The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 37
The Czar and the Diplomatists
The Czar and the Diplomatists.
On the 1st October, Talleyrand received a visit from Alexmder the First of Russia, and from the Czar's manner of ice sting him, he saw that he was about to assume a part. After inquiries respecting the state of France, Alexander said:—
A. Now let us speak of our affairs; we must finish them here.
T. That depends on your Majesty. They will end page 28 promptly and happily, if your Majesty carry into them the same nobleness and greatness of tone as in those of France
A. But everyone must suit his convenience.
T. And each maintain his rights.
A. I shall keep what I occupy.
T. Your Majesty will desire to retain only what is legitimately yours. . . .
A. Rather war than renounce what I occupy.
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On the 25th October the Czar sought another interview with Prince Talleyrand.
A. At Paris you were in favor of a Kingdom of Poland; how does it happen that you have changed?
T. My opinion, sire, is still the same. At Paris, what was in question was the re-establishment of the whole of Poland; I desired then, as I desire now, its Independence; but now what is in question is something quite different; the question is reduced to a question of boundaries, which may put Austria and Prussia in safety.
A. They ought not to be uneasy. As to the rest I have two hundred thousand men in the Duchy of Warsaw, turn me out if you can. . . . I thought that France owed me something. You always speak of principles: Your public law is nothing to me; I do not know what it is. What store do you think I set on your parchments and your treaties.
The remedy for the aggressive conduct of Russia and Prussia could only be the alliance of England and Austria with France. Prince Talleyrand offered this alliance, but it was long before Lord Casdereagh could reconcile himself to a proceeding so contrary to English prejudices. At last however, being roused by an indignity offered to the King of Saxony by the Russian Government in the name of England, he yielded to the arguments of the French Plenipotentiary, who thus describes the conversation:—
C. A Convention? It is then an alliance which you propose?
T. This Convention may very well be made without an alliance; but it shall be an alliance if you wish it. For my part I have no repugnance to it.
C. But an alliance supposes a war to which it may lead, and we ought to do everything to avoid war.page 29
T. I think with yon; we must do everything short of sacrificing honor, justice, and the future of Europe.
C. War would be seen amongst us with an evil eye.
T. The war would be popular with you, if you were to give it a grand aim—an aim truly European,
C. What would this aim be?
T. The re-establishment of Poland."
We have now got the history of the secret treaty of England, France, and Austria against Russia of the 3rd January, 1815. We now learn at once what Talleyrand was, and what a single man could do.
Russia parried the blow by letting Napoleon loose from Elba. After the gunpowder had been burnt at Waterloo, in which battle not a Russian soldier teas engaged, Russia took measures for the security of her own future ambition by causing the Allies to remit four millions of the French Indemnity on condition of excluding Prince Talleyrand from the French Foreign Office.