which was often useful while the campaign was in progress, now made Stewart a
1 "To Wellington, Dec. 17, 1814": C.C. x. 220.
terrible handicap. His love of display and social prominence led him into some dreadful situations, nor could he resist as his colleagues did the social dangers of the Congress. The result was that he became the enfant terrible of Vienna and earned the nickname of "LordPumpernickel." No snub could damp his effervescence, and his exploits, which included a free fight with a coachman, apparently thoroughly enjoyed by both combatants, shocked and disgusted the aristocratic Society in which he moved.
Lord Cathcart was included because of his intimacy with the Tsar, but he played no part until after the return of Napoleon. It was the third Plenipotentiary, the Earl of Clancarty, who was Castlereagh's principal assistant. He was a man of limited outlook but of amazing industry and real diplomatic courage. His reverence and affection for Castlereagh were such that the orders of his chief were almost sacrosanct. He supplied therefore but little check or criticism of Castlereagh's plans, but gave him constant assistance in carrying them out, while his work in the final stages of the Congress was of great importance.
Criticism as well as assistance was supplied by Edward Cooke, whom Castlereagh took with him as chief of staff. His long years of devotion to the Secretary of State enabled him to adopt when necessary a more detached attitude than any other of Castlereagh's helpers. He was undoubtedly his chief confidant while he remained at Vienna. He established valuable contacts with Metternich's officials in the Foreign Office and was a mine of information and advice. He assisted Castlereagh with his memoranda, and the phraseology of some of them is undoubtedly his. His cynical letters to the Prime Minister added just the right touches to Castlereagh's dispatches. Unfortunately, his health, which was already much impaired, could not stand the strain of the hot rooms and harsh climate of Vienna, and he had to leave at the critical moment to recuperate in Italy. 1
1 I must again correct the statement made in the Cambridge History of British Foreign Policy ( iii. 554), that Cooke resigned as a result of a difference with Castlereagh over Poland, which is founded on a remark of Stapleton, Canning's Private Secretary, who claimed that he had it from Planta. This malicious lie of Stapleton's, which was only published after both Planta and Cooke were dead, is not only proved false by the
The other most important member of Castlereagh's staff was Planta, who was by now well versed in continental journeyings, and who was to succeed Cooke. The ten other members of the staff were mainly young men, some of them regular members of the Foreign Office, others relations of Castlereagh or his friends. Their command of French appears to have been limited, since Gentz had frequently to be employed by Castlereagh to translate his notes and memoranda. 1 Clancarty also brought two assistants of his own. The Duke of Wellington brought three assistants when he replaced Castlereagh in February. Stratford Canning was summoned, apparently as an afterthought, to assist in Swiss affairs, which he had already mastered in a few months' stay, and to which he was to contribute a good deal during the Congress. Münster of course represented Hanover, and was at Castlereagh's disposal as at Paris. But a severe accident kept him in the background throughout October and most of November, and he had necessarily to devote much attention to purely German affairs in which he was a prominent figure. His ideas on the Saxon question were by no means the same as those of Castlereagh. He was, however, used by the latter on occasion, was always a source of information, and responded loyally when called upon to make sacrifices for the general good.
On October 12 he announced to the allied Courts that George III had taken the title of King of Hanover, a step which, according to the Duke of Cambridge, caused great joy to his faithful subjects, though the Duke himself postponed his rejoicing until he saw whether MU00FCnster succeeded "in procuring sufficient additional territory to the Electorate to make it worthy of its new title." 2
The staff though small was well organised, and on the whole seems to have been adequate to its purpose. There is no
whole of Cooke's relations with Castlereagh, but is shewn to be without foundation by the fact that Cooke's letters take an even stronger position towards the Polish question than Castlereagh himself. Cooke indeed wrote part of the memoranda in which Castlereagh laid down his position.
1 Tagebücher von F. von Gentz, i. 320, 324, 327, 356. Gentz received £1600 from the British in addition to such presents as all the principal Powers gave to him at the end of the Congress. 2 Duke of Cambridge to the Prince Regent, Oct. 24, 1814: Windsor Arch.
complaint of delay, though a large number of long documents and memoranda had to be dealt with, and the amount of copying work must have been at times overwhelming. Moreover, it remained, almost alone amongst the embassies of the Great Powers, impervious to the ubiquitous secret agents of Austrian police. Castlereagh hired his own servants, gave special orders as to the disposal of his papers, and seems to have warned his staff against feminine seductions. 1
He inhabited a suite of twenty-two rooms in Minoriten Platz, rejecting the Auge Gottes prepared for him by his hosts as too small. There Lady Castlereagh and her sister, Lady Matilda, dispensed a hospitality which it must be admitted was, as at Paris, more appreciated by English travellers, of whom eighty were present, than by foreign guests, of whom, however, said Cooke, a curious medley appeared at her suppers nearly every night. Dancing was held every Tuesday, and Castlereagh seems always to have been glad of it as a form of exercise. Her obvious attachment to her husband amused Viennese Society, where such a spectacle was rare. Lord Apsley complained of the excessive Sabbatarianism, which was perhaps increased as a protest against the licence of the place. The performance of Beethoven's new sonata had to be postponed from a Sunday owing to this reason. Lord Stewart also kept open house at great expense. Divine service was celebrated at the Embassy every Sunday. 2
In the never-ending series of public entertainments Castle-
1 The papers were well kept while Castlereagh was there, but after his return there was some difficulty. A light wagon was sufficient to take them home at the end of the Congress. Two ciphers were lost in March, but it was found that they were only mislaid. The courier service was better than that of any other Power, not only because more money was available. The secret police, who had agents in all other hotels, apparently failed entirely in Castlereagh's. Nothing was left in the waste-paper baskets. Fournier, Die Geheimpolizei auf dem Wiener Congress, 25. Weil, Les dessous du Congrès de Vienne, i. 211.
2 The cost to the State was £15,000 for the period of Castlereagh's stay ( F.O. Great Britain, 10), while Stewart was given an extra £5000, besides special allowances of £5274, both moderate amounts considering the general scale of expenditure at Vienna. These sums were, of course, for personal expenses only ( Bathurst to Stewart, June 9, 1815, which intimates that in future he must strictly limit himself to his salary. Lond. MSS.). Yonge, Life of Liverpool, ii. 95. According to Consalvi, Castlereagh laid in 10,000 bottles of wine for his dinners and receptions ( Weil, Murat, i. 391-92).
reagh was always an impressive figure, his beauty and imperturbability being generally renowned as well as the simplicity of his dress. His wife, on the other hand, was a mark for the wits on such occasions, especially when she wore her husband's Garter ornament in her hair. Castlereagh, however, unlike Metternich, cut down his social duties to the minimum, and the unavoidable interruptions to his work were generally used to further some negotiation.
He kept his team working in laudable harmony while he was at Vienna. There were, however, considerable heartburnings amongst the British plenipotentiaries at Wellington's appointment, which they felt as a reflection on their own competence, though all acquiesced in Castlereagh's wishes without complaint. The Duke fully carried out the hint of Castlereagh to keep matters in his own hand, and the others were treated by him as subordinates and not told too much. Clancarty was, however, made contented with the K.C.B., which he had long coveted, and Lord Stewart had to stifle his discontent. This was increased when Clancarty succeeded to Wellington, but Clancarty's tact and friendship made the position bearable. It became, however, worse when Cathcart took the Duke's position on the military committee, and broke bounds when it was thought that Clancarty would assume a position at headquarters such as Castlereagh had held in 1814. Clancarty forwarded Stewart's pathetic letter of protest to Castlereagh and generously offered to serve in any capacity so that harmony might prevail. Fortunately, events rendered this sacrifice unnecessary, though Castlereagh in a kind note to his brother pointed out that he had no cause for complaint. 1
The statesmen of the Great Powers Castlereagh, of course, now knew intimately after six months' constant intercourse with them. There was but little change in personnel. The Tsar appointed as his principal plenipotentiaries, Nesselrode, Razumovski, his Ambassador at Vienna, a rich nonentity who only attracted attention when his magnificent palace was destroyed by fire, and Stackelberg. But none of the
1 From Clancarty, May 19, 1815; from Stewart, May 15, 1815: Lond. MSS. "To Stewart, June 9, 1815": C.C. x. 378. Of Cathcart's feelings we have no record, but it is improbable that they were disturbed.
Tsar's real confidants were Russians. Czartoryski wrote most of his memoranda on Poland. That he was the lover of the Tsarina appears to have made no difference to the Tsar's trust in him. Stein was used in German questions, and Capo d'Istria was also increasingly in evidence. He was given a free hand as regards his native Ionian Isles and was responsible for Swiss affairs, in which he tried to carry out La Harpe's wishes. Pozzo di Borgo, summoned from Paris, fell from favour because he disapproved the Tsar's plans.
The King of Prussia still relied on Hardenberg, but Humboldt played in some ways the more important part. He was suspected of trying to supplant his chief, and his manœuvres were undoubtedly one cause of Hardenberg's inconsistencies. Baron Jacobi was brought from London to check him, perhaps, but he was too bewildered to do much. Prussia had as usual a very capable staff, which continued the unending series of memoranda on every possible occasion. Their generals were too much in evidence for comfort and helped to give an appearance of rapacity to their demands.
Metternich might have been more easy and efficient if he had not been at home. Wessenberg, who was appointed to be his second, was, on the other hand, far happier than in London and did much to supply the deficiencies of his chief. The officials of the Ball Platz, including the indispensable Hudelist, also kept the machine moving, and Gentz reached the pinnacle of his fame when he became Secretary of the principal conferences. He acted also as Metternich's publicity agent. But Metternich's critics and enemies were also necessarily on the spot, watching for an opportunity to displace him in the Emperor's favour. Neither Stadion, who had been given the Finances, nor Schwarzenberg were entirely satisfied with Metternich, while other officials and generals were violently hostile. Metternich himself, though his subtlety and patience never deserted him, was not at his best. He lacked energy and was "most intolerably loose and giddy with women," an opinion of Cooke's which is confirmed from many other quarters. Nevertheless, his Emperor remained faithful to his Minister to the end.
Talleyrand brought with him three plenipotentiaries of but moderate parts, of whom the Duc d'Alberg was the most efficient. His own brilliance would have been obscured by more assertive colleagues. He relied for help principally on La Besnardière, one of the most reliable of Napoleon's civil servants, whose pen was much in use for the composition of his chief's memoranda and even of some of the brilliant but untrustworthy reports sent to Paris for the edification of the King.
Both Labrador, who asserted Spain's rights in a spirit of pride and protest, and Count Palmella, who represented Portugal, gave Castlereagh a good deal of trouble. Sweden had now fallen almost completely out of the picture, except for her stubborn refusal to carry out her obligations to Denmark. Admiral Sydney Smith, the advocate of the deposed mad King Gustavus IV., was considered "as eccentric as his client." Gagern and Von Spaen, the Dutch plenipotentiaries, confessed that Castlereagh held "the tiller of their policy," but were sometimes restive under the control. Other plenipotentiaries with whom Castlereagh had a good deal of intercourse were Wrede, who was a fighting representative of Bavaria, Cardinal Consalvi, who was on excellent terms but too apt to bargain for small favours, and Mavrogeni, the unofficial representative of the Sultan, sent as a result of Liston's efforts at Constantinople. With the Kings of Bavaria, Wurtemberg, and Denmark, as well as a number of smaller princelings, Castlereagh seems to have had as little intercourse as was possible. Nor could the representatives of the smaller Powers see him without great difficulty. He remained in the inner circle which was dominated by the three sovereigns and their principal advisers, to which Talleyrand was afterwards admitted, the real Congress of Vienna, which carried out the reconstruction of Europe.
Castlereagh sent home a constant stream of reports to his Cabinet, together with copies of all the official memoranda. They were nearly all sent through Paris under flying seal so that Wellington could keep himself informed of the progress of events. Castlereagh also received a series of private letters from Liverpool as well as a few from Bathurst, which conveyed to him the sense of the Cabinet. He does not appear to have carried with him any special instructions. 1 At any rate, none have been discovered and there is no explicit reference to them. His powers were as wide as in his earlier mission, and he certainly extended them to their utmost. Such official instructions as he received were signed by Bathurst, but only one was of importance, and that he flatly disobeyed. Though the Cabinet were to grow very anxious at the course of events, Castlereagh was not checked in his vigorous policy even when a number of his colleagues disapproved of it. Only when Parliament was in session did the Cabinet meet to consider foreign policy, and at the moment of the greatest crisis were scattered all over England at their private seats. It was Liverpool and Bathurst alone who followed events closely, though, of course, the papers were accessible to other members, and these two were ready to give Castlereagh the greatest possible latitude. The Prince Regent received long accounts from Münster and had his own opinions about Saxony, but he made no effort to influence events as he had done earlier in the year.
The British Press was ill-informed as to the Congress, and public opinion in Britain was never greatly interested in it. The fate of Poland appealed to that section of liberal opinion which Czartoryski had inspired during his visit, and at a later stage Saxony was to arouse some emotions. But the Cabinet succeeded in cutting down the autumn session of Parliament to three weeks, and the mass of the people knew but little of the Congress. It was only the Abolition of the Slave Trade which could excite their emotions. The attempts which were to be made by those at Vienna to influence Castlereagh through the Regent, the Cabinet, or Parliament, were thus doomed to failure from the outset.
The first task was to make a plan for the Congress, and until this moment no one seems to have quite realised the difficulty which now appeared. The idea of a "Congress" had been adopted without consideration of what such an assembly signified. Who were to compose it? How were its decisions to be made? The statesmen of the Four Great Powers had now to face these questions in earnest, for the representatives
1 So I now conclude, though for long I thought some instructions had been given.
of all Europe were pouring into Vienna to take part in its deliberations. The Four were just as much determined as ever that they alone should decide the territorial questions, but agreement had yet to be reached. Nothing was ready to be laid before Europe for approval. How were they to obtain the legal position which would enable them to keep the problems in their own hands until their differences were settled? 1
The discussions on these questions began on September 15, and were continued for a week. There was unanimity, "that the conduct of business must practically rest with the leading Powers," and, except for a doubt on the Tsar's part as to Sweden's claims, the 'leading Powers' were held to be "the six Powers of the first order"--the Four, with France and Spain. It was an arbitrary distinction resting on no legal basis, reasserting the claim of the "Great Powers" to have a special position in the European polity, which they had already made at Châtillon, Spain's historic past placing her for the moment alongside the five Powers whose resources really gave them a title to claim the epithet. But the Four had no intention of admitting France and Spain to a real equality. They reserved the "initiative" on all the territorial questions to themselves, and by the "initiative" they meant, as their Protocol confessed, practically the decision. Only then were France and Spain to be allowed to make criticisms and objections, and it was clear that these could then have no effect. This position was justified by the secret article of the Treaties of Paris, which, however, though it could be quoted against Talleyrand, had no validity for Spain or any of the other states, who were not even aware of its existence.
Castlereagh, fresh from his interview with Louis and Talley. rand, was not quite happy at the manner in which this claim to the "initiative" was stated. He would have liked to have shewn more delicacy towards France. But he found, as he told his Cabinet, that "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." He could do no more,
1 "Not even the English, whom I thought more methodical than the others," wrote Talleyrand on his arrival, "have done any preparatory work on the subject." Pallain, Correspondance inédite do Talleyrand, 4.
therefore, than record his opinion that "the arrangements when so brought forward, to be open to free and liberal discussions with the other two Powers as friendly and not hostile parties." Moreover, he thought it necessary to reserve his right to protest against the decisions of the Four, if they were not to his liking. 1
The Four had now to consider how these decisions were to be enforced on the rest. It was clear that the Congress could not be constituted at once without bringing up not only the delicate point of its authority, but the vexed problem as to who had the right to take part in it. It was Prussia who was, as usual, ready with memoranda to settle even these complicated questions, and Humboldt produced two papers which proposed to deal with them in a very masterful manner. The other Powers should simply be told that the Six Powers had assumed direction, and committees should be set up to deal with the various problems, the territorial questions being reserved to the Four. Only when the Four had decided, and the Six had promulgated, the decisions was the Congress to be summoned to ratify them.
This open assertion of the rights of the Great Powers was not much liked by Castlereagh, because "it too broadly and ostensibly assumed the right to do what may be generally acquiesced in if not offensively announced, but which the secondary Powers may protest against if recorded to their humiliation in the face of Europe." In two papers of his own composition he suggested that the smaller Powers should be persuaded rather than compelled to agree to the proposals of the Four. But this involved a meeting of plenipotentiaries, and immediately, therefore, the consideration of such questions as who was to represent Saxony or Naples. Humboldt therefore pressed his point of view, and Castlereagh had to give way. The Four prepared to meet Talleyrand with a Projet which deferred the opening of the Congress on the lines which Humboldt had proposed. None of them seem to have realised the opportunity which it gave to him. 2
1 "To Liverpool, Sept. 24, 1814": B.D. 193. "Protocole de la Conference des 4 Cours, Sept. 22, 1814": B.F.S.P. ii. 554, with Castlereagh's reservation.
2 Castlereagh's proposals are given as Appendices II. and III. of my Congress of Vienna, where will also be found as Appendices IV., V., VI.,
For Talleyrand, when he was summoned to a quiet gathering in order to be informed of these proposals, refused entirely to agree with them. He had unanswerable objections. Who were these Six who were to be the directing committee? By what treaties were they constituted? The only body that he would recognise at all were the eight Powers who had signed the treaties of Paris by which the Congress had been summoned; and even these, he claimed, had no rights until their position was established by a meeting of the whole Congress. Let that body be summoned forthwith, he demanded, adding that France and Britain were constitutional Powers with special responsibilities. This view he immediately embodied in a formal note which he addressed pointedly to Castlereagh and not to Metternich. The Four were much perturbed at this method of handling the question, but they had no intention of giving way. They abandoned the idea of the Six and accepted Talleyrand's substitute of the Eight. But they refused to summon the Congress, and clearly indicated that the Four would continue their discussions of the territorial problems without any authorisation. Castlereagh, in vain, endeavoured to obtain Talleyrand's consent to these decisions, drafting himself another form of declaration. But Talleyrand would not give way. He was appealing to what he knew was a universal sentiment amongst the smaller Powers, to whom he speedily made known the facts of the controversy. He continued to insist that the Congress should be summoned, sending another note to Castlereagh which dwelt on British respect for the law because it was founded on consent and not on dictation.
But these appeals had no effect on Castlereagh. As he had told Talleyrand at Paris, he had no intention of separating Britain from her Allies. He gave him no support when, at the next meeting, Talleyrand, in answer to a challenge, proposed a formula for summoning the Congress, which would have included the King of Saxony's representatives and excluded those of Murat. He tried to persuade him to acquiesce in the decision that the Congress could not be
Humboldt's papers. Other details of organisation will be found in Part II. of the same book.
summoned. Talleyrand was thus in effect isolated: in fact his attitude had driven the Four closer together. He had therefore, after some flattering from Metternich, to agree to the postponement of the Congress for a month, to November 1, a decision which was formally announced in a declaration drawn up by Gentz. He had only succeeded in preventing the formal acceptance of the Prussian plan. Everything still depended on the discussions of the Four, from which Talleyrand was entirely excluded. These were continued without abatement, and a German Committee, such as had been originally suggested, also came into existence to discuss the Federal Constitution. As Castlereagh explained to his Cabinet, these decisions arose out of the nature of things, since a negotiation was in progress and not questions to be decided by voting. 1
Talleyrand's chagrin was extreme, and he attributed his exclusion to Castlereagh more than to anyone else. He continued, however, to work for the opening of the Congress, and throughout the month of October there was an intention to hold some kind of a meeting on November 1. Castlereagh's plans indeed, as will be seen, included a threat to the Tsar that the Polish question would be brought before the assembled delegates if Russia did not give way, and Metternich, at his suggestion, actually told the Tsar that some such step would be taken. Talleyrand was invited by Castlereagh to make plans for the holding of a meeting of the plenipotentiaries, and readily consented. But the situation did not work out as had been expected, and it was found that a further postponement was necessary. This time Talleyrand shewed himself more yielding. He brought, indeed, before the Committee of Eight, which met on October 30, an elaborate plan of organisation, but he shewed little resentment when this was rejected, and all that was done was to appoint a committee to receive the full powers of the plenipotentiaries. These soon arrived in shoals, but the organisation of the full Congress stopped at that point. Talleyrand had by this time
1 "To Liverpool, Oct. 9, 1814": B.D. 202. Talleyrand to Louis XVIII., Oct. 4, 9, 1814; Pallain, Correspondance inédite, 10, 25. "From Talleyrand, Oct. 1, 5, 1814": Projet de Declaration, "Oct. 2, 1814": B.F.S.P. ii. 559, 560, 561.
come to see that it was the dissensions of the Four rather than the rights of the smaller Powers which would give France the place which he desired, and his protests subsided into silence. As will be seen, it required a diplomatic explosion to place him by the side of the Four and constitute the Committee of Five Great Powers which carried through the reconstruction of Europe.
The formal organisation of the Congress therefore continued to be the Committee of Eight, which discussed mainly the terms of the incorporation of Genoa in Piedmont, a transfer already decided at Paris, the German Committee until the middle of November, and a Committee on Swiss affairs. The territorial settlement was discussed informally without any record of proceedings. The Ministers of the Four generally met in the morning and the sovereigns in the afternoon, until relations became too strained for them to bear one another's presence so often. Castlereagh had a situation, therefore, in which his particular genius had full scope. The rôle of mediator which he had assumed made him the centre of the discussions, and his days were spent in an unending series of private interviews, in a vain endeavour to produce agreement. His patience and imperturbability were equal to all demands, and though no one spoke more vigorously to the Tsar, he never failed to secure from him a courtesy sometimes denied to Metternich and Talleyrand. He had to suffer a severe defeat which might have shaken a less courageous man or one less convinced of the necessity of his own conduct. As it was, he was able to retrieve a position which at one time seemed hopeless, by action as audacious as it was successful, and secure a great deal, if not all, of the objects which he had pursued so long with such tenacity.
2. CASTLEREAGH AS MEDIATOR
MERE questions of procedure rarely delay diplomatic discussion if the parties really desire it. Throughout all the controversy as to the rights of the Congress, as Talleyrand had to confess, the Four continued with undiminished zeal to discuss the great problems that had divided them so long. Could they come to agreement now, there was no fear but that the rest of Europe would have to accept their conclusions. But agreement was still far off. The Tsar had not yielded in the slightest degree on his Polish plans, which to Castlereagh were still the greatest menace to the new Europe. Only a union of the other three Powers, which it might be hoped the rest of Europe, including France, would join, could provide sufficient force to beat down his steadfast and prolonged resistance. For the Tsar hastened to make his intentions quite clear. He expressed them to Castlereagh in an interview which he commanded the day after his arrival. He had decided to retain the whole of the duchy of Warsaw for his new constitutional kingdom of Poland, except a small portion allotted to Prussia. Castlereagh offered the most determined opposition to this plan. An independent Poland, he said, would be welcomed by Britain, adding with some boldness that Austria and Prussia would agree. But this view was, of course, only put forward because he knew that the Tsar must refuse, as he immediately did. To a Russian kingdom of Poland, Castlereagh then proceeded to assert, the whole of Europe was opposed, including the King of Prussia, even if he appeared to the Tsar to acquiesce.
Next day Nesselrode came to weigh the effect of the Tsar's words, and perhaps offer, as Castlereagh thought, to abandon the constitutional side of the Russian proposals, if the territorial were approved. Castlereagh refused this bargain in the strongest possible terms. The new Russian frontier, he said, would degrade the monarchs of Prussia and Austria in the eyes of their subjects and, whatever compensations they received elsewhere, leave them at the mercy of Russian military power. Russia, he even hinted, would have an influence over Europe to be compared with that of Napoleon. Nesselrode made no reply to this vigorous attack, which, as Castlereagh claimed, must have given him food for thought. But it was obvious that Russia would not give way unless she were compelled. 1
To Castlereagh, therefore, the problem was how to combine Austria and Prussia together against the Tsar. Metternich's promise of Saxony had prepared the way, but at Paris the combination had broken down over the possession of Mainz, which Austria, supported by Bavaria, positively refused to allow to pass into Prussian control. To meet this situation, Hardenberg produced at the outset another of his inevitable memoranda, which transferred Prussian territory more to the lower Rhine, Mainz becoming an Imperial fortress in Prussian occupation. This scheme necessarily disappointed the expectations of Holland for a large increase of territory in Germany. Nevertheless, Castlereagh was inclined to regard it favourably, at any rate as a beginning of Austro-Prussian agreement, when he sent it to Wellington for a strategic opinion. He was always anxious to get Prussia to the Rhine to defend Germany against France, though he did not fail to recognise that she might one day become a menace to the Netherlands. This was, however, a remote danger as compared with the more immediate threat of France against Belgium and the left bank of the Rhine. 2
The great point was, in any case, to bring Austria and Prussia together. Castlereagh had no confidence in the former's firmness, in spite of warlike words. She was far too jealous of Prussia's views on Saxony and French designs on Italy to combine easily with them. Prussia, on the other hand, had as yet no written guarantee of Saxony from Austria.
1 "To Liverpool, Oct. 2, 1814" (Nos. 3 and 4): B.D.197, 199.
2 "To Wellington, Oct. 2, 1814", with extracts from Hardenberg Memorandum: W.S.D. ix. 301. "To Liverpool, Oct. 9, 1814": B.D.201.
They had indeed drifted further apart than at Paris or London, and Metternich in despair was already talking of compromise. It was only Castlereagh's insistence with the King of Prussia, Hardenberg, and Metternich in repeated interviews that eventually brought them together. Whether Metternich, as has been suggested, never intended to sacrifice all Saxony to Prussia and merely yielded now to Castlereagh's insistence because he knew that Prussia would fail to carry out her promise to oppose the Tsar, it is impossible to say; but the mood in which the plan was accepted did not, Castlereagh confessed, increase his confidence in the result.
Hardenberg at any rate shewed zeal, if only to obtain Austria's formal consent to the incorporation of Saxony as well as its immediate occupation by Prussian troops. The notes which he sent both to Castlereagh and Metternich with these demands offered to make Mainz a fortress of the Federation. Castlereagh at once gave assent, stipulating, however, that Prussia must not receive Saxony as an indemnity for her Polish possessions. He also agreed to the provisional occupation. A note verbale accompanied the answer, which strongly supported the justice of depriving the King of Saxony of all his territory if it was necessary for the reconstruction of Europe.
This note verbale, drawn up by Cooke, seems to have been intended mainly for Austrian consumption. It was handed over to Gentz to translate, a task which he only undertook with the greatest repugnance. "I have translated this note with a feeling of shame," he wrote to his chief. "It is difficult to believe that men with reputations to lose could put their names to such paltry reasoning" (Armseligkeiten). His criticisms represented nearly all Austrian official opinion, which regarded the absorption of Saxony by Prussia as even more dangerous than the loss of Galicia to Russia. It was not easy therefore to bring Metternich to the point, and ten days elapsed before Castlereagh could even report that verbal assent had been given concerning Saxony.
In the interval there was great suspicion that Metternich was not playing the game. The Tsar increased this by telling Lord Stewart, after asserting his determination to keep the whole of Poland, that Metternich had made no objections to it in a long conversation a day or two before. "I am afraid," reported Stewart to his brother, "that Prince Metternich is not acting with that straightforward policy which becomes him at so critical a juncture. . . . He paralyses the decided part he might take, for it is vain to expect bold language from Prince Hardenberg until Prince Metternich declares himself unreservedly. I lament that the same line of politics which I thought I observed during the whole of the last campaign still regulates this Minister, and he is rather forced into any decision by circumstances and events or by the continued goading of those whom he fears and respects, than disposed to take such manly measures as are becoming the first Minister of a great state." Cooke's account shewed even greater distrust of Metternich, who, he told Liverpool, "will never play a great, straightforward game but by mere necessity, and when he finds that all little and side games fail. . . . I have tried to force Metternich to act by goading his employés, who all profess to be of our sentiments and eager to forward them; but they do not speak with confidence of their principal. . . . In this state, you may naturally believe that Lord Castlereagh is rather fidgety." Castlereagh himself betrayed his impatience. "The whole arrangement stands still on the point of Poland," he informed the Prince Regent, "and as yet the Emperor has evinced no disposition to accommodate. We are also impeded by the succession of fêtes and private balls; they waste a great deal of valuable time, and prevent P. Metternich from giving his mind to the subjects that ought to engross him.""I am a little out of patience," he confessed to Liverpool, "at this waste of time. While we were actually at war, events hurried even the most temporising to a decision; at present the irresolute and speculating have full scope to indulge their favourite game." 1
1 From Hardenberg to Metternich, Oct. 9, 1814; to Hardenberg, Oct. 11, 1814; Note Verbale on Saxony: D'Angeberg, Congrès de Vienne, 1934, 274, 276. "Gentz to Metternich, Oct. 13, 1814": Wittichen, Briefe von und ab Friedrich Gents, iii. 303. "To Liverpool, Oct. 14, 20, 1814": B.D.206, 211; Oct. 20, 1814: W.S.D. ix. 363. "From Stewart, Oct. 15, 1814": F.O. Austria, 117. "Cooke to Liverpool, Oct. 20, 1814": W.S.D. ix. 373 (where wrongly dated). "To the Prince Regent, Oct. 20, 1815": Windsor Arch. This letter, which was written to enclose a "Memorandum received from Cardinal Consalvi relative to some objects
The situation was rendered all the more dangerous because, while Austria and Prussia manœuvred, the Tsar was daily committing himself in conversation to the extreme Polish view. It was to prevent this that Castlereagh solicited another interview, in which he pressed very hard the treaty rights of Austria and Prussia. When, in order to escape this attack, the Tsar took shelter under "his moral duty," stating "that if it was merely a question of territory he would yield it without a struggle, but that it involved the happiness of the Poles, and the people would never forgive his ceding them," Castlereagh asked him "how he distinguished between his duty to the Poles on one side of his [Russian] line and on the other," and added that, as the principle of moral duty was not to be followed to the extent of making Poland really free, he could not expect other states to accept it as a valid argument.
To this assault Alexander could only answer that he was in possession and meant to remain so. But Castlereagh refused to be daunted, and while disclaiming any idea of using force, pointed out that conquest in itself was no secure title if Europe refused to sanction it. In order that these arguments might be placed on record he sent to the Tsar a memorandum containing their substance, which Cooke had drawn up for Austria and Prussia in the first instance, dealing with the legal points, accompanying it with a letter of his own composition which went to the extreme limit of boldness. It recounted all that Britain had done to assist Russia in the last war by which she had already obtained Finland, Bessarabia, and a large share of Poland. Against "the fourth instance of Russian aggrandisement," which the Tsar now proposed, public duty, he said, compelled him to protest. The whole future of Europe was at the hazard. "I do not hesitate to declare, Sire, my solemn conviction," he admonished him, "that it depends exclusively upon the temper in which your Imperial Majesty shall meet the questions which more immediately concern your own empire, whether the present Congress shall prove a blessing to mankind or only
bequeathed to your Royal Highness by the late Cardinal of York," is the only one of these months not previously published which I have been able to find in the Windsor Archives.
exhibit a scene of discordant intrigue and a lawless scramble for power." 1
Could Castlereagh have relied on similar language from Prussia and Austria he might have gained his point. But, as has been seen, the union between them was an uneasy one and they had but little trust in one another. At last, however, he was able to announce real progress. After Hardenberg had dispatched another note, Metternich sent an answer which gave a grudging assent on the Saxon point, on the explicit understanding that Poland was saved and Mainz was kept out of Prussian influence. Hardenberg was "extremely warm" on the last point, but was persuaded to meet Metternich at Castlereagh's house. There the question of Mainz was reserved, harmony produced, and the two Ministers asked Castlereagh to draw up a plan of campaign against the Tsar. He accordingly drew up a paper which based the claim of Prussia and Austria on the partition promised by the Treaty of Reichenbach, but offered an independent Poland, if the Tsar would agree. If not, they claimed the Vistula as the boundary, though Warsaw might go to Russia. If the Tsar rejected the overture, appeal was to be made to all Europe against him, the Congress being summoned together on November 1 as had been agreed with Talleyrand. Then "the several Powers of Europe should be invited to support the said overture and to declare to the Emperor of Russia to what extent and upon what conditions Europe in Congress can or cannot admit His Imperial Majesty's pretensions to an aggrandizement in Poland." And in order to make the appeal more alarming, he was to be told "that it would rest with the Powers in Congress assembled to decide upon the measures which should be called for by so alarming an infraction of treaties and by an encroachment upon the military security of independent and neighbouring allied states in contravention of the express stipulations of subsisting engagements." 2
This bold appeal to Europe in Congress was, however,
1 To Liverpool, Oct. 14, 1814: B.D.206. "To the Emperor of Russia, Oct. 12, 1814, with First memorandum on the Polish Question": W.S.D. ix. 329.
2 Metternich to Hardenberg, Oct. 22, 1814: D'Angeberg, Congrès, de Vienne, 316. "To Liverpool, Oct. 24, 1814": B.D.212, with memorandum on the best method of handling the Polish question.
never made. Humboldt and Stein were loud in protest against it from the first, and, as has been seen, the technical difficulties of summoning Congress were never overcome. The situation was further complicated by a visit of the three sovereigns to Buda, during which the Tsar spared no pains to increase his hold on the infirm will of Frederick William. Metternich could still rely on the support of his master, but he shrank from pressing on the plan. The Congress was therefore postponed once more, never to be summoned. The Tsar meanwhile sent a vigorous and unexpected rejoinder to Castlereagh's letter and memorandum. He appreciated Castlereagh's frankness, he told Cathcart, and he claimed the same liberty for himself. He refused even to give way on Thorn or Cracow. This note at any rate exposed his position, for it was the first time he had condescended to discuss his claims in writing, and the Austrian Cabinet at a special conference decided that Castlereagh should continue the negotiation in his capacity as mediator in the name of the three Powers. This needed, however, Prussia's consent, which Metternich proceeded to demand in a note which stated the case along the lines of Castlereagh's memorandum, suggesting also that each of the three monarchs might take a Polish title in addition to his own. 1
Since no answer came from Hardenberg, Castlereagh continued his personal attack. On November 4 a reply was dispatched to the Tsar, Lord Stewart acting as "the most respectful and least formal channel of conveyance." It was less bellicose in tone than his first one, but reasserted his arguments. The intention was to keep the negotiations alive until Austria and Prussia could agree on the terms of the mediation. He admitted that he was doing their work, but he told Liverpool: "When I saw the service suffering from
1 To Liverpool, Oct. 24, 1814: B.D.212. Cooke to Liverpool, Oct. 25, 1814: " He [the Tsar] abused Metternich yesterday and was very violent. . . . He has abused Nesselrode. The King of Prussia has promised to do nothing in the journey which can derange the plans adopted." W.S.D. ix. 375. From "Alexander, Oct. 30, 1814, with memorandum": W.S.D. ix. 386. "Metternich to Hardenberg, Nov. 2, 1814": D'Angeberg, Congrès, 379. Gebhardt, Wilhelm von Humboldt, ii. 102. Humboldt's incisive criticisms of Castlereagh's plan were, as usual, put into the shape of a memorandum ( Gebhardt, Wilhelm von Humboldt's Politische Denkschriften, ii. 179).
inaction, I found it difficult to be passive, and your Lordship may be assured that England is the only Power that either can, or dares, raise her voice against the powerful and the oppressor."
Stewart found it difficult to obtain access to the Tsar, for the height of the crisis had been reached. When at last he secured an audience, Alexander adopted a very high tone. He had learnt that the letter was to be sent, and began to protest even before it was placed in his hands. Eulogies of his own conduct in saving Europe were followed by reproaches that Britain had become his principal enemy. He accused Castlereagh of deliberately avoiding him at the last two balls in spite of Stewart's protests. The possibility of war was openly expressed on both sides.
The Tsar's frankness was doubtless due to the fact that he knew that he was already triumphant. His manœuvres with Frederick William attained full success on November 5, when Hardenberg was summoned into the presence of the two sovereigns and forbidden to act further with Austria and Britain in the determined manner which had been agreed. Hardenberg was astounded at this command, and even Humboldt was shocked. Prussia's good faith was lost, and with it her claim to Austria's consent to Saxony. But there was no appeal. The King of Prussia was, indeed, himself convinced that he ought not to yield on Poland, and Knesebeck, his closest confidant, tried to strengthen his resolution with a memoir which strongly supported Castlereagh's arguments. But he could not resist the Tsar's appeal to his feelings, and his Ministers had no option but to let the fact be known. When Metternich heard of it he at once wrote in furious protest, denying also, as the Tsar had insinuated, that he had ever offered to bargain with him Poland against Saxony. It was clear that the Austro-Prussian agreement could no longer be maintained, and the diplomatic edifice, so laboriously built up, came tumbling to the ground. 1
1 "To Liverpool, Nov. 5, 11, 1814": B.D.222, 229. "To Alexander, Nov. 4, 1814, with memorandum": W.S.D. ix. 410. Gebhardt, Wilhelm von Humboldt, ii. 102-103. "From Stewart, Nov. 6, 1814": F.O. Austria, 117. "Lord Stewart's memorandum of his Conversation with the Emperor of Russia, Nov. 6, 1814": F.O. (95) Miscellaneous, 8. Delbrück, Historische Zeitschrift, lxiii. 259.
Castlereagh was bitterly disappointed. He had received a humiliating check which, moreover, threw the whole situation into confusion. For if the two German Powers were not united in common opposition on the Polish point, he knew that their rivalry over Saxony and Mainz would break out with renewed force. Failure, in fact, meant the triumph of Russian influence over all Europe.
His official letter betrayed his embarrassment and chagrin. In a long explanation he tried to shew the Cabinet the motives which had led him to take so prominent a part in the negotiations: "I deemed it of great importance to contribute, as far as depended upon me, to this concert, considering the establishment of Russia in the heart of Germany, not only as constituting a great danger in itself, but as calculated to establish a most pernicious influence both in the Austrian and Prussian Cabinets; and I also foresaw, that if these two Powers, from distrust of each other, gave up the Polish point as desperate, the contest in negotiation would then turn upon Saxony, Mainz, and other German points, and through the contentions of Austria and Prussia, the supremacy of Russia would be established in all directions, and upon every question; whereas an understanding previously established on German affairs gave some chance of ameliorating the Polish arrangement, and, in case of its failure, afforded the best, if not the only means of counteracting the Russian influence in the other European arrangements."
On this settlement the future of the Netherlands depended, and Castlereagh thus claimed that he had been forced into an active policy. War, he declared, had never been in his thoughts or he would have shewn more reserve, but he had hoped to combine all Europe against Russia. He concluded with a plea for support and a statement of the principles on which his attempt to found the reconstruction had been founded: "Since I have been on the Continent, in my intercourse with the several Cabinets, I have conceived it my duty to keep in view the following principles, considering them as those on which it was the intention of His Royal Highness's Government that I should act. In the first place, so to conduct the arrangements to be framed for Congress, as to make the establishment of a just equilibrium in Europe the first object of my attention, and to consider the assertion of minor points of interest as subordinate to this great end. Secondly, to use my best endeavour to support the Powers, who had contributed to save Europe by their exertions, in their just pretensions to be liberally re-established upon the scale to which their treaties entitled them to lay claim, and not to be deterred from doing so by the necessity of adopting, for this end, measures which, although not unjust, are nevertheless painful and unpopular in themselves. And, thirdly, to endeavour to combine this latter duty to our friends and Allies, with as much mildness and indulgence even to the offending states, as circumstances would permit." 1
This dispatch was, of course, meant for publication if necessary. His private letters took into account the personal feelings of the Cabinet and were written to overcome the reluctance which they were already displaying at his masterful policy. For some time Liverpool had been trying to put on the brake. "I am inclined to think that the less we have to do with it, except as far as regards giving our opinion, the better," he wrote as soon as the first news came of the Tsar's attitude, and the memorandum which he sent for Castlereagh's consideration stressed the fact that a united Poland under Russia would probably be preferred by public opinion in England to a new partition. At any rate, some record must be obtained of British preference for a free and united Poland in the discussions at Vienna, a point which, as has been seen, Castlereagh always kept in mind. "We must take care so to manage this question as not to get the discredit of resisting the Emperor of Russia's proposition upon a principle of partition," Liverpool wrote a week later. When the news came of Castlereagh's hot attack on the Tsar, several members of the Cabinet took alarm, which was voiced in a memorandum by Vansittart which flatly disagreed with Castlereagh's reasoning. Austria and Prussia were not to be trusted, and Britain ran the risk of producing a combination between Russia and France which might even raise the long-buried question of maritime rights. Vansittart was even disposed to
1 To Liverpool, Nov. 11, 1814: B.D.229.
agree with the Tsar when he claimed that Russia would gain more power "by acquiring half the duchy as a province than the whole as a kingdom," and concluded, "that we ought to avoid irritating Russia by a pertinacious opposition which is so unlikely to be successful."
These warnings must have added to Castlereagh's bitter. ness when he saw them apparently justified by the King of Prussia, but he did not admit that he had been wrong. The Tsar must be resisted not humoured, he told Liverpool: "You must make up your mind to watch him and to resist him if necessary as another Bonaparte. You may rely upon it, my friend Van's philosophy is untrue as applied to him; acquiescence will not keep him back, nor will opposition accelerate his march. His Imperial Majesty is never more condescending than to those who speak plainly but respect. fully to him; and if I were to speculate upon the course most likely to save your money, and to give you the longest interval of peace with such a character, I should say that it would lie in never suffering him for a moment to doubt your readiness to support the continental Powers against his ambitious encroachments." To Vansittart he wrote a cool and reasoned reply, but he warned him that the Dutch loan would have to be shouldered if the Tsar proved reasonable, while, if he did not, no one could say what the consequences would be. His last sentence alone betrayed his bitterness: "I had rather give the Prince of Orange something more to defend and fortify the Low Countries than assist the credit of a Calmuck prince to overturn Europe." 1
If the Cabinet were little support at this anxious moment, Talleyrand's conduct was now beginning to shew some improvement. At the outset he had been of but little use. His stubbornness over the question of summoning the Congress, as well as his open advocacy of the rights of the King of Saxony, forced Castlereagh to remonstrate with him warmly at an early stage, insisting that "it was not for the Bourbons, who had been restored by the Allies, to assume the tone of
1 From Liverpool, Oct. 14, 1814 (with memorandum), Oct. 21, 27, 1814 (with Vansittart's memorandum): W.S.D. ix. 342, 367, 382. "To Liverpool, Nov. 11, 1814": Yonge, Liverpool, ii. 53. "To Vansittart, Nov. 11, 1814": C.C. x. 200.
reprobating or throwing odium upon the arrangements which had kept the confederacy together." Moreover, by raising the questions of Saxony and Naples, instead of concentrating on Poland, "he had sacrificed all useful influence and united all against himself." Talleyrand received these stern remonstrances with perfect good humour and promised amendment, but they may explain the rancour with which he wrote of Castlereagh to his King shortly afterwards, attributing to him the isolation of France and inveighing against his policy. Castlereagh was aware of Louis's views on the Saxon question, but he appealed, through Wellington, to Blacas, in order to modify the French position, and when there appeared to be some risk of a bargain between Czartoryski and Talleyrand, ordered the Duke to insinuate that, as such a combination would lead to immediate hostilities, England would at once sign a peace with Murat in order to make Austria feel secure. He hinted, moreover, as he had continually done to Talleyrand, that if the Polish point were settled something could probably be done for the King of Saxony. 1
Meanwhile Talleyrand shewed some disposition to assist matters by delaying, at Castlereagh's urgent request, the publication of a memoir which he had written on the Saxon question. He was naturally ready to assist in summoning the Congress, if it was necessary, but when the situation did not allow of it, he did not, as has been seen, offer any very great objection. Shortly afterwards he received fresh in. structions from Blacas, which, while they maintained the French position on Saxony, urged closer co-operation with Castlereagh. This was a result of Wellington's efforts, but it was perhaps more Talleyrand's own conviction that induced him to change his tactics. A complete breach in the Alliance was now possible; indeed La Besnardière had sent home word that war was inevitable. Talleyrand tried to draw closer to Castlereagh and Metternich. His approaches were received with encouragement; if not with great warmth, and he was at once
1 "To Liverpool, Oct. 9, 1814": W.S.D. ix. 323; Oct. 24, 25, 1814: B.D. 213, 217. "From Wellington, Oct. 9, 1814": C.C. x. 161. "To Wellington, Oct. 25, 1814": W.S.D. ix. 372. "Talleyrand to Louis XVIII., Oct. 19, 1814": Pallain, Correspondance inédite, 63. "Cooke to Liverpool, Oct. 25. 1814": W.S.D. xi. 375.
rewarded by obtaining a French delegate on the Swiss Commission, which had hitherto been confined to the four Powers. 1
Meanwhile Castlereagh's mediation was over. When Hardenberg, in order to make some shew of carrying out his promises, proposed that the negotiation with the Tsar should go forward, he pressed that only the most peaceful language should be used. Castlereagh's memoranda, he said, had at least caused the Tsar to consider rectifying the frontier. Perhaps Austria and Prussia ought not to expect much more. He painted the exhausted condition of Europe and suggested that in a few years they would be in a better position to resist Russia, which by that time would be realising what a Polish kingdom really meant. Though he declared Prussia was ready to go on in this very mild way, it was clear that he refused such a negotiation as had been planned. Metternich's reply maintained his position as to the frontiers, asserted that the original plan would have been successful, and insinuated that Prussia had not kept faith. In such a situation there was no possibility of Castlereagh transmitting, as he had intended, the united opinion of the three Powers to the Tsar. He withdrew, therefore, from the negotiation, explaining that if the Powers most affected would not resist then Britain could do no more. The situation was made worse by Prince Repnin issuing a public declaration that he was about to hand over Saxony to Prussia, with the consent of Britain and Austria. This move was undoubtedly planned by the Tsar to break up the opposition against him, and it produced the sensation at Vienna which he had expected. But Hardenberg's explanations were satisfactory when Castlereagh challenged him, and he immediately gave the required assent to a note which stated that Castlereagh had agreed to provisional occupation only, and that the main issue had still to be settled. 2
1 Talleyrand to Louis XVIII., Oct. 25, Nov. 6. 1814. "Blacas to Talleyrand, Nov. 9, 1814": Pallain, Correspondance inédite, 80, 101, 105. "From Wellington, Oct. 25, Oct. 27, 1814": W.S.D. ix. 371, 380.
2 "To Liverpool, Nov. 21, 1814": B.D.238. Mémoire Confidentielle of Hardenberg, Nov. 7, 1814; "Metternich to Hardenberg, Nov. 12, 1814": F.O. Continent, 8 (Extracts in D'Angeberg, Congres, 406, 418). To Liverpool, Nov. 21 (No. 22), 1814; to Hardenberg, Nov. 17, 1814; "from Hardenberg, Nov. 19, 1814": F.O. Continent, 8.
All that could now be hoped, therefore, was that the Tsar would give way somewhat to Hardenberg's mild remonstrances and that Prussia would in her turn yield on Saxony. For Metternich had immediately warned Hardenberg that Austria could not give way on both frontiers, and that, as Prussia had not carried out her bargain, he considered himself released from his promise. Hardenberg had appeared to accept this point of view, and, though much still depended on whether the Tsar would now yield some portion of the duchy to satisfy Prussia, Castlereagh had some hopes that a compromise would be effected between the three Powers. While lamenting the failure of the imposing combination which he had planned, he claimed at least the credit that he had brought the Tsar down from his dictatorial position to a species of negotiation. He had tried to do so, he said, in a review of his conduct, ever since he had joined headquarters, but the Tsar had uniformly rejected formal discussion. He had always till now claimed the rights of conquest. The duchy was his, he reiterated, and he meant to keep it. Castlereagh's pertinacity had at any rate forced an opportunity for Prussia and Austria to state their case. The Tsar might perhaps shrink from estranging them both. "Although from my experience of His Imperial Majesty's character," his bitter letter went on, "I expect nothing from his friendship to his Allies, and as little from his generosity or his sense of justice, yet I still hope for something from his fears." Perhaps the erysipelas on one of the Tsar's legs, which laid him up for a week, helped to make him more yielding. At any rate he shewed, according to Hardenberg's report, signs of conciliatory behaviour now that his political plans were conceded, and Castlereagh's official dispatch of November 25 was almost hopeful as to the result of the negotiation in which he now took no personal part. 1
1 "To Liverpool, Nov. 21, 25, 1814": W.S.D. ix. 447, 451; Nov. 25, 1814: "I understand from Prince Metternich that the Emperor was very conciliatory in his language, expressed his wish to come to an understanding, etc. The conversation was general, His Highness declining to enter into the discussion of the points at issue, having placed the negotiation in Prince Hardenberg's hands. The Russian Minister [ Czartoryski] had a long conference with Prince Hardenberg. . . . For the reasons already stated to your Lordship it has been my wish to interfere as little as possible in the conduct of this negotiation. I have therefore avoided calling myself
These hopes were not, however, shared by many others. Talleyrand had already reported that Schwarzenberg was talking of war. He had rejected the Tsar's attempts to bring him over to the Russian side by the offer of action against Naples, but he was still critical of Castlereagh in spite of Blacas' admonitions. Castlereagh was sensible, however, of a change in the French attitude, and sent his warm thanks to Wellington, to whom he attributed it. His explanation of his method of treating Talleyrand sufficiently accounts for the latter's acid comments on British policy: "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 useful influence in other quarters if I was understood to be in too close confidence with the French Minister." Nevertheless, their relations had become more cordial, as Talleyrand saw the dissolution of the Alliance proceeding rapidly. 1
Indeed the situation grew steadily worse. The whole of the smaller German Courts were up in arms about Saxony, and the Austrians felt that they would have them nearly all on their side in the event of war, which now began to be canvassed on all sides. The long and pessimistic review of the situation, which Münster, at last restored to convalescence, sent to the Prince Regent on November 27, spoke freely of the possibility of war, for which he said both the Emperor of Austria and the King of Bavaria were ready. In an even more secret dispatch three days later he recommended that in such a case Britain's best course was to win over France, who otherwise would probably join Russia, by concessions on the left bank of the Rhine, the expulsion of Murat, and even the removal of Napoleon from Elba. Next day Castlereagh sent for the boastful Wrede and tried to get him to accept a Prussian Saxony, if compensation was given to the King, but the Marshal not only professed that morality would be shocked by such a step, but insisted, with a full display of maps, that strategical necessities prevented Bavaria
on the Chancellor, but His Highness desired Count Münster to inform me 'qu'il a été très content d'un entretien qu'il a eu hier au soir avec l'Emperor de Russie. . . .'" F.O. Continent, 8.
1 "Talleyrand to Louis XVIII., Nov. 17, 1814": Pallain, Corres. inédite, 118-34. "To Wellington, Nov. 21, 1814": W.S.D. ix. 446.
and Austria from giving way--an aspect of the matter on which he was a better authority. Wrede and Hardenberg also had a stormy interview in which war was threatened by the latter. Even more ominous was it that Hudelist, by far the most influential of the Austrian Foreign Office officials, spoke of war as certain, and described the preparations for it already made by his Government.
It was clear that a deadlock had arisen. The Tsar's answer to Hardenberg refused to do more than make Thorn and Cracow free towns. Austria's Polish frontier was thus made no better, and no increase of territory was given to Prussia. Metternich at once declared therefore that he could not give way on Saxony, but Hardenberg, contrary to expectation, denied that he had promised concession on that point, if the Polish negotiation failed, and claimed the whole of Saxony, which the Tsar had again offered to Prussia. The situation which Castlereagh so long feared had arisen. Prussia was now considered as the hireling of the Tsar, and the bitterness of the Austrians was such that Metternich, even if he had wished, could not give way on Saxony. Moreover, the absorption of so much of Poland had increased the compensation due to Prussia, and it was difficult to find territory in Germany to restore her to a position equivalent to 1805 unless she obtained the whole of Saxony.
Castlereagh himself was now so impressed with the dangers that he wrote to the Cabinet to consider seriously the question of war. A prolonged deadlock might result, he said, but unless affairs mended, war was more likely. Such a war, he thought, was bound to become general, and Britain would inevitably be drawn in sooner or later. Should she go in at once, or attempt some species of armed mediation to try and stop it at the outset? And in the latter case, should she try to carry France with her? It was this latter expedient that most appealed to Castlereagh, though he was far from accepting the panic-stricken ideas which Münster had put forward. "I have suggested the idea of armed mediation," he wrote, as an expedient short of actual war, because I think there may be an interval after hostilities had commenced during which Great Britain and France might assume this character, to give weight to which the army of the Low Countries and Hanover might be united under the Duke of Wellington on the Lower Rhine, while the French army was concentrated at Strasburg." But, he added, this was merely a suggestion on which he wished the Cabinet to deliberate. 1
They were in a very different mood from Castlereagh. Far removed from, and only half understanding the intricate manœuvres at Vienna, Liverpool's constant preoccupation had been to deprecate anything that could lead to war. He had, indeed, not had much time for Vienna. The American negotiations and ominous reports from Paris of threats to the Royal Family and, what was even more important, to the Duke, had occupied his attention. He wanted to place Wellington in safety, either in command in America or as Castlereagh's substitute at Vienna. Meanwhile Parliament had assembled for a short session and the Opposition were in a fighting mood. Some of them displayed, moreover, a very inconvenient curiosity as to what was happening at Vienna. The question of Murat was raised with documents supplied by his representatives. Rumours of Saxony's impending fate had also begun to reach London. Though the systematic attempt to work on the London Press had hardly started, on November 21 and 28 there were stormy debates on Saxony in the House of Commons. No one really knew the facts, and the Government spokesmen refused all information. It was clear, however, that Castlereagh's policy would be difficult to defend, and Liverpool, as early as November 18, warned Castlereagh that Saxony's total annihilation as an independent Power would be very unpopular, however just and necessary it was. Wilson supplied Grey, who refused to leave Howick, with gleeful reports of the unpopularity of the Ministry, a rupture between Liverpool and the Prince Regent, and the loss of prestige which Castlereagh had experienced at Vienna and which would inevitably have its effect at home. Wilson's news from Vienna came mainly from Czartoryski, and his imagination was as vivid as usual. Nevertheless, he
1 "Münster to the Prince Regent, Nov. 27, 28, 1814": Hanover St. A., Appendix, pp. 551-57; Nov. 30, 1814: Windsor Arch., Appendix, p. 557. "To Liverpool, Dec. 5, 1814": B.D.248; Dec. 5, 1814: W.S.D. ix. 462. "Wrede to Montgelas, Dec. 4, 1814" : Munich St. A.
was able to quote Hamilton as believing war likely, because Belgium would become involved. It was clear, at any rate, that the Government, deprived of its most important member, was daily losing ground in the House and in public estimation. 1
The great thing, therefore, in Liverpool's mind was to impress Castlereagh that a new war in the present temper of the country, and while the American negotiation was still so doubtful, was a thing to be avoided at almost any cost. "It may be quite true," the Prime Minister wrote, "that if the Emperor of Russia does not relax his present demands, the peace of Europe may not be of long continuance; but for however short a time that peace may last, I should consider it of great advantage. . . . But if war should be renewed at present I fear that we should lose all that we have gained, that the revolutionary spirit would break forth again in full force, and that the Continent would be plunged in all the evils under which it has groaned for twenty years. A war now, therefore, may be a revolutionary war. A war some time hence, though an evil, need not be different in its character and its effects from any of those wars which occurred in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries before the commencement of the French Revolution. In short, this appears to me to be the precise period in which the sentiment of Cicero, so often quoted by Mr. Fox, is really in point: Iniquissimam pacem justissimo bello antefero."
That the Cabinet thoroughly agreed with this point of view is shewn by the transmission, two days later, of the only important official instruction which Castlereagh was to receive while he was at Vienna. "His Royal Highness," he was told, "cannot contemplate the present state of Europe, and more especially the internal state of France, Italy, and the Low Countries, without entertaining the most serious apprehensions of the consequences which would result from the renewal of war on the Continent under present circumstances. His Royal Highness has no doubt, therefore, that you will use
1 Horner wrote hopefully to Mackintosh of the protests in the House against the monstrous proceedings of the robbers at Vienna," and elicited an opinion from the historian that they were "more important and I hope more beneficial on the Continent than at any former period of our parliamentary history." Horner, Corres., ii. 213, 218.
your best endeavours to prevent, by all means in your power, so great an evil. It is unnecessary for me to point out to you the impossibility of His Royal Highness consenting to involve this country in hostilities for any of the objects which have hitherto been under discussion at Vienna." 1
How little influence this dispatch was to have on Castlereagh's conduct will be seen. But when it reached him he was still contemplating the ruins of his imposing negotiation, and watching the gradually growing hostility of Prussia and Austria. He formally withdrew his original offer of consent to the incorporation of all Saxony in Prussia, quoting Liverpool's letter of November 18 to prove that his Cabinet supported him in so doing. But Hardenberg continued to urge Metternich, in prose and even in verse, to give way, and since Castlereagh knew that Austria could not do so and was daily more anxious of the consequences, he made yet another effort to convince Hardenberg of the necessities of the situation. When the Prussian Minister, imitating the Tsar's tactics, talked of war, Castlereagh intimated that a mere refusal by other states to recognise his position could never be made a sufficient cause, and that he would do far better to secure the reconstruction of Prussia with the consent of Europe than to take the whole of Saxony in opposition to her wishes. Hardenberg promised to consider these arguments, and Castlereagh then tried to persuade Metternich to make offers of compensation elsewhere in Germany, such as would satisfy Prussia. Metternich professed his readiness to do so and was again sanguine of success.
But Castlereagh had by now grown suspicious of Metternich's hopes and Hardenberg's promises. Cooke's long letters to Liverpool at this time shew the atmosphere of intrigue and suspicion which these controversies had produced. Humboldt, he said, was intriguing against Hardenberg; the Tsar was supposed to have bribed Metternich with money and a lady; Talleyrand was improving, "but a man who has been so bribed has not much weight." The marked atten-
1 From Liverpool, Nov. 2, 18, 25, 1814: W.S.D. ix. 401, 438, 285 (where wrongly dated). "From Bathurst, Nov. 27, 1814": B.D.247. "Wilson to Grey, Oct. 31, Nov. 5, 22, 26, 1814": Wilson MSS. 30120, ff. 77, 81, 98, 101.
tions of the Tsar to the English at Lord Stewart's ball, where "The Emperor danced polonaises with Lady Castlereagh, country dances with Lady Matilda, and the Archduchess ( Catharine) polonaised with Planta," seemed only part of his plot to obtain control over Europe. Castlereagh could hardly view such a situation with much hope. He had given up his rôle of mediator, but when left to themselves the continental Powers shewed no signs of compromise. "I witness every day the astonishing tenacity with which all the Powers cling to the smallest point of separate interest," he wrote to Liverpool as he surveyed the scene. It seemed possible that the whole of his endeavours to create a peaceful Europe would be swept away in a new cataclysm. 1
It was, indeed, the blackest moment of all his diplomatic career. His plans had gone astray and his judgment had been completely at fault. The Cabinet had estimated more correctly than he the weaknesses of the continental Powers, though they had relied on their instinct rather than on a full knowledge of the facts which Castlereagh believed himself to possess. They obviously disliked his policy of giving Saxony to Prussia, which he had himself been compelled to abandon by the force of circumstances. War was threatening, in which he knew Britain must be involved. It was his darkest hour. But he faced it with superb courage and patience. He was already forming new plans to meet the emergency, and he was soon to go into the thick of the fray again and establish with more success his position as the mediator of Europe.
1 "To Liverpool, Dec. 7 (No. 27)": B.D.255-57. "Cooke to Liverpool, Dec. ". 10: W.S.D. ix. 473, 476. "Hardenberg to Metternich, Dec. 3. 1814": F.O. Continent, 8.
3. THE SECRET TREATY
THE tension between Austria and Prussia soon ended in a diplomatic explosion. Metternich's reply to Hardenberg of December 10 was a definite refusal to allow Saxony to pass into Prussian hands. It made, in accordance with Metternich's promise to Castlereagh, other suggestions for the reconstruction of Prussia, but on the main point it was peremptory. To Hardenberg, so he noted in his diary, this final refusal was as unexpected as it was unpleasant. At any rate, in his rage against Metternich he threw himself into the Tsar's hands and, moreover, communicated to him all the recent letters which Metternich had written as to their joint action against Russia. Castlereagh and Münster believed that Humboldt had pushed him into this outrageous conduct in order to overthrow him and get his place, but, however inspired, it produced, naturally, grave consequences. The Tsar immediately demanded an explanation from the Emperor of Austria, who referred him to Metternich. The latter must have been sorely tempted to produce Hardenberg's letters, which contained much more serious reflections on the Tsar, and, as has been seen, even suggested that action should only be deferred to a more convenient time. But Castlereagh pleaded urgently that this should not be done, and the Emperor of Austria and Metternich consented. Though the interview between the Tsar and Metternich was very stormy it was ended by the Tsar saying: "C'est bon: n'en parions plus." As Castlereagh put it, "the climate of Russia is often the more serene after a good squall," and the meeting between the two Emperors which followed produced something like a reconciliation. Francis had always been more anxious about Saxony than Poland, and he now told the Tsar that he would abandon opposition to his Polish plans, while Alexander magnanimously offered to restore Austria the district of Tarnopol, taken by the Peace of Vienna in 1809, not a large concession but still an earnest of goodwill. Castlereagh was, indeed, inclined to think that the incident had done some good by allowing Alexander to get an impression, for the first time, of the real views of Metternich and Hardenberg on the Polish question. "Had these Ministers spoken as bold truths to His Imperial Majesty in their interviews as they did to each other in their letters," he commented, "and had they supported me in the clear and decisive tone which their official correspondence entitled me to expect, my persuasion is that the Emperor of Russia would have come to a suitable arrangement with respect to the point of Poland, notwithstanding the embarrassment he had previously created for himself by hopes given to the Poles. In this correspondence the Emperor clearly perceived that I had not been mistaken in representing to him the real feelings of his Allies; and I have no doubt that they made their impression even after the concert had failed." 1
However that might be, Poland was clearly lost and Castlereagh's prestige much diminished. His new attitude towards Saxony was attributed by many to a change of instructions from London rather than to his own wishes, though, as has been seen, this was quite untrue. The reports of the Saxon debate in the House produced considerable effect. His position was held to be shaken both at Vienna and in the confidence of his own Government. Gentz, who had always hated the sacrifice of Saxony to Prussia, attributed the lack of success at Vienna entirely to Castlereagh's conduct, and Talleyrand wrote to his Court that he was like a man "who had lost his way" and would probably soon go home. Wrede reported, as an accepted fact, that Castlereagh and Münster had received final instructions from London to take up the Saxon cause on the evening of December 7. There can be
1 To Liverpool, Dec. 17, 1814: W.S.D. ix. 483; Dec. 18, 1814: F.O. Continent, 9. "To Wellington, Dec. 17, 1814": C.C. x. 219. "Münster to the Prince Regent, Dec. 17, 1814": Münster, 196-207. Metternich to Count Charles Zichy [Dec. 18]. 1814: communicated by Professor Marczali. "Wrede to Montgelas, Dec. 15, 1814": Munich St. A.
no doubt but that this idea, which was due to a report of Merveldt's, was generally believed at Vienna. The Russians were so alarmed that Lieven was instructed to find out how far the Cabinet still supported their colleague, to press the Russian point of view on them both as to Poland and Saxony. If he failed with the Cabinet, he was then to stir up the Opposition. His instruction, doubtless written by Czartoryski, was full of bitter criticism of Castlereagh, who, it suggested, wished to preserve Britain's influence in Europe by fomenting rather than allaying the differences between the Powers. Lieven had, of course, no chance of influencing the Cabinet, and the appeal to the Opposition could have no effect till Parliament met again, but it shews how matters stood at Vienna, and how bitterly Castlereagh's conduct had been resented by the Russians. 1
The Cabinet was, however, much harassed by Castlereagh's proposals for an alliance with France with a view to armed mediation, which, as has been seen, he had made after his first failure. The only member of it who was warmly inclined to such a project was Bathurst, whose memorandum on the state of negotiations at Vienna anticipated Castlereagh's proposal. Liverpool was so far impressed by Bathurst's views that he actually desired the Cabinet not to leave London until Castlereagh's next dispatches arrived. These included the proposal of armed mediation, and it seems to have been more seriously considered than any other which he sent home. The reply which Liverpool sent on December 23 was, however, in no sense an instruction. The Cabinet were unanimous that any settlement, provided, of course, that France's frontiers remained unchanged, was preferable to war. It would be, indeed, impossible to get the country to go to war "except upon a clear point of honour, or for some distinct British interest of sufficient magnitude to reconcile
1 "Wrede to Montgelas, Dec. 12, 1814": Munich St. A. "Talleyrand to Louis XVIII., Dec. 20, 1814": Pallain, Corres. inédite, 191; Gentz, Dépêches inédites, i. 127. "Nesselrode to Lieven, Dec. 15, 1814", Instructions on Poland and Saxony: Pet. Arch. It was on Dec. 17 that Castlereagh first definitely asked Wellington to replace him: "I consider the Polish question as settled, Prussia never contended it in earnest and Austria consequently has yielded. The Saxon question is now the only one that is of much difficulty. The point of Naples being one of principle and not of detail cannot lead to delay" : C.C. x. 219.
the country to it," and the defence of the Low Countries seemed to the Cabinet the only point which would be so regarded. While, therefore, the Cabinet did not reject the proposals of armed mediation with France, they refused to sanction it, and the tone of Liverpool's letter was such as to deprecate action, since Britain had no interest of her own to establish but only to consolidate peace by some kind of amicable arrangement.
The letter gave, therefore, no guidance and but little encouragement to Castlereagh in his difficulties. Other letters which accompanied it were all of a negative character. There must be no question of taking any part of the Russian debt to Holland. It was desirable to get rid of Murat, but it was far better to leave him where he was than risk a war. No countenance must be given to Münster's attempts to increase Hanover, which Liverpool thought was much safer if left as it was, since public opinion would not support any action to defend an enlarged Hanover--perhaps not to defend the old one.
Other letters that followed in the course of the year were of the same tone. Meanwhile, the essential point was to get Castlereagh home again to make the Government safe in the House of Commons. If Wilson's reports to Grey could be believed, it was almost in dissolution, and Grey might expect to be summoned to replace Castlereagh at Vienna. But, at any rate, Castlereagh was badly needed at home, and not even the American peace, which the Opposition in a special meeting decided was no great credit to the country, brought much relief to the situation. Wellington's agreement to replace Castlereagh, which Liverpool received at the end of the month, gave the Prime Minister great satisfaction. He set off, at the beginning of the New Year, to Bath, most of his colleagues were already in the country, and the devoted Bathurst alone remained in town to receive the fateful dispatches in which Castlereagh described the issue of peace or war at Vienna. 1
1 "From Liverpool, Dec. 22, 23, 1814" (4 letters) : W.S.D. ix. 493, 493-97. "Wellington to Liverpool, Dec. 25, 1814": W.S.D. ix. 503. "Liverpool to Wellington. Dec. 31. 1814": W.S.D. ix. 518. "Liverpool to Bathurst, Dec. 31, 1814": W.S.D. ix. 519. "Wilson to Grey, Dec. 8, 12, 21, 28, 1814":
But Castlereagh had still a great rôle to play at Vienna, and there is no sign that he was moved by the jealousy around him. Doubtless but little of it was shewn in his presence. He was, moreover, still indispensable. The relations between Prussia and Austria had naturally been made much worse by the recent explosion. Yet if the peace of Europe was to be preserved, they had to be brought together again. The Tsar, pledged to Prussia over Saxony and convicted of underhand conduct towards Metternich, could hardly play this part. Both Hardenberg and Metternich turned once more to Castlereagh, therefore, and asked him to mediate on the Saxon point, though the former admitted that Prussia's recent conduct might well make him reluctant to consent. Castlereagh was, however, the last man to put his personal feelings before an obvious duty, and while he confessed that he had no desire to be mixed up in the Saxon question, consented to act, provided that Prussia would admit as a basis of discussion that the King of Saxony should keep part of his kingdom.
When Münster was sent by Castlereagh to sound Hardenberg on this last point he found a new proposal in the field. The Prussian statesmen could not yet bring themselves to renounce Saxony, which they had counted on for so long to consolidate their position in Germany. The new lands on the Rhine meant little to them in comparison, for they still thought of Prussia mainly as an eastern German state, with little affinity to the softer and Catholic Germans of the Rhineland. It was, perhaps, natural therefore that they should think of offering these lands to the King of Saxony as compensation for the loss of his kingdom, a step which was decided in a conference of December 13, at which Knesebeck, Stein, and Czartoryski took part with Humboldt and Hardenberg. This proposal was embodied in a letter of December 16, sent to the Tsar and Castlereagh. When the plan was put before Castlereagh, therefore, it had ostensibly Russian as well as Prussian support, and Stein and Czartoryski assisted Hardenberg in a discussion which lasted nearly
____________________ Wilson MSS., 30120, ff. 110, 112, 114, 124, 130. It is difficult to believe Wilson that Yarmouth said to Perry, "These men cannot remain. There must be a change. . . . The Prince is of the same opinion." But in Castlereagh's absence Yarmouth had certainly quarrelled with the Cabinet.
two hours, during which time, Castlereagh reported, "I had to sustain the united efforts of those present to convert me, and to impeach the conduct which Austria had pursued." No impression, however, was produced on Castlereagh, who replied that the scheme was impossible, since the King of Saxony would certainly not consent, and neither France nor Austria would urge him to agree to the transfer. Prussia, he still insisted, must find satisfaction elsewhere than in Saxony; she had much better swim with the stream than against it. If his arguments did not convince the Prussians, they still wished him to continue his work of mediation, which he now began to prosecute with great energy. 1
It was time; for the crisis had grown daily more menacing. Castlereagh had alluded in the last interview to the assent of France--and with reason, since Talleyrand had begun to have a position of great importance. Metternich was now completely under the influence of the extreme party and was looking for allies against Prussia. He proposed to Wrede a treaty of alliance between Austria, Bavaria, and Hanover, which the General in high glee recommended to his Court in terms hardly less insulting to Metternich than to Prussia. It was Metternich, and not Castlereagh, who still hoped to avoid so obvious a challenge, who approached Talleyrand, sending him his last note to Hardenberg on Saxony. There could be no doubt of the reception which Talleyrand would give to this confidence. He sent in reply to Metternich the note which Castlereagh had got him to keep back, without making any conditions, stating that France was perfectly content with her position as laid down at Paris. He took, however, a very lofty view of the King of Saxony's rights. It was not for Prussia to say how much she would take, but for the King of Saxony to say how much he would yield. In this way the principle of legitimacy was safeguarded, while some concession was made to Prussia's needs. Cooke was contemptuous of Talleyrand's "tirade about the rights of Kings." "The
1 "To Liverpool, Dec. 18, 24, 1814": B.D.260, 267. Gebhardt, Wilhelm von Humboldt, ii. 110. "Münster to the Prince Regent, Dec. 24, 1814": Münster, 214-15. Note of Prince Hardenberg. Dec. 16, 1814: D'Angeberg, Congrès, 531. "Wrede to Montgelas, Dec. 21. 1814": Munich St. A. Max Lehmann , "Tagebuch des Freiherrn von Stein während des Wiener Kongresses, 1814," Historische Zeitschrift. lx. 415-16.
doctrine," he wrote to Liverpool, "is not very suitable to our meridian." He thought that Talleyrand was still open to a bargain with Prussia, and that Metternich was foolish not to abandon Murat in order to get his full support. 1
It was this side of Talleyrand's policy which was occupying Castlereagh's attention. He was less forward in demanding his support than Metternich, but he wished to prepare the ground for it if it was necessary. While, therefore, avoiding definite commitments on the main question, he had begun some little time before conversations with Talleyrand on Naples, and had elicited from him his plans on that subject, and consulted the Home Government about them. Castlereagh's own proposals went even further than Talleyrand's, but he was as yet only preparing the way on this question, and still held Talleyrand aloof. When, therefore, on December 23 Talleyrand proposed to him that an alliance should be formed between Austria, France, and England, Castlereagh still held back and answered that the time had not yet come, and that to form an alliance prematurely "might augment the chances of war rather than of an amicable settlement, which I trusted we all had in view."
This offer of Talleyrand's was concerned with an important proposal as to the conduct of the negotiations which Castlereagh now made. The controversy as to the reconstruction of Prussia had been rendered much more difficult because neither side would accept the figures of the other of the populations to be transferred. Their arguments were thus led from the main point into side issues concerning statistics. Castlereagh now proposed to set up a Statistical Commission, which should devote itself to this question and furnish agreed figures to the plenipotentiaries.
This offer was accepted. Castlereagh had promised to include a French representative, but the Prussians violently objected. Since Castlereagh still had some hopes of settling the affair without France, he sent Lord Stewart to Talleyrand to ask him to withdraw his claim. Stewart was, perhaps, not a very tactful envoy, even if Talleyrand's account is, as usual,
1 "Talleyrand to Metternich, Dec. 19, 1814": D'Angeberg, Congrès, 540. "Cooke to Liverpool, Dec. 24, 1814": W.S.D. ix. 502. "Wrede to Montgelas, Dec. 24, 1814": Munich St. A.
highly coloured. At any rate, Talleyrand took a strong attitude and threatened to order his horses, as Cooke put it, unless France was admitted. Castlereagh thereupon gave way and with much difficulty persuaded Prussia to agree.
The Commission was then constituted, the best workers of the Congress were placed on it--Clancarty, d'Alberg, Wessenberg, and Münster--together with two zealous and erudite Prussian officials. It set to work immediately, and despite some controversies as to the exact method of evaluating the "souls" to be transferred, it was soon able to make much easier the task of compromise in which Castlereagh was now to be engaged. 1
For the crisis was now at hand. The combination against Prussia was growing. Metternich had begun to organise a German League to her exclusion, a step which caused Münster considerable alarm. Nevertheless, public opinion in Germany was obviously on Austria's side. The correspondence between Metternich and Talleyrand had, in Castlereagh's opinion, now made France a principal in the question. Russia had to give her official support to Prussia, however reluctant the Emperor now was to run the risk of war over Saxony. But she was known to wish a compromise if it could be arranged. It was this last circumstance that made Castlereagh sanguine as to the result of his efforts. But it was obvious that the position was very dangerous, and that much would depend upon his conduct when the clash between the two sides arrived.
This was now precipitated by a demand from the Tsar that the questions should be officially discussed. His main object was to obtain formal ratification of the Polish settlement, but the question of Saxony had obviously to be included, since the concessions to Austria depended on it. The position of France had therefore now to be defined. With Metternich, Talleyrand had already made his terms, but it was not until December 27 that Castlereagh sent him a letter welcoming his support, so that "such an arrangement may be ultimately effected, both with respect to Saxony and Naples, as may tend to
1 "To Liverpool, Dec. 24, 25, 1814": B.D.268, 271; Dec. 25: W.S.D. ix. 511. "Talleyrand to Louis XVIII., Dec. 22, 1814": Pallain, Corres. inédite, 198.
establish a just equilibrium among the Powers of Europe and procure a general and solid peace." This vague statement was written with a view to being laid before Parliament if necessary, but doubtless in conversation Castlereagh was more definite as to the expulsion of Murat. At any rate, Castlereagh and Metternich, at the first meeting held on December 31, insisted that Talleyrand should be admitted to the formal negotiations on Saxony. Prussia and Russia opposed, the former with great vehemence. They still claimed the total incorporation of Saxony, and Hardenberg, in his desperation, used language of a most threatening character, intimating that Prussia could not continue her provisional occupation indefinitely, and that a refusal to recognise her claims would be regarded by her as tantamount to a declaration of war. This open threat produced an immediate effect on Castlereagh's mind. He protested against it as "a most alarming and unheard-of menace." "Such an insinuation," he said, "might operate on a Power trembling for its existence, but must have the contrary effect upon all that were alive to their own dignity," and, he added, "that if such a temper really prevailed, we were not deliberating in a state of independence, and it were better to break off the Congress." Others hastily intervened to explain away the unfortunate remark, and it was not entered on the Protocol. But the effect remained, and its impression was confirmed by the tone of intimidation which the Prussian soldiers were adopting in public on every possible occasion.
Castlereagh, therefore, at once proposed to Metternich a treaty of defensive alliance between Austria, France, and Britain. Metternich immediately agreed, and Talleyrand was, of course, eager to sign. It was Castlereagh who drew up the draft, which was accepted without any substantial alterations by both Metternich and Talleyrand. The latter stated that he was only too glad to subscribe to the articles, which specifically described the maintenance of the Treaty of Paris as one of the objects of the new treaty. He was perhaps wisely content that the coalition was dissolved--" dissolved for ever," as he falsely prophesied to his King. He has been much criticised for not making a bargain at this critical moment, but his previous conduct had made it impossible unless he was to lose all the confidence of Metternich and Castlereagh. Since Hanover was treated as if it were a British possession--and if it were attacked the other two Powers were bound to come to its aid--and Holland was also to be invited to accede to the treaty, Castlereagh had thus included all the special British interests in it.
Nevertheless it was a bold step to take, and in a sense was in direct defiance of the last official instruction of his Cabinet. It is true that letters were on their way agreeing, if necessary, to some action in conjunction with France, but these had not arrived when the treaty was signed. Castlereagh seems, however, to have been quite certain that there would be no hesitation at home in accepting it. He was confident, he said in his official dispatch, that his conduct was justified by the exigency of the occasion. His private letter to Liverpool dwelt on the immense advantages obtained in return for what was really no more than a promise of subsidies. If war broke out "for the disgrace of the times," Britain would be bound to be involved in any case, and with the treaty she had her special interests in the Netherlands protected, and France bound to respect the new frontiers. " It may save Austria, and consequently the Continent," he concluded. Cooke's recommendation was contained in a single phrase, "I trust you highly approve Lord Castlereagh's great and necessary measure." The news of the peace with the United States came opportunely enough on the morning of January 1, and this doubtless helped Castlereagh to make up his mind. "We have become more European," he told Van Spaen, "and by the Spring we can have a very nice army on the Continent." But it was in no sense the determining factor in the decision. Castlereagh made the treaty because the attitude of Prussia threatened war and in the hope that the strength which it would give to Austria would prevent war from breaking out. Without it there might be doubts in the minds of both Austria and France, not only as to Britain's attitude, but even more probably as to the steadfastness of each other. He had delayed such an irrevocable step to the last possible moment in the hope that his mediation would prevail on Prussia to give way--so long, indeed, that there was criticism of his backwardness in his own delegation, who feared that it might "give Talleyrand the lead." When Hardenberg's language shewed how tenacious and truculent her attitude still was, the treaty appeared to be the only way to ensure peace. It may be that all the Powers would have shrunk at the last moment from the extremity of war even if the treaty had not been made. But certainly both the Prussian and Austrian soldiers were preparing for it, and had weakness in the opposition been suspected the former would have pressed their demands so far that it might have been impossible to draw back.
Fortunately the crisis did not last long. The news of the American peace, which had not been expected, created a great sensation at Vienna, and Castlereagh passed the evening of the day in which he drafted his treaty in receiving at a Court Ball the congratulations of the sovereigns and statesmen. To the Tsar's good wishes Castlereagh replied, " Il commence l'âge d'or," a phrase which Cooke thought might have been taken to mean that new subsidies were under consideration. But Castlereagh had never descended to insinuation at Vienna, and he pursued now his usual simple and direct methods. He saw Humboldt privately, and warned him that such menaces as those of the day before " Great Britain would resist with her whole power and resources, and that every man in Parliament, of whatever party, would support the Government in doing so." Such resolute language produced a due effect, and as early as January 5 Castlereagh was able to report " the alarm of war is over," and that Prussia had determined to yield. Hardenberg's only stipulation was that the negotiation was to be settled by the Powers without the King of Saxony's consent being considered necessary until they were in agreement, a condition which Castlereagh readily accepted and induced Talleyrand to accept also. 1
1 "To Talleyrand, Dec. 27, 1814": F.O. Cont. Arch. 15. "To Liverpool, Jan. 1 (Nos. 43, 44, 45)": B.D. 276, 277, 279; "Jan. 2": W.S.D. ix. 523; "Jan. 3, 5": B.D.280; W.S.D. ix. 527. "Talleyrand to Louis XVIII., Jan. 4, 1815": Pallain, Corres. inédite, 209. Wrede to Montgelas, Jan. 3, 1815. Wrede appeared to think that it was Metternich who proposed the treaty
Indeed Talleyrand's conduct was now very satisfactory; for when a last effort was made to revive the idea of bringing the King of Saxony to the Rhine he strongly supported Castlereagh in his opposition. "He said for purposes of ambition and conquest," Castlereagh reported, "he must favour the plan; but as his sincere desire and that of his Court was to put a restraint upon any extension of the existing boundaries of France he was against the project." This example of wise statesmanship, rare in history, though of course Talleyrand was bound by the wishes of his King to a large extent, won Castlereagh's warm appreciation. He hastened to secure the position by a special interview with the Emperor of Russia, in which he claimed that the Treaty of Chaumont had given Britain a veto on the disposition of the Rhine territories. This and the obvious arguments against the creation of a feeble and discontented state on the Rhine produced a visible effect on the Tsar, who with his usual frankness adverted to the reports circulating of a secret treaty between Austria, France, Bavaria, and Great Britain. Castlereagh did not deny them, and the interview ended with the Tsar declaring he was satisfied with Castlereagh's plans for the reconstruction of Germany. Nor, though he shewed embarrassment, did he absolutely refuse, when Castlereagh suggested that Russia might contribute something to the common stock by concessions on the Prussian frontier. 1
These interviews had prepared the way for the resumption of the official meetings. Talleyrand was now included, and the "Committee of Five" thus constituted, Humboldt with truth named "the real Congress of Vienna." It was in this Committee that in the next five weeks the reconstruction of
to Castlereagh: "Munich St. A. Metternich to Merveldt, Jan. 13, 1815": Vienna St. A. "Cooke to Liverpool. Jan. 2, 1815": W.S.D. ix. 521. "Van Spaen to Van Nagell, Jan. 2, 1815": Colenbrander, Gedenkstukken. vii. 719. "Apsley to Bathurst, Jan. 2. 1815" : Baghurst, 319. The English draft of the treaty ( F.O. Continent, 10) has only slight variations from the French text signed on Jan. 3. 1 "To Liverpool, Jan. 5. 8, 1815": B.D.282, 283. "Münster to the Prince Regent, Jan. 22, 1815": Hanover St. A. Apparently Castlereagh sometime later believed that the Emperor was unaware of the secret treaty. "Van Spaen to Van Nagell, Feb. 3, 1815": "The English ministers seem to believe that the treaty, is still quite unknown to the Russians and Prussians; I doubt it." Colenbrander, Gedenkstukken, vii. 728. "Clancarty to the Prince of Orange, Jan. 6. 1815": Colenbrander, Gedenkstukken, vii. 721.
Europe was carried out, Castlereagh playing a dominant rôle in all the decisions, and by his energy, common sense, and fertility of suggestion gradually solving the complicated problems that arose.
In such a situation it was only natural that he should refuse to return to Britain, whatever the embarrassments of the Government, until his task was complete. He wrote at once to Wellington to delay his departure. Yet during the whole of these all-important transactions he was constantly under pressure from Liverpool to return home at the earliest possible moment. There was no suggestion that his conduct was not approved. On the contrary, the ratification of the secret treaty was decided by Liverpool and Bathurst as soon as they received it. Nothing could better illustrate the casual method in which foreign affairs were transacted by the British Cabinet than in the manner which this important step was taken. Liverpool was still at Bath and most of his colleagues were in the country. But he had no intention of interrupting his cure or summoning a Cabinet. He assumed that Bathurst, who as usual was at his post, would agree, and that the Cabinet would acquiesce. The matter was indeed decided and Castlereagh informed before the Cabinet was shewn the treaty. Bathurst sent off a handsome letter of approval, which warmly commended Castlereagh's conduct in resisting the Prussian menaces. Most of the Cabinet agreed easily enough to this summary procedure, but Harrowby refused to give an opinion until he had seen the treaty, and Westmorland seems to have definitely opposed it. When Liverpool was informed of these protests he instructed Bathurst that agreement could best be obtained by ignoring them. His approval of the treaty was not so emphatic as Bathurst's: "It will secure the Low Countries and give more éclat to Castlereagh's presence at Vienna, which was certainly wanting," was his first verdict, shewing how much Castlereagh's first failure had lowered his prestige. "I am not sure that in Castlereagh's place I should have proposed it," he wrote three days later; "but if it had been proposed by Austria and France I would not have refused to be a party to it, and I am sure it gives us the only chance of coming out of the Congress with credit, which we shall do, if it becomes the means of saving Saxony."
His chief preoccupation was, however, the Parliamentary situation, which indeed was serious enough. He was urgent, therefore, that Castlereagh must come home to take charge of the business as soon as it met. This was, he said, the unanimous decision of the Cabinet, though he relied even more on the opinion of the junior members of the Ministry as to the weakness of the leaders in the Commons during the autumn session. Hardly anyone in England cared much about what was going on at Vienna, he said; what they were interested in was reduction of expenditure. Castlereagh, therefore, must come home, whatever the state of the business at Vienna, and leave Wellington to finish. He could not understand, he told Bathurst, why Castlereagh should object: it was Wellington who had reason to complain--an opinion which illustrates Liverpool's inability to understand the ordeal through which Castlereagh had passed and the importance of his position at Vienna. Bathurst's sympathetic letter took a larger view, but even he had to confess that without Castlereagh's help the Government stood in great danger. 1
Fortunately ere these letters reached him, Castlereagh had won his battle. The success of his last stand had placed him in a commanding position at Vienna, and he was able at last to play the part he had always imagined to be his, of acting as a real mediator between the continental Powers, and thus creating a new Europe in which Britain could become the defender of the peace. The urgent entreaties, and at last peremptory orders, of the Cabinet to leave this task in order to come to their help merely stimulated his energy and resolution, and were perhaps one of the main reasons why the reconstruction of all central Europe to the Alps was carried out in the short space of five weeks.
1 "From Bathurst, Jan. 18, 1815": B.D.291. "From Liverpool, Jan. 15, 16, 1815": W.S.D. ix. 536, 537, 538. "Liverpool to Bathurst, Jan. 16, 18, 21, 1815": Bathurst, 324-26; "Jan. 17, 1815": W.S.D. ix. 541. "Harrowby to Bathurst, Jan. 17, 1815": Bathurst, 325. "From Bathurst, Jan. 18, 1815": "Lond. MSS. Wilson to Grey, Jan. 13, 17, 1815": Wilson MSS., 30120, ff. 132, 137. Wilson confirmed, rather ruefully, Liverpool's opinion as to the interest of the public which "seem too much engaged with the Property Tax and the Legion of Honour for attention to foreign news."
THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA II: RECONSTRUCTION COMPLETED, JANUARY-JUNE 1815
1. THE RECONSTRUCTION OF CENTRAL EUROPE.
2. THE SETTLEMENT OF ITALY.
3. THE ABOLITION OF THE SLAVE TRADE. GENERAL QUESTIONS.
4. THE GUARANTEE OF THE NEW EUROPE.
"Le repos sans l'équilibre est une chimère."--METTERNICH.
1. THE RECONSTRUCTION OF CENTRAL EUROPE
THOUGH the main crisis was over by the end of the first week of January there was still much to be done at Vienna. The Prussians fought their position step by step, while the Austrians elated by their victory wished to press it home and drive them back as far as possible. War was again threatened, or at least mentioned, on more than one occasion. It is difficult to see how, without Castlereagh's assistance, the rivals could have come to an agreement, so deeply had passions now been stirred and so difficult seemed the problems to be solved. Castlereagh's position was now higher than it had ever been before. All turned to him for advice or help, and he became the centre of every diplomatic exchange. Though the "Council of Five" was the official organ by which the decisions were made, before they were recorded on its protocols much private discussion had to take place, and each time a note had to pass or a project to be considered it was Castlereagh who saw both sides and endeavoured to find the compromise on which agreement could be based. Though Talleyrand was full of rancour at Castlereagh's determination to make a strong Prussia, and indulged in many scornful criticisms of his ignorance and weakness, yet he had to admit that it was Castlereagh who made the final decisions on the Saxon question. Gentz, who also had been a severe critic, bore witness in his review of the Congress to his immense energy and endurance. "He worked day and night," he wrote, "sometimes with the King of Prussia and the Emperor of Russia, sometimes with Prince Metternich and Prince Hardenberg." It was as a result of these amazing powers of work that the territorial arrangements north of the Alps were complete, except for certain details, before Castlereagh left Vienna.
The key to the solution lay in the Saxon question. Castlereagh had secured the entry of France to the Committee, and, at Prussia's request, the formal agreement of Talleyrand that the settlement was not to depend upon the King of Saxony's consent. But Prussia had not yet abandoned her claim to the whole of Saxony. She kept it as a means of bargaining, and it was still included in the plan with which Hardenberg opened the game at the first meeting of the Five on January 12. That this also demanded Bayreuth and 660,000 more "souls" than Prussia possessed in 1805 shewed that she intended to push her claims hard.
Austria had to reply to this formal statement, and the spirit in which she began to consider it caused Castlereagh the greatest anxiety. The Austrian soldiers were putting pressure on Metternich in the same manner as the Prussians on Hardenberg. Schwarzenberg presented the Emperor with a memoir which on strategic grounds would have deprived Prussia of Torgau and Erfurth, the key fortresses of the Upper Elbe. He had much support in Austrian political circles, including that of Stadion. Metternich himself was eager to push Prussia back as far as possible, for he was as much alarmed at the radical spirit of the Prussian war party as at the extravagant claims which they put forward. Castlereagh at once opposed this scheme in the strongest language. In a general war Austria must rely on the support of Britain and France, he said, and not on a fortress more or less, while as regards Prussia and Austria alone he considered strategy gave Prussia the better claim. Austria had no right to dominate Saxony, which belonged to north Germany rather than south. In short, he told Metternich that while he had been ready to defend Austria against hostile invasion, he would not run the risk of war upon "a mere question of details." 1
Metternich was himself ready to yield to Castlereagh on these points, but, as his master was not, he shrank from facing
1 To Liverpool, Jan. 11, 22, 1815: B.D.285, 292. From "Talleyrand, Jan. 8, 1815": F.O. Continent, 10. "Metternich to Merveldt, Jan. 13, 1815": Vienna St. A. Metternich, Memoirs, ii. 494.
the hostile combination against him. It was left to Castlereagh, therefore, and Münster, who was a gallant second at this period, to bear down the opposition. Münster tackled both Stadion and Schwarzenberg, and secured the former's admission that war could not be risked on such a point. Castlereagh, by informing Metternich that he would withdraw all support if the demand was pressed, secured an interview with Francis, who he found in a very warlike mood, more so, indeed, than on any previous occasion. The Emperor urged the necessity of keeping Torgau and Erfurth out of Prussia's hands, and even offered to give back to Russia territory in Galicia so that Russia could indemnify Prussia on her Polish frontier. Castlereagh refused absolutely to agree to this offer, which did not, of course, meet the strategic question at issue, and on the following day met Metternich and Talleyrand to consider the Austrian answer, which he found most unsatisfactory. It had been concerted between them and Schwarzenberg, and still denied Torgau to Prussia, and also much reduced her total. Castlereagh refused to support it in spite of their determined efforts to convince him. "You can have no idea," reported Wrede in great anger, "of the number of military and political arguments used against Castlereagh. It has all been in vain." It was, Castlereagh said, a little hard that the odium of urging severe measures towards Saxony should be thrown upon him, but that he would not "sacrifice the peace of Europe to preserve to them two or three hundred thousand subjects more or less."
This firmness at last induced the Emperor to give way, and Castlereagh agreed with Talleyrand and Metternich on a plan which he could support as a fair one, though he insisted it must be open to discussion and not offered as an ultimatum. Metternich excused himself to Schwarzenberg by throwing all the blame on Castlereagh, whose support was necessary to oppose Prussia. Similarly, Talleyrand, whose conduct had been most satisfactory, took care in his letters to the King to throw all the responsibility for the reduction of the King of Saxony's dominions on to Castlereagh, whom he accused of gross ignorance--a charge which Treitschke from the opposite point of view has repeated. The truth was that Castlereagh had the whole of the negotiation at his finger-ends, and was able to state the case for either party with equal skill, and find the compromise which both could force their extremists to accept.
He had now to turn his attention to the Prussian side, and put on them the same pressure from the opposite point of view. They wanted not only Torgau and Erfurth but Leipzig as well. To Münster Hardenberg's language was as truculent as at the end of December; "he would insist," he said, "on giving his ultimatum, that if it was not accepted, Prussia, supported by Russia, would make war with 300,000 men --that in this case she would spare nothing, and she would regard as enemies all who would not join her. He particularly mentioned Hanover and England, knowing well himself that we would not take part with Prussia in such a cause."
Münster wisely refused to comment on such remarks and left Hardenberg to Castlereagh, who came with the Austrian plan. Though the Prussian Minister made no such threats to Castlereagh, his opposition to giving up Leipzig was just as strong. He could not return to Berlin, he said, without it as a trophy. In reply Castlereagh pointed out that sound policy would avoid separating Dresden and Leipzig, that the opinion of Berlin was not so important as that of Great Britain, Austria, France, and Germany, which was all on the other side. "If the British Government had listened to popular sentiment," he said, "we still should have been at war with America in pursuit of an object not essential to our honour, and too dearly purchased, even if accomplished, by a protracted war." But it was in vain. Hardenberg refused to agree, and when the Austrian projet was submitted to the Committee of Five reserved his reply. Castlereagh had, however, in a special interview already got the Tsar to view the Austrian plan favourably, and to admit that the King of Saxony should be restored. 1
1 "To Liverpool, Jan. 29, 1815": B.D.294. "Münster to the Prince Regent, Jan. 21, 1815": Münster, 220-24; Jan. 22, 1815: Hanover St. A. Talleyrand to Louis XVIII., Feb. 1, 1815: Pallain, Corres. inédito, 252. Metternich to Schwarzenberg, Jan. 27, 1815: Klinkowström, Oesterreichs Theilnahme, 823. "Wrede to Montgelas, Jan. 26, 1815": Munich St. A.
It was at this point that Castlereagh received the letter from Liverpool, positively commanding his presence in London to defend the Government's Budget, on which the Opposition promised a warm attack, especially on the unpopular income tax. Wellington had in vain urged that it was only natural that Castlereagh should want to finish his great work. He had delayed his departure for a few days, but now orders came for him to set out and relieve Castlereagh as soon as possible. Castlereagh had therefore to get ready to go, though he had no intention of leaving until he had settled the main problem. "I shall leave Vienna on my return home," he curtly informed Liverpool, "whenever I have fully communicated with the Duke of Wellington--and when I am of opinion I can do so without prejudice to the publick service in the existing critical state of our negotiations." To the considerate Bathurst he was more expansive, even jocular, but just as resolute: "You may rely on my joining you as soon as I can without essentially endangering the point immediately at issue; but you might as well expect me to have run away from Leipzig (if I had been there) last year to fight Creevey and Whitbread, as to withdraw from hence till the existing contest is brought to a point." His staff, who were not informed of this resolution, were surprised at his quietness. Young Lord Apsley expressed their feelings when he told his father: "It is a bad example to shew an opposition that they can so bully you as to force home the man whom they allowed to be the fittest negotiator." 1
Fortunately Castlereagh was able to overcome the resistance of Prussia shortly after he received this instruction. Having failed with Hardenberg, he made an attempt on 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." In view of the experiences in the last twelve months these are strong words, but the King seems to have vented on Castlereagh all his spleen and disappointment at the loss of Saxony, which
1 Liverpool to Wellington, Jan. 15, 1815; W.S.D. ix. 536. "Wellington to Liverpool, Jan. 10, 13, 1815": Gurwood, xii. 241, 245. To Liverpool, Jan. 30, 1815: Lond. MSS. "To Bathurst, Jan. 30, 1815": W.S.D. ix. 551. "Apsley to Bathurst, Jan. 30, 1815": Bathurst, 336.
was as much due to his own weak conduct as to any other cause. But Castlereagh was by now used to the reproaches of sovereigns, and he spoke just as frankly in reply. "My duty was to discourage the King from any false move, which might compromise us all," he explained, "and as I wished to execute this without reserve, my audience terminated as unpleasantly as it had begun."
In this extremity he turned to the Tsar, by whom it will be remembered he had suggested some sacrifice should be made, and obtained the offer of Thorn and a slice of territory to Prussia. With this concession, a considerable one from a strategic point of view, as history was to shew, for Thorn commands the middle Vistula, Prussian consent was at last obtained to leave Leipzig in Saxon hands. Even now, however, Prussia's other demands for Saxon territory were such that Castlereagh had no hope that Austria or France or the King of Saxony would agree to them. The only thing to do was to find compensation for Prussia in some other part of Germany. In these circumstances Castlereagh got Münster to give up 50,000 of the new "souls" which Hanover was to obtain, and reduced on his own responsibility Holland's increase by another 50,000. Hardenberg made a last struggle for Leipzig, for which the Prussian soldiers and Stein's friends were still fighting tooth and nail, and trying to make a question of national prestige. But Castlereagh's new offers, which shewed the genuineness of his efforts, at last overcame Hardenberg's resistance and he accepted the new scheme. Metternich agreed at once; Talleyrand, whose sovereign had wished Saxony to be a second-class not a third-class Power, with some hesitation at first, but without reservation, and the long struggle was over on February 6. 1
The Saxon question had involved concessions on so many other frontiers that with it most of Europe north of the Alps was settled. Castlereagh's share in the reconstruction had been a large one, and the final result, though he had suffered defeat on what he regarded as the most vital frontier, was not altogether incommensurate with his plans for the "just equilibrium" which he had had in his mind.
1 "To Liverpool, Feb. 6, 1815": B.D.299.
As regards Poland, the new map of Europe was very different from that which he had tried to create. Instead of being pushed back beyond the Vistula, Russia was in occupation of a country which reached within striking distance of Berlin and came close to the Carpathians. Cracow was a free town and Prussia had obtained Thorn, but this made but little impression on the Tsar's gains. In his duel with Castlereagh he had come off with flying colours.
Moreover, he had easily been able to maintain his plans of creating a Kingdom of Poland which he was to endow with a constitution, though Castlereagh was right when he insinuated that the Russians would prevent their monarch from adding any territory on the Russian frontier of the duchy of Warsaw. Castlereagh had faithfully followed Liverpool's instructions in placing on public record Britain's desire that Poland should be erected as an independent state, which he had used so much in the course of the controversy. As has been seen, he had never contemplated such a solution seriously, and it was obviously impossible under the conditions of the time. None of the three Powers concerned would have consented. He appealed, however, in his note to each of the three monarchs to treat their Polish dominions as separate parts of their realms. The Tsar had, of course, already promised to do so. It must be confessed that this appeal was partly made to satisfy Parliamentary criticism, though the wise words which it contained as to giving the Poles national institutions represented considerable feeling on Castlereagh's part. They represented, moreover, the feelings of a large part of his countrymen, and Castlereagh laid great emphasis on this point in his first speech in the House of Commons, while they served in the nineteenth century as a basis for the protests of Britain and France, when Alexander's successors destroyed the institutions with which he had endowed his new kingdom. Both Austria and Prussia were ready to agree, indeed Metternich took advantage so eagerly of the opportunity, "to prove the anxiety of the House of Austria at all times to uphold the independence of the national government of Poland," that the Tsar was alarmed, and Wellington's intervention was necessary to modify the language. The Tsar, of course, made also an affirmative reply, and he could do so with some consistency. Czartoryski was much dissatisfied with all three answers, and urged Wellington to propose that the Tsar should immediately assume the title of King of Poland, and that the declarations of the three Powers should be made more explicit. Talleyrand could also genuinely support the protection of Polish nationality in any form, however lukewarm his actions had been during the earlier crisis in Vienna, and he sent a reply approving "without reserve" Castlereagh's sentiments. 1
The great barrier to Russia as to France was in Castlereagh's mind to be found in central Europe, and the most pernicious effect of Russia's Polish claims was the breach which they made between Prussia and Austria. His endeavour to unite them on the basis of the sacrifice of all Saxony to Prussia had failed, but he could still claim that it was his efforts that had brought them together again. The compromise which he had achieved almost single-handed was a reasonable one, and the settlement of German territory lasted till the age of Bismarck. Its essence was a strong if widely extended Prussia, which was always Castlereagh's aim as it had been Pitt's. It was his support that secured her so much in the end, though, of course, if his Polish plans had succeeded she would have had much less territory in the west. Yet Castlereagh had welcomed her presence as the guardian of the Rhine, and done his best to increase her territory there into a compact and solid mass, such as her soldiers said was necessary in so advanced a position. He would have been ready at this time to add Luxemburg, but they positively refused to accept it. This transfer of Prussian power from east to west was, in a sense, the most important decision of the Congress, and there is irony in the thought that it was Britain, with the assistance of Talleyrand, which brought it about rather than any great inclination on the part of Prussia
1 "To Liverpool, Jan. 11, 1815": B.D.287. Circular note, Jan. 12, 1815: B.F.S.P. ii. 642. The Russian, Prussian, and Austrian replies follow. "From Talleyrand, Jan. 13, 1815": F.O. Continent, 10. "From Wellington, Feb. 15, 1815": W.S.D. ix. 579. Castlereagh's defence in the House is given in B.D.402.
herself. Castlereagh deliberately made the plan of bringing Prussia to the support of his new kingdom of the Netherlands, and once the opportunity was given, to make her interests there as strong as possible. As has been noted, he was not unaware that Prussia might one day become herself a danger, and her conduct at Vienna did not diminish these fears; but the history of the next fifty years shewed that he was right in considering the threat from France as the more immediate, and therefore the only one which could be taken into consideration at that time.
It may be noted also that Prussia was in support rather than in direct contact with France. The Prussian territory marched with the Netherlands during the greater part of its frontier. Talleyrand was at this time, indeed, able to claim credit for the fact that the Prussian and French frontiers nowhere touched--an object which he had laid down for himself in his instructions. 1
In the north, the Netherlands kingdom was, of course, the special creation of Britain, and in particular of Castlereagh. It was his insistence alone that had deprived France of Belgium, as Napoleon often confessed. Though history was to shew the impossibility of fusing these Catholic provinces with Protestant Holland, yet it is difficult to see what else could have been done with them at that time, if Austria refused to resume her ancient possessions. Even Mackintosh, who loudly condemned the union of Genoa and Piedmont, had nothing to say against the incorporation of Belgium with Holland. It was Castlereagh who managed their affairs at the Congress, and decided with the other Great Powers their final shape. As has been seen, his views on this question had to change a good deal in the course of the negotiations. The early plans of 1814, which would have given the Netherlands much more of the left bank of the Rhine down to the Moselle,
1 "Talleyrand to Louis XVIII., Feb. 15, June , 1815": Pallain, Corres. inédite, 271, 454. Castlereagh also seems to have regarded this point as important. It was the exchanges made during the second peace of Paris that made the two Powers neighbours. To Clancarty, Sept. 20, 1815 The object, secured as I thought at Vienna, of interposing a third Power between France and Prussia has, I find, been defeated by the assignment to Prussia of a population of 69,000 souls in the unsettled territories on the left bank of the Rhine, for which she is to account with some minor Princes elsewhere." Colenbrander, Gedenkstukken, vii. 276.
were defeated by Prussia's necessities. But Castlereagh seems to have early had a growing conviction that the strength of the Netherlands would not increase with such accessions of territory, and that if he secured the line of the Meuse the new kingdom would then be in the best position to maintain the barrier against France. He doubted also "the policy of building our system of defence exclusively upon the Prince of Orange's power, enfeebled as it must be by great military exertions, by the genius of his people, and by the principles of his government." Münster's jealousy of the new state, more than once stated in the course of the year, may have contributed somewhat to his decision, but it was approved also by Wellington on strategical grounds, provided only that the Liège Bishopric, which was for some time in doubt, was given to the Netherlands as well as both banks of the Meuse.
It was also Prussia's insistence that caused the Prince of Orange to exchange his hereditary possessions of Nassau for the duchy of Luxemburg, which was kept separate from his kingdom and made him a member of the German Confederation. Castlereagh had tried to avoid this connection, and the Prince much resented his position in it, largely on grounds of dignity, which was only partly assuaged by his receiving the title of Grand Duke. He attempted in vain to refuse the Prussian garrison of the fortress. He accepted, however, the other territorial arrangements without much demur, though his representatives, recently reinforced by Capellen, were hardly as satisfied with the whole as Castlereagh described them in his official report. They testified, however, warmly to Clancarty's affection for the new state, which had only been overcome by the necessities of politics and Castlereagh's commands. It is significant perhaps that the King was in dread of Prussian neighbours almost as much as of the French, but this was largely due to the overbearing character of their troops of occupation, and the return of Napoleon soon brought a change of mind.
Castlereagh's plans for the marriage had been by this time completely defeated, and preparations were on foot to replace them with an alliance with Russia, the one which he most disliked for the House of Orange. But it was hardly likely that the connection would have obtained the importance in the future of the Netherlands which Lord Salisbury assumed in 1862. Princess Charlotte, if she had lived, would hardly have been able to have much influence on her Dutch husband, whose conduct was to cause both his father and British Ministers much anxiety in the immediately succeeding years. 1
The eternal question of the Russian-Dutch loan had also to be tackled by Castlereagh before he left Vienna. In spite of the opposition of the home Government, which Cooke had so strongly supported, Castlereagh felt that it was necessary to pay this money, partly as a matter of good faith, since Russia had earned it in the closing stages of the negotiations, but also in the interests of the Netherlands. It was doubtful, he said, whether he could secure the signature of Russia to the frontiers of the new kingdom without it, and the authority of the Prince of Orange might thus be severely shaken. He considered that the cession of Demerara, Essequibo, and Berbice had made Britain morally responsible for some monetary compensation. In such circumstances it was only sound policy to use the money to promote the general harmony.
"If, then," he wrote, "a charge must be incurred, there seems no adequate motive, but the reverse, at the close of a Congress, which is likely to end in good humour, to disturb a temper that may improve, at least, the prospects of peace." He therefore persuaded Russia to accept one-half instead of two-thirds of the debt, as had been originally arranged, a saving of a million and a half to Britain, and agreed to pay the rest, leaving, however, the final arrangement in the Duke's hands "as a security for the due execution of what remains to be done." Perhaps even then he would have failed to obtain the consent of the Cabinet had not the return of Napoleon made Russia's recognition of the new state specially
1 "To Liverpool, Feb. 13. 1815": B.D.303. To Wellington, Oct. 2, 1814, with explanatory documents. "From Wellington, Oct. 17, 27, 1814": W.S.D. ix. 301, 346, 381. Van Spaen to Van Nagell, Feb. 12, 1815; Van Nagell to Capellen, Feb. 13, 1815; Clancarty to the Prince of Orange, Feb. 14, 1815. "From Stuart, Feb. 14, 24, 1815": Colenbrander, Gedenkstukken, vii. 733, 734, 736, 220, 223.
desirable. The problem was finally settled so far as Castlereagh was concerned by a treaty drawn up in London between Castlereagh, Lieven, and Fagel on May 19, 1815, which was carefully drafted to make the discharge of the debt depend upon the maintenance of the sovereignty of the King of Holland over Belgium--a fact which reopened the whole question in 1831.
The whole transaction is a good illustration of Castlereagh's use of financial assistance as a means of helping forward the general peace of Europe. Though Liverpool and Vansittart might protest and groan at such large-mindedness, in the long run the money was probably well spent in relieving Britain from any charge of meanness so likely to be brought against the wealthiest country in the world by poorer allies who had joined with her in a common cause. Meanwhile the new kingdom had been formally proclaimed, for as soon as the news of the return of Napoleon reached him, the Prince of Orange assumed the title of the King of the Netherlands, and, thanks to Castlereagh's efforts, all the Great Powers were ready to acknowledge the new sovereign immediately. 1
After the Netherlands, Hanover was the greatest charge on Castlereagh's care. Here again extravagant schemes had been abandoned, and the final result was one that could be defended on every ground. Münster had shewn himself at Vienna very moderate in his demands, and, as has been seen, allowed his territory to be cut down at the last minute to satisfy Prussia's claims. The new Hanover was, at any rate, more compact and had the command of the mouth of the Ems, a point which Castlereagh mentioned with satisfaction and Talleyrand with some jealousy. The fact that almost the whole of its eastern frontier was in direct contact with Holland was also satisfactory to Britain, whose two clients were thus placed in a position to be jointly defended, while Münster rejoiced that he had at least one frontier out of contact with Prussia, whose power he had learnt to dread. The Prince Regent was much distressed at the sacrifice of
1 "To Liverpool, Feb. 13, 1815"; F.O. Continent, 12; and the dispatch of Clancarty in the preceding note. To Wellington, March 12, 1815; "from Wellington, March 25, 1814": W.S.D. ix. 590, 615. F. Martens, Recueil des Traités, xi. 218-22. B.F.S.P. ii. 378.
Lauenberg for East Frisia, which he surrendered to Prussia, who used it to barter from Denmark Pomerania and the Isle of Rügen, which Sweden had ceded in return for Norway. Sentiment forbade him, he urged, from alienating the territory of his father while the old King was still alive. Münster could only "deplore a necessity which has placed me in the position of a sufferer who has sacrificed one of his limbs to save the rest of his body." The Regent's conscience caused an attempt to be made in August to buy it back from Denmark, but the King regarded the suggestion as 'most odious,' and though the British Minister strongly supported the Hanoverian envoy nothing could be accomplished. This territory would, however, have added but little strength to the new kingdom, whose title was now recognised by almost all the Powers. At any rate, there could be no substance in the charge, to which all British Governments were still liable, that they had placed Hanoverian interests before those of their own country. 1
That these exchanges were not completed until nearly the end of the Congress was due to the conduct of Bernadotte, who, in spite of the satisfactory settlement of the Norwegian question, refused to hold Denmark guiltless, and would not, therefore, carry out the terms of the Treaty of Kiel. The question was really largely a financial one, Bernadotte hoping to evade certain payments due under the treaty by the pretext of making Denmark compensate him for the expense of reducing Norway. It was British insistence on justice being done to Denmark that finally produced a settlement. Wellington wrote one of his admirable minutes, and, when Prussia and Russia refused support, Clancarty, who saw in their conduct an intrigue of the Tsar with Bernadotte, took vigorous action. It was only, however, the fortunate fact that Britain had money to pay to Sweden for Guadeloupe that enabled her eventually to force the reluctant Bernadotte to submit, so that the exchanges between Prussia, Sweden, and Denmark could be arranged. The King of Denmark and his Ministers were full of gratitude for this timely help, though,
1 "To Liverpool, Feb. 13, 1815": B.D.303. "Münster to the Prince Regent, Jan.21, March 5, 1815": Hanover St. A.; March 11, 1815: Münster, 225. "From Foster, Aug. 15, 29, Nov. 4, 14, 1815": F.O. Detsmark, 71.
of course, they thought that more money could have been obtained from Sweden. 1
Sweden had thus given up the last of her possessions on the mainland, a step of far greater wisdom than the acquisition of Norway. This withdrawal was altogether in accordance with Castlereagh's ideas, not only because it strengthened Prussia, but because it made Sweden more insular.
This completed the arrangements in the north, but in the south of Germany matters were less settled. Castlereagh had, of course, less direct interests to defend, but, as has been seen, he had ever since the peace of Paris vainly endeavoured to get Bavaria to give back to Austria Salzburg and the Tyrol, without obtaining Mainz, which he preferred to have in stronger hands. But Bavaria had been obdurate, even truculent, playing on the necessities of Austria during the critical period. The final settlement of the Saxon question left her therefore somewhat dismayed, but it was still impossible to make her accept the situation. Castlereagh used all his influence when passing through Munich on his way home to induce her to accept the Palatinate as compensation; and Rose, at Castlereagh's instructions, continued this pressure after he had left. It would bring Bavaria, he said, into contact with Holland and Hanover, and thus with Britain herself.
Montgelas, however, was still fearful of taking responsibility on the other side of the Rhine. He would have preferred to round off his state by large contributions from his immediate neighbours. But Bavaria had overreached itself. The compensations left in Germany after Prussia had been satisfied were unequal to all the new demands. Eventually, though Bavaria secured some additions, it had to accept the Palatinate as Castlereagh had advised, while Mainz not only
1 "To Liverpool, Jan. 25, 1815": F.O. Continent, 11. "From Wellington, Feb. 18, March 4, 1815": W.S.D. ix. 571, 587. From Clancarty, April 1 ("The Russian Emperor is playing us a game of delay in favour of his minion Charles Jean"), April 21, 1815: F.O. Continent, 17; April 28, 1815: Lond. MSS. Wellington's incisive note to Razumovsky is printed in the Appendix of Johan Feuk Sverige På Kongressen i Wien (Lund, 1915), which also gives a detailed analysis of the negotiations. "From Foster, June 3, 17, 1815": F.O. Denmark, 71. Bernadotte still managed to evade some of the obligations of the Treaty of Kiel, and Castlereagh had to bring it up again at the Conference of Aix-la-Chapelle.
became a fortress of the Federation but was put under Hesse's sovereignty. The tortuous diplomacy by which Austria and the south German Courts settled these final problems gave Clancarty much trouble and extended far beyond the Congress, but Britain's rôle was merely that of a disinterested spectator who endeavoured, though generally in vain, to find some compromise acceptable to all. 1
On the whole, Castlereagh could view the new central Europe with some satisfaction. "A better defence has been provided for Germany than has existed at any period of our history" was his final word before he left Vienna. This was true at any rate as regards France, out of whose encroachments the long war had arisen. As for the failure on the eastern frontier, its dangers would be minimised if Austria and Prussia were reconciled and set themselves to the task of organising Germany as a unit. The negotiations for the German constitution, which had been abandoned in November, could now be renewed with some hope of success. So far as Castlereagh had influence it was employed to unite Germany into as strong a state as the conditions of the time allowed, both now and in the remaining years of his tenure of office. But he kept British policy outside this complicated question, though Münster continued to be an important factor in the discussions.
In Swiss questions, both internal and external, however, Britain became gradually more and more involved, and it is hardly true that Stratford Canning's instructions, while the Cantons were engaged in drawing up their new constitution, were, as his biographer has stated, "one long panegyric on non-intervention." The Great Powers had assumed the responsibility of guaranteeing the independence and integrity of Switzerland, and therefore "felt themselves called upon to endeavour to guard against the evil of internal commotion." Stratford was ordered to co-operate in the work, though he was enjoined to make any difference with his colleagues" as little a matter of public observation as possible." Stratford's energy soon brought him into the thick of these
1 "From Rose, Feb. 20, 1815": F.O. Bavaria, 42. Clancarty's continual disappointments in this question were reported from time to time.
problems, especially as Capo d'Istria under La Harpe's influence was violently supporting the rights of the "new" Cantons against Berne's desire to resume her old supremacy. Stratford tended to support Berne, but he sought to effect compromises as he had been ordered, and on the whole was conciliatory to Capo d'Istria, even when he opposed him. 1
Their co-operation extended to Vienna, whither Stratford was summoned in October to advise the British delegation on Swiss affairs. He got on well with Lord Stewart, who was in charge of the British case, and with Castlereagh, who gave him such attention as he could spare and much hospitality and kindness. Stratford was given the task of secretary to the Swiss Committee, when he challenged Capo d'Istria's drafting, and British influence was used wisely in composing the differences between the "old" and "new" Cantons, without in any way attempting to alter the essentials of the constitution, to which they had agreed after much difficulty, though it was far from satisfying their wishes for a strong Switzerland.
In the small but difficult questions of the Swiss frontier Britain took a surprisingly sustained and lively interest, especially in those connected with Geneva's incorporation in the Confederation. The visit to London of Sir François d'Ivernois, whom the Genevese wisely associated with Pictet de Richemont to represent them, had caused Castlereagh to repent a little of the rather harsh attitude he had taken up at Paris. Stratford was told therefore of the anxiety "to keep up the ancient and intimate relations between this country and Geneva," and the desire to maintain "the independence and strength of that Republic and of affecting its incorporation with the Swiss Union as the most effectual barrier of Switzerland, and therefore as essential to the repose of Europe." 2
This promise, officially transmitted to Geneva on August 4, was kept, as d'Ivernois readily admitted, and even Pictet,
1 "To Stratford Canning, June 16, July 25, 1814": F.O. Switzerland, 40. "From Stratford Canning, July 25, Aug. 6, 7, Sept. 16, 26, 1814": F.O. Switzerland, 41. Lane-Poole: Stratford Canning, i. 226.
2 Lane-Poole: Stratford Canning, i. 243. "To Stratford Canning, July 25, 1814": F.O. Switzerland, 40.
though he always bore a grudge against Castlereagh for his conduct at Paris, sometimes allowed. Britain certainly supported every attempt to strengthen the Swiss frontiers on the south, and it was impossible for her, as Pictet desired, to refuse Genoa to Piedmont unless the latter agreed to the Swiss claims, though she succeeded by using the 'imperial fiefs' in obtaining a slight increase of frontier. It was not her fault that Austria got the Valtelline. The greatest disappointment was, however, over the Pays de Gex, which it was hoped that France would cede against another piece of frontier. Stewart had worked hard for this, and he was greatly disappointed at the result. Castlereagh gave him no more than his due in praising him in an official dispatch for his efforts, though he refused to put pressure on France to give way. He commended, however, Swiss interests to his successors, and both Wellington and Clancarty supported Stewart in all that he did.
At the second Peace of Paris, Castlereagh was able to do a little more for Geneva, whose deputies now represented the whole Federation. A slip of territory (Versoix) was given them joining Geneva to the Canton of Vaud, and the customs frontier of a large portion of the Pays de Gex was pushed back so as to give Geneva a larger economic area, while the fortress of Huninguen which threatened Bâle was razed. 1
In the guarantee of neutrality, by far the most important step which was taken by the Powers for Switzerland, Castlereagh does not, however, seem to have taken any lead, though he professed great interest. The neutralisation of Switzerland under the guarantee of the Great Powers, first made by declaration at Vienna, came from the initiative of the Swiss
1 "To Liverpool, Dec. 18, 1814, Jan. 22, 1815": F.O. Continent, 9, 11. "From Stewart, Dec. 6, 1814": F.O. Austria, 117. "From Wellington, March 25, 1815": W.S.D. ix. 615. See also O. Karmin, Sir Fraçois d'Iversois ( 1920), 562-65; Pictet, Biographic de C. Pictet de Richemons ( 1892) ; and L. Cramer, Corres. Diplomatique de Pictet de Richemont et François d'Ivernois ( 2 vols., 1914). The latter's eulogy of British zeal is given in ii. 744. Much of the story is shewn in the Protocols and Memoirs printed in d'Angeberg. Congrès de Vienne, but an important one in which Stewart's advocacy at Vienna is further emphasised is omitted. Stratford Canning warmly recommended the increase of territory in August 1815, on the ground that Geneva was too much exposed to resist France. This weakness explained its "very equivocal line of conduct" in the late war. ( "From Stratford Canning, Aug. 15, 1815": F.O. Switserland, 42.)
themselves, and none of the Powers seem to have realised its full significance. Castlereagh expressed his great pleasure at its renewal at Paris, in the more solemn form of a treaty, which, he told Pictet, promised well for the future security of the Confederation. So great, however, was his objection to the idea of guarantee at this time that for a moment he wished to substitute a mere declaration, until it was pointed out that a 'guarantee' had already been solemnly pronounced at Vienna. Then he cheerfully acquiesced and took a great interest in the drafting of the clauses in which it was incorporated in the treaty. 1
Though the reconstruction of Italy still remained to be decided, plans of Castlereagh and Metternich gave promise that solutions would also be found for its problems, including the removal of Murat by negotiation or otherwise. The new Europe was therefore almost in being. Castlereagh could thus leave, for the task of pacifying or mastering the House of Commons, with a consciousness of having performed nearly all that he had intended. On February 14 he set out for home via Munich and Paris, where he had important action to take on the way, after distributing to the principal plenipotentiaries, whom he left still labouring at Vienna, a print of himself, which Talleyrand said was "very like the donor and would always give him agreeable memories." 2
1 L. Cramer, Corres. Diplomatique de Pictet de Richemont, ii. 203. P. Schweizer , Geschichle der Schweizerischen Neutralitat, ii. 584-85.
2 From Talleyrand, Feb. 3, 1815: Lond. MSS.
2. THE SETTLEMENT OF ITALY
THROUGHOUT the great duel over Poland and Saxony the question of Italy, and especially of Naples, had exercised an important if subterranean influence. Talleyrand's adhesion to the Austrian side had been obtained, partly at least, because he had received assurances, even if only of a vague character, that Murat would be removed from Naples. But Metternich, with great skill and tenacity, had succeeded in postponing any attempt to deal with Italian problems until the Saxon crisis was over. In the final stages of a negotiation that reached past Talleyrand to Paris, Castlereagh had a considerable share. 1
As has been seen, Castlereagh went to Vienna with no commitments to Murat except the armistice and in no very friendly mood towards him. His overthrow had already been considered. Castlereagh must have discussed the matter with Wellington on his way through Paris, for the latter sent to him, as early as September 12, a scheme for carrying out 'our plans' without Austrian help, by the use of the forces of the Bourbon Powers. At Vienna Castlereagh found an impression on all sides that Murat must be got rid of. The death of Marie Caroline, on September 7, had removed one obstacle to the restoration of Ferdinand, and Münster reported that Metternich was prepared to yield to the unanimous voice of Europe. Castlereagh was not so definite, though he doubtless knew more, but the instructions to A'Court from Vienna contemplated the restoration of the Sicilian Bourbons. 2
1 An entirely now light on then transactions was thrown by Commandant M. H. Weil in his Joachim Murat, 5 vols. ( 1909). as a result of researches in the Austrian archives. The volumes also contain a large number of documents from Italian, British, and French archives.
2 "From Wellington, Sept. 12, 1814": C.C. x. 114; Münster, 186. Münster, who had discussed the question in Paris (see his letter to the
Murat's energetic and able representatives, the Duke of Campo Chiaro and Prince Cariati, were well aware of this attitude and from the first made every attempt to counteract it. Except the treaty with Austria, Murat had, as yet, no recognition of his position. France, Spain, and, of course, Sicily were hostile to him, the Papacy was demanding back the Marches and the Principalities of Beneventum and Pont Corvo before it would discuss that 'neutrality' which was all that Murat dared to ask, while the attitude of the Tsar and the King of Prussia was doubtful. British support might well be all important. One of the first acts at the Congress of Murat's representatives was, therefore, to give to Castlereagh a Mémoire Historique justifying all their master's actions since he had changed sides, an official step which was undoubtedly meant, like their later notes, to influence public opinion as much as the Government; for Campo Chiaro was in correspondence with Wilson, who had now become a good Muratist, and the Opposition, which on the whole took the same side, were informed of these documents so that they could challenge the Government in Parliament. Indeed, throughout all these months Naples was full of English visitors, whom Murat entertained in royal fashion and whose flattery was perhaps one of the causes of his final actions. Lord Oxford's papers, seized in Paris, contained many letters of encouragement from both French and English, though nothing that really justified the action, which, however, pleased Castlereagh. The debate in the House in November shewed that Naples would be used, if possible, as much as Saxony to discredit the Government.
The Mémoire had but little effect on Castlereagh and he reserved its refutation to a more suitable moment. Murat's representatives were denied all official recognition by the Congress, though of course they received it at the Austrian Court. Metternich, however, remained studiously enigmatic to the world at large. There were other Italian questions besides that of Murat, including the Duchies of Parma, to which, in spite of the Treaty of Fontainebleau, Talleyrand desired the Spanish Bourbons to return, and the Legations,
Prince Regent of Sept. 2, 1814: Dupuis, Ministère de Talleyrand, ii. 286), was perhaps too vehement an opponent of Murat to give an impartial report.
including the important town of Ferrara, which Austria held, and which were sought as compensation for many parties. All these questions he wished to reserve until the struggle over central Europe was ended.
Yet undoubtedly Castlereagh and Metternich were discussing the Italian problems during this period and gradually arriving at some agreement. Metternich for a time seemed ready to agree that Marie Louise should give up the Duchies and receive compensation in the Legations. At any rate, Castlereagh believed that he was so minded, and Metternich himself, in a long intimate interview with Consalvi, in which he foretold the fall of Murat, confessed: "There are only two persons to whom I can speak as I have just done, you and Lord Castlereagh. You two alone can understand me." Naturally Castlereagh kept these confidences to himself. 1
By December, however, the need for Talleyrand's support had made further action concerning Naples indispensable, and Castlereagh began to make preparations for the accomplishment of this most delicate task. He sent the Mémoire Historique to Bentinck, who had returned to Italy as Commander-in Chief, so that he, like Nugent, could traduce its statements and give evidence of Murat's treasonable intercourse with the enemy during the critical period of 1814. He invited Talleyrand's views as to how the question should be settled, and elicited from him a letter urging a declaration of the Powers recognising Ferdinand's rights to Naples. Castlereagh himself was not, however, convinced that this would be sufficient to ensure Murat's fall. He wished more direct methods--an offer to Murat of money, with the threat of force if he refused. Murat's conduct in 1814, the just claims of Ferdinand, and the wishes of all Europe would, he thought, justify such a step in the eyes of Parliament.
Such a policy, of course, implied the co-operation of Austria, and Castlereagh must have felt assured of it before he made such a proposition to his Government. Metternich had so far, it is true, refused all Talleyrand's suggestions, so that Münster could complain to the Prince Regent: "The cardinal
1 "To Liverpool, Nov. 21, 1814": W.S.D. ix. 448. "Project of arrangements for Italy, dated Minoriten Platz, Nov. 5. 1814": F.O. Cont. Arch.21; P. I. Rinieri, Consalvi e Pacca, 134.
error, for which nothing in my opinion can excuse Metternich, is the support which he gives to Murat, who quietly occupies the frontier, and who has recently bought 25,000 muskets in Austria!" But Metternich was now drawing Talleyrand closely to him concerning Saxony, on which point, as has been seen, he went in advance of Castlereagh, and it is impossible not to believe that he gave some general assurances about Naples. The time and method of the transaction, however, he left quite vague.
The only Italian question, therefore, which was dealt with officially during these months was the incorporation of Genoa in Piedmont, which had already been settled in principle at Paris. The protests of the Genoese were, however, not without result. The commercial and political interests of the town received the guarantee of the Great Powers, and it may be that Dalrymple was not far wrong when he declared that the agitation against annexation came mainly from the aristocrats and the priests, who saw their ancient domination undermined. Nevertheless, the abolition of the ancient republic became a great theme of the Opposition, who described it as a violation of 'national' rights. 1
If Genoa could rouse so much feeling, it is not surprising that Liverpool began to be very nervous about the question of Murat. On December 7 he told Cooke that the time for frightening him out of Naples had gone by, and that he did not desire action which might lead to a general European war. When Castlereagh began to press for it and sent home Nugent's answer to the Mémoire, Liverpool was still doubtful of the proofs of his treachery, and still deprecated a war against him. It could only be justified, he said, if it prevented an even more dangerous war in the West. To this point of view he adhered, when Castlereagh's correspondence with Talleyrand reached him, always insisting that in any case Britain's efforts must be confined to a blockade.
At Paris, on the other hand, the desire for Murat's removal
1 "To Bentinck, Dec. 10, 1814": W.S.D. ix. 489. "From Talleyrand, Dec. 13, 1814": Weil, Murat, ii. 172. "To Liverpool, Dec. 17, 1814": W.S.D. ix. 485. "Münster to the Prince Regent, Dec. 17, 1814": Münster, 206. For British policy as to Genoa, see B.F.S.P. ii. 316-41; for the Neapolitan correspondence as laid before Parliament, B.F.S.P. ii. 245-305.
only increased as time went on. Blacas seems early to have seen in the problem an opportunity for asserting himself against Talleyrand, and he resumed a secret correspondence with Metternich on the question, urging that, if only Austria would promise a benevolent neutrality, France could manage the rest. Wellington was altogether on his side and sent home the details of the expedition which he had already suggested could defeat Murat. 1
These discussions could not take place without increasing the uneasiness of Murat's envoys. On December 29 Campo Chiaro sent another note to Castlereagh, insisting on Murat's good faith and emphasising the assurances which Castlereagh had given on April 3, 1814, in his letter to Bentinck urging co-operation in Italy. This was meant for the Opposition, and indeed an extract from Castlereagh's letter had already been published in England. Meanwhile, the number of Murat's British visitors continued to increase, and the King was undoubtedly influenced by the fact that so many of good position readily accepted his hospitality and advocated his cause, not allowing sufficiently for party spirit and the desire to meddle in public affairs and enjoy the winter climate of Naples. He made also an especial blunder in loading honours upon the Princess of Wales, whose reported passion for him was soon a theme for diplomats. Throughout all Italy the discontented intellectuals were on Murat's side, while the restored rulers were anxious for the removal of one whom they could not help but consider dangerous to themselves. Burghersh reported the alarm of Tuscany's ruler and his readiness to join in the attack. Bentinck, on the other hand, while ready to blacken the case against Murat to the utmost of his power, gloomily foretold that even Austria now would find it difficult to crush his old enemy, who would rally the whole of Italy to his side under that standard of Italian independence which Bentinck had once hoped to unfurl himself. 2
1 Liverpool to Cooke, Dec. 7, 1814. From Liverpool, Dec. 23, 1814; Liverpool to Wellington, Dec. 31, 1814; "Liverpool to Bathurst, Dec. 31, 1814": W.S.D. ix. 468, 496, 517, 519. "Bombelles to Metternich, Dec. 23, 1814": Weil, Murat, ii. 251. "Wellington to Liverpool. Dec. 25, 1814": W.S.D. ix. 503.
2 "From Campo Chiaro, Dec. 29, 1814": B.F.S.P. ii. 268. "From Burghersh, Dec. 1, 1814": Rachel Weigall, Corres. of Lord Burghersh, 63.
Castlereagh no doubt did not attach undue importance to Bentinck's judgments, which were no more accurate in 1815 than they had been in 1814, but the effect of Murat upon the rest of Italy must have stimulated Metternich's desire to get rid of him. At any rate, after the crisis of the Saxon-Polish question had been surmounted, he began to take definite steps to concert action. He preferred that the matter should be arranged with the King and Blacas in Paris rather than with Talleyrand, and he intended to obtain his own way regarding the rest of Italy as a reward for his support against Murat. He asked that Talleyrand should receive orders not to protest at Metternich's insistence that the question of Murat was outside the scope of the Congress, but merely state that the Bourbon Powers maintained their claims. The matter would then be settled by Metternich in accordance with Louis' desires.
This overture was made in the greatest secrecy, but Castlereagh was fully informed and copies of the most secret letters were sent to Liverpool on January 25. It was received with some suspicion by the French Court, and at first the King refused the suggestion that Congress should dissolve without dealing with the question of Murat. But when Bombelles shewed a firm front, the King gave way, and Blacas agreed to the course proposed, on condition that Austria signed a secret treaty recognising Ferdinand's claims to Naples. The King was perhaps helped to the decision by Wellington, who in. formed him, in accordance with Liverpool's repeated instructions, that no British troops would take part in the expedition against Murat. 1
Meanwhile at Vienna Talleyrand was pressing for the return of the Duchies to the Queen of Etruria as well as the Legations to the Pope, thus leaving Marie Louise without a crown. "But Italian affairs," as the French plenipotentiaries reported, "were held up in the bureaux of M. de Metternich." For
From "Bentinck, Jan. 7, 1814": F.O. Continent, 11. Ferdinand protested against the presence of the Princess of Wales, while the Comte de Mier later reported that her conduct at Naples almost justified the Prince Regent. Weil, Murat, ii. 202; iii. 6, 65.
1 "Metternich to Bombelles, Jan. 13, 1814" (ostensible et confidentielle): Weil, Murat, ii. 327,330, and F.O. Continent, II. "Wellington to Liverpool, Jan. 23, 1814": W.S.D. ix. 543.
Metternich, while seeming to view these propositions not unfavourably, was simply playing for time until the decision had been reached at Paris. Talleyrand also redoubled his efforts with Castlereagh on the subject of Murat and found him sympathetic but indefinite. Although he was supplied with evidence against Murat furnished by La Besnardière, he would announce his decision, he said, after he reached home. Talleyrand's letter to the King with delightful irony mocked at Castlereagh's desire not to compromise his character. British practice in India, he added, prevented them from having exact ideas on the subject of legitimacy. He little knew that the recipient of his letter was settling the business with Metternich and Castlereagh behind his back.
Louis' consent to the new plan appears to have reached Vienna just in time for Metternich and Castlereagh to consider it before the latter left for home. Metternich entrusted to Castlereagh the negotiation at Paris, not only of the project concerning Murat but of the whole Italian problem, which Metternich insisted must be settled at the same time. Castlereagh saw the King on February 27 and succeeded in obtaining his consent to practically all Metternich's conditions. As Metternich had given way about Murat, he said, France must give way as regards the north of Italy, and eventually the King agreed that Marie Louise should keep the Duchies for life, the Spanish claimant succeeding her to the exclusion of her son. There was some discussion as to the exact method, and Castlereagh yielded on one or two points, but substantially Metternich obtained all that he desired.
The Austrian Chancellor was now confident of his position, and adopted a new and more intimidating attitude towards the Neapolitans who had just sent a third note to Castlereagh. Even before Castlereagh reached Paris, Wellington, who was no doubt fully in the secret, was able to report confidently of the measures which Schwarzenberg was taking in secret to assemble a large Austrian force in Italy. "So that I consider Murat's affair as settled," he wrote. "His recent conduct is rather fortunate." 1
1 Bombelles to Metternich, Feb. 4, 1815; "Metternich to Bombelles, Feb. 13, 1815" (not 18 as in Weil): Weil, Murat, ii. 397, 453. Talleyrand to Louis, Feb. 15, 1815; "Louis to Talleyrand, March 3, 1815": Pallain,
Murat was, indeed, in a state of nervous tension, and in his anxiety was taking steps of doubtful wisdom in Italy. But his fall had been determined before Napoleon's return. Unless he was prepared to acquiesce tamely in the fate which Castlereagh and Metternich had prepared for him, there was no recourse but to adopt the programme which Bentinck had foreseen and appeal to all Italy to fight on his side. Nevertheless, Murat's threatening attitude, of which Bentinck, Burghersh, and Wellington made the most, had some weight with the British Cabinet, which Castlereagh found very reluctant to adopt his plan upon his return. Their scruples were overcome by a number of documents furnished from the French archives, which, Castlereagh claimed, proved his treachery, though Wellington had already assured Blacas that they were insufficient. Castlereagh was, however, anxious to conceal as far as possible his own prominent part in the negotiations. "As there will be some nicety," he wrote to Wellington on March 12, "in giving to our line on this question the form most likely to prove satisfactory to Parliament, it might be desirable we should accede, according to our own form, to the treaty previously agreed to by Austria and France in the negotiation of which you will assist with a view of rendering the details as little objectionable as possible." 1
By now the news had come of Napoleon's landing in France, and the shock was more than Murat's nerves could stand. Though his representatives at Vienna offered to sign the declaration against Napoleon, Murat himself felt, perhaps rightly, that his only chance lay in taking advantage of the confusion to overcome his enemies. His troops began to
Corres. inédite, 270, 305. From Talleyrand, Feb. 9, 1815; "La Besnardière to Talleyrand, Feb. 9, 1815": F.O. Continent, 12. "To Wellington, Feb. 28, 1815": W.S.D. ix. 583. "From Wellington, Feb. 25, 1815": Gurwood, xii. 263.
1 From Burghersh, Jan. 31, 1815: Weigall, Corres. of Lord Burghersh, 94. "From Bentinck, Jan. 15, 1815": Weil, Murat, ii. 288. "To Wellington, March 12, 1815": W.S.D. ix. 592; with Contre Projet on Naples: F.O. Cont. Arch. 8. The letter of Wellington to Blacas was published by Napoleon, and Wellington then alleged that the memoirs of Nugent and Bentinck made the proofs sufficient. ( "To Wellington, May 19, 1815": W.S.D. x. 323. "From Wellington, May 23, 1815": Gurwood, xii. 418.) Most of the French evidence is given in B.F.S.P. ii. 300-305. Cooke said there was plenty of proof in the Austrian archives if only they would reveal it! (( "From Cooke, April 13, 1815": C.C. x. 313.)
move north to defeat the Austrian armies before they could concentrate. There was, however, a period of uncertainty, and Castlereagh, on receipt of an offer from Chevalier Toco, Murat's unofficial representative at London, to join the Allies, actually authorised Wellington to accept it, if it was considered at Vienna the best means of furthering the general cause. But before Wellington had left Vienna he had settled the Neapolitan question with Metternich and Talleyrand in accordance with Castlereagh's instructions of March 12. They were to make a treaty agreeing to the restoration of Ferdinand, to which Britain was to adhere in her own form of words. Wellington therefore, who only received the later instruction after he had set out for Brussels, advised Clancarty not to act on it. By that time the Austrians were ready to march, and Clancarty had no hesitation in declaring to Metternich that he considered the instruction as invalid. Burghersh had, indeed, anticipated events and denounced the armistice on April 3, though Austria only declared war on April 12, while Bentinck was so anxious for the complete destruction of Murat that he indulged in the most acid criticism of the Austrians, with the result that they demanded his recall. A'Court, in spite of pressure, failed to organise any assistance from Sicily. The British share in the final overthrow of Murat was therefore confined to a naval demonstration by Lord Exmouth in the Bay of Naples, after Murat had been easily defeated on land. For in spite of Bentinck's prophecies the Italians shewed no signs of rallying to Murat's banner, his own Neapolitan troops fought half-heartedly, and by May 2 the Austrians were in Naples, Murat had fled to France, and Prince Leopold of Sicily had been received with the "universal applause of the people." 1
Castlereagh, of course, delighted in this result, though as late as April 3 he had been prepared for some sort of arrangement with Murat. He was stirred to fury by the outcry of the
1 To Wellington, March 24, 1815 (enclosing Chevalier Toco to Castlereagh, March 24, 1815) ; "from Wellington, March 25, 1815": W.S.D. ix. 609, 612. From Clancarty, March 29, April 8, 1815: B.D.318, 321. "From Burghersh, March 18, 24, April 3": F.O. Tuscany, 22; May 21, 23, 1815: Weigall, Corres. of Lord Burghersh, 167-70. "Bentinck to Stewart, April 22, 1815": F.O. Austria, 117. "From Clanearty, April 22, 1815": Lotid. MSS.
Opposition on his conduct. "We shall have Naples on Tuesday," he informed Clancarty on April 29, "and I hope to make our shameless opponents smart for their calumnies on that subject. I am glad you felt strong enough to refuse Murat's overture. My only object was to listen to it, if the union cause upon calculation required his help, of which those on the spot could alone be competent judges." He warmly approved the energetic conduct of Burghersh, and urged A'Court to join in the attack. The discomfiture of the Opposition, and especially Sir Robert Wilson, who to the last refused to believe that Murat could be beaten, must have increased his pleasure in the good news. Metternich's request for the recall of Bentinck could now be safely granted. 1
Moreover, according to A'Court the Sicilian problem had been solved while the fight with Naples had been in progress. The reform of the constitution for which A'Court was working had languished during April, but in May both Houses were induced to ask the King to appoint a commission for that purpose and then dissolved. A'Court's congratulations were as warm as Bentinck's had been a year before. "The credit of having emancipated the Sicilians from despotism remains to us," he assured Castlereagh, "but all our responsibility is removed. . . . Hitherto the King has been the enemy of a constitution, which he considered as having been forced upon him by a foreign Power. He must now of necessity become the supporter of his own work." How illusory this judgment was the next few years were to shew, and A'Court himself was pained to find on his arrival at Naples that Ferdinand had promised Austria, in a secret treaty of April 30, twenty-five millions of francs for the restoration of his kingdom. This sum it was quite impossible for him to pay without ruining his subjects, and in view of the fact that both Austria and Ferdinand were in receipt of special subsidies from Britain for the same purpose, the discovery came as a great shock. Nevertheless, A'Court was pleased that no bloodshed had this time accompanied the restoration, and he was as ready as
1 "To Clancarty, April 3, 1815": F.O. Continent, 16; April 29, 1815: Lond. MSS. "To Burghersh, May 9, 1815": F.O. Tuscany, 23. "To A'Court, May 1815": Lond. MSS. "Metternich to Merveldt, May 17, 1815": Vienna St. A.
Castlereagh to welcome Austrian control over Naples. When in July, by another secret treaty, Ferdinand promised not to introduce a constitution into Naples without Austria's consent he gave it warm approval. So closed for a time Britain's attempt to introduce constitutional principles to the people of Italy.
A'Court was, however, not without influence in the last act of the tragedy of Murat. The exiled King had fled from France to Corsica after Napoleon's defeat, and, refusing the offer of residence in Austria, he made on October 8 a mad and desperate attempt on the coast of Calabria. He was at once arrested and in a few days shot. "As an act of justice and policy," wrote A'Court, "it is in my mind equally to be justified, and I am not afraid to own that I gave this opinion very plainly and unequivocally to the Neapolitan Government the moment I heard of the landing. My opinion, I have reason to believe, had some weight in the business." Few other Englishmen, it is to be hoped, would have cared to claim credit for such an action, however imperative the duty which dictated it. 1
Meanwhile, the settlement of the rest of Italy had been proceeding along the lines Metternich had laid down. Talleyrand was powerless, now that his master was an exile, and it was reserved for Clancarty to play the most obstinate rôle in the only part of the settlement which gave much trouble-the fate of the young Napoleon. As has been seen, Louis and Metternich had agreed that he should not succeed to his mother's kingdom, and though Castlereagh after his return was doubtful if the Treaty of Fontainebleau did not forbid such an arrangement, the action of Napoleon was considered to have made that treaty no longer binding as regards his son. Accord. ingly, by the time Wellington left Vienna everything seemed settled in that sense, and Clancarty was able to report "the whole affairs of Italy may be considered as finally arranged," the only opponent being the Spanish plenipotentiary, who continued to insist on the immediate return of the Duchies to the Queen of Etruria. This prevented signature of the articles,
1 From A'Court, April 2, 4, 17, May 14, 31, 1815: F.O. Sicily, 65. From A'Court, July 15, 1815: F.O. Sicily, 70. A'Court to Burghersh, Oct. 23, 1815: Weigall, Corres. of Burghersh, 198.
and then Metternich pleaded Murat's advance as another excuse for delay. Whether he was still anxious to keep a Bourbon out of Italy or simply waiting on events in France is not known, but the difficult legal situation enabled him to prolong the discussions into May. 1
It was, however, the Tsar who suddenly upset the whole scheme by refusing to agree to the exclusion of the young Napoleon. Metternich asserted that he disapproved of this plan, but he gave but little support to Clancarty's obstinate and furious opposition which alone prevented it from being adopted. Clanearty's long letters to Castlereagh on the subject shew how deeply he resented the Tsar's desire to place "Buonaparte's bastard," as he called him, on a throne. It is probable that the Tsar was merely moved by a sense of chivalry, but it was not difficult to impute other motives to him, especially in view of his unconcealed dislike of the Bourbons. Clancarty, therefore, held his ground and refused to sign any part of the treaty unless he got his way. "The Emperor of Russia's tenacity to the Archduchess," he wrote in a long private letter of May 26, "is not relaxed. It seems to me to be bottomed not less in the desire to range her in his interests in the event, which he will certainly endeavour to bring about, of her becoming Regent in France, but also in the plan of availing himself of an opportunity of doing what he supposes ungrateful to us, cloaking himself at the same time with the excuse of his gallantry and chivalry in espousing her part. . . . Metternich, whatever he professes, has acted but a shabby part in all this business." It seemed, indeed, that the struggle would prevent the signature of the treaty altogether; for when the Emperor of Russia left Vienna the issue was still in doubt. Castlereagh would scarcely have approved of carrying British opposition so far, since he informed Clancarty on May 30 that Britain had not a primary interest, but simply desired "to acquiesce in whatever might best serve to conciliate the pretensions of other Powers." However, a compromise was at last found, and the Duchies were given to the Archduchess for life, while the succession was to be decided
1 To Clancarty, April 12, 1815: B.D.323. From Clancarty, April 1, 8, 1815: F.O. Continent, 17; April 28, May 1, 1815: Lond. MSS.
by the five Powers at a later date. This did not, however, satisfy Labrador, who refused to sign the treaty mainly because of this clause, while Austria and Russia actually made a secret convention that the young Napoleon was to succeed, which was only discovered in 1817. However, for the moment the principal Powers were agreed and so the great treaty could be signed. 1
In the other Italian questions British views had not much influence. They reluctantly acquiesced in Austria taking the Valtelline instead of Switzerland, and, of course, approved of her retaining the papal territory on the left bank of the Po and the right of garrison in Ferrara. Though Consalvi had obtained nine-tenths of his territorial demands he still thought it right to issue a papal protest in thunderous Latin, to which, however, nobody paid any attention. Nor had the relations of the Papacy with Britain improved. The disposition of the Pope to grant the power of veto remained firm for some time, in spite of the loud clamour of the Irish, whose representatives at Rome were received with cold comfort. But only a united Government could have handled such a delicate question successfully, and the British Government was split into two irreconcilable parties. Thus, though Castlereagh discussed the question with Consalvi at Vienna, and Cooke had hopes of settling it during his residence at Rome, no official negotiation could take place and the opportunity was lost. Only the British Catholics themselves, by their pressure on the Papacy to grant the veto, could in Castlereagh's opinion make the passage of the Emancipation Bill possible. But, as Consalvi had pointed out, it was too much to expect the Pope to grant on his own initiative what he had only hitherto given perforce to the demands of established Governments.
This decision carried with it a negative on the proposed diplomatic recognition of the Pope by Britain. Cooke had
1 "From Clancarty, May 13, 1815": B.D.332; May 26, 1815: Lond. MSS.; June 2, 1815: F.O. Continent, 19. Münster, 263. To Clancarty, May 16, 30, 1815: F.O. Continent, 16. In a "letter of May 6 Clanearty narrates the embarrassment of the plenipotentiaries as to how to deal with Napoleon's request to receive back his wife and child, the answer to which Metternich said the Emperor of Austria must reserve for his own decision". Lond. MSS. For the later history of the Duchies, see my Foreign Policy of Castlereagh 1815-1822, 114-16.
discussed it with Cardinal Pacca at Rome, and suggested that the accredited agents might be secret or public. The Cardinal had assured him that the Pope would be strongly in favour of some regular system. But Castlereagh on his return to England found that opinion had moved against such a course and refused to follow up the proposition, which was not renewed for many years. Though the Cardinal was thought by some of the British Delegation to be too sly a bargainer for comfort, his personal relations with Castlereagh continued to be excellent and were strengthened by British help to the Pope at the second Peace of Paris. 1
Once the Duchies were settled no trouble was caused by the restoration of Tuscany and Modena to their Austrian Grand Dukes. The only territorial point left was the fate of the Ionian Islands. As has been seen, these were at one time intended as compensation for Ferdinand, but, as soon as his restoration was contemplated, Castlereagh agreed that Austria "would object, and justly, to both shores of the entrance to the Adriatic being in the hands of the same Power." So long as neither France nor Russia obtained influence there, Britain was content, and all kinds of schemes were suggested at one time or another, including the restoration of the Republic and the institution of a new Knights of Malta. Castlereagh purposely delayed the settlement until the end, and undoubtedly expected the islands finally to go to Austria, who had claimed full sovereignty over them if Ferdinand was restored. But Capo d'Istria was a native of Corfu, and Alexander rewarded his services at the Congress by allowing him full powers in this question. He objected strenuously to Austria and far preferred Britain, who could give the Ionians better government and better protection on the seas. The matter was, therefore, left open until the meeting at Paris, when Capo d'Istria insisted that Britain should have merely a protectorate and not full sovereignty. By this time the Cabinet had become more eager for control of the islands,
1 P. I. Rinieri, Il Congresso di Vienna e la Santa Sede, 615-20; Consalvi e Pacca,413, 416, 594. "From Cooke, March 18, 1815": F.O. Italian States, 8; April 13, 1815: from Consalvi, May 13, 1815; "to Cooke, June 4, 1815": C.C. x. 309, 351, 375. Bathurst, 305. Bernard Ward, Eve of Catholic Emancipation, ii. 132-34.
to which Bathurst had always attached importance, but Castlereagh succeeded in winning their assent since he claimed the substance of power remained. It is interesting to note that one means of pressure brought to bear on the Islanders was to delay the expedition to Algiers in order that they might the more desire the protection of the British flag. 1
No Power was so disappointed at Vienna as Spain, which refused to sign the treaty. Labrador had been hampered by contradictory instructions from Cevallos, who succeeded San Carlos as Foreign Minister in November, but his own conduct had been foolish and inept. Spain had wasted her energies on projects which it was impossible to attain. Labrador had proved a stalking horse for Talleyrand, only to be deserted by him when his usefulness was over. A vain attempt was made to secure Louisiana during the early months through British arms, yet Labrador had shewn no confidence in Castlereagh, and Spain had been the least accommodating Power on the question of the Slave Trade. British Ministers had therefore little sympathy with her complaints.
Portugal had been more pliable, and Palmella had done as much as he possibly could to meet British views. Castle. reagh had thus been able to arrange the tedious dispute with France over the Guiana frontier. He had hoped also to win back Olivenza from Spain. But Wellington reported that France would not insist upon the cession, which Spain would certainly refuse. Accordingly all that could be inserted in the treaty was a clause ensuring the good offices of the Powers on Portugal's behalf, and this question was to cause trouble for a long period. Portugal refused altogether to supply troops for the allied armies after Napoleon's return, and Castlereagh was indignant with both the Peninsular Powers at the close of these transactions. "It is somewhat singular in itself," he
1 To Liverpool, Nov. 21, Dec. 24, 1814; from Liverpool, Jan. 6, 1815; "Bathurst to Wellington, Jan. 13, 1815": W.S.D. ix. 448, 501, 530, 535. "From Clancarty, April 1, 1815": F.O. Continent, 17; June 2, 1815: Lond. MSS.; June 10, 1815: F.O. Continent, 19. To Bathurst, July 31, Aug. 17, 1815; "from Bathurst, Aug. 25, 1815" : C.C. x. 449, 483. 499. To Bathurst, Sept. 24, 1815; "from Bathurst, Oct. 3, 1815": F.O. Continent, 28, 20. "To Bathurst, Oct. 19, 1815": Bashurst, 389. General Campbell's too vigorous rule may have influenced Capo d'Istria, but he was undoubtedly thinking also of Greece--how rightly was shewn in 1863, when the islanders were united to their compatriots.
wrote to Canning from Paris, "that the only two Courts with which we find it difficult to do business are those of the Peninsula. There is a temper in both which makes it more arduous to settle a trifling matter with them than to arrange a great measure of European policy with other Powers. It seems as if the recollection of our services made it impossible for them to do anything without endeavouring most unnecessarily and ungratefully to display their own independence." 1
1 See the Marqués de Villa-Urrutia's criticism of Spanish policy in his España en el Congreso de Viena,188-90. From Wellington, April 5, 1815; "from Clancarty, June 2, 1815": Lond. MSS. "To Canning, Aug. 12, 1815": F.O. Cont. Arch.36.
3. THE ABOLITION OF THE SLAVE TRADE.
NOT least of all the anxieties of Castlereagh and his Government during the months in which the fate of Europe hung in the balance was the necessity of continuing unceasingly their efforts to secure the universal Abolition of the Slave Trade. The treaty with France had incurred the severest censure from the "Saints" in this respect. No sooner had Castlereagh laid it on the table of the House of Commons amid the applause of the whole House than Wilberforce rose and said, "I cannot but conceive I behold in his hand the death-warrant of a multitude of innocent victims, men, women, and children, whom I had fondly indulged the hope of having myself rescued from destruction." In this spirit the campaign for universal Abolition was renewed all over the country and met with an immediate and overwhelming response. Petitions from almost every town and village in Britain poured into the House of Commons. Addresses were carried unanimously in both Houses of Parliament. Wellington, on his short visit to receive at last the honours he had accumulated in four years of successful warfare, yet found time, amidst the enthusiasm with which he was received, to tell his brother of an indescribable "degree of frenzy existing here about the Slave Trade. People in general appear to think it would suit the policy of the nation to go to war to put an end to that abominable traffic, and many wish we should take the field on this new crusade."
The Government had necessarily, therefore, to make every effort to remove the blot on their record. The Opposition, as Wilberforce noted, were only too eager to make the cause a party question, and Liverpool confessed that, even if he had not desired to do so, he would have been forced to take action.
The difficulty was how to enforce Abolition on other Slave Trading Powers, whose inhabitants were completely untouched by the emotions moving the British people. Of the colonial Powers, Holland, Denmark, and Sweden had now all agreed to Abolition, and it was only the three Latin and Catholic countries which stood in the way--France, Spain, and Portugal. They had against them the whole of Europe, since the three continental allies of Britain had no colonial interests to defend and were anxious to win British favour by supporting her actions on this point. Indeed, the Tsar shewed himself almost too fervid to please the Tory Government. Wilberforce, who before his arrival had written to him after much prayer and heart-searching, had several interviews with him during his visit to London. The Tsar was ready to promise all his support. "We must keep them to it," he said of the French, and, true to his rôle at the time, was ready to score a point against Castlereagh. "What could be done," he insinuated, "when your own Ambassador gave way?" For the Catholic Powers the support of the Papal See was even more important, however the Protestant Wilberforce might distrust such an ally, and Consalvi assured Castlereagh officially that "the Pope will not lose a moment after his re-establishment at Rome in exerting the influence he may possess among the Catholic nations of the Continent, to awaken them to a due sense of the enormity of continuing to carry on a trade in their fellow-creatures, and if possible to bring about its early and complete abolition." 1
Thus the vast majority of civilised states were now on the side of Abolition, and obviously the approaching Congress would afford an opportunity to obtain an international condemnation of the Slave Trade which would be of great value. But would this force the three Powers who still allowed their subjects to take part in the Slave Trade to abandon their legal rights? And would this abandonment be effective unless some international machinery was set up to enforce it? To these questions the practical mind of Castlereagh immediately addressed itself. Means must be found to put
1 Life of Wilberforce, iv. 187-91, 209, 211. "Wellington to Wellesley, July 20, 1814": Gurwood, xii. 77. "To Wellesley, July 15, 1814": F.O. Spain, 158; F. G. Klingberg, The Anti-Slavery Movement in England ( 1926), 146.
pressure on states who obviously would not yield to an appeal to their feelings, and a system of international control established to secure what had been gained. He would endeavour therefore in the interval to induce by concession or threats the French and Spanish Governments to come further along the road to Abolition--to reduce the period of legal traffic and, above all, to grant immediate Abolition north of the Equator, where the British navy had effectively stamped out Slavery. Money might induce Spain to do something, since she was nearly bankrupt and yet eager to re-establish her power overseas. France might desire British co-operation in the reconstruction of Europe, and thus bid for the support of British public opinion by further measures against the Trade. The Portuguese Government was too far off for immediate action, but Britain had more means of control over her than over the other two states. As a last resort a new idea of a world economic boycott of the Slave Trading states, the exact origin of which is uncertain, but which doubtless arose as a consequence of the blockades and restrictions which had been employed during the world war, might be used to overcome a too stubborn resistance. As for enforcement, that could only be done by the British fleet, and this meant that some "right of visit and search" in African waters should be conceded to it by other Powers--a delicate question to raise immediately after the great war and while one was still being fought with the United States over the exercise of the right as a belligerent.
It was hoped that the Pope's spiritual influence would exercise some effect on Spain, where Ferdinand was engaged in restoring Catholicism in all its mediaeval forms, but the necessity of other means of pressure was soon realised. Henry Wellesley had been trying, though without much hope, to insert a clause on the subject in the projected treaty of alliance. But San Carlos explained that the Spanish colonies, unlike the British, were not well stocked with slaves. Only with great difficulty could Wellesley obtain, in return for a promise that Britain would prevent her subjects from supplying the revolted colonies with munitions, an article which was no more than a recognition that the traffic was inhuman, and that its abolition would be taken into consideration by the King, "with the deliberation which the state of his possessions in America demands," and a promise that Spanish ships should only supply Spanish colonies.
Castlereagh agreed to this proposal, but urged that further steps should immediately be taken, and offered considerable material inducements. If Spain would follow France's example and agree to Abolition in five years and at the same time abolish immediately all Slave Trading to the north of the Equator, the subsidies would be continued for the whole of the year 1814, a payment equal to £800,000, and the Government would not object to Spain raising a loan in Britain, though it was not likely to be a commercial proposition at present. These terms were, however, not high enough to overcome Spanish objections. San Carlos insisted on retaining the area of the Guinea Coast to 10° north of the Line, which was exactly the area which Britain was anxious to protect, nor would he promise to abolish in less than ten years. Though the negotiations continued until October no further advance could be made. Bathurst suggested that the threat of a world economic boycott of Spanish colonial products should be employed, "which might operate more prejudicially to the colonial and commercial interests of Spain than the Abolition of the Slave Trade." But this was a remote threat, and the opposing interests were close at hand. "The Abolition is vehemently opposed," reported Wellesley on August 31, "by all those who have any connection with S. America or with the Spanish West Indies; and the Government is apprehensive of the effect which it would produce in the Colonies, particularly at Havanna, where public opinion is in a very unsettled state." These motives prevailed even though the Spanish Government was almost bankrupt and was urgently in need of the money which Britain offered, indeed so urgently that Wellesley was afraid lest they would turn to other Powers, and advised that financial assistance should be granted for this reason alone, in spite of the refusal of Abolition. 1
1 To Wellesley, July 15, 30, 1814; "Bathurst to Wellesley, Sept. 9, 1814": F.O. Spain, 158. From Wellesley, July 6, Aug. 26, 31, Sept. 20,
By this time, however, Castlereagh had himself taken up the question at Vienna both with Spain and Portugal, whose Court was too far away for anything to be done in this interval. France had, however, not been neglected during the months of July and August. Abolition had been made the principal point of Wellington's instructions. Castlereagh himself prepared the way with an urgent personal appeal to Talleyrand, while the Prince Regent sent an eloquent and moving epistle to his erstwhile guest. Wellington was then instructed to sound Talleyrand on the idea of the economic boycott and to endeavour to obtain immediate Abolition north of the Line. Haste was necessary, since news had already been received of slaving expeditions fitting out in French ports, some of them assisted by British capital, and it was expected that an effort would be made to recapture St. Domingo and thus create a new market for slaves. Wellington dealt with the affair with his usual energy and directness. He asked for Abolition to the north of the Line, the right of visit in African waters, and the restriction of slaves by licensing only the number absolutely necessary to the restored colonies. The King and Talleyrand were sympathetic, but they urged that public opinion in France was almost entirely against them. That this was so was admitted even by Wilberforce. He had spent July in preparing an open letter to Talleyrand, recapitulating all the arguments so powerful in Britain and which he thought must move Frenchmen also. But his correspondence with Madame de Staël, Sismondi, Chateaubriand, and others, and the visits of Stephen, Clarkson, and General Macaulay to Paris gradually shewed him the truth. Only the Jacobins supported the King, amongst them Grégoire, 'the regicide,' and this drove all good royalists on to the side of the commercial classes. 1
Nevertheless, Wellington persisted and Castlereagh supported him in the interviews which he had with the King and Talleyrand on his way to Vienna. Wellington had secured from Talleyrand a confirmation of the King's verbal promise
Oct. 11, 1814: F.O. Spain, 160, 161. Extracts from some of the dispatches are given in B.F.S.P. iii. 920-33.
1 To Talleyrand, July 16, 1814: W.S.D. ix. 163. Correspondence in B.F.S.P. iii. 900-905. Life of Wilberforce, iv. 212-13.
that the Trade to the north of the Line should be stopped, when the negotiation was complicated by a chance remark of Talleyrand to Clarkson, who was engaged in propaganda in Paris, that some concession either of money or the return of a colony would enable the French Government to agree to total Abolition. This was immediately urged on the British Government by Wilberforce, and Liverpool, though with no good grace or confidence in the success of the overture, was compelled to instruct Wellington to offer the return of Trinidad or a large sum of money as the price for complete Abolition. Wellington shared Liverpool's opinion of the unwisdom of this offer, but it was nevertheless made. By this time, however, Talleyrand had left for Vienna and the responsibility was handed over to Castlereagh. Wellington persisted, however, in his efforts at Paris for the more limited objectives. The right of visit proved so obnoxious that he found it better to withdraw the demand altogether, but fortunately the French at last realised that St. Domingo was not worth the effort necessary for its conquest. Affairs at Vienna were leading the Government to seek even closer co-operation with Britain, and before the end of the year Wellington was able to announce to Wilberforce that orders had been issued prohibiting French subjects from trading north of the Line. "You have inspired your hero Wellington with as much ardour to do good as to win victories," wrote Madame de Staël, "and his influence with the Royal Family has come to the aid of your poor blacks." This was, perhaps, hardly doing justice to Wellington, but the zeal of the Abolitionists had obviously been one of the main factors in keeping the Government and the Ambassador to their work, even if it had sometimes made that work more difficult. 1
Meanwhile, Castlereagh had found conditions at Vienna hardly propitious to international co-operation. He immediately made the offer of a colony to Talleyrand, but obtained no reply for over a month. When it came it was a refusal, as had been anticipated. Still the news about St. Domingo,
1 B.F.S.P. iii. 900-909. Wellington to Liverpool, Sept. 2, 13, 1814; to Wilberforce. Sept. 15, 1814: Gurwood, xii. 94, 113, 114. Liverpool to Wellington, Sept. 7, 23, 1814: Yonge, Liverpool, ii. 119, 123. Life of Wilberforce, iv. 216, 223.
on the necessities of which island Talleyrand had based his main resistance to British proposals at Paris, made Castlereagh hope that French objections could be overcome, "as the supply required for the other French colonies in the next five years must be very inconsiderable; so trifling, indeed, that the French nation might well make this sacrifice to humanity without looking either for a pecuniary or colonial compensation."
Castlereagh obviously was angry at having been forced to make this abortive offer. Indeed, the whole agitation in Britain was, in his opinion, doing more harm than good to the cause abroad. "It is impossible to persuade foreign nations that this sentiment is unmixed with the views of colonial policy," he wrote in October, "and their Cabinets, who can better estimate the real and virtuous motives which guide us on this question, see in the very impatience of the nation a powerful instrument through which they expect to force, at a convenient moment, the British Government upon some favourite object of policy." He wished, on the contrary, to prepare the way slowly for action at the appropriate moment. He circulated to the plenipotentiaries the evidence on the subject prepared for the House of Commons, taking care to emphasise the material side of the arguments, points which Clarkson's pamphlet had tended to omit. He also tried to prepare their minds for the economic boycott against refractory Powers.
Meanwhile, he had entered into private negotiations with the Spanish and Portuguese representatives, Labrador and Palmella. The former still insisted on eight years' Trade, and immediate abolition only south of the Equator; the Portuguese were more conciliatory, though their powers were limited. Both required to be bought by money and concessions in other matters, and Castlereagh asked for authority to name them. 1
All this was, of course, preparatory to bringing the matter officially before Congress when the right moment arrived. Castlereagh had worked out a comprehensive plan. Pressure
1 To Liverpool, Oct. 9, 1814: W.S.D. ix. 323; Oct. 25, 1814: B.D. 215; Nov. 11, 1814: F.O. Continent, 8.
was to be brought to bear on the three Latin Powers to adopt, if France would go so far, three years or, if not, five as the extreme duration of their Trade. In the event of failure, he was seriously considering the proposal of economic boycott against the colonial produce of the Slave Trading Powers by the rest of the world. Above all, his mind was engaged with plans for making the Abolition effective, and for this purpose he wished to create centres of information and action at London and Paris, in Ambassadorial Conferences, which should have a permanent existence and continually review the state of the whole question. To this proposal he attached the greatest importance: "I particularly recommend," he said in his covering dispatch, "to your consideration the advantage of having a sort of permanent European Congress in existence as therein proposed upon this particular subject. I am of opinion that this may be made in itself a most powerful instrument to enforce with good faith the engagements of the several Powers." As Castlereagh confessed, this proposal was made partly with a view to conciliating public opinion at home, by shewing that the cause was still being prosecuted, even if a final victory had not been won at Vienna; but it also shews that he had already perceived what the Abolitionists at home had hardly begun to realise, that the enforcement of international Abolition would be as difficult as obtaining the legal decrees from the various countries involved. Liverpool agreed heartily to these suggestions. He was especially anxious that record should be made of all the British efforts, including the offer of an island to France, in order to satisfy Parliament. 1
The question was at last brought before the Committee of Eight on December 14, Talleyrand proposing that a Commission of the Eight Powers should be appointed to consider the subject. To this Spain and Portugal immediately objected, on the plea that only colonial Powers were concerned. Castlereagh insisted, on the contrary, that the Slave Trade was a matter of general interest, and gave a hint of his
1 To Liverpool, Nov. 21, 1814; Memorandum as to the mode of conducting the negotiations in Congress for the final Abolition of the Slave Trade: B.D.233-35. From Liverpool, Dec. 9, 1814: W.S.D. ix. 470.
boycott proposal by suggesting that the non-colonial Powers could refuse to buy colonial produce from Slaving states. But it was clear that the Portuguese were awaiting Castlereagh's replies to their proposals before they would consent to any joint action, and he thought it better to suspend the sitting. He had little hope, he confessed, of obtaining from the Congress "any vigorous measures at present to enforce immediate Abolition." Some interval, whether eight or five years, must be allowed. Meanwhile, neither Portugal nor Spain would do anything without compensation. "You may rely upon it," he concluded, "that nothing effectual will be done which Great Britain does not pay for, so strongly is this expectation of turning it to profit with us gone about."
In spite of the absence of authority from home, therefore, he continued to negotiate with Palmella. He could not get him to go further than his original proposal, but this was, after all, a distinct advance. Eventually Portugal agreed to abolish all Slaving north of the Line. In return Britain paid her £300,000 in satisfaction of some doubtful claims, let her off the repayment of a loan, and gave up part of the irksome treaty of Alliance of 1810, against which Portugal had never ceased to protest. This was a rather heavy price, but Castlereagh tried to shew that it was not as heavy as it looked. It was unlikely that any part of the loan would be recovered, and the treaty of Alliance he had always regarded as of doubtful value. There was, he said, in some of the articles, "some prospect of naval advantage, but in as far as they seem to give us a command of the Portuguese ports, not usual between friendly and independent states, and which, as I believe, we never have used and there is little probability of our now turning to account, I am satisfied as a record of dependence they powerfully operate to disgust and alienate." The article which prevented the return of the Inquisition he insisted on retaining, but in a secret clause "as an interference in the internal affairs of a foreign state is always odious." The whole transaction, carried on as it was amidst the immense labours of the final settlement, is yet a good example of Castlereagh's diplomacy. He gave up rights which he regarded as unwise to keep in any event, and secured something of value with the goodwill thus secured. But, of course, without the lubrication of the £300,000 the concession could not have been secured. To the Spaniard he could only send an emphatic protest against Slaving north of the Line, being unable to get anything out of him. 1
Time was drawing short if he was to conclude his negotiations at Vienna, and it was at the very crisis of the Saxon question that he demanded audiences of the three sovereigns to urge their acceptance of the general principles which he had laid down in his memorandum. All promised him support, the Tsar being especially cordial. Though the Conférences particulières which followed led to some warm exchanges of opinion between Castlereagh, supported by the non-colonial Powers, and Spain and Portugal, the debates were to a certain extent staged, since it was now known exactly how far each Power would go. Nevertheless, great care was exercised in taking these public attitudes, since the Protocols of the proceedings were to be published. Castlereagh's original plan was followed. France was first entreated to substitute five years for three. When she had refused, all the Powers turned on Spain and Portugal and urged them to substitute five for eight. When these had refused to commit themselves, Castlereagh turned to the general measures. Only the three eastern Powers wholly supported him in the idea of colonial boycott, which naturally produced emphatic protests from the two threatened Powers. Palmella said it would be an unwarrantable interference with the internal affairs of an independent state. Labrador threatened reprisals if it occurred. But Castlereagh, supported by Metternich, answered that though a Power had undoubtedly the legal right "to continue in its own dominions a system which was generally held to be immoral and pernicious," other Powers had an equal right to refuse it all direct or indirect support. The proposal was, however, only a threat for the future, and
1 To Liverpool, Dec. 18, 1814, Jan. 11, 22, 1815: F.O. Continent, 9, 10. Convention and Treaty of Jan. 21, 22, 1815, are in B.F.S.P. ii. 345, 348. The transaction was also used to adjust a difference between France and Portugal on the retrocession to the former of Cayenne, which had been causing embarrassment to both Castlereagh and Talleyrand.
Castlereagh relied more on temptation than threat to accomplish his purpose as succeeding years were to shew.
The proposal to set up a permanent Committee was accepted more easily, only Spain protesting against its implication of interference in internal affairs, though the three Latin Powers and Sweden could only refer it to their Governments. As for the right of visit, Castlereagh had to admit that this could only be obtained by special treaties between the Powers concerned. He was especially anxious to establish a real control over the African coast north of the Line, where immediate Abolition had now been promised by all the Powers except Spain, whose refusal was condemned by Castlereagh in the Conference in the strongest terms. But both France and Portugal refused all idea of a "wartime police," and it was obvious that this all-important suggestion must wait for a time. 1
Finally, when the positions of the Powers had been thus defined, a general declaration was agreed to which condemned the African Slave Trade as a traffic repugnant to the principles of humanity and universal morals, and which the Powers "in accordance with the spirit of the age" were determined should be abolished. The declaration is an ironic commentary on the discussions which had preceded it. Yet Castlereagh was right in regarding it of great importance. It was the universal recognition of a principle by all civilised states, and though much had yet to be done before the principle could be enforced in anything like an adequate manner, an all-important step in the progress of human society had been made and an unshakable foundation for future action laid down.
Though these efforts met with some criticism in the House, since they disappointed the expectations of the fervent Abolitionists, even Wilberforce, after an interview with Castle-
1 To Liverpool, Dec. 18, 1814: F.O. Continent, 9; Jan. 1, 1815: B.D. 274. The Protocols of these Conferences, which are exceptionally detailed, are all given in B.F.S.P. iii. 946-70. They were laid before Parliament on Castlereagh's return. It may be noted that in August Metternich had warmly approved a suggestion of Hudelist that Britain should only be given support on the Slave Trade on condition that she secured immunity for all states from the attacks of the Barbary pirates ( B. Gebhardt, W. von Humboldt's Politische Denkschriften, ii. 157). But this point does not seem to have been brought up at this time, though it was to be pressed later at Aix-la-Chapelle in 1818.
reagh, was convinced that no more could have been obtained. "I believe all done that could be done," he noted in his diary.
This was true at the moment. The effect of the discussions had to be allowed to sink in before further action could be taken. As Castlereagh wrote in his final report: "Any further attempts to accelerate the epoch of Abolition will be made with a better chance of success after the discussions in Congress are promulgated, for which endeavour the proposed Commissions in London and Paris will afford the necessary facilities." How much effect the discussions had already produced is seen by the fact that Talleyrand was already seriously considering total Abolition for France in order to obtain British support against Murat. And when Napoleon returned, one of his first steps was to decree immediate Abolition in order to win over public opinion in Britain. This step, though it failed in its purpose, made it inevitable that Louis should do the same on his return, and one of Castlereagh's first actions at Paris in July was to send Wilberforce the glad news. He had full right to the claim which he then made that it was a proof of "the undeviating and earnest exertions of the Prince Regent's ministers to effectuate this great object which had been so impressively given them in charge." 1
In the other general questions, the Emancipation of the Jews, the Navigation of International Rivers, and the Regulation of Diplomatic Rank, raised at Vienna, British influence was but little exerted, and hardly any references were made to them in the public and private correspondence of the period. The question of the Jews was dealt with by the German Committee, and the influence of the Rothschilds on Prussian and Austrian finances, apart from the douceurs that Gentz received, ensured that their claim to the rights of citizenship should be recognised though they did not secure
1 To Bathurst, Feb. 13, 1815: B.F.S.P. iii. 949. Talleyrand to Louis XVIII. Feb. 15, 1815: Pallain, Corres. inédite, 289. Life of Wilberforce, iv. 224. Clancarty at Castlereagh's request made some effort, while drafting the treaty, to sharpen the declaration and insert special clauses drawn up by Gentz, but failed owing to the opposition of Spain. To Clancarty, May 16, 1815: F.O. Continent, 16. "From Clancarty, May 1, 1815": Lond. MSS.; April 1, May 13, 19, 1815: F.O. Continent, 17, 18. Talleyrand to Jaucourt, May 16, 1815: Corres. de Jaucourt avec Talleyrand, 348.
all that was wanted. It is a significant fact that Liverpool wrote to Castlereagh to support these claims at the instance of the British Rothschild. No doubt Castlereagh was not unwilling, for his subsequent policy shews that he was always ready to support the principle of toleration and equality in this matter. But he had no sphere of action, and there is no record that he did anything at this time. Münster, on the other hand, who had great influence on the German Committee, shewed distinct Anti-Semite prejudices. 1
Clancarty was the British representative on the Navigation of Rivers Committee, but neither he nor his chief seem to have taken any interest in the important international work which it achieved, while Münster was positively indignant at the idea of being "called on to make sacrifice gratuitously, at your Royal Highness's expense, to favour some vague ideas on the liberty of commerce!" Clancarty was concerned almost entirely with the question of reducing Antwerp from a fortified to an open town as prescribed in the Treaty of Paris. The British Government, in their dread of the fortified base which Napoleon had erected against them, had at first determined that this clause should be interpreted to include not only the destruction of its inner basin but also of all its land fortifications. Wellington, however, declared against this wholesale destruction as unnecessary, and even harmful to British interests. When the question came up at Vienna it was found that there would be little support for the destruction even of the basins. Clancarty, who sympathised with the desire to preserve its shipping facilities, therefore got the Committee to agree that Britain and the Netherlands should settle the matter between themselves. 2
If Castlereagh was lukewarm towards this important proposal, he was positively hostile to the consideration of the vexed question of the Regulation of Diplomatic Rank, which, he
1 "From Liverpool, Dec. 12, 1814": Lond. MSS., Appendix, p. 543; and see Max. J. Kohler, Jewish Rights at the Congresses of Vienna and Aix-laChapelle, 18. This book has greatly illuminated this subject, as also Baron, Die Jüdenfrage auf dem Wiener Kongress. For later action of Castlereagh, see my Castlereagh 1815-1822, 169.
2 Münster, 233. Wellington to Bathurst, Sept. 22, 1814; "from Wellington, March 3, 1815": Gurwood, xii. 123, 264; March 24, 1815: F.O. Continent, 14. "From Clancarty, March 11, 1815": C.C. x. 266; April 15, 1815: F.O. Continent, 17. D'Angeberg, Congrès de Vienne, 949.
said, when the Committee was appointed, was likely to raise as many problems as it solved. In this he was quite mistaken, for the Committee drew up a set of rules which destroyed much unwholesome lumber regarding "precedence," which had been a frequent cause of disputes in the past and had even on occasion led to war. Perhaps he was influenced by the fact that the salutes which Britain claimed as a recognition of her supremacy on the narrow seas might be endangered. At any rate, when this question was brought before the Committee, the British Admiralty, when consulted, would not budge. " England has always claimed the sovereign dominion of the British seas," affirmed My Lords; and in deference to their view the Congress took no further action. 1
1 D'Angeberg, Congrès de Vienne, 735. "From Castlereagh, Jan. 12, 1815": F.O. Continent, 11. Lords of the Admiralty to Bathurst, Feb. 7, 1815: F.O. Great Britain, 26. From Wellington, March 25, 1815: "In consequence of our refusing to agree to any arrangement regarding naval salutes and explaining that our practice was by no means objectionable, all mention of that point is omitted." W.S.D. ix. 616. The claim was, however, abandoned in 1818.
4. THE GUARANTEE OF THE NEW EUROPE
THE reconstruction of Europe in Castlereagh's mind had always been associated with the idea of some special guarantee of the new order. This idea he had, like so many others, inherited from Pitt. The vague suggestions advanced by Russia in 1804 had been crystallised by Pitt in a paragraph which emphasised the necessity of "giving solidity and permanence" to the new system, by "a treaty to which all the principal Powers of Europe should be parties, by which their respective rights and possessions, as they then have been established, shall be fixed and recognised; and they should all bind themselves mutually to protect and support each other against any attempt to infringe them."
The idea of 'guarantee' when new territorial arrangements were made was, of course, an old one. One Power had often guaranteed the possession of a particular piece of territory to another. It was a promise constantly demanded, often conceded, and, it must be added, often broken. The originality of the proposal lay in the guarantee by all the Powers of Europe of the whole of the European settlement, which was to be comprised in one comprehensive treaty. Though it was intended, of course, mainly as a safeguard against Napoleonic France, whose power then dominated all Europe, its universality brought a new conception into European politics. 1
Castlereagh had now carried out nearly the whole of the
1 "Official communication to the Russian Ambassador, Jan. 19, 1805": B.D.393-94. On the history and theory of the idea of guarantee, see Sir E. Satow, "Pacta sunt servanda," and Sir James Headlam-Morley, "Treaties of Guarantee," in the Cambridge Historical Journal, vol. i. No. 3, and vol. ii. No. 2, the latter reprinted in his Studies in Diplomatic History.
reconstruction foreshadowed in the dispatch, and if we remember that ten years had passed, it is a testimony both to Pitt's foresight as well as his own statesmanship that the new map of Europe should bear so close a resemblance to that which Pitt had designed before he rolled it up after the catastrophe of Austerlitz. It was the moment, therefore, for Castlereagh to complete the scheme of his master by some special guarantee, such as that which Pitt had proposed. The idea was convenient to him also, because the Tsar, doubtless as a result of what he had learnt of the secret treaty, was anxious to renew the Treaty of Chaumont, while Metternich and Talleyrand would have liked, before being left to face Russia and Prussia with the question of Murat still on their hands, to transform the treaty of January 3 into a more permanent alliance. Both these suggestions implied a division of Europe into opposing camps, which was the last thing Castlereagh desired. He proposed, therefore, to the Tsar "that the best alliance that could be formed in the present state of Europe was that the Powers who had made the peace should by a public declaration at the close of the Congress announce to Europe whatever difference of opinion may have existed in details, their determination to uphold and support the arrangement agreed upon; and, further, their determination to unite their influence, and, if necessary, their arms, against the Power that should attempt to disturb it." The idea of guarantee was thus used by him not only as a weapon against the aggressor but also as a means to unite Europe, and to prevent it from breaking up into separate groups.
The facile pen of Gentz was used to draw up the proposed declaration. It was hardly one of his best papers, but Castlereagh was able to report that the draft was accepted by the Tsar and the Ministers of the other Powers. Castlereagh considered the question, therefore, as practically decided, and indeed announced in a circular dispatch that "there is every prospect of the Congress terminating with a general accord and guarantee between the Great Powers of Europe, with a determination to support the arrangement agreed upon, and to turn the general influence, and, if necessary, the general arms, against the Power that shall first attempt to disturb the continental peace." 1
The guarantee was, it should be noticed, confined to the continent of Europe. It did not extend to the British Empire. But there was one portion of Europe which was outside the Vienna Treaties, but which was now considered by both Britain and Austria as especially needing protection. This was the Ottoman Empire, whose representative at Vienna had been constantly asking for support against Russia, whilst similar demands were being made to the Austrian and British Ambassadors at Constantinople. The Porte knew that the hastily signed treaty of Bucharest was irksome to Russia, who had never given back the cessions in Asia promised in that instrument and was pressing her right of entry into the Black Sea, while the Porte was also afraid of Russian interference in the military action then being prosecuted against her rebellious subjects in Serbia.
It is doubtful whether it was to Metternich or to Castlereagh that the idea first occurred of bringing the Ottoman dominions within the general guarantee, which would then embrace all Europe, but at any rate it was Castlereagh who made the proposal to the Tsar. It may be doubted if this practical application of the general principles to which Alexander had so warmly subscribed was very welcome, but he made no objection. He made, however, the stipulation that all outstanding difficulties between Turkey and Russia should be first reviewed--an indispensable measure, indeed, if a frontier was to be guaranteed. For this purpose he was ready to accept the mediation of Austria, France, and Britain at Constantinople. Instructions were therefore sent to the Austrian and British representatives at Constantinople to urge the Sultan to take advantage of the opportunity and settle his disputes with the Tsar. Castlereagh's sense of the
1 To Liverpool, Feb. 13, 1815; "Circular Letter, Feb. 13, 1815": B.D. 305, 307. Stewart to Burghersh, Feb. 17, 1815: "Castlereagh got a guarantee from the Emperor as to Turkey previous to his departure; this is a great point. . . . I send you the project of the Declaration at the close of Congress. It is an outline; how far it will be ultimately fiated I know not. . . . It is vain for Europe to hope for a long peace while Russia is on the Oder," Rachel Weigall, Correspondence of Lord Burghersh, 99-100. Gentz declared that the Tsar was moved to tears when Castlereagh read the draft to him ( F. von Gentz, Tagebücher, i. 443).
importance of the proposal is shewn by the fact that only one hour before he left Vienna he saw Mavrojeni, the Porte's representative there, and tried to impress upon him the necessity for action, though he was aware that such a settlement would probably require more time than would elapse before the Vienna Treaty was signed. Nesselrode had, moreover, already prepared for his master a long memorandum, which demanded the intervention of the Powers to put a stop to the atrocities the Turks were inflicting on the Serbs, and which incidentally approved Russian rights to interfere in the Balkans in the name of humanity on the same footing as Britain's championship of the cause of the Negro. Wellington's attention was drawn to this subject at the very moment of Castlereagh's departure, but he asked that it be deferred "till the period at which the Powers should guarantee the dominions of the Porte." 1
Both Liston and the representatives of Austria and France pressed the Sultan to accept the Tsar's offer--but in vain. The British Ambassador alone had any influence with the Sultan's Cabinet; but though he did his best with repeated messages, he admitted that the Russian territorial claims were no mere frontier rectifications, but a consolidation of her power between the Caspian and the Black Sea, which the Porte might well regard as a serious advance. The bargain would none the less, of course, have been well worth the sacrifice, and some of the Sultan's Ministers were anxious to accept it, but the Sultan himself refused to submit to arbitration, even of friendly Powers, his sovereignty over Turkish territory, and the chance was lost. The Grand Vizir and the Mufti, who had pressed for acceptance, were dismissed, and the Reis Effendi was able to inform Liston, to whom alone an answer was sent, that the Sultan's Cabinet were unanimous in rejection. All this occurred before the
1 From Liston, Jan. 10, 1815: F.O. (95) Misc. 23. Gentz, Dépêches inédites, 121, 142: "Reports of an eventual attack by the Allies upon the Ottoman Empire continue to be transmitted to this capital by the Prince of Wallachia" and others, says Liston. "To Liston, Feb. 14, 1815": B.D.305. Report of Mavrojeni, Feb. 15, 1815: Fournier, Die Geheimpolizei, 411. "From Wellington, Feb. 25, 1815": W.S.D. ix. 580. A prècis of Nesselrode's memorandum is given in F. Marten Recueil des Traités conclus par la Russie, iii. 177-80, but Stern ( Geschichte Europas, i. 273) is right in suspecting that it was never communicated formally to the other Powers.
news of Bonaparte's return reached Constantinople. After that there was no possibility of renewing the negotiation, for the Turks obviously rejoiced in his threat to Europe, and hoped to enhance their own position in the conflict that would ensue.
Napoleon's return had obviously also an effect on the main proposition, the final fate of which still lies in some obscurity. Probably when he got back to London Castlereagh found his Cabinet not very anxious to accept the responsibility of guaranteeing the frontiers of all Europe. At any rate, when Gentz's declaration was reproduced in the Press--not, Gentz claimed, by his own fault--and Castlereagh was questioned in the House about it, he refused to admit that it was an official document. 1
In the discussions at Vienna only two states had obtained a guarantee--Switzerland and Prussia, for her new Saxon possessions, the former because of her neutralisation, the latter apparently as a strategic makeweight to obtain her consent to the partition of Saxony. To the demand of Bavaria, however, for a special guarantee of her territory by the Great Powers, as the price of her acceptance of the treaty of March 25, Clancarty refused to agree, though some of his colleagues viewed it favourably, because he considered "that a guarantee on our part is looked upon by us in a light very different from that in which a guarantee is regarded by most other Powers," and the obligation therefore too onerous to undertake. When Pfeffel, at the orders of his Court, pressed the same request on Castlereagh, it was refused on more general grounds as likely to impair rather than confirm the general system of Europe. He could not even venture to propose to Parliament, Castlereagh asserted, such a guarantee for Hanover. 2
Nevertheless the idea of a general guarantee of the treaty persisted. On May 25 a Russian circular to all the missions, drawn up on the Emperor's departure to headquarters,
1 From Liston, March 10, 25, April 10, 1815; "Liston to Wellington, March 25, April 4, 1815": F.O. (95) Misc.23; Klinkowström, Oesterreichs Theilnahme, 530.
2 "From Clancarty, April 3, 1815": F.O. Continent, 17. "Pfeffel to the King of Bavaria, May 26-27, 1815": Munich St. A.
announced "that the Cabinets intend to establish the inviolability of the acts of the Congress by reciprocal guarantees" on the initiative of Britain. Though it was admitted that the issue must be considered doubtful, yet the principle behind it was inherent in those which inspired the reconstruction of Europe.
But such an announcement implied at least that the new settlement should be contained in one comprehensive document affecting all the states of Europe. Yet just at this moment the Russians were urging that no general instrument need be drawn up at Vienna. After Napoleon's return the arrangements as regards Poland, Saxony, etc., had been put into separate treaties and signed by the Powers concerned. If they were not united in a single instrument, each Power would only be responsible for the territories with which it was specially concerned, and have no responsibility for the frontiers of Europe as a whole. Doubtless the desire to have done with negotiation and join in the military measures now proceeding apace influenced the Russians, who were the foremost advocates of dispensing with one general treaty; but Clancarty suspected, and perhaps with good reason, that they wished also to avoid putting their signature to various long controverted decisions, especially some of those concerning Italy. At any rate, it was Clancarty who, warmly supported by the Prussians, insisted on drawing up a great treaty to include the whole settlement, and it was he and Humboldt, with the indispensable assistance of Gentz, who carried out the laborious work of drafting it. By this means every Power which signed the treaty became associated with the whole of it, and, though this did not mean a guarantee, it was at any rate a recognition of the fact that all were interested in the whole of Europe, and prevented anyone from weakening any particular part of the work by refusing its consent --unless, indeed, like Spain it refused to sign at all. The point was only won by the assiduity of Clancarty. Until the last moment he was in doubt whether the signature of the Tsar's Ministers could be obtained, for they professed themselves unable to affix it without the express consent of their master. Eventually his taunts and expostulations induced them to send a courier post-haste to the Tsar, and their signature was affixed eight days after the others. 1
In these last days the question of the general guarantee also came up once more; for amongst the documents which Castlereagh laid before Parliament to justify his proceedings at Vienna was Pitt's famous paper with such omissions as the changes made in the map of Europe dictated. This attracted apparently but little attention in Britain, where all interest was now concentrated on the approaching struggle with Napoleon. But the paper included the suggestion as to guarantee, and Clancarty, who noted that the rest of the document had been fulfilled in the treaty which he had just drawn up, sounded the Russians as to whether provisions for the questions of general guarantee, the re-establishment of public law, and the securities of general tranquillity should not be included in it. Apparently he was quite unaware of the original idea of guarantee by declaration. At any rate he makes no reference to it in the private account which he sent to Castlereagh. Though he had little hope of success, since the Russian Ministers were not likely to act without the consent of the Tsar, which could hardly be obtained in time, he thought the opportunity favourable to obtain information "as to what might be their Emperor's feelings upon propositions of this nature." The result was what he expected. Nesselrode said that he viewed the matter favourably, but time was too short to dispose of it.
This account, the authenticity of which cannot be disputed since it was written in a private letter to his chief by the most loyal of subordinates, makes it all the more difficult to understand why a few days later Nesselrode, at the orders of the Tsar in a dispatch to Lieven, inspired like all those he wrote from Vienna with the profoundest distrust of British policy, should throw on Clancarty the responsibility of abandoning the idea of a guarantee which had been originally proposed by Castlereagh. He suspected, he said, that in conjunction with Austria and France, Britain was returning to the ideas of the "old diplomacy" and special and secret
1 "Projet d'instruction generale pour les missions de S.M.I., May 28, 1815": Shilder, Life of Alexander I., iii. 540-48. "From Clancarty, May 26, June 10, 1815": Lond. MSS.; "June 10, 19, 23, 27, 1815": F.O. Continent, 19.
alliances on the model of that of January 3. Clancarty's proposals appeared to the Emperor therefore as deliberately intended to emasculate the idea of a general guarantee of the settlement such as Russia had desired, and to be attributed to the personal policy of dislike to Russia now being pursued at London, an idea which was developed in another dispatch of the same date. This dispatch, written on June 17, shews what jealousies existed, to be brought to the surface had Napoleon won at Waterloo. That the same idea was given to others is shewn by Gentz's account to the Hospodar that both Russia and Britain opposed the guarantee at this time, insinuating, with his usual skill, that the Russians were inspired by the fear that the Ottoman dominions might ultimately be included in the benefits of the treaty. 1
Thus the project failed completely, and we may suppose, though direct evidence is lacking, that Castlereagh by now did not regret the fact. At any rate, at some date after his return he completely changed his mind on this subject. He refused to insert a similar clause in the Treaty of Alliance which closed the second Paris Conference. By this time it was once more France against whom the defence of Europe had to be concentrated, and the Treaty of Alliance of March 25, though only a partial renewal of the Treaty of Chaumont, seemed to point the way. As will be seen, it was along the direction of conference rather than of guarantee that Castlereagh's idea of maintaining world peace were henceforth to move.
Nevertheless, the proposal here put forward was to have its effects in the future and in a manner often disconcerting to Castlereagh himself. It put into the Tsar's mind the idea of the Holy Alliance. It inspired also ideas of territorial guarantee which Castlereagh found most embarrassing at the Conference of Aix-la-Chapelle. The project was, moreover, never completely lost in the spasmodic discussions of the organisation of peace, which persisted throughout the nineteenth century, and it has survived in full force into our own time.
1 The parts of the dispatch laid before Parliament is shewn in B.D. "From Clancarty, June 10, 1815": Lond, MSS. "Nesselrode to Lieven, June 17, 1815": Pet. Arch.; Gentz, Dépêches inédites, 165-66, 198-99. Talleyrand claims some credit for defeating the idea of inserting the guarantee at this time, since, though good in itself, it would have delayed the signing of the treaty, a step indispensable to Louis XVIII.'s interests. Pallain, Corres. inédite, 457-59.
THE SECOND PEACE OF PARIS:
RECONSTRUCTION RECONSIDERED, MARCH-NOVEMBER 1815
1. THE SECOND RESTORATION.
2. THE PUNISHMENT OF FRANCE.
3. FROM GUARANTEE TO CONFERENCE.
4. CASTLEREAGH AND RECONSTRUCTION.
"Victories are never so complete that the victor can disregard all considerations whatsoever. more especially considerations of justice."--
I. THE SECOND RESTORATION
CASTLEREAGH had scarcely reached London when news came of the landing of Bonaparte upon the coast of France, which resulted in the triumphal march on Paris and the ignominious flight of the Royal Family. This amazing overthrow simplified some of his problems. It prevented the Opposition from devoting all their energies to the criticism of the decisions made at Vienna, so that some of the most important of them were never debated seriously in Parliament. It helped to solve the delicate question of Murat, and it threw a merciful cloud over such quixotic transactions as that concerning the Russian-Dutch loan, which Castlereagh was hard put to defend before his own countrymen.
But it brought with it problems of the greatest complexity, which could only be solved by an extraordinary display of patience, energy, and foresight. Rarely does Castlereagh shew to better advantage as a statesman than during the Hundred Days and the peace which followed it--that is, if once his fundamental principles of the necessity of the overthrow of Napoleon, the restoration of the Bourbons, and the prevention of a revengeful peace be accepted. In only the first of these was he supported by his countrymen, and even then there was a considerable minority on the other side; on the second they were apathetic; while on the third he had to overcome the determined resistance of the Cabinet, which was supported by nearly the whole of public opinion in Britain.
The British Government were less responsible than any other of the Allies for the Treaty of Fontainebleau, which made Napoleon an independent sovereign in the island of Elba, with the title of Emperor, a pension from France, and even a small army of 1200 men. But since they guarded the seas, they were held both by Napoleon himself and by the rest of the world as specially responsible for his safety. In fact, neither they nor anyone else had any legal right of surveillance over Elba, and Sir Neil Campbell, who remained at Napoleon's request when the other allied officers returned to their homes, was no more than a guest while he was there. Nevertheless, he was as an observer in a situation the responsibility of which he hardly seems to have realised. Certainly he never penetrated the scheme which Napoleon must have had in his mind almost as soon as he set foot on the island. He discussed with him the reports of dissensions at Vienna and discontent in France as if these events could have no influence on the Emperor's future. He praised his extraordinary cheerfulness even amidst the financial worries which the refusal of the Bourbons to pay the pension inflicted on Napoleon and his Court. Gradually his absences grew longer. He disliked his anomalous situation and thought that he could perform his duty better by occasional visits to Elba, an opinion in which he persisted in spite of the protests of Lord Burghersh and Edward Cooke. 1
Meanwhile the Bourbons at Paris and many statesmen at Vienna were in dread of Napoleon, and unofficial proposals of many kinds were made that he should be removed to a safer place. Talleyrand of course desired it. The Prussians put it in their programme for the Congress. Münster was always a warm advocate of the idea. But it was never officially discussed, and it is quite certain that the Tsar would never have allowed his treaty to be broken, while there is not the slightest evidence that either Castlereagh or Metternich would have taken a different view. All that could be
1 "From Campbell, Dec. 25, 28, 1814": F.O. Tuscany, 22. From Burghersh, March 3, 1815 (strongly condemning Campbell's conduct): R. Weigall, Corres. of Lord Burghersh, 108. Campbell himself in his diary says that Cooke pooh-poohed the idea of danger and told him to inform Bonaparte," Nobody thinks of him at all. He is quite forgotten-as much as if he had never existed." Neil Campbell, Napoleon at Fontainebleau and Elba, 362-63. Castlereagh entirely exonerated Campbell both publicly in the House and in a letter recommending him for employment to the Duke. But he was always the last to condemn a subordinate for faults in which the Government shared. He never sought a scapegoat.
done by Napoleon's enemies was to organise a system of espionage which seems to have been more than usually inept. Italy was regarded as the natural place for him to appeal to, and his relations with Murat were especially watched. Napoleon was naturally cognisant both of the espionage and of the rumours of his removal from Elba, which were freely canvassed in the Press, and he told Campbell that he would resist any such attempt by force.
He had at any rate, as Castlereagh was acutely aware, a legitimate grievance in the fact that no money was paid to him by France. When Talleyrand took no notice of his protests at Vienna, Castlereagh pressed the matter strongly at Paris on his way home. "I cannot leave Paris," he wrote to Blacas, "without once more urging the importance of taking some immediate measure towards fulfilling the engagements made to Napoleon in April last, under such temporary modifications as the nature of his own conduct and the unsettled state of Italy may for the present suggest and justify upon principles of precaution, but which I am confident you would wish to combine with a liberal attention to Napoleon's personal comforts and ease in the retirement assigned to him." 1
But while this letter was being written Napoleon was nearing the coast of France. His final resolution seems to have been determined on February 13 by the news of Jacobin plots against the Bourbons which might anticipate his own plans. He had already lost the golden opportunity to take advantage of the dissensions of the Allies, but so far as France was concerned the time was fully ripe. On March 1 he landed near Cannes, and in nineteen days Louis, deserted by almost the whole of the army and with no support from the people,
1 To Blacas, Feb. 28, 1814: F.O. Continent, 12. Cf. Pallain, Corres. inédite, 307. For Talleyrand's actions at Vienna see Pallain, Corres. inédite, 72, 171, 288. No weight can be attached to his statement that Castlereagh agreed to the removal of Napoleon, which is without any confirmation from other sources, though Houssaye ( 1815. 169) and others have accepted it. They have found it difficult to reconcile this view with Castlereagh's action on the money question which resulted in Blacas dispatching a confidential envoy to Napoleon to settle the question of funds (to "Sir Neil Campbell, Feb. 28, 1815": F.O. Continent, 12). a fact which appears to have escaped the notice of historians. Blacas had always pressed for Napoleon's removal. ( "From Stuart, July 11, 1814": F.O. France, 98.) See also Münster, 186.
fled with his Court and one or two faithful generals to Lille and then to Belgium.
The overthrow was too sudden and complete for any aid to be sent to the King. Blacas did, indeed, ask Fitzroy Somerset to send for the British troops in Belgium, but the British chargé d'affaires evaded a proposal which he thought would do the Bourbons more harm than good. Even the rumour of it produced bad effects. Castlereagh approved this action and urged Louis to defend himself. He hoped that the report was true that the King would retire to Bordeaux rather than to Belgium, if Paris was menaced. "Make His Majesty feel," he wrote on the 16th, "that the possibility of any movement in his favour must depend on the degree of support his own army and people give him. The Powers of Europe can assist the French nation and its lawful sovereign to restore peace, order, and obedience, but they cannot invade France to restore him if he is betrayed or abandoned by his own troops and subjects. Which God forbid!" As he explained to Wellington, for the information of the sovereigns at Vienna, while it was essential to assemble powerful forces on the Rhine to intimidate France, it was necessary to act with great caution as regards any declaration of the end for which the Allies were to fight; "although interference on the part of the Great Powers of Europe would, in the judgment of His Majesty's Government, be both wise and necessary at the instance of the King and his Government, if sustained by an adequate national support, yet, consistent with the principles on which the Allies have hitherto acted, it would be a very different question to march into France for the purpose of restoring a sovereign who had been betrayed and abandoned by his own troops and subjects." 1
The betrayal and abandonment were, however, soon complete, and Britain and Europe were faced once more by a Napoleon on the throne of France. At Vienna the Powers instinctively drew together at the first news of the escape,
1 From Fitzroy Somerset, March 9, 14, 16, 17, 20, 1815; "to Fitzroy Somerset, March 16, 1815": F.O. France, 113. "To Wellington, March 16, 1815": W.S.D. ix. 598. He used similar words to Lieven ( "Lieven to Nesselrode, March 18, 1815": Pet. Arch.).
and, though there were some sharp words exchanged as to the responsibility for it, there was never a shadow of doubt as to the attitude to be taken towards Napoleon himself. His destination was unknown ( Talleyrand was certain it was to Italy), but as soon as it was revealed, a declaration was issued by the Eight Powers which signed the Treaty of Paris delivering Napoleon to the "public vengeance." Preparations were immediately made to assemble armies for the invasion of France, if Napoleon succeeded; and Alexander, on whom the main responsibility for Elba lay, offered to appoint himself Generalissimo of the whole. Fortunately the Duke was able to stop this design before it caused much alarm, and the old device of a Supreme War Council was re-established. When Napoleon sent to the Tsar the secret treaty of January 3, which had been left in the Archives, it had no effect on his conduct, though he affected great indignation and intimated his displeasure to Wellington through Pozzo di Borgo.
Wellington was pressed on all hands for new subsidies, and when it was found he had no authority to grant them urgent demands were sent to London, each Power having cogent reasons why it should be preferred above the others. Wellington had some trouble, therefore, in concluding a treaty on the model of that of Chaumont, since the Allies appeared to consider one without a subsidy hardly worth while. Moreover, there was great rivalry for the control of the contingents of the smaller Powers, the Prussians demanding a free hand in north Germany outside of Hanover. However, the treaty which bound each of the Four Powers to supply 150,000 men against Napoleon was signed on March 25. Unlike that of Chaumont, it applied to the present war only, its object being to defend the new frontiers from Napoleon's attack, while it was open to all the small Powers to join it, and all did so, even if their zeal was not great, since it gave them some claim to a subsidy, when such was forthcoming. Both the declaration and the treaty were signed before it was known that Louis had fled from France. There could not have been, therefore, in any case reference to an intention to replace him on the throne, though he was invited by the treaty to co-operate with the Allies against Napoleon. But after his flight both Clancarty and Münster, fanatically desirous of supporting Louis, were much concerned at this omission, which it was soon seen was very significant. 1
For although all negotiation with Napoleon was refused, it was apparent that the Tsar at any rate had no great desire to see the Bourbons return. Moreover, Talleyrand himself was lukewarm, and after Montrond, an emissary of Fouché's, had been received by Metternich, it was suggested that a new declaration should be drawn up expressly affirming that there was no intention of imposing a particular dynasty on France. This was to be done with the object of conciliating the Jacobins and undermining Napoleon's power, and the proposal was warmly supported by the Tsar. Clancarty was eager in defence of the legitimate interests of Louis XVIII., on behalf of which he moved an amendment. He defended his action in an interview with Alexander, who shewed himself favourable to the Duke of Orleans or even to a republic, though he took care this time to exclude any idea of substitution of another marshal in Napoleon's place. Clancarty had strangely enough been left in ignorance by Wellington of Castlereagh's opinion, expressed in the early stages of the struggle, that the Bourbons could not be openly supported. Many of the smaller sovereigns accepted Clancarty's view, and Münster was vehement in favour of the Bourbons and described Alexander to the Prince Regent as a greater danger than Napoleon himself. The Tsar had declared, he said, that he would remember the treaty of January 3, and who knew what the future would bring forth. Stewart was equally emphatic on the subject of the 'intrigue' and 'devilment' at Vienna. "The Emperor of Russia hates all the Bourbons," he wrote to Burghersh, "and is convinced they cannot reign in France." The whole matter was held up, and news now reached Clancarty which shewed him how little he had understood the position of his country, while Münster was reduced to an
1 "From Wellington, March 12, 1815": B.D.312; March 12, 25, 1815: Gurwood, xii. 266, 278. "Münster to the Prince Regent, March 11, 1815": Hanover St. A.; March 18, 25, 1815: Münster, 226, 232. Bavaria demanded to sign the treaty as a principal and not an acceding party in order to obtain an equal right with the Great Powers to subsidies. "From Clancarty, April 3, 1815": F.O. Continent, 17. Spain took a similar attitude: D'Angeberg, Congrès de Vienne, 1457.
almost tearful resignation at the attitude which circumstances had forced his royal master to adopt. 1
For the position of the British Government had been made exceptionally difficult when it was realised that the King had fled. No more than in 1814 could they announce that they would fight to restore Louis XVIII. Indeed, though the Government from the first had no hesitation about the necessity of overthrowing Napoleon, they had to move with the greatest circumspection in order to make the war a popular one, and enable them to put forward their whole strength. It was true that the Opposition was divided; for, though Grey and Whitbread were for peace, the Grenvilles and Grattan parted company with them. Wellesley, however, to general surprise, was on the pacific side, and a false step might have led public opinion to recoil before the expenditure of blood and treasure which a new struggle with France must involve. It was, above all, necessary to make the war one against Napoleon, and to imply that the French people were betrayed by their army and wanted to be rid of him. Thus no notice was taken of Napoleon's overtures and letters, which were sent unopened to Vienna. But war was not declared against France. Indeed, Eldon confessed when the struggle was over that he still did not know against whom Britain had been fighting.
This led to some strange consequences. The militia, for example, could not be called out, since peace was not yet broken, and there were other difficulties as to French commerce and French possessions overseas. But it made one thing absolutely certain. Britain could not declare for Louis XVIII. Indeed, the mild words of the treaty of March 25 were too strong for the Government, and they only ratified
1 "From Clancarty, April 8, 1815": Lond. MSS.; April 15, 1815 (3 dispatches): B.D.324, 325; F.O. Continess.17. "Münster to the Prince Regent, April 12, 1815": Münster, 243; April . 1815: Hanover St. A. "Stewart to Burghersh, April 15,1815": R. Weigall, Corres. of Lord Burghersh, 175. While the Tsar seemed to Clancarty very hostile to a Regency, Metternich was assuring Merveldt for Castlereagh's information that Alexander preferred a Regency to Orleans ( "Metternich to Merveldt, April 21, 1815": F.O. Austria, 123) ; but there can be no doubt that Russian hostility to the Bourbons was as great as in 1814. Clancarty ( "May 8, 1815": Lond. MSS.) explains that the Duke took away with him several of Castlereagh's dispatches, including the vital one of March 16 on avoiding open support of the Bourbons.
it with a reservation that it was not to be understood "as binding His Britannic Majesty to prosecute the war with a view to imposing on France any particular Government." Even then the treaty was kept secret, but rumours began to leak out. In Parliament, Whitbread and his colleagues naturally tried to make the most of the anomaly and to force the Government to expose their hand. But Castlereagh evaded his dilemmas with considerable skill. The task of Britain and Europe was to overthrow Napoleon, he reiterated, knowing that the hatred and fear of him was the only cause which would secure the unity of the country, and he left the responsibility for the declaration of war on the Allies, whom Britain would support but not drive into hostilities. 1
But there was no doubt in the minds of the Government as to their actions. Preparations were made for war on the widest scale. "If we are to undertake the job," wrote Castlereagh to Wellington, when news of the King's flight came, "we must leave nothing to chance. It must be done on the largest scale . . . you must inundate France with force in all directions." Five million pounds were promised to the three Great Powers, to be paid monthly so long as the war lasted. The British army was harder to recreate. Unfortunately many of Wellington's veterans were still in America, and it was with the greatest difficulty and at the risk of denuding Ireland that the British troops in the Netherlands could be raised to 40,000 men. But the military provisions of the treaty of March 25 were instantly accepted, and two million pounds were assigned to raise 100,000 men from the smaller Powers to bring up the British contingent to the stipulated number. This task was entrusted to Wellington as well as the command of the army in the Netherlands, a double burden which he
1 "To Wellington, March 26, 1815": C.C. x. 285. See Eldon's analysis in Bathurst, 378. Hansard, Commons, April 7, 1815: of which Hardy has given a brilliant and faithful summary in The Dynasts, Part III. Act V. Scene 5. Wellington's opinion, given in reply to one of the queries of the Cabinet, was: "I should say that the Allies are in an intermediate state between war and peace" ( Duke of Wellington's reply to the Queries, F.O. Cont. Arch.7). "Lieven to Nesselrode, April 12, 1815": Pet. Arch. Horner, who agreed with Grey on all points, admitted that the "question was a very difficult one, and upon which different views may be taken, even by those who are most agreed upon political principles and objects" ( Horner, Corres., ii. 249). The British reservation is given in B.F.S.P. ii. 450.
cheerfully assumed and executed with much diplomatic, if little financial, skill. The Cabinet sent Wellesley Pole and Harrowby to consult with him as soon as he arrived in Brussels, with a list of eighteen queries, covering the whole diplomatic and strategic situation. Wellington's answers, models as usual of concise and illuminating information, did much to clear the mind of the Cabinet. But the Duke had first to create his army. It was not easy to find recruiting grounds, for the two German Powers were his competitors for command of the German contingents; but Hanover and the Netherlands supplied the nucleus, and the Duke, at first, even hoped to bring troops from Portugal, though not too many lest Spain should succumb to temptation if her neighbour and rival was made too weak. 1
These measures needed, of course, the assent of Parliament, and provided the Opposition with further opportunities of challenging the Government's policy. But though they could make an excellent logical case against the Government's contention that they were fighting Napoleon and not France, they were reduced to a pitiful minority. Only the Morning Chronicle supported Napoleon, who in gratitude supplied it with documents on the activities of Castlereagh at the Congress, drawn from the French archives. But these tactics produced but little effect. The Property Tax was reinstituted, and the huge credits necessary for the coming campaign, in which the whole of Europe was to be once more in British pay, were voted by overwhelming majorities.
All this had to be done gradually as an assistance to a Europe already determined to make war on Napoleon. Caution was necessary, as Castlereagh explained to the exiled King, who was impatient at the delay. "It is essential to the interests of Europe," he told Sir Charles Stuart, "that the
1 "Wellington to Beresford, March 24, 1815": C.C. x. 323. The Portuguese Regency, however, declined to act, and thus no Portuguese troops shared the honours of Waterloo. "To Clancarty, April 12, 1815": C.C. x. 305. "To Wellington, April 13, 1815": W.S.D. x. 70. The queries are given in W.S.D. x. 36, followed by Harrowby's account of the answers, which differs considerably from Wellington's written replies in F.O. Continent, 14. Pfeffel ( April 14, 1815) suggested that the dispatch of the two Ministers was due to a desire to counter Wellesley's criticisms of the Ministry, designed to make mischief between them and the Duke ( Munich St. A.).
public opinion of Great Britain should be kept together. Without a conviction of the necessity of the war in the sober judgment of the Continent we should soon have a Peace Party here, as we had in the early years of the war before last, which would soon disqualify us, augmented as the public burthens are, from giving our Allies an effectual support." The treaty, with its ratification, had now to be published, for copies had appeared on the Continent, though the wording was softened somewhat in Louis' interest. "I am, upon the whole, glad we have been driven to this disclosure," it was explained to the Duke, "although somewhat irregular, as we wanted some incident to bring up the tone of Parliament to the true point. . . . Now Whitbread must either acquiesce in our line or be obliged to attack us, by moving, under circumstances of disadvantage, a peace Address." This policy had considerable effect. The Opposition had to transfer their attack to the methods rather than the objects of the Ministers, and Grey, who had opposed the war in the conviction that it would result in bankruptcy for Britain, confessed to the Bavarian Minister that he had been too ardent in the cause of peace. Castlereagh was well pleased with the result after the debate on April 28. "I never saw a more satisfactory tone," he told Clancarty, "than last night in the House of Commons. We managed well by giving Whitbread his document, to throw upon him the onus of advising against war. His interference is an admirable ally. Rely upon it, nothing but the temperans of our line would have given us the support we received last night. For the Continent and with the Continent the nation will fight, but the abstract question of war would have split us in fragments." 1
In theory, therefore, the British Government was merely engaged in a crusade against Napoleon as part of a united Europe, and in no sense pledged to support the King. In fact no other Government desired so much the return of
1 To Wellington, April 24, 1815; from "Wellington, April 21, 1815": W.S.D. x. 147, 124. "To Stuart, April 19, 1815": Lond. MSS., Appendix, p. 544. "To Clancarty, April 29, 1815": Lond. MSS. Pfeffel to the King of Bavaria, April 14; to Montgelas, April 21, 1815: Munich St. A. Grey's second peace speech was never delivered. See G. M. Trevelyan, Lord Grey of the Reform Bill, 175.
Louis XVIII. or did so much to ensure it. From the first Castlereagh made it clear to the Foreign Ambassadors that his speeches in Parliament did not mean that the Government had deserted Louis. On the contrary, he continued to urge the Bourbon claims upon them from the moment he learnt that Napoleon had reached Paris, reiterating his opinion that Louis' restoration was essential to the safety of Europe. One of his first actions was to recommend that a sharp watch be kept on the young Napoleon, and that all suspected persons be removed from his entourage. The Prince Regent was even more emphatic on the side of his protégés, and told Merveldt that he could not admit the possibility of making a peace without restoring Louis to the throne of his ancestors.
The Prince Regent, however, as Merveldt pointed out, had no more influence now than in 1814. It was Castlereagh who was the real protagonist of the restoration. It was suspected by some of the foreign representatives that he had not the entire support of the Cabinet, and was only sustained by the influence of the Prince Regent. This explained, it was said, the contradiction between the public and private policy of the Foreign Minister. But there is no real evidence for this view. Castlereagh, from the first, and all his colleagues appear to have been united on the question of opposing Bonaparte and restoring the Bourbons if it were possible. But it was Castlereagh who pursued the latter object by every possible means. If the restoration of 1814 was shared with Talleyrand, that of 1815 was brought about almost entirely by the action of Castlereagh himself, who from the first took the exiled King under his secret protection and advice, and, aided by Wellington, placed him in a position to take advantage of the unexpected and unexampled triumph at Waterloo. 1
Though the restoration of Louis appeared indispensable to the cause of European peace, there were no illusions as to the incapacity of the King and his advisers to play the rôle which the British Government wished to assign to him. The Duke and Duchess of Angoulème did indeed make an attempt to
1 Merveldt to Metternich, March 23, 26, 1815; April 18, 24, 1815; May 8, 1815: "Vienna St. A. Pozzo di Borgo to Nesselrode, March 18, 1815": Pet. Arch. "Pfeffel to the King of Bavaria, March 24. 31, April 7, 1815": Munich St. A.
raise the south, which met with some response. But Louis himself was suspected of wishing to flee to England via Ostend. He settled down at Ghent, accompanied by his favourite Blacas and one or two Ministers, and set up the pathetic apparatus of an exiled Court with his usual dignity and patience. Castlereagh from the first took Louis under his protection. Money was supplied to the King, and arms and equipment promised for any force that he raised from French émigrés or deserters. When this attempt proved a failure, funds were provided to recruit the Swiss Guards, who succeeded in getting away from France. Louis was assured of the good intentions of the British Government, and that their public declarations were only to make the task of restoration easier. Sir Charles Stuart, now Ambassador to the Netherlands, was appointed British representative at the King's Court also, this being a method least open to criticism.
Through Sir Charles Stuart, Castlereagh sent a neverceasing stream of advice. He wished Louis to get rid of the emigrant courtiers--especially his favourite Blacas, who had done him so much harm during the first restoration--and learn the business of a constitutional king. He warned Stuart of the obstacles in the way of the restoration and the necessity of Louis altering his attitude towards France. Though Pozzo di Borgo, who represented the Tsar, professed, and sincerely, devotion to the Bourbon cause, reports from Vienna shewed that his master was really far from being their friend. Louis must, therefore, build up support in France itself, and this could only be done by getting rid of his venal and incapable courtiers and substituting men who were really responsible Ministers. This became all the more necessary when news arrived of the Jacobin approaches to Vienna and the manner in which Talleyrand, and even Metternich, had seemed to receive them. The choice, he admitted, was a painful one, but it was better to rely on competent men of depraved character like Talleyrand and Fouché than on corrupt fools like the returned émigrés:"I agree with you and Charles," he told Clancarty in a very intimate letter, "that Talleyrand cannot be relied on, and yet I know not on whom H.M. can better depend. He has not a chance in the hands of those now around him. The fact is, France is a den of thieves and brigands, and they can only be governed by criminals like themselves. The King is too pure and honest to keep them in order, and yet if he was not crippled by his emigrant followers my conviction is that he commands more of the national confidence than either of his competitors for power." With this letter he sent a report of Wellington's which took the gloomiest view of Louis'chances of restoration, though Wellington was, like Castlereagh, fully convinced of its necessity. 1
Louis agreed that some change was advisable, and he allowed Blacas to draw up a tentative Ministry as a preliminary to his own retirement. But he refused for some time even to consider the possibility of admitting Fouché to his favour, and still regarded his Ministers as his servants. There is something almost comic in the manner in which Castlereagh tries to teach Louis the duties of a constitutional king. The only chance of winning and maintaining the throne, he urged, was for Louis to accept any man as his Minister who commanded the confidence of the nation. He admitted the pain Louis must feel in accepting a regicide like Fouché, but after all he had appealed to him in the last desperate hours before the flight from Paris, and he could not be more averse to him "than our King was to receive Mr. Fox." The only way to control bad and ambitious men was to employ them to neutralise one another. Wellington was urged to assist Stuart in these lectures on political science. "The only chance Louis XVIII. has," Castlereagh told the Duke, "is to declare against any exclusion except that of Bonaparte, to employ the strongest man he can find for his Minister, and let him, at his own peril, compose his administration as best he can."
It was impossible, however, for Louis to alter his habits or his courtiers to overcome their vices. Special care had to be taken that the money sent for the arming of such troops as deserted to Louis should not stick in their fingers. Victor and Marmont left Ghent in disgust. The Comte d'Artois prepared to place himself at the head of the Royalist forces
1 "To Stuart, April 19, 24, 1815": Lond. MSS., Appendix. pp. 544-45. "To Clancarty, April 29, 1815": Lond. MSS. From Wellington, April 24, 1815: W.S.D. x. 146; Corres. du Comte de Jaucourt avec Talleyrand, 307, 318.
and asked for assistance from Wellington. The latter, who was engaged in bitter disputes with the King of the Netherlands and full of pessimism at the delay in furnishing a reasonable army in the Netherlands, even accusing the British Government of apathy and lack of energy, yet treated these demands with great patience and courtesy, paying several visits to Ghent, while Castlereagh could only reiterate his previous warnings and urge the importance of getting Talleyrand from Vienna as soon as possible. 1
Talleyrand shewed, however, no signs of appearing, and reports from Vienna continued to be unsatisfactory. The line of the Allies in public had indeed followed, as Castlereagh had expressly desired, the British reservation to the Treaty of March 25. They made counter-declarations of a similar nature, and at the same time they refused to have any dealings with Napoleon, imprisoned some of the envoys which he sent to them, and practically established a blockade of the land frontier of France. Clancarty was thus able to send to Castlereagh a dispatch specially composed for the edification of Parliament, which justified the line which he had taken in the earlier debates.
But the cause of the Bourbons was not supported in the private councils of the Allies. Talleyrand, though he asserted his faithfulness, expressed the greatest contempt for Louis' advisers, and said that he could not carry on a struggle against them at Ghent for the King's favour. He had already been reduced to beg money off Wellington, and it was doubtless with the motive of removing one cause of suspicion that Castlereagh authorised his brother to pay him two sums of £5000 out of the Secret Service funds. Though Cathcart as
1 From Stuart, April 27, May 6, 1815: : La Malet, Louis XVIII. et les Cent Jours à Gand, ii. 73, 90. "To Stuart, May 8, 1815": (2 dispatches) Lond. MSS., Appendix, pp. 545-48. "To Wellington. May 9. 1815": W.S.D. x. 267. "Wellington to Stewart, May 8, 1815": Gurwood, xii. 358. Corrés. de Jaucourt avec Talleyrand, 332. Castlereagh told Fagel that Wellington had greater difficulties than he had had with the Spaniards "ce qui était tout dire" ( Colenbrander, Gedenkstukken, vii, 772). Wellington was, however, made Commander-in-Chief of the Netherlands forces, and this relieved the situation somewhat while Herries was sent out to help with the subsidy treaties which "the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the Continent," as Gentz called Wellington, was negotiating on the old model, neglecting all the experience of previous years ( E. Herries, Memoir of J. C. Herries, i. 96, 102).
usual gave a very favourable view of Alexander, the conviction of Clancarty and Münster only increased as time went on that he was in favour of a bargain with the Jacobins by the substitution of the Duke of Orleans.
Castlereagh had approved Clancarty's opposition to the proposed new declaration, which he considered unnecessary and even dangerous, since it might reveal a lack of unity in the Allied aims. He hoped the Allies would regulate their language by the British reservation. The decisive majority in the Commons should be sufficient to convince them, he wrote, "that whilst the British Government and nation are cautious in committing their Allies in a contest with France they will never shrink from the assertion of their interests or abandon the cause of the Continent." 1 The plan of a new declaration, however, was not allowed to drop, since it was evident the original declaration hardly applied to present circumstances now that Napoleon was on the throne of France supported by the army and at least tacitly accepted by the people. The subject was hotly discussed at intervals, but no satisfactory form could be found until it was decided merely to publish a Procès Verbal of the Conference of the Eight, which argued in rather verbose language that no new declaration was necessary since Napoleon's success had in no way altered the intentions of the Allies towards him or towards France. Clancarty was able to secure that this document, if it did not help Louis very much, at least did him no harm, and in the end he professed himself satisfied, while Münster and other representatives of the smaller Courts also signed it.
Still the whole situation was unsatisfactory as far as the Bourbon cause was concerned. No improvement was to be observed in the attitude of the Tsar or of Talleyrand, while Metternich's conduct in at last yielding to La Besnardière's piteous entreaties to be allowed to return to France was viewed with the greatest suspicion. Clancarty confessed that
1 To Clancarty, April 29, 1815: F.O. Continent, 16. "From Clancarty, May 6, 1815": B.F.S.P. ii. 1031; May 6, 1815: Lond. MSS.; May 13, 1815: C.C. x. 354. "From Cathcart. May 13, 1815": C.C. x. 350. As to Talleyrand's money: from Wellington, March 28. 1815: Gurwood, xii. 286; "to Stewart, April 20, 1815": F.O. Austria, 116.
he shared all Castlereagh's fears for their future. "The only chance," he wrote in his last letter on the subject, "altho' I fear a very feeble one, of amalgamating Talleyrand's cause with that of the King--certainly a very desirable object--is that of bringing him to Ghent . . . but I doubt very much whether he will be induced to stay there. His King's interests appear to me to occupy a very secondary place in his mind-and I am much deceived if he is not much more inclined to further the views of the Emperor of Russia, which I cannot but believe to be unfriendly to the restoration, than those of his own lawful sovereign. The only mode by which it seems to me practicable to obtain Talleyrand's hearty co-operation in the cause of the King is by holding out to him prospects of power, and gain of probable and early realisation--he certainly founds his present hopes of these on the Jacobin party, who, he conceives and naturally, are more likely to dispose of the future destinies of France than that of the Royal Family." Münster, on the other hand, was more suspicious of Alexander than of Talleyrand, though he deplored the latter's intrigues with the Jacobins, and advised that no Swedish troops be brought into the campaign lest Bernadotte might be again supported by the Tsar as a candidate for the French throne. 1
Meanwhile, Castlereagh had been occupied with the education both of his countrymen and the King of France. With the first he was now quite satisfied, and on May 26 was at last able to carry an address committing the country to the war, which had already been two months preparing. It was with some relief that he got safely past this dangerous corner. "I hope you will be satisfied with our proceedings in Parliament," he told Nesselrode. "It required some management to embark the country heartily in a new war under all the embarrassments of a Congress and an escape from Elba. You may rely upon it that it has been well done and that we shall not be wanting to our Allies and to the good cause."
1 "From Clancarty, May 19, 1815": F.O. Continent, 18; May 26, 1815: Lond. MSS. D'Angeberg, Congrès de Vienne, 1181. Münster to the Prince Regent, May 15, 1815: Münster, 263; June 3, 1815: Windsor Arch., Appendix, p. 561. Metternich's views will always be a riddle. Probably he was merely waiting on events, but Schwarzenberg was violent against the Bourbons and eager for Orleans or a Regency ( Klinkowström, Oesterreichs Theilnahme, 825).
The royal education in constitutionalism did not, however, lead to such good results. Castlereagh had continued to press Louis to send for Talleyrand, make him a real first Minister, allow him to make terms with Fouché on behalf of the King, and thus secure the support of the French people in order to undermine Napoleon and prepare his own way to the throne when victory was won. He had even suggested to Wellington that the King should "invite his two Houses of Parliament to assemble in the rear of armies" when once the invasion of France began. Wellington was perhaps not too anxious for such a rearguard, but he responded loyally to Castlereagh's wishes and found time amidst his military and financial duties to give Pozzo di Borgo, who had his own ideas as to how Louis should become a real constitutional king, a lesson on the restoration of Charles the Second and the part Parliament played in it. He also wrote to Metternich urging the absolute necessity of the restoration of the Bourbons, and his letter to the suspect Duke of Orleans, who was constantly urging Louis to come to England, was a model of courteous reproof and must have given that subtle but timid Prince some serious thought for reflection.
The great thing, however, was to bring about the accession of Talleyrand to power and the bargain with Fouché, and unfortunately the King shewed but little sign of yielding to Castlereagh's advice. Though Talleyrand was daily expected at Ghent, his proper reception by the King was by no means assured. The last letter that Castlereagh wrote, therefore, was an urgent appeal to the King to make Talleyrand his Minister and give him a free hand. 1
One other service Castlereagh and Wellington had tried to render Louis, France, and their own cause during these days of preparation and anxious waiting. In the last campaign
1 "To Nesselrode, May 28, 1815": C.C. x. 365. "To Wellington, May 16, 1815": W.S.D. x. 306. "Pozzo di Borgo to Nesselrode, May 23, 1815": Trans. Imp. Russian Hist. Soc. cxii. 239-41. Wellington to Metternich, May 20, 1815; to the Duke of Orleans, June 6, 1815: Gurwood, xii. 410, 447. "From Stuart, June 16, 1815": A. Malet, Louis XVIII. et les CentJours, ii. 176. "To Stuart, June 7, 16, 1815": Lond. MSS., Appendix, p. 550. Castlereagh left London on June 30, after the news of Waterloo but before that of the capitulation of Paris, with the plan of summoning the two Chambers to Lyons. "Merveldt to Metternich, July 3, 1815" : Vienna St. A.
the British army was the only one which had paid its way and treated the inhabitants with friendliness. The Duke had even sent back the Spanish troops partly because he could not trust them in this respect. The allied armies had roused the fury of the French, and almost caused a general rising by their brutal severity and their insistence in living on the country without payment. At an early stage both Castlereagh and the Duke, no less than Louis himself, began to consider how to prevent such conduct in the ensuing campaign. How necessary it was to take some action was already seen by the complaints arising in the Netherlands and Hanover of the action of the Prussians in commandeering supplies. Louis thought that the simplest solution was that Britain should pay for everything. This, as Castlereagh had to point out, could hardly be expected. France must contribute towards the cost of her deliverance, but at least the burden might be made tolerable by regulation. It was suggested, therefore, that royal commissaries should be attached to each army, who should have the duty of seeing that the inhabitants received receipts for the food which they supplied, so that they could be compensated by the restored French Government.
But the plan met with strong opposition from the other Powers, especially the Prussian. Stein had, indeed, drawn up a plan on the model of 1813, by which various territories should be allotted to each army as supply areas, with no regard to the interests of the inhabitants. Wellington's letters shew his indignation at the rapacity of his Allies. It was not until June that he and Stuart at last got the allied representatives at Ghent to agree to a convention with Louis on the subject, and send it to their respective Courts. But it was too late to establish the organisation, and, when Waterloo had left France open to invasion, he was powerless to protect it from the actions of all the armies except his own. 1
1 There was a great deal of correspondence on this most thorny and controversial subject. See specially Malet, Louis XVIII. et les Cent-Jours, ii. 141, 147, 158, 175; Trans. Imp. Russian Hist. Soc. cxii. 256, 258, and "Wellington's letters" in Gurwood, xii. 383, 387, 467, 493; that to Stuart of May 14 on Stein's paper and to Metternich of June 14 on the general question are models of his concise epistolary style. I have relied also on a letter from "Stuart to Clancarty of June 4" ( Lond. MSS.) detailing the final arrangements.
Indeed, all the Powers seemed to expect that the war should bring them no financial burdens, and all were constantly applying for larger subsidies than the funds allocated by the Government allowed. When the Duke proved adamant they turned to Castlereagh and plied him with complaints, the Bavarians being especially insistent, while the Queen of Wurtemberg tried to use her family influence to secure special treatment, more, it may be imagined, at the orders of her husband than at her own desire.
These minor claimants could be ignored, but the Tsar made the same demands, and Castlereagh was specially anxious to conciliate him, both because of the revelation of the secret treaty and to obtain his support of the Bourbon cause. He sounded Wellington, therefore, as to whether a million might not be well spent to this end, the King of France being made the channel of payment so as not to offend the other Allies. In return, Russian troops were to be put under Wellington's command. The Duke, however, though he approved the objects of the plan, refused soldiers obtained in such a way, and the discussion was not completed before Waterloo made such a course unnecessary. 1
It came not a moment too soon for the Bourbon cause. Had the Russian and Austrian armies shared in the victory and pursuit, the fate of Louis might have been doubtful. As it was, he was able to enter France in the rear of the British armies, and Wellington was his advance agent to the throne. Blacas was at last dismissed with a huge douceur, and Talleyrand, though coldly received, arrived at Mons in time to be made the King's Minister. When Fouché saw Napoleon's game was up he played the part that Talleyrand himself had played in 1814, and Wellington was, of course, only too ready to assist him. The Duke was in communication with him through General Nonnelin as early as June 28, and promised to see him as soon as he wished. It was Wellington also who conducted the negotiations with the French emissaries after
1 Pfeffel's letters on the subject form a large part of his correspondence in the Munich archives. They are revealing as to the attitude of continental Powers towards the British, but are too tedious to be quoted. The Queen of Wurtemberg's letters are in the Windsor Archives. At Paris, Russia received an extra £416,000 for this offer: see W.S.D. x. 274, 323; Trans. Imp. Russian Hist. Soc. cxii. 261. Convention of Oct. 4, 1815 : D'Angeberg, Congrès de Vienne, 1553.
Napoleon's flight from the capital, and he took care to keep the King's cause uppermost and to refuse all suggestions of a Regency, though he claimed no authority which he did not possess. It was with Fouché, however, behind the backs of the irresolute envoys that the real negotiation took place, Wellington practically making a bargain with him on behalf of the King in the manner which Castlereagh had so long advocated, and which he judged, when he heard of it on his arrival at Paris, "to have been essential to his Majesty's restoration." The bargain with the arch-traitor was, of course, much criticised in England, but the Duke was not disturbed. "If I had not settled with Fouché when I did," he told Sir John Malcolm, "the Duke of Orleans would have been proclaimed next day, and that would have been a new trouble." As it was, the Bourbons were restored to the throne not as "legitimate" monarchs, but by an exercise of the will of the representatives of the people--or so it could be described if necessary. 1
The result was a Convention which opened the gates of Paris to the King long before the Tsar or Metternich appeared on the scene. Blücher, the only other person in a position to influence events, was too concerned in wreaking his vengeance on France to interest himself in politics, which he did not understand. Castlereagh's plans were, therefore, brought to fruition with an ease that he had never anticipated. There was no need to summon the Chambers behind the Allied lines when Paris itself and soon all France had capitulated to the King. Meanwhile, Castlereagh and Wellington now stood between France and the fury of central Europe, which poured its armies over her borders as soon as she had been rendered helpless. Castlereagh and Wellington had saved the dynasty. Now they had the more difficult task of saving France.
1 J. W. Kaye, Life of Sir John Malcolm, ii. 108. "Castlereagh to Liverpool, July 7, 1815": Yonge, Life of Liverpool, ii. 187. The transactions are well known and have been fully described by Wellington himself in dispatches to Bathurst of July 2, 8 ( Gurwood, xii. 532, 549). What historians have not appreciated is that Wellington was only carrying out plans long matured by Castlereagh. The names left blank in the dispatch to Sir Charles Stuart ( Gurwood, xii. 516) which described Fouché's first overture are fairly obvious, but are supplied by a copy in the Londonderry archives. See also Gentz's furious comments on British recognition of the right of self-determination. ( "To Metternich, July 14, 1815": Wittichen, Briefe von und ab F. Gentz, iii. 311.)
2. THE PUNISHMENT OF FRANCE
THE conference which resulted in the second Peace of Paris and a new treaty of Alliance between the Four Powers lasted nearly five months, while the first conference of Paris took less than two. The discrepancy is partly to be explained by the inflammatory condition of France, but still more by the differences amongst the Allies themselves on the nature of the peace to be made. July was spent in regulating the position of the allied armies on the soil of France and settling the fate of Napoleon. In August took place the contest amongst the Four Powers on the terms of the treaty, which lasted till the middle of September. An attempt to force Talleyrand's Government to accept these terms in the second half of that month failed, and meanwhile he and Fouché succumbed to the attacks of their enemies. In October the terms of the treaty were worked out with the new Ministry of Richelieu, and even then three more weeks were necessary to settle various outstanding questions amongst the Allied Powers. Thus Castlereagh, who arrived in Paris on the evening of July 6, did not leave it until November 23.
Though in history his part in these transactions has been overshadowed by the Duke of Wellington, who naturally, as the victor of Waterloo, impressed his personality on all observers, it was Castlereagh who took the main responsibility and contributed more than anyone else to the final settlement. Fortunately there was never the slightest difference of opinion between him and Wellington, who was always ready to support Castlereagh's plans by his prestige and authority, and indeed incurred some odium for that reason. It was the Cabinet which suggested that the Duke should be a plenipotentiary, but Castlereagh, while cordially accepting the proposal, pointed out that the Duke must be largely occupied in military affairs at first, as indeed he was, and throughout the initiative in political matters came from Castlereagh himself.
He lived on the first floor of the new Embassy, where the most important conferences of the allied Ministers were to be held. Besides Wellington he had a number of other helpers. Stewart and Cathcart, of course, attended their Emperors, and the former, who hired a magnificent hotel, was to play an important part at the most critical moment of the negotiations. Clancarty visited Paris on his way from Vienna, and was used to persuade the King of the Netherlands to accept British views. Sir Charles Stuart continued to represent Britain at the King's Court, and therefore also lived in the Borghese Palace. Lady Castlereagh would not allow him to give balls. Since Cooke was too ill to pay more than a flying visit, Hamilton arrived in August, as the principal representative of the Foreign Office staff, but he was only a technical assistant. Lord Clanwilliam, Lord Clive, and Morier were also present, while Planta was, as usual, indefatigable as principal private secretary. Münster appeared during the earlier part of the negotiations, but he found himself in little sympathy with the British Ministers, and after protest left his subordinate, Count Hardenberg, to yield to their wishes.
Paris was again filled with the rank and fashion of London, so that Castlereagh had an almost embarrassing number of visitors, amongst them Croker and Lord Granville. The Speaker himself came to watch with amused contempt the efforts of the newly elected Chamber to imitate British procedure. Charles Arbuthnot was there that his wife might attend the Duke, a labour that she shared with Lady Shelley and many other ladies. These did not, however, keep their hero from sterner duties, and he played also a magnificent rôle in the great reviews of the Allied armies, most of whom had never fought, now encamped between Paris and the frontier, with which the monarchs paid compliments to one another and to him. Castlereagh was thus able to give more time to real business than in 1814, but he gave many great dinners, while his wife went each night to one of the four theatres, where she had a box, and as usual instituted her "evenings," which her niece describes as "far more brilliant, both as to number and rank," than in 1814. The Duke preferred less conventional society when he could manage it, and this trait gave a handle to his enemies. It was some handicap that he lived on the ground floor of Ouvrard's Hotel. 1
The sovereigns arrived at Paris soon after Castlereagh and remained until the end of September, when the crisis was past. The Tsar was perhaps dissatisfied with his position in contrast to the victorious entry he had made in 1814, but he served both France and Russia better at this time and would have won his place in history even without the amazing proposal which he was to lay before his brother sovereigns. A great change in his psychology had been completed during the Hundred Days, and the Lothario of Vienna had already become a religious zealot of the most extravagant kind. Capo d'Istria and Pozzo di Borgo overshadowed Nesselrode, who was now nominal Secretary for Foreign Affairs. The Emperor of Austria was as null as usual, and the King of Prussia was much harried by the generals of his victorious armies, who thought that the moment of a real Prussian peace had at last arrived. Hardenberg and Humboldt only partially shared their views, but they were often unable to make head against them in the Prussian councils. Stein's appearance at a late stage was due to the militarists who wanted his support. Metternich, with whom was Wessenberg, had a difficult part, which he carried through with much address. It necessitated keeping in the background. Gentz played his usual rôles, including that of unofficial assistant to Castlereagh, who rewarded him handsomely for his services.
The smaller Powers, whose subsidised armies were the worst oppressors of the French people, were nearly all represented by their chief Ministers, and were eager for territory or money. Wrede was no less loud and bombastic than at Vienna and won even less as a result. Gagern tried to play
1 For Wellington's position, see W.S.D. xi. 28-29. Good descriptions of the scene from an English point of view, of which there are many, are in the Croker Papers, i. 61-71; Letters of Harriet, Countess Granville, i. 59-74; R. Edgcumb, Diary of Frances, Lady Shelley, 1787-1817, 88-159; J. W. Kaye. Life of Sir John Malcolm, ii. 97-136; and for Castlereagh's private life, Countess Brownlow, Slight Reminiscences, 124-39. Castlereagh's private expenditure cost the state £9487 ( F.O. Great Britain, 10).
a lone hand for the King of the Netherlands but was easily checkmated by Castlereagh. The smaller Powers, in spite of some protests, were kept as rigidly outside the negotiations as at the first Peace of Paris, and knew little of what was going on until the main points of the peace were settled. Prussia, when she felt herself isolated, made some attempt to play the part Talleyrand had initiated at Vienna and bring them into the discussions, but she was too clumsy and arrogant to make a success of such a manœuvre. The final result was to establish the hegemony of the Great Powers as the creators and guardians of the new Europe.
The problem of the dynasty had been settled by Wellington. The restored King, it was hoped, would be more constitutional than in 1814, and elections were to be held to give Talleyrand and Fouché the necessary authority to represent France. This was altogether in accordance with Castlereagh's plans, but unfortunately the result did not correspond to his expectations. The intrigues of the Comte d'Artois and his friends overthrew Talleyrand and Fouché at the critical moment and the elections were overwhelmingly ultra-Royalist. A white terror began in the south-west, while the north-east had still to endure the brutality of the Allies. However, a Government was secured which could sign on behalf of France, who had the luck to obtain in Richelieu the best Prime Minister she ever possessed.
It was some time, however, before peace discussions could begin. Napoleon himself had in the first place to be disposed of. When Castlereagh left Britain he had already thought of confining him in Scotland, but Liverpool had all along wished him to be tried by the French Government--and hung or shot by their orders. Blücher intended to save them the trouble, if he caught him, at least unless he paid attention to the Duke's indignant and dignified protest at such a suggestion. Castlereagh early reported that such a course was impossible, and that Britain must guard him if she took him.
Napoleon's sentimental appeal to the British King and people when he surrendered seemed ludicrous to those to whom it was addressed and to the rest of Europe, though all Frenchmen, even the Royalists, were touched by it. He gave the British Government a thorny legal and political problem to solve, and the solution of it has been a theme of historians and others ever since. Castlereagh still thought of Scotland rather than St. Helena and the other Powers agreed, but the difficulties experienced during Napoleon's short stay at Plymouth harbour shewed that course to be impossible. It was essential for Britain to be his gaoler, since no other Power could, in Castlereagh's opinion, be trusted not to use the prisoner as a threat. Both Castlereagh and his Government wished to make Napoleon the common prisoner of the Allies, and this was accomplished by a Convention drawn up in July. It was Castlereagh's rather hasty proposal which established allied commissioners to reside on the island, a step which Liverpool deprecated, since he rightly foresaw they would intrigue and quarrel. Still, it was important that there should be foreign witnesses of the manner in which the British Government carried out its task. Liverpool wished the Allies also to share the expense, which was no light charge, but they shewed no signs of agreeing to do so, and Castlereagh, with his usual generosity in financial matters, does not seem to have pressed them. The result was to throw on Britain the odium of taking practically the whole responsibility of guarding her greatest and most dangerous enemy in a situation of which his wonderful genius took full advantage. But though a legend was created which obscured for long the history of the Napoleonic period, it is difficult to see what else, except in details, the British Government could have done in the embarrassing circumstances of the times. 1
1 "To Liverpool, July 12, 17, 17, 24, 29, Aug. 24, 1815": B.D.341, 347, 350; C.C. x. 435; W.S.D. xi. 80; B.D.370. "From Liverpool, July 15, 20, Aug. 18, 1815": C.C. x. 430; Yonge, Liverpool, ii. 199; C.C. x. 493. "Merveldt to Metternich, July 3, 1815": Vienna St. A.
"Wellington to Stuart, June 28, 1815": Gurwood, xii. 516. In a dispatch of July 29, Castlereagh defended the appointment of allied commissioners: "I believe that without some precaution of this nature the British Government would be exposed unnecessarily to much vulgar suspicion. In proportion as the public temper dies away, which it will do when the individual ceases to occupy, as at present, the attention of Europe, the Powers will of their own accord discontinue an arrangement which in that event will become a useless charge upon themselves. In the meantime the Prince Regent's Ministers are at liberty to conduct the whole arrangement as seems to them best, and the commissioners will have no more power to interfere than the officers nominated by the British Government have when residing at the headquarters of the respective continental armies." F.O. Continent, 22.
Whatever may be thought of Bonaparte's punishment, there can be no question as to the treatment meted out to France by the allied armies. The plan of control by commissaries completely failed at first except as regards Wellington's own army. The Prussians, intoxicated by their success, wished to inflict every possible burden and humiliation on the conquered. It was only Wellington's influence that obtained for Paris a capitulation instead of an unnecessary attack by the Prussian army. He got small thanks for this, since Fouché tried to twist the words of the agreement into a protection of the existing authorities. It also appeared, though unwarrantably, to give a guarantee of the lives of all Frenchmen against their own King as well as the Allies. The peaceful occupation of Paris and the return of Louis was, however, secured, and Wellington and Castlereagh managed to restrain Blücher's excesses in the city itself until the sovereigns arrived. They refused to allow him to levy a contribution of a hundred million francs, and Wellington personally intervened to save the Pont d'Jéna from destruction by the Prussians. 1 No wonder that the King was grateful, and appeared at the open window of the Tuileries with Wellington and Castlereagh at his side to receive the acclamations of his subjects, though this act was perhaps hardly politic.
Outside Paris, however, the excesses of the troops, especially those of the Bavarians and other smaller German Powers, continued for a considerable time. Wellington's protests at the arbitrary character of the generals' demands were strongly supported by Castlereagh in the councils of the sovereigns, who arrived on the 10th. Fortunately the Tsar, to whom Castlereagh had sent Pozzo di Borgo to prepare him to accept the fait accompli at Paris, was as eager as the British to protect France. The Russian army accepted Wellington's plan of systematic assessments instead of indiscriminate pillage, and some restraint was eventually established over the German armies.
1 The famous preservation of the Pont d'Jéna from destruction by the Prussians is often attributed by French historians to the influence of Louis, but there can be no doubt that it was Wellington's action which stopped Blücher until his King arrived with the Tsar. Cf. Houssaye, 1815, La Seconde Abdication, 339-41.
The dangers thus partially avoided were, in the opinion of both Castlereagh and the Duke, extreme. Nothing less than a national uprising could be expected if the Prussians and Bavarians were allowed to have their way. "If discipline and order are not upheld," wrote Castlereagh in a memorandum whose argument he claimed was accepted by the other Ministers," King, Army, and People will forget their differences in one common feeling of resentment against the foreign troops. The regeneration of France will be disappointed and the allied armies will be involved in a protracted war, and possibly compelled to retire from France without having effectuated their purpose of restoring it to peaceful habits." Gradually these councils prevailed, and a regulated system of assessments through French officers was established, though much local tyranny remained. Time was thus given for the demobilisation of Bonaparte's troops, and the situation of the Allies was made secure. 1
All this took time, though the allied Ministers met every day at eleven o'clock and conferred with the French in the afternoon, and produced great exasperation amongst the Prussian soldiers. Blücher had to receive a positive order from his King to stop his operations, and threatened to resign. Colonel Hardinge, who was attached to his army, reported that the King would find it hard to check "the very unusual spirit of political interference existing in this army and its reported intimate connection with popular feeling in Prussia." Wellington's disgust with the Prussians was such that at one time he proposed to confine to British, Austrian, and Russian troops the army of occupation, which it was soon decided was to be left in France under his orders. This controversy had, however, the advantage of bringing the Tsar and Castlereagh
1 "To Liverpool, July 8, 8, 12, 14, 1815": C.C. x. 418, 419; B.D.341, 342. "From Wellington, July 14, 1815": Gurwood, xii. 558. "To Liverpool, July 16, 1815"; with confidential memorandum, July 15, 1815: F.O. Continent, 20. Treitschke ( History of Germany, ii. 208) has obscured the sense of this memorandum, which applied to the temporary, not the permanent, treatment of France. Roger André ( L'occupation de la France par les Alliés en 1815 ( 1924)) does more justice to British action than any other French writer, though he has neglected much printed evidence of it. He calculates the total number of Allied troops in France as over 1,200,000 and the cost to France at about 700,000,000 francs, which seems a small estimate. For the Russian attitude, see F. Martens, Recuil des Traités. iii. 189-91.
close together, and of paving the way for their joint action on the more important question of the permanent treaty with France. Castlereagh did everything in his power to win Alexander's goodwill, and finding that the quarrel with the Prince Regent was now much regretted, got Liverpool to persuade His Royal Highness to write to the Tsar a letter of friendship. There was even a question of another visit of the Tsar to England, but fortunately the monarchs were spared this strain on their courtesy. 1
In these measures Castlereagh had the support of his Government, but they were far from accepting the end which Castlereagh had in view--a moderate and humane treaty with France. In the memorandum which Castlereagh took with him as his general instructions it was, indeed, laid down that in the event of Louis' restoration and the death or capture of Bonaparte the "integrity" of France, as promised in the declarations of the Allies, should be respected. But public opinion in Britain rose to a high fever during July, especially after it was known that Fouché was in the new Government, and the Cabinet were much influenced by it. "The prevailing idea in this country is," wrote Liverpool, "that we are fairly entitled to avail ourselves of the present moment to take back from France the principal conquests of Louis XIV.," and Castlereagh was requested to sound the Allies on such a proposition. The Prince Regent was as usual extreme, and told the sensible Neumann that he would support the Emperor if he revived his ancient rights on Alsace and Lorraine. 2
Fortunately the indignation of the Cabinet was largely concentrated at this time on forcing the King to punish those "traitors" whom they considered responsible for the war.
1 "Colonel Hardinge to Stewart, July 26, 1815": Lond. MSS. Note of "Pozzo di Borgo, Aug. 2, 1815": Trans. Imp. Russia" Hist. Soc. cxii. 297. "From Liverpool, July 28, 1815": C.C. x. 440. "To Liverpool, Aug. 10, 1815": F.O. Continent, 23. According to a witness who had access to the best information at this time, the Tsar now attributed his behaviour in London to his sister's bad advice on points of etiquette. "He seems to have regarded the Regent as a sort of first magistrate without any of the attributes of a king." R. Edgcumbe, Diary of Frances, Lady Shelley, 158.
2 Memorandum of June 30, 1815; "from Liverpool, July 15, 1815": W.S.D. x. 630; C.C. x. 431. "Neumann to Metternich, July 13, 26, 28, 1815": Vienna St. A. Neumann pointed out that the English King had once been a Duke of Normandy and a Count of Aquitaine, but George took the sarcasm quite seriously and said he wanted nothing for himself.
This object had been specially insisted upon in Castlereagh's original instructions as "necessary with a view to the continuance of the power of the House of Bourbon, but likewise for the security of the object for which the Allies have been contending, a safe and lasting peace." It may be doubted if Castlereagh, who had forced Fouché on the King, agreed with this view; but he was urged by Liverpool to uphold it, and it must be admitted that he was responsible for bringing the matter before the allied Ministers. It was agreed that the King must act, and Pozzo di Borgo was deputed to advise him to do so, while Castlereagh put pressure upon Talleyrand. Fortunately Fouché was Minister of Police, and took care to give notice to all concerned--a step which Castlereagh obviously viewed with equanimity though he carried out his instructions to the letter. Liverpool, on the other hand, regretted the leniency, and told Canning that he could never "feel that the King is secure upon his throne till he has dared to spill traitors' blood." No wonder that Ney, who alone of the prominent men refused to escape, found no mercy in Liverpool when his friends implored British influence to prevent his execution. 1
But if Castlereagh faithfully followed the severe instructions of his Government in respect to the traitors, he took a very different line on the much more important question of the treatment of France herself. Had he advocated the views which the Cabinet were anxious to support and which the nation would have delighted to see prevail, he could have rallied all but the Tsar to his side. But he and Wellington went in an entirely opposite direction. Castlereagh had always opposed the dismemberment of France, and he refused to yield his opinion now that the unexpected completeness of the victory seemed to make any peace possible to the victorious Allies. Opposing both the cry for revenge in Britain and the loud and greedy clamour of the Germans, he joined with the
1 "To Liverpool, July 14, 17, 1815": B.D.344, 347; Aug. 3, 1815: C.C. x. 451. Liverpool to Canning, Aug. 4, 1815; W.S.D. xi. 95. Wellington, so far as I can ascertain, took no part in the episode. The attempt to involve him by quoting the Convention which he had made with the Paris Provisional Government obviously fails. Nor could he be expected later to intervene to save the life of a soldier who had committed what was in his opinion the greatest of crimes.
Tsar in an effort to obtain security and reparation without outraging French national sentiment too far.
Alexander, indeed, would have been content to impose a moderate indemnity on France and eschew all other penalties. But such a course was impossible. It might be argued--as Wellington did argue--that France had not supported Napoleon in 1815 as in 1814. But she had offered practically no opposition until the collapse came, and something must be done to compensate Europe for the effort which they had been forced to make to overthrow Napoleon. Moreover, how could Europe feel secure if after this experience France was left in exactly the same position as in 1814? Would not the absence of all penalty merely encourage her to renew the attempt at the earliest possible moment? The Prussians, at any rate, had no doubt as to the answer to these questions. Their soldiers and statesmen were already elaborating plans in a series of memoranda which recommended sweeping territorial cessions from France for the benefit of Bavaria and the Netherlands, which Prussia would utilise to add Luxemburg and Mainz to her own territory, and an indemnity which must be at least twelve hundred million francs--far less, they claimed with elaborate details of figures, than France had taken from Prussia alone in the course of the last six years. The south German states were asking for even more, while Austria was inevitably drawn in to the scramble for territory and money.
Castlereagh had hoped to meet these views by a temporary occupation of France by an allied army, by the dismantling of those fortresses which specially threatened Belgium and Switzerland, and, above all, by a renewal of the treaty of Alliance. He accordingly approached the Tsar and urged him to accept these terms, though they went somewhat beyond the imperial opinion, and to propose them to the other Allies as his own, thus committing him to enforce them on France and giving him that lead in the discussions which he always relished. The Tsar agreed, and the Russian Ministers drew up a memorandum on these lines, which Castlereagh and Wellington were allowed to see and alter before it was officially presented. Castlereagh sent this home immediately, together with a paper of his own advocating temporary occupation to his Cabinet, who thus had the arguments for moderation brought to their notice long before they saw the counterarguments which the Austrians and Prussians hastened to present. The former's demands were fairly reasonable, amounting to little more than the detachment of a strip along the Belgian frontier and Landau from France. But the Prussian generals still had sweeping plans which they hardly dared disclose officially, involving large cessions by France to Belgium and the consequent cession of Luxemburg to Prussia, though Hardenberg, in private conversation with Castlereagh, admitted that he did not support them. When at last Knesebeck's detailed scheme was disclosed, it made such large demands that it would have severed from France every firstclass fortress which she possessed. 1
The Cabinet received Castlereagh's first proposals with coolness. They were not prepared to cancel his instructions, but they indicated their preference for stronger measures than Russia would support. A special Cabinet was summoned, and Bathurst wrote a hasty note to Castlereagh, bidding him pause before he committed himself too far. The Cabinet were afraid to give Castlereagh new instructions of a more severe kind, but their inclinations were obviously in that direction, and when they at last received the Austrian and Prussian projets they shewed a decided disposition to accept the former as the basis of the treaty.
It was becoming clear, therefore, that some permanent cessions would have to be made by France. In order to make these as small as possible and to establish them on some principle, Castlereagh now brought forward a plan of giving to France the frontier of 1790 instead of 1792. This would deprive her of some insignificant territory on the Belgian frontier and that part of Savoy which Louis had been so
1 "Prècis des Contributions", June 30, 1815: C.C. x. 393. "To Liverpool, July 17, 24, 29, Aug. 12, 1815": B.D.349, 350; W.S.D. xi. 122-23, 125. Memorandum of Capo d'Istria, July 28, 1815; Memorandum of Hardenberg, Aug. 4, 1815; "Memorandum of Metternich", Aug. 2. 1815: D'Angeberg , Congrès de Vienne, 1470, 1479, 1482. Knesebeck "Memoir", Aug. 13, 1815: W.S.D. xi. 117. For the German memoranda and schemes, see Treitschke, History of Germany (Eng. ed.), ii. 207-15; Gebhardt, Wilhelm von Humboldt, ii. 177 ff.; Gagern, Mein Antheil an der Politik, Appendices IV., VI., VII.
reluctant to accept in 1814. This plan he gradually got the Tsar to accept so that the two Powers could shew a united front, and meanwhile Wellington's powerful authority was used to convince the Cabinet and the other Allies that temporary occupation was the best way to bring back peace and security to Europe. The Duke championed Castlereagh's ideas con amore, and the disgust which he felt at the inordinate demands of the Prussians, which he had constantly to expose in the military committee, added fire to the usual excellence of his style. 1
Still the Cabinet were not completely convinced and refused to give Castlereagh a free hand. Moreover, the Prince Regent was fortified in his ideas by letters from Münster which attacked with much skill the arguments of Castlereagh and Wellington. Münster, like the Ministers of the other small Powers, felt acutely the impotence to which the Four had reduced the rest of Europe, and this feeling of inferiority added venom to his criticisms. Even an interview with Louis, who sent a pathetic message to the Prince Regent, did not diminish his desire to see Germany made secure by taking large slices of territory from France, as the Prussians and the smaller German Princes desired. But Münster obviously could not face the embarrassing situation in which his opposition to Castlereagh placed him. He retired from the scene after professing a conversion to the British view, which he perhaps hardly felt, leaving Count Hardenberg to receive the final orders of his master, which he knew must be determined by the British Cabinet.
Nevertheless, Münster's influence on the Prince Regent and the Duke of York, and through them on the Cabinet, whose inclinations were in the same direction, was considerable. As a consequence the Cabinet tried to insist on various points, such as the destruction of the fortifications of Lille, which Castlereagh was most anxious to waive. They were urged on by the frantic clamour of the British Press, which had now
1 "From Liverpool, June 28, 1815": C.C. x. 441. "From Bathurst, Aug. 1, 1815": Lond. MSS. "From Liverpool, Aug. 3, 1815" (with memorandum on the Russian memorandum): C.C. x. 454; Aug. 11, 18, 1815: W.S.D. xi. 126, 130. "Lieven to Nesselrode, Aug. 22, 1815": Pet. Arch. "To Liverpool, Aug. 17, 1815": C.C. x. 485. "From Wellington, Aug. 11, 1815": Gurwood, xii. 596.
become, as even Gentz, its great admirer, confessed, a "public nuisance," and which, by language as extreme as that used by the Germans, was encouraging all the opponents of Castlereagh at Paris. The Tsar was visibly affected, and through Pozzo warned Wellington that, if Britain yielded and the Prussian demands were accepted, he would march his army home and refuse all responsibility for the settlement. The Duke confessed that he and Castlereagh had been hampered by instructions which prevented them from acting as vigorously as they wished. If the Russians went home, he added, the only other army capable of fighting was his own, and the other Allies would soon find out their mistake. 1
In these circumstances Castlereagh felt that his authority was challenged, and that he must obtain from the Cabinet a definite promise of support in his efforts to obtain a moderate peace. He had not yet ventured to send home his own opinion, recorded in the official memorandum, though this had been shewn to the Russians and other interested parties. Lord Stewart was therefore hastily dispatched to London to lay the views of the British delegation before the Cabinet and the Prince Regent. The letter which he carried with him was one of the most incisive which Castlereagh ever sent to his Government. He pointed out that the Prussian Councils were so much dominated by their soldiers that Hardenberg had confessed to Clancarty "that he felt himself in the midst of Praetorian bands." Their demands threatened Hanover and the Netherlands as much as France herself. He was sure they would give way, if faced with sufficiently strong opposition, but he could not bring that to bear unless the Cabinet maintained his instructions and gave him a free hand. With the letter were sent memoranda which gave a comprehensive view of the whole negotiation, stressing the Alliance, rather than the spoliation of France, as the great protection of Europe.
We may be sure that Lord Stewart was not behindhand in
1 "Münster to the Prince Regent, Aug. 17, 18, 18, 1815": Windsor Arch., Appendix, pp. 562-72. "Nesselrode to Lieven, Aug. 22, 24 (with Rapport à l'Empereur de Pozzo di Borgo), 1815": Pet. Arch. Gentz called the British Press a "public nuisance" on Aug. 31 ( Briefe an Pilat, i. 174), and on Sept. 5 he wrote to the Hospodar: "The mass of the English nation is as embittered against the French, as puffed up by victory and as extreme in their demands, as the majority of the German peoples": Klinkowström, Oesterreichs Theilnahme, 715.
vigorous language in defence of his brother, but it was hardly necessary. For the Cabinet had already recoiled from limiting Castlereagh's power, and a letter had been sent off which grudgingly accepted his policy. Still, Stewart's long interview with the Cabinet in which he pressed home Castlereagh's points with much address and obtained a further instruction, which gave him everything that was asked and assured him of the cordial and zealous support of his colleagues, whatever the criticism of public opinion in Britain, was a good piece of work. Stewart had a harder task with the Prince Regent, who had been much influenced by the letters from Münster, who, he said, was the ablest man of them all. Stewart was able to reply, however, that even Münster was now convinced of the wisdom of Castlereagh's course, and the Prince reluctantly gave his assent. 1
Castlereagh could now tackle his opponents at Paris with confidence. His own memorandum, which he now made official, and a magnificent paper by Wellington, justifying the scheme of temporary occupation, were the prelude to a struggle which lasted till the middle of September. Clancarty was sent post-haste to Brussels to warn the King of the Netherlands against the intrigue in which Gagern was engaged with the Prussians of exchanging Luxemburg for extensive additions on the Belgian frontier. This was easily defeated, for William was now too attached to his Grand Duchy to part with it lightly, though Gagern followed Clancarty home in an effort to carry his point. Neither Castlereagh nor the Duke spared his feelings on his return, the former treating him with cutting sarcasm for his outrageous attempt to despoil France in opposition to the Power that had brought the Netherlands into existence. "I asked Baron Gagern," reported Castlereagh, "how the King would relish having these fortresses without the guarantee of England. . . . . This view of the question appeared altogether to damp his Excellency's appetite for such acquisitions."
1 "To Liverpool, Aug. 24, 1815": F.O. Continent, 24. Inadequate prècis in W.S.D. xi. 137; which also gives the enclosures (138-42). Memorandum of Lord Stewart's Conversations with the Cabinet, "Lord Liverpool, and the Prince Regent": Lond. MSS. "From Liverpool, Aug. 28, 1815": C.C. x. 506. "Lieven to Nesselrode, Aug. 29, 1815": Pet. Arch. Pellew, Life of Sidmouth, iii. 133.
All the other small Powers which bordered or even approached France were making demands not less absurd for cessions of territory which they expected Britain to guarantee. Castlereagh's indignation was unbounded. He had too much respect for the fighting qualities of Frenchmen to expect them to acquiesce in such humiliation. Gagern was astounded at his praise of France, but it represented the experience of twenty years of warfare. "The more I reflect upon it," he told his Cabinet, "the more I deprecate this system of scratching such a Power. We may hold her down and pare her nails so that many years shall pass away before they can wound us. I hope we may do this effectually and subject to no other hazards of failure than must, more or less, attend all political or military arrangements; but this system of being pledged to a continental war for objects that France may any day reclaim from the particular states that hold them, without pushing her demands beyond what she would contend was due to her own honour, is, I am sure, a bad British policy." 1
The demands of the jackal German Powers, most of whom had been aggrandised by Napoleon himself, could be easily refused. It was different with Prussia, who had now brought 280,000 soldiers into France. The only thing was to isolate her. Castlereagh had the bad luck to have a serious accident at this critical moment, which kept him in bed several days. But the conferences were held in his bedroom as he refused to allow the business to be suspended. Austria was fairly easily won over, and the Tsar soon consented to accept the British propositions, i.e. the frontier of 1790 and an indemnity of six hundred million francs. The Prussians still stood out for the Saar Valley, cessions to Belgium equivalent to Luxemburg, and twelve hundred million. This last demand was considered outrageous and impossible, and Prussia made to abandon it. For form's sake, however, all her territorial demands had to be submitted to France in the first instance, though as Castlereagh had already assured the rejection of
1 Memorandum of Castlereagh, Aug. 31, 1815: W.S.D. xi. 147. "Memorandum of Wellington, Aug. 31, 1815": Gurwood, xii. 622. "To Liverpool, Sept. 4, 1815": B.D.375. From Clancarty, Aug. 30, 1815; to Clancarty, Sept. 4, 1815; Gagern to Van Nagell, Sept. 4, 7, 1815; King of the Netherlands to Fagell, Sept. 5, 1815; Clancarty to the King, Sept. 5, 1815 Colenbrander, Gedenkstukken, vii. 267, 270, 802, 803, 804, 811.
the Luxemburg plan there could be no result on that point. Saarlouis was in a different character as a fortress of great strategic value in a small territory. Prussia was using every expedient to gain her ends, and now even tried to introduce the smaller German Powers into the sacred circle of the Four. This manüuvre failed, and the three Powers refused to do more than make the full demand, and Castlereagh was confident it would be rejected by France. It was imperative, however, to come to some decision in order to open the negotiation with the French Government before the newly elected Chambers met in Paris. Moreover, the Tsar was determined to leave Paris by the end of the month and the other sovereigns were also urgently required at their capitals. 1
In the midst of this excitement there also came to a head another negotiation in which the British delegates, and especially Wellington, incurred much undeserved odium. In 1814 the French had been allowed to retain the art treasures which their armies had collected by force from every capital of central Europe. It was a generous gesture, but the Parisians had regarded it merely as a tribute to their importance. It could hardly be expected that similar generosity would now be shewn. Liverpool had, at an early stage, suggested that the art treasures should be returned to their owners, and, though both Castlereagh and Wellington had hoped to spare the King this humiliation, they were forced to take another view. The Tsar, who had none to recover, was the only opponent of the measure amongst the Allies, and the Prussians eventually began to remove their own art treasures from the gallery of the Louvre and elsewhere, under armed guard, without waiting for protocol or treaty. The King of the Netherlands pressed that the Belgian and Dutch pictures should be restored also, the Florentines naturally wanted to get back the Venus Di Medici, while the Pope sent Canova to obtain the many treasures that had been taken from Rome.
1 To Liverpool, Sept. 14, 21, 21, 25: F.O. Continent, 27; W.S.D. xi. 165, 167; C.C. xi. 31. Castlereagh was kicked by a horse. His house continued to be the diplomatic centre of the Conference, and after Sept. 18 all the meetings of the principal Powers were held there, as Gentz's diary reveals.
Thus Castlereagh, while he would have nothing to do with a proposal of the Prince Regent that some should be bought for his galleries, agreed that a general restoration should be made, and brought it formally before the allied Council, which ratified the demand.
Talleyrand shewed little surprise, but he insisted that the King must be made to yield to force, so as to avoid the odium of signing away the treasures to which the Parisians attached so much importance. His official reply, however, to Castlereagh's note was couched in the most insulting terms, a shabby trick, which the recipient said might be expected from a man of his character. The Netherlands pictures were, nevertheless, taken away under the protection of British soldiers, and Wellington wrote Castlereagh a letter which replied with interest to Talleyrand's insinuations. Subsequently the delighted Canova, who was given British funds to cover the expenses he had otherwise no means of meeting, was allowed to remove the Papal treasures, while other Italian states also got back some of these ill-gotten gains, the Parisians being especially furious at the removal of the Venetian horses from the Carrousel. Castlereagh's insistence on regularising the procedure and Wellington's action with regard to the Netherlands pictures, together with Talleyrand's cowardly attack, had made them the centre of the abuse which the infuriated Parisians had to hurl at somebody. The Duke was hissed publicly in Catalani's performance, at the beginning of October, when, it is true, he rather tactlessly tried to use the royal box, and after the fall of Talleyrand a number of libels were circulated about his private life. The Duke bore this abuse, in which the Pope and Canova were his only rivals, as easily as he had accepted the unprecedented honours which had fallen to his lot. There is a delightful irony that the two men who were doing most to save France from dismemberment and ruin should be made the central targets of Parisian hatred at the crisis of her fate. 1
1 "From Liverpool, July 15. Aug. 3, Sept. 19, 29": Yonge, Liverpool, ii. 193; C.C. x. 453; xi. 27, 37. "To Liverpool, July 24, Aug. 17, Sept. 11, 11, 25, Oct. 1": C.C. x. 435, 491; xi. 12; F.O. Continent, 26; C.C. xi. 32. 39. "Hamilton to Bathurst, Aug. 24, Sept. 6, 1815": Bathurst, 375, 385. Note to the Plenpotentiaries, Sept. 11, 1815; from "Talleyrand, Sept. 19, 1815":
Meanwhile, the more important negotiation with France as to territory and indemnity was met by Talleyrand with a blank refusal. He gave short shrift to the allied note, which he describes in his memoirs as "insolent," and refused any cessions whatever in a reply which claimed that royalist France had never been the enemy of the Allies, and that they had no rights of conquest over her. As 900,000 men were now encamped in France this was hardly a strong argument, but the reply was in any case Talleyrand's last official action. Fouchü had been subjected for long to the unceasing attacks of the ultra-Royalists, headed by the Duc d'Angoulème, who was intoxicated with delight at their success, and his overthrow, which they now obtained, brought Talleyrand's along with it. Indeed, that astute Minister had been aware of his impending fall when he penned his defiant note, and was thus able to retire to the office of Grand Chamberlain with all the honours of a patriot.
It was the poor King himself, left without a Minister, whom Castlereagh had to inform that some cession of territory was indispensable and that the dogma of the "sacred soil" of France, which had never respected the integrity of other countries, must be abandoned. Fortunately in Richelieu the King found a Minister strong enough to face the inevitable, and in a few days the basis of the treaty had been laid. The last discussions were conducted on behalf of the Allies by the Duke of Wellington, and his authority made it easier both for Richelieu and the Prussians to yield. 1
The final result was a peace which, if it lacked the generosity of that of 1814, was yet tolerable to France. Her territorial losses were small--a few rectifications of the Belgian frontier, Saarlouis, Landau, and Savoy, which was to be neutralised.
D'Angeberg, Congrès de Vienne, 1510, 1521. "From Wellington, Sept. 23, 1815": Gurwood, xii. 641. "Baron d'Uchtritz to Einsiedel, Sept. 26, 28, Oct. 1, 4, 1815": Dresden St. A.; Trans. Imp. Russian Hist. Soc., cxii. 318, 320. Talleyrand, Memoirs, iii. 265, 273. Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Briefe von Gentz an Pilat, i. 198, 200, 203. The British Government expended 202,180 francs in sending home the Pope's possessions: E. Herries, Memoir of J. C. Herries, i. 104-105. Arneth ( Life of Wessenberg, ii. 21), who claims credit for Austria in getting back the Venetian treasures, gives an eyewitness's account of how the British tourists chipped the ornaments off the famous horses as souvenirs. 1 "To Liverpool, Sept. 25, Oct. 1, 2, 1815": B.D.374; C.C. xi. 38, 40. "Wellington to Richelieu, Oct. 1, 1815": Gurwood, xii. 652.
Of these, the Saar Valley was perhaps the most substantial loss, but its economic as distinct from its strategic importance was not known at the time. There were also rectifications of the Swiss frontier, which gave Geneva a little more breathing space. The suzerainty of Monaco was transferred to Piedmont. The indemnity was reduced to seven hundred million francs, a sum which, as was to be seen, France could quite easily pay in spite of the losses inflicted on her by the Allied occupation. She also undertook once more to satisfy the private claims which she had promised to settle in the Treaty of 1814, but had entirely neglected so far. 1
Of her own fortifications she was to destroy only Huninguen, which was considered a serious threat to Switzerland. Meanwhile, though the Allies resisted it and wished to place the whole charge on Britain and the Netherlands, the barrier fortresses in Belgium were to be built out of part of the indemnities as well as new fortifications at Luxemburg and Mainz.
Lastly, the army of occupation of 150,000 men under the Duke of Wellington was to be stationed for five years (or perhaps three if France fulfilled her obligations) in the north of France, every care being taken by special regulations, which shew the mark of Wellington's mastery of detail, that the charge should prove as little onerous as possible. The Tsar had wished to limit the numbers to 100,000 men, but gave way on condition that the total might be reduced if necessary. Liverpool was more concerned to link up the occupation with the payment of the indemnity, but though he constantly recurred to this point, it was not inserted in the treaty, and Wellington always declared that his army was stationed in France to obtain security and not to enforce payment. 2
Richelieu lamented that he should have had to sign so
1 For details of these, see my Foreign Policy of Castlereagh, 1815-1822, 82. Castlereagh asked Richelieu to fix a lump sum to satisfy the British claimants under the fourth article of the Treaty of 1814, who were pressing hard for payment and even threatened to retain Martinique and Guadeloupe, which had been reoccupied during the Hundred Days, if nothing was done, but he failed to get it. To Richelieu (undated) Lond. MSS.
2 "Count Hardenberg to the Prince Regent, Oct. 16, 1815": Hanover St. A. From "Liverpool, Sept. 29. Oct. 2, 31, 1815": C.C. xi. 35, 41, 59. To "Liverpool, Oct. 24, 1815": F.O. Continent, 29. For the Army of Occupation, see my Foreign Policy of Castlereagh, 1815-1822, 78.
humiliating a treaty, but if all the circumstances be considered, France, which had inflicted so much wanton humiliation and loss on every country of Europe, had reason to congratulate herself on her escape. The Prussians and the German Powers were naturally loud in their complaints, but Hardenberg was really well content with everything but the financial settlement. The King of the Netherlands professed himself grateful to Castlereagh for saving Luxemburg from the Prussians, and its inhabitants were greatly relieved. 1 Metternich, who had played a useful but secondary rôle in the great discussions, was also well satisfied. The Tsar, who left Paris on September 28, was too much occupied with the scheme of the Holy Alliance to lament much at these more mundane matters, while his Ministers were glad to have been able to pose as the best friends of France and hoped for favours in return some day.
Nor were Castlereagh and Wellington dissatisfied with the final result, however much they regretted some of the harsher details. Their device of temporary occupation had been accepted by their Allies as a solution of the immediate problem of security and had undoubtedly saved the infliction of such permanent wounds on France as would have made a long peace impossible. Though the financial questions were only settled after long and tedious negotiations in which Britain as usual sacrificed much to the general cause, yet the total burden on France was reasonable, and a sufficient sum had been set apart for the fortifications which the Duke thought indispensable to make the Belgian barrier a real one. Though there were still some questions outstanding between the German Powers, their unity, however inconvenient during the negotiations, was greater than ever before. The Tsar also had behaved well and merited the constant praise which Castlereagh sent home in an effort to remove the deep-rooted hostility of the Cabinet and the Prince Regent.
The Cabinet were also in the end content. Officially they sent warm approval when the outline of the treaty was known,
1 From "Clancarty, Nov. 12, 1815": Lond. MSS. He had to give the Prussians the right to govern the town of Luxemburg, but was glad to escape at such a cost.
in accordance with their promise to Stewart. "Your Lordship is fully aware that under your instructions," Bathurst said, "you would have been authorised to consent to terms short of those which you have obtained. It will be highly satisfactory to His Royal Highness if the concessions which have been made to the representations of the Duc de Richelieu shall have the effect of giving strength to H.C. Majesty's present administration."
Liverpool's opinion was shewn by the fact that he did not think it worth while to summon a Cabinet to ratify the final terms. "I am quite satisfied," he told Bathurst, "from all I hear that the treaty will satisfy the public in general, and that you will find it to be the opinion of most persons that the terms are as severe upon France as would in any way be consistent with maintaining Louis XVIII. upon the throne. With respect to those who think we ought not to have troubled ourselves about the internal situation of France, but have applied our exertions exclusively to the reduction of her power and the dismemberment of her territory, I have only to say that the policy of such a course of proceeding would have been at least doubtful, even if it had been open to us, but it would have been totally inconsistent with all the treaties, declarations, and manifestos which were formulated at the commencement of the contest, and which, in fact, have received the sanction of Parliament." The remnant of the Cabinet who were in town--Bathurst, Sidmouth, Vansittart, and Pole--agreed, though their approval was couched in distinctly a low key, since the financial settlement would probably add to, rather than reduce, the burden on the country. 1
Thus by the first week of October the main lines of the treaty had been settled; but the negotiations lasted six weeks longer, and the French were subjected to the humiliation of witnessing the Battle of Leipzig celebrated at Paris. There was still much wearisome work to be done on the Conventions, especially that settling the reparation claims, of which Gentz made half a dozen drafts. Whereas in 1814 only
1 From Bathurst, Oct. 4, 1815: F.O. Continent, 20. "Liverpool to Bathurst, Oct. 12, 1815"; "Bathurst to Liverpool, Oct. 19. 1815": Bathurst, 388, 390.
private interests had been considered, the principle of compensation was now extended to certain Government claims. The smaller Powers also needed time. By the magnanimous decision of the Four all were given some share of the indemnity--even the Portuguese, to Liverpool's great indignation. There were also numerous details concerning the army of occupation to be arranged. Moreover, the Allies had still some German questions to settle, which had finally to be referred to a Commission at Frankfort. The question of Swiss neutrality had also to be settled, as well as the fate of the Ionian Isles, as has already been narrated. 1
The treaty with France was thus not signed until November 20, 1815. On the same day the Four signed another treaty which Castlereagh regarded as of even greater importance--a renewal in a new form of the treaty of Alliance, whose significance is discussed in the following section.
1 For the financial settlement, see A. Nicolle Comment la France a payé après Waterloo ( 1929), and my Castlereagh, 1815-1822, 82.
3. FROM GUARANTEE TO CONFERENCE
THROUGHOUT all the discussions as to the best means to secure the peace of Europe Castlereagh had kept steadily in view a project which to him was of more importance than all the other expedients which had been so hotly debated by his Cabinet and his Allies. Territorial cessions he had regarded as likely to do more good than harm, and the device of temporary occupation was only for the immediate future. What was needed was a permanent Alliance of the Great Powers against any renewal of the danger which a Bonaparte on the throne of France inevitably brought upon Europe. From an early date, therefore, he had contemplated a renewal of the Treaty of Chaumont in a more extended form than had been given to it by the Treaty of March 25, 1815, which was only to meet the particular emergency of the moment. "If we make an European invasion," he wrote before the news of Bonaparte's surrender reached him, "the inevitable and immediate consequence of Bonaparte's succession, or that of any of his race, to power in France, I am confident, after the experience they have had of his impotence against such a confederacy and their own sufferings, that there is not a class in France, not excepting even the army, that will venture to adhere to him at the hazard of being again overrun by the armies of Europe, with the certainty of being dismembered and loaded with contributions." 1
When Bonaparte was in St. Helena danger from him might seem at an end, yet his example and family, and, above all, the military class which he had created, still remained. It was problematical whether Louis could succeed better a second time in leading France back to peaceful habits. The army,
1 To "Liverpool, July 17. 1815": B.D.349.
which had welcomed Napoleon and driven out Louis, might assert itself once more and win the acquiescence, if not the active support, of the nation. In his final propositions to his Cabinet, therefore, sent by Stewart, he had placed in the forefront of the principles on which he based the future security of Europe, as the most important of all, the renewal of the Alliance: "In deciding upon any arrangement, the first object to attend to is that it shall preserve unimpaired the Alliance to which Europe already owes its deliverance, and on the permanence of which union it ought in wisdom to rely above every other measure of security for its future peace and preservation." 1
For the moment this idea was confined to the immediate danger threatening from France, and used to combat the proposals of spoliation and penalty which were being advocated at the time; but there was also another thought in Castlereagh's mind, imperfectly understood and never explicitly avowed at this time. It was born out of the experience of the last three years when he had seen Europe develop a unity and persistence of purpose, such as it had never before possessed. It is true that the return of Napoleon had made danger from France supersede for the moment those other dangers which he had felt so strongly at Vienna. But the need for the union of the Great Powers was necessary, not only to guard against that danger, but also for the general interests of Europe. Castlereagh had seen the idea of diplomacy by conference, which he took with him in his first journey to the Continent, justified again and again in the course of the last two years. The treaty of Alliance, therefore, might be the means of making permanent a system which had been tested by experience, and thus securing peace by discussion and agreement rather than by the threat of armed force. This device had now become in his mind a far better instrument than Pitt's idea of guarantee, which he had advocated at Vienna.
Some such scheme must have been running in his head throughout the Paris Conference, though we have no record
1 Principles upon which the proposed negotiations with France ought to be considered": W.S.D. xi. 139.
of his thoughts until the moment for action came. Only one other at Paris was also thinking of a system of universal peace during these crowded days, and that in a very different manner, though the germ of the idea had come indirectly from Castlereagh himself. The Tsar was now in the high tide of his mysticism. He had been in constant communication with pietist devotees of an exalted and at the same time essentially practical Christianity, since they believed that it should influence all actions and not be kept separate from mundane affairs. The origins of his new faith go back to 1812 or beyond, and the Quakers of England had certainly helped to confirm it. It was only since he had left Vienna, however, that it had overcome completely his passionate and essentially human disposition. Mme. de Krudener, probably one of the least sincere of the votaries, had at last gained access to him, and for a short period had great influence on his mind. The origin of the Holy Alliance, however, so the Tsar said, was to be found in the scheme of guarantee which Castlereagh had proposed at Vienna, and which, it will be remembered, had deeply moved him. 1 But translated into the terms of the sect, it had assumed a shape as different from Castlereagh's conceptions as it is possible to imagine. Peace was to be found in a society on which all sovereigns and their peoples were to act as true Christians. The mere enunciation of so sublime a truth was sufficient in the Tsar's opinion to secure its enforcement. The sovereigns themselves, divinely appointed to lead their subjects to the true faith, must solemnly declare their acceptance in the name of all, and all would then be bound by an unbreakable bond.
The Emperor of Austria did not dare refuse the Tsar when offered so sacred a treaty by a man whom he thought mad, but better occupied with schemes of peace and goodwill than with more dangerous things. He accordingly signed, after altering only a few phrases in the document which seemed especially ridiculous or blasphemous, and the King of Prussia, whose simple nature was more easily satisfied, of course immediately followed suit. Meanwhile the Tsar had himself approached Castlereagh, who was therefore prepared when Metternich
1 See above, Chapter VII, Section 4, p. 429.
in great secrecy asked his advice. In the highly irreverent account which Castlereagh forwarded home he related how the two examined unsuccessfully every expedient to stop "this piece of sublime mysticism and nonsense." For Britain the situation was especially awkward, since the British sovereign had no power to sign an international act; but Castlereagh had preferred that the project should assume the character of a personal one between sovereigns, foreseeing the reception it would be likely to receive from his Cabinet, "since Wilber. force is not yet in possession of the Great Seal." It was, as he confessed, "a scrape"; yet he hoped the Tsar might be humoured since his mind was not "completely sound," and that the Prince Regent might be allowed to accede in a personal way.
Since the Tsar had expressed his delight that his treaty had been drawn up in the most irreligious capital of Europe, there can be no doubt that he was anxious for the Prince Regent's signature to this affirmation of Christian doctrine. But Liverpool received the news in a most petulant manner, hinting that the Tsar ought to have been prevented from indulging himself so far. The forms of the British Constitution made it quite impossible for the monarch to sign a treaty even of this benevolent character, and all that the Prince Regent was allowed to do was to send a personal letter expressing his entire agreement with the sentiments of the treaty--and fortunately the Tsar found this support as good as an actual accession to the treaty itself. 1
All this must have been very disconcerting to Castlereagh, for at the very moment he was engaged in debating with the
1 To "Liverpool, Sept. 28, 1815": from "Liverpool, Oct. 3, 1815": W.S.D. xi. 175, 183. To "A'Court. March 26, 1816": F.O. Sicily. 74. "Uchtritz to Einsiedel, Oct. 1, 3, 1815": Dresden St. A. In the Londonderry Papers is a draft of the treaty, apparently the first draft shewn Castlereagh by Metternich, which contains one or two striking phrases subsequently deleted presumably by Austrian influence. Thus it would have definitely associated Ies sujets of the contracting parties as well as the sovereigns in the promise to regard one another as brothers united in an indissoluble fraternity; and at the end of the clause added: "Il en sera de même des armées respectives qui ne s'envisageront pareillemeat que comme faisant parties de la même armée, appelée à protéger la paix et la justice." These are, no doubt, the alterations which Metternich claimed that he forced the Tsar to accept ( Metternich, Mémoires, i. 211).
Other details of drafting are given by Werner Näf. Zur Geschichte der Heiligen Allianz ( 1928), but he has not read the documents in W.S.D. Tsar the form of the more practical treaty of Alliance which he had himself suggested. The Tsar was not, however, so engrossed in the spiritual as to neglect the temporal Alliance. He had been impressed with the project suggested in Castlereagh's memorandum, and it was he who in this matter also first put forward a draft shortly before he left Paris. As might be expected, Castlereagh hardly found that the Tsar's project satisfied his own ideas on the subject. It was too vague as to method and action, and too explicit in its refer. ences to keeping Louis and the Charte alive to suit a British Minister.
He accordingly submitted a draft of his own, and this, with a few verbal alterations, became the treaty subsequently signed. It was perhaps natural that he should say nothing to the Cabinet about it until time had been given for the effects of the Tsar's Alliance to disappear. At any rate, they accepted it with only one criticism. Liverpool, since by now most of his colleagues had departed to their usual autumn visits, did not even summon a Cabinet. He sent it from Walmer Castle to Bathurst, who, with Pole, Sidmouth, and Vansittart, examined and approved it, with the exception of a reference to the "legitimate sovereign." They couched their approval in a low key, however, and hardly appeared to regard it as Castlereagh did as of more importance in restraining France than the treaty she herself was to sign. "It is the fear of our union that will keep France down," he told them, "and the knowledge that the Duke of Wellington commands only the advance guard of the force against which they will have to contend, if they again involve themselves in war." 1
The first five articles of the treaty are almost exclusively concerned with this idea. The Four Powers bound themselves to act against France, if necessary with the whole of their forces in case she attacked the new frontiers or allowed Napoleon or any of his family to return to the throne. If a
1 To "Liverpool, Oct. 15, 1815": B.D.386. From "Liverpool. Oct. 20, 1815". "Sidmouth to Bathurst, Oct. 15. 1815": W.S.D. xi. 203, 204. "Bathurst to Liverpool, Oct. 19, 1815": Bashurst, 390. Liverpool: "In substance meets all our ideas"; Sidmouth: "Upon the whole, satisfactory"; Bathurst, after meeting Sidmouth, Vansittart, and Pole: "You are at liberty to give [our] approbation."
revolution occurred in France, the Four Powers were to decide in conjunction with the King what action was to be taken. 1
It was on the sixth article that Castlereagh introduced the idea of recurring conferences of the Great Powers on all matters of European concern. It is significant that he does not draw any attention to this device in the long dispatch which he sent to Liverpool, nor is there any comment by the Cabinet upon it. Yet it cannot be doubted that Castlereagh was fully alive to the importance of his suggestion, for there was a deliberate alteration of the Tsar's words. It was, however, hardly a suitable time to descant on anything else but what was after all the main object of the treaty--the Alliance against France. For the moment this was the bond that united the Powers and won the support of the British Cabinet to so close an association with Europe. Castlereagh had secured all that he wanted in this respect. The future would shew whether he could transform it into a permanent machine for ensuring European peace. He was content, therefore, to establish the idea of recurring conferences amongst the Four Powers, and he refused to complicate matters by accepting the proposal of the Tsar that the King of France should be a party to the treaty meant mainly to safeguard Europe against the country over which he ruled.
At the same time he refused to recur to the proposal of a general guarantee of all the frontiers of Europe, such as he had himself advocated at Vienna. The new boundaries were protected against French attack by the four Great Powers. That must suffice for the moment. Peace was more likely to be obtained by the new system of diplomacy to which, as was to be shewn in succeeding years, Castlereagh attached the highest possible importance. 2
1 For an extended analysis and commentary on the treaty, see my Foreign Policy of Castlereagh, 1815-1822, 54-55.
2 Count Hardenberg stated that the Russian plenipotentiary proposed that the King of France should be a party to the treaty (to the "Prince Regent, Nov. 8, 1815": Hanover St. A.) and Gentz ( Dépêches inédites, 198-99) that Castlereagh refused to insert the general guarantee in the treaty.
4. CASTLEREAGH AND RECONSTRUCTION
CASTLEREAGH'S work during the period of reconstruction has always been better appreciated than that of the period of the Alliance. It was better known, and foreign historians like Capefigue and Thiers ascertained some part of the truth. Castlereagh shared, of course, in the general reproach which was directed against the men who made the Treaty of Vienna, when the national movements of the second half of the nineteenth century overthrew their work. But the strength of his personality and the success of his policy were to some extent recognised. Only in Britain did the malicious criticisms of the Whigs and Canningites refuse him even a moderate amount of diplomatic skill and control over the great decisions of the time.
Recent researches have reversed this judgment in Britain, and still more effect has been produced by the Great War and the peace which followed it. There is now a standard of comparison, and the work of the autocrats and aristocrats in 1814-15 can be placed alongside that of the leaders of the democracies in 1919. It is probable that the facile criticisms of the reconstruction of 1814-15 will altogether disappear from the text-books and be replaced by others which take into more account the circumstances of the period and the occasion.
At any rate, the old assumption that Castlereagh was an irresolute and mediocre man, who allowed himself to be manœuvred by the subtler Talleyrand and Metternich, must disappear for ever in the light of recent research. The legend, which was never believed in France, was almost entirely due to the attacks of the Whigs and Canningites, who never attempted to ascertain the truth. For nothing could be plainer than that, throughout the period of reconstruction,
Castlereagh had not only a mind but a plan of his own, and if anything, criticism is needed because he too often took a lead and was too anxious to carry through his own schemes. From the moment of his entry into office he had before him the new Europe which Pitt had planned, and every step that he took was directed towards bringing it into existence. Much of his success was due, of course, to forces over which he had no control. But often he skilfully directed affairs into channels which led to the results so long desired. Many parts of the European reconstruction were more his work than that of any other statesman of the time.
It was the resources of his country, so freely expended at the critical moment, which gave him the opportunity to carry out his programme. But money alone would not have achieved so much had it not been controlled by a man who knew what he wanted. He had more sustained energy than any other of those who directed the affairs of a Great Power during the period. The Tsar's activity was liable to interruption by impulse, Metternich's by pleasure seeking, Hardenberg's by infirm health. Castlereagh's exertions never relaxed. Ceaseless vigilance, unremitting hard work, unfailing patience, undaunted courage, gave him the position to which he attained in 1814.
Such qualities often defeat their own ends in diplomacy, as well-worn aphorisms attest. Perhaps it is true of Castlereagh that, during the early part of the Congress of Vienna, he shewed too much zeal for a cause which was not really his. But generally he had the gift of getting others to adopt his point of view without intimidating or wearying them. Though no foreigner felt that he had penetrated his reserve, yet the mask was never regarded as assumed to conceal his intentions, but only his emotions. He was nearly always singularly frank with those with whom he had to do business. The prescription which he took with him to the Continent of open and formal discussion of the most delicate problems he was ready to apply on almost every occasion. The secret treaty was an exception produced by an unforeseen emergency. Castlereagh was always at his best when he placed all his cards on the table before his colleagues as a body. By the end of the period it was recognised that he was the natural leader of the European council, as the negotiations at Paris in the autumn of 1815 clearly shewed. He had reached this position because the other Ministers had learnt to trust him and rely on his word in a manner which they could not apply to one another. When it is remembered that he was almost without experience of European society, never spoke French with perfect ease or with a good accent, and had a wife whose too obvious desire to help him repelled where it was meant to attract, the triumph of his personality was a remarkable one.
His was essentially a victory for character. In imagination Alexander and Metternich, in subtlety Talleyrand, in experience Hardenberg, excelled him. Their minds certainly moved as fast, perhaps faster, than his. He won his position by the patient consideration and goodwill which he always shewed even when he differed from them. They could not help but be impressed also by the courage and firmness with which he took the responsibility for great decisions, never hedging when the crisis came or riding off on the necessity of awaiting instructions. He was fortunate, of course, in the loyalty of his colleagues at home. How important it was, and how soon such prestige could be undermined, was seen during the crisis at Vienna by the effect of even a few whispers that he had lost their confidence.
Above all, Castlereagh had the great gift of obtaining what he wanted in such a manner that others came to want it also. He had exactly the same ideal which Lady Gwendolen Cecil attributes to her father: "His own conception of a perfect diplomacy was always one whose victories come without observation." 1 At any rate, Castlereagh was very successful at persuading others that his plans were the same as theirs, or at the worst that they had gained the major part in the compromises which he was so expert in framing. It is true that he had been able to assume the position of the mediator of Europe, and that in the great controversies which arose he
1 Life of Robert, Marquis of Salisbury, ii. 232. Since Lord Salisbury was the first British critic to appreciate Castlereagh's qualities at anything like their proper value, it may not be fanciful to suppose that then was some conscious imitation.
was not apparently fighting for exclusively British interests. But even in matters where those interests were paramount he succeeded in getting nearly all that he desired without incurring the resentment of others.
His success in this respect was largely due to his moderation and sense of proportion. He was always ready to give way on unessentials. Once the major point had been attained, he was very adept at making such concessions as completely satisfied his opponents. His perfect manners and handsome presence helped him to attain to this indispensable quality of the first-rate diplomatist.
He preferred to work in private, and avoided as far as possible appeals to Parliament and public opinion. In the forum a foreign Minister must always exaggerate his success and appear to have done better than his rivals. It is one of the terrible weaknesses of democratic control of foreign policy, and one of the main reasons why many of the best and most peace-loving Ministers have preferred to work in secret. Castlereagh obviously hated the kind of speech which it was necessary to make to win the approval of his countrymen. When he appealed to their patriotism, it was on duty and sacrifice that he dwelt rather than on pride or glory. He could defend a course of action by solid argument, but was quite incapable of appealing to the imagination or emotions of his audience. Indeed, he was inhibited by his character from such appeals, which undoubtedly seemed to him unworthy of the race. His Irish qualities he reserved for the family circle. In public affairs he disdained everything but matters of fact. Above all, he refused to flatter the national esteem. What speeches Canning would have made had he been in Castlereagh's place in 1814 and 1815! How he would have made his countrymen glow with enthusiasm at his unexampled position in the affairs of Europe! But Castlereagh probably thought that the British were sufficiently pleased with their importance, and he must have known how easily the place which he held in the councils of Europe could be made an object of jealousy and suspicion and lose half its value for the sake of a few moments of personal triumph.
He was not the man, therefore, to associate his countrymen with his policy, and he never tried to do so. He did not treat them with the same frankness that he treated foreign statesmen. Even his Cabinet accepted large portions of his policy rather because they trusted him than because they believed in it. Everything that he could conceal from Parliament he kept secret. His belief in himself and his distrust of his compatriots extended also to his own subordinates. Even Cooke, Clancarty, and his brother, who had more of his confidence than the others, were often left outside the inner processes of his mind. He preferred to do as much himself as one man possibly could. At Paris and Vienna he kept the threads of all the important negotiations in his own hands. His energy and mastery of detail never failed him under the inevitable mass of work, and he was doubtless right in thinking that he could do it much better than anyone else. But one result was that even those closest to him imperfectly appreciated the objects at which he was aiming, and were thus incapable of carrying them out when left to themselves. This great defect was one of the main reasons why his most important and most original plans were completely lost after his death. Unlike his master Pitt, he could leave behind him neither legacy nor disciples.
This secretiveness on one or two occasions became something which deserves a harsher word. Castlereagh deliberately misled Parliament as to the part which he had played in the Saxon and Neapolitan questions. The papers laid before the House were meant to deceive them as to the processes by which the final result had been achieved. Similarly, his public policy towards the second restoration of the Bourbons was assumed in order to make his real policy possible. The excuse that these problems were terribly difficult ones, depending on a number of factors which it was impossible to gauge accurately, hardly applies to explanations after the event. The concealment, which was known to the other leaders of the Alliance, must have led them to believe that Castlereagh was prepared to deceive his own countrymen deliberately when he could not win support for his policy in any other way. He would have been on far firmer ground had he revealed the motives which actuated him, which were quite defensible, and relied on the success of his plans to defeat the criticisms of the Opposition. No wonder that the British people never understood the principles on which the reconstruction was based! He never fully took them into his confidence. Those who admire his honesty of purpose and diplomatic skill must regret this blot on his character which no casuistry can palliate.
But within the limits of the Council Chamber he was a great diplomatist, and the objects which he sought were so original and so completely founded on a broad conception of policy, that he is fully entitled to the much abused name of statesman. He held to his course with a rare tenacity, and though often compelled to twist and turn by the startling changes in fortune which he witnessed, he always returned to the same broad principles which he had inherited from Pitt. The final result was due to his faithfulness as well as to Pitt's foresight, though of course much of it was in the nature of things and beyond their control. That they aimed at what was possible was characteristic of both.
Castlereagh's greatest period was perhaps in the early months of 1814. He obviously lacked experience, and he failed in his plan to settle the reconstruction of Europe, while Napoleon was still on the throne of France. But it is hardly too much to say that without his energy, courage, and wisdom the coalition could never have entered Paris in triumph. At the same time he laid the foundations of the Alliance and made secure the most important of all British interests--Belgium. These great achievements were carried out at the headquarters of an army in which there were no British troops and in conjunction with sovereigns and statesmen who, when Castlereagh joined them, were almost as hostile to one another as to the enemy. The restoration of the Bourbons was also very much in the interests of Britain --and perhaps of France as well, if all the circumstances be taken into account. The skill and coolness with which Castlereagh handled these difficult problems has won the admiration of all who have studied them closely, whatever judgment they may have had of the policies themselves.
Napoleon himself, though imperfectly informed, recognised that it was Castlereagh who put the final touches to his downfall--one reason no doubt why he singled him out for special condemnation and abuse in the legends which he gave to the world at St. Helena.
Both Pitt and Castlereagh were more interested in constructing the new Europe than in completing the ascendancy of the British Empire in the rest of the world. Their instinct told them that a monopoly of colonial power was unwise. Thus in 1805 Pitt had been prepared to give back all the colonial conquests. Castlereagh had no need to go so far, nor would he have been allowed to do so. The strategic supremacy of Britain in every sea was carefully guarded. But other colonial territories were nearly all surrendered. British Guiana and Tobago were the only exceptions, for at the time the Cape was not appreciated at its proper value and only retained for strategic reasons. The surrender of the Dutch possessions in the East, and the rest of the West Indian Islands to Holland and France, was deliberately adopted not only to obtain the right kind of Europe, but also to avoid the reproach of aiming at colonial monopoly. It would have been easy to take the opposite line, but who can doubt that Castlereagh did the wise as well as the right thing in refusing so obvious a temptation?
The maritime rights of Britain he refused to compromise. British arrogance was there at its highest, for in declining even to discuss them, she claimed the right to dictate sea law to the rest of the world. Castlereagh, like all his countrymen, was quite unconscious of the assumptions underlying this attitude, and could never understand the feelings which it naturally provoked in other peoples. Fortunately for Britain it was a claim which was soon forgotten once peace had come, a weapon so powerful that it could only be used with effect in a world-wide war. Since by 1812 neutrality was an impossible position for any European Power, only the Ottoman Empire endeavouring to maintain it, all attempts to raise the question were purely academic and easily put on one side. The struggle that was going on with the young Republic on the other side of the Atlantic seemed so remote to Europe immersed in its own crisis, that there was never any danger that they would seriously press for influence on it. The Tsar's suggestions were also here easily refused. Sea power and the American struggle were domestic questions in which Europe had no concern.
In financial matters Castlereagh shewed himself a true aristocrat. He never, in fact, understood them, although he had to devote much of his time in the House of Commons to endeavouring to explain them. In his diplomacy he always subordinated British financial interests to political advantage. He was dealing with countries so much poorer than his own that he was always ready to make sacrifices for them. Undoubtedly, he could have saved some money had he adopted a harsher view. But he acquired for his country influence and prestige, and perhaps even rarer advantages, worth far more than what he lost in hard cash. He extended the same generosity to the enemy as well as to the Allies, and the moderation with which France was treated made it possible for her to pay her just debts with remarkable ease. Britain was so much more advanced in industrial wealth that these sacrifices were in the end borne easily enough. But at the time her national debt was a source of much anxiety, and the financing of the Continent was only accomplished with great difficulty. Many, including Napoleon, thought that in 1814 she had reached the limit of her resources. When this is remembered, the breadth of view which Castlereagh first, but also the Cabinet and the whole nation, shewed at this time is a remarkable one. It obtained little gratitude from those it most benefited, but it prevented the creation of other feelings, which might have been dangerous to Britain in later days. In avoiding the rôle of the creditor of the new Europe and in taking the financial burden of the Alliance almost entirely on herself, Britain was probably acting by instinct more wisely than she realised.
In commercial, as distinct from financial matters, Castlereagh shewed himself well in advance of his contemporaries. He was, in fact, already aware that the mercantile age was over, and that for his own country at any rate the freer that trade was made the better. He was against the monopoly of the East India Company, and he seems even so early to have been ready to allow free trade with the British Empire. His dispatches on the colonial monopoly of Spain shew that he had gone further in this matter than most of his countrymen. 1 Yet he was reluctant to bring too much pressure to bear on continental Allies to admit British goods. He saw, for example, that the Treaty of 1810, imposed on Portugal at the moment of her extreme weakness, could not be enforced in its entirety when the danger had passed. Though during the war he pressed his Allies to open their ports freely to British trade, so that the exchanges could be maintained, he made no attempt to impose commercial restrictions upon them at the peace. Nor was the territorial settlement in any way distorted so as to give free entry to British goods, a course which Napoleon thought Britain was foolish not to have adopted. This moderation the creator of the Continental System thought as curious as the refusal to keep the French and Dutch colonies. But Castlereagh realised, as Napoleon never did, that the best commercial asset was goodwill, and while he was never apparently very much interested in this aspect of British policy, so far as he did take it into account his attitude was entirely sound.
Castlereagh's main interest, like that of his master, was in the reconstruction of Europe in such a manner as to preserve the peace of the world. For that purpose he relied on the balance of power. The principle has been attached to the work of the Congress of Vienna ever since, but it was Castlereagh more than any other statesman who consciously applied it. The others had necessarily to subordinate it to their own special claims in Europe. Each sought the hegemony of a special area--the Tsar in Poland, Hardenberg in north-east Germany, Metternich in southern Germany and Italy. Only Castlereagh could take a general view of the whole. For him the balance of power meant the reconstruction of Central Europe, which had all but disappeared under French pressure and again seemed threatened by the Russian advance. The reconstruction of Prussia and Austria as Great Powers was but a part of the whole scheme. They were to be brought
1 See above, p. 70.
close together so as to present a united front to east and west. So long as this was done, Castlereagh cared little for the methods by which it was brought about. The sacrifice of Saxony seemed the obvious way, and he therefore warmly advocated it. But it was the creation of a strong centre at which he was aiming, and he was obviously disappointed that the two German Powers failed to make a more united Germany, with federal institutions and a federal army. It was not, however, any recognition of the principle of nationality which led him to this view, but rather the necessity of separating France and Russia by as strong and compact a mass of power as possible.
The same motive dictated his attitude towards Italy--that part of his policy which lends itself most easily to criticism. Had the Whigs concentrated on the essential points in it, instead of wasting their time in foolish championship of the rights of outworn and tyrannous republican oligarchies like Genoa and Venice, they might perhaps have done some good. In handing over Italy to Austrian influence Castlereagh had two motives: he wished to draw her attention to a sphere where she would not be in rivalry with Prussia, and he wished to protect Italy from French aggression. That these were solid reasons cannot be disputed. Nor was it possible at that date for the Italian states to protect themselves or create a united Italy strong enough to resist pressure from outside. Only Piedmont shewed promise of being able to stand by itself, and it owed its increase of territory, which eventually enabled it to become the rival of Austria in Italy, to Castlereagh more than to any other man. Had Murat shewn more sincerity and skill he might perhaps have won a similar position in the south. But circumstances were against such a solution, and however Castlereagh's methods may be condemned, the final result was almost inevitable. Austria had therefore to be the guardian of the Mediterranean against France, and to support her there remained a part of British policy until Italy could take over the task herself.
The other buttresses which Castlereagh tried to erect in Europe were well devised. The union of the Netherlands was indeed short-lived, but it kept Antwerp and Belgium out of French hands, and paved the way for the treaty which kept it safe till 1914. As Napoleon often insisted, it was only Britain's persistence which forced Europe to fight until the task was accomplished. But for Castlereagh France would undoubtedly have been given her 'natural frontiers.' The advance of Prussia to the Rhine was essential to the creation of a strong and united Germany such as Castlereagh always desired, and became the keystone of European security. It had in it dangers of its own, but it was impossible to guard against these in 1814-15. That the line established from the Scheldt to the Alps was the same, with a few insignificant exceptions as that which has now been recognised on both sides of the frontier as a just one and specially guaranteed by Britain, is a testimony to the judgment of the man who did more than any other to place it on the map. The fortresses which guarded it were not only designed by Britain, but in a sense placed under the special protection of Europe, and served their purpose until out of date. The union of Norway and Sweden Castlereagh had only accepted perforce, but he justified it on sound principles, and the separation of Scandinavia from Germany, which he always advocated, was essential for the former's happiness and prosperity.
The eastern frontier of Germany was made against Castlereagh's wishes. He undoubtedly exaggerated the menace of Russia, whose rapid advance had disturbed him more than most of his contemporaries. In refusing to recognise the possibility of recreating an independent Poland, he was only acquiescing in a fact, however lamentable, which he had no power to change. Once that is admitted, he was justified in thinking that the Poles would be as well off under Prussia and Austria as under their most bitter enemies, the Russians. His suspicions that Alexander's policy of preserving their kingdom would not last was proved true by Alexander's successors, in spite of the attempts made at Vienna to guarantee the future. The problem of Poland was beyond the power of any British statesman to solve, and the criticisms which have been levelled at Castlereagh on this head are without foundation.
In general, the Europe which Castlereagh helped to create was one in which he might have confidence so far as frontiers were concerned. The balance of power had clearly been reconstituted. The Four Great Powers were none of them a menace to the others. The smaller Powers had been made for the most part into units which would gravitate round a centre and give cohesion to the whole. For refusing to recreate the mass of tiny states, however venerable, for which Mackintosh pleaded, the statesmen of Vienna deserved praise. It was also impossible for them to recognise national forces which, except in Poland, were unconscious of their existence. No other policy but that of the balance of power was possible, and in working it out under such difficult circumstances with such success Castlereagh made the best of the opportunity that presented itself. He would have been the first to admit that it was often distorted by claims and privileges, which could not be ignored. But in the main he had accomplished all that he had set out to do.
Less satisfactory was his attitude towards the internal problems of the newly constituted states. He had no belief in the capacity of most Europeans to govern themselves, and on most occasions he was on the side of the autocrats rather than of their subjects. There were, however, exceptions. Both in 1814 and 1815 he perceived that France must have some kind of constitution under her restored king, and his advice to Louis in 1815 was a model of constitutional principle. The same conception was applied to the new kingdom of the Netherlands and to Switzerland. In all these cases Castlereagh saw that the way to avoid the extreme of democracy was by setting up moderate institutions which associated some portion of the citizens with the responsibility for rule. There are some signs that he would have been ready to support similar institutions in the south of Europe, if they could have been established there. But when he had to choose between undiluted autocracy or such monstrosities as the Spanish constitution, he took the side of the dynasts without hesitation. It may be true that it was the only safe alternative, but if Castlereagh had endeavoured to create suitable constitutions in Spain, Naples, and Piedmont, as he did in France, the whole history of Democracy in the Mediterranean regions might have been different.
Castlereagh was, however, always ready to institute new devices to protect subjects of different nationality from their rulers. He saw from the first that some such measures were necessary to conciliate the Belgians, and he was the foremost advocate of their application to the Poles. In the same way he warmly welcomed the concessions which Bernadotte made to his Norwegian subjects. The Genoese also had their privileges safeguarded. These measures were in part due to the pressure of British public opinion, but such a policy was in harmony with Castlereagh's ideas of a balanced constitution, and he advocated them from conviction as well as from necessity. That he could not devise machinery to make such concessions a reality was inevitable, since it took a hundred years to bring it into existence. But in accepting such restraints by treaty for themselves and not merely imposing them on some of the new states which they created, the autocrats went further than any statesman of a Great Power has since had the courage to go.
All these matters were obviously in Castlereagh's mind associated with the greater problem of ensuring the peace of Europe. There he made his greatest and most original contribution to international politics. The idea of a general guarantee of the new European frontiers came from Russia originally, and Castlereagh was obviously never quite happy about it. His repeated assertions that since Britain took guarantees seriously she could not give them except where she had special interests, shew that the device was not one that he would have invented himself. Nevertheless, he advocated it at Vienna, partly to prevent other combinations, partly for the sake of the safety of the Ottoman dominions. But once that elaborate plan had failed, Castlereagh ceased to rely upon the idea of guarantee for the maintenance of the peace of Europe. He substituted his own specific of conference amongst the statesmen of the Great Powers. That he more clearly than any other man of his age saw the value of this new device there is abundant evidence. He had learnt the lesson of the closing years of the war as no other had done. No one else had come to a similar conclusion until Castlereagh advocated the idea at the second peace of Paris, and even then he failed to make it properly intelligible either to the other statesmen or to his own Cabinet. It was meant for a Europe in which he himself should take the lead, and he spent much of the rest of his life in a vain endeavour to make it work.
He thought, of course, only of a static Europe. Though the world had changed so much during his lifetime, he, like nearly all his contemporaries, was preoccupied with preserving the new order as fixed and irrevocable. Castlereagh did not, indeed, like Liverpool, wish to go back to the eighteenth century. Legitimacy as a principle made no appeal to him; it was merely an expedient. He recognised fully that the post-war world was different to that in which he had grown up. But there he stopped--or nearly so. For the device of diplomacy by conference is in some sort a recognition that change must come. At any rate, machinery was provided by which difficulties could be met. But Castlereagh was a true Conservative in making the preservation of the existing order the main object of his policy.
Such an outlook was a natural one after twenty years of warfare. It was no wonder that men in Castlereagh's position dreaded fresh upheavals after the convulsions of the last few years. Their hopes of lasting peace were not, however, high. During the Congress of Vienna Liverpool consoled himself with the thought that future wars would at least be on the eighteenth-century model and free from the passions of the Revolution. 1 Castlereagh wrote from Paris in 1815: "I should wish to fix the attention of the Cabinet upon the system which they may consider the best calculated to preserve the peace of Europe and to put down the revolutionary spirit during the next seven years. I have always been taught to believe that an interval of this nature was not only essential to our finances, but that with the aid of such a breathing time there is hardly any effort to which we should not be competent." 2 Perhaps it was because he had such modest expectations that the peace which he organised lasted for so long.
1 See above, p. 359.
2 To Liverpool, Aug. 24, 1815: F.O. Continent, 24.
That it did so is the greatest testimony to the wisdom of the settlement of 1814-15. Judged in the light of the time and the circumstance, it was a great piece of constructive statesmanship. To the overthrow of Britain's deadliest foe, and the making of the new Europe in such a manner that Britain obtained the longest interval of peace she had ever enjoyed, Castlereagh contributed more than any other statesman of his time. Such achievements should be sufficient to place him for ever amongst the greatest foreign Ministers of his country.
[ Previous | Next ]