supposed, it would satisfy his Polish subjects and make them look
for nothing more, in the same proportion must their former
fellow subjects become discontented and impatient to re-assemble
under the same standard. That if, on the contrary, as I had the
strongest reason to know, the Poles regarded this qualified
restoration under Russia as only a temporary and intermediate
arrangement, and if the national spirit was thus aroused to all
those intrigues and exertions which were to advance them to
their national and never ceasing object — the ten millions of Poles,
whilst they did adhere to Russia, would, for all military purposes
tell with double force on the side of Russia, whilst the five million
belonging to Austria and Prussia now inert would become dis-
affected. It was obvious that such a state of things must not only
■ow distrust and jealousy between the three Powers, but destroy
in a double or triple ratio, their proportional strength as derived
THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA 199
from Polish acquisitions, whilst it must give birth to a political
fermentation which could only end in separation.
I further pressed the repugnance felt to the measure by his own
Russian subjects, and how arduous the attempt was on the part of
His Imperial Majesty, to undertake to conduct two such adverse
and rival interests within his Empire. That if his personal
ascendancy kept it alive during his reign, it would probably be
deliberately destroyed, or perish in the hands of a successor. I
ventured to assure His Imperial Majesty that a measure of this
partial and disquieting nature would be disapproved by all
Europe, and that it was odious and alarming in the extreme to
both his Allies : that if the King of Prussia, from personal
deference and regard, was apparently more acquiescent, His
Majesty's repugnance and that of his subjects was not the less
strong. That such was the universal sentiment, His Imperial
Majesty would find from all the Ministers present, and were the
general impression even founded in prejudice, and not in reason it
was in vain to hope that an attempt so repugnant to the prevailing
feeling of Europe could be productive of good.
I submitted that I had argued the question more as a Russian
than a British Minister, at least than as a British Minister having
any sinister view with respect to Russian interests ; that if I
wished to involve His Imperial Majesty in internal difficulties, to
embarrass his administration and to embroil him with his neigh-
bours, I should urge His Imperial Majesty to pursue the course he
had stated ; but that the object of my Government was to promote
quiet, and there was nothing they more desired than to preserve
their connection with Russia and to see His Imperial Majesty
enjoy the fruits of his most glorious labours
Castlereagh to Liverpool. (No. 4.)
Vienna, October 2nd, 18 14.
The day after my interview with the Emperor, Count Nesslerode
called on me, apparently to learn the impression made upon me by
my conversation with His Imperial Majesty. I expressed my
sense of the reception I had met with whilst I had to regret that
the views of our respective Governments were still so wide of
I thought it material to explain myself to Count Nesselrode upon
one view of the subject, which the nature of my discussion with
the Emperor did not enable me to touch upon, namely upon the
200 BRITISH DIPLOMACY, 1813-1815
possibility of His Imperial Majesty abandoning the political
but adhering to the territorial part of his plan. I told him that,
feeling as the British Government did upon the question of
Polish independence, it could not be expected that we should
consent to bear the odium of any disappointment the Nation
might experience, whilst Russia carried into effect her views of
aggrandizement against the declared sentiments of her Allies, and,
as I believe, equally against the general sense of Europe. That it
was not only dangerous but degrading to Austria and Prussia in the
eyes of their own subjects as well as of Europe, to deny them the
semblance of a military frontier, and it was no remedy for such a
menacing arrangement, to hold out to these Courts indemnifica-
tions elsewhere, to reconcile them to this undisguised state of
military dependence upon Russia.
That such a system originating in a previous unjustifiable pre-
tention on the part of Russia would acquire a character the more
obnoxious as being an extension of the principle of partitioning by
the three Powers of Europe, which had been sufficiently odious
when confined to Poland. That it would have the colour of an
attempt to revive the system we had all united to destroy, namely
one colossal military Power holding two other powerful States in a
species of dependence and subjection, and through them making
her influence felt in the remotest parts of Europe. That such an
attempt would, in the course of time, probably be in like manner
resisted and overthrown, but tha: its revival in any shape was
repugnant to the principles on which the Powers had acted, and
although it might not lead to immediate war, its remote effects
were not less certain, and its immediate consequences must be to
cast a shade over the councils of the Emperor as an object of
alarm instead of confidence.
I further pressed the embarrassments it must expose us to in
Congress especially the plenipotentiaries of those Powers who had
publicly to defend the system to which they gave their sanction :
That I .ooked with more pain to any difference of this nature,
wishing to find myself enabled to act in concert with the Allies
throughout, but that to do so, they must give me a system which
I cou.d defend.
Having effected my purpose of undeceiving Count Nesselrode, if
he supposed the concession of the political part of the plan would
reconcile my Government to the territorial, I left the question
here, without receiving from him any explanation. It was
impossible however he should have been insensible to the diffi-
culties I had placed before him.
THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA *oi
CXIII. [F. O. Cont. 7.]
Castlereagh to Liverpool. (No. 6.)
Vienna, October 9th, 18 14.
. . . I acquainted Your Lordship by my last courier, that I
feared no effectual resistance could be made to the views of Russia
in that quarter, and that the two neighbouring Powers were more
likely to seek their own aggrandisement in other directions, than
oppose themselves to the pretentions of their more powerful
I was not the less confirmed in this impression, from perceiving
that the extravagant tone of war which Austria had held, was
accompanied by an equal jealousy of Prussia on the side of Saxony,
and of France in Italy, which at once proved, that compromise and
not resistance was really intended, and further from knowing,
that Prussia, feeling she had no other support than Russia to
secure to her Saxony against the views both of Austria and France,
could not afford to risk that support, by too decisive an opposition
to the Emperor's designs with respect to Poland.
Under these circumstances I conceived, that the only chance of
doing good was to take up some ground of opposition short of war,
and to endeavour to bring Austria and Prussia to a compromise in
Germany, in order that they might unite against Russia upon the
The existing Congress appeared to me to furnish a suitable
expedient, as it enabled those Powers to represent to Russia,
without menacing her with war, that they could not make them-
selves, in the face of Europe, the instruments of their own humilia-
tion, by recommending that as just, wise and proper, against
which they had been so long engaged in remonstrances — that it
was one thing silently to submit, and another to originate a
measure of national danger.
With this view, I desired an audience of the King of Prussia. I
found His Majesty, as in England, the advocate of the Emperor of
Russia, although personally adverse to his measures. I repre-
sented that the evil might yet, with proper management, be
arrested without a contest. I pressed His Majesty not to abandon
the interests of his monarchy in despair, and begged that he
would oppose every obstacle, short of arms, to an arrangement
which left his provinces uncovered, and his State in obvious
dependence upon another Power.
I then opened myself unreservedly to Prince Metternich and
Prince Hardenberg, and endeavoured to make them feel the
dangers to which their disunion exposed both their monarchies.
202 BRITISH DIPLOMACY, 1813-1815
The latter explained himself very frankly, that whilst Saxony was
in doubt, and with it the possibility of Prussia being suitably
reconstructed it was impossible for him, more especially feeling as
his King did, to risk the favour of Russia, but that if Saxony was
assured to him by Austria and England, he could then unite with
Austria, to oppose such resistance as prudence might justify, to
I found Prince Metternich without any fixed plan. In des-
cending from his war language he appeared to me to fall into the
other extreme, and to think in fact only of compromise. I
represented the necessity of an understanding with Prussia, as the
only chance of present good, or possibly of future safety. Prince
Metternich, the following day, had an interview with Prince
Hardenberg, and professed his willingness to enter into his
views with respect to Saxony, provided an understanding could
thereby be established with respect to Poland and certain German
points of minor importance. 1 The parties profess a mutual
desire to understand each other, but there is a certain degree of
mutual distrust, and fear of Russia, which does not justify me in
speaking confidently of the result.
I endeavoured to derive some aid in this attempt from the appui
of France — but, unfortunately, the manner in which Prince
Talleyrand has conducted himself here, rather excited apprehen-
sion in both the Austrian and Prussian ministers, than inspired
them with any confidence in his views. Although adverse to the
designs of Russia in Poland, he betrayed not less hostility to theirs
in Germany and Italy, and both, perhaps not unnaturally, seem
equally to dread the appearance of a French force at present in
The question must then take its course amidst all the difficulties
that surround it. I shall do my best to give it a safe and creditable
direction. If I fail, I shall endeavour to separate the British
Government as far as possible from any share in its determination.
CXIV. [F. O. Cont. 7.]
Castlereagh to Liverpool. (No. 8.)
Vienna, October 9th, 1814.
I enclose a copy of a declaration which after much discussion
has been agreed to by the ministers of the eight Powers who signed
1 The fortress of Mayence which Austria wished Bavaria to have as compensa-
tion for cessions to herself, while Prussia wished to garrison it, was, however,
scarcely a point of minor importance.
THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA 203
the Peace of Paris. 1 The several inclosures which accompany it
will give your Lordship an idea of the various stages of discussion
with which we have at last arrived at this measure.
Prince Talleyrand's* official note of the 1st inst., having tran-
spired, it led to a meeting of 13 of the smaller German Powers who
applied *o Bavaria to join them, and to support France in resist-
ing what they called, the usurpation of the great Powers. This
gave a most unpleasant complexion to our discussions, and produc-
ed an impression, that the object of the French minister was to
sow dissension in Germany, and to put himself at the head of the
discontented States. Prince Tal'eyrand also urged, a little out of
time, a declaration against the admission of Murat's ministers ;
this the Austrian minister opposed as premature and unreasonable
and the discussion became warm. Your Lordship will perceive
that our first measures have not been without difficulty, and
certainly as yet our prospects are not from any quarter promising.
In proportion as the question was discussed, it was evident, that a j
Congress never could exist as a deliberative assembly, with a J
power of decision by plurality of voices — that Prince Talleyrand's!
proposition of a delegated authority to frame a plan was im-
practicable, as we should have had a question upon the selection
of the plenipotentiaries on the first instance, and that as the
business must take before Congress the form of a negotiation
rather than of a decision upon a question put, the only course that
could facilitate our formal proceedings was to give time for in-
formal discussion in the first instance. This principle, Prince
Talleyrand at last acceded to, and in announcing it to the other
plenipotentiaries, we have endeavoured to cloath it in language
of as little pretention as possible.
The confidential conferences will now go forward, but until the j
question of Poland is disposed of, little progress can be expected j
to be made.
CXV. [W. S D. IX. 323.]
CASTLEREAGH TO LIVERPOOL.
Vienna, October 9th, 18 14.
My public letter* will have put you au fait of the state of parties
1 Postponing the opening of the Congress. Talleyrand's protest prevented
the acceptance of the schemes of the " Four " for the regulation of the Con-
gress, but he did not succeed in obtaining a position at their side until January.
1 Talleyrand, for very good reasons, dropped his title of B£n6vente at this
time, and Castlereagh therefor* ceased to use it in his public dispatches.
ao4 BRITISH DIPLOMACY, 1813-1815
here. I wish I could send you a more satisfactory statement.
However unpromising, we must not despair of getting it into some
I had a long interview with Prince Hardenberg this morning. He
has made a communication of his views this day to Prince Metter-
nich, which, though in certain points exigeant, may lead to an
understanding and concert. The Austrian Minister will have
much to retrench.
I afterwards payed Prince Talleyrand a visit. I had a long
interview with him, in which I took the liberty of representing
to him without reserve the errors into which he appeared to me to
have fallen, since his arrival here, in conducting the views of his
Court, if they had been correctly understood by me at Paris, when
I was permitted to confer upon them with His Highness and the
King of France.
That I could not disguise from him that the general impression
resulting from his demeanour had been to excite distrust and
alarm with respect to the views of France ; and that the effect of
this had been to deprive him of his just and natural influence for
the purposes of moderating excessive pretensions, whilst it united
all to preserve the general system ; that instead of presenting
himself here as disposed to cavil, to traverse, and to create a
discontented party in Germany, he ought to have come to carry
his own avowed object (which I understand he had limited to
Naples), and to moderate excessive pretensions from whatever
quarter, but with a disposition to support the councils of the con-
federacy against anarchy and petty intrigue.
That it was not for the Bourbons, who had been restored by the
Allies to assume the tone of reprobating or throwing odium upon
the arrangements which had kept the confederacy together. That
it was impossible to suppose that, in conducting so great and
complicated a cause to a successful issue, concessions to interested
views were not at moments wise and requisite. That France
having been delivered by this combination, and the legitimate
family restored, both ought to regard the means which had been
applied to this end in the spirit of favour and indulgence, and not
endeavour to thwart it upon general reasoning, without any due
consideration of the circumstances of the moment.
That in estimating his means of usefully moderating the
arrangements in progress, it was a gratuitous sacrifice of influence
THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA 205
to be opposing at once the favourite objects of all the respective
Powers, instead of suffering the general sentiment to effect its
first object, of modifying as far as possible the extravagant pre-
tensions of Russia on the side of Poland ; in the event of succeed-
ing in which it would have been then open for him, without
complication and counteraction, to try either to moderate the
demands of Prussia upon Saxony, or to urge the union of all the
Powers in support of the Sicilian family. But that as His High-
ness had conducted it, he had sacrificed all useful influence, and
united all against himself.
I pressed upon his attention that, more especially with respect
to success on the Neapolitan point, conciliation was his duty.
That so far from wishing to bring it into early decision, and upon a
collateral point, his object should be (so long, at least, as the nature
of the proceeding did not involve any concession of principle in
favour of Murat) to keep it out of the way till the great Powers,
assured of their own objects, felt themselves at liberty to take up
such a question as this.
Prince Talleyrand received with perfect good humour my
remonstrances except so far as to justify his past intentions ;
but he did not combat my statement with respect to the future.
On the contrary, he indicated a disposition to take the questions in
the order I had stated, and seemed to admit that for any useful
purpose the resistance ought not to be pushed beyond what
certain of the Allied Powers could support.
I cannot answer for this explanation with the Prince de Talley-
rand being a protection against the revival of inconvenient and
fruitless controversy ; but I think it has given him more precise
notions of the mode in which he may render service, if he be so
disposed. The course His Highness adopted at the instant, and
the impression produced, left me no alternative but to uphold
decisively the authority of the Alliance, which had advanced us to
our present position. Whilst this conduct was tempered with
every endeavour to conciliate France, it may, I trust, induce
Prince Talleyrand to direct his exertions rather to modify our
course than to speculate either upon disuniting or overpowering
us, if such can have been his object, which I hardly believe to
have been the case.
I left him in a temper apparently to be of use ; but I have lived I
now long enough with my foreign colleagues not to rely very
implicitly upon any appearances.
ao6 BRITISH DIPLOMACY, 1813-1815
CXVI. [jr. O. Cont. 7.]
Castlereagh to Liverpool. (No. 9.)
Vienna, October 14th, 1814.
Since I last wrote, I received the enclosed communication from
Prince Hardenberg 1 As there seemed to be much indecision in
the Austrian councils, I considered that there ought to be the less
hestation on the part of the Prince Regent, in marking the decided
interest His Royal Highness takes in the effectual re-construction
of Prussia. I accordingly addressed to His Highness the enclosed
letters.* Prince Metternich's answer has not yet been received.
I also thought it desirable as the Emperor of Russia was daily
committing himself in conversation upon the question of Poland, to
ask an audience, in which I might impress His Imperial Majesty's
mind with the difficulties of the course he was pursuing, both
under his Treaties, and upon principles of general policy.
Having solicited an audience, His Imperial Majesty was so
gracious as to signify his intention of calling yesterday on Lady
Castlereagh, after which I was honoured with an interview of an
hour and a half. In order to avoid the inaccuracy with which
such questions are examined in conversation, and that no doubt
might rest as to my sentiments (His Imperial Majesty having taken
credit in a conversation with my brother, for Prince Metter-
nich's concurrence in his views) I thought it right to address the
inclosed letter to the Emperor transmitting it in the memorandum'
which was forwarded to Your Lordship by the last messenger,
and I gave these documents to His Imperial Majesty at the close of
our discussion, as an unreserved record of what I felt it my duty
to submit to him on this important subject.
I am sorry to have to report to your Lordsh-'p that the interv ew
ended without any relaxation of opinion on either side, His Imper-
ial Majesty appearing to adhere with much warmth and tenacity
to his views, both political and territorial, than when I last waited
upon him. He seemed to reject any idea of compromise with
respect to the mode of ameliorating Poland, and put forward his
assumption of the crown as indispensible to his object. The
Emperor endeavoured to defend his plan, upon the ground that,
1 Hardenberg to Castlereagh and Metternich, October 9th, 1814, formally
asking for the assent of Austria and England to the incorporation of Saxony in
Prussia. D'Angeberg, Le Cotigris de Vienne, 1934.
* Castlereagh to Hardenberg, October nth, 1814, giving assent on condition
of Prussian co-operation on the Polish point.
* A precis of the letter and Memorandum follows this dispatch. The lirst
Memorandum had been drawn up originally by Castlereagh to establish a
basis of discussion for Austria and Prussia on the Polish question which he
could defend as a British minister.
THE CONGRESS OF VIENNA 307
by thus establishing a Polish Kingdom, he would create a balance
and check upon Russian power. That Russia, as at present
constituted, was too large, but that when the Russian Provinces
were united under a free system, and his Russian army withdrawn
beyond the Niemen, Europe would have nothing to fear.
I represented that, with a view to war, the cantonment of one
branch of his military force somewhat further to the rear, would
make, at most, the difference of three weeks, in its assembly for
service at the opening of a campaign ; that the question for
Europe was the gross amount of his force, and that so far from
being tranquillized by this species of distribution, they would
consder it only as a means to actively call forth the military
energies of Poland in his support, by flattering the pride of the
In pressing upon the Emperor the rights of Austria under the
Treaty of the 27th June [18 13] His Imperial Majesty was at first
embarrassed, and appeared to have forgot the articles. After some
reflection, he attempted to bring his intended arrangement within
the words of the Treaty, by stating, that he meant to cede the half
of the Salines which belonged to the Dutchy, to Austria, an object
too trifling to have deserved notice, much less to be put forward
in satisfaction of such an engagement 1 .
When driven in argument upon the territorial question, His
Imperial Majesty again took shelter under his moral duty, 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. I asked His Imperial ^y
Majesty how he distinguished between his duty to the Poles on one
side of his line and on the other, and that, where he could not
satisfy his princ'ple without denying even to Prussia any share,
he should not do violence to his engagements with Austria, to
please the Poles.
I further represented, that if the principle of moral duty was
so far limited as to be controlled and even extinguished by
deference for Russian interests, which His Imperial Majesty had
declared it was, in the instance of making Poland really free, he
must not expect other States to admit this consideration as binding
upon them, to the sacrifice of interests not less essential.
I met the Emperor afterwards in the evening at court. His
Imperial Majesty assumed a very gracious manner, and said he
always respected my franchise, although he differed with me in
1 By the Treaty of Reichenbach [See p. 6] Poland was to be partitioned
between the three Powers. The Salines are the salt mines of Wiliczka.
aoS BRITISH DIPLOMACY, 1813-1815
opinion. I must reserve till another opportunity to inform Your
Lordship of the steps taken by me in consequence of this con-
versation with the Emperor, and of the impression produced by
it upon the ministers of the other Powers.
P.S. I forgot to mention that towards the close of the con-
versation the Emperor regretted the slowness of our progress, and
stated the necessity of giving more activity to our march. I
ventured to observe, that it could not be otherwise than slow,
when upon the first great question, which was, in its nature,
preliminary to all others, we had the misfortune to find ourselves
all opposed in sentiment to His Imperial Majesty. The Emperor