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Title: The Diplomatists of Europe
Author: Capefigue, M. (Jean Baptiste Honoré Raymond)
Language: English
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From the French of


Edited by

Major-General Monteith,
K.L.S. F.R.S. &c.

G. W. Nickisson,
215 Regent Street.


Printed by George Barclay, 28 Castle Street,
Leicester Square.



PRINCE METTERNICH                                         1

M. DE TALLEYRAND                                         58

COUNT POZZO DI BORGO                                    109

M. PASQUIER                                             172

THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON                                  197

THE DUC DE RICHELIEU                                    223

PRINCE HARDENBERG                                       252

COUNT NESSELRODE                                        289

LORD CASTLEREAGH                                        327


The sketches now offered to the reader have most of them been already
published in parts, in magazines and reviews. I have been advised to
collect them into one work, in order to make their tendency and their
spirit better understood.

The end I proposed to myself at the time I wrote them, was to efface
the prejudices which the decrepit schools of the Revolution, and of the
Empire, had cast over the vast intellects who have had the direction
of the government in various countries, or who still continue to guide
the state. This end, I think, was partly gained by the four sketches of
the career of Prince Metternich, Counts Pozzo di Borgo and Nesselrode,
and the Duke of Wellington. I have considered it the more essential to
complete this publication at present, because, for some years past,
people appear only to take pleasure in extolling those who have been
engaged in the work of destruction. The most illustrious public bodies
take pleasure in listening to the praises of those who have ruined
the old state of society, and no man is considered clever, learned,
or virtuous, unless he has been at least half a regicide. As for me I
request a little space for the politicians who create, preserve, or
add to a state,--for the men whose works still endure, and survive all
those who declaimed against them. I would give all the fame of the
Radicals of 1791, of the year III., or the year VIII., for the smallest
portion of the abilities of Cardinal Richelieu.

It was not at random that I selected the names of the statesmen of
whom an account is here to be met with; they each represent an idea--a
system--a policy. Prince Metternich is the creator of the theory of
the balance of power and armed neutrality, which has obtained a very
exalted rank for Austria among European powers; Prince Talleyrand
brought back among us the temperate diplomacy of the Empire, of the
first days of the Restoration, and of the Revolution of 1830; Count
Pozzo di Borgo personifies the persevering tact of European policy and
the Russian system since the year 1814; the chancellor, M. Pasquier,
exhibits the administration of the latter part of the reign of
Napoleon, and he was, also, the moderate minister of the Restoration;
the Duke of Wellington is England under arms, and the active spirit of
the Tories; the Duc de Richelieu is the symbol of probity in affairs,
and of great unrequited services--he is the man who delivered his
country from the dominion of a stranger, and yet with whose name
the present generation is, perhaps, less acquainted than with that
of any orator at the hustings; Prince Hardenberg represents Prussia
at first holding a neutral course, then advancing with her poetical
universities; Count Nesselrode has been Chancellor of Russia for the
last thirty years; and, finally, I have raised to its proper exalted
position the much-belied character of Lord Castlereagh, the faithful
interpreter of the views of the Tory party, the worthy successor of Mr.
Pitt, and who preserved England and added to her power. These sketches,
therefore, by their account of the different ministers, form a vast
history of the cabinets of Europe.

Many new details will be found in these portraits, and my admiration
for intellectual and powerful minds has made me strive to perfect
them. Being quite unconnected with the agitations of the present
times, I have not mentioned in these pages any name mixed up with
the dissensions of the press and the tribune. Some of the politicians
of the present day were, however, the noble friends of the Duc de
Richelieu, and others afforded him the aid of their talents and
sagacity. May they continue their career, without becoming weary and
discouraged in the difficult paths of Conservatism and order! May
they persevere, in spite of the misery of holding office in changeful
times! The heart of Pitt was often deeply pained while arranging
his magnificent work, and England now pronounces him the prince of
statesmen. Toil and trouble are the condition of man, and nothing
strong or durable ever was created, without raising a clamour of
opposition from beings of inferior intellects, violent tempers, and
disappointed ambition.

      _June 1843._

  NOTE.--The following pages being merely a translation, the Editor
  has found it necessary to abstain from any observations on the work
  of M. Capefigue, and from offering any remarks upon the sentiments
  of this able writer, even where he may materially differ with him.

      _June 1845._


The Austrian government, which is composed of old hereditary states
and conquests of a later date, a sort of chequer-work of provincial
privileges and immunities, may be said to be the creation of a
statesman, who must be placed in a superior rank to all others.

It is not only under the aspect of a long and brilliant diplomatic
career that we must regard the life of Prince Metternich, we must also
look upon him as the head of the executive organisation, which includes
so many various interests, and such a diversity of national characters
and feelings, under the government of one sceptre.

Cast your eyes over the provinces which extend from the centre of
Germany into Poland, from the extremity of Gallicia as far as Venice
and Milan, from Zara on the Adriatic to Mantua, the key of Lake Garda
and of the Tyrol, an assemblage of richer countries or more opulent
cities cannot be met with. To Metternich belongs the honour of having
already, for above thirty years, maintained his hold upon these
various nations; he has realised the most difficult system of local
administration and of a central government, great domestic liberty,
with, at the same time, careful surveillance, an active police with
very indulgent toleration, the most extensive credit with the least
oppressive taxation. One might compare the Austrian government to the
father of a family, anxious and rather strict with his children; the
elder ones are tractable, the younger sometimes unruly, over whom he
keeps a tight rein, in order that it may as seldom as possible be
necessary to have recourse to chastisement.[1]

 [1] Nothing can exceed the paternal government of Austria to her
 hereditary states, or the severity of the police in her Italian
 dominions. In Hungary the Austrian power has never been sufficient to
 enable her to ameliorate the prominent defects of their still feudal
 system. The Italians, Sclavonians, and Hungarians, are still far from
 being amalgamated with the Austrians.

Railways and industrial establishments are becoming numerous in
Austria; her navy is increasing on the Adriatic, and is a means of
circulating her flourishing manufactures. Metternich has thus caused
the age of labour to succeed to that of war and conquest. The ancient
constitution of Germany was destroyed at the peace of Presburg, during
the time of the contemptible and fragile assembly of the Confederation
of the Rhine. The house of Austria then renounced the old imperial
crown; but a new existence has opened for it, and, after innumerable
reverses under the Republic and Napoleon, it again reared its head with
a new state of political life and of military power. Since the year
1813, Austria has been constantly called upon to play a great part in
the affairs of Europe, and Metternich has succeeded in giving to her
politics a character of perseverance, or, rather, of immutability, the
result of an idea nobly conceived, and then worked out like a mission
he felt intrusted to accomplish.

The political life of a statesman is bound up in the work he has
undertaken. It is not my habit as a historian to adopt the narrow views
inspired by party-spirit or worn-out declamation: when a minister has
achieved the greatness of an empire, resisted vassalage under Napoleon,
and furnished the most extensive field for the page of history, I will
not, from a weak patriotism, raise my voice against this master-mind.
We may meet with enough men who destroy; we ought to feel respect for
those capable of creating, and then maintaining their work.

Clement Wenceslaus, Count of Metternich-Winneburg-Ochsenhausen, was
born at Coblentz, on the 13th of May, 1773, of a good German family,
whose ancestors have served in former times against the Ottomans. I
also find there were several officers of the name of Metternich in
the company of Lanzknechts, in the time of the Reformation and of the
League. His father, Count Metternich, a man of very moderate abilities,
was greatly in the confidence of Prince Kaunitz, and his name is
mentioned in all the business transacted concerning the Low Countries.
Young Metternich received the names of Clement-Wenceslaus, after the
Prince of Poland and Lithuania, Duke of Saxony, who stood godfather to
him. At the age of fifteen he went to the university of Strasburg, at
that time very celebrated, and the most frequented academy in Europe.

The philosophy of Voltaire, Helvetius, and Rousseau, was then in
the ascendant--that empty sensualism which filled young heads with
effervescing fancies. The university of Strasburg was under the
direction of Koch, the celebrated lecturer upon international law;
and, by a singular chance, another youth, whose name has since been
well known, was also pursuing his studies at the same university; this
was Benjamin Constant de Rebecque. Some degree of friendship sprung up
between the students, and it is curious to observe what a different
career was opened by the caprices of Fortune to the two pupils of
Professor Koch. Count Metternich concluded his philosophical studies
in the year 1790; the rest of his education was completed in Germany.
When he reached the age of twenty he visited England and Holland, and
afterwards went to live at Vienna, where he married Maria Eleonora, of

Metternich's first entry into the diplomatic corps was merely as a
secretary at the Congress of Rahstadt,--a singular negotiation, which
had a most tragical termination;[2] he afterwards accompanied Count
Stadion in his missions to Prussia and to St. Petersburg, and was
at the latter court at the time of the alliance between Russia and
Austria, which fell to the ground in consequence of the rapidity of
Napoleon's military investment of Ulm, and the revolt of Bavaria,--an
admirable campaign, which at once placed the French emperor in the rank
of the greatest military commanders.

 [2] The French commissioners were attacked on leaving the city and
 many killed.--_Editor._

Even at this early period it was the opinion of Metternich that the
triple alliance between Russia, Prussia, and Germany, would not be
too much to restrain the power of Napoleon; and a striking evidence
of the importance of France and of her leader had just been afforded
by the battle of Austerlitz. Count Metternich was called upon to take
a part in all the treaties concluded at this time; and, up to this
period, his opinions appeared to belong to the same school as those
of Count Stadion, who was shortly afterwards appointed minister for
foreign affairs. By him Metternich was proposed as ambassador to the
court of Russia; but, the treaty of Presburg having completely altered
the position of Austria in Europe, Francis II. preferred sending the
young diplomatist to Napoleon; and, on the 15th of August, 1806, the
day of the solemn national anniversary, the ambassador presented his
credentials, and first appeared before the favourite of fortune and

The political system of which Count Metternich was the representative
at Paris was very complicated. Since the first coalition against
France, Austria had suffered the most severe reverses, having been
twice deprived of the Milanese by Buonaparte, general and consul;
then driven back on the banks of the Danube by Moreau, and having a
second time entered the lists, after the alliance with Russia, this new
coalition was dissolved by the battle of Austerlitz, and the Austrian
cabinet was obliged to sign the treaty of Presburg,--a covenant
submitted to through necessity alone, which broke up the old empire of
Germany, and, in some measure, made an end of that of Austria.

It was the politics of this treaty, so fatal to the interests of
the emperor, that Metternich was deputed to represent at Paris. The
Confederation of the Rhine had overturned all the German system of
affairs, which was as ancient as the Golden Bull. Wirtemberg and
Bavaria, instead of being mere electorates, became kingdoms; when
Bavaria received, at the expense of Austria, a territory of more
than 12,000 square miles, a population of above 3,000,000 of souls,
and a revenue of above 17,000,000 florins; and the aggrandisement of
Wirtemberg, also prejudicial to Austria, though, no doubt, in a less
degree, cost her about 150 square miles. Austria also lost the Venetian
states, the Tyrol, the five cities of the Danube, Venetian Dalmatia,
and the mouths of the Cattaro.

The act of the Confederation of the Rhine, which was the work of
Talleyrand, Otto, and Reinhard, tore away the last remains of the old
imperial mantle: and Francis II. was obliged to lay aside this ancient
dignity, which would have been, in time to come, nothing but an empty
title. Napoleon's system was to invade every thing, and a treaty was to
him but an opportunity of launching out into fresh conquests. He had
planted his family in Germany by instituting the kingdom of Westphalia;
and, by means of marriages, he connected himself with Wirtemberg and
Bavaria: all the stipulations in the treaty of Presburg had been
insisted upon with the most inflexible haughtiness.

After these terrible reverses, Metternich considered the best means
of regaining a little influence in Europe was to keep on good terms
with Napoleon, or rather to preserve a strict neutrality, which might
allow Austria to trace out an advantageous line of conduct for herself,
should any decisive circumstance occur, as it could hardly fail to do
sooner or later. The diplomatic system of Metternich was consequently
one of expectation and inquiry; his special mission was, to become
intimately acquainted with the most trifling peculiarities of this new
and singularly constructed court, and to discover the thoughts and even
the caprices of the powerful Emperor of the French.

Fresh successes had just crowned the arms of Napoleon. After some
unfortunate hesitation, Prussia had cast herself headlong into the
Russian alliance; and, after her subsequent defeat at Jena, the peace
of Tilsit had laid the foundation of a temporary truce, for treaties
with Napoleon could only possess that transitory character. Metternich
received orders from his court to endeavour, by means of a respectful
deference, to conciliate the favour of the great sovereign. The
almost magical influence which Napoleon had obtained over the mind
of Alexander at Tilsit had excited great apprehensions at Vienna:
an interview was about to take place at Erfurt, and the probable
consequences that might result from it were a source of serious alarm
to Austria. Metternich was constantly seen at the Tuileries. He was
the representative of a very ancient European court; himself a man
of good birth, and with aristocratic manners, every thing was in his
favour, and he was perfectly successful in his mission. At the court
of Napoleon there existed much formality, a tone of society combining
at once a degree of constraint with the blunt manners of the camp. It
was a mere collection of puerile ceremonies; and a man of good family
enjoyed an incontestable superiority there from the good taste and
ease communicated by education, and the constant habit of society. The
ambassador was then thirty-four years of age, his countenance was noble
and intelligent; he went to all the court entertainments, and attracted
universal attention by the elegance of his equipage and his expensive
habits. Young, brilliant, gifted with a ready wit and an easy flow of
language, with a slightly emphatic manner of speaking, Count Metternich
had the reputation of being a successful gallant, and highly in favour
with the Parisian ladies.

The ambassador had recourse to the pleasing species of politics which
reaches the secrets of the cabinet--through the heart. His fascinating
manners had gained him the good-will of Napoleon, who took pleasure
in distinguishing him in the crowd of foreign ministers, and liked to
converse with him, though with an occasional observation that he was
very young to be the representative of one of the oldest courts of
Europe. "At the battle of Austerlitz you were scarcely older than I am
now!" was one day the reply of the ambassador. The Emperor was never
hasty in his language to Metternich, for he considered him as the means
by which an idea of the French system could be conveyed into Austria;
and more than once the subject of their debate was the question of the
balance of power in Europe, which assumed in the mind of Napoleon such
gigantic proportions. Metternich's scheme was to represent the alliance
between France and Austria as indispensable; and he spoke of the treaty
of 1736, concluded under the influence of the Duc de Choiseul, as the
basis of all political grandeur in Europe. The conference of Erfurt
was, however, a source of constant uneasiness to him, and Napoleon had
just departed for the meeting which was to reconcile the two empires
of the North and the South. Promises had been exchanged between the
emperors, and in these plans the sacrifice of Austria was determined
upon. They were not ignorant of this at Vienna: had, then, all the
efforts of Metternich in Paris been in vain? The Spanish war had just
broken out, and another sovereign had been hurled from his throne.
Was not this a fresh warning to the House of Austria? The alarms it
inspired were confessed at the court of London, and England fed their
fears in order to induce them to take a vigorous part in the war;
for which purpose a report was circulated of a projected change of
succession in the Austrian dynasty, favoured by Napoleon.

The peace of Presburg, by placing every where in the Germanic
Confederation French principles, and almost French administration,
had excited strong dissatisfaction, and the general detestation had
been increased by large military contributions, and numerous vexatious
oppressions indulged in by the generals and their subordinates. In
every direction burst forth the anti-Gallic spirit in favour of the
liberty of Germany, especially among the nobility and the secret
associations, which had become formidable as early as 1808. The
liberal impulse against Napoleon had been awakened in Europe, and it
was not one of the least influential causes of his downfall. England
encouraged these views; subsidies were promised to a government deeply
involved in debt; the resistance of the Peninsula was pointed out to
Austria, and the difficulties thereby opposed to the military power of
Napoleon, especially after the capitulation of Baylen. Why should they
not take advantage of this opportunity to burst through the conditions
imposed by the treaty of Presburg? England engaged to subsidise the
Austrian army, if, uniting their efforts to the common cause, they
would seize that moment for declaring against France; and she also
promised a simultaneous diversion in Holland and Spain. These warlike
propositions soon found friends among the German nobility, and Count
Stadion entered completely into the English views. The levies were
immense, for the fate of the empire was at stake.

At this period the business of the young ambassador was to mask by
flattering promises the military preparations that were making in
Austria. His papers were full of protestations of confidence: and how
could he act otherwise? Is it not the duty of a diplomatist to soften
the course of events, and to moderate the first bursts of anger and
vengeance of one nation against another? Austria did not wish to engage
in war until Napoleon should be completely absorbed in his Spanish
expedition. But as soon as the Emperor and the Old Guard had left
Paris, to raise the puppet throne of Joseph at Madrid, she no longer
dissembled her warlike preparations; hostilities were commenced against
Bavaria, the close ally of Napoleon, and the Austrian standard was
unfurled at Ulm. Napoleon, informed of this unexpected movement, made
but one step back to Paris. Metternich was still there.

The ambassador was now placed in a very delicate position, for the
Austrian war had really been a surprise. Napoleon thought himself the
dupe of Metternich, and he commanded Fouché, the Minister of Police,
to cause him to be seized, and marched from one military station to
another, until he reached the frontier. The order was harsh, brutal,
and contrary to all diplomatic usages. Is not an ambassador bound to
obey the instructions of his government, and to serve its interests?
and is it not his duty to conceal every thing that may injure his
court? Fouché, with his usual regard to his own interest, and who
considered what the future might bring forth, executed the orders of
Napoleon with delicacy and politeness. He went to the ambassador's
house, told him the occasion of his visit, and expressed the most
lively regret for it. A degree of dissatisfaction had already begun
to arise in the mind of this minister, who looked forward to the
time when the insatiable ambition of Napoleon must have a limit, and
he and Metternich expressed to each other, in mutual confidence,
their feelings on the miseries of war and the rapacious spirit of
Napoleon; and Fouché, whose disposition was generally communicative and
incautious, went so far as to give utterance to most singular opinions
concerning the probable downfall, or even death, of his master. In
order as far as possible to soften the rigorous orders he had received,
a single captain of gendarmerie, chosen by Marshal Moncey, accompanied
the travelling-carriage of the ambassador to the frontier. Prince
Metternich takes pleasure in relating the curious occurrences of this
journey, which, like that of the aide-de-camp Czernicheff in 1812, was
not devoid of peril.

Then the earth was shaken! The Austrian army, under the Archduke
Charles, fought valiantly for the defence of their country and
their sovereign, and the battle of Essling menaced the fortunes of
Napoleon. The disastrous event of this day was never fully published in
France; but elsewhere it was perfectly known. Preussisch-Eylau, the
capitulation of Baylen, and the battle of Essling on the Danube, appear
to me to be the three culminating points, which first taught the world
that the armies of Napoleon were no longer invincible: these battles
had a great moral influence upon the affairs of Europe, and Wagram was
necessary to restore the powerful effect of the Emperor's name; the
field of battle on this occasion was doubtful, but nothing could be
more decisive than the result; great discouragement was manifested in
the councils of Vienna, and the party in favour of peace carried the

Victory had then decided between France and Austria, proving the star
of Napoleon to be utterly irresistible. The two parties which divided
the court of Vienna now became more marked, the opinion in favour of
peace, represented by Count Bubna, prevailed in the Emperor's council,
and Count Stadion, who had hitherto had the direction of affairs
under the influence of the English system, was obliged to retire from
the cabinet. The ministry for foreign affairs having thus become
vacant, Francis II. thought to conciliate France by the appointment
of Metternich, who had displayed great abilities during his embassy
to that country. The count, having been reconciled with Napoleon,
had since then carefully maintained a middle course between peace
and war, and he had also begun to adopt in politics the attitude of
armed neutrality, which, ever since 1813, has been the characteristic
of Austrian policy. This was a period of deep humiliation for the
old imperial crown. The _Moniteur_ had announced that _the House
of Lorraine had ceased to reign_; the Austrian monarchy had been
vanquished in the struggle, its armies had experienced terrible
reverses; but there still remained to the Emperor Francis the devoted
affection of his people, and the indignation they felt at the prospect
of French domination.

Count Metternich was sent as minister plenipotentiary to Napoleon,
together with Count Bubna, and interviews took place for the purpose
of treating of peace. The victor was excessively irritated at the
vigorous conduct of Austria, and never were conferences attended with
more violence or more fiery disputes; so that Metternich was obliged
to apply all the powers of his mind towards inspiring the haughty
conqueror with more moderate sentiments. If Napoleon bore in mind his
silent and skilful conduct in 1809, he knew, that by favouring his
elevation at the court of the Emperor of Austria, he should secure to
himself an ally and a representative of his system. These motives,
joined to dark hints of assassination, and to the uneasiness caused
by the religious brotherhoods among the people, which were already
beginning to stir for independence, all contributed to hasten the
conclusion of the treaty of Vienna. Is it necessary to remind the
reader that the French every where made use of their victories with the
inflexible right of the conqueror?

On the occasion of this treaty, Count Metternich received the title of
Chancellor of the State, with the direction of foreign affairs,--an
office of immense responsibility under existing circumstances. The
population was exhausted by the war; the treasury without resources,
having been completely drained by the contributions levied by the
French; and the monarchy was deprived of all influence in Germany, the
treaty of Vienna having robbed it of the last remains of importance
towards the south; so that, as I have elsewhere[3] remarked, beside
her was the Confederation of the Rhine, that is to say, Napoleon; in
front the Helvetic Confederation, again Napoleon; to the south the
kingdom of Italy, still Napoleon. There remained but a choice of two
plans to Austria, either again to try the chance of war, or to appease
the Emperor of the French by the most profound submission to all his
wishes. Such was the idea of Metternich, when he suggested the marriage
of the archduchess, when, as it was said by the implacable Lady
Castlereagh, it was necessary to deliver up a daughter of the house of
Austria to satisfy the Minotaur.

 [3] See "Europe during the Consulate and the Empire of Napoleon."

If the French emperor were to choose a wife among the grand-duchesses
of the house of Romanoff, the plan proposed at Erfurt would be quickly
accomplished, that is to say, the formation of two great empires,
around which there would be a number of small intermediate kingdoms, in
some degree dependent upon them; and, to avoid this peril, Metternich
hastened the marriage between Napoleon and Maria Louisa: by this
means the house of Austria would secure a real protector in the
French emperor, and the suit of a brilliant adventurer, at the feet
of the daughter of a royal line, might be advantageous to the future
prospects of the German crown. It is allowable in politics to calculate
to what extent human passions may affect the course of affairs, and
therefore the new chancellor of the state, when negotiating the union
of the archduchess with Napoleon, looked forward, by means of a family
arrangement, to recovering the position of which Austria had been
deprived by the fortune of war. The marriage of the archduchess was
arranged and concluded entirely by Metternich.

Still, however, he carefully pursued the course towards which there
appeared at that time to be a general bent in Europe. In the beginning
of the year 1811, certain symptoms appeared to indicate to the court
of Vienna that a rupture was about to take place between France and
Russia, and these suspicions were changed ere long into certainty:
M. Otto, the French ambassador at Vienna, opened his mind completely
to Metternich, and, acting on the principle of the late alliance, he
proposed they should form a kind of league of offence and defence in
the war Napoleon was about to commence against Russia. The French
emperor only required a detached corps of 40,000 Austrian auxiliaries
as an active force, who were to attack the eastern extremity of
Gallicia, at the same time that the French army should proceed to the
Vistula. This treaty farther stipulated that the Austrian possessions
in Poland should remain untouched, and certain territorial cessions in
favour of Austria were agreed upon, in the event of the war against
Russia proving successful; thus Metternich began to reap the advantages
of the French alliance.

The campaign of 1812 began. The Austrian corps of 30,000 auxiliaries
was posted on the Vistula, and, if not required to take an active part
in the operations, it still was a check upon the Russian army, which
already threatened the flanks of Napoleon's troops. Metternich watched
with extreme anxiety the movements of the invading army in Russia; its
disastrous retreat was an appalling and unlooked-for catastrophe, and
Prince Schwartzenberg went to oppose the Russian troops.

A new train of ideas, a new series of negotiations were now to be
entertained. The retreat from Moscow had been so calamitous, that it
had not spared to the French enough troops to protect the line of the
Oder, far less to retain possession of that of the Vistula. If Prussia
and Austria had been faithful to their alliance with Napoleon, they
ought immediately to have combined their forces, and opposed all their
strength to the Russians, who were already making incursions on every
side. The situation of the two courts was very difficult, for the
whole German nation was so unanimous in their dislike to the French,
that it would have been impossible for the cabinets of Berlin and
Vienna to take any steps in their favour, without placing themselves
in direct opposition to the people they governed; and, besides, after
the deep humiliation they had both endured at the hands of Napoleon,
was it not natural they should seek some motive, or, if the expression
be preferred, some pretext, for delivering themselves from a state
of subjection so fatal to them? Prussia, who was foremost, had no
hesitation in abandoning an alliance that was so dishonourable to her.
Metternich did not immediately follow her contagious example, but, a
cessation of hostilities having taken place between the Russian and
Austrian armies, the eyes of France fell upon the cabinet of Vienna,
as the mediatorial power which was to prepare a peace, on a foundation
in better keeping with the general equilibrium of Europe. In his
conferences with M. Otto, the imperial chancellor gave him clearly
to understand, that the Austrian government would not depart from
the principles of the French alliance, but that the nature of their
situation had been altered by the late military events, and, as the
frontier of Austria might become the theatre of war, the cabinet of
Vienna would naturally assume a more decided attitude, in order to
bring to a conclusion a struggle which would for the future so closely
affect the empire.

The mission of Prince Schwartzenberg and Count Bubna, at Paris, was
conducted in the same spirit. Without giving up the alliance, the
Austrian government signified that it could no longer rest upon the
same basis, in fact, that they must take a more decided part in
the approaching military crisis. Metternich's object in this new
negotiation was to lay the foundation for a general peace. Such a
resolution was by no means disinterested on his part, for, in the new
settlement of the boundaries of the different states of Europe which
must ensue, Austria would obtain an accession of territory, as a
consequence of the position in which the course of events had placed
her. The English party was gaining ground at Vienna, and Lord Walpole
had arrived with offers of subsidies and augmentation of territory;
in proportion, also, as the French army met with fresh reverses, the
popular feeling of Germany assumed a more decided character; still
Metternich persisted in his mediatorial system, from the conviction
that it would be for the real advantage of his country.

These negotiations continued all through the winter of 1812-13. In
the meanwhile, M. Otto had been replaced by Count Louis de Narbonne,
the representative of the family alliance. He had been appointed by
Napoleon, in the hope that his presence would remind Austria that an
archduchess sat upon the throne of France; and, by the decree of the
senate and the emperor, this same archduchess had just been officially
proclaimed regent during the absence of Napoleon: the government being
placed in her hands was a fresh guarantee to Austria of the personal
feelings of the emperor's son-in-law. In politics alliances are
formed upon positive interests, and Napoleon had too greatly abused
his victories; the decree had gone forth, the empire, which extended
from Hamburg to Venice--the protectorate, which pressed heavily upon
Germany, Prussia, Italy, Switzerland, and Holland--the diplomatic
oppression which burdened Sweden and Denmark--all must have an end:
after action, a reaction must be expected.

During this time considerable levies took place in every part of the
Austrian territory, for it was determined the army should be made up to
its full complement of 300,000 men. Metternich justified these warlike
preparations by the natural position in which Austria was placed:
when the belligerents came so closely in contact with the territory
of a neuter party, it appeared quite natural that the neuter should
take precautions to preserve its own independence. The position which
Metternich had given to Austria had made her a predominant power, with
the right of insisting upon real advantages, by way of indemnity; this
was an admirable change of circumstances, which left Austria at liberty
to come to a definitive decision.

Baron Weissemberg then started for London, under the official pretext
of bringing about a general peace, but in reality for the purpose of
sounding the English cabinet upon the advantages likely to be offered
to Austria, in the way of subsidies and accession of territory, in
case she should declare openly in favour of the coalition, and should
be willing to furnish so considerable a force as 450,000 men. Now all
this occurred in the month of March 1813, and the armaments of Austria
received a fresh augmentation, when the thunders of the artillery
were heard at Lutzen and Bautzen; 200,000 men were already located
in Bohemia: against whom could these immense bodies of troops be
intended to act? At this juncture, Metternich again appeared in his
mediatorial capacity, to prepare the armistice of Plesswitz, afterwards
definitively settled at Nieumarch: Austria constantly declared that,
as the conflicting armies occupied four hundred leagues of her
frontiers, it was impossible she should any longer refrain from taking
an active part in the struggle, if the belligerent powers would not
agree to terms of reconciliation. A step was thus taken, from a state
of alliance with Napoleon, towards a condition of armed neutrality,
and how could so powerful a country as Austria long continue in this
situation? In the heated state of the public mind in Germany, how was
it possible to calculate the exact point where the mediation would stop
for the _casus belli_?

It was the interest of Russia and Prussia to keep on good terms with a
court capable of drawing up a body of excellent troops 200,000 strong.
After some bitter and ill-advised observations, Napoleon also accepted
the mediation; it was a sort of break in the military operations, an
expression of the weariness felt by an army now worn out with battles.
We may see how great a part Metternich had created for Austria in these
negotiations, for, on former occasions, the plenipotentiaries could
treat the Austrian interests as a separate concern, while in her new
position Vienna became the indispensable intermediate agent in any
treaty that might be contemplated. The question was, Did Austria offer
her mediation in good faith, with a sincere wish for peace? or was it
merely as a lure, to enable her to render her military establishment
more complete? This becomes an important question for history.

It must be remembered that, after the battles of Lutzen and Bautzen,
the desire for peace was universal, even in France, and in the tent
of Napoleon, in the military night-watch, as well as on the morning
of battle; the troops still fought, but it was no longer with the
willingness, the enthusiasm of the victories of Austerlitz and Jena.
Napoleon submitted to the powerful voice of public opinion, but could
his iron disposition bend to circumstances? Until that time as general
and consul, and afterwards as emperor, he had been accustomed to say to
the vanquished states, "These are my conditions, you have no choice
but to accept them; and, if there are any alleviating circumstances, it
is to my clemency alone that you will owe them." In 1813, the tables
were turned: cabinets now appeared with powers quite equal to that of
France, animated, too, with the ardour of battle, and burning with the
desire of repairing their former humiliation, and reconquering their
independence. The allied powers had signed the armistice of Nieumarch,
one great inducement being the opportunity gained for carrying on a
secret negotiation with the crown prince of Sweden, and also for the
sake of persuading Austria to join the league. I think their anxiety
for peace was less than their wish to gain the time necessary to
complete their vast military arrangements, by detaching Austria from
her part of mediator, and inducing her to join them in the war against
the common enemy; pious Germany, having gained her feet, now wanted
to make an end of her oppressor. Now, would Metternich continue to
preserve this neutral position? would not the Austrian government be
inclined for a change of system?

Let us not forget how Austria was at that time situated. Had she not
a right to obtain, by diplomatic means, all the advantages offered
by her present position? We know the heavy losses she had sustained
in Italy; the Milanese, the Tyrol, and the Illyrian provinces, had
been successively torn from her: and was it not natural she should
take advantage of her armed mediation, a favourable position in which
Metternich had contrived to place her? Had she derived the expected
advantages from the general peace, she would not have joined the
coalition against Napoleon; failing in that, she must endeavour to
recover by force of arms all she had been deprived of during the war.
It was for the purpose of justifying this delicate situation that
Metternich first introduced the elegant system of high and noble
diplomatic language, a style of which Baron Gentz has since been the
most distinguished organ--Gentz, whose life has been so busy, and so
full of disappointments, who, in his old age, came to utter soft love
speeches at the feet of Miss Fanny Elssler.

Metternich unfolds in his papers his ideas upon the balance of power in
Europe, which tended to diminish the prodigious influence of Napoleon,
to the benefit of the allied states. I am not aware of any thing
written in a more remarkable style than these despatches; they are,
perhaps, rather loose in their details, but all the expressions are so
carefully guarded, that they never compromised either the cabinet or
the writer.

After signing the armistice of Nieumarch, Napoleon had fixed his
head-quarters at Dresden. Successive despatches, from the French
cabinet, requested the Emperor Francis II. to affix his signature to
the preliminaries of a treaty of peace; at last, Metternich, bearing
an autograph letter from his sovereign, in answer to the overtures
that had been made to him, repaired to Dresden, commissioned to find
out what might be the definitive intentions of Napoleon with regard
to peace. The conference lasted nearly half a day; the emperor,
in his military dress, strode hastily up and down the room, with
flashing eyes, and sharp, hurried gestures: he took up his hat, then
laid it down again, and threw himself into a large easy chair, while
the perspiration started on his brow; he was evidently disturbed
in mind, for he burst forth, in no measured terms, to Metternich:
"Your government," said he, "wants to take advantage of my perplexed
situation; and the question with you is, whether you can exact so
much from me without fighting, or whether you must decide in ranging
yourselves among my enemies? Well, let us see! Let us negotiate--I am
perfectly willing. What do you want?"

To this abrupt sally, to this demand so little in accordance with
the usual diplomatic forms, Metternich merely replied, "That Austria
was desirous of establishing an order of things, which, by the wise
distribution of power, should place the preservation of peace under the
protection of an association of independent states; that the object of
the cabinet of Vienna must be to destroy the sole predominancy of the
Emperor Napoleon, by substituting to his colossal influence a balance
of power, which should establish Austria, Russia, and Prussia, on a
footing completely independent of the French empire." As a summary of
these conditions, Austria claimed Illyria, and a more extended frontier
towards Italy; the Pope was to be reinstated in his dominions; Poland
to be subjected to another partition; Spain and Holland were to be
evacuated by the French army; and the Confederation of the Rhine and
the mediation of Switzerland were to be given up by the Emperor, who
was already overwhelmed with ill-fortune.

Thus was to be accomplished the dismemberment of the gigantic work
erected by the toils and victories of Napoleon. Shall I venture
to describe this scene as it has been depicted to me by the sole
eye-witness, Prince Metternich himself? As the Austrian plenipotentiary
unfolded the views of his cabinet, the sallow complexion of Napoleon
gradually assumed a crimson hue; at last he exclaimed, "Metternich, do
you attempt to impose such conditions upon me without drawing a sword?
These demands are most insulting! And it is my father-in-law who agrees
to such a plan! What kind of position does he wish to place me in with
regard to the French people? Ah, Metternich! how much has England
given you to play this part against me?"

To this offensive language, Metternich, retaining his calm and
dignified demeanour, replied not a word; and Napoleon, in the violence
of his gestures, having let fall his hat, the Austrian minister did
not stoop to pick it up, as politeness would have induced him to do
under any other circumstances. There was a silence of half an hour.[4]
Afterwards the conversation was resumed in a cooler and calmer tone;
and, in dismissing Metternich, the Emperor, taking his hand, said to
him, "After all, Illyria is not my last word, and we may be able to
arrange better conditions."

 [4] Prince Metternich told me the Emperor had locked the door.

This dialogue is of importance to history, for it decided the fate of

The Emperor's habits of command made his language hasty and his summons
for an answer abrupt; and, when he addressed himself thus to a person
in an elevated position, it naturally gave great offence. Metternich
retained the strongest resentment for his behaviour--he had been deeply
insulted; and, besides, so experienced a minister could not fail to
discover the secret thoughts of the Emperor, and must have been well
convinced that, with such a character as his, there was but little
reason to hope for the re-establishment of the balance of power in

Nevertheless, Austria consented to the conferences at Prague, and, by a
fresh agreement, the suspension of hostilities was prolonged till the
10th of August. Metternich, as the representative of the mediatorial
power, was by right president of the congress, in the same manner as it
had fallen to the Swedish minister at the congresses of Nimeguen and
Ryswick. M. Maret first raised difficulties on the score of etiquette,
because Baron Humboldt and Baron d'Anstett, the representatives of
Russia and Prussia, were only ministers of the second rank, while
M. de Caulaincourt and M. Maret belonged to the first. They next
discussed the order of precedence and little questions of detail; they
considered whether the negotiation should be carried on in writing or
_viva voce_, and the forms of the congresses of Nimeguen and Ryswick
were called for. The object of each party was to gain time, in order
that hostilities might recommence. At last, Metternich, seeing the
indefinite turn affairs were taking, resolved to join the military
Congress of Trachenberg, where the Crown Prince of Sweden, Bernadotte,
was employed in tracing out the vast plan of the campaign of the
allied armies against Napoleon. They decided upon marching straight
upon Paris, without a moment's hesitation, and making an appeal to
the people, dissatisfied with the Emperor. At Trachenberg, Russia and
Prussia received all the propositions of the Austrian minister without
the slightest difficulty; they agreed, whatever might be the personal
pretensions of the Emperor Alexander, that the general command of the
allied troops should be conferred upon Prince Schwartzenberg. The
importance of securing the co-operation of the Austrian army was fully
appreciated, and no sacrifice was spared to attach an additional force
of 200,000 men to the coalition.

With a view to avoid this immense co-operation, Napoleon had addressed
himself at once to the Emperor Francis II., recalling to his mind the
alliance of their families. Maria Louisa had gone to Mayence, and
her husband, taking advantage of one or two days which the armistice
still left at his disposal, went to meet her there, to give his last
instructions to the daughter of the Cæsars, and to confirm to her
all the powers of the regency. France then would be governed by an
archduchess, and, according to all dynastic ideas, could Austria fight
against a country ruled by the daughter of her emperor? They were
mistaken; the cabinets no longer stood in awe of Napoleon, and this
was a circumstance which the French plenipotentiaries at Prague had
not understood. M. Maret, in particular, had shewn his insufficiency,
or, at all events, an inferior capacity, unable to bear a comparison
with a statesman of the school and character of Prince Metternich. One
of the greatest misfortunes of the Emperor Napoleon was, that he was
surrounded by a crowd of people constantly at his feet, and dazzled
with his glory: these were clerks, not statesmen.

Thus the negotiations continued to assume the character of indecision
and ill-humour, which had marked their origin. The slightest proposal
called forth anger, the most trifling insinuation gave offence.
Metternich retained the character of mediator, which had been
recognised by the other powers; he resisted all idea of overturning the
French government, and, when General Moreau arrived on the Continent,
the first words the Austrian minister said to M. Maret were, "Austria
has nothing to do with this intrigue; she will never approve of the
proceedings of General Moreau." At last, the ultimatum of the allied
powers, communicated by Metternich, was as follows. The dissolution of
the duchy of Warsaw, which was to be divided between Russia, Prussia,
and Austria (Dantzic was given to Prussia); the cities of Lubech and
Hamburg were to be reinstated in their independence, the kingdom of
Prussia was to be remodelled, and one frontier was to extend to the
Elbe; all the Illyrian provinces, including Trieste, were to be ceded
to Austria, and a reciprocal guarantee was to be given, that the
condition of the sovereignties, both small and great, should not be
subject to alteration, except by common consent, but should continue
such as they might be settled by the peace. The Emperor of the French
at first refused to accede to these terms, which were afterwards
modified, and at last received a reluctant and tardy assent; for
Austria was then entering with all her strength into the coalition.

I have consulted upon the events of this period the two men who played
the principal parts in the diplomatic transactions of the war, Count
Pozzo di Borgo and Prince Metternich. I asked them, "Was there really
a sincere desire for peace at Prague?" They both answered in the
affirmative. Pozzo di Borgo, in his hatred for Napoleon, described
to me the anxiety he felt at witnessing the hesitation of Austria;
and Metternich justified himself to Europe for the indecision of his
conduct by his desire to bring his diplomatic mediation to a happy
issue, for the interests of Napoleon, Austria, and the general peace.

A notification from the court of Vienna announced to Count Nesselrode
and Prince Hardenberg, that, for the future, Austria, as a member of
the coalition, would locate 200,000 men, in large bodies, behind the
mountains of Bohemia. The joy of the Allies was not to be expressed;
one should have heard Count Pozzo di Borgo recount the magical effect
produced by this letter of Metternich; it arrived in the middle of
the night at a barn, in which were reposing the Emperor Alexander,
the King of Prussia, Count Nesselrode, Prince Hardenberg, and all the
staff of the allied troops. They arose and embraced each other, as if
the salvation of Europe were achieved, and Napoleon tumbled from his
throne. The manifesto of Austria, which was the work of Metternich,
appeared ten days later. In spite, however, of this rupture,
Caulaincourt remained at Prague, and the chancellor of state still
assured him he was ready to proceed with the negotiation if France
would agree to the independence of the Germanic Confederation and of
Switzerland, and to the reconstruction of the dominions of Prussia on
a scale of greater importance. Napoleon, still unwilling to give in,
applied to Count Bubna, in the persuasion that he would be able to
exercise a favourable influence over his father-in-law, the emperor; at
last, on the 14th of August, he gave his consent to the proposals of
the Austrian cabinet, and his answer was despatched to Prague; but it
was too late. Metternich declared the impossibility of entering into a
separate treaty, and said it would be necessary to refer simultaneously
to the three courts whose political interests were henceforth

Still Napoleon did not abandon all hope of drawing Austria over to his
interests, and he proposed entering into a negotiation, even after the
commencement of hostilities, when the Austrian army was actually in
motion. 200,000 Austrians came forth from the mountains of Bohemia, and
turned the flank of the French army. Then the general rising in Germany
took place; a transitory lustre was conferred by the admirable battle
of Dresden, but Leipsic witnessed the last expiring gleam of the French
glory. By the end of 1813, the line of the Elbe was lost, and even that
of the Rhine was compromised. All Germany was in arms, and the whole of
Europe had assumed a threatening posture.

Austria had hardly joined the coalition before difficulties arose
in this vast body, agitated by so many different interests. Some
jealous feelings had already been entertained concerning the title
of generalissimo of the armies, which had been conferred upon Prince
Schwartzenberg, and other questions were subsequently started as to the
object of the campaign. As long as the French occupied Germany, the
most pressing anxiety was to get rid of this heavy yoke. Having once
reached the Rhine, there was no confederation, no imminent danger; the
soil was covered with the wrecks of Napoleon's empire, and Germany had
recovered her ancient independence. The sole remaining possessions of
the French in that country were some fortresses, which, after a siege
of longer or shorter duration, must revert to their ancient sovereign.
The house of Austria had ceased to be afraid of France, but had begun
to entertain some apprehensions with regard to Russia. The Russians had
been taught the road towards the south of Europe, and they were likely
to remember it.

In the opinion of Metternich, France, with a certain degree of power
and a definite extent of territory, was necessary to the balance
of power in Europe; and he took care this should be mentioned in
the manifesto published by the allied armies on the Rhine. This
manifesto, of which the idea belonged to Metternich, was executed by
Gentz. Austria, being now free from danger in Germany, could, without
risk, lend assistance to the threatened empire of France. The family
connexion with Napoleon was not yet broken; his moral influence, it is
true, was greatly weakened; but his powerful mind was in its pristine
vigour, and he was still capable of making some daring attempt. These
long-sighted views were clearly displayed in the conversation between
Metternich and M. de St. Aignan. Austria, already embarrassed by her
position with regard to France and Russia, would gladly have withdrawn
from a war which no longer closely affected her own interests; but a
principle, fatal to Napoleon, had been admitted,--the allied powers
were no longer at liberty to enter into a treaty the one without
the other. When Lord Castlereagh arrived on the Continent, he gave
additional solidity to this tendency to unite in a common cause; and
the implacable enemy of Napoleon, Count Pozzo di Borgo, had been
despatched to London to request the presence of the prime minister of
England on the Continent. They were desirous of rendering the alliance
incapable of future alteration, for the first successes beyond the
Rhine had naturally given birth to two separate questions: one relating
to territory in the new settlement of the boundaries in Europe; the
other, a moral question, as to the form of government which should be
established in France in case the allied armies should take possession
of Paris. The interests of England and Austria were differently
affected from those of Russia and Prussia by the arrangements that
might be entered into.

In the first place, what would they do with the most important
conquests? Russia was in possession of Poland, Prussia of Saxony, and
Austria of a great portion of Italy. Should the Emperor Alexander
attempt to set up a sort of kingdom in Poland, the interests of
Austria would suffer. Again, could Prussia be permitted to enlarge her
dominions by the addition of Saxony? All these questions were already
subjects of debate in the diplomatic body, which, to all outward
appearance, was still perfectly united; the most unlimited confidence
in each other was expressed by all parties, but, in reality, interest
and selfishness were the prevailing feelings. Lord Castlereagh shewed
great ability at this juncture by constituting himself the general bond
of union of the coalition.

With regard to the questions connected with the government of France,
it was hardly possible to suppose Austria would agree to a project of
a change of dynasty, when an archduchess held the reins of government
as regent. The Emperor Alexander had entered into a private contract
with Bernadotte, whose feelings against Napoleon were very bitter.
Alexander would agree to any form of government that might be proposed,
but in the conference at Abo all possibilities had been discussed, even
one which might place Bernadotte at the head of affairs in France.
England, though well inclined towards the Bourbons, did not make their
restoration so indispensable a condition as to render debates upon
matters of more personal interest subordinate to it. Lord Castlereagh
had explained this to the exiled princes; they had not yet been
permitted to land upon the Continent, and the Comte d'Artois did not
arrive at Dole until January, 1814.

It is particularly in this point of view that the history of the
Congress of Chatillon is deserving of a serious study. At this meeting
there was still an evident desire on the part of Austria to conclude
a treaty on the basis of the balance of power in Europe; but, from
the very commencement, Metternich must have discovered that the
position of Austria was no longer the same as at the beginning of the
campaign. All moral influence had now passed over to the side of the
Emperor Alexander, who had become the arbiter of the destinies of the
coalition; Prussia and Austria only appeared in the light of useful
auxiliaries, the principal influence and popularity rested with the
czar; he alone was talked of, and the negotiations were especially
addressed to his cabinet. The military treaty of Chaumont, which fixed
the number of troops to be furnished by the coalition, was dictated by
Lord Castlereagh, who was afraid of a dissolution of the alliance. It
was then declared that the allied powers would never sheathe the sword
till they had reduced France within the limits it occupied in 1792;
and, for this purpose, each cabinet promised a contingent of 150,000
men under arms, England agreeing to furnish a subsidy.[5]

 [5] The sum of 5,000,000_l._ sterling was to be furnished for the year
 1814, to be increased if necessary.--_Editor._

From this period Metternich found himself in a very delicate position.
As the events of the war gradually brought the allies nearer to
Paris, the Emperor of Austria could not with any degree of propriety
take a part in military operations whose object was the capture of
a metropolis governed by the archduchess. Metternich, who was in
correspondence with Maria Louisa, could no longer control the course of
events, and, perhaps, this princess, weary of seeing herself surrounded
by so much littleness of mind, avidity, and folly, as were exhibited
by the relations and supporters of Napoleon, when the regency was at
Blois, might not have been sorry to get rid of her fictitious dignity.
The Emperor Francis II. remained at Dijon, while the bold advance of
Schwartzenberg laid Paris at the mercy of the allies.

A reproach has constantly been cast upon Metternich for his conduct
upon this occasion; how, it is said, could he sanction a proceeding
which rent the imperial crown from the brow of Maria Louisa? I
believe, at this time, all idea of the continuance of the empire had
been abandoned, its time had passed away: there are seasons when the
force of public opinion carries every thing before it, and now there
was a sort of weariness of mind, people were tired of Napoleon and
his military system, the string drawn too tight had snapped asunder.
A retrospect must be taken of that time, and it will explain the
resolution of the allies. It would have been difficult to maintain
even the regency of the empress, and at the same time carry out the
military engagements entered into at Chaumont. In France all were tired
of the war, a general rising had taken place in Europe, nor would
Napoleon have submitted to the degradation of a kingdom bounded by
narrower limits than the Rhine. No doubt the regency would have been
the most complete triumph of the Austrian system, but what would have
become of Napoleon under the regency? would he have resigned himself to
so humiliating a situation? would he not have been stifled in the small
kingdom of France? The proceedings in Paris were quite independent of
Metternich, who was not even present at them. The Emperor Alexander
had acquired so overwhelming an influence in the senate with the
patriots of 1789, that no cabinet, even of the first order, would have
contended with it. The archduchess had been conducted from Blois to her
father, Francis II., without any discussion taking place concerning the
regency or the empire. Talleyrand had said, "The restoration of the
Bourbons is a principle; every thing else is an intrigue:" and this
expression put an end to all negotiations that had not the return of
Louis XVIII. for their object. The diplomatic corps were occupied with
the Treaty of Paris, which produced the re-establishment of order, the
general peace, the restoration of the Bourbons, and the settlement of
the boundaries of the French territory, which had been the principal
object and most important result of the campaign. But this was not
all; the immense empire of Napoleon was in ruins, and how should these
important fragments with which the world was overspread be divided?
Might Francis II. resume the old imperial crown, which he had resigned
at the treaty of Presburg? In spite of the strong predilection then
entertained for ancient customs, Metternich felt that the crown of
Charlemagne would be merely an empty title unsupported by any real
influence, and it would have been a cause of offence to Prussia, whose
jealousy would have been roused by the existence of a German empire in
close contiguity with her own kingdom, which embraced nearly a third of
the population of Germany. With the strong instinct which forms part
of his character, Metternich felt that, for the future, Austria, while
retaining a great general influence over Germany, had better strive
to become a southern sovereignty, having Gallicia at one extremity,
and Dalmatia at the other, and including the Lombardo-Venetian
territories, under the ancient and magnificent iron crown. He carried
this idea into the Congress of Vienna, when the new constitution of the
European sovereignties was to be established on a general basis, and
he took care to bring it forward again upon every occasion in which
the diplomatic system of Austria was displayed. This alone affords an
explanation of the extreme and constant solicitude evinced for the
possession of the Lombardo-Venetian kingdom, and the constant tendency,
both by means of conquest and commerce, towards the shores of the

At the Congress of Vienna, Metternich exercised a prodigious influence.
The Emperor Francis had made a great family sacrifice, by abandoning
the cause of Maria Louisa, and, in honour of this conduct, Europe fixed
the assemblage of the sovereigns at Vienna. In the midst of balls,
elegant amusements, and entertainments, Europe was to be remodelled
on a different basis; the long conferences, which were to decide
the fate of nations, were intermingled with flowers and pleasure.
Prince Metternich, then in his forty-first year, saw the object of
his anxieties and wishes fully accomplished; Vienna afforded the most
brilliant spectacle; the sovereigns were assembled there, accompanied
by a myriad of persons of princely rank, with their families, their
courts, and their numerous suites. Love intrigues contended with
the more serious business of this Congress, which had become the
rendezvous of all the most distinguished characters in Europe. In the
evening people assembled at the Royal Theatre, or in the brilliantly
illuminated saloons, where, at the gaming-table, Blucher was employed
in completing the ruin of his affairs, which he had begun in Paris.

Prince Metternich had the direction of the diplomatic party, while the
empress, wife of Francis II., received the august strangers with the
grace and dignity she was so well known to possess. The splendours
of the Congress of Vienna left a strong impression upon the minds of
the diplomatic characters who were present at it; they are associated
in their memory with the fresh and pleasing recollection of the
days of their youth, and, when you converse upon the subject with
those whom death has spared, they speak in enthusiastic terms of the
chivalric entertainments, the fancy balls of the empress, and the
_galanteries_ of the sovereigns. What brilliant parties were those of
Lady Castlereagh, a female diplomatist, as active as the English prime
minister in all negotiations relating to the management of the world!

In walking through the streets of Vienna, it was no uncommon sight to
meet the three sovereigns of Russia, Prussia, and Austria, shaking
hands, and giving each other marks of mutual confidence, and yet the
most serious dissensions already prevailed in the Congress concerning
the territorial arrangement of Europe. The quadruple alliance, as it
had been settled in the treaty of Chaumont, was nothing but a military
convention, intended to overturn the power of Napoleon; more a kind of
plan of battle, or strategic stipulation, than a regular and political
negotiation. After the fall of Napoleon, the allied powers resumed
their natural interests. Thus, on the question of German supremacy,
Prussia would naturally be inclined to side with Russia, and draw off
from Austria; England, to oppose Russia in every thing relating to
the sovereignty of Poland, which the Czar had already appropriated to
himself; and France, though so terribly shaken by the late invasion,
must endeavour to regain some degree of credit in Europe, by keeping
on good terms with England and Austria. I must say, to the honour of
the eldest branch of the Bourbons, that it always exhibited the most
perfect dignity in its foreign relations, and perhaps the critical
situation of our internal affairs was only produced by a fatal reaction
of foreign dissatisfaction upon ourselves. From the first assembling
of the Congress, private conferences had taken place between Lord
Castlereagh, Metternich, and Talleyrand, to take into consideration
the conditions of a treaty which might afford a counterpoise to the
immense ascendancy Russia had obtained during the invasion of France
and the events of 1814. By this treaty, which was signed in the month
of March 1815, subsidies were agreed upon in the event of certain
occurrences, and an engagement was entered into, that a fixed number
of troops should always be in readiness for the _casus belli_, should
Russia and Prussia attempt to disturb the equilibrium established among
the European powers, and, according to a despatch of M. de Talleyrand,
France was to maintain a half war establishment.

Metternich was the principal author of this secret treaty, because,
after things had been replaced in their original state by the
restoration of Louis XVIII., he began to be afraid of Russia and
her immense weight: the question of Poland was the pretext. France
manifested particular anxiety for the re-establishment of the King of
Saxony, whose territory Prussia was desirous to absorb; while England,
on the other hand, but little inclined to favour Russia, considered
it indispensably necessary that Prussia should possess very extensive
territorial strength, that she might serve as a constant barrier
against northern invasion. It was necessary Metternich should combat
this opinion for the sake of Saxony, and he did so in a series of
papers opposed to those of Prince Hardenberg and Baron Humboldt. On
the Polish question he perfectly agreed with England: at the bottom
of Alexander's good-will towards the Poles, there lurked an idea of
political aggrandisement; for, by making a kingdom of Poland, he well
knew that the portion of that country that had accrued to Austria, as
well as what had fallen to the share of Prussia, would sooner or later
all unite under one sceptre. On no account would Alexander resign his
paramount influence[6] over Warsaw. Things reached such a pitch, that
Metternich issued orders that the Austrian armies should be maintained
upon a war establishment, while Russia kept her troops in readiness,
and appealed to the Poles to stand by their country. Whilst Metternich
warmly opposed the establishment of Russian Poland as a kingdom under
any circumstances, England was desirous it should be placed on so firm
a foundation, as to serve as an obstacle to the encroachments of the
Russian cabinet.

 [6] Suzeraineté.

Serious events already obliged Metternich to turn his attention towards
Italy, and here we must look back upon events of a rather earlier
date. As far back as the month of February 1813, England had taken
advantage of some dissatisfaction entertained by Murat, and still
more by Caroline, Napoleon's own sister, to hasten the downfall of
the French empire. All the good people of Buonaparte's family appear
to have taken their royalty in good earnest, and to have fancied they
possessed some consequence of their own, and might remain kings and
queens independent of the great emperor. England, clever at taking
advantage of these little absurdities, reminded Murat of the example
of Bernadotte, and suggested the possibility of his becoming king of
all Italy. While Napoleon was abusing his brother-in-law in his haughty
and violent letters, reminding him that "the lion was not dead," the
English cabinet soothed with the most flattering hopes the imagination
of Murat, who had but a poor head for politics, and every thing was
brought into play that could flatter the vanity of the most theatrical
soldier of the imperial era.

At the close of the year 1813, Murat was already in the occupation of
the Roman States, making an appeal to the patriots, for it was the
custom of Europe at that time to march forward invoking the liberty of
the people. To detach him from a bad cause, Metternich had particularly
recourse to a gentle and tender influence, a pleasing reminiscence
of his embassy in Paris, and he guaranteed to Murat the peaceable
possession of the kingdom of Naples. After the re-establishment of
the Bourbons in France gave rise to the strongest uneasiness in his
astonished mind, King Joachim deputed the Duke of Serra Capriola to the
Congress of Vienna, pleading his treaties with Austria and England;
but his envoy was not admitted to the assembly, for a negotiation
was on foot to replace the old dynasty of Sicily upon the throne,
a negotiation conducted by Prince Talleyrand. Louis XVIII. had
recommended the interests of his family to the Congress of Vienna, and
M. de Talleyrand was to receive from the Neapolitan branch of the
Bourbons a rich equivalent for his sadly compromised principality of
Benevento. Austria was a little unmindful of her promises, and defended
her engagements with Murat but very feebly; indeed, the general bent
towards the restoration of the former order of things was so strong,
that he who had usurped the crown of Naples was actually declared
guilty of treason. In the English House of Commons, Lord Castlereagh
read a private correspondence, carried on with Napoleon at the very
moment when Murat was negotiating with the Alliance, which afforded
evidence of a double policy having been pursued. Having become uneasy
concerning the resolutions of the Congress of Vienna, he made vast
military preparations, in concert with the patriots and the secret
societies, with the intention of assuming the great crown of Italy.
Metternich caused the Austrian armies to assemble _en masse_ in the
Lombardo-Venetian kingdom, where they awaited under arms the coming

The storm soon burst.

Napoleon then landed in the Gulf of Juan to attempt his heroic exploit
of the Hundred Days. Matters were in a strangely complicated state
at the Congress of Vienna, and Napoleon, looking at the affairs of
Europe under one point of view only, had formed a fair judgment of the
condition of the allied powers with regard to each other, without,
however, comprehending that his presence on the Continent would unite
them all in a terrible coalition. The very name of Buonaparte filled
the old European sovereignties with so much alarm, that they recovered
themselves with the utmost haste, in order to take measures for the
general safety.

They owed to the activity of Talleyrand and Metternich the official
declaration of the Congress of Vienna, which placed Buonaparte at
the ban of Europe, simultaneously roused against the common enemy.
The mystic spirit of Alexander entered willingly into the idea of a
Christian alliance and a European crusade, and Metternich, after the
system he had adopted ever since the rupture in 1813, could not depart
from the military agreement entered into at Chaumont. Napoleon was
declared at the ban of the empire by a revived custom of the ancient
assemblies of the German Diet.

The pretended agreement between Napoleon, Austria, and England, at
the time of his landing in the Gulf of Juan, was a romance invented
afterwards by the imperialist party. Napoleon, who was well informed
concerning the diplomatic state of things, might imagine a separation
of interests among the cabinets a probable thing, but beyond this
there was nothing. One of his first steps was to endeavour to place
himself in communication with Metternich, and we again find Fouché in
correspondence with the chief of the Austrian cabinet: they had never
lost sight of each other since their memorable conference in 1809,
and their acquaintance was renewed in 1813, when Fouché was appointed
Governor-General of Illyria. I have reason to believe, that they had
even then spoken to each other in confidence concerning the decline of
power of _that man_, as the disaffected called Napoleon, and of the
possibility of a regency under Maria Louisa; in 1813 the subject they
would select for their conversation would probably be the abdication
of the Emperor, which was one of the favourite ideas of the senatorial
party. At the same time Napoleon wrote to Maria Louisa, he despatched,
by means of some secret agents, confidential letters from intimate
friends of the minister, and even from a princess of the imperial
blood, between whom and Prince Metternich a tender feeling had existed:
and finally, in order to sow dissension throughout the whole of
Europe, he transmitted to the Emperor Alexander a copy of the treaty
of the triple alliance, concluded against Russia in the month of March
1815, and signed by Lord Castlereagh, Talleyrand, and Metternich: his
primary object was to break the powerful union among the sovereigns.

At this period, the Austrian armies had marched into Italy against
Murat and the Neapolitans, and General Bianchi had obtained the most
brilliant victories over the wavering and ill-organised troops of
Joachim. Metternich caused all the fortresses of the kingdom of Naples
and the Roman States to be garrisoned by Austrian troops; for he had
decided, in concert with the French legation, upon the re-establishment
of the House of Bourbon at Naples as completing the scheme of the
government of Europe.

While Fouché was negotiating with Metternich a plan for substituting
the regency under Maria Louisa to the empire, organised as it had
been during the hundred days, French agents were contriving means
of carrying off the child who had been saluted in his cradle with
the title of King of Rome. A great deal of mystification went on in
all this; there was even one of these gentlemen, otherwise, too, a
man in good society, who received a large sum of money, but who had
in reality no other object than that of joining M. de Talleyrand at
Vienna. Napoleon had promised that his wife and son would be present
at the Champ de Mai, but Metternich's police baffled the intentions
of the French agents, and, with the politeness which characterises
all his actions, the minister conducted the daughter of the emperor
and the Duke de Reichstadt to the palace of Schönbrunn, under an
escort of the most trustworthy servants of the house of Austria. It
was one of the most delicate circumstances that occurred during the
life of Metternich, a man, too, always remarkable for his attention
to propriety; for Maria Louisa did not at that time feel the cold
indifference for Napoleon which she afterwards exhibited, and she was
a party to the project formed for carrying her off, by some attendants
who had remained with her, but who now all received an order to quit

The Austrian armies proceeded from Italy across the Alps, and took a
part in the melancholy invasion of the south of France; they afterwards
occupied Provence and Languedoc as far as Auvergne, their head-quarters
being at Lyons and Dijon. On the dissolution of the Congress of Vienna,
after the second fall of Napoleon, Metternich repaired to Paris, to be
present at the conferences which were to precede the treaty of November
1815. Prussia and England had been victorious at Waterloo, and their
interest had proportionally increased. In the negotiations of Paris,
the two cabinets of Berlin and Vienna acted in concert to represent the
interests of Germany, which were very hostile to the French nation.
The German population had been greatly irritated during the gigantic
efforts that Europe had made against Napoleon; the secondary princes
on the banks of the Rhine demanded Alsace and a portion of Lorraine,
marked upon a map drawn in 1815 (which now lies before me), under
the name of Germania, as the representation of Germany. There was a
terrible reaction in that country against France, one of those refluxes
of the people and the national feeling by which various periods of our
history have been distinguished.

Nevertheless, what organisation, exterior or interior, did they intend
to establish, to form a general constitution in Germany? How could they
restore to the Emperor Francis the influence in that country which he
formerly possessed, but of which he had been deprived by Napoleon?
Germany had arisen with the double cry of liberty and unity on her
lips. Unity! how was it to be established among principalities of
which the power and the population varied so greatly, and who still
maintained the feudal principle in the midst of civilised Europe? And
liberty! it was an indefinite expression; how could it be applied
to so many different systems of government, and to so many various
localities whose interests were so distinct from each other? The scheme
of the Confederation of the Rhine had been formed by Napoleon solely
with a view of increasing the importance of all the petty states, and
of inducing them to enter into a coalition hostile to Austria and
Prussia. Now circumstances were altered; Austria and Prussia were
the great predominant powers, whose business it was to establish
their own influence, and govern the whole confederation by means of a
protectorate, more or less clearly defined; Prussia assuming the power
in the northern provinces, Austria to the south. It was necessary,
when the fatherland should be threatened, that its mixed population
should be capable of being called forth to serve indifferently in the
armies of Prussia and Austria. The unity of the German states was thus
opposed as a barrier against Russia and France, and served equally as a
protection against both those nations.

Metternich, when he gave up the old imperial mantle in the name of
the emperor, obtained for him a more real advantage as president of
the diet; a number of votes were awarded to Austria and Prussia, in
proportion to the importance of their position; and either by means of
their command of the army of the confederation, or by their influence
in the diet, these two countries held undisputed sway over the
deliberations and the employment of the troops. No doubt, many little
acts of injustice were committed, and some caprice was exhibited in
the repartition of the states and of the contingents. Sovereignties
were sometimes aggrandised because they were protected by the Emperor
Alexander, and, sometimes, even by Metternich; but where are the
human operations over which perfect justice presides? Since they were
desirous of unity, this sacrifice of some to the cause of all was the
natural consequence of it; and should it now be asked, what is to be
the result of this confederation, I reply, that Austria has reason to
fear lest Prussia should assume a constantly increasing importance in
Germany. The destiny of Austria henceforth is elsewhere, her future
lies in the south; Prussia is too singularly situated not to strive to
agglomerate her dominions; she will undoubtedly do so, either in point
of fact, by means of conquest, or morally, by the influence she will
exercise. It is towards the shores of the Adriatic that Austria will
find herself indemnified for the diminution of her influence in central

The cry of liberty had been raised in Germany when it roused itself
against Napoleon; and the secret societies of Schill and Stein still
had representatives in old Blucher and General Gniesenau. What did the
government propose doing for the liberty they demanded? Constitutions
had been promised, and representative states were granted to some
principalities, but, the victory being once obtained, there was
hesitation about proceeding any farther.

Now that experience has made us perfectly acquainted with the spirit of
revolutions, it is easy to understand how, in the rapid alteration of
political situations, the promises of to-day are violated to-morrow.
It is in vain to imagine that these periods of transition, when the
people struggle for crochets of sovereignty, can bear a comparison with
seasons when the proceedings of the government are calm and regular;
after victory the popular excitement shews itself unreasonable, and
wants to insist upon promises the government is no longer able to

In 1813, during the period of battles and revolutions, many things
had been promised to Germany; but was it possible to perform them in
1815 and 1816? Suppose that in Germany, that country of excitement
and mystical spirit, the utopias of the secret societies had been
realised,--a political existence given to the universities, and a
turbulent representation to all the states,--that they had granted them
the liberty of the press and an organised democracy,--would Germany
ever have reached the high degree of prosperity and public tranquillity
she now enjoys? We must take customs as they exist, and minds with
the habits they have formed; we must not give a people institutions
which would be a torment to their existence without increasing their
well-being. I do not say that the governments of Austria and Prussia
acted rightly in not fulfilling their promises--I merely say, that
time alone can shew whether this conduct proceeded from prudence, or
from a calculating spirit of selfishness. The events of 1814 and 1815
had considerably increased the possessions of Austria in Italy, and,
as this was really a country obtained by conquests, it was natural
and necessary that an armed surveillance should be established in the
Lombardo-Venetian territory, as well as a police capable of controlling
the provinces united to the Austrian empire. The utmost ability will
be required to slacken successively the springs of this police, in
proportion as the victors may be more firmly established in their
foreign possessions. To have granted free constitutions to the people
would have been an imprudent generosity, for this conquest, like those
of Napoleon, could only be maintained by military occupation, which it
was desirable to render as little oppressive as circumstances would
permit. The Italians, a hot and enthusiastic people, had driven out the
French in the day of their calamity; the Austrians should endeavour to
avoid a similar misfortune, and keep carefully upon their guard.

Here begins the melodrama which has been cast around the person of
Prince Metternich, with the picture of the cruel prisons and Piombi of
Venice. I appeal to the Christian sincerity and good faith of Silvio
Pellico, whether there be one word of real truth in his book, _Le
mie Prigioni_. Does he call to mind the terrible Piombi of Venice,
which, in his case, consisted of a room on the fourth floor in the
ducal palace, commanding a most extensive view over the Great Canal,
and for which Lord Byron would have paid some hundreds of sequins?
He was deprived of his liberty, it is true; and this is, no doubt, a
deplorable misfortune: but had he engaged in a conspiracy?--had he
attempted to overturn the established government? He avows that he had
done so, and in attempts of this kind a man sets his liberty and

                    "Life upon a cast,
And he must stand the hazard of the die."

The Austrian cabinet, no doubt, takes ample precautionary measures, but
there is no cruelty or oppression in its system; and whoever has had an
opportunity of conversing with Prince Metternich ought to ask himself,
whether it is possible a man of so calm and reasonable an intellect
should be guilty of an act of barbarity without even a motive for his

The strict repressive measures upon which the system of Prince
Metternich in Germany and Italy is founded occasioned a movement of
reaction; for liberty, that master passion of the mind, does not
allow itself to be crushed without making some despairing efforts.
Far from the secret societies having been dissolved in Germany, they
were regularly organised in the universities among the students,
and the heated state of their minds was encouraged by the influence
of poetry and the political writings, which called upon the courage
and patriotism of all those who possessed noble hearts to lend their
assistance to the German unity. This unity, so loudly appealed to
by the young generation, was in reality only a sort of federative
republic, in which all the states, while enjoying their individual
freedom, were to be united by the practice of virtue, and would thus
tend to the general happiness of mankind. The old German sovereignties
were obliged to curb these associations, which burst forth in the
assassination of Kotzebue.

Metternich had just been travelling in Italy when the universities
distinguished themselves by this sanguinary crime. He was loaded
with the benefits of his sovereign; he now bore the title of prince,
and stars of almost all the orders of knighthood in Europe glittered
on his breast. The state of fermentation which existed in Germany
had not escaped his statesmanlike penetration, and it was solely at
his suggestion that a congress took place at Carlsbad, where severe
and distrustful measures were adopted against the organisation of
the public schools in Germany. The conduct of the universities, the
repression of seditious writings, the establishment of a political
police,--nothing was neglected in this regular crusade, undertaken by
the government against the revolutionary feelings by which the heated
imaginations were then inflamed. After great disturbances have taken
place in a state, the sole anxiety of the government is to check any
disposition to disorder, and they are excited to do so by public
opinion, and by the middle classes, who entertain a dread of fresh
revolutions, and with good reason.

In the year of the Congress of Carlsbad, the Propaganda menaced the
kingdoms of Europe with a fresh revolution. Let us observe accurately
their situation in 1820. Towards the south there was the insurrection
of Spain and the Cortes, and the proclamation of a government more
liberal than even that of England; at Naples, almost by a magical echo,
the constitution was also proclaimed; from Naples the cry of liberty
was heard in Piémont, and the king was deprived of his throne. In Paris
the disturbances were so great that the government was exposed every
evening to a change in its political system. This year of 1820 might be
considered as the first edition of the stupendous event of July, which
took place ten years later with all the fracas of an insurrection.

Austria was particularly endangered by these revolutions, for the
extremities of the kingdom of Naples and Piémont came in close contact
with her Italian possessions. The people had declared themselves; the
sovereigns then became aware of the danger, and roused themselves for
their defence; congresses were held at Troppau and at Laybach, and
Metternich, without hesitation, urged the adoption of powerful measures
to quell the revolutionary spirit now manifested; he was so deeply
convinced of their indispensable necessity, that he opposed every kind
of delay, and only required the moral support of Prussia and Russia,
declaring at once that an Austrian army was about to march into Italy
and occupy Naples and Piémont. The Emperor Alexander, whose mind was
full of the dread of secret societies and plots in Europe, lent his
support to Metternich. There was but one single instance of opposition
with regard to Piémont, and it is known from whence proceeded these
objections. To such a degree has history been disfigured! It proceeded
from the dignity of Louis XVIII., and the despatches of the Duc de
Richelieu and M. Pasquier. The revolutionary spirit was breaking out in
the streets of Paris in 1820, and the restored sovereign declared to
Metternich, that if the Austrian army entered Piémont their occupation
could not be of long continuance, as France could not allow of the
Austrians upon the Alps.

In this _wrestling_, to use the old expression of M. Bignon, the
cabinets had the advantage over the people. Naples was overcome in
a few marches, and Piémont was occupied by the Austrian troops. The
repressive impulse being once given, a combined system was every where
manifested with the design of suspending political liberty. War was
declared by the cabinets against all forms of government which owed
their birth to military excitement or to an exclusively revolutionary
spirit. Metternich was present at the Congress of Verona, a meeting
which appears to me to have been the final expression of the will of
Europe regarding the spirit of insurrection. France was charged with
the suppression of the Spanish Cortes, as Metternich had executed by
force of arms the will of the allied powers against Naples and Piémont.
Here the cabinets were again successful, the revolution was completely
suppressed, as far as regarded its power of action, and only kept a
place in the disordered imagination.

All these acts of government, and all the proclamations which followed
the assembly of the Congress, were the especial work of Prince
Metternich. The Chancellor of Austria possesses a remarkable flow of
language, a pure taste, and a noble manner of expressing his ideas,
even in a diplomatic despatch, where the sense is almost always hidden
under technical, and, it may be added, heavy modes of speech. To him
is owing the style distinguished by the elevation of ideas, which
always appeals to posterity and to the justice of future times, from
the opinion formed by contemporary passions. He even allows himself
to be carried on too far by his anxiety to express his meaning, and
by the literary ornament he is desirous of conferring upon the most
trifling despatch that leaves his cabinet; he takes the principal part
in their composition, he writes in French with extreme elegance and
precision, and he reads all the newspapers regularly, even to the part
which contains merely literary and theatrical critiques. Those who saw
him in 1825, when the unfortunate illness of his wife obliged him to
visit Paris, were surprised to find him possessed of the most exquisite
literary taste. He was acquainted with all our good authors, and shewed
remarkable sagacity in the judgment he formed of the writers of our own
times. One could hardly imagine how a politician, whose life had been
spent in affairs of so much importance, could have found time to study
the most trifling productions of literature.

Affairs were now settled in Europe. The governments began to emerge a
little from the undecided political condition proclaimed by the Holy
Alliance. From the beginning of the year 1827, Metternich had felt some
uneasiness concerning the proceedings of Russia with regard to the
Ottoman Porte, which was likely to be productive of extreme danger to
the Austrian influence. If the Russian projects were realised, Austria
would see herself deprived of her ascendancy over the Porte, which was
nearly as old as that of France. At this time Metternich caused the
French ministry to be sounded, but he was hardly listened to, for the
most decided negotiations were in progress between the three cabinets
of Russia, London, and Paris, on the Greek question; and here it
is well to explain the refusal of Metternich to interfere with the
transactions which led to the treaty of July 1827.

Since the year 1824, the cause of the Greeks had assumed a degree of
consistency and a European character. Every era has its policy of
sentiments, and people were now infatuated with a classic fanaticism
for the Greeks. No doubt there was something glorious in the heroism
which strove to burst the chain of the barbarians; but the enthusiastic
declarations of Russia, her strong and pressing despatches in favour
of the Greeks, were, in their main object, less the expression of a
religious sympathy than the proceedings of a skilful policy, which
sought to abase the Ottoman Porte, in order subsequently to reduce it
into a state of vassalage. Russia, therefore, applied to Charles X.,
by speaking of the cross which had brought salvation to the world. In
England it roused into action the Greek committee, and it was under
the influence of these philanthropic prepossessions that the treaty of
July 1827, and the battle of Navarino, which was the consequence of
it, led to serious uneasiness on the part of Metternich. This minister
instantly divined the full consequences of this shortsighted policy.
The battle of Navarino, by crippling the power of the Porte, killed
it, in a political sense, for the advantage of Russia: it was the
prelude to the campaign of 1828 to the Balkan. Russia had succeeded in
getting M. de la Ferronays placed at the head of foreign affairs in
France: he was an honest man, but rather Russian in his inclinations
and habits; consequently, Metternich could not draw France into a
scheme of confederation and armed league against Russia. He was more
fortunate in England with the Duke of Wellington, who acknowledged the
mistake into which Mr. Canning had fallen, and pronounced the battle
of Navarino _an untoward event_. England had thus returned to a perfect
understanding of which were her real interests.

People may ask, why did not Metternich at this time decide upon war?
how came it that he did not at once take part with the Ottoman Porte?
It was in consequence of the fixed system of the Austrian chancellor;
he has gained every thing through peace. The conquests of Austria are
owing to her pacific principles--to the species of armed neutrality
which is always ready at the proper moment to obtain some advantage.
A war would have compromised its general position in Europe. Being on
good terms with England, and in concert with that nation, the Austrian
cabinet stayed the victory; it was gaining something during the Russian
expedition of 1829, but it was not enough.

During this time events were advancing in France towards an unavoidable
crisis; the ministry of M. de Polignac had just been formed. Under a
merely political point of view, this was an advantage for Austria,
for the Russian system had been abandoned, and they had entered into
all the English ideas concerning the Eastern question; still a mind
possessed of so much penetration could not fail to entertain great
anxiety while watching so earnest a struggle between the political
powers in a country like France, which had been accustomed to give an
impulse to the rest of Europe. It is said that Metternich advised a
_coup-d'état_: does this idea evince an acquaintance with the spirit
of moderation and the capacity of the prime minister of Austria? A
_coup-d'état_ is too decided and too noisy a step ever to enter into
the mind of Prince Metternich: when a difficult situation occurs, he
does not attack it in front--he turns it; and, when he shews himself
very determined in a strong and firm resolution, it is because people's
minds are already made up, and there is no longer any risk in having
recourse to it. The Chancellor of the Empire was too well aware of
the folly of M. de Polignac, and of the want of firmness of Charles
X., to be ignorant that they were incapable of conducting a perilous
undertaking to a prosperous termination. In the Foreign Office there
is a despatch on this subject from M. de Rayneval, then ambassador at
Vienna, who details one of his conversations with Prince Metternich,
precisely upon these _coups-d'état_; it was much the subject of
conversation at Vienna, and the uneasiness entertained concerning the
system followed by M. de Polignac is revealed in more than one despatch
addressed to M. d'Appony, the Austrian ambassador at Paris.

Then broke out the revolution of July, an event of prodigious
importance. Europe had never been in so much danger; for what were the
ideas that led to the eruption? Was it not the spirit of the secret
societies?--republicanism again triumphant in France, the country
which, for the last forty years, had been accustomed to give the
general impulse to continental Europe? The Propaganda principles had
for their leader that old and obstinate spirit, General Lafayette, who
again went to make an appeal to the independence of the people, as he
had done in 1792. A few Frenchmen, and the tricoloured flag displayed
every where, might have caused a general conflagration. What was to
be done? A young, ardent, and inexperienced minister would, perhaps,
have engaged in a war; what a happiness it was for the friends of peace
that Prussia was governed by a wise king, whose mind was rendered
moderate by age, and Austria by a minister who had witnessed so many
storms without being frightened by them! One of the principal traits of
Metternich's character is his perfect freedom from prejudice, either
against or in favour of persons or events, so that he forms a judgment
of them all with a degree of superiority. He therefore awaited the
event of the revolution in a posture of defence; Austria merely held
herself in readiness, and military precautions, combined with the
renewal of political alliances, enabled her to oppose a barrier to all
the invasions of a revolutionary spirit. This moderation was carried
so far, that, as soon as a regular government was established in
France, Metternich hastened to recognise it, without expressing either
dislike or predilection, solely upon the principle that a regular
government is always a protection to order and public peace. Since this
time, Metternich has appeared to follow three rules of conduct, which
govern the whole tenour of his political life. First, to enter into
a close alliance with Russia and Austria for the suppression of all
disturbances in Europe, and, consequently, to renew all the military
contracts entered into at Chaumont in 1814, and Vienna in 1815;
secondly, to combat the spirit of Propaganda, under whatever form it
may appear; and this was a very laborious task, for the revolution of
July had not only dispersed mischievous principles in Europe, but its
money, its emissaries, its flag, and its hopes, had been circulated
in every direction; and, thirdly, the Propaganda spirit having been
every where diffused, Metternich had felt the necessity of augmenting
both the military forces of Austria, and also her vigorous police
establishment. The executive government has every where become more
severe, because it was exposed to more danger. Liberty has sometimes
been confounded with a revolutionary spirit in the system of strict
repression that has been adopted; and it was unavoidable, perhaps,
even necessary, in the complete overthrow of every thing that had been

The empire of Austria is composed of so many different nations,
that political unity would be as impossible in that empire as in the
Russian, which extends over the half of two hemispheres. All that
can be looked for is liberty in their local constitutions, and in
establishments quite in accordance with the spirit of the States,
and more especially with their situation with regard to the Austrian
government. The most prejudiced people agree that no country can be
more peaceably governed than the hereditary states; the other provinces
which have been successively attached to it require more active
precautions and a more watchful police; but civil liberty, which is,
indeed, the first of all, is even there complete and entire. Let us not
exaggerate; I do not propose the Austrian government as a model--I am
too great an admirer of liberty and of the institutions of my country
not to remain deeply attached to them, but I also give their due to
the manners and customs of the people; and we well know that there are
some countries that require to be governed, because they are utterly
incapable of governing themselves. When travelling in Italy, I have
often asked myself whether all these nations, indolently at variance
with each other, who possess more genius than national vigour, more
liveliness and intelligence than strength and reason, could ever aspire
to a laborious liberty under the dominion of the greatly extolled
Unity, which must have been obtained sword in hand--in fact, if this
rich and lovely Italy, like a charming coquette, was not under the
necessity of submitting to the rule of some one, because she has not
sufficient energy to master either her love or her hatred.

The administration of Prince Metternich appears to be deeply imbued
with this sentiment, which has been severely put to the proof by him,
that if civil liberty is necessary to all, political liberty is only
desirable for a few, so far as it does not affect the character and
the safety of government. Protection should be granted to talent, but
it ought to be serious talent, which will not evaporate in pamphlets;
improvement, no doubt, is desirable, but it should take place without
turbulence. The house of Austria has a great dread of noise, she is
afraid of being talked of; never striving after _éclat_ or clamorous
liberty, she resembles those German professors who amass a store of
erudition and science in some dusty corner of the university, and who
only publish a few scarce copies of their works for the use of the

The private life of Prince Metternich has been repeatedly visited
with domestic affliction. Mourning has darkened his dwelling, and the
distractions of the busy world have not always been able to mitigate
his grief. In private society his manners are affable, and he enjoys
the repose of home after the fatigues of his vast ministerial duties.
A clever writer has observed that he spends great part of his time
in conversation; it is a propensity indulged in by men who have seen
every thing--they take pleasure in _talking history_ in their fireside
conversations, which are carefully preserved by their auditors. And
who has not listened with delight to M. Talleyrand, when he used to
give vent to his recollections? Prince Metternich has written long and
curious memoirs, full of justificatory notes, for he considers himself
at the bar of posterity. His work is a great one, and, as I said at the
commencement of this sketch, all the glory and all the responsibility
of it will rest with him. When we look back upon what Austria was
after the peace of Presburg, and that we contemplate her now, greater
than she had ever been, with her public credit, her ascendancy among
the European states, the peace and the government of her provinces,
her civil and military organisation, and then consider that all this
is the work of _one_ minister, who has governed the empire for the
last thirty years, we may easily form an idea of some of the judgments
of posterity. We are ourselves surrounded by ruins, both of men and
things; government, administration, ministry, every thing, has fallen
to pieces, and when, from the midst of the wreck the revolutions have
brought upon us, we turn our eyes upon a countenance which has remained
unmoved among all the ravages of time, it appears as if it did not
belong to the present period; we look back upon Richelieu, upon those
ministers who laid down a system, and then carried it onward to its

Prince Metternich has reached an advanced age, yet he preserves all
his faculties perfectly, with a ready wit that is admirable, and a
freshness of recollection, which turns with extreme pleasure to the
time of the French Empire and his embassy to Paris during the reign of
Napoleon. We have all some favourite period of our lives, and we love
particularly to dwell upon the days of our youth, before the illusions
which charmed us had entirely faded away. He always speaks with great
respect of the Emperor Napoleon, whose noble countenance exercised an
unspeakable influence over his future life. Wherever that great genius
passed, it left an indelible impression; and it was by the desire of
Metternich that the remains of the Duke de Reichstadt were placed
beside those of Maria Theresa and Francis II. in the vault of the
Capuchin Church. It is a fine idea of the emperors of Austria to choose
their last abode in the church of the most lowly of religious orders,
to humble their greatness before the poorest brethren of the Christian
church. The Capuchins have every thing in common, among them there is
no property, no distinction between mine and thine. Babœuf was only
a plagiary from them without the moral idea of heaven, which purifies
and sanctifies every thing.

The house of Austria is accustomed to be governed by old ministers,
and its traditionary spirit takes pleasure in it. In politics it is
often better to do well than to do a great deal, to act after due
deliberation than to act hastily, and then return to deliberate. Prince
Metternich is not an enemy to any form of government that has order
for its basis; and this offers an explanation of his conduct since
the revolution. When the Propaganda was heard every where, he decided
strongly in favour of war, and his expression to the French ambassador
at Vienna is well known: "If we must perish, it is just as well to die
of apoplexy as to be suffocated with a slow fire; we will declare for

The wisdom of the French government, its salutary repression of
every Propaganda spirit, maintained peace. Since that period the
Austrian minister, in all questions of any importance, has preserved
the position of an armed mediator, with the invariable desire of
preserving peace, and what he terms the European _status quo_. He does
not consider the present time requires agitation, war, or conquest.
According to him, it is a season of organisation, and, by the position
he gives to his monarchy, he holds the balance even, so as to prevent
any conflict between the north and south of Europe. He said to me
wittily one day: "I am, to a certain degree, the confessor of all the
cabinets; I give absolution to those who have committed the fewest
sins, and I thus maintain peace in their souls."

In this situation it is easier for Metternich to employ himself
in particular improvements. Austria is in a remarkable state of
prosperity; we ought to be proud of our France, and it undoubtedly is
a fine country, but, with our national pride, we form singular ideas
upon the state of other people; and yet, among them also, we may every
where observe signs of very forward civilisation, commerce, industry,
railroads, with pleasing and kind hospitality, all are to be met with
in the Austrian states; without speaking of the intellectual movement
more sober, and as far advanced as in our country of little romances,
novels, theatrical, and literary critiques.

Men who like to bring circumstances together have sometimes instituted
a comparison between Prince Metternich and Prince Kaunitz, who was so
long at the head of the Austrian government. Although these parallels
are always rather arbitrary, and that the different shades in the human
character are innumerable, we may safely affirm in this instance,
that there never existed two minds more completely opposed to each
other; the only point of resemblance consists in the duration of their
administration. Prince Kaunitz, altogether weakened by the ideas of the
eighteenth century, allowed the Austrian empire to degenerate into a
state of supineness and indolence. Prince Metternich, on the contrary,
has reconstructed and consolidated this monarchy; he has retained
nothing of Prince Kaunitz's system, except its extreme moderation, and
the traditions of _status quo_, adopted after the great reign of Maria
Theresa. After Metternich, will Austria follow a different system? Will
the statesman that appears likely to succeed him adopt a less prudent
and more advanced plan? We do not believe it. It is in Austria with
the ministers as with the heirs of the throne in England; before their
accession they aim at popularity, and, when once at the head of the
government, they continue the proceedings of the former reign, because
reason and experience are of some value, and that the magnificent
part of Austria is to place itself as an idea of pacification between
empires which would strike against each other with too much violence.


 [7] M. de Talleyrand, who had naturally an inclination in favour of
 ancient honours, preferred his title of duke of the old monarchy to
 his principality; for the title of prince, unless in connexion with
 the Blood Royal, was considered as of foreign extraction, and not to
 possess any aristocratic importance.

One of the torments of a statesman who has played a great part in
politics is to see his conduct subjected to the judgment of ignoble
minds and the discussions of people incapable of forming a just
estimate of it. How much has been written concerning M. de Talleyrand!
how many _bons mots_, and how many rude sayings have been attributed to
him! His biography has been made a sort of _Ana_, for the amusement of
idle people; he has been represented as a kind of facetious personage,
almost a mountebank, abounding in all the little wit of society, and of
provincial towns. Few men have pierced through the mysteries of that
long existence; still fewer have read in the wrinkles of this old man,
and in his eyes, still sparkling under his slightly contracted brows,
the secret thoughts, the powerful motives that swayed his life, which
was one of unity and system.

If you have ever travelled in the southern part of France, you must
have lingered in the Périgord, the province which still comprehends
the best and the most numerous nobility of very ancient descent in the
whole kingdom. There you will on every side meet with memorials of the
Bosons and the Talleyrands, the sovereign princes of the province of
Quercy: the keepers of the old records will recount to you the exploits
of the Bosons of Périgord, under the Wolf dukes during the Carlovingian
dynasty, who received this name from their wild exploits in the
forests. The families of Talleyrand and Montesquiou-Fezensac disputed
with each other the precedence over all the southern nobility. M. de
Talleyrand sprang from the younger branch of the Grignols, who were
of the stock of André de Talleyrand, Comte de Grignols, the youngest
branch of the Périgord family; the eldest branch became extinct upon
the death of Marie Francoise, Princess of Chalais, and Marchioness of

 [8] The arms of M. de Talleyrand were, Gules, three lions, or, langued,
 armed, and crowned azure, prince's coronet on the shield, ducal crown
 on the mantle. Device, _Re que Diou_ (Nothing but God above us).

I have been particular in dwelling upon the high nobility of his
origin, because it greatly assisted his position in diplomatic affairs.
Noble birth, however people may declaim against it, facilitates
negotiations with European powers. Be it a weakness, be it a habit,
when a man takes his place as a titled nobleman, among so many
foreigners of illustrious birth, it is an advantage to his position; he
treats on a footing of equality, he obtains more because he is among
his peers, misfortune does not upset him, because he preserves his name
in spite of every thing; he cannot be degraded, for revolutions no more
deprive him of the nobility of his race, than the royal confiscations
that formerly took place could destroy the old family coat-of-arms.

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord was born at Paris in the year
1754; his maternal grandmother was the clever and witty Princess
des Ursins, that eminent person who directed the councils of Philip
V. of Spain, as her friend Madame de Maintenon governed the mind of
Louis XIV. M. de Talleyrand, being the youngest of the family, was
intended for holy orders, according to the custom of the nobility,
who devoted themselves to the profession of arms, to the church,
or the manor; an active life was necessary to men of family. There
had always been a high prelate of the house of Talleyrand, and this
ecclesiastical dignity was intended for the young Abbé of Périgord,
who was accordingly sent at the age of fourteen to the seminary of
Saint-Sulpice. One ought to have heard Talleyrand himself, in his hours
of gaiety and unreserve, recount the pranks and first love-affair of
the young abbé; his scaling the walls, his visits to the roof of the
house,--all of them things little suitable to the serious profession
for which he was intended by his family. I think that in reading his
Memoirs in the year 1827-28, at which time he was out of favour, he
made some concessions to the little philosophers of the eighteenth
century, who surrounded him under the Restoration.

His ecclesiastical studies were limited; he occupied himself but little
with theology, but already very much with business. The situation of
general agent for the clergy was given him by the custom of his family,
which was a very lucrative appointment, for he might be considered
as the _chargé d'affaires_ of that great body, and he exhibited
great method and remarkable judgment in the skilful application of
the revenues of the church, which amounted to above one hundred and
thirty-six millions of livres. The clergy met in a chapter every year,
and the Abbé de Talleyrand gave an account of their revenues, of the
steps he had taken, and the duties he had performed with regard to the
court; his reports are remarkably exact, with a clearness of style that
is very uncommon.

At the age of five-and-thirty, after having attained the majority
required by the Church, he was raised to the bishopric of Autun,--a
fine appointment, which would afterwards lead to the archbishopric of
Rheims and a cardinal's hat. The revenue of the see amounted to 60,000
francs, a magnificent situation for a young bishop, but such was the
custom of the nobility; nevertheless, the bent of his inclinations
led him to belong to the philosophical society, and the followers of
the English school, which began to appear upon the horizon in 1789;
among these were Mirabeau, Cabanis, Lally-Tollendal, and Mounier, in
fact all the men who were dreaming of a reform in France. People said
wittily that M. de Talleyrand, bishop of Autun, with his prebend and
his bishopric, looked upon himself as an abuse. At this time people
were animated with a glorious passion for suppressing themselves;
and when one recollects that the proposal to abolish the titles of
nobility was made by De Montmorency, De Montesquiou, La Rochefoucauld,
De Talleyrand, and Clermont-Tonnerre, those illustrious elders of the
French nobility, one must honestly confess that an incomprehensible
spirit of vertigo had taken possession of the French society. There
was in this something so insane, so eccentric, that I imagine the
ancient nobility must have been led by an interested motive towards the
suppression of titles: during the last three centuries so many patents
of nobility had been conferred, that the really illustrious families
were no longer distinguished: there were too many titled plebeians.
Now, if all titles were abolished by a decree, all this nobility of
a modern date would be entirely suppressed, for it depended solely
upon royal grants and letters patent written according to the caprice
of the sovereign; whilst those who bore a historical name, as the
Rochefoucaulds, the Montmorencys, and the Montesquious, had no need of
deeds to prove their genealogy; it was part of the soil.

The Abbé de Talleyrand was in possession of his rich bishopric of Autun
when the States-General were convened, and he was appointed deputy of
the clergy of his diocese to the Constituent Assembly, so remarkable
from its adventurous spirit, the boldness of its conceptions, and its
total want of connexion, and absence of all kind of unity or method,
either moral or political. The Constituent Assembly was a great chaos,
where the opinions of men of talent clashed with each other, where all
sorts of extravagances were proposed in the executive government, and
all the ideas most fitted to overturn the monarchy and the society of
France were encouraged; Rousseau's social contract was applied to a
people already old in its customs and civilisation.

The Bishop of Autun shewed himself the most zealous protector of all
these innovations; he proposed the abolition of titles, and vehemently
advocated the civil constitution of the clergy; he also introduced into
the public system of education all the ideas of false and mischievous
philosophy which the eighteenth century had diffused in human minds.
Along with the Marquis of Condorcet, and Cabanis, he was one of the
adepts, and of the friends of Mirabeau, whom that statesman and popular
orator used to employ for the furtherance of the interests of his
intellectual dictatorship. They were accustomed to meet in the evening
at Mirabeau's house, to prepare the projects which would resound the
next day from the tribune of the assembly. Without being very well
educated, the Bishop of Autun was gifted with an extremely fluent
style, and a mode of expression remarkable for its clearness, and its
elegant precision: the ancient high nobility certainly always possessed
great natural talents; they had but little information, and yet they
were eminently gifted with the power of expressing what they wished to

The solemn festival of the confederation took place at this
period, a singular proceeding of which the spirit has been greatly
misrepresented: it was theatrical, for such is always necessary in
France. In the Champ de Mars an altar was erected, surmounted by
tricoloured flags, upon a scaffolding fifty feet high, ornamented with
ribands, also of the national colours. Then came M. de Lafayette,
at that time a very handsome man, with his courteous and somewhat
hypocritical countenance beaming with smiles, mounted upon his
snow-white, slender, prancing steed, and wearing the uniform of the
National Guard with long skirts and a three-cornered hat on his head,
as it was the fashion at the time of the American War. He was then
trying on his royal dignity. Around him crowded the deputations from
the Departments with their flags; there were many drunken people, as it
was natural there should be, and others tired with having wheeled earth
from the Champ de Mars; and there was a plentiful exchange of kisses
and embraces, according to the system so approved by Lamourette. At the
foot of the altar of which I have spoken appeared M. de Talleyrand,
bishop of Autun, dressed in his pontifical habits, his mitre on his
head, a crosier in his hand, and with manners as elegant, as much
refinement, and as studiously dignified a demeanour, as he afterwards
discovered when carrying his crutch stick into the assembly of the
corps diplomatique: kneeling beside him was the Abbé Louis (afterwards
Minister of Finance) one of the curates, in his alb and surplice.

The mass was celebrated with due solemnity by the Bishop of Autun; but
there is a tradition which, for the honour and character of Talleyrand,
we will believe to be unfounded, that when Mirabeau passed beside
the altar the officiating pontiff addressed to him some expressions
of mockery and irreligion, which must have weighed heavily upon
his conscience on his death-bed. There are, unfortunately, seasons
of youth and evil passions, when people give way to anti-Christian
ideas, and at that time a degree of impiety was the fashion. Was
it not then considered good taste to ridicule the holy and noble
ceremonies of the Catholic religion? Talleyrand took a part in all
the anti-religious proceedings of the Constituent Assembly upon the
situation of the clergy in France, and he was commissioned to apply the
civil constitution to his diocese, but the powerful opposition of his
clergy did not permit him to accomplish his purpose, for the greater
part of the parish priests refused to take the oath. He was present
at the consecration of the first constitutional bishops, and, if this
devoted conduct was considered deserving of praise by the assembly, it
was regarded in a very different light elsewhere, and drew upon him the
excommunication of the holy see. Pope Pius VI. published a bull against
the Bishop of Autun, in which he declared him out of the pale of the
Church, for having become an adherent of the civil constitution of
the clergy. This step needs no explanation, such a constitution being
in its very essence subversive of all Catholic faith. It was a work
of the ultra-Jansenist party, and so thoroughly overstepped all the
established rules, that it allowed the Jews and Protestants belonging
to various districts and corporations to participate in the election
of the Catholic clergy. A bishop or a schoolmaster was appointed in the
same manner that a deputy was elected for the National Assembly, for
the whole electoral body discharged their duties in the same manner.
An absurd principle of equality had levelled every thing; the people
appointed the mayors, the bishops, the parish priests, the deputies,
and the municipal officers. It was disorder in equality; the levelling
principle had trampled down society.

Talleyrand was the intimate friend of Mirabeau, or, to speak with
more precision, the great tribune made a tool of him. They had lived
together, and together had prepared their works for the Assembly. The
popular orator had just been attacked by the mortal disease which
carried him off in so rapid and mysterious a manner, and the Bishop
of Autun was present when his friend breathed his last. It was not as
a ghostly comforter affording him the consolations of his ministry,
it was not as a Catholic bishop pointing to a world beyond the grave
when those eloquent lips were about to be sealed in death; M. de
Talleyrand sat by the bedside of the dying man as the depository of
his last thoughts and of his political labours, which led to the
destruction of the monarchy. Mirabeau had committed to writing a work
upon the equal division of inheritance among the different members of
a family, and on the right of making testamentary dispositions, it
being the object of the Revolutionists to overturn civil rights as
they had already destroyed political ones, because it was well known
they were intimately connected. The Bishop of Autun undertook to read
the discourse of Mirabeau in the name of his friend at the National
Assembly, and excited the most lively enthusiasm while repeating the
last words of the orator whose career was now at an end. The life of
Mirabeau had been, in some respects, the reaction of a mind filled
with strong passions against the persecutions he had endured as a son
from the hand of a severe and inflexible father, and his discourse
upon limiting the right of making a will and on the equal division of
inheritance affords the most certain proof of it. The gift of eloquence
was held in the most enthusiastic estimation by the Constituent
Assembly, it resolved the greatest part of its business into brilliant
oratorical theories, resting upon the ideas of demolition, which were
the offspring of the eighteenth century, and as Talleyrand had some
difficulty in ascending the tribune, he played but a secondary part
at that time. He excited attention principally by his management of
business and by his assiduous attendance on committees; it does not
appear that he had attained, even at this period, to the reputation of
taciturn ability enjoyed by the Abbé Siéyès, and I seldom meet with his
name in important and brilliant discussions.

When the Constituent Assembly had concluded their work, Talleyrand
quitted France for England. M. de Chauvelin was ambassador there
from the unfortunate Louis XVI., and the Bishop of Autun received
a commission, of which the object was to draw the two governments
of France and England into a nearer resemblance to each other, by
establishing a system of two legislative chambers exactly upon the
model of the English houses of parliament. There was already some idea
of a revolution like that of 1688, and Talleyrand might serve as an
agent for the attempt, for there was a good understanding between him
and M. de Chauvelin, and a still better between him and the clubs of
England. But opinions travelled too fast to allow proper consideration
being given to the due balance of power, and the sovereignty of the
people had given rise to the scheme of a single chamber. Diplomatic
business now went on in a singular manner; instead of the clever and
prudent system, which since the commencement of the reign of Louis XVI.
had secured so many advantages to France, so many favourable treaties,
so many important annexations of territory, the diplomatic corps now
amused themselves in encouraging the propaganda and spreading every
where the spirit of Jacobinism. M. de Talleyrand had some interviews
with the principal leaders of the Whigs, and his intimacy with Earl
Grey began from this date. Shortly after this, being concerned in the
intrigues of Danton, he returned to Paris on the 11th of August, and he
always took pleasure in saying that his not having perished on the 2d
of September was owing to the efforts of that singularly energetic man,
as well as his having been able to obtain a passport for England.

As the course of events was progressing towards war, and that the trial
of Louis XVI. was considered by the Tories as a total subversion of
every thing, Talleyrand received an order to quit Great Britain in
virtue of the alien act, and was only allowed twenty-four hours to
make his arrangements. In the year 1793 people were in the midst of
revolutionary excitements; he, therefore, did not return to France, but
embarked for the United States, the country that was then pointed out
as a model, a pattern government, which the republican party in the
Legislative Assembly always cited as the most perfect that political
ideas could conceive, and which M. de la Fayette never ceased to
extol. At that time two schools prevailed, the American system and
the revolution of 1688, both of which have been since renewed and
perpetuated both in men and events.

Talleyrand settled in the United States, and during some years he
devoted himself to commerce, and engaged in speculations with a
considerable degree of activity. There always was something adventurous
and bold in his disposition in money matters; to use a familiar
expression, no one ever made his fortune oftener than M. de Talleyrand,
without being particularly scrupulous as to the means he employed.
His property in France was sequestered, it was, therefore, with very
limited funds that he commenced his mercantile operations in the United
States; and it was certainly singular enough to see a bishop of 1789,
afterwards a popular orator, then a secret diplomatist acting as a spy
for a party of the National Assembly, finally transforming himself into
a merchant in a counting-house at Boston or New York. The shades of the
ancient Bosons of Périgord, those great feudal barons, must have been
horrified and have indignantly grasped their lances and their coats
of arms when they contemplated their descendant seated amid bales of
cotton in a republic of shopkeepers. In this manner do revolutions
take hold of a man's destiny, play with it, and raise and abase it by
turns; but the nobility had already accustomed France to still more
extraordinary courses: had not men of noble birth in Brittany and
Gascony become freebooters and buccaneers under Henry IV., Louis XIII.,
and Louis XIV.?

A commercial profession in a country so distant from important
events did not suit Talleyrand's inclination, and when order was a
little restored, he lost no time in soliciting permission to return
to France, the scene of his earliest days. He had left many friends
there, among the partisans of what was called the moderate republic
and constitutional system; such were Chenier and Madame de Staël,
belonging to the literary and philosophical portion of society under
the Directory, who had regained some degree of importance after the
Reign of Terror was past, for in calmer times the different shades of a
party become more evident.

It was particularly to the earnest solicitations of Madame de Staël
that Talleyrand owed his return, and we know that her influence was
at that time very great. Chenier undertook the report, and a decree
was passed revoking the rigorous measures that had been adopted in
1793 against the late Bishop of Autun; it was also declared that he
had not emigrated. Talleyrand had at that time entirely left off
the ecclesiastical habit, and appeared every where as a layman. He
enjoyed in the world a great reputation for wit and talent; there was
something noble in his countenance, without its being exactly striking;
he carried his head remarkably well, and his hair fell in curls upon
his shoulders. He was no longer a young man, still his reputation for
gallantry and for agreeableness in society had procured for him a great
ascendancy over some women of that period, in the midst of that most
singular society in the time of Barras and the Directory, in which were
jumbled together men of high rank, contractors, renowned characters,
and courtesans. Talleyrand had brought with him Madame Grand, with
whom he had become acquainted at Hamburg, and, by a whimsical
contrast, it was said no woman ever was possessed of less sense or
less intelligence. We know how many capital stories were told of her
in the Fauxbourg St. Germain, of which even the republic was so much
afraid. The reason is, that the spirit of good society possesses great
influence at the time that a bad state of society prevails. Jests were
uttered, and the most charming _naïvetés_ were attributed to Madame
Talleyrand, of which that regarding _M. Denon and Robinson Crusoe_ is,
perhaps, the most inimitable.

As soon as he arrived in Paris, Talleyrand joined the Constitutional
Club, which used to meet at the Hôtel de Salm. Many thinking people
saw the republic was gradually coming to an end, it had then but
very little root in France. It was no longer possible to maintain a
feeble and violent democracy, which gave way to the most fantastic and
extraordinary paroxysms in the public assembly; people returned to
the system of the balance of power, and to the English ideas that the
school of Mounier and Lally-Tollendal had been desirous of rendering
prevalent in the Constituent Assembly, and that Talleyrand had been
commissioned to represent in London, in his secret mission, in which,
as I before observed, there was mingled some idea of a revolution like
that of 1688.

The institution of an executive directory had been the first step
towards an oligarchic system, where, in default of an unity of power,
a centre of action, reduced to five persons, had been established.
Talleyrand applied all his credit to the support of the Directory, for,
not being strong enough at that time to resist or to try to overturn
the government, his only object was to draw some advantage from it.
He refused steadily to join the royalist party, which, before the
18th Fructidor, was preparing the downfall of the Directory; still
less would he belong to the Jacobin faction, for which he felt a
strong antipathy, on account of its construction and its inclinations;
accordingly, when the 18th Fructidor burst over France, with the
proscription of the councils and the press, he was appointed to the
ministry for foreign affairs; and the _Moniteur_ announced that citizen
Talleyrand, devoted to the interests of the republic, was about to give
a powerful impulse to our relations with foreign powers. To accept
office under a republic was a singular employment for the heir of the
Bosons of Périgord; but then was not the heir of the Barras, a family
as old as the rocks of Provence, the chief of the five directors? A
curious history might be written by following the career of the old
nobility during the French revolution; they assumed the position that
men of gentle blood had done in former times during civil disturbances,
every thing adventurous suited the younger branches of a noble family.

We must now consider what was the state of France with regard to
foreign affairs. The Directory was at war with Austria, Russia, and
England; Belgium was ours, we occupied part of Italy, and the rest was
transformed into little republics, after the model of the executive
directory; for there was at that time, as during all revolutions, a
great propaganda mania. Money was the principal instrument of the
Directory, every thing was accomplished by means of bribery, and people
made haste to achieve a fortune, that they might afterwards spend it
in miserable debauchery. When a negotiation was opened with a foreign
power, the first step was to impose contributions, and to demand secret
presents; and the minister for foreign affairs was a sort of agent
commissioned to receive all this _spolia opima_, which afterwards went
to fatten the friends of Barras and Siéyès, or some women who invaded
the saloons of the Luxembourg, and presided over their sensual rites.
It was a time when modesty was banished; the state of society resembled
the Greek courtesans of the Directory, who, while they almost dispensed
with clothing, covered even their feet with precious stones. Talleyrand
began afresh to work at his fortune, but, no doubt, he manœuvred
with too little discretion, for at the end of some months he was
openly denounced by Charles de Lacroix, and was obliged to give in his
resignation, after having published a rather curious pamphlet, which I
have succeeded in obtaining; it bears the name of "Eclaircissements."
A pamphlet written by him is a very rare book, for he has written
very little in the course of his life. This little work contains an
exposition of the conduct of Citizen Talleyrand, from the time of the
Constituent Assembly to his appointment to the ministry for foreign
affairs, and is couched in very moderate language. The ex-minister
replies to his calumniators with remarkable clearness and simplicity,
appealing to the testimony afforded by the past, during the whole
course of his life. This pamphlet excited a vast controversy. Citizen
Talleyrand was also impeached as an extortioner from the tribune of
the Five Hundred, even by Lucien Buonaparte, and he was overwhelmed
under the evidence produced against him, with the view of applying
the principle of ministerial responsibility to his case. He had great
difficulty in escaping from this unpleasant situation, in which he had
been placed by rather too much avidity during his ministry for foreign
affairs. I must confess, one of the defects of his character was his
public indifference to all charges brought against him with regard to
money; it often compromised his reputation, and sometimes placed him in
a very awkward situation.

Having quarrelled with the Directory, we now find him working with all
his might for the establishment of the consular government. Buonaparte
had surrounded himself on his return from Egypt with all the men who
possessed any political talent or any idea of order in society, and he
did not disdain the extensive abilities of M. de Talleyrand. The Abbé
Siéyès had no predilection for the Bishop of Autun; there was an angry
feeling between them on clerical subjects; but Napoleon required them
both, he indulged in no feelings of repugnance when the triumph of his
ambition was at stake; he therefore employed them both, each according
to his abilities, so as to render them subservient to his designs. The
influence of Talleyrand over the constitutional party was not devoid
of utility upon the 18th Brumaire, and when the consular government
was established, the provisional commission appointed him minister for
foreign affairs as a recompense for the service he had rendered, and
Buonaparte confirmed him in his situation as soon as he was proclaimed
First Consul.

A more extensive field was now open before him; the consular government
was founded on a principle of unity, there was no longer in their
relations with foreign powers the unrestrained violence exhibited by
the National Convention, or the unconnected measures pursued by the
Directory. It was possible to negotiate with decency and moderation,
the relations of one state to another were assuming a character
of regularity they had never possessed under any of the preceding
governments, and then commenced the great diplomatic arrangements which
were at last to bless Europe with repose.

The glorious commencement of the consulate was distinguished by
numerous treaties; at Lunneville peace was concluded with Austria, at
Amiens a covenant was made with England; other treaties were succeeded
by peace with Russia and the Porte, and in all these negotiations
Talleyrand evinced great skill and knowledge of what was proper and
advisable. He placed the correspondence between governments upon an
excellent footing, keeping aloof from the extravagant system which the
agents of the Directory introduced into foreign negotiations during
the time of the _Carmagnole_ diplomatists, who levied so many forced
contributions upon the pictures, the gold crucifixes, and the little
property of the poor in the Mont de Piété.[9]

 [9] A pawnbroking establishment in Paris under the protection of the

These treaties were a great assistance to the fortune of Talleyrand,
being almost all followed by presents of considerable value, according
to the custom observed in negotiations between one state and another.

On these occasions the minister did not exhibit sufficient modesty,
I might say, sufficient discretion, for people had a tolerably good
idea how much he had gained by each treaty, in money and diamonds. No
doubt there was some exaggeration in the charges brought against him
by discontented people, but I repeat it, one great defect of M. de
Talleyrand was an inclination to play with bribery and corruption, and
to establish it as a theoretic principle, even in his conversation:
the stain remains upon his name. He held men in too much contempt, and
this is a sentiment which society always returns with interest. It was
now necessary he should lay the foundation of a new fortune; he entered
boldly into various speculations: while avaricious and economical in
little things, he gambled in the stocks with a perfect frenzy, and even
lost considerable sums of money in them. Immediately after the peace
of Amiens he had speculated upon a rise, and his gain appeared almost
certain, but it happened by one of those caprices which stock-jobbing
can alone explain, that the public funds fell more than ten per cent
after the signing of the treaty, and he lost several millions of francs
in a single turn of the stocks. These caprices of fortune occurred
repeatedly in the course of his long life, and explain the necessity he
was constantly under of repairing his fortune.

The late Bishop of Autun had just been entirely restored to secular
life by permission of Pope Pius VII. While the negotiation concerning
the concordat was in progress, the First Consul insisted M. Portalis
should write to Rome, and request a brief from the pope authorising the
secularisation of M. de Talleyrand; and the venerable Pius VII., who
made so many sacrifices to obtain peace for the Church, consented to
the act, though he rather exceeded his powers by so doing, as according
to the canon the character of priest is indelible. It is said that
this brief was not entirely explicit, the pontiff did not establish
a principle permitting the marriage of priests; he merely, in virtue
of his discretionary power, granted an act of indulgence and personal
pardon to M. de Talleyrand for a deed he had already committed.

The ex-bishop had hardly laid down his crosier before he was
compelled to submit to the imperious requisitions of the First
Consul. Buonaparte, who piqued himself upon his strict morality,
insisted he should enter the state of matrimony--a most grievous yoke
to impose upon a man of wit and good taste, for, with his habitual
tact, Talleyrand had been well aware of the amusement afforded to the
Fauxbourg St. Germain by the silliness and ignorance of Madame Grand,
and when she should be legally invested with the title of Citizeness
Talleyrand, how she would expose herself to the sarcasms and the
ridicule of the aristocracy! But there was no help for it, for the
First Consul had decided it should be so. The marriage was accordingly
celebrated at the municipality and in the church, and as people
expressed it, _the Bishop of Autun took to himself a wife_.

The ministry of the First Consul now comprehended two men of great
importance, Talleyrand and Fouché. The one represented at the court
of Buonaparte the ancient aristocracy restored--he was essentially
the man of diplomatic forms and traditions; Fouché, on the contrary,
was the representative of Jacobinism and the revolutionary principle,
which the First Consul considered as an internal malady fatal to his
power. A deeply-rooted and continual competition could not fail to
arise between two characters who had been led to accept office by
such different ideas, and who met in the presence of Napoleon as the
expression of such different systems. Both were men of incontestable
ability, and were constantly informing against each other, or, at
least, keeping a careful watch over the proceedings of their rival
colleague; in addition to which, Fouché was very anxious to obtain the
direction of Foreign affairs. Buonaparte was perfectly aware of the
hatred that existed between them, but he was too wise to sacrifice one
of the ministers to the other; each served as a check upon his rival,
and he listened to the information they gave him, quite certain that
neither would allow the treacherous dealings of the other to escape.
It was in this manner Fouché delivered to Buonaparte the minutes of
the secret treaty with Paul I., which Talleyrand had communicated to
the court of London through the medium of one of his agents. The agent
was sacrificed, but Buonaparte did not venture to touch his principal,
because there was some danger in making known the treachery. Talleyrand
afterwards employed the same agent in several subordinate negotiations;
indeed, it is well known that he rather preferred people who were not
much incommoded by scruples of conscience, men of whom he could boldly
disclaim all knowledge if necessary, and who were content he should do

We now come to the lamentable affair of the Duc d'Enghien; and there
is not the slightest doubt that Talleyrand was as well acquainted as
General Savary with Buonaparte's determination to seize the prince.
He denied it in vain, for positive proofs exist of the truth of our
assertion; amongst others, his letter to the Baron of Edelsheim,
minister of Baden, which has been preserved in an entire state. The
following is an extract from it: "The First Consul has considered
it necessary to order two detachments to proceed to Offemburg and
to Ettenheim, to secure the authors of so odious a crime, which is
sufficient to deprive the persons who have been concerned in it of the
benefit of the law of nations."

After the arrest of the unfortunate prince, Talleyrand was acquainted
with all the proceedings of this horrible affair, and he was present
at the privy council where his condemnation was determined upon, or,
at least, discussed. I dare not believe the cold and laconic reply
attributed to him in the drawing-room of his old friend, the Duchess
of ***, the very evening the Duc d'Enghien was tried at Vincennes.
This reply was not only an atrocious expression, but it also involved
a degree of imprudence which did not make part of his character. It is
bad enough to have been concerned even indirectly in so fearful a crime.

In the midst of the active negotiations in which Talleyrand felt
obliged to appear and to take a part, was there a political system
formed in his mind, or merely a general principle? He still retained
a strong bias towards English ideas, and a wish for an alliance with
that country. This system, on which his earliest diplomatic plans
were based, was constantly in his mind; he had not forgotten his
residence in England at the beginning of the French revolution under
M. de Chauvelin; he was also intimately connected with the Whig party,
and considered Great Britain as the political ally of France against
Russia, which last appeared to him, of all the powers in Europe, the
most dangerous, as far as the civilisation of the world was concerned.
He had not observed that by her situation Russia is our easiest, our
most natural, and our most disinterested ally, for France and Russia do
not clash either in a political or commercial point of view. But there
are some early impressions which never wear out, and Talleyrand had
passed some of the best years of his life in England, and on terms of
friendship with Lord Grey, Lord Russell, Fox, and Sheridan.

He received the title of Grand Chamberlain at the accession of
Napoleon to the throne, for which event his diplomatic correspondence
had already prepared Europe, and he had also entered into a solemn
justification of it to all the different cabinets. Napoleon liked to
be surrounded by people of illustrious birth, and it appeared useful
to the brilliancy of his crown to have a Boson de Périgord among the
officers of his palace; it was in accordance with his passion for
aristocratical honours, and his wish to restore the old state of
society. M. de Talleyrand played a great part in the first negotiations
with Germany, before and after the peace of Presburg, that peace
which effected such a radical change in the political and territorial
situation of the German nation. It was he who, with the assistance of
M. Reinhard, contrived to bring about the Confederation of the Rhine,
which made an end of the predominancy in Germany of the ancient house
of Austria. After these negotiations were concluded, he received the
title of Prince of Benevento, with a real feudal authority under
the protectorate of France, which afforded him a revenue of 150,000
livres per annum, and made with his salary as minister for foreign
affairs about 500,000 francs.[10] The peace of Presburg was certainly
a most brilliant epoch in his ministry. As the representative of the
magnificent military government whose grandeur overshadowed the earth,
he assumed a certain degree of majesty in his manners and habits. The
Prince of Benevento held a _cour plénière_ for the German electors, who
came to request from him a fief, or a portion of his supreme power. At
the summit of his greatness, Talleyrand's mind still turned to the
English alliance, and when Fox succeeded Pitt at the head of affairs,
he again conceived the project of opening negotiations with a view to
peace; he was firmly convinced that no general peace could be concluded
in Europe without the concurrence of England, and he was desirous a
vast system of compensation should be arranged, which might incline
her towards pacific measures, for no treaty can be durable that is not
based upon equity. But these projects were interrupted by one of the
most serious circumstances that occurred in the whole course of his

 [10] About 20,000_l._

It has been said that Talleyrand retired from office because he did not
agree in the opinions of Napoleon regarding the war in Spain. I have
deeply studied the question, and I believe this report to be utterly
untrue. There is but a slight approximation of dates between his
resignation and the treachery of Bayonne; it is this approximation that
has been laid hold of to gild the disgrace of the minister. Talleyrand
was, in fact, replaced by M. de Champagny a little before the Spanish
war, but he took part with the cabinet in all the intrigues which
led to the events of Aranjuez. The reunion of the Peninsula in one
political system with France agreed well with his historical ideas upon
the family compact, and several letters are still in existence from
the Prince of Benevento which confirm his participation in all these
events, as well as a curious report to the Emperor, demonstrating the
advantages that would accrue from reuniting both crowns in his family,
in imitation of the grand political scheme of Louis XIV.

The real cause of Talleyrand's disgrace was the active attempts he made
to negotiate peace with England independent of Napoleon. The Emperor
did not at all like men who acted upon their own opinion; he liked
every thing to originate with himself alone. He got rid of Talleyrand
as, in succeeding years, he shook off Fouché, minister of police.

There are times when men of consideration are a source of
embarrassment, when advisers are no longer required: devoted servants
alone are necessary. The Prince of Benevento took advantage of the
circumstance, and as the Spanish war was very unpopular, he assumed
the attitude of a martyr to his love for peace and moderate measures.
He was always clever enough to account for his being out of favour
by attributing it to some motive which might secure him a good place
in public opinion, and he then profited by his situation to wage an
underhand, but murderous war, against the power which had rejected
him from its circle of activity. When he was no longer at the head of
affairs for the purpose of directing them, he took care to bring up the
rear, for the sake of causing hinderance and annoyance. Nevertheless,
his dismissal was now covered with a golden mantle; he received the
title of vice-grand elector, with the same salary of 500,000 francs,
that he enjoyed during his ministry. The activity of his mind led him
afresh into commercial pursuits, he gambled in the stocks, became
a partner in a banking-house at Hamburg and in Paris, he invested
considerable sums of money in the English funds, and awaited patiently
the course of events. To know how to wait is a great mark of political
knowledge, and it was one of Talleyrand's favourite axioms, that
patience often leads to favourable situations: he never would be in a

A secret opposition was beginning to form against Napoleon, even in the
highest ranks, among the heads of the senate, of the government, and of
the army. Fearful of yet making itself manifest by any overt act, it
only ventured upon apparently trifling remarks and half confidences;
but people conspired in their _minds_, expressions were used, which
were repeated as apophthegms and prophecies of society. "It is the
beginning of the end," said Talleyrand, at the time of the disastrous
expedition to Moscow; and this just appreciation had been warmly
applauded. What a terrible opposition is that of the _salons_ and the
gay world! It kills with a lingering death, it upsets the strongest
ideas, it destroys the best-laid plans; it would be far better to be
compelled to engage in a pitched battle face to face. This opposition
was gradually increasing, and the police establishment of General
Savary, which tended more to the employment of brute force than the
adoption of intelligent precautions, was incapable of restraining
it; it was gradually appearing on every side, besides which the men
who placed themselves at the head of the resisting party were of too
much consequence for the Emperor to venture to touch them. Talleyrand
and Fouché now did whatever they pleased with perfect impunity--they
were acting against the Emperor, and he did not dare to shew his
displeasure. It has always been supposed that Napoleon when at the
summit of his greatness might have put down any one; yet, great as he
was, there were some men too powerful for him. The day that he had
touched Talleyrand or Fouché, all the officers of government would have
considered themselves at the mercy of a caprice; Cambacérès, Lebrun,
Regnault de Saint-Jean d'Angely, feeling themselves henceforth without
any security against a master whom they detested, would, perhaps, have
shaken off the yoke.

As early as the beginning of the year 1813, Talleyrand had opened a
communication with the Bourbons. The venerable Cardinal de Périgord,
grand almoner to Louis XVIII., was his uncle, but there was a
considerable degree of coolness between them; still it may be easily
imagined that it facilitated an exchange of hopes and promises,
against the chances of a future restoration to the throne; but all
this was done secretly and in strict confidence, as the idea of the
restoration was not yet sufficiently matured. Talleyrand had never
ceased to maintain a communication through his agents with Louis
XVIII., who was himself at that time engaged in a confidential
correspondence with all the great officers of the state, even
including Cambacérès himself. Paris was filled with these letters,
notwithstanding which, Talleyrand was one of the council appointed
to assist the regency of Maria Louisa, whom the Emperor had placed
at the head of affairs. He always exhibited the greatest interest in
all questions relating to the government, he attended assiduously the
meetings of the council, and appeared the most zealous of the Emperor's
servants: the plan of the regency also was congenial to his mind, and
he would have been satisfied with it as a political idea. He still,
however, carried on an underhand correspondence with Louis XVIII., who,
with his perfect knowledge of mankind, engaged to maintain him in his
magnificent position, to which he added a promise that he should be
placed at the head of the ministry. As to the regency of Maria Louisa,
it involved a project for a closer alliance with Austria, and was
suggested by the most able men in the council of Napoleon, who were
desirous of exciting dissensions among the allied powers by giving rise
to divers interests.

The misfortunes of war had now brought the enemy near the capital;
and, as the powers of Napoleon became more feeble, people learned to
estimate probabilities with a greater degree of certainty: first the
regency, then a provisional government, and, finally, the restoration
of the Bourbons. Since the year 1812, all illusion concerning the
invincible power of Napoleon was over. The burning of Moscow, the
snows which had covered the grand army as with a vast shroud, the
conspiracy of Mallet, all had tended to place the imperial power in a
tottering condition. The negotiations of Talleyrand began to assume
an indescribable boldness; the plenipotentiaries of the allied powers
had fixed a congress at Châtillon, more for the sake of appearances
than to discuss really diplomatic questions; and M. de Coulaincourt,
whose devotion to the Emperor was undoubted, was to propose a treaty
determining the limits of France under the government of Napoleon,
or the regency of the archduchess. This was the moment selected by
Talleyrand to despatch a secret agent to the head-quarters of the
Emperor Alexander. This agent, who was, I believe, M. de Vitrolles, was
commissioned to describe the condition of the metropolis, the anxiety
there was to get rid of Napoleon, and, above all, the imperative
necessity there appeared to be for the restoration of the old
dynasty, as the only certain step that could be taken under existing
circumstances. M. de Vitrolles evinced great zeal and ability in the
discharge of this secret mission, which exposed him to extreme danger;
he succeeded in conveying to the Emperor Alexander some letters written
in cipher, and a very detailed memorial upon the state of the public
mind; but--must I confess it?--the allies, who cared but little about
the Bourbons, did not perfectly understand the scope of this movement,
neither did they know what might be the result. It was then Talleyrand
exerted himself to demonstrate that these two ideas, the ancient
territory and the ancient dynasty, were correlative; and the same
system had been forcibly represented at Châtillon by Lord Castlereagh.

The disaffected party continued to gain strength in Paris. Talleyrand
had made friends with several of the senators who still retained some
recollections of the Republic, and professed an especial hatred
towards Napoleon; such were M. de Lambrechts, Languinais, and Grégoire,
and the Prince of Benevento could rely upon their assistance in any
rising that might be organised against the empire. At the same time he
had collected around himself the Duc de Dalberg, the Abbé de Pradt,
and a multitude of Royalist agents, who were in communication with MM.
de Noailles, de Fitzjames, and de Montmorency, all engaged in secret
machinations for the Bourbons. The time was come when the Empire must
terminate--there was so much disaffection among the citizens of Paris
and in the provinces. Great precaution was shewn in taking the first
steps in favour of the Bourbon restoration, and the greatest secrecy
was observed; as soon, therefore, as it was decided, according to
the instructions of Napoleon, that the Empress should leave Paris,
and establish her regency at Blois, Talleyrand hastened to declare
his intention of shewing his zeal by following the regency, it being
necessary he should offer a pledge to the imperialist party in order
to prevent suspicion, but by a piece of duplicity, perfectly in
keeping with his character and position, he apprised the allies of his
pretended flight. Accordingly, Prince Schwartzenberg posted a small
body of cavalry at the first stage on the road to Blois, which stopped
the carriage of Prince Talleyrand, and obliged him to return to Paris,
where the wily diplomatist also declared himself compelled by force to
remain. By this means he was enabled to place himself as the head and
the nucleus of the general rising against the Emperor; his saloon was
open to all the disaffected, and he encouraged the idea of Napoleon's
downfall in a manner which charmed the hearts of the Republicans; for
Buonaparte's violation of the constitution was the only circumstance
that appeared to occur to their minds. The ground was well chosen, and
Talleyrand worked at his ease and on an extended scale at the ruin of
his master; every thing had tended towards it since the year 1812, and
the moral strength of the Empire was gone.

Talleyrand's grand intrigue even began in the senate. He well knew
the simplicity and the instinctive repugnance felt by Grégoire,
Lambrechts, and Languinais, for Napoleon, and he determined they should
serve as a pivot for the new order of things. Some of them thought
they were making preparations for a regency. Talleyrand promised them
constitutional forms and the sovereignty of the people, those old
visions of the Republic, and they welcomed all these recollections with
ecstasy: there was not much difficulty, certainly, in inducing these
second-rate minds to act in concert with him. The patriot party were
the first to demand that the Emperor should be deposed; they enumerated
all the grievances, upon which they had observed so prudent a silence
in the days of his prosperity; they fell upon Napoleon, his forfeiture
of the crown was pronounced by the senate in the month of April 1814,
and he was thus sacrificed by the party which had obeyed his will
with apparent alacrity during the ten years of the Empire. Nothing
is so violent or so rancorous in its hatred as an assembly which has
long been humbled under a despotic rule: it afterwards takes signal
vengeance upon the fallen power.

When the Emperor Alexander entered Paris, Talleyrand's ascendancy
over his mind was sufficient to induce him to inhabit the Hôtel de la
Rue Saint-Florentin, an unheard-of honour, which gave an undeniable
proof of the great estimation in which he was held! The czar occupied
the apartments, still to be seen, with the long stone balcony at
the extremity of the Rue de Rivoli. It was in the blue drawing-room
in this hôtel that the plan of the Restoration was organised,
according to the ideas and principles which I have depicted in a work
especially devoted to that purpose.[11] Talleyrand's influence over
the proceedings of that time was unbounded; he induced the Emperor
Alexander to reject all proposals for continuing the regency of Maria
Louisa, as well as the loyal endeavours of Marshal Macdonald. He
instigated all these refusals, and had adopted a maxim admirable for
its clearness and precision, which he took pleasure in repeating as a
means of putting a stop to all negotiations. "The restoration of the
Bourbons," said he, "is a principle; every thing else is an intrigue."
In after years, he forgot none of the services he had rendered to
the old dynasty, and, when out of favour under the Restoration,
he took pleasure in shewing this blue drawing-room which had been
inhabited by the Emperor Alexander, and would repeat in a tone of
affected bitterness and ridicule, as if to brand the ingratitude of
the Bourbons, "Nevertheless, gentlemen, it was here the Restoration
was accomplished." And then he would describe in his admirable manner
the proceedings of that time, and point out the spot occupied by each
of the party in the month of May 1814. "At the corner of the table,"
he would say, "sat the Emperor Alexander, there the King of Prussia,
and here the Grand Duke Constantine; a little farther off were Pozzo
di Borgo, Nesselrode, and Hardenberg--yes, gentlemen, it was here, in
this little room, that we restored the throne of the Bourbons, and
the monarchy of 1400 years." And this he would repeat with a sardonic
smile which marked his dissatisfaction, and perhaps was an index of
some future design of overturning what he had so easily raised. When a
monarchy has been restored within the narrow limits of a drawing-room,
it cannot be supposed to inspire very great confidence. Such was the
secret thought of this great contriver of events.

 [11] Histoire de la Restauration.

Up to the arrival of Louis XVIII. Talleyrand was at the head of the
provisional government; all the responsibility rested with him, and
he had cause to reproach himself with many evil actions which were
connected with the spirit of that period, for there are seasons when
the human mind does not belong to itself; it is hurried on by the
rapid course of ideas, it is imbued with a spirit of reaction. Has
the mission of M. de Maubreuil ever been perfectly explained? What
was its object? Some people will tell you he received no orders,
except to prevent the crown diamonds from being carried away; but
other accounts tell a very different story, and assert that he was
intrusted to perform a deed of blood, similar perhaps to that which had
destroyed the last of the Condés. I can positively declare that M. de
Maubreuil never had any direct conversation or personal interview with
Talleyrand. He took care never to appear in deplorable circumstances of
this kind; and all that passed was as follows: One of the confidential
secretaries of the minister said to M. de Maubreuil, in perfectly
plain language, "This is what the prince requires of you; here is your
warrant and a sum of money, and as a proof of what I say, and of his
assent, remain in the _salon_ to-day, and he will pass through and
bend his head in token of approbation." The sign was made, and M. de
Maubreuil considered himself perfectly authorised to undertake the
mission. What, I repeat, was its object? The time is hardly yet arrived
which makes it allowable to tell and to publish every thing; I judge no
man's conduct, I only repeat that there are times when people do not
appear to belong to themselves.

On his arrival in Paris, Louis XVIII. appointed Talleyrand
prime-minister with the direction of foreign affairs; thus leaving
him the supreme charge of all diplomatic negotiations, as a mark of
gratitude and a pledge of general peace. A treaty was signed, France
returned to her ancient territory and her ancient dynasty, as it had
been decided after the events of Paris; all diplomatic questions of
general interest were afterwards to be settled in the congress of
the allied powers, fixed to take place at Vienna, where Talleyrand
was appointed ambassador extraordinary to represent the King of
France,--a mission he was certainly fully entitled to expect. In the
month of November all the French legation arrived at Vienna, and
the ambassador displayed great activity. It was necessary to place
France in a favourable position, which was very difficult after all
the wars and the disasters she had had to encounter; and we must do
justice to the great abilities and exertions of Prince Talleyrand,
for, in spite of the state of humiliation to which she was reduced, he
succeeded in establishing her in the first rank; it was also owing to
his intervention that the younger branch of the Bourbons was restored
at Naples. Louis XVIII. was the means of saving Saxony from imminent
danger, and finally, towards the close of the congress, Talleyrand
entered into an intimate league with Metternich and Lord Castlereagh
to prevent the encroachments of Russia in Poland, and concluded in the
month of February[12] 1815 a secret treaty with England and Austria,
where the possibility of war was looked forward to, and the necessary
arrangements made for such a contingency. I have given the curious
original elsewhere.[13]

 [12] Signed in the month of March, _vide_ Metternich.--_Tr._

 [13] Histoire de la Restauration.

During the whole time of the Congress of Vienna, the desire for an
alliance with England and a feeling of antipathy for Russia never
ceased to possess the mind of Prince Talleyrand; he followed up this
system of regard and hatred with the utmost tenacity; he even went so
far as to write, in his secret correspondence with Louis XVIII., "that
a Russian princess did not come of a sufficiently good family for the
Duc de Berri, and that it ought not to be thought of, as the house of
Romanof could not place itself on a level with that of Bourbon." This
circumstance was never forgotten by the Emperor Alexander, who from
this time forward entertained an extreme dislike for Talleyrand, and
his aversion became still more violent after the events of 1815, when
the secret treaty concluded in the month of March came to his knowledge.

Napoleon landed in the Gulf of Juan, and his rapid march upon Paris
excited the greatest alarm in the Congress of Vienna. The activity
of the French ambassador redoubled its vehemence, for Napoleon had
outlawed him in his decrees dated from Lyons, and he in his turn
revenged himself by causing Buonaparte to be placed at the ban of the
empire. He took great pains to obtain this result, the declaration
of the Congress of Vienna was his work, and it was he that induced
Lord Castlereagh and Metternich to sign it. From this moment the
coalition was in motion, and France was again threatened with an
irruption of myriads of armed men, when the battle of Waterloo a second
time terminated the sway of Napoleon. When a power is at an end,
all attempts to restore it are in vain, it is merely the flash that
precedes the extinction of an expiring light.

Talleyrand returned to Paris with the Bourbons, but his authority
was no longer what it had been. Louis XVIII. had discovered that his
plenipotentiary, and the Duc de Dalberg, in his name, had received
overtures concerning the possibility of the younger branch of the
Bourbons succeeding to the throne of France, and it was not likely he
should forget it. The king, with his habitual sagacity and experience,
would never have chosen for his minister the man who had been
plenipotentiary at Vienna; but the influence of the Duke of Wellington,
which placed Fouché at the head of the police, also restored to
Talleyrand the direction of foreign affairs. The cabinet of July 1815
was entirely favourable to English ideas and interests.

As long as Talleyrand had only to treat with Lord Castlereagh and
the Prussians, he preserved his ascendancy; but how hard were the
conditions imposed by those powers! The Duke of Wellington had a
regard for him as the old representative of the English alliance, and
supported him with all his influence, which was very great; however,
in the month of August 1815, the face of every thing was changed; the
Russians joined with 350,000 bayonets; the Emperor Alexander took
a part in the negotiation, and as Russia alone was kindly disposed
towards the house of Bourbon, as she alone defended the integrity of
our territory, and did not exact the sacrifices required by England and
Prussia, she soon became the predominant power. The first condition
imposed by the Emperor Alexander, before he would enter into any
negotiation, was the dismissal of Prince Talleyrand. He has since
pretended that he voluntarily retired from office to avoid signing the
Convention of Paris, that hard necessity to which France was compelled
to submit through the heavy calamities which had fallen upon her, but
this fact is as untrue as his opposition to the Spanish war in 1808.
He has on every occasion striven to invest his dismissal with a degree
of interest, but in this instance he had unavailingly had recourse to
all his influence with the Duke of Wellington and Prussia to obtain the
direction of a treaty, and he only retired because it was impossible
for him to carry on a negotiation. He had submitted to every thing, he
had made a thousand concessions to the czar, even going so far as to
recommend Count Pozzo di Borgo as Minister for the Interior; it was all
in vain, Alexander never would consent to see or to treat with him. Had
Russia withdrawn her influence we should have lost Lorraine and Alsace,
which had been claimed by the Germanic Confederation, but when the czar
took the negotiations in hand, he stipulated for better conditions than
those proposed by Prussia and England. Louis XVIII. took pleasure in
relating the scene, at the close of which he asked for or accepted the
resignation of the Bishop of Autun, and he described it with all the
malicious wit he possessed in so admirable a degree. The king was quite
delighted, for he did not at all enjoy the imperative and arbitrary
style of proceeding adopted by his minister, who was more apt to
request he would affix his signature to the papers he laid before him
than inclined to consult him upon any political business; and besides,
though the king was a little of a free-thinker, he could not quite
forgive the utter disregard of the laws of the Church evinced by a
married priest. This feeling was so strong at court, that the Cardinal
de Périgord, grand almoner of France, never would recognise any dignity
but that of bishop as belonging to his nephew. The Royalist party, now
very powerful, lost no opportunity of turning him into ridicule, and
clever caricatures always represented him with the crosier in his hand.
They wanted to get rid of him as they had already contrived to do of
Fouché, the former regicide orator. One day at a party in the Faubourg
Saint-Germain Talleyrand said in a loud voice to some Royalists,
"But, gentlemen, you want to bring back the old order of things,
and that is not possible." The caustic and clever M. de Sallaberry
replied, "Why, monseigneur, who would think of making you Bishop of
Autun again? It would be an absurdity." The shaft was well aimed, and
it _struck home_. In spite, however, of personal feelings, the king
gave him the appointment of Grand Chamberlain of France, with a salary
of 100,000 francs, at the suggestion of the Duc de Richelieu, who had
declared in the royal council that, after all the services rendered
by M. de Talleyrand, the Bourbons ought to present him with a noble
mark of their gratitude. One would think that Louis himself, must have
remembered that he owed the defence of his dynasty to him, at a time
when the Restoration was regarded with coolness by all the cabinets of

Talleyrand continued to hold the situation of grand-chamberlain during
the reign of the restored family. He was not a favourite at the
Tuileries, where he went every day through etiquette to fulfil his
office, standing behind the king's chair with admirable punctuality;
and he was received with great coolness by Louis XVIII. Charles X.
was more kindly disposed towards every body, and occasionally entered
politely into conversation with him on some trifling subject. He also
performed his duties at the _diners d'apparat_. The king was seated
at table, the grand-chamberlain occupying a small chair at a little
distance, and while Louis was discussing a pheasant, or other game,
with an excellent appetite, Talleyrand dipped a biscuit in old madeira
wine. It was a scene of considerable interest, and used to pass in the
most profound silence. Every now and then the king would look fixedly
at the grand-chamberlain with a sneering expression of countenance,
while the latter, with his impassibility so coarsely defined by
Marshal Lannes, would go on soaking his biscuit and slowly sipping
his madeira with a look of respectful deference towards the king his
master. Not a word was addressed by the sovereign to the chamberlain
during the short repast, after which Talleyrand used to resume his
place behind the king's chair in a cold, ceremonious manner, that
reminded one of the statue in the _Festin de Pierre_, only with this
difference, that the grand-chamberlain's mind was filled with the most
inveterate hatred, a feeling which he extended to all the members of
the royal family.

In the Chamber of Peers he adopted a system of opposition, which
assumed a greater degree of solemnity, from all the statesmen of the
various epochs who had been engaged in the management of affairs and
vast negotiations being included in it. He very rarely spoke; indeed,
I believe only two speeches delivered by him are on record. The first
was on the occasion of the war in Spain in 1823, when he entered
rather awkwardly into the question and foretold a disastrous event to
our arms, whereas they were in reality crowned with success, shewing
how great a mistake it is ever to give utterance to predictions in
politics. The second time was on the occasion of the law of election
and the liberty of the press; he then reminded the assembly of the
promises entered into at Saint-Ouen, at which he had himself been
present. He appeared at this time to be held in little estimation in
the upper house, and there were not above five or six peers whose votes
were at his disposal. The case was very different in his drawing-room
and at his toilet, where he was in the habit of receiving a great deal
of company and listened to confidential communications from men of all
parties, flattering in turn the liberal societies and the aristocratic
coteries; for the latter, especially, he entertained a strong
predilection. His fortune was now very much involved in consequence
of an immense bankruptcy, by which his friend the Duc de Dalberg alone
lost the sum of 4,000,000[14] francs, and he passed but little part of
his time at Paris, but lived at Valençay, or at his great estates in
Touraine; these were deeply mortgaged, and without the management of
the Duchess of Dino, who was a woman of wonderful ability in business,
he would, probably, have been obliged to part with some of them. He
occasionally made an excursion to a greater distance, and once passed a
whole season in the south of France, in a pleasant habitation selected
for him at Hyères, in the country of fragrant flowers, of vanilla,
and orange, and citron groves. His wit and noble manners are still
recollected with delight in that part of the country; and, indeed,
it is impossible to express the charm he infused into the evening
conversations at his house.

 [14] About 160,000_l._

His social existence was, in fact, passed entirely during the night.
He rose late, and it was near eleven o'clock before he rang for his
_valet de chambre_, who brought him his morning gown. He was obliged to
lean upon his stick as he walked from one chair to another, until he
reached the fireplace; and he breakfasted after the English fashion,
making a very trifling repast. Then followed his toilet, which
occupied a long time, and was almost public, according to the fashion
of former times, when dressing the hair was a perfect operation. His
servant put on his cravat, still worn with all the pretension of an
exquisite of the Directory, and he then went out for an airing. After
dinner, and to conclude the evening, he generally joined some of his
old intimate friends, and played a rubber, very late and always very
high. He sometimes dozed a little in an easy chair, for he possessed
an admirable faculty for closing his eyes, and, perhaps, of indulging
in a waking sleep. His conversation was generally brilliant and
clever, sometimes very communicative, and he took great pleasure in
talking over the events of his life, dwelling with especial delight
upon the Congress of Vienna, which had been such a brilliant period
for his diplomatic talents. Thus passed his life, full of a feeling
of discontent and a constant looking forward to change; nothing was
hurried, but he was constantly in a state of expectation, or carrying
on one of those vast conspiracies which no one can lay hold of.

At the time of the breaking out of the revolution of July, Talleyrand
was deeply irritated against the elder branch of the Bourbons, whom
he termed ungrateful and forgetful of his services; and there is no
doubt of his having worked industriously towards establishing a new
monarchical system. He had a horror of anarchy, power was his element.
The time is not yet come when we may venture to tell every thing, but
it is an undoubted fact, that Talleyrand was consulted and examined
on the 9th of August, and his answer was altogether favourable to the
new project. Did not this revolution carry him back in recollection to
the period of the Congress of Vienna in 1814, when an arrangement of
this kind had been suggested by him as a possible event and a means
of solving a difficulty should such occur? Some secret conferences
were held on this delicate subject; Talleyrand took upon himself
the negotiation with the _corps diplomatique_, and also the duty of
setting clearly before them that the peace of Europe depended upon the
establishment of a monarchy in France,--a vast undertaking, to which
a prince of very superior abilities was willing to devote himself.
Talleyrand succeeded in the object he had in view; the despatches of
the ambassadors were all in favour of royalty, it was considered as
a guarantee of the principle of order in Europe, as an efficacious
means of repressing the revolutionary spirit, and maintaining the
treaties already concluded--in short, as the strongest opposition
to the Propaganda tendency, and the most serious scheme of general

Talleyrand at this time refused the ministry for foreign affairs, as
it would merely have added to his responsibility without increasing
his power of action; but he accepted the embassy to London, which was
a much more important office, as affairs of the greatest consequence
would necessarily come under consideration there, it being upon
the prompt decision of this cabinet that must mainly depend the
consolidation of the new order of things; for, although England had
been the first to recognise the events that had taken place, she had
shewn some disposition to reserve regarding an alliance with the new
government. The affairs of Belgium occasioned so much difficulty in
the negotiations, and added so greatly to the danger of the political
crisis, that it was necessary a person possessed both of talent
and great consideration should be deputed to London, to secure the
support of the English cabinet in the negotiations that had been
begun, especially as the despatches received from Russia rendered the
necessity for a good understanding with England particularly urgent.

When Talleyrand arrived in London, the Duke of Wellington was still
in the ministry, and the violent Tories had the direction of the
cabinet,--a state of affairs which prevented his carrying on his
manœuvres as he wished; he was perfectly aware of the attachment of
the Tories to the secret treaties concluded in 1815, and, therefore,
used all his efforts to overturn the Duke of Wellington. He also
renewed his old intimacy with Lord Grey, he sought the society of Lord
John Russell, and lived in a most magnificent style.

The revolution of July had produced an effect in England; the march of
opinion became too powerful for the Tories, and Lord Grey was placed at
the head of the cabinet, affording a complete triumph to the moderate
Whigs. The course being now clear, Talleyrand could assume the position
he wished: and hard had he laboured to prepare it! He now was able to
work openly for a treaty with France.

It ought to be known that, during the embassy of Prince Polignac, a
conference had been arranged in London between the plenipotentiaries
of Russia, England, and France, to decide upon all the questions
relating to Greece; and the same course had been pursued afterwards,
under the Duc de Laval. England attached great importance to it, and
Talleyrand proposed its renewal, for the purpose of watching and
deciding upon the general affairs of Europe, and also advised that
the plenipotentiaries of Austria and Prussia should be admitted. They
were to take the Belgic question into consideration, and decide what
course should be pursued, in consequence of the dismemberment of the
kingdom of the Low Countries, established in 1815; and Talleyrand being
personally acquainted with all these plenipotentiaries, his position
soon became as brilliant in London as it had been at Vienna in 1815. He
was connected with Prince and Princess Lieven by the ties of old and
intimate friendship, and the families of Talleyrand and Esterhazy had
also long been well acquainted: Baron Bulow, the Prussian minister, was
one of the second-rate diplomatists, who all entertained the greatest
respect for Talleyrand and his long experience in public affairs.

Conferences were, therefore, undertaken upon very indefinite subjects,
for their principal object was to seek the opportunity of meeting and
maintaining peace. No doubt there was something very undecided in the
numerous protocols signed at that time upon the affairs of Belgium, and
the greater part of them were never put in force. In addition to this,
though they had been the result of a common agreement, the Russian and
Austrian plenipotentiaries never received the formal assent of their
governments: the conduct of Prince Lieven and Prince Esterhazy was, in
the first instance, disclaimed on the part of their courts, and they
were shortly afterwards recalled; but the result of these conferences
in London, the happy consequences of their developement, was the
maintenance of peace, whose existence had at one time been greatly
threatened. In 1831, when the foreign ministers met in such close
communication with each other, it was almost impossible explanations
should not take place, and that there should be any misapprehension
between the governments; the proceedings of Talleyrand were, therefore,
successful; for his main object was the preservation of the European
_status quo_, by preventing those conflicts among the cabinets, those
clashings among people, which fill history with tales of bloodshed; and
the conferences in London were of service, because the close contact
into which men were brought with each other was a means of reconciling

According to his general custom, the French ambassador received a
great deal of company; his entertainments were splendid; his evening
parties, in particular, were remarkable for the good taste and
distinguished company so much prized in England. I should not exceed
the truth if I were to say that his wishes influenced certain votes in
the House of Commons. No ambassador had ever before enjoyed so much
consideration. But Lord Grey was aware of an approaching storm: the
difficulty of his political situation had not consisted in overturning
the Tory ministry--that was a simple and natural victory, for the
agitation of minds and events had been sufficient to displace the Duke
of Wellington, but the really dangerous part of Lord Grey's position
was, on the contrary, the inevitable and powerful progress of the Whig
principles, which sought to proceed to extremities; for when a nation
lays its hand upon its ancient institutions, one change often leads to
another. After having reformed the state, and given a greater latitude
to elections, must they not reform the Church? did not the situation
of Ireland require modification? The Dissenters complained, and with
justice, of their grievances; it would have been an absurd attempt to
set a limit to a reformed parliament, to say to the nation "Thus far
shalt thou go, and no farther." The parliament became impatient, while
religious scruples arose in the mind of Lord Grey, in the old party of
which Canning was formerly the head, now represented by Mr. Stanley,
and, above all, in the heart of William the Fourth.

Talleyrand was as well aware of the danger as Lord Grey himself, for
he well knew the powerful influence exercised by young and ardent
opinions; it soon became impossible to arrest the parliamentary
agitation. The venerable Lord Grey was suddenly seized with disgust for
the whole proceeding; he would not raise a sacrilegious hand against
the Church; he sent in his resignation, and England well remembers the
touching explanations he gave upon his own ministerial conduct in the
House of Lords. From the time of the appointment of Lord Melbourne,
the French ambassador foresaw the invincible tendency of affairs, the
triumph of the Ultra-Whigs, and, perhaps, of Lord Durham,[15] and
began to think of retiring, for he no longer played the principal part,
of which he was always ambitious.

 [15] I speak of the time before Lord Durham had taken the side of
 Russia and of Conservatism.

Another circumstance added to this feeling. In the revolution just
encountered by the ministry, Lord Palmerston had still retained the
Foreign Office, his opinions being of a less moderate cast than those
of Lord Grey; and as his disposition was one rather difficult to
deal with, serious dissensions had already arisen between him and
Talleyrand. From the first formation of their ministry, the Whigs had
felt the necessity of augmenting their consideration with foreign
powers; they were not ignorant that the English nation, which preferred
them for their popular opinions and their patriotic sentiments, did
not feel equal confidence in their habits of business and their
comprehension of the situation of Europe. Lord Palmerston considered
that, after the treaty of the 8th of July, which secured such great
advantages to Russia, a certain armed demonstration was inevitable upon
the Eastern question, and he, therefore, proposed to Talleyrand that
the squadrons of France and England should be united, and sail under
the flags of both nations in the Black Sea.

Talleyrand perfectly understood the interest felt by the Whigs in this
armed demonstration, but he considered it far too bold a step to be
ventured upon in their actual situation. As a continental power, France
might well call upon the alliance of England if necessary, or, on the
other hand, afford to her all possible assistance; but then the whole
of the Holy Alliance was close upon her, and this demonstration might
lead to a real war. In the opinion of Talleyrand it was necessary
to fortify the moral alliance, and place a barrier to resist the
encroachments of Russia; but it would be a hazardous undertaking to
make a direct attack on her flag in the Black Sea. He, therefore, held
back from the propositions of Lord Palmerston: he explained to him
that, instead of an armed demonstration, which would be of doubtful
advantage, nay, possibly altogether useless, it would be desirable to
prepare an act, expressive of future policy; and made it evident to him
that a treaty of quadruple alliance, which would unite the south of
Europe against the north, could not fail to lead to great results, even
in the midst of the various but transient events of a party war. The
treaty concluded between France, England, Spain, and Portugal, owed its
existence to this idea, this favourite conception of Prince Talleyrand;
he would, however, have been much better pleased could he have also
included Austria, according to the desire he had cherished in his mind
ever since 1814.

Lord Palmerston entered into Talleyrand's plans. England confined
herself to a few nautical parades in the Black Sea, but from this time
a coldness sprung up between the two diplomatists. The English minister
is a person of very irritable temper, touchy, and of a changeable
disposition, and Talleyrand took a great dislike to him; and as, on the
other side, the cabinet of which Lord Melbourne was the chief was drawn
on from one concession to another, he soon resolved to leave England.
It was announced that his health was failing, and he went into the
country to seek peace in retirement. Like Pythagoras when the thunder
is heard from afar, Talleyrand preferred the desert and the echo.
During his last journey to Paris he became friends with Count Pozzo di
Borgo, that is to say, with the Russian idea. The two diplomatists did
not venture as yet to hold any official communications, but they often
met in little mysterious banquets, in a diplomatic retreat at Bellevue.

Talleyrand quitted London, popular clamour was a source of annoyance
to him; it was no longer a dispute between one portion of the
aristocracy and another, from henceforth it appeared to be the people
against the aristocracy itself: and the stake was too great. He
therefore left England definitively for Valençay, explaining, in a
most dignified letter, the reason of his retirement. There is a period
with politicians when they begin to live for posterity; they then all
seek an opportunity of explaining themselves, of laying open their
conduct, and striving to rectify the judgment of future times--they
feel a desire of revealing themselves solemnly to the public; and such
was the motive which induced Talleyrand to speak at a meeting of the
French Institute. He said but a few words on the occasion of an _éloge_
that had been pronounced, but those few afforded an explanation of the
motives that had actuated a long and busy political life, passed in the
midst of governments, passions, and parties.

After this time Talleyrand lived either in Paris or on his estates in
the country, and was always consulted with the most profound veneration
by all the thinking heads of government. He at one time had some idea
of going to Vienna to accomplish a plan suggested by the Duchess de
Dino, which would unite the two families of Talleyrand and Esterhazy.
The latter, it is well known, is the richest family in Austria, and
during the last seven years Madame de Dino had paid great attention to
her uncle's affairs, and had been so successful in her management that
his property was quite free from debt, and one of the most considerable
of the present day. The fortune of M. de Talleyrand, after so many
reverses, is said almost to resemble one of the fairy tales in the
"Arabian Nights."

There are few political characters with whom the press has been more
busy than with Prince Talleyrand, during the latter years of his
life. Every step he took, every gesture, every action, was made the
subject of the most contradictory reports. He had now attained his
eighty-fourth year, and it was evident his faculties were beginning to
suffer considerably from his advanced age. He was merely the shadow
of his former self. Every now and then there would be a gleam of his
powerful intellect, but they would soon disappear again in the weakness
caused by extreme age, and so busy and exhausted a life. He could no
longer walk a single step, but was carried about or wheeled in a chair,
and the slightest jolt drew from him tears of suffering--most miserable
resemblance that exists between decrepitude and childhood! In fact, his
career was come to an end, though they in vain strove to prolong it by
endeavouring to rouse him.

That career had indeed been marvellous, and though Prince Talleyrand
be reproached with the constant changeableness of his opinions, we may
observe the same principle predominant under all circumstances--the
alliance with England. I have selected the Duc de Richelieu as the
type of the Russian alliance, and in comparing the services of these
two political characters, we shall easily discover that the duke did
more service to his country during the short time that he held the
reins of government than Prince Talleyrand in his lengthened career,
because Richelieu had adopted a more national plan, one more favourable
to our foreign interests. Talleyrand never was subservient to any
particular government or doctrine. He had a sort of personal feeling
which degenerated into selfishness. He did not betray Napoleon in the
literal sense of the word, he only quitted him in time; neither did he
actually betray the Restoration, he abandoned it when it was abandoning
itself. No doubt there is a good deal of selfishness in this system,
whose first thought is of its own situation and fortune, and afterwards
of the government it serves; but, perhaps, it is hardly to be expected
we should find in men of very great talent the degree of self-denial
which leads to a blind devotion towards a person or a cause. Talleyrand
was a little inclined to apply to himself the expressions he was
accustomed to address to his _employés_ when he was minister for
foreign affairs: "There are two things, gentlemen, which I forbid in
the most positive manner,--too much zeal and too absolute devotion,
because they compromise both persons and affairs." Such was the mind
of Talleyrand; with a cold heart and barren imagination, he was
compared to a real tactician, judging men and parties with mathematical
precision. He reserved all his activity for the decisive moments which
overturned thrones and governments, when he considered prompt action as
of importance. In revolutions his experience had been very great; he
immediately understood the value of a situation, and decided upon it by
an apophthegm, which at once struck home. His was, perhaps, the mind
which was most capable of foreseeing, least able to prevent, and most
skilled in deriving advantage from the different phases of empires.

But now his life was drawing to a close, and symptoms of approaching
death appeared on every side. For a long time he had been afflicted
with a painful complaint, which he bore with less resignation than he
had exhibited under political events; the attacks were very violent,
and the prince became subject to constant fainting fits--warning
symptoms of the approach of his last enemy. The total decay of
Talleyrand was apparent to every body; the sharpness and delicacy of
his wit every now and then shot forth a dying gleam, but the _man_
was at an end. His visits to the Tuileries were a most melancholy
spectacle, a sad memorial of the nothingness of human greatness.
Alas! that vast intellect was fast sinking into second childhood.
His complaint was incurable; it was in the first place old age, and
then, also, an old affection of anthrax, or white gangrene, for which
he was obliged to undergo a very painful operation, and after it was
performed the agonies of death followed in rapid succession. He was
perfectly aware of the danger of his situation, and considered it
a point of dignity not to appear alarmed, but went through all the
proper etiquette with death. For a considerable time he had been in
communication with a pious ecclesiastic in Paris; before him was the
example of his family, and the recollection of his uncle the Cardinal,
of blessed memory; and of late years his benefactions to the chapel
of Valençay had been very great, both in magnificent donations and
pious endowments. Though he had forgotten his religious obligations,
he had never made an open profession of impiety, and had preserved a
considerable degree of loftiness of mind, so that when the thought of
death was presented to him he did not shrink from a retractation. No
person was better aware of the weakness and puerile vanity of professed

This retractation was not the offspring of a sudden impulse; on the
contrary, it had been concerted three months before with infinite
care, as if it had been a diplomatic paper sent to the church. Full
of submission, yet with a mixture of dignity, the prince addressed
it to the sovereign pontiff, repenting all his participation in the
scandals by which his life had been stained, particularly his adhesion
to the civil constitution of the clergy; and he now acknowledged the
jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Paris, and submitted to the Catholic
laws of the holy see. This was the manner in which he prepared for
death. Accounts of the state of his health were incessantly despatched
to Neuilly; he had rendered great services to Louis Philippe, who had
often consulted him and derived the benefit of his experience, and who
was now resolved to pay a last visit to the last descendant of the
Périgords. When the king was announced, the prince said with a feeble
voice, but without any appearance of emotion, as if the attention were
due to him,--"It is the greatest honour my house has received."

There was a strong aristocratic feeling in the expression, 'My house;'
it signified that, though the visit was honourable to his family, there
was nothing to cause surprise in it. Neither did he forget, even at
that moment, the etiquette which forbids that any body should stand in
the presence of a sovereign without being presented, and he immediately
added, in a calm tone, "I have a duty to fulfil--it is to present to
your majesty the persons who are in the room, and who have not yet had
that honour;" and he introduced his physician, his surgeon, and his
_valet-de-chambre_. This behaviour when at the point of death bore
the stamp of high aristocratic manners, perfectly in keeping with the
visit with which his last moments had been honoured; it was part of
the decorum and ancient ceremony observed between noble families; the
escutcheons of both bore the same relative rank; the youngest branch
of the Bourbons went to visit the youngest branch of the Périgords. In
ancient times the houses of Navarre and De Quercy had met together on
the common field of battle, and the cry _Re que Diou_ had been uttered
at the same time with the war-cry of Henry IV., by the old southern
nobility, the language of _Oc_ being common to both.

People expressed surprise at the signal honour conferred upon
Talleyrand, but it shewed that the customs of gentle blood were not
comprehended by the spirit of inferior society. No one was more
attached to his illustrious descent than the old diplomatist, and
the younger branch of the Bourbons came itself of too good a stock
to forget it; the two cadets of De Quercy and Navarre had met in the
recollection of their race, as in their political life.

Surrounded by his family in his last moments, and assisted by the
pious offices of the Abbé Dupanloup, vicar-general of the diocese of
Paris, Prince Talleyrand received the sacraments of the Church, for
he had been again admitted into her bosom, and, before expiring, he
again uttered one of those happy expressions which were so often upon
his lips. Observing one of his grandnieces dressed entirely in white,
according to the custom observed before the first communion, he raised
his heavy eyelids, kissed her forehead, gave her his blessing, and then
turning to the spectators, he said, "See the way of the world--there is
the beginning, here the end!" In a few minutes afterwards he expired,
on the 18th of May, 1838, at ten minutes before four o'clock in the
afternoon, having just completed his eighty-fourth year. He left a
will, by which his immense fortune was well and wisely disposed of. Has
he also left memoirs? I think I know; but these memoirs are deposited
in the hands of his family, or of other people of whose discretion he
was quite secure.

Well, then, must I confess it? I do not believe them to be in any way
curious. People talk a great deal about these pretended revelations,
but I still repeat that they are few in number. Talleyrand only wrote
what he pleased, he only committed public transactions to paper; and
it is well known that, in reading these memoirs, he used to dwell
with pleasure on the mischievous pranks of the young abbé. Was it
the reminiscence of his youth that he enjoyed? I am inclined to think
so, for I have always observed that this feeling is very strong among
statesmen. Would you wish to awaken in the mind of Pozzo di Borgo
all the vigour of his intellectual powers?--speak to him of Corsica
and Paoli; would you bring a ray of delight and unreserve to unbend
the brow of Metternich?--talk to him of his embassy to Paris in the
beginning of the Empire, those days of pleasure and dissipation.

My idea is, that the memoirs of the man who played so conspicuous a
part in the political history of the world will consist principally
of two parts--emotions and justifications: emotions, because people
always remember them, they filter through the whole tenour of their
lives, they dwell in the brain of man, and rule over his thoughts; and
justifications will undoubtedly be required for the several fatal deeds
committed during the life of Prince Talleyrand.

In the course of that long life too much regard was shewn to customs
and ceremonies, which are merely the trappings of life, and too little
to duty and conscience, which are its foundation and object. He
attended too much to the outward matters of existence--to riches, to
honour, to decency of behaviour, but he thought nothing of the delicacy
of mind, which is the strongest pledge of an honest man employed in
public affairs. I am not fonder of simpletons in politics than other
people, but, for the honour of mankind, I am willing to believe men may
be clever and still retain perfect probity and good faith. It would
be too dreadful to suppose that one cannot be a statesman without a
complete abdication of the government of one's heart. Surely a strong
head and powerful abilities are not the sole requisites for regulating
the affairs of a government.


There is no county in Europe whose national character is so ancient,
so thoroughly peculiar, as the Island of Corsica. Imagine a vast
landscape of Salvator Rosa's, with all the features which he alone was
capable of depicting, and whose type he has sought in Calabria and the
Abruzzi; add to this a people whose disposition is hardy and obstinate;
whose affections, love, hatred, or jealousy, are perpetuated from one
generation to another; whose proud and patriotic attachment to their
native soil forms part of their earliest existence, and terminates only
with their life; also cities cheerful as those of Tuscany, and wild,
uncultivated, mountainous districts; you will still have but a feeble
representation of Corsica, that picturesque and fertile island of the

The population is divided into two distinct races; the one
comprehending the old aboriginal families, the other composed of
foreign colonists, the greater part descended from refugees who were
compelled to fly from revolutions in Piémont, Genoa, and Tuscany, and
were successively deposited in the island, like the layers of lava
around a volcano. To the first of these races belong the Paolis and
the Pozzo di Borgos; to the second, the Buonapartes and the Salicettis.
According to the usual custom among primitive nations, each family
forms a clan, and each village a community; sentiments are inherited
like the patrimony of the family--it is like ancient Rome suckled by a
wolf in the time of the companions of Romulus.

The family of the Pozzo di Borgos, as I have already stated, belongs to
the aboriginal races; its antiquity may be ascertained by consulting
the book of the statutes of Corsica, and also the history of the
feudal war between the Castellans of Montechi and the city of Ajaccio,
of which they even disputed the sovereignty. One of the family is
mentioned in the charters as orator of the people, and at the time
the island was under the dominion of Genoa, the illustrious Pozzo di
Borgo is described as attorney-general for the provinces of Ajaccio and
Sartene; his name, like that of the Paolis, was Pascal. His opponents,
even at that period, were from the family of the Bacciochi, then
merely merchants of Ajaccio; and his notary was Jerome Buonaparte, who
certifies the mission of Captain Secondos Pozzo di Borgo, deputy to
the republic of Genoa.[16] There is some pleasure in relating these
circumstances, because the life of Count Pozzo di Borgo, during its
whole course, appeared to be connected with ancient times. Nothing
is forgotten on that burning soil, and we shall again meet with
the Paolis, the Buonapartes, the Pozzos, the Bacciochis, and the
Salicettis, engaged in the most important conflicts on the theatre
of the great world, as they had formerly been in the little town of

 [16] "Il nobile Pasquale Pozzo di Borgo, oratore dei popoli di là da'
 monti in Corsica...." 1584.

 "... Per egregium virum Pasqualem Pozzo di Borgo, civem Adjacii,
 oratorem et procuratorem populorum provinciæ Adjacii et Sartenæ, et
 aliorum hominum ultra montes Corsicæ."

 "Tutta la provincia di là da' monti nell' isola di Corsica in
 generale, ha eletto per oratore il Capitano Secondo Pozzo di Borgo
 sì per assistere presso le VV. SS...." 1597.

 All these charters are extracted from the work published by the wise
 and judicious magistrate, C. Gregori, _Statuti Civili e Criminali di

In disturbed times European diplomacy employs two powerful engines of
political research; in the first place, accredited ambassadors, who
examine and decide upon affairs in a regular and almost a classical
manner; and secondly, active agents, the greater part of whom are
military men employed to travel about in Europe, for the purpose of
ascertaining accurately the strength and the resources of each power.
During the time of the French Republic and the Empire of Napoleon,
England and Russia considerably augmented the number of their military
diplomatists, and this may be said to have been the first employment of
Charles Andrew Pozzo di Borgo, before the Russian cabinets had decided
upon pursuing a regular and comprehensive system. The people of the
south of Europe are especially gifted with a quick, subtle, and acute
understanding, and the Corsicans add to these qualities an obstinate
adherence to their purpose, and a rugged sentiment of their own rights,
which formed such prominent features in the character of Buonaparte.
Metternich is fond of repeating, "It was not the armies of Napoleon
that occasioned us the most uneasiness; it was his inventive spirit,
his acute subtleties, in short, his diabolical intellect, by which we
Germans were hemmed in and entangled on every side." Count Pozzo di
Borgo possessed the same species of sharp and sagacious activity; in
that country there was a sort of general type common to all, like the
bronzed complexion and the sparkling, searching eyes.

A few leagues from Ajaccio lies a small village, which bears the name
of Pozzo di Borgo (well of the city); tradition says, however, that the
family of that name inhabited the little fort of Montechi among the
mountains: the Pozzis, the Poggis, and the Pazzis, were all families
of the middle ages. As it was in Germany with the Castellans of the
Seven Mountains, so also in Corsica the nobles reckoned their pedigree
from some of the highest peaks in the island, under the shelter of
rocks and wild fig-trees, where so many black crosses, symbols of
_Vendetta_, are still to be seen. When Corsica was annexed to France,
the noble descent of the Pozzos was substantiated by a supreme council
of the island. The subject of this memoir was born the same year as
Napoleon, if we rectify a little the date assigned by chronologists to
the latter event. He first saw the light on the 8th of March, 1768, and
had, therefore, attained his majority at the time of the revolution,
when the popular agitation produced a most startling and arousing
effect upon Corsica; and as if awaking from slumber two parties started
up--a national party, and one devoted to the French interests. Paoli
and Pozzo di Borgo indulged in dreams of the independence of their
country, but without the intervention of foreign aid. The Buonapartes,
who had for a short time ranged themselves under the banner of Paoli,
afterwards joined the Arenas and the Salicettis, partisans of the
French and Jacobin school. Before these divisions had assumed a
very decided complexion, they contented themselves with giving an
enthusiastic welcome to the revolution; intoxication prevailed every
where, and at the age of twenty-two years Pozzo di Borgo, secretary to
the corps of the nobility, was despatched as deputy-extraordinary to
the National Assembly.

This primary office afterwards led to his appointment to the definitive
deputation; and as the friend of Paoli, a circumstance which at that
time conferred the greatest popularity, young Pozzo took his seat in
that insane convocation, which, under the name of the Legislative
Assembly, and in the midst of tumults and massacres, soon made an
end of the French monarchy. He was appointed one of the diplomatic
committee, at the time their proceedings were conducted in so singular
a manner by Brissot, under whose management despatches to foreign
powers consisted of speeches borrowed from the tragedy of "Brutus,"
and directed against Austria and Prussia. Such language ought to have
been backed by victories, but the Legislative Assembly had not as yet
the internal strength of which, at a later period, the convocation
became possessed, through the energy of its committee of public safety.
The Legislative Assembly threw every thing into disorder: at war with
the ministers of the king, governed by the idea of a republic, yet
without daring openly to proclaim it, they permitted the horrors of the
10th of August, and the 7th of September, to take place before their
eyes. This wretched meeting possessed neither the brilliancy of the
Constituent Assembly nor the terrible authority of the Convention, but
always represented a state of transition, which is invariably one of
mediocrity, because men dare not undertake any thing, nor, indeed, are
they capable of doing so.

Pozzo very rarely appeared in the tribune, but whenever he had occasion
so to do, for the purpose of expressing the opinions of the committee,
he had recourse to the favourite phraseology of the period, for
which less blame is due to the orators than to the general bent of
the public mind: it was the pleasure of society to be governed after
that fashion. I have preserved some fragments of a speech made by
him on the 16th July, 1792, with the object of inducing the assembly
to declare war against Germany. It is well known that two different
parties were at that time equally desirous of commencing hostilities
in Europe--the court party, who, being desirous of placing Louis
at the head of an overpowering public force, considered war as the
most probable means of attaining a military dictatorship; while, on
the other hand, the republican faction, headed by the Girondists,
entertained hopes that the democratic principle would be more easily
rendered triumphant in the midst of tumults and excesses. Pozzo di
Borgo was the willing representative of the Girondist party at the
tribune. "The German confederation," said he, "whose independence is
naturally protected by France, the only power capable of preserving
it from the insatiable ambition of Austria, has beheld with joy
the formation of that formidable league intended to overturn your
constitution: their territory is already overrun by the enemy's troops,
the northern league seeks to reduce the whole of Europe into a state of
servitude, and exhibits every where a menacing appearance, supported
by a strong force of mercenaries covered with iron and greedy of gold,
to whom all usurpations will become easy. To the French nation belongs
the task of preserving the world from this terrible scourge, and of
repairing the mischiefs occasioned by the shameful carelessness, or the
perfidious malignity of those, who view with indifference the utter
destruction of all kinds of liberty. The French nation, by combating
all the common enemies of mankind, will have the glory of restoring
the political harmony which will preserve Europe from general slavery.
We have contracted a vast debt towards the whole world, it is the
establishment and the practice of the rights of man upon the earth;
and Liberty, fertile in virtues and talents, affords us abundant
means of discharging it in full. Our enemies' hopes, no doubt, have
been raised by the transient dissensions that disturb our unanimity;
they augur from thence the disorganisation of our government, but we
will not accomplish their guilty desires. We are well aware that in
the present state of affairs a change in our political institutions
would necessarily occasion an interregnum in the laws, a suspension of
authority, licentiousness, mischief in all parts of the kingdom, and
the inevitable loss of our liberty. Our vigilance will preserve without
destroying; it will place the traitors in a state in which they will
be incapable of injuring us; and by the stability of our government
we will deprive the ambitious of all the opportunities they hope for,
in the incessant changes and revolutions incident to empires. By thus
uniting energy and wisdom, we may attain to perfect and glorious

It may be observed that in the midst of these expressions, set forth in
the phraseology then in fashion, the stability of the government and
the necessity for preserving order were spoken of by M. Pozzo di Borgo,
both of which principles were afterwards displayed in the highest
degree in his mind.

The mission of the Legislative Assembly being concluded, the deputy
returned to Corsica, and was associated with General Paoli for the
direction of the administration of the island. The shocks sustained
by the people had added fresh energy to their patriotic character, a
public spirit was aroused, a proud independence in accordance with the
national feelings of the ancient Corsica. Does not every people long
for liberty? The Girondists had dreamed of federalism for France; and
Paoli, in his turn, took a pride in forming a republic which should be
perfectly independent and detached from the surrounding sovereignties.
Paoli was a man of powerful understanding, completely the child of
nature, and already old in years, though young in energy. He delighted
in the idea of a Corsican republic, as being in some measure a return
towards primitive habits; and this motive was strengthened by the
horror inspired by the revolutionary events that were taking place in
France. So ardent an enthusiasm never was known as that with which he
inspired the Corsican families dwelling among the most rugged peaks
of that mountainous country, and whose sole passion appeared to be a
vehement love of liberty, acquired by the most laborious efforts.

The families of the Arenas and Buonapartes, who were inhabitants of
the plains and the cities, had sided warmly with the French party;
they were connected with the clubs; and Salicetti was their organ
at the National Convention, to denounce Paoli and Pozzo di Borgo as
propagators of a system tending to separate Corsica from France;
and as that island had been declared an integral part of the French
Republic, they were both summoned to the bar of the nation to offer
a justification of their conduct. In this lay one of the first germs
of the deeply rooted hatred entertained by Salicetti, Arena, and
Buonaparte, against Paoli and Pozzo di Borgo; from thence arose the
enmity which, in their inflamed minds, overstepped the limits of the
island of Corsica, and contributed, more than people suspected, to the
marvellous events of the Revolution and the Empire.

When Paoli and Pozzo di Borgo received this terrible summons, they
were together at Corte, the capital of the mountainous district. It
was not unexpected, and they were both well aware of the consequences
of a refusal to obey the commands of the Convention, for the conduct
of this inexorable tribunal was that of a victor with whom lenity and
forgiveness are unknown. What was to be done? To obey would be to
submit at once to the yoke of the territorial unity, which sought to
reduce all the various nations comprehended within it to one level.
Resistance would, perhaps, be a still more dangerous course, for the
French Republic had an army which they would be utterly incapable of
withstanding, and it was also supported by a considerable party in
Corsica. A few regiments occupied the city of Ajaccio, and a battalion
formed the garrison of the fort of Corte and several posts on the
sea-coast. Signals announced the arrival of a squadron bearing the
tricoloured flag. Under these circumstances, the commissioners of the
departments declared themselves a permanent assembly in a meeting of
the people of Corte, and the tumultuous _comitia_ of the national party
unanimously invited their chief, Paoli, and Pozzo di Borgo, to continue
their administration. Finally, they declared _that it was beneath the
dignity of the people of Corsica to trouble themselves with the two
families of Arena and Buonaparte, and that they should be abandoned to
their remorse and to infamy for having deserted the public cause_. I
here copy the expressions of the national _consulta_.[17]

 [17] I saw all these papers, which were printed in 1793, in the hands
 of Count Pozzo di Borgo; he took pleasure in shewing the curious
 decree against Napoleon, afterwards the pride and glory of Corsica.
 The _consulta_ was composed of 1200 deputies.

The popular energy, which sways in all instances the first movements in
favour of liberty, was here very evident. What steps did they propose
taking to maintain themselves in this _improvisé_ independence, as well
as to uphold the decrees published by the assembly of Corsica? In the
meanwhile fearful intelligence arrived among the mountains: Toulon,
hitherto in the occupation of the English, had just fallen into the
hands of the French Republic, whose orders Corsica had treated with
contempt; and, to crown the whole, a young officer of twenty-six
years of age, even the Buonaparte devoted to infamy and remorse by the
Corsican council, had taken part in that memorable enterprise, and had
been the principal cause of its success. The port of Toulon being now
in the hands of the Republic, in thirty-six hours a squadron might
arrive, and threaten with entire destruction the companions of Paoli.

Just at this difficult juncture the English Mediterranean fleet
appeared off Ajaccio, bringing news from Toulon and tidings of the
warlike preparations going on there; the admiral also offered his
protection to Corsica, agreeing to recognise her independence, under
the sovereignty of the king of Great Britain. Paoli went on board the
squadron to treat with the admiral regarding his country, and a general
assembly was convoked to meet on the 10th of June, 1794, for the
purpose of determining upon the form of constitution to be established.
Their plan tallied nearly with the ideas of the English Magna Charta,
proposing the establishment of a parliament which should consist of two
chambers, a council of state, and a viceroy supported by responsible
ministers. Paoli proposed Pozzo di Borgo as president of the council.
When the latter was presented to Admiral Elliott he gazed upon his
swarthy complexion, his sparkling eyes, and meagre and active figure,
and asked Paoli whether that was the person he proposed placing at
the head of the government. "I can answer for him," said Paoli; "he
is a young man as well fitted for the government of a nation as he is
capable of leading his countrymen unflinchingly on the field of battle.
You may place implicit confidence in him." Upon this testimony the
admiral confirmed his choice.

The state-council being the executive portion of the Corsican
government, the duty devolved upon Pozzo di Borgo of remodelling the
institutions of his country, which was henceforward to be free. I have
seen the complete code of this administration: it is a summary of the
public rights of the nation, a collection of primitive laws, one of
those codes which regulates the most trifling circumstances affecting
the interests of the people; among us it is a great historical
curiosity, for we are too far advanced in civilisation to be capable of
forming an idea of the first requirements of a people of such primitive

The national government in Corsica lasted, however, barely two years;
the protection afforded by England was at too great a distance, and
a few regiments despatched from Gibraltar did not possess sufficient
influence to restrain the population of the cities devoted to France,
which was at that time every where victorious, and, by its proximity,
constantly held a sword suspended over the government of Paoli and
Pozzo di Borgo. The latter embarked on board the English fleet when
it became evident the crisis could no longer be averted, and that the
standard of the French Republic was about to be planted at Ajaccio.
This squadron quitted the shores of Corsica, bearing with it all the
sad remains of the ruined government; it touched at the island of
Elba, sailed towards Naples, and from thence again to Elba--rather a
curious circumstance, which long held a place in the recollection of
Pozzo di Borgo, and which may possibly have in some degree influenced
the resolution of the Allies, in 1814, to confer upon Napoleon the
sovereignty of Porto Ferrajo. The Corsican president completed his
voyage to England in the Minerva, which formed part of the squadron of
Nelson, who lost an eye in Corsica, and was afterwards so celebrated;
but he was then only in the dawn of his fame, and had not attained to
the renown which crowned his name at Aboukir and Trafalgar.

Pozzo di Borgo remained eighteen months in London, where he received
great attention from the English ministry, who considered him to have
displayed great method and ability during his short administration.
Having become intimate with some old French families, he then began
his career of diplomacy and secret negotiations; which, at a late
period, led him into a more extended sphere of action. He was at Vienna
in 1798, at the time of the campaign of Suwarof, when foreign courts
were agitated by so many various projects. Tremendous shocks had been
experienced in France. On emerging from the reign of terror, and the
formidable system of unity proclaimed by the Convention, a strong and
deeply rooted reaction towards the restoration of the royal family
had taken place; the royalist colours were worn in good society, and
the most extreme detestation was felt for the revolution, because
it had not as yet given birth to any regular system of government.
At this time Buonaparte was in Egypt, with the greater part of the
brave legions who had conquered Italy and the Rhine; all our foreign
conquests were lost to us; on the Alps we were hardly able to retain
a few posts, and they were closely pressed; and, as a climax, Suwarof
appeared with victory in his train--Suwarof, the hero and saint of
the Russian army--Suwarof, around whom rallied all the hopes of
the coalition! Pozzo di Borgo was engaged in all the diplomatic
arrangements that accompanied the military proceedings.

The antipathy that existed between the Austrians and Russians, far
more than the battle of Zurich, put a stop to the progress of the
coalition, and Pozzo di Borgo remained some time at Vienna, receiving a
pension there as a French emigrant of noble birth. It was at the time
when one of that family of Buonapartes, proscribed by the Assembly of
Corsica, was elevated to the Consulate, and being now in the position
of a powerful dictator, he had established an efficient government in
France, and was engaged in repairing the wrecks of the administration
by means of his steady energy. The power of the laws once more became
manifest; the executive administration was lodged in the hands of a
few, and was active and advantageous to the people; and, by a singular
chance, which the caprices of fortune can alone explain, the old
friends of the Buonapartes, the Arenas of Ajaccio, were proscribed by
the young Corsican, and delivered over to military law, or driven into
exile. Other destinies, besides those of a city, or a population of
about 100,000 souls, claimed the attention of Napoleon Buonaparte, now
completely detached from his native country; but, in spite of all these
commotions, his thoughts more than once turned upon his old personal
enemy, Pozzo di Borgo, then on his journey from London to Vienna, and
who must have shed some tears of vexation when he saw the power of
the young consul extend so far as to prescribe to Europe the peace
of Amiens. The shade of Paoli arose to protest against this immense
advancement of the Buonapartes.[18]

 [18] This observation appears to indicate some inaccuracy regarding
 the date of Paoli's demise. It took place in Feb. 1807.--_Editor._

When war again resounded on the earth, Pozzo di Borgo entered the
service of Russia, and devoted himself to the diplomatic line. The
firmness of character, the quick apprehension of facts, and the
knowledge of mankind which he evinced, together with an extreme
delicacy of judgment, were certain pledges of his success in the
conduct of business between one government and another. He received the
title of Conseiller d'Etat at St. Petersburg, and was soon despatched
to the court of Vienna, charged with a secret mission. The prince
whose service he had entered was that Alexander whose generous and
mystical mind was sadly employed in veiling, by the uprightness of his
conduct, and the exalted tenor of his life, a mournful recollection
which weighed upon his heart and his conscience. The revolution of the
palace, that had placed Alexander on the throne, had been directed
by England; and consequently must have been inclined to favour the
coalition against Buonaparte, who was about to place the imperial crown
upon his heroic brow; and Pozzo di Borgo was one of the diplomatic
agents charged with special and secret missions to the allied courts,
once more united against France.

We now find him at Vienna; but he only remained there a few months,
for the Czar was desirous of acting with great vigour, and therefore
despatched him, as Russian commissioner, to the Anglo-Russian and
Neapolitan army, which was about to commence operations in the south
of Europe under the influence of the noble Queen Caroline, so grossly
slandered in the pamphlets issued by Napoleon. This army had hardly
assembled at Naples, when the artillery of Austerlitz and the shouts
of victory filled the air; and, as an immediate consequence, the peace
of Presburg was signed. As this treaty separated Austria from the
coalition, it occasioned the dissolution of the army of Naples; and
Pozzo di Borgo returned to Vienna, and from thence to St. Petersburg,
where great military events were in preparation.

During the campaign crowned by the battle of Austerlitz, when Napoleon
had advanced so boldly into the interior of Moravia, Prussia had
hesitated whether she should join the coalition. It was impossible to
deny her public conduct in that respect, and Napoleon had borne it in
mind; this indecision, however, ceased after the battle of Austerlitz,
and a twelvemonth afterwards the united force of the Russians and
Prussians was drawn up together.

Pozzo di Borgo was called upon to accompany the emperor in this
campaign, and the Czar offered him rank in the army; such being the
custom of Russia, where there is no advancement except by means of
military rank: he therefore received the title of Colonel in the
suite of the emperor, a post which attached him to the person of the
sovereign. Being, for the fourth time, despatched to Vienna, after the
battle of Jena, he strove to arouse Austria from the torpor into which
the peace of Presburg had plunged her, but in vain; for the Austrian
cabinet was then desirous of peace at any price. Colonel Pozzo received
a commission to proceed to the Dardanelles, to treat for peace with the
Turks, in conjunction with the English envoy; he was received on board
the Russian fleet, under the orders of Admiral Siniavim, stationed at
the entrance of the Dardanelles, and off the island of Tenedos; he was
present in the admiral's ship at the battle of Mount Athos, between
the Russian fleet and that of the sultan, and there received his first
military decoration.

Napoleon was now approaching the apogée of his glory: the French and
Russian armies had bravely measured their strength, and the French
emperor had so greatly risen in Alexander's estimation that, at the
peace of Tilsit, Napoleon was saluted with the title of Brother, at the
very time the old Russian aristocracy were accusing their sovereign of
abandoning the cause of his country. In the interchange of projects
which took place at Tilsit--in those friendly meetings, when the
waters of the Niemen flowed beneath the two emperors, locked in each
other's arms, was it possible Colonel Pozzo should not be aware that
his services would henceforth be an embarrassment to Russia? Upon his
arrival at St. Petersburg he held a conversation with the emperor,
full of confidence and unreserve on both sides, when each party took
a candid survey of his position. The Emperor Alexander declared to
Colonel Pozzo that there was no reason he should leave his service, and
that the ties of friendship he had contracted with Napoleon did not
oblige him to make such a sacrifice. The colonel replied that he could
no longer be useful to his sovereign; on the contrary, he should be a
source of embarrassment to him, for Buonaparte had not forgotten the
feud of his early days: sooner or later he would demand the banishment
of his old enemy, the Czar would be too generous to agree to this, and
his refusal would raise difficulties for his government. "Besides,"
said he, "the alliance between your majesty and Napoleon will not be of
long duration; I am well acquainted with the deceitful character and
insatiable ambition of Buonaparte. At this moment one of your majesty's
hands is held by Persia, the other by Turkey, and Buonaparte presses
upon your chest; get your hands free in the first instance, and then
you will cast off the weight that now troubles you. Some years hence we
shall meet again."

Count Pozzo requested permission to travel; and he was again at Vienna
in 1808, when Austria, with her patient resignation, was preparing
fresh armaments against Napoleon, and declaring the rupture that had
taken place with him. I am not aware if history records a longer or
more honourable struggle than that of Austria against the Revolution
and the Empire. She submitted to every sacrifice, then prepared for
battle; vanquished, she had recourse to negotiation; then again tried
the fortune of war, until victory finally decided against her, and
she was crushed under the weight of the French eagles. Patient and
laborious German nation, never didst thou despair of thy cause!

Pozzo di Borgo remained at Vienna during the whole campaign of 1809,
and when peace was again imposed, Buonaparte did not forget him. He had
taken an active part in all the diplomatic proceedings of Austria and
Russia, and Napoleon was a person who always retained the remembrance
of his enemies; accordingly, after the peace of Vienna, his first
step was to demand the banishment of Colonel Pozzo di Borgo from the
Austrian dominions. Alexander, warmly attached to Napoleon, had the
weakness to consent, and this gave occasion to the fine and energetic
letter, in which Colonel Pozzo already prophesied the invasion of
Russia, and said to the Czar, "Sire, it will not be long before your
majesty again summons me to your presence." In order to escape the fate
which awaited him if his enemy of Ajaccio should succeed in seizing his
person, he took the precaution of retiring to Constantinople, the only
spot which still afforded him the power of quitting continental Europe
and seeking refuge in England.

He was now a proscribed man, travelling in Syria, visiting Smyrna
and Malta, and from Malta proceeding to London, where he arrived in
October 1810. He was already an agent of some importance, on account
of the missions upon which he had been employed; and the limited
intercourse between England and the Continent made her set a value
upon the information to be obtained from a man of political talent and
experience, who had just arrived from the principal capitals of Europe.
In several conferences with Lord Castlereagh, Colonel Pozzo explained
to him the hopes he still entertained of a continental rising against
the colossal empire of France: in the midst of all his great qualities,
Napoleon had still some vulnerable points, and nobody was better
aware of them than Pozzo di Borgo, because he had studied them through
the medium of his resentment. Who could be so well acquainted as he
with that Buonaparte, whom he had had such opportunities of observing
in the closest manner, with his infirmities, his fits of anger, his
weaknesses, and his ambition?

At last the terrible war of 1812 broke out, and the French armies
passed the Niemen. Russia was invaded; the battles of Moscowa and the
Mojaisk drove back the armies of Alexander towards the sacred city
of Moscow, and the ancient capital was reduced to ashes. During the
whole of this campaign Pozzo di Borgo remained in London, and his
influence was of service in promoting the union between Alexander
and the English cabinet; he did not join the army of the Czar,
because a revolution had taken place in the ideas of the cabinet of
St. Petersburg. The fact was, that when Alexander found his finest
provinces invaded, and the murderous war which was desolating his
territory, he summoned to his assistance the old Russian spirit and
the ancient traditions of the country; the banner of St. Nicholas
was unfurled, the churches resounded with prayers and calls to arms
against the invader, and the Czar placed himself at the head of the
army: but this popular appeal had precisely the effect of rousing the
national spirit against foreigners. Ever since the time of Peter the
Great, the ideas of civilisation had favoured in Russia the influence
of the Italians, the Germans, and the French, who filled many important
military situations, and were raised to the first dignities of the
state; and the old Russian families naturally entertained a jealous
feeling regarding this influence. This colony of courtiers offended
their pride, and interfered with their interests; therefore, when
Alexander had occasion to invoke the shades of his country at the foot
of the Kremlin, and to rouse the devotion of the Muscovite nobility,
who lived among their serfs in the central provinces, he was obliged
to sacrifice the strangers to their prejudices. Pozzo di Borgo was not
recalled till the close of the campaign, when the impulse had ceased
to be entirely Russian, but had become more eccentric and inclined
towards Poland and Prussia, and he returned through Sweden just at the
time when Bernadotte was becoming more nearly connected with England,
and, without however openly committing himself, had begun to lend a
favourable ear to the overtures of the court of London. The Russian
councillor was commissioned to encourage the inclination of Bernadotte,
and to strive to forward a decision which would afford his sovereign a
new opportunity of taking vengeance for the invasion of his country by
the Emperor of the French. This was the first beginning of his intimacy
with the Crown Prince of Sweden.

The Emperor Alexander received Pozzo di Borgo at Kalisch, after a
separation of five years. They had parted immediately after the
interview of Tilsit, which had so greatly reconciled the Czar to the
politics of Napoleon. Now, how different was the situation of affairs!
Alexander had seen his empire invaded by his ancient ally, his cities
in flames; and, according to the excited ideas of Alexander, it was
the sainted spirits of the ancient Russians who had raised the stormy
tempests, and engulfed the immense army of Napoleon in the icy floods
of the Beresina. The language of Alexander to Pozzo di Borgo reminded
him of his sagacious prophecies, and the colonel made great efforts
to win him back to simple and positive plans against the power of
Napoleon; for having been one of the patriots of 1789, Colonel Pozzo
perfectly understood the importance of the conspiracy of Mallet,
and of the discontent that was beginning to pervade France. He was
opposed to all species of compromise, and his view of the case was
to strive to effect a separation between the interests of France and
her leader. Whilst Alexander, still prepossessed with the idea of the
stupendous power of Napoleon, hesitated to plunge into the perils of a
distant campaign, Pozzo di Borgo advised him to induce Prussia to take
advantage of the secret societies, which proudly raised their heads at
the cry of _Germania_ or _Teutonia_, and to assemble all Buonaparte's
rivals in glory under their banners, so as to occasion confusion and
disorder in his preparations for war.

A threefold negotiation was now opened; the first with Moreau, whom
they were desirous of drawing into France, to rouse the Republican
party by the influence of his name; the second with Eugène and Murat,
between whom they wanted to divide the kingdom of Italy; the third
and last with Bernadotte, who was to join with the Swedish troops
and effect a division in the French army. Pozzo di Borgo was charged
with this last mission, furnished with full powers from the Emperor
Alexander, while the Russians were advancing into Saxony. Without
clearly explaining the views of the alliance with regard to France, or
on the distinctive and positive results of the war, he was directed to
suggest, in his conversations with the crown prince, all the possible
events which might encourage the emulation of the old companions of
the Emperor Napoleon; and he engaged, in the name of the Czar, to
acknowledge Bernadotte as Crown Prince, and eventually, according to
the order of succession, as King of Sweden: in the same manner he
had promised to Moreau the presidency of a republic, if it should
arise from the order of affairs, or from a popular anti-Buonapartist
movement in Paris. One ought to have heard the ambassador himself
recount all the trouble and anxiety he experienced during this
negociation; the vacillations of the Crown Prince, his ill-humours
and discontent. Still he hesitated. At last, when the Swedish army
was embarking at Karlscrona and landing at Stralsund, the artillery
of Lutzen and Bautzen were heard in thunders through the whole of
Germany. These brilliant victories had astonished the Crown Prince,
and the Russian army was in full retreat through Upper Silesia. Still,
though his troops were already assembled, he did not dare to come to
a final decision; he could not forget the star of his former master,
the remembrance of his victorious eagles, the irresistible influence
of his glory; the Swedes, therefore, halted at Stralsund, and awaited
the course of events. Bernadotte was a powerful ally; not only did he
bring into the field 20,000 brave Swedes, but also his name, like that
of Moreau, might be the means of sowing dissension and uneasiness in
the French army, if the invasion were to take place; when, therefore,
in the interval afforded by the armistice of Neumark, Colonel Pozzo
observed the hesitation he still exhibited, he hastened to Stralsund,
by the desire of Alexander, to endeavour to persuade him to march at
once. He had, however, the greatest difficulty in inducing him to
join the military congress of Trachenburg, where the plans were laid
for the campaign against Napoleon, and it was necessary he should
exhibit, at the same time, firmness with Bernadotte and forbearance
towards Sir Charles Stewart, afterwards Lord Londonderry, a young and
rather presumptuous officer, who was commissioner from England, and
was always ready to give offence to an old soldier like Bernadotte.
His efforts were crowned with success; the Crown Prince had already
had an interview with Moreau, and Pozzo di Borgo afterwards held
a confidential conversation with both those personal enemies of
Napoleon, in which they reciprocally exchanged their hopes, their
present hatred, and old resentments, Pozzo against the adversary of
Paoli, Moreau against the Consul, and Bernadotte against the Emperor.
The plan adopted by the allied powers at the military congress of
Trachenburg was very simple. Colonel Pozzo di Borgo maintained that
they ought to march at once upon Paris, the central point of Napoleon's
strength or weakness, where the question would speedily be settled; and
this was the opinion entertained by all those military men who mingled
any political ideas of the decline of Buonaparte's power and of his
personal character with the question of war. Besides, in the opinion of
the Russian envoy, Buonaparte and France were not synonymous terms; and
it was to save France and her liberty that he so closely pursued the

At this time the congress of Prague was assembled, which was in reality
nothing more than an armistice required by all the forces. Metternich
had assumed for Austria a position of armed mediation, being the
commencement of a new political system, a wary and provident plan,
which, in her state of relative weakness and isolation, gave her a
predominant influence over cabinets far more powerful than her own.
All the negotiations of this congress tended to one point only; the
endeavour to detach Austria from this mediatorial system, and to induce
her to decide in favour of one side or the other,--either for the
coalition, or for France. In the army of Napoleon, as well as among
the allies, a strong desire for peace existed, with this difference,
that the victorious soldiers of the Emperor were thoroughly weary of
war; for them the illusions of conquest had no longer any charms, and
their generals, in the midst of the wonderful success that had crowned
their arms, regretted the life of luxury and enjoyment they had been
accustomed to lead in Paris. The sons of Germany, ardent in their
desire for liberty, flocked to the ranks of the allied armies, under
the command of old Blucher, whose mind was also full of enthusiasm
for the German unity; while the general officers of the French army
indulged in dreams of their hotels, in the Chaussée d'Antin, or the Rue
de Bourbon, or their delightful retreats at Malmaison and Grosbois,
while their brothers-in-arms were falling under the enemy's fire,--that
fire which no longer respected the marshals. An unanimous cry of bitter
accusation was heard among the staff, "That man will make an end of us
all!" Exaggerated accounts of disaffection were brought to the Emperor.
At one time some thousands of conscripts were said to have mutilated
their fingers, in order that they might be sent back to their homes;
at another they reported the desertion of the brave fellows who had
cried "Vive l'Empereur!" under the grape-shot of Lutzen and Bautzen.
The allies were well aware of this decline of military ardour in the
French camp, and they knew a feeling of weakness and a disposition to
discord were connected with it. The proposals for peace at Prague never
were sincere on the part of Russia and Prussia, and the Emperor was
thoroughly deceived in imagining them to be so.

The main object was to prevail upon Austria to declare herself openly;
and here Napoleon was guilty of many faults. In the situation assumed
by the cabinet of Vienna, a good deal was naturally exacted, and with
perfect justice, for upon them depended the strength, and we may almost
say the success, of the coalition. In offering herself as a mediator,
Austria was desirous of regaining the position she had lost during the
struggle with Napoleon, and the law was now in her own hands, for she
could throw the weight of 300,000 men into either scale. Napoleon
committed the great oversight of not acceding to the offers of the
cabinet of Vienna: he went farther still; he deeply offended the
minister who directed the fates of that cabinet--Prince Metternich, a
man of extraordinary ability and consideration, and whose inclinations
had previously tended towards France. I have elsewhere related the
stormy and imprudent scene which broke up the conference between
Buonaparte and the Austrian minister.[19]

 [19] _Vide_ the article "Metternich."

The allied sovereigns awaited the decision of the cabinet of Vienna
with indescribable anxiety. It was eleven o'clock at night, and they
were all assembled in a barn; the ministers, Count Nesselrode, Pozzo di
Borgo, and Hardenburg, in the lower apartment; the Emperor Alexander
and the King of Prussia on the first floor: the rain descended in
torrents, and it was one of those stormy nights which add even to the
horrors of war, when all at once a courier arrived, bearing a letter
for Count Nesselrode, which contained merely these words,--"Austria
has decided, and four armies will be at the disposal of the Alliance."
Imagination may picture the shouts of joy, the transports of the
coalition, on thus receiving the support of 300,000 men, who were to
join the rest of the army by the mountains of Bohemia. The chances of
war were now clearly against Napoleon; and General Pozzo di Borgo,
for he had lately been raised to the rank of major-general, was
again despatched, in the character of commissioner, from the Emperor
Alexander to the Crown Prince of Sweden, who at this time covered
Berlin at the head of an army, composed of 40,000 Prussians, 30,000
Russians, and 20,000 Swedes.

The most glorious events recorded in the military history of France
have nothing that can bear a comparison with the admirable defence
of Dresden by Napoleon, when all the armies of the coalition went
successively to try their strength under its walls. They were repulsed
with considerable loss, and Moreau was mortally wounded on the field of
battle; but this admirable manœuvre of concentration was followed
by a very great fault--the division of the main body of his army, one
portion being intrusted to General Vandamme, the other to some marshals
upon whose deeds the star of Napoleon's fortune did not shine. At Gross
Beeren, Bernadotte broke the brilliant line of the French, at the same
time that the corps of Vandamme was cut to pieces or taken prisoner by
the coalesced enemy, and the Emperor was obliged to retreat beyond the
Elbe. I cast a veil over the mournful catastrophe of Leipsic, where so
many faults were committed, and so much want of foresight exhibited,
both on the part of Napoleon, and also of those who were charged with
the execution of his orders; the sad disorder, the horrible confusion
that prevailed, when the soldiers were decimated at once by sickness in
the hospital, the steel of the enemy, and the hordes of peasants raised
by Blucher along his path, and which swallowed up the French army,
already perishing with hunger, without guns, and barefooted, in the
midst of the cold rains of October.

The coalition was now victorious; its advanced guard had reached the
banks of the Rhine. Still they could not refrain from a degree of
secret terror as they approached the French territory, which was still
pervaded by the presiding genius of Napoleon. The army of Bernadotte
was separated from the allies to march against Holstein, invade
Denmark, and prepare a rising in Holland; and General Pozzo di Borgo
quitted him to proceed on a mission to Frankfort, to concert military
operations with the allies. They had there a better opportunity of
judging of the state of public feeling in France, and were able to
study the progress that had been made by the different opinions and
parties against the imperial government. The Emperor's administration
had surpassed itself; the Senate had voted troops upon troops, the
levies proceeded with extraordinary energy, and they sought by every
means, pamphlets, songs, operas--in short, nothing was neglected to
re-awaken the cry of national independence in the breasts of the French
nation. But though from the powerful organisation of the empire every
thing appeared clear on the surface, its stability went no deeper;
there was an under-current of murmurs, complete dissatisfaction, and
weariness of mind; commerce was annihilated, leaving the unemployed
workmen no resource but a musket, and no choice but of seeking bread
or death with the army. Secret agitations began to be whispered about
every where; the legislative body had separated itself from Napoleon by
a protest, executed under the influence of discontent, and of MM. Lainé
and Reynouard, and it had in consequence been dissolved; the council
of the regency of Maria Louisa was composed of timid, hesitating
men; some, like Talleyrand, ready to abandon a falling cause; the
people called for a termination of this state of affairs, and gloomy,
foreboding clouds hung on the brow of Napoleon.

Existing circumstances certainly offered a favourable opportunity for
invading the imperial territory; but were the allies well agreed upon
the end they proposed to themselves? Were they all actuated by the
same interests? Although Austria had made an effort to shake off the
enormous power of Napoleon, would she be willing to ruin the son-in-law
of her own emperor, Francis II., especially when the advantages
resulting from it would fall principally to the share of Russia and
Prussia, whose power had been already excessively augmented by the late
events? Having regained the territories of which Napoleon had formerly
deprived her, why should she join in the invasion of France, and aim a
last blow at a nation so necessary to the balance of power in Europe?
Even England, though the determined enemy of Buonaparte, could not
fail to entertain some degree of uneasiness in observing the immense
increase of the Russian influence, and the ministers were assailed
with incessant questions as to the object and probable termination of
the war. All these circumstances caused a dread that the coalition was
ready to fall to pieces at the very moment its great object had been
attained. This state of affairs soon became evident to the diplomatic
chiefs assembled at the conference of Frankfort, and Pozzo di Borgo was
despatched by the three sovereigns on a mission to the Prince Regent to
request the presence of Lord Castlereagh, the English prime minister,
at head-quarters, in order to strengthen the bands of the coalition and
determine its object. The general lost no time in accomplishing his
voyage, and arrived in London in the beginning of January 1814, while
parliament was sitting, and just at the time when Lord Castlereagh had
been obliged to enter into an explanation in answer to the pressing
requisitions of the Whigs. He was the bearer of an autograph letter to
the Prince Regent from the allied sovereigns, by which they engaged
to follow the most moderate measures, and as far as possible to keep
the balance of power in Europe in view, so as to remove any fears on
the part of England. It was just six years since Pozzo di Borgo, as
a proscribed person, had last visited that country, and under what
different auspices he now returned to it! He came as the organ of
the triumphant coalition, and his reception was distinguished by all
the magnificence and joy inspired by the late victories. With what
cordiality Lord Wellesley pressed his hand! "I believe, my dear Pozzo,"
said the marquess, "you and I are the two men who most earnestly
desire the fall of Buonaparte." Lord Castlereagh had already begun to
entertain some thoughts of the restoration of the Bourbon dynasty,
and he communicated his idea to General Pozzo di Borgo, who replied,
"You are well aware, my lord, that we must never present any but a
perfectly simple idea to the sovereigns; complicated matters do not
take hold of their minds. Let us first overturn Buonaparte,--this is
a thing we shall easily make the Emperor of Russia and the King of
Prussia understand,--and then afterwards, when the coast is clear,
we can return to examine the second difficulty." "Very well," said
Lord Castlereagh, "whom do you wish us to send to the Continent?" "If
Mr. Pitt were alive," replied the general, "I would tell him to hold
himself in readiness; it is sufficient to make you understand that we
are most anxious to see you in person on the Rhine, that the question
may not get perplexed and confused."

It was with these opinions that Pozzo di Borgo visited the French
princes, especially the Comte d'Artois. His royal highness was anxious
to appear at head-quarters, and blend the idea of a restoration with
the plan of the campaign of the allies, but General Pozzo strongly
opposed his design. "Monseigneur," said he, "you are well aware of
my devotion to your person and to your interests, but do not come to
spoil our game; we still have great difficulties to overcome effecting
the fall of Napoleon, when that point is gained it will be necessary
to turn to something else, and your turn and your name will naturally

It was a matter of some delicacy to obtain the departure of Lord
Castlereagh and the full and entire adhesion of England to the
coalition; they were obliged to work at it a long while with the
Prince Regent and some influential members of parliament; at last, at
a dinner given by Lady Castlereagh, the English minister, on rising
from table, said to the emperor's messenger, "Well, my dear Pozzo, it
is decided that I am to accompany you; the Prince Regent has given me
an autograph letter for the sovereigns, and we shall act in concert and
good fellowship with you." The two diplomatists embraced each other
with delight, two days afterwards they embarked for the Continent, and
in three weeks rejoined the sovereigns at Baden.

Lord Castlereagh's arrival at head-quarters strengthened the unity of
the alliance and enabled them to form some resolutions for the general
benefit, and also to decide upon the plan of the political campaign
about to be commenced against Buonaparte. England had never recognised
the Emperor of the French, and in all the acts of parliament, as well
as those of the cabinet, he had no other designation than that of _the
common enemy_, or _the head of the government_, a circumstance which
facilitated Pozzo di Borgo's labours with Lord Castlereagh towards
gaining the object he had in view, viz., the complete overthrow of
Napoleon. The English minister, who was armed with full powers, laid
down as the fundamental principle of all their diplomatic transactions,
that France, although necessary to the balance of power in Europe,
must be reduced within her ancient territorial limits, a principle
which almost inevitably involved the restoration of the ancient
dynasty. This, however, was only mentioned in the acts, both public
and secret, of the congress, as a _possibility_ reserved for a further
consideration of the French question.

One of the most important principles laid down in the political plan
of the alliance was the separation of the question concerning Napoleon
from those regarding the interests of France. This line of conduct was
recommended by Bernadotte, Pozzo di Borgo, and the patriot party, who
were the enemies of the emperor, and it was formally announced in the
public acts of Frankfort and the proclamations of all the allied troops
who crossed the Rhine. Their great object was to weaken the common
enemy, at the same time that they promised France that her ancient
territory should remain untouched, and hinted at the possibility of
establishing a constitution independent of the emperor. By adopting
this plan they summoned all disaffected persons to the assistance of
the coalition; and, without entering into engagements with any one
party, they offered to _all_ the hope of bringing their pretensions and
wishes to a favourable issue; they even contrived to conciliate the
partisans of a republican form of government as well as the advocates
of the regency of Maria Louisa.

Pozzo di Borgo continued attached to the person of the Emperor
Alexander during the whole of the operations of 1814, that glorious
but melancholy campaign where the military genius of Napoleon shone
with so brilliant a lustre--a bright ray emanating from that star which
appeared but for a fleeting moment, soon to grow dim and set for ever!
During the negotiations at Chatillon, General Pozzo urged the rejection
of all the propositions of the French emperor, and also that the time
and circumstances granted by the coalition to him whose attempts had so
often been crowned with victory, should have a limit defined with the
utmost accuracy. "Grant no armistice, but march _en masse_ straight to
Paris!" Such was the advice of Pozzo di Borgo, to whom some overtures
had already been made by Talleybrand and the disaffected party in the
capital. Had the preliminaries of peace been accepted, a treaty might
possibly have been entered into at Chatillon with Napoleon and Maria
Louisa; but how would it have been possible for the emperor to submit
to the ancient limits of France, without exposing himself to inevitable
ruin in the interior of his kingdom? M. de Caulaincourt, it is true,
received orders to accede to the proposed conditions, but it was then
too late. It would, however, have been impossible for Napoleon to have
continued peaceably on the throne, even had pacific terms been granted
him, under existing circumstances; for his government would have
been overturned by an internal revolution. How could the victorious
emperor, who had given laws to the world, now in his turn submit to
receive laws from the whole of Europe combined against him? And,
supposing he had returned to Paris with the humiliating treaties which
deprived France of all her conquests and reduced her within the narrow
limits she formerly occupied, would not the loss of his throne have
been, sooner or later, the inevitable consequence of such a change of
circumstances? Would not discontent have reared its head at every step
he took? Or would his government still have retained sufficient power
and influence to secure him the possession of absolute dominion? As
soon as peace had been proclaimed, the adverse parties would have burst
forth with violence, and Napoleon have been overcome by a republican
insurrection. They would have said to the emperor, "What have you done
with the conquests of the republic and with the legions it bequeathed
to you?" And, to escape from the tumult of public opinion, the emperor
would have been forced again to engage in some military enterprise.
"The peace you grant to Napoleon," said Pozzo di Borgo, "will merely
be giving him an opportunity of recruiting his strength, and in less
than a year you will find him again engaged in an attack upon your
territories; with the spirit of a gambler, he will stake his last crown
upon his last card."

For the sake of giving a powerful unity to the alliance, the sovereigns
signed the famous treaty of Chaumont, which was a general coalition of
the whole of Europe against the common enemy; they declared, in the
first place, that they would not separate until they had attained the
objects they proposed to themselves, which were a general peace and the
establishment of independence and of the rights of all the nations of
Europe. In addition to this, it was agreed that each power was to keep
up a standing army of 150,000 men besides those in garrison; England
undertook to furnish immense subsidies; and they engaged mutually to
support each other with a formidable armed contingent, in case any
of the governments should be threatened. The campaign then proceeded
with fresh vigour, and the advance upon Paris produced all the effect
anticipated by the sovereigns. I will not describe the sad events that
succeeded; they are, alas! but too well known. General Pozzo di Borgo
was in the suite of the Emperor Alexander when he entered the city, and
from that time forth he assumed the part of a mediator between France
and the allies.

We must take a retrospect of that melancholy period of our disasters
in order to form a reasonable judgment of the events about to be
accomplished. The hearts of the whole nation were filled with weariness
to a most painful degree. Some few soldiers might, perhaps, have been
ready to range themselves around the emperor and defend his eagles
which, though now abased, had so often led them to victory; but the
great mass of the population was no longer desirous of war; a feeling
of hatred towards Napoleon had gradually arisen among the republican
party and the Royalists, who were in a state of commotion; while, on
the other hand, the proclamations of Schwartzenburg, and the promises
he had made at the time of his entry into Paris, had inspired hopes of
repose and reasonable liberty. Pozzo di Borgo exerted all his influence
over the mind of Alexander to lead him towards the liberal system,
upon which his resolutions appear to have been formed. The whole idea
of the constitutional charter, and all the plans breathing a spirit of
liberty, were suggested at the meetings in Talleyrand's house, where
the patriots used to assemble to give vent to their dissatisfaction
with the conduct of Napoleon. I must here mention a curious
circumstance relating to the famous proclamation of Schwartzenburg
which first made open mention of the Bourbons. It was the work of Count
Pozzo, and Schwartzenburg had not signed it when Alexander said to him
in a meeting at the head-quarters of Bondy, "My dear prince, you have
written an admirable proclamation--it is perfect; sign it, you will get
great credit for it." And the prince, partly through self-love, and
partly through respect for the Emperor Alexander, affixed his signature
to the document.[20]

 [20] I have seen the rough copy of this proclamation written in
 pencil by Count Pozzo and corrected by Alexander himself.

General Pozzo di Borgo had kept up his acquaintance with all the
patriots of 1789, whose noble and generous principles of independence
met with a sympathetic feeling in the breast of Alexander. Napoleon,
the representative of a powerful and united system of government,
would only be overcome by the principle of liberty. "Europe," said
Talleyrand, "was then on the highroad to emancipation; it was with the
name of Fatherland, with the enthusiasm for free institutions, that
the people had been excited to rise against him, who was termed by the
Germans _the oppressor of mankind_." These ideas prevailed, and Count
Pozzo di Borgo was appointed commissioner from the Emperor Alexander to
the provisional government.

That government certainly stood in need of the support of the friend of
Paoli, who pursued with relentless perseverance the last glimmering ray
of Napoleon's fortune. Some of the marshals had just made an attempt to
induce the Emperor Alexander to treat with the regency, and, moved by
the recollection of his ancient friendship, and by the influence which
the noble countenance of Napoleon exercised over his mind, the Czar
would, perhaps, have agreed to the proposal, when Pozzo di Borgo was
despatched in haste by the provisional government to Alexander, to put
a stop to the treaty, and he worked on the mind of the Czar by means of
the same considerations he had formerly presented to his view, and of
which he had acknowledged the justice. "The regency was still Napoleon,
and France no longer desired his rule; to sign a peace with him was
merely to expose themselves to a repetition of hostilities; if Europe
was desirous of rest, they must have done with the imperial system
altogether." The commissioner spent two hours in this conversation,
and, by his perseverance, he obtained the important declaration of
the allied sovereigns, that they would enter into no treaty with the
emperor or his family. Having gained this point, he returned with
speed to the provisional government, and gave vent to the picturesque
expression of his triumph in his communication to Talleyrand. "My dear
prince," said he, "I certainly cannot be said single-handed to have
politically killed Buonaparte, but I have cast the last clod of earth
upon his head."

Thus was played the drama of life between these two men: Pozzo,
formerly proscribed by Buonaparte, now came in his turn to be present
at the obsequies of his rival's power! Born within a few months of
each other, the one had quitted Ajaccio merely with the rank of a
sub-lieutenant, and had ascended the greatest throne under heaven;
the other, as an exile, had traversed Europe, to rouse the spirit
of war and vengeance against his compatriot, and, after unheard-of
efforts, had at last succeeded in realising the plan which had always
kept possession of his mind. He had his foot on his enemy's neck, and
had him banished to the island of Elba, which he had himself twice
sailed past, pursued by the fortune of his rival. General Pozzo never
would admit the hypothesis that France and Buonaparte were the same
thing; and in this respect he was as good a patriot as Moreau, Lannes,
Bernadotte, Massena, Dessoles, and Gouvion St. Cyr.

As soon as the senate had decided upon the restoration of the ancient
dynasty, and laid the foundations of the constitution, Pozzo di Borgo
was commissioned by the sovereigns to go to London, to meet Louis
XVIII. This was not only an honourable mission of congratulation to
the new French sovereign; the general's special duty was to explain to
Louis the real state of public opinion in France, and the necessity
of adopting the constitutional forms and liberal ideas of a charter,
to answer the public expectation. He went with all possible speed to
London, for the provisional government were well aware that the ardent
royalist party would immediately surround the French king, and it was
necessary to prevent his being guilty of any imprudence; and this
they hoped to effect by means of the salutary intervention of Pozzo di
Borgo, especially as his being the confidential servant of the Emperor
Alexander would naturally invest him with a considerable degree of
influence over the mind of Louis XVIII. When the general arrived at
Calais, he engaged a packet-boat for his sole use, and at the moment of
his embarkation, an episode occurred, which he often related as a proof
of the instability of human opinions. He was standing on the sea-shore,
when a stranger accosted him, and requested a passage in his little
vessel to enable him to go and meet the king. "Who are you?" asked
Pozzo di Borgo. "I am the Duc de la Rochefoucauld Liancourt," replied
the stranger; "and I am going to the king to resume my ancient office."
One may imagine the amazement of the ambassador; the Duc de Liancourt
had not only deeply insulted the Comte de Provence at the Constituent
Assembly, but he had afterwards carried his offence still farther, by
sending back to him, from the United States, the ribbon of his orders,
as a mark of his contempt for what he called the _crotchets_ of the old
school: Louis XVIII. could not forget this contemptuous bearing in a
man of noble birth.

The ambassador did not refuse a passage to the noble duke; and it was a
most curious circumstance that the first step taken by M. de Liancourt
when they reached the royal yacht in which Louis had embarked, was
to adorn himself with the blue ribbon he had formerly sent back to
the king during his sojourn in the land of equality and liberty. It
is impossible to describe the despair of the duke when he found he
could not be received by Louis XVIII., while Count Pozzo was welcomed
in the warmest manner, and the king expressed himself in the most
flattering language, with tears in his eyes. The ambassador from the
allies explained the orders he had received. "Though the constitution
proclaimed by the senate might have fallen into contempt, it was no
reason for abandoning the principles of liberty upon which it was
founded." Pozzo di Borgo remained with the king during his voyage,
and assisted him in preparing the declaration issued at St. Ouen,
containing the plan of such a representative system as the liberal
party were desirous of establishing in France. Let us imagine that
country passing from the military rule of Napoleon into constitutional
principles, finding herself free, on emerging from the firm, but
despotic government of the emperor, had she not already gained an
immense step in securing the advantages of a public representation? The
treaty of Paris was based on the diplomatic scheme determined upon at
Chaumont and Chatillon: it restrained France within her ancient limits,
and placed her under the government of the ancient dynasty, thus
offering a pledge of peace and the maintenance of order, so necessary
to the tranquillity of Europe.

General Pozzo di Borgo remained in Paris as Russian ambassador to the
new French government, until the meeting of the Congress of Vienna,
where all the diplomatic chiefs were summoned to attend. I will not
recount the events of that period, having related them in a work
especially devoted to the history of those times;[21] I will only
observe, that had they listened at Vienna to the warnings, derived
from the former experience of the friend of Paoli, France would never
have suffered the misfortunes inflicted by the reign of the Hundred
Days. The _corps diplomatique_ received intelligence that Napoleon was
seeking the opportunity of returning from exile, and reappearing in
Europe, and General Pozzo, who well knew the energy of his countryman,
proposed removing him to a more secure spot,--as, for example, one
of the islands of the African Ocean, from whence escape would be
impossible, so as to prevent any risk of his again throwing the whole
of Europe into a state of danger and revolution.

 [21] "Histoire de la Restauration."

At Vienna, a coldness took place for the second time between Alexander
and his confidential _employé_, occasioned by the difference of their
opinions on the question of Poland. The Czar had taken it into his
head that Poland must be formed into a vast kingdom, separated by its
constitution from Russia, and even comprehending its ancient provinces
within its boundaries, and Pozzo di Borgo was strongly opposed to the
whole scheme: he foretold the consequences of such a proceeding in an
exceedingly well-written memorial, full of sound judgment, and evincing
a deep and extensive consideration of the subject. "The creation of
such a kingdom," said he, "would only be encouraging the spirit of
rebellion, and this would eventually involve the nobility and people
of Poland in a deeper slavery; for if an insurrection were to take
place, it would be necessary to repress it with severity."[22] Alas,
he spoke but too truly! What has been the ruin of Poland, and caused
the dispersion of her generous nobility? Was it not the insane project
of an impossible revolution? The Emperor Alexander withdrew for a
short time his confidence from General Pozzo, to place it in Count
Capo d'Istria, a man of rather a dreamy and visionary cast of mind,
and whose opinion exactly coincided with his own, concerning the
emancipation of Greece and Poland, under the _suzeraineté_ of the Czar.

 [22] This memorial was found again some years afterwards at Warsaw.
 The Emperor Nicholas wrote to Pozzo di Borgo in 1830, "How rightly
 you foresaw what would happen! You would have saved us much
 difficulty and embarrassment."

But all these occurrences were suddenly interrupted by the landing of
Napoleon in the gulf of Juan. It was like the fall of a thunderbolt.
Pozzo di Borgo, however, received the intelligence without any
appearance of surprise; and when the _corps diplomatique_ sought to
remove the fears that had been excited as to the probability of war, he
replied, "I well know Buonaparte; since he has landed, he will proceed
to Paris, and if so, there must be no delay, no attempt at pacific
measures; Europe should march at once against the common enemy." The
Emperor Alexander sent for Pozzo di Borgo, to whom he restored his
perfect confidence, and then despatched him to Ghent to Louis XVIII.,
charged with a military mission to the Anglo-Prussian army of the
Low Countries. A general cry for war now arose at Vienna, and the
allied powers made preparations for a fresh campaign, in spite of all
the endeavours of Napoleon to separate Austria and Russia from the
coalition. With this view, it is well known that he transmitted to
Alexander a copy of the secret treaty concluded in March 1814, between
England, France, and Austria, against Russia, relative to the Polish
question; and from this point dates the extreme antipathy of Alexander
for Talleyrand--an antipathy which more than once stood in the way of
diplomatic transactions after the second invasion of France.

General Pozzo arrived in Belgium, now the inevitable theatre of war,
as Russian commissary to the Anglo-Prussian army, which formed the
advanced guard of the coalition, at the very moment Napoleon made his
appearance on the frontier. The Duke of Wellington was informed of the
sudden arrival of his terrible adversary, in the midst of a brilliant
ball, under the thousand lustres of the palace of Laeken: the English
troops were assembled in all haste, and a courier was despatched to
Bulow, to desire him to quicken his march, and join the rest of the
army. The Prussians, under Blucher, received a check at Ligny, and the
English took up their position at Mont St. Jean. Pozzo di Borgo arrived
there in a state of considerable anxiety. "How long do you think you
can hold out?" said he. "I do not put much faith in the Belgians,"
replied the Duke of Wellington; "but I have a dozen British regiments
with me, and I will engage to maintain my ground all day; but Bulow
must come to my assistance before five o'clock in the evening." In
the middle of the battle a note arrived from Bulow, promising his
arrival in less than three hours; the news flew along the ranks, and
the English army, feebly supported by the Belgians, resisted with an
obstinate courage, which gained them the victory. At the funereal
battle of Waterloo, Count Pozzo di Borgo received rather a serious

Napoleon's last battle-field was fought and lost! still Count Pozzo
felt uneasy, and with reason, for the army of Alexander had taken no
part in these events, indeed it had scarcely reached Germany; and was
it not probable that the Duke of Wellington and Blucher, profiting by
their successes, might take upon themselves to decide alone upon the
fate of France? Pozzo di Borgo sent for a young Russian officer serving
in the Prussian army, and said to him, "Spare not your horses, but
in forty-eight hours let the czar be informed of this victory! Your
fortune awaits you at the end of your journey." Though suffering from
his wound, the diplomatist followed the Duke of Wellington closely
to Paris: he resumed his office of ambassador to Louis XVIII., but
without the same favourable circumstances in regard to credit, as he
had enjoyed in 1814. As he had foreseen, the occupation of Paris by the
English and Prussian generals had rendered them all powerful there,
the Fouché-Talleyrand ministry was almost entirely formed by the Duke
of Wellington, and both those political characters were known to be
devoted to England. Russia thus played but a secondary part, which it
was very desirable should be augmented; but the arrival of the Emperor
Alexander at the head of 230,000 bayonets soon changed the face of

Talleyrand had evidence of this from the very first steps taken
towards the preliminaries of peace; the Czar had an old grudge
against the French plenipotentiary at Vienna, and he would not hear
of any negotiation carried on by him; still Alexander's mediation was
indispensable to our interests, in the discussions preparatory to
a treaty of peace. England, Prussia, and Germany, exacted the most
exorbitant conditions, being apparently desirous of making the most
of their victory, and vieing with each other in the pillage of our
unfortunate country. Lord Castlereagh's first minutes demanded the
cession of a chain of fortresses along the Belgic frontier from Calais
to Maubeuge; while the Prussians and Germans claimed Alsace and part
of Lorraine; who but the Czar could defend us from the greediness of
our conquerors? Talleyrand tried to appease Alexander by promising a
high political situation to his ambassador; he offered Pozzo di Borgo
the ministry of the interior, combined with that of the police, now
vacant by the resignation of Fouché, or any other appointment he might
prefer; but Count Pozzo declined his offers, declaring he could only be
useful to France as an intermediate agent between the two governments;
a Frenchman in his affections, and a Russian in his position and duty,
he would appear as a type of alliance between the two cabinets and
the two nations. Talleyrand's plans fell to the ground, owing to the
invincible objections of the Emperor Alexander, who persisted in his
desire of seeing the ministry for foreign affairs intrusted to a man of
his choice, and in whom he could place confidence; and he recommended
the appointment of the Duc de Richelieu, designating him as the best
of Frenchmen, and the most upright of men: Talleyrand was, therefore,
obliged to give way; he gave in his resignation to Louis XVIII., who
intrusted the Duc de Richelieu with the formation of another cabinet.

From this moment the influence of Russia on public affairs became
clearly defined. The Czar placed himself as the intermediary in all
questions regarding territory, and he had, in point of fact, some
object in wishing to uphold the active power of France in the south
of Europe, in order that he might hereafter meet with an ally and
supporter there. Pozzo di Borgo's influence increased with that of
his emperor, and he always exercised it in a kind and favourable
manner towards France. Let us take a retrospective glance of that most
disastrous period, when the country, invaded by 800,000 foreigners,
was completely crushed under the burden of military contributions; but
Alexander threw the weight of his opinion and his power into the scale,
as opposed to the demands of the English, Prussians, and Germans, and
the question of the cession of Alsace, Lorraine, and a great part of
the northern provinces, was at an end.

In the secret conferences of the plenipotentiaries, the Russian
minister pressed the necessity of not exercising too much severity in
the conditions exacted from France and the new dynasty; because, when
dishonour, weakness, or degradation, are imposed upon a king or a
nation, a natural reaction takes place against a yoke too oppressive
to be borne. The treaty of Paris, the result of these conferences, was
no doubt a very hard measure; when the Duc de Richelieu signed it,
the trembling of his hand shewed the pain and grief he endured, and
he wrote a most noble letter, which is still extant, deploring this
cruel necessity; still, compared with the conditions imposed by the
Anglo-Prussians, a great step had been gained. France underwent no
partition; though she lost some posts on the frontier, though she was
obliged to submit to a military occupation, though a contribution of
seven hundred millions[23] of francs was levied, at least she could
look forward to a limit, however distant, to the evils of war, she
neither lost Lorraine nor Alsace, she still was a great nation.

 [23] About twenty-eight millions sterling.

When the Emperor Alexander quitted Paris, he invested Pozzo di Borgo
with full power to uphold the government of Louis XVIII., to watch his
first proceedings and prevent his first faults. A powerful royalist
reaction had taken place; the greater part of the Chamber of 1815 had
decided in favour of a system of unbounded energy, in which parties,
when left to themselves, are always apt to indulge in the first joy of
victory. This chamber was strongly opposed to the Richelieu ministry,
and made political order of impossible attainment, though it was the
only means of realising the loans, and, consequently, of fulfilling the
terms imposed by the army of occupation. Under existing circumstances,
moderation was not merely a natural impulse of elevated minds, it
was an actual law of necessity; besides which, reactions do not
create real resources, they only disturb people's minds, and destroy
public prosperity. Pozzo di Borgo upheld the Duc de Richelieu in the
plan common to both, of endeavouring to arrest the ultra-royalist
movement, which threw obstacles in the way of the fulfilment of their
engagements towards the allies; and the _ordonnance_ of the 5th of
September altered the course of ideas, and political principles of
the Restoration. The despatches of Pozzo di Borgo had prepared the
Emperor Alexander for this change, being altogether in favour of the
moderate royalist system, which the duke was desirous of following;
"It was necessary," said he, "to put a stop to the reaction of 1815;"
and the emperor perfectly agreed with him in opinion. The Russian
minister considered this _ordonnance_ as an act evincing the royal
will, likely to be favourably received in Europe, and thus to advance
the deliverance of the country from foreign occupation; the event
shewed he was not mistaken, for Louis soon received letters from the
Czar, congratulating him upon the act of firmness which enabled his
government to pursue the path of salutary moderation.

The Russian influence continued to increase. The military occupation
was still in force, and France, which had to arrange pecuniary
conventions resulting from various treaties, was exposed to very severe
trials: war was succeeded by famine, famine by internal disorders, and
simultaneous revolts. In his despatches to the emperor, Pozzo di Borgo
endeavoured to convince him of the necessity of alleviating the burden
of the military contributions, unless they wished to drive to despair
a nation which they might find it difficult to bring into entire
subjection. I never met with a collection of documents better reasoned,
or more thoroughly imbued with the desire of putting an end to the
military occupation of the country; perhaps his strong and patriotic
anxiety on that head often made him form too severe a judgment of the
royalist party.

The influence of the Russian ambassador was favourable to all
the negotiations of the French government, and at the Congress
of Aix-la-Chapelle it assumed the character of a most generous
intervention. Before starting for the congress he had received full
authority from his sovereign to endeavour to prevail upon the Duke of
Wellington to declare himself arbiter and mediator in the delicate
question regarding the debts claimed by foreigners from the French
government. These liabilities exceeded all bounds; and Pozzo di
Borgo, appealing to the generosity and military honour of the Duke of
Wellington, persuaded him to give over the military occupation which
injured and tormented France, and to make an end of these liquidations,
which appeared to have neither limit nor probable termination. Though
the Duke of Wellington had an interest in keeping up a command which
invested him with such vast authority in France, he consented to
become the arbiter of the different interests; and affairs were thus
arranged beforehand, that no obstacle might arise to interfere with the
resolutions already formed, and which were to be finally settled at the
Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle.

The result of that congress was the liberation of France, the credit
and trouble attending which are due to the Duc de Richelieu; but the
exertions of Pozzo di Borgo also contributed greatly to calm the fears
of Alexander, which had been excited by the liberal tendency at that
time so vehement in Europe.

The disposition of the Czar always evinced a greater degree of warmth
and generosity than of deep reflection; a bias had been given by
education, and he was also surrounded by timid people, constantly
ready to be alarmed at the posture of affairs, and more especially
uneasy at the excited state of the German universities. During his
brief stay in Paris, after the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle, Alexander
had entered into an explanation on this subject with the French king.
According to his ideas, the principal danger in Europe at that time
arose from Jacobinism, and this was an evil above all others to be
avoided; it was a disorder of a new species, against which the Holy
Alliance would have some difficulty in acting so as to preserve the
world from its contagion. The instructions left with Pozzo di Borgo
bore the stamp of the same opinions; and what must have been the
disappointment of the emperor, when, upon his arrival at Warsaw, he
received intelligence that the Richelieu ministry was dissolved, and
that a political system more decidedly liberal had been adopted by
France! The Russian ambassador felt no repugnance for General Dessole,
and Marshal Gouvion St. Cyr, who formed part of this administration,
for they both belonged to the military opposition which had formed the
basis of the restoration; but, when the choice fell upon M. Grégoire,
and when the Duc de Berri was assassinated, terror and amazement
took possession of the _corps diplomatique_, and Pozzo di Borgo was
not unacquainted with the resolutions which again placed the Duc de
Richelieu at the head of affairs. The influence of the ambassador was
then neither very strong nor important, for a very simple reason; from
the year 1815 to 1818 it was impossible the French government should
act independent of foreigners; they occupied the country; it was
necessary to consult their diplomatic agents, and be in a great measure
decided by their opinion; but, when France was delivered from them, the
influence changed its nature, there was then no material action, only
a moral, and consequently limited, influence exercised by the _corps

The revolutionary spirit began to be manifest in Europe: Spain, Naples,
Piémont, had all proclaimed the constitution with arms in their hands;
the assassination of Kotzebue, the excited state of the universities,
the mysterious societies in the Russian army, the riots at Manchester,
the commotions of the active population of Paris in the month of
June 1820, all were presages of a popular movement against crowned
heads. The thrones of Europe were never more shaken than in those two
years of 1820 and 21; it was necessary they should defend themselves.
Pozzo di Borgo, therefore, received orders to uphold the royalist
system of the Duc de Richelieu's second ministry, and he entered into
it with a loyal ardour which proceeded not only from the personal
friendship he entertained for that minister, but also from his profound
conviction that certain limits would not be overstepped. Nevertheless,
from the hands of M. de Richelieu the government fell into those
of MM. de Montmorency and De Villèle, the representatives of the
ultra-monarchical and religious opinions, and who had a bias towards
the English system. Count Pozzo felt some annoyance in viewing the
triumph of men with whom he was well acquainted, and whom he had even
been called upon to oppose in the _ordonnance_ of the 5th of September;
but the orders of his sovereign were imperative, and he became their
organ at Paris. He approved of the occupation of Piémont by the
Austrians; and his advice principally decided the question of the war
with Spain, which had been suggested at the congresses of Troppan and
Laybach, and finally resolved upon at Verona.

The royalist party returned in triumph from Cadiz, having replaced
Ferdinand VII. on his throne. In that country, where moderation either
in politics or religion is unknown, the power had fallen into the hands
of Don Saez, the king's confessor; and the object of Russia being
always to exercise a powerful influence in the south of Europe, in
order to counterbalance that of England, Count Pozzo received orders
to repair to Madrid and use all his endeavours to push M. Hirujo
into the ministry, who was a man of moderate views, and consequently
inclined to favour the Russian interests. A perfect understanding on
this head existed between the Russian minister and M. de Villèle. M.
de Hirujo, forerunner of M. Zéa, gained the ascendant at Madrid, and
people could reckon upon the government of Ferdinand being conducted
with some degree of order and regularity. Pozzo di Borgo then returned
to Paris; he was on intimate terms with MM. Pasquier and Molé, friends
of the Duc de Richelieu, and disapproved highly of the folly of the
royalist party, who tormented France every year with fresh laws,
still more remarkable for their silliness and want of importance than
for their unpopular tendency; but the ambassador had now hardly any
influence upon the government; it was almost entirely confined to the
opposition formed in the diplomatic circles and in good society, which
before long extended to the conduct of the sovereign. Although he
approved of the law regarding the conversion of the _rentes_,[24] he
had no hesitation in giving utterance to his opinion concerning the
extreme unpopularity the measure would naturally be attended with. "The
King of France," said he, "wishes to become the richest sovereign in
Europe; but I greatly fear this measure will lead to some unfortunate
catastrophe. People do not play with impunity with the _pot-au-feu_
of the citizens." And the event shewed his opinion to have been well

 [24] On the 5th of April, 1824, the minister of finance brought
 forward a plan to substitute _rentes_ at three per cent for those
 already existing at five per cent, reserving to the holders of the
 five per cent _rentes_ the option between the repayment of their
 nominal capital and its conversion into three per cents at the rate
 of seventy-five. Some modifications were suggested, but the plan
 failed at the time. In the following year it was renewed, and then
 it was decreed that the proprietors of five per cent _rentes_ should
 be allowed till the 22d of June (afterwards extended to the 5th of
 August) the faculty of demanding from the minister of finance their
 conversion into three per cents at the price of seventy-five, and
 till the 22d of September the faculty of requiring their conversion
 into four and a half per cent stock at par, with a guarantee in both
 cases against being paid off till September 1835. The _rentes_ so
 converted were to continue to bear interest at five per cent until
 the 22d December, 1825.--_Editor._

At this period the Russian ambassador lost his protector, I may
almost say his friend. Alexander died on his journey into the Crimea,
a pilgrimage enveloped in mystery,[25] and which was immediately
followed by the revolutionary movement in St. Petersburg. Some officers
were desirous of throwing the government into the hands of the old
Russian nobility, always ready to enter into any measure calculated
to restore the predominance of the Muscovite aristocracy, which was
a sort of republic formed of the great vassals of the crown. Would
the Emperor Nicholas repose the same confidence in Pozzo di Borgo
that his predecessor had done? He had not like Alexander a sort of
brotherhood in arms and affairs with his ambassador, but as Count
Nesselrode remained at the head of affairs, he retained his situation
and presented his renewed credentials to Charles X. at the time when
the storms of the opposition assumed every where a menacing aspect. Two
years afterwards the ministry of M. de Villèle was at an end, and the
king formed a fresh administration, at the head of which he intended
placing M. de Martignac and M. de la Ferronays. The latter was at that
time ambassador at St. Petersburg, and enjoyed the confidence of the
Emperor Nicholas, who was therefore likely to be satisfied with his
appointment to the ministry, and Pozzo di Borgo considered it necessary
to support him with all his power; for the interests of Russia had at
that time assumed so complicated a form, that the concurrence of France
was a matter of the greatest importance to her.

 [25] Alexander had gone on a tour of inspection to the southern
 parts of his empire, and on arriving at a village in the Crimea,
 he insisted upon attending the service in a church which had long
 been shut up, in spite of the remonstrances of his attendants, who
 represented the danger arising from malaria. He was shortly afterwards
 seized with the fever common in the Crimea, and refused to submit to
 the strong measures recommended by his medical attendants, resolving
 to trust to abstinence and the mild remedies he had usually found
 successful when attacked by illness, but which were insufficient in
 this instance; and when he at last resigned himself into the hands of
 his physicians, it was too late. Reports were raised of his having
 been poisoned, but they were totally devoid of foundation.--_Editor._

Russia had deeply offended the Porte by signing the treaty of the
month of June 1827, which established the independence of Greece; and
the Mussulmans, proud of their ancient glory, had been still further
irritated by the battle of Navarino. The occupation of Moldavia and
Wallachia had given rise to fresh dissensions, which ended by the
Russian ambassador's quitting Constantinople. Every thing was thus
progressing towards a war likely to involve Russia in considerable
danger, especially if England were to take part with the Sultan: the
Emperor Nicholas was determined to pass the Balkan, for he found it
necessary to employ the superstitious and turbulent disposition of the
old Russian nobility in active military operations, to prevent its
bursting out in revolutionary attempts.

Under these circumstances Count Nesselrode commissioned Pozzo di
Borgo to sound the French cabinet as to the conditions they would
require,--not for an armed alliance, but simply to observe a friendly
neutrality during the oriental war. Count Pozzo proposed that France
should keep up a force of 100, or 150,000, to act as a check upon
Austria, and augment her armaments, so as to restrain England; he also
hinted that should any important advantages result to Russia from
the events of the campaign, the frontiers of France might possibly
be reconsidered and the natural boundary of the Rhine granted to her
without expense, by arranging an indemnity for Prussia and Holland; and
that indeed it was not impossible the Morea might be given her as a
compensatory measure, with the same rights as those enjoyed by England
over the republic of the seven islands. What a magnificent portion this
would have been for France!

The first operations of the campaign were not attended with success:
there were sanguinary sieges and doubtful battles. During this time
Count Pozzo exhibited the utmost activity in Paris, where the checks
sustained by the Russians were the general subject of conversation, and
General Lamarque had even published a series of articles to prove that
the destruction of the army was inevitable. General Pozzo entered much
into society, and at every fresh disaster or difficulty he strove to
remove the fears they excited as to the consequences of the war: "Wait,
have patience," repeated he incessantly, "and then you will see." The
best understanding existed between him and M. de la Ferronays, who
exerted himself to calm the minds which England took equal pains to

The following year the Russian armies were more fortunate, having
advanced upon Constantinople, and the position of the ambassador
became less difficult; but to counterbalance this advantage, the
ministerial revolution took place in the month of August, which placed
Prince Polignac, and consequently the English system of precedents and
opinions, at the head of affairs. Pozzo de Borgo was much annoyed at
this change; the cabinet of St. Petersburg entered into an explanation
on the subject with M. de Mortemart, and in proportion as the French
ministry advanced in the adventurous path of _coups d'état_, Count
Pozzo multiplied his despatches to his government to warn them of an
impending catastrophe. The information he gave on this subject was so
positive, that the Emperor spoke to M. de Mortemart, telling him he was
well aware some foolish steps were about to be taken in Paris. "The
king of France," added he, "is at liberty to act as he pleases in his
kingdom, but if evil comes of it, so much the worse for him. Give him
warning that he will not be supported, and that Europe will not engage
in a quarrel on his account."

The Russian ambassador only became acquainted with the _ordonnances_
of July the evening before they were promulgated; he had neither been
informed confidentially, nor had he received any official intimation;
only a few days before the event he said in a conference with Polignac,
"Prince, I do not wish to inquire into your secrets, I do not ask you
what you are about, only take precautions not to compromise Europe;"
and then Prince Polignac replied with his habitual smile, so expressive
of perfect security, "All we ask is, that Europe will not compromise
us." At these words the ambassador turned his back upon him. When the
fatal _ordonnances_ appeared the next day in the Moniteur, Pozzo di
Borgo expressed great dissatisfaction and alarm at seeing the utter
carelessness of the government in the midst of so much difficulty and
danger, and the total absence of any military force or precaution.
"How," said he, "are there no troops? The bridges are not occupied!
Have no military precautions been taken?" "Every thing is quiet,"
replied they, "nobody stirs." "Every thing quiet!" repeated the
ambassador warmly, "yes, every thing will probably be quiet to-day, but
to-morrow we shall have firing in the streets, and the next day who
knows what may happen? I shall be obliged to ask for my passports."

Here was the commencement of another series of events. It is necessary
to judge the conduct of the ambassador during the latter days of the
government which was about to expire, and the commencement of that
which succeeded to it.

The events of July were characterised by so much agitation and
importance, that the _corps diplomatique_ must have found itself
placed in an embarrassing position: Charles X. had quitted St. Cloud
and sought refuge at Rambouillet, and a municipal commission had
restored order in the midst of the insurrection. If Prince Polignac had
possessed the slightest political forethought, he would have notified
to the _corps diplomatique_ that the king proposed removing his menaced
government to such and such a part of the kingdom; this resolution
would have served as an official order to all the ambassadors, to
accompany the sovereign who had received their credentials, and by whom
they were officially accredited, and their presence at St. Cloud would
have been a sort of protest against the events then taking place at
Paris; it might also have facilitated the negotiation between the royal
party and the Hôtel de Ville, for the provisional government would
have been afraid of committing itself with Europe, and being exposed
to a general war. But with the utter carelessness he displayed in the
whole business, Prince Polignac, minister for foreign affairs, made no
official communication to the _corps diplomatique_, but treated every
thing with a degree of levity quite in keeping with his predestinarian

The ambassadors naturally hesitated what course they should pursue in
the midst of so many difficulties. Should they proceed to St. Cloud?
But it was necessary the translation of the government should be
officially notified to them by the minister for foreign affairs; ought
they to make observations, to mix themselves up with the withdrawal
of the _ordonnances_, or the negotiations of the Hôtel de Ville and
the provisional government? That was not their duty, nor had they any
right to interfere. The only plan, then, they could adopt was to await
the end of the struggle, and not concern themselves with the plan of
the government, until it placed itself in communication with their
respective courts by requiring to be recognised.

In a meeting at the residence of the Nuncio, they decided upon
remaining at Paris until further orders, and taking no part in events
until they should receive an official communication from Charles X.
Couriers extraordinary were despatched to the different courts to keep
them constantly informed of the progress of this important affair, and
request further instructions; generally speaking, all the despatches
blamed Prince Polignac's carelessness, and described the events
that had taken place in Paris in moderate language; mentioning the
order that prevailed in the midst of disorder, the appointment of a
lieutenant-general of the kingdom, and the abdication of the King and
of the Duke of Angoulême: they then awaited patiently the termination
of the insurrection, without compromising themselves, and without
either giving or receiving an impulsion.

Here we must take a general view of the life of Count Pozzo di Borgo
to explain the constantly serious and temperate direction of his
despatches. He had never belonged to the ultra royalist party, but
being a man of moderation and principle he had restricted himself to
measures, corresponding with the events brought to pass by the French
revolution: in this consisted the bond of union between him and the
Richelieu party, composed of Pasquier, Molé, and de Rayneval, who
were all strongly opposed to _coups d'état_. The despatches of Count
Pozzo evince at all times a spirit of forethought and moderation. In
1816 he supported the Duc de Richelieu; in 1828, the ministry of M. de
Martignac and the Comte de la Ferronays; when the ministry of Prince
Polignac was formed, he, like every one else, foresaw the disasters
likely to ensue, and his correspondence made such an impression at St.
Petersburg, that the Emperor Nicholas thought it necessary to speak to
M. de Mortemart on the subject. The Czar entertained a strong dislike
to the ministry of Prince Polignac, because he believed him to be
devoted to the English system, and the fall of M. de Martignac appeared
to him a sort of check to his eastern policy; he repeated several times
to M. de Mortemart, "Are they preparing anything in Paris against the
charter? Write to the King to take care what he is about; above all,
let him avoid _coups d'état_." In considering the attitude assumed by
the _corps diplomatique_ at this juncture, it is very important to bear
in mind, that in the transactions of 1814 and 1815, as well as in the
minutes of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1818, the charter and the dynasty were
considered equally under the protection of Europe, and were viewed as

They had not long to wait for the recognition of most of the various
courts of Europe; England, though governed by the Duke of Wellington
and the Tories, approved in many successive despatches of a revolution
conducted on the plan of that in 1688; Prussia came next, then Austria,
without any symptom of hesitation; and, lastly, Pozzo di Borgo received
credentials from his sovereign, which he presented with confidence and
dignity, one idea being constantly predominant in his mind,--that order
and peace were the first requisites in an European government.

Matters were in this state when the Polish question placed Pozzo
di Borgo in a situation of great difficulty; perhaps under no
circumstances of his diplomatic life was more discretion required and
displayed. The ardent sympathies of the mob had been roused in favour
of the Poles; a commotion took place in Paris, and spread in that city
scarcely recovered from the agitation occasioned by the revolution
of July; the cry of "Success to Poland! Down with the Russians!" was
heard under the windows of the ambassador, stones were thrown at the
hôtel, and the Russian legation surrounded their chief, endeavouring
to persuade him to demand his passports, a step that would have
announced a complete rupture. The ambassador appeased the impatience
of his legation: "Our sovereign," said he, "is just now in a ticklish
situation, and we must take no rash steps with regard to France, so
as to involve ourselves in a fresh difficulty; let us wait for the
apologies which will soon be made us; the mob is not the government; we
are not ambassadors to the street, but to a regular authority. Let us
turn the popular fury, not attack it in front." The next morning the
minister for foreign affairs paid an official visit to Count Pozzo,
to apologise on the part of the government, and a body of troops was
ordered for his protection against any violence that might still be
attempted by the mob.

From his earliest youth Pozzo di Borgo had been accustomed to dwell
in the midst of political crises, and he was therefore not disturbed
by the symptoms of insurrection around him, especially as he had full
confidence in the wisdom and decision of the cabinet; some secret
conferences had also made him aware, that France would not interfere
in favour of Poland, but would allow Russia, Austria, and Prussia,
the free exercise of their rights over that unfortunate country. The
treaties of 1815 were still more firmly established than before, a
few empty words of sympathy or encouragement were bestowed upon the
insurgents, and Europe viewed with satisfaction the conduct of the new
government, whose moderate measures had been rendered more difficult,
by the threatening attitude assumed by different parties, and the
prevalence of excited opinions armed with sufficient power to make
them dangerous. Is no credit due to the wisdom which was the means of
preserving peace? the forethought and moderation which averted the
evil tendency of party spirit? Count Pozzo was loaded with compliments
and expressions of gratitude, for he had probably saved Europe from
a general war by not quitting Paris. The Polish insurrection was put
down, after which all the forces of Russia were available against any
foreign interference; and the ambassador who had safely passed through
the dangerous crisis, had great cause to congratulate himself upon
results, which left the cabinet of St. Petersburg at liberty to decide
at once upon the fate of Poland. That country received no assistance
from France; the interference of the French Chambers was limited to
some barren protests in answer to which Pozzo di Borgo represented that
Poland had been the aggressor, having torn asunder the bands of the
constitution by her revolt, and that the Propaganda alone would be to
blame should Poland now cease entirely to exist: that great efforts
had been made since the year 1815 to overcome the natural antipathy
entertained by the Russians for the Poles, which was as strong as
the dislike existing between the Jews and Christians in Poland. What
exertion and anxiety it had cost the generous heart of Alexander to
give a national constitution to Poland! it was a subject on which he
had consulted rather his feelings than his understanding, and the old
Russian nobility had never forgiven his conduct on the occasion.

In the midst of all these serious political occurrences, of the
disturbances in Paris, the various plots both foreign and domestic, the
Russian campaign against Constantinople, and the imperative,--I might
almost say, the capricious orders of his court, Count Pozzo always
preserved the character of a man of impartial moderation, and of a
skilful statesman who conceives and works out a system, without giving
way to any of the crotchets formed by prince or courtier capable of
endangering more serious interests. He who had resisted the Emperor
Alexander by expressing his opinion with firmness, always continued
to refuse obedience to instructions irreconcilable with the rules
of general policy, which form the basis and regulate the relations
between one state and another. Such was the constant tenor of his
despatches after the year 1830. He was convinced that France, to the
rest of Europe must serve as a principle either of order or disorder,
possessing either way very great influence; and to all requisitions
which did not tally with these ideas, he replied by writing to his
court, "You have other agents besides me for affairs of this nature; I
am only fit for moderate and conciliatory measures."

When the Turkish war was concluded, the ambassador received orders to
proceed to London for the purpose of forming a just estimate of the
state of affairs, and the position of the Whigs and Tories; having been
successful in his endeavours to prevent France from taking part against
Russia, it now became equally essential to sound the Tories, and
become acquainted with the bent of their views, should parliament and
the march of public opinion again place them at the head of affairs.
The official ambassador from Russia to London was Prince Lieven, or
rather it was said _Princess_ Lieven, a woman of great ability, whose
brilliant assemblies were the favourite resort of the Tory nobility,
and the centre of political intelligence. Count Pozzo had very little
communication with the Whig ministry; his acquaintance was principally
with the Duke of Wellington and the Earl of Aberdeen, who was
minister for foreign affairs, for the Tory interest; for that party,
although out of office, still retained some representatives among the
ministry. The conversations between the Duke and Pozzo di Borgo, were
an interchange of recollections and hopes, together with the means
of regulating the probabilities of the return of the Tories into the
ministry. It was already in contemplation, although public opinion had
strongly opposed a premature attempt made by the Duke of Wellington
to resume the direction of affairs. In political life it is a mark of
great ability to know how _to bide one's time_.

Still a kind of slight was about to cloud the life of Count Pozzo.
Hitherto whatever missions might have been assigned to him exclusive
of his official functions in Paris, he had always retained the title
of ambassador to the court of France, and his tastes and inclinations
led him to consider that country as his own. When he was despatched to
Madrid, and more recently to London, his sovereign had not withdrawn
his credentials, his post was still Paris: what was the reason a
different course of proceeding took place upon this occasion, and that
he received the title of ambassador extraordinary to his Britannic
Majesty? It would be in vain to deny that it was a mark of his being
out of favour, nor was this the only occasion upon which such had been
the case in the course of his life. His disposition was not one that
would bend to caprices or submit to demands which did not concern him.
I have heard him complain of being watched by a number of special
envoys, whose employments did not fall within the range of the regular
communications between two governments, two nations naturally formed
to esteem each other. This somewhat haughty disposition, led to the
ambassador's loss of favour; it was however covered by a purple robe,
by the appointment of ambassador to London.

Count Nesselrode entered into an explanation of the duties connected
with the ambassador's new appointment. It was intended he should use
all his influence to support the menaced Tory interest; his intimacy
with the Duke of Wellington was well known, but it was considered that
a merely provisional title, would not be sufficient to confer the
necessary _éclat_ and importance upon the Russian ambassador, for which
reason he was to receive the definitive and official appointment. As
soon as the mission should be accomplished, when the Duke of Wellington
should have been dissuaded from his inclination to unite with Austria
on the Eastern question, and the Tories have been actively supported,
Pozzo di Borgo was to be reinstated in his appointment in Paris, and
permitted to follow his tastes and habitual pursuits in the country
he considered as his home. This despatch afforded some consolation to
the ambassador, who was affected by a feeling of sadness in breaking
the ties that bound him to a society in which he had so many intimate
friends, but in these mournful separations he was now supported by the
hope of a speedy return. Every thing around was dear to him, even the
palace whose gradual embellishment he had taken pleasure in watching;
the verdure of the gardens, the shade of exotic trees, the fragrant
flowers, the vast and well-chosen library of Italian authors, whose
works he was so fond of reciting from memory, and the views of Corsica
suspended in his apartments, the gulf of Ajaccio which recalled the
early youth of the friend of Paoli.

When admitted to any degree of intimacy with Count Pozzo, you were
particularly struck with the energy of his manners and his vigorous
mode of expression; his handsome though swarthy countenance was shaded
by greyish hair, always arranged in a picturesque manner, as Gerard has
represented him in one of his admirable portraits. His conversation was
at first reserved and guarded, but gradually became animated and full
of imagery and wit which sparkled through a slightly Corsican accent;
his memory resembled a vast bazaar, full of the varied recollections
of a long and troubled life. If you were desirous of seeing the mind
of Count Pozzo in its full glory, you had only to speak to him of
Corsica, ask him questions concerning the history of Paoli, or turn the
conversation upon the national republic established in the island, and
the _Consulta_ which chose him as secretary to the government, and then
you would be struck with the animation of his voice and gestures; his
piercing eyes seemed to seek in your mind the emotions that glowed in
his own, till you actually felt as if present with him at the assembly
where the Corsican people proclaimed their independence. He did not
indulge in anecdotes to the degree Talleyrand used to do in his long
evening conversations, but he was more serious and truthful in his
reminiscences, and did not play with facts, but always took a serious
view of them. Without the habitual tact that characterised him, he
might have been drawn into further confessions, for he was scarcely
master of himself when speaking of his early political life. He was a
man whose memory was so full of facts, that they oozed out at every
pore; a spirit I took great delight in consulting, because the great
struggle of Europe against Napoleon was shadowed forth by him, in a
very different point of view from that assumed by the bad pamphlets of
the imperial school.

I saw him depart for London in the full enjoyment of his powerful
faculties, retaining his eagle glance, the elevated expression of
his noble brow, and his bright searching eyes, while his mouth was
expressive of mildness and goodness. But he was evidently out of
spirits, and he quitted Paris with the idea that some misfortune would
occur before he should see it again. In London he transacted the
affairs of his government with the same devotion and activity as ever,
but he took no pleasure in his employment; the friendship of the Duke
of Wellington, his companion in more than one battle-field, was his
only enjoyment; they passed whole days together at Apsley House talking
over the affairs of Europe, and their recollections; speaking, the one
of the caprice of the people who broke his windows, the other of the
ingratitude of a court incapable of comprehending that order, and peace
with a powerful nation like France, are essential to the tranquillity
of Europe.

Weary of so long a diplomatic career, he had at last obtained
permission to seek the retirement he so ardently coveted, when a letter
from the Emperor apprised him of the intended journey of a Czarewitch
to London, and requested him to act as a guide to the young prince
during his stay in England. This involved a degree of responsibility
and of moral fatigue which shortened the life of Count Pozzo. How would
the heir to the Russian throne be received by the English nation,
so capricious both in their affections and their hatred? The trial
terminated happily, but it may be safely asserted that the last remains
of strength possessed by the ambassador sunk under the exertion.

I saw him on his return to Paris: what a sad alteration from his former
self! and what mere worms we are in the hand of God, who disposes at
His pleasure of the mind and intellects of man! He no longer found any
enjoyment or ease except in the society of his nephew, Count Pozzo di
Borgo, and his amiable niece, a daughter of the noble house of Crillon.
Was the old ambassador desirous of shewing that he had never ceased
to be a Frenchman, by quartering his Corsican coat-of-arms with the
escutcheon and honourable devices borne by the brother-in-arms of Henry


The administration of the Empire was, generally speaking, strong, full
of energy and unity of purpose; it was composed of two elements, the
ruins of the republican party now rallied around the dictatorship of
Napoleon, and became submissive under his iron rule, such as Treilhard,
Merlin, and Thibaudeau, and the pure and elevated remains of the
old monarchical school, like Molé, De Fontanes, and De Narbonne.
According to the custom observed in all governments possessed of any
portion of strength and intelligence, Buonaparte collected around
himself all the persons whose names were honourably connected with
past events, or exercised any influence over the present or the past;
he indulged neither in fear nor repugnance, because he had perfect
confidence in his own power of restraining and managing every thing.
Before the revolution of 1789, some parliamentary families existed,
who transmitted the highest magisterial offices from one generation
to another, forming a sanctuary in which public morals, duties, and
learning, were preserved and perpetuated. There were no doubt some
little party prejudices among them, together with a tendency towards
the feelings of the patricians of Rome; considering themselves to have
succeeded to the assemblies of the states-general. But though the
parliament sometimes threw difficulties in the way of the executive
government, still they maintained the spirit of liberty and probity
through the lapse of ages, and people considered them as a political
guarantee, upon occasions when a degree of confusion and disorder
prevailed in the constitution of the country.

The family of the Pasquiers were descended from Etienne Pasquier, a man
of great talent and erudition, author of a celebrated work entitled
"_Recherches sur la France_." His character was very remarkable from
the versatility of his talents and occupations; he wrote clever verses,
and displayed the greatest ability in the important correspondence
in which he was engaged, and during the troubles of the League, he
strove to find a middle course from whence he might offer himself as
a timid mediator among the opposing parties. In my writings upon the
events of the sixteenth century, I have often spoken of that good
Etienne Pasquier, with his ingenious talents and the exquisite tact he
displayed in the evil times of civil war.

The direct progenitors of the subject of this memoir held an
appointment in the parliament, and his father, Etienne Pasquier,
councillor in the parliament of Paris, was denounced at the
revolutionary tribunal and condemned to death on the 21st of April,
1794. His son was brought up at the College of Juilly, a fine
institution, which has produced many distinguished characters. I have
always admired the mild and careful system pursued by religious bodies,
where the education of the heart and mind is as carefully attended to
as that of the head, and which invested each professor with so paternal
a character, that even the most ungrateful of his pupils could never
entirely shake off the recollection; witness Voltaire and Diderot.

M. Pasquier had scarcely left college before he was appointed to
a situation in the Parisian parliament, according to the custom
observed in families of the legal profession, where the office of the
father was inherited by the son. He did not long continue to wear the
parliamentary habit; he was, however, enabled to be present at the
solemn debates which took place in that assembly, and were terminated
by the convocation of the States-general, and he there received his
first lesson in political life. The magistracy were carried away in the
general tempest, and the parliaments were destroyed by the revolution;
the resistance to the royal prerogative had originated with them, and
both were abolished at the same time.

Popular excitement is always ungrateful, and deals its first blow upon
those by whom it has been assisted or fostered, thus affording an
important lesson to demagogues or flatterers of the populace.

M. Pasquier did not emigrate during the revolutionary troubles; he
was proscribed like all persons bearing a historic name, and at the
age of twenty-six years he received a summons to appear before the
committee of public safety, which was soon after succeeded by his
being placed under arrest at St. Lazare, on the evening before the 9th
Thermidor. The close of the reign of terror restored him to liberty,
and the restoration of the property of condemned persons enabled him
to retire to the estates of his family, which like those possessed by
all the parliamentary races were covered with thick woods, in whose
impenetrable retreats they were accustomed to seek shelter, in the evil
days of exile, from their accustomed employments.

When order was restored under Napoleon, M. Pasquier returned to Paris,
and appeared in society, especially at the house of M. Cambacérès, who
was partial to the old magisterial families, and his remarkable talents
soon brought him into notice. At that period the Emperor was desirous
of establishing a monarchical system upon elevated principles, and
sought every where among men and things the materials for his purpose;
every noble or influential name attracted his attention, for he was
well aware of the power exercised by hereditary rank, and knew that
past recollections have as much influence as present energy in the
restoration of States. The Arch-chancellor Cambacérès agreed in the
Emperor's sentiments; and he, who was himself one of the enlightened
magistrates of the _Cour des Aides_ at Montpelier, suggested the name
of M. Pasquier for the situation of Master of Requests. It is rather
a remarkable circumstance that the memorial of the Arch-chancellor
contained the names of three candidates, MM. de Molé, Pasquier, and
Portalis; they all received appointments on the same day, and have
never been separated in the course of their political life, their
career having been facilitated and its importance augmented by the
strong political friendship that subsisted between them, in spite of
the difference in their age and capacity.

M. Pasquier, while master of requests at the _Conseil d'Etat_, was
distinguished by his laborious attention and assiduity, at the time
when improvement had assumed a serious and reflective form; he had
passed his fortieth year when he was appointed attorney-general of the
great seal, and afterwards Councillor of state. The State council was
a powerful and important school; the Emperor, who entertained a strong
antipathy towards all bodies that deliberated under the sanction of
publicity, had a perfect horror of the representative system, and
public speaking; he liked to collect suffrages, to listen to all
opinions, reserving to himself the right of deciding upon them, and
weighing them against each other in such a manner, that an imperial
decree should never sanction an equivocal project or a bad measure. The
council of state, composed of very eminent men, was the real _corps
politique_; and even the title of Master of requests was not a common
rank granted to aspirants of an inferior grade. In this anxious and
laborious situation, the Masters of requests, attached to a section of
the council, devoted their existence to it, and the great end and aim
of their executive career was the situation of Councillor of state, a
title of which the characters best known to fame were ambitious.

This close and incessant every-day application suited perfectly the
studious mind of M. Pasquier; a generation of young men had sprung up,
whose souls were entirely given up to assiduous attention to business,
and who devoted themselves to the active and deliberative portion
of the administration. The Master of requests had already received
the title of Baron and officer of the legion of honour in reward of
his services, when the dismissal of M. Dubois, after the melancholy
burning of Prince Schwartzenburg's palace, left vacant the prefecture
of police, an appointment originally instituted during the Consulate.
The police was divided into two parts:--the political police, which was
charged with the general safety of the kingdom and the surveillance
of political parties, constantly in a state of commotion even under
the heavy hand of Napoleon; it was always intrusted to the minister
of a department, and the situation was at that time filled by General
Savary; and the prefecture of police, an appointment of a more simple
order, circumscribed within the walls of Paris, whose chief had charge
of the _édilité_, that is to say, of the safety and cleanliness of
the city and the inspection of the markets and provisions, all duties
of considerable importance. The prefect of police also regulated the
bulletins concerning the state of the public mind, so as to act as
a check upon the minister of police. During the time of the Empire,
each of these situations involved serious duties and considerable

When appointed to the prefecture of police, M. Pasquier devoted himself
entirely to the discharge of his official duties, and voluminous
writings still exist upon the provisioning of the capital, and the
method of multiplying magazines in the time of abundance; this had now
become a question of great anxiety, occupying the serious attention
of the government, for in the year 1811, the first symptoms of an
alarming scarcity made their appearance. The price of bread had reached
an exorbitant height, and people were constantly on the brink of a
disturbance owing to the dearness of grain of all kinds. I have perused
and analysed with the greatest attention the important writings of M.
Pasquier under the empire, deposited in the archives of the prefecture
of police.[26]

 [26] See "L'Europe pendant le Consulat et l'Empire de Napoleon."

It must be recollected that Napoleon was then about to depart upon
his Russian expedition, and it may easily be imagined that contending
parties would give occasion to extreme anxiety during his adventurous
campaign: how great was that entertained by the prefect of police! his
nights were devoted to quieting the alarms excited by false bulletins,
and strengthening the confidence of the people, for the _prestige_
that surrounded Napoleon was beginning to disappear, a certain spirit
of independence and animadversion was gradually gaining ground, and
numerous caricatures, _bons mots_, and epigrams, attacked the moral
power of the Emperor.

The romantic enterprise of General Mallet took place at this juncture;
it was a prodigious act of boldness, shewing how slight was the tenure
of Napoleon's power; one hour more, or one man less, and the most
powerful empire of modern times would have been at an end! M. Pasquier
has been reproached with having allowed himself to be surprised by
the insurrection, but, in the first place, he had nothing to do with
watching the formation of plots, that duty devolved upon M. Savary,
the minister of police; and besides, to do justice to all parties,
what vigilance can possibly foresee or control the plans conceived by
_one_ man in the silence of a prison? General Mallet was armed with
a military power which it was in vain to resist, and M. Pasquier was
surprised at the prefecture, hurried into a _voiture de place_ and
conveyed to the prison of La Force, with injunctions that he should be
detained there until the provisional government was established. He was
not liberated until after the suppression of the conspiracy, having
steadily refrained from making any concessions to the conspirators,
but merely submitting to the fate prepared for him by a military
insurrection. A magistrate who gives way to the commands of unlawful
authority, is guilty of betraying his trust; he ought to remain
steadfast in his duty, even should violence cast him into a dungeon.

Napoleon formed a favourable judgment of the conduct of M. Pasquier,
and continued him in his appointment of prefect of police, while M.
Frochot, prefect of the Seine, was dismissed by the council of state,
assembled to examine into the degree of culpability and negligence,
to be attributed to the different functionaries in the sad affair of
Mallet. The Emperor viewing matters from his elevated position, judged
the prefect of police to be perfectly undeserving of blame or censure,
as he had merely yielded to force, and it was utterly impossible for
him either to foresee or to prevent a disturbance conducted in so
unusual a manner; the most subtle and watchful mind could not have
suspected the meditations indulged in by so adventurous a person as
General Mallet; besides which, as I said before, General Savary had
charge of the political police. This severe trial soon afforded M.
Pasquier an opportunity of rendering an important service to the city
of Paris, by the creation and organisation of the gendarmerie, which,
under a different name, has on so many occasions greatly contributed to
maintain the peace and security of the capital. He had before, in the
year 1811, remodelled the corps of firemen,[27] whose devotion to their
duty and noble courage deserves the highest praise.

 [27] Sapeurs-pompiers.

The difficult circumstances of the times were increasing; if the
management of the Parisian police was a hard task while the glory and
prosperity of Napoleon were at their height, how much more delicate,
and consequently more odious and watchful, was its office during the
season of reverses and misfortune? Parties were now in commotion,
people were no longer silent upon their desire of a change, and
the probability such might be the case, and the enemy was rapidly
approaching the capital: M. Pasquier fulfilled his duties to the very
last moment, by the wise and firm administration of his office; he
reduced the duties of his prefecture to the maintenance of public
tranquillity, and the careful management of every thing relating to
the repose and well-being of the city; thus returning to the original
charge he had received from the Emperor,--attention to the safety
and cleanliness of Paris, which were formerly almost the only duties
required from the lieutenant of police.

When the artillery was heard in thunders upon the capital, the
senatorial party and Talleyrand invited him to support the political
alterations produced by circumstances, but it was not until the evening
before the allies entered Paris, that he, like M. Chabrol,[28] prefect
of the Seine, joined the movement which led to the restoration. The
enemy were about to enter Paris, and it was necessary the public
safety should not be endangered by any popular tumult; the influence
of the prefect of police was therefore most essential, but it was
merely passively exerted with regard to political events; it received
an impulse from them, but did not communicate any. Talleyrand had
formed a just estimate of the character of M. Pasquier, and attached
great importance to obtaining his concurrence. It was he who prepared
the proclamations urging the citizens to the maintenance of order;
and he entered into a communication with Count Nesselrode and the
allied generals, then taking possession of Paris. His connexion with
diplomatic affairs dates from this difficult period, as well as his
political career under the restoration; and when afterwards appointed
minister for foreign affairs, the reminiscences of Paris in the year
1814 rose to his mind and were of great service to him in assisting the
diplomatic arrangements of his cabinet.

 [28] The Comte de Chabrol had been appointed prefect of the Seine
 upon the dismissal of Frochot after Mallet's conspiracy, and had
 distinguished himself by the most inflated expressions of devotion
 to the Emperor. "What is life," said he, "compared to the immense
 interests which rest upon the sacred head of the heir of the Empire?
 For me, whom an unexpected glance of your imperial eye has called
 from a distance to a post so eminent, what I most value in the
 distinction is the honour and right of setting the foremost example
 of loyal devotion!"--_Editor._

A conciliatory character was manifested at the accession of the
Bourbons, and the police ceased to possess the importance attached to
its active administration during the reign of Napoleon; it was no
longer a fit situation for a man of such abilities as M. Pasquier,
he therefore resigned the prefecture, and was appointed by the king
one of the council of state, and received, a few days afterwards, the
situation of inspector-general of the bridges and causeways, an active
and important appointment in a country where so much remained to be
done for the improvement of the roads, and internal communication of
the kingdom. He displayed in his new office the activity and laborious
attention which characterised the imperial school, and the principal
part of the great enterprises with regard to roads were executed under
his direction. In France we think a great deal of public speeches and
very little of improvement; and it is a singular fact that we, who are
the most intelligent and industrious of nations, are at least twenty
years behind our neighbours in every thing relating to roads: even
Germany and Switzerland are far in advance of us. The commissioners for
bridges and causeways, while they spend large sums of money, are faulty
in their mode of administration, and do not make the most of their
resources; M. Pasquier exerted himself to improve this vast branch of
the public service, but his appointment was of short duration, for the
march of Napoleon upon Paris put an end to all executive existence, and
he was unemployed during the hundred days.

When the white flag of Louis XVIII. floated above the tower of St.
Denis, M. Pasquier offered his services to the king; he was included in
the first ministry of Talleyrand as keeper of the seals, and exercised
at the same time the functions of minister for the interior, an
appointment of extreme delicacy and difficulty in the crisis of that
period. France was invaded by 700,000 strangers, the public mind was in
a state of constant agitation, and the principles of the restoration
had excited a deplorable reaction in several of the provinces; it thus
became necessary to organise the system of the prefects, to repress
the too ardent zeal occasionally exhibited, prevent the sanguinary
vengeance of parties, and prepare and advance the election of upright
persons of moderate views, in order to heal the wounds of the country.
Nothing is easier than to judge people with severity after a lapse of
years, and when events are long over; and thus the services rendered
by some statesmen in seasons of peril are soon forgotten, or are but
imperfectly appreciated by people, who are in the full enjoyment of
peace and security, and therefore inclined to exercise a mathematical
rectitude in their judgment of facts. If we look back upon the year
1815, after the double invasion and heavy military contributions, we
shall see that it was impossible for a government to display more
exemplary moderation, before the face of a victorious party, to whose
conditions it had been compelled to submit. M. Pasquier followed the
fortunes of Prince Talleyrand; he gave in his resignation and was
succeeded by M. de Barbé-Marbois.

He had however, always been strongly inclined towards the moderate
system which gained the ascendant under the Richelieu ministry,
and shortly after its formation he was appointed one of the
commissioners for the liquidation of the foreign debts; it was a
post of great confidence, for if the laws of honesty were set aside,
enormous fortunes might soon be amassed. M. Pasquier's integrity was
unimpeachable, and he was the worthy colleague of M. Mounier, the most
honest man belonging to the noble Richelieu school.

He was elected by the department of the Seine as their representative,
and on taking his seat in the chamber of deputies, after the ordonnance
of the 3d of September, he was nominated president; from this
parliamentary position, he again passed into the ministry in the month
of January 1817, the Duc de Richelieu having caused him to be appointed
keeper of the seals.

A conciliatory system was predominant in the whole of M. Pasquier's
ministerial conduct at this period, and he was the first to enlarge
at the tribune upon the principles of the liberty of the press and
the responsibility of editors. There was still too much irritation
in people's minds, and the country still too much overwhelmed, to
allow the independence of the newspapers to be safely established
as a principle; books and pamphlets only were free, for a gradual
approach was making towards liberty, and the opinions laid down by M.
Pasquier are still considered as law upon the subject. The degree of
responsibility was perfectly well regulated, and the minister's motives
are clearly explained, and expressed with an elevation of principle and
closeness of reasoning which distinguish the true parliamentary style.
In England statesmen are in the habit of publishing their speeches,
because they form the record of their lives.

When the Duc de Richelieu's ministry was dissolved in the latter part
of the year 1817, M. Pasquier had no hesitation in retiring from office
with the noble negotiator of the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. M. Dessolle
was at the head of the new ministry, and M. Decaze naturally filled a
post of the highest importance in it; but the movement which was about
to incline them towards the ideas of the _parti gauche_ was too decided
to make it possible M. Pasquier should join them; and it soon became
apparent to him that the law of elections, although commendable for its
simplicity, was still liable to produce evil results. He possessed very
remarkable influence over the course of affairs, in spite of his having
retired from office; and one of his political habits was always to
compose a memorial upon every situation that occurred, for he liked to
observe men and circumstances as from an eminence, so as to enlighten
those in authority. In the month of October 1819, he presented a
memorial to Louis XVIII. upon the proceedings of the ministry, calling
attention to the faults they had committed and the bad effects of the
law of elections; and he considered the situation of affairs to be such
as to render an immediate change necessary in the government of the

Accordingly when the ministry of M. Decaze decided upon modifying
the law of elections, M. Pasquier was offered an appointment; he did
not resume the situation of keeper of the seals, but undertook the
direction of foreign affairs; our situation with regard to our foreign
relations having assumed a serious aspect, it was necessary they should
be under the charge of a minister quite resolved to resist any tendency
towards a spirit of revolution. M. Decaze lost office after the
assassination of the Duc de Berry; and on the formation of the second
Richelieu ministry, M. Pasquier retained the situation of minister for
foreign affairs, only with the proviso that he was to consult the noble
duke upon points relating to diplomatic matters. The Duc de Richelieu,
from his connexion with the various cabinets of Europe, must have
inspired great confidence in diplomatic proceedings of importance.

From this period the existence of M. Pasquier was divided into two
distinct portions, the one being passed at the tribune, and the other
devoted to business. I am not acquainted with any session when the
debates were more violent or more contested than that of 1820; the
speeches were remarkable for their eloquence, the names of General
Foy, of Camille Jordan, and Benjamin Constant, appeared, beside those
of Casimir Périer and Lafitte; each question was decided by a small
majority, and it was necessary to modify the law of elections, and
determine upon measures rendered indispensable by the circumstances
succeeding the death of the Duc de Berry. The superiority of M.
Pasquier's abilities was evident during this long session, where
he was incessantly in the tribune, opposing, in the most decided
and authoritative manner, the orators of the liberal party. When an
alarming tumult took place in the public square, M. Pasquier appeared
at the tribune to denounce the instigators of the disturbances,
undismayed by the threats and vociferations of the revolutionary
_parti gauche_. He spoke without disguise or circumlocution, and
as to the phrase with which he has been so much reproached, _sur
l'arbitraire_,[29] is it any thing beyond a simple declaration of what
the government was desirous of obtaining, and requested from the power
authorised to grant it? Every thing that was obtained had demanded
incredible efforts, and whatever may have been said of the session of
1820 by those under the influence of party spirit, it was undoubtedly
the finest period of the representative system, recalling the times of
Pitt, Grenville, and Dundas, opposed to Fox, Erskine, and Sheridan.

 [29] The law to authorise arbitrary arrests was equivalent to
 the suspension of the Habeas Corpus act in England: and it was
 originally brought forward by M. Decaze and strenuously supported
 by Baron Pasquier. It was proposed that it should continue in force
 for one year, and after a debate which lasted for several sittings,
 it was passed by a majority of nineteen votes, modified however by
 the introduction of a clause forbidding arrests to be made under it
 during the night. A law restraining the liberty of the press was
 also passed after being most obstinately contested. The majority in
 the chamber of peers was only _two_ on this occasion.--_Editor._

M. Pasquier's situation was not less difficult as minister for foreign
affairs; for the revolutionary spirit had declared itself almost
simultaneously in Spain, Naples, and Piémont. France, it is true,
adopted the repressive system, and in this respect agreed with the
plan suggested at the congresses of Laybach and Troppau; nevertheless
the minister for foreign affairs could not overlook the material
interests of France; the Austrians, desirous of marching upon Piémont
and Naples, wanted to occupy definitively both these places, and how
was it possible France should not feel uneasy at the sight of the
German standards unfurled beyond the Alps, and extending even as far as
Savoy? A series of notes passed on this occasion between M. Pasquier
and Prince Metternich; and it was positively decided between the two
ministers, that if the Austrian occupation should be necessary, it
should be strictly limited to such a period, as would neither affect
the consideration nor the importance of France. Metternich faithfully
fulfilled this engagement, and the evacuation of Piémont took place at
the stipulated time.

If you consult any of the persons employed in the foreign office, they
will speak of M. Pasquier's assiduous attention to his work, and of
his perfect capability of bringing a negotiation to the termination he
wished; and they will also tell you he shewed extreme judgment, in all
the great difficulties incident to a situation so liable to constant
change of circumstances.

A complete rupture had taken place with the old liberal system; and
to insure success in this enterprise, the Richelieu ministry had been
obliged to apply to the ultra-royalist party. At the commencement
of the session of 1821, the council decided upon adding MM. de la
Corbière, de Villèle, and Lainé, to the cabinet; it was a great
mistake, it was either granting too much or too little; for, in fact,
what figure could they make in the cabinet as ministers without
appointments, and yet chiefs of the majority? And what was the
consequence? secret dissensions, as might naturally be expected, arose
from the very commencement of the attempted coalition; consultations
were held in the king's council, after which, MM. de Villèle and
Corbière privately expressed their dissatisfaction, and revealed the
designs of the ministry to their colleagues on the _côté droit_ in the
Piet society; quarrels naturally suceeded, which eventually led to the
rupture that took place after the session of 1821.

The royalists, in general, entertained an extreme dislike to M.
Pasquier, and a great part of the _côté droit_ could could not endure
him.[30] All the opposition towards the end of the session was directed
against him, till, at last, his patience was exhausted, and he assumed
a high tone with the Ultras by openly and unhesitatingly declaring
his inclinations and his repugnances, expressing himself with so much
boldness and freedom that the whole of the _parti droit_ declared war
to him. M. Pasquier wanted to have done with the whole business; his
situation fatigued him, and, foreseeing the downfall of the ministry,
he obtained a seat in the upper chamber, being made a peer of France in
the course of the month of November 1821. The ministry of the Duc de
Richelieu had resigned office on the occasion of the address, and the
Duc de Montmorency assumed the charge of foreign affairs.

 [30] He was accused of great political tergiversation, and M.
 Vaublanc, a keen royalist, designated him as "a man who never left
 one administration till he had prepared to enter another, who never
 deserted one set of friends till he had looked out for another more
 in favour at court, and who had skipped into successive cabinets
 with that ease which marked all his movements."--_Editor._

M. Pasquier took his seat in the upper chamber, at that time a
powerful institution possessed of hereditary rank, property, and the
_majorats_. The prospects of the young peerage were very great, and
evidence was soon afforded of what they were capable of doing, by
their constant opposition to the faults and ill-judged proceedings
of the restoration. M. Pasquier, placing himself on the same benches
as the statesmen of the Richelieu party, made a point of speaking
upon every subject that came before the house, and the judgment
and deep thought which characterised his discourses, caused them
to exercise great influence over the chamber. He spoke against the
rights of primogeniture, the creation of the three per cents, and the
law of sacrilege; and his speeches were often the means of deciding
the question by their influence on the majority obtained. He placed
himself in constant and direct opposition to the Villèle cabinet, which
occasioned a strange advance in revolutionary ideas, by the constant
injury it inflicted upon the interests and affections of modern France.

There was not quite the same vehemence of debate in the chamber of
peers as in that of the deputies, but it attained to more certain
results. There was a degree of quiet, and at the same time great
political judgment, in the discussions, not allowing themselves to
be carried away by the spirit of party, but continuing so steadily
to advance towards the downfall of M. de Villèle's ministry, that
we may safely assert, the retirement of the royalist cabinet of the
restoration was owing to their efforts. It must be confessed, this
opposition was rather against the order of things; an aristocratic
power which opposed the elements of an aristocratic constitution,
was not in good keeping; but the fault lay with the party of the
restoration, which interfered too hastily with the new ideas and
prejudices prevalent in France.

The chamber of peers obtained a complete triumph; although weakened
by successive promotions,[31] its influence over the elections of 1827
was very great. The Martignac ministry was formed upon the principles
of the Richelieu administration, that is to say, with the upright
intentions that characterised the statesmen of that noble school.
M. Pasquier naturally assumed his proper degree of ascendancy over
that administration; the bond of recollections and of similarity of
principles united him with M. Portalis, the keeper of the seals; and
it was repeatedly proposed that he should resume the charge of the
foreign office, his name having even been suggested by the council of
the ministers after the retirement of M. de la Ferronays. Charles X.
however negatived the appointment when the list of the candidates was
presented to him, for he did not wish to have any man of importance
in a ministry which could only be of transitory duration; and certain
prejudices, dating from the year 1815, which had never been effaced
from the king's mind, first made him prefer M. de Rayneval, and
afterwards, finding the influence of that able diplomatist upon the
two chambers not sufficiently powerful, M. de Portalis was appointed
minister for foreign affairs.

 [31] At the same moment that he dissolved the chamber of deputies,
 the king created seventy-six new peers, all of them people devoted
 to the government.

The formation of the Polignac ministry occasioned great uneasiness
to the political party, which was always composed of men of eminent
talents, and desirous of the establishment and preservation of order;
they observed with great anxiety the impending crisis, and they
dreaded the fatal struggle likely to be attempted by the party of the
restoration. All these experienced minds were well acquainted with
Charles X.; they knew that with all the advantages of his chivalrous
disposition, his undoubted uprightness of mind, his thoroughly
French character, he still had an unfortunate inclination for _coups
d'état_, and extravagant actions that might compromise the safety of
his government. The _corps diplomatique_ were equally uneasy, and
confidential communications took place between them and the political
party, expressing their sense of the danger and agitation likely to be
caused by a _coup d'état_; they were consequently less surprised than
alarmed by the promulgation of the _ordonnances_ of July. The political
party held itself in reserve during the popular crisis, and when order
was a little restored, it confined itself to giving a monarchical bias
to society, as the only means of preserving France from a foreign or
domestic war. As soon as the charter had restored the balance of power,
and the monarchical form of government, M. Pasquier was appointed
president of the chamber of peers.

He had hardly taken his seat before he had to encounter the trial of
the ministers of Charles X., the chamber of peers having been converted
into a court of justice. We must look back upon the feelings of that
time, and remember the storm of passion that roared around,--the tumult
that was excited! Those parties who seek their own advantage in every
thing wanted to profit by the solemnity of these trials to occasion
disorder; this sovereign people, these heroes of the barricades,
thirsted after the blood of the imprudent ministers of Charles X.;
shouts and yells were heard recalling the days of horror of the first
revolution, the national guard was devoid of energy, and the troops of
the line discouraged by the check they had received at the barricades.
Matters were in this state, when the chamber of peers was called upon
to deliberate in the midst of tumult and disorder, and history will
confess that it proved itself worthy of better times, by refusing to
sanction the sanguinary vengeance so loudly demanded by the populace.
Some degree of strength of mind and courage was required, when crowds
of people, agitated like a troubled sea, threatened to invade the
Luxembourg and assassinate all the members of the chamber; nevertheless
the peers resisted, and a sentence of imprisonment alone was
pronounced, which could hardly be considered as a punishment, because
in seasons of political troubles, if people escape with their lives,
there is no doubt that in due time the popular fury will subside, and
permit their restoration to liberty and civil existence. The prudence
and talents of M. Pasquier did admirable service to the cause of
justice and order at this juncture.

It was no doubt to reward the spirit of moderation evinced by the
peers on this occasion, that the parties made haste to deprive them
of their right to hereditary succession. The first blow aimed at the
importance of this assembly was evidently the clause in the charter,
which annulled the peerages created by Charles X. The peerage was thus
deprived of its indelible character, it was now no more than an office
capable of being revoked, and of which one might be deprived almost
like a prefecture; what sort of aristocracy could be formed of such
elements? The next step was to take away the hereditary transmission
of the peerage, _majorats_ were abolished, it was reduced to a mere
office for life, without power or influence upon the government. From
the time the peers consented to vote away their hereditary rights,
they became a mere council of elders, a kind of chapel of ease to the
chamber of deputies; the chamber of peers was converted into a sort of
noble hospital, where the wounded among the old political or military
ranks might seek repose. The chamber of peers no longer possessed
inviolability, hereditary rank, or property; from henceforth it could
no longer be an aristocratic body capable of resisting a democratic
impulse, but its sole greatness must consist in the superiority of
intelligence, the extensive experience, and great political ability it
possessed, and which no other body could dispute with it.

Parties were not yet overcome, and a despairing effort had been made
by the republican party in the streets of Paris: the sword of justice
still hung suspended over many of the accused, and in virtue of the
charter all these offences were referred for trial to the chamber of
peers. It was said at that time in the newspapers, and even at the
tribune, that these trials would not take place; "It was impossible,"
repeated they, "that the accused should be summoned before an old
worn-out body, like the chamber of peers." I must mention that
M. Pasquier's personal opinion had in the first instance been in
favour of an amnesty, and he wrote a memorial in which his motives
were clearly explained, but when the government decided that course
to be impossible, he comprehended the full extent of his duty as
a magistrate. People may recollect the firmness, the gravity, the
patience, even the haughtiness exhibited by the president of the court,
during these debates; he retained his superiority over these excited
and straightforward minds, and over the hearts of the young men who
were animated by patriotism and elevation of feeling. Not a single
sentence of death was pronounced, all the punishments were mild, and
the prisoners were able to profit by the amnesty shortly afterwards
granted to the solicitations of M. Pasquier.

The trial of Fieschi was going on almost at the same time, after the
atrocious crime which had filled Paris with horror and bloodshed.
History will, perhaps, deprecate the too great consideration exhibited
towards Fieschi, and blame the undue attention shewn to that sanguinary
mountebank, who declaimed at the bar of justice like a street orator.
One of the prisoners alone had something remarkable in his appearance
and character; this was the aged Morey, a faithful specimen of the
old Jacobins, whose erroneous opinions are deserving of pity, because
he sealed them with his blood. This abuse was remedied in the affair
of Alibeau, by assigning a subordinate rank to that miserable trial,
with which the chamber of peers was burdened. On this occasion the
scene was restrained within due proportions, the reward of celebrity
was no longer conferred upon all those who dreamed of murder and
assassination, and the alteration produced so good an effect, that
during the last trial, that of Meunier, public curiosity was scarcely
excited, and the crime was abandoned to its proper obscurity.

The great exertions M. Pasquier was compelled to make injured his
health, but had no effect upon the great qualities of his mind, or
upon the activity and skill in the management of affairs, which always
particularly distinguished men of the political party. I believe no
circumstance of importance has occurred during the last seven years,
upon which he has not been consulted. It is said he exercised great
influence on the formation of Casimir Perier's ministry; at all events,
his habit of preparing memorials, and of examining closely into all the
circumstances likely to produce any striking effect upon public life,
has often decided the resolutions of government, and his connexion with
the cabinet, and with the principal diplomatic characters, has always
facilitated the direction of affairs. He rarely takes them in hand
himself, but, like Talleyrand, he makes people act without personally
appearing; occupying thus, perhaps, a more elevated position than if
he were openly at the head of the government.

He is a man of great experience and of extreme readiness of mind; add
to which, I never knew a man more assiduously devoted to his work;
and it is worthy of remark, that at the very time he was engaged in
taking part in all the most active and violent questions of government,
he found leisure to write more than twenty volumes upon the history
of his own times. His positive determination not to allow any of his
manuscripts to see the light during his lifetime, and even to forbid
too early a publication of them after his death, is a sure pledge of
the perfect independence of men and circumstances, with which he has
devoted himself to so great a work. This constant habit of occupation,
and study of facts, enlarges the ideas, and nothing gives a more
exalted tone to the minds of statesmen. In the present day we are apt
to throw ourselves into political life without any preliminary study;
and because we know how to write a few sentences, or that we have
uttered a few words at the tribune, we consider ourselves equal to
the task of governing a country. Far different is the English method!
Political life among our neighbours is a great duty, an entire and
constant devotion to the subject; history, diplomacy, administration,
in fact every thing must be learned by a public man who aspires to the
honour of the ministry, or to a confidential situation for the service
of his country.

M. Pasquier had attained his sixty-eighth year at the time he was
invested with the dignity of chancellor of France, he had been
president of the chamber of peers ever since the revolution of July.

This elevated situation was well suited to a Pasquier, the descendant
of a family which had held magisterial office for the last two
centuries, and the present chancellor answers perfectly to the idea his
ancestors had formed of the office he holds.

There are few men in modern times who, like the magistrates of
old, devote a certain portion of their leisure hours to study and
to writing; all their country residences and their thick forests
are redolent of their recollections and their learning; such are
Malesherbes, Baville, and Champlâtreux.

M. Pasquier's private life is very simple; he inhabits the apartments
of the _petit château_ at the Luxembourg, leaving the great palace
to M. Decaze. No person is easier of access; he speaks rapidly, and
apprehends and resolves questions with admirable perspicuity; his
habits are very industrious, and reading is his favourite occupation;
there is no time thrown away with him, for he contrives to make even
his visits a matter of business.

Perhaps he has been appreciated as president of the judicial court
and of the chamber. He exhibits the most perfect impartiality in his
regulation of the debates in the court of justice. His dislike to
useless words and lawyers' speeches, which are of no use either to
direct or enlighten, is very great, and he always exercises a degree
of firmness without severity, which abridges the proceedings without
in any way interfering with the defence of the accused. As president
of the chamber, he never separates himself from an idea or opinion in
politics: it has been written that the president of a chamber ought not
to have an opinion, but I think differently, for he is the expression
of a majority, and essentially the man of a system, and therefore I
think he ought to form his own opinion; he cannot allow every thing to
be said or to be done, and it would be very fortunate if the president
possessed authority to put a stop to all idle debates; we sink under
the press of words in France, when shall we come to business?

The political school of the restoration, of which M. Pasquier was one
of the most eminent chiefs, is gradually disappearing; it was the
heir of the moral and intellectual portion of the empire, and must
have afforded great strength of support to the Bourbons. Every time
that adverse parties have seized the reins of government by means
of its expulsion, the most serious catastrophes have ensued; it is
fortunate for the existence of kingdoms, and to preserve them from
dangers occasioned by the prevalence of excitement, that some men of
sense and reflection still exist, of a calm and prophetic turn of
mind, who render the transition between one system and another almost
imperceptible, and contrive that, in our capricious country, the
only definitive system should have been linked with moderation and a
constitutional government, which assumes its proper superiority after a
long struggle of adverse parties.


The life of the Duke of Wellington forms, for England, a sort of
epitome of the glorious career of the Tory party. The venerable chief
of the British armies is not only endowed with extraordinary abilities
in military operations, he also possesses a cool head in politics,
and a wise and pre-eminently moderate mind. Few publications have
produced so deep and lively an impression as the "Despatches of the
Duke of Wellington, during the various Periods of his Military Command,
from India to Waterloo." It changed and modified all party opinions
concerning his character; Whigs and Tories were equally struck with the
forethought of his measures and the temperate current of his ideas,
both in the most difficult and the most varied situations, while in
power as well as during the time of war.

In France, opinions do not progress so fast, and people are still full
of prejudices concerning the talents and character of this great man.
The remains of the Buonaparte faction still affect us, and disfigure
history. His power of organisation and his restoration of the elements
of society, are not the qualities for which Napoleon's genius is
considered especially worthy of admiration, but people want to prove
impossibilities, even to the detriment of his fame; and the Duke of
Wellington is sacrificed to the resentments inspired by the battle of
Waterloo. We have been distinguished enough on the field of battle,
and our country has produced names sufficiently known to fame not
to make it necessary for us to sacrifice upon the tomb of Napoleon
all the rival reputations which opposed obstacles to his career. The
careful perusal of the Duke of Wellington's Despatches first caused me
to rectify my ideas concerning the man who has both filled the first
military place in his native land, and has also been, in the present
times, at the head of a powerful and organising party in the affairs of

When you study with attention the splendid English engravings that
represent the misfortunes and downfall of Tippoo Saib, surrounded
by his mourning family; when you gaze upon the magnificent Indian
scenery, steaming with heat and moisture, the feathery palm-trees,
the elephants with their gilded howdahs, the black Sepoys in European
costume, intermingled with the English troops, whose cool determined
spirit and military resignation are stamped upon their countenance;
while in the back-ground appear the high walls of Seringapatam, and
their heavy cannon breathing forth slaughter and defiance; in these
scenes, amidst the wreaths of smoke and the gleaming of scimetars, the
figure of a young officer may be discerned, with a calm countenance,
quiet and reserved manners, and the meditative look which presages a
great destiny:--that officer is Sir Arthur Wellesley, since then so
celebrated as the Duke of Wellington.

Sir Arthur, the fourth son of Gerard Colley Wellesley earl of
Mornington, and of Anne Hill, daughter of Viscount Duncannon, was born
at Dungan Castle, on the 1st of May, 1769, one year after that which
gave birth to Napoleon; it was a period fertile in great geniuses of
all kinds, who came to humanise and to add greatness to the times of
the Revolution. Sir Arthur was brought up at Eton, and afterwards went
to the military college of Angers in France: our country at that time
possessed the best military establishments and the most frequented
universities; and I have already observed that Prince Metternich and
Benjamin Constant were educated at Strasbourg.

Arthur Wellesley entered the army at an early age, and obtained
a commission in the 41st Foot; in 1793 he purchased the
lieutenant-colonelcy of the 33d regiment, and made part of the
expedition to Ostend against the French republic, where he commanded,
at the age of twenty-four years, a brigade in the retreat from Holland
under the Duke of York. The English dominions are so vast, that it
is by no means uncommon to see men even of the noblest families sent
from one extremity of the earth to the other in the service of their
country, and young Arthur Wellesley embarked for Jamaica; but the
fleet was driven back by a tempest, and after recruiting his regiment
in Ireland, the young officer found his destination had been altered;
and he was now directed to proceed with it to the banks of the Ganges,
with his brother, the Marquis Wellesley, who had been appointed
governor-general of India. He distinguished himself greatly in the
war with Tippoo, that noble ally of France and of Louis XVI; and was
present at the taking of Seringapatam, at the head of the auxiliary
troops furnished by the Nizam; he was afterwards acting as governor of
the conquered city in 1800, when Dhoondiah Waugh, an Indian adventurer,
made an incursion into the Company's territory at the head of 5000

Imagination carries us back to the times of the "Arabian Nights," when
we turn our attention upon the power of the English in India, with
their immense establishments among the Hindoos and Mahrattas, and the
vast capitals of Calcutta and Madras, almost as highly civilised as
Paris or London; where habits of extreme softness and indolence prevail
in the midst of active military life.

Shall we long continue to be dazzled by that fairy land, sparkling with
diamonds and rubies? I think so; for no government possesses all the
qualities necessary to insure the colonisation of distant countries
in so eminent a degree as the noble and elevated system pursued by
England. People constantly talk of the projects of Russia: what need
has she of extending her conquests? These are dreams only fit for the
period of the empire under Napoleon. Russia and England are united by
the most powerful of all bonds, that of commerce.

Sir Arthur Wellesley distinguished himself in the war against the
Mahrattas, and was appointed to the command of 12,000 men destined to
attack the enemy's country. Owing to the sagacity of the measures he
pursued, in order to secure the movements and subsistence of the troops
during his long march, he accomplished this difficult campaign, though
undertaken at a very unfavourable season, with hardly any loss.

Buonaparte at this time occupied Egypt; and it is rather a curious
circumstance that Sir Arthur's name was suggested for the command of
the expedition which was to embark from Calcutta, cross the Isthmus
of Suez, and attack the French in the Desert. Had the appointment
taken place, young Wellesley would have been called upon, at the
very commencement of his career, to encounter the General Buonaparte
whose power as Emperor was finally annihilated by him on the plains
of Waterloo. The Indian campaign of this year is remarkable, because
the Company had to encounter the combined forces of Scindiah and the
Rajah of Becar. They were attacked by Sir Arthur near the fortified
village of Assaye, which has given its name to the battle. He destroyed
Scindiah's cavalry, defeated the infantry of the Rajah of Becar on the
plains of Argaum, and seized the fortress of Gawoneilgar,[32] which
was quickly followed by the submission of the two chiefs. A monument,
in memory of the battle of Assaye, was erected at Calcutta. The
inhabitants of that city presented the victorious general with a sword
of the value of 1000_l._, and the officers of his army subscribed for a
golden vase, still preserved by the Duke at Apsley House. The English
parliament also passed a vote of thanks, and the king conferred upon
him the order of the Bath. A person should read the first part of the
Duke of Wellington's Despatches to be able to form a correct idea of
the perils of this campaign and the precautions necessary to be taken,
as well as of the moderation and judgment displayed in his orders.

 [32] Gawilghur.--_Ed._

The Duke of Wellington thus commenced his military career in India. He
returned to England in 1805, to take the command of a brigade in the
army about to proceed to the Continent, under Lord Cathcart; Germany
being now the destination of the general who had lately gathered
laurels on the burning plains of Hindostan. The expedition, however,
was recalled, in consequence of the glorious victory obtained by
Napoleon at Austerlitz, which caused the death of Mr. Pitt; for in
England, that country of noble and elevated feelings, the destruction
of a great enterprise breaks the heart of a statesman. The political
life of Wellington dates its commencement from this period. The English
aristocracy are filled with devotion to their country, and the Tories
enter into her interests with their whole hearts; indeed, it is by
no means a rare occurrence in England to see a man at the same time
a member of parliament and employed on active service, for the life
of Toryism is essentially patriotic. This intermingling of political
situations and duties with military customs leads to the habits of
order and method observable in the majorities and minorities that occur
upon parliamentary questions; people obey their party or their opinions
as they would their commanding officer. In 1806 the town of Newport, in
the Isle of Wight, elected Sir Arthur as their representative in the
House of Commons, and in the same year he married Miss Pakenham, sister
to the Earl of Longford; shortly after which he was appointed secretary
to Ireland under the Duke of Richmond. He commanded the reserve of the
army under Lord Cathcart during the expedition to Copenhagen, which
occasioned such stormy debates in parliament; and the capitulation of
the city, an affair discussed, settled, and signed in the course of
one night, was entrusted to him. By the terms of this capitulation the
whole of the Danish fleet fell into the hands of the English. Upon this
occasion an unanimous vote of thanks to the army was passed in both
houses of parliament, and the Speaker of the House of Commons addressed
the general individually when he again took his seat after his return
to England.

The theatre of war was gradually increasing, and, in 1808, Sir Arthur
received orders to embark for Corunna and oppose the victorious
armies of France, now assembled under chiefs whose fame resounded
through the whole of Europe; for Spain had been invaded, and England
sought to measure her strength in the field with that of Napoleon.
The fleet was directed towards Oporto, and Sir Arthur effected his
landing in Portugal in the face of the brave regiments of the great
army, at the time when Junot was assuming a regal position at Lisbon:
the monarchy of the house of Braganza appeared at this period like a
brilliant ring, which was successively fitted on the finger of all the
adventurous chiefs, despatched as a sort of disgrace to Portugal by
Napoleon. General Junot compromised the army by his want of capacity
and his vain pretensions, and the 21st of August was marked by the
battle of Vimiera, where the attack was commenced by the French. The
complete destitution of the army rendered a treaty necessary, and by
the miserable capitulation, called the Convention of Cintra, it was
agreed that the French should evacuate Portugal and return into France
with their arms and baggage. Sir Arthur did not sign this convention,
and the real author of it, Sir Hew Dalrymple, being violently attacked
by the opposition, Sir Arthur quitted the army to be present at the
debates, and at the trial of Sir Hew by a court-martial. The Convention
of Cintra has been greatly blamed by Lord Byron in his poem of "Childe
Harold." Dalrymple was deprived of his command, and he was succeeded
by Sir Arthur Wellesley, who landed at Lisbon on the 22d of August,
1809. By the direction of Napoleon, the most bitter ridicule was
cast upon him in the _Moniteur_; those wretched declamations against
his adversaries were a weak and contemptible trait in the emperor's
character, shewing a spirit of littleness in the midst of all his great
qualities. The following is the article he dictated in Paris, with a
mixture of folly and presumption:--

"We are very well pleased Lord Wellington should command the armies,
for, with the disposition he evinces, he will meet with great
catastrophes.... Sir John Moore and Lord Wellington shew no symptoms
of the provident forethought which is so essential a quality in
warlike operations, which leads people to do nothing but what they can
maintain, and to undertake nothing but what offers a probability of
success: Lord Wellington has not shewn more talent than the cabinet
of St. James's. To attempt to support Spain against France, and to
enter into a struggle with France upon the Continent, is to form an
enterprise which will cost dear to those who have attempted it, and
occasion them nothing but disasters."

It must certainly be admitted, that Sir Arthur had no longer to contend
with an inexperienced general like Junot, the command of the army of
Portugal having been conferred upon Marshal Soult, an old soldier, who
would not fail to display the perfect knowledge of military tactics
which had raised him to the highest rank in his profession. The
uncertain battle of Talavera de la Reyna was celebrated in England as a
most decisive victory; great enthusiasm was excited, and, in spite of
the speeches of the opposition, a vote of thanks to the English general
was passed by both houses of parliament, and a pension of 2000_l._ per
annum was settled upon him; he was also raised to the peerage by the
title of Viscount Wellington of Talavera. The junta of Cadiz, which
had hitherto opposed him from motives of pride and national feeling,
now offered him the rank and allowances of captain-general of the
Spanish army; but Lord Wellington declined accepting any thing but a
present of a few horses of the Andalusian breed, which the Spaniards,
in the name of Ferdinand VII., offered him for his stud. The conduct
of the commander of the British armies on this occasion was quite in
keeping with the English character; he considered a few fine horses,
of a noble breed, as his most distinguished trophy. The rapid march
of Marshals Soult and Ney from Salamanca into Estramadura compelled
him to retreat as quickly as he had advanced; he therefore crossed the
Tagus, and took up a strong position to defend the passage at Almarez
and the lower part of the river. He was now destined to encounter the
two most remarkable lieutenants of Napoleon; for Massena, in his turn,
had entered Portugal, and commenced operations by the sieges of Almeida
and Ciudad Rodrigo.

The Duke of Wellington, in his old age, takes pleasure in talking over
the campaign of Portugal at Apsley House, because he there offered a
powerful resistance to the French army, displayed the most consummate
strategic skill, and was opposed to the most renowned marshals of the
empire; first Soult and Massena, and afterwards Marmont, who, though
skilful in his arrangements, was always unfortunate, and Ney, the
boldest and most adventurous of them all. The Duke of Wellington has
caused drawings to be made of the celebrated lines of Torres Vedras,
whose plan he traced himself, and had executed with a rapidity and
perseverance that appear almost to belong to fabulous times. They were
intended to protect Lisbon, and extended from the sea to the Tagus,
at the point where the river, being about six miles broad, defended
them as completely as the sea itself. They were constructed with so
much secrecy, that Marmont was struck with amazement at the sight of
them; and the English system of tactics, which consists in taking up a
fortified position, was displayed on this occasion in all its glory.
The brave Massena passed nearly six months before these lines,--this
magnificent military work, roaming like a chafed lion desirous of
engaging with his enemy around these masses of granite, and the waters
of the great river, almost as vast as the sea. The old general of the
Italian campaign expected reinforcements from France, but he received
no assistance either in men or provisions--a circumstance which must
have rendered his retreat to the frontiers of Spain very difficult to
accomplish. The Duke of Wellington always does justice to the skill
of Marshals Soult and Massena; and, in speaking of them in present
times, he acknowledges them both to have been men of great military
capacity. The English general again received the thanks of both houses
of parliament on this occasion; an additional subsidy was voted him,
and the title of Marquis of Torres Vedras was conferred upon him,
to perpetuate the memory of the military resistance that had saved

At this period the English government lavished marks of gratitude upon
its generals, in order to excite them to fresh acts of self-devotion;
and England already discerned in the Duke of Wellington a man capable
of coping with the power of Napoleon. An attempt had been at first made
to institute a comparison between Admiral Nelson and the Emperor, and
after his death at Trafalgar the Duke of Wellington succeeded him in
public estimation; such, at least, was the opinion expressed and acted
upon by the British parliament.

The English army were guilty of many faults, from the time of the
blockade of Almeida up to the siege of Badajos; and the battle of
Fuentes d'Onoro was a severe lesson for their commander. The juntas
were not favourably disposed towards England, in spite of which Lord
Wellington had organised the Portuguese army, and placed it on a firm
military footing; and every thing at Lisbon was already under the
influence of England, which furnished provisions, artillery, clothing,
and arms. The Tagus was now occupied by a formidable English fleet,
and from this time forth the cabinet of London gradually extended its
influence in the Peninsula; in fact, Lisbon was actually in a state of
vassalage, and commercial relations contributed their share towards
strengthening the military bonds which war had imposed with such mighty

Lord Wellington passed the Tagus to prevent supplies of provisions and
ammunition being thrown into Ciudad Rodrigo, which was now the central
point of the military operations; and the city was carried by storm
after a siege of ten days.[33] Fortune had ceased to smile on Napoleon;
Massena had been recalled, and Marshal Soult shortly after him, leaving
Marmont, who was always unfortunate; while the Duke of Wellington, on
the contrary, had just succeeded in overcoming the repugnance of the
regency of Cadiz, by whom, after the taking of Badajos,[34] he was
created a grandee of Spain of the first class, Duke of Ciudad Rodrigo,
and commander-in-chief of the Spanish army. The English parliament also
voted him an additional pension of 2000_l._ per annum.

 [33] 20th January, 1812.

 [34] 7th April, 1812.

Badajos was taken by storm some months after the fall of Ciudad
Rodrigo, and our eagles veiled their heads before the British armies.
His flanks being secured, Lord Wellington crossed the Tagus and entered
Castile; his means were very superior to those of his antagonists;
besides which the generals did not agree in opinion, and the court was
totally devoid of energy: Napoleon was not there to interpose his will,
which bore down all opposition. The battle of Salamanca,[35] which
decided the fate of Spain, took place shortly after. Lord Wellington
hastened on, with forced marches, towards Valladolid, and turning
suddenly to the right he made a bold movement towards Madrid, while
Joseph Buonaparte retreated to Burgos. I cannot imagine what induced
Napoleon to send Marshal Jourdan as a military guide to his brother,
for he was the most inferior of all his captains, and the Emperor had
greatly ridiculed his first revolutionary successes. Lord Wellington
again received the thanks of parliament on this occasion, the Prince
Regent conferred upon him the title of marquis, and the House of
Commons voted him the sum of 100,000_l_.

 [35] 24th July, 1812.

It is necessary to enter into these details to understand the source
of the political fortune of the Duke of Wellington. We here see that
all his rank, his honours, even his income, are derived from the field
of battle. The rewards granted by parliament were profuse, because it
was of the highest importance to create a military existence capable
of opposing the wonderful fortunes of Napoleon. At this time, Marshal
Soult, who had raised the siege of Cadiz and abandoned Andalusia,
made so well-arranged a movement in concert with the main body of
General Souham's army, that Lord Wellington's line of communication
was compromised; he was compelled to make a precipitate retreat, and
Marshal Soult resumed a glorious offensive position.

The English general having here forgotten the prudent system he usually
observed, for two days his whole army was exposed to the enemy, and
it is evident, from this circumstance, that the Duke of Wellington's
talent for defensive measures was greater than for an active military
campaign.[36] He never appeared to understand how to observe an exact
medium between the well-considered temerity, which seizes upon a fault
for the chance it affords of success, and the prudence which foresees
all the chances that may occur, even in a bad position.

 [36] Witness Assaye, Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajos, Vittoria,

In order to complete the deliverance of the Peninsula, Lord Wellington
in January 1813, repaired to Cadiz, to communicate in person with
the regency; by this step all doubts were dispelled, and the Spanish
army, after being better organised, was placed under his immediate
command. He was tenaciously regardful of his title of generalissimo,
and explained his plan for the campaign at the head of the combined
army of England, Spain, and Portugal, as far as Vittoria, where the
battle took place which was so fatal to our arms in the Peninsula,
and where every thing was taken by the English, even to the treasure
of Joseph Buonaparte. The utter incapacity of Marshal Jourdain, and
the avidity of some of the French generals, were among the principal
causes of this misfortune; and the efforts made to save the treasure
occasioned the destruction of the army. All the family of Napoleon, by
whom he was surrounded, being incapable of comprehending his glory,
only served to endanger his fortune; and when the day of misfortune
has arrived, what power can arrest the torrent? The battle of Vittoria
procured for Lord Wellington the elevated rank of field-marshal, so
rarely conferred in England; and it opened the road of the Pyrenees to
the Coalition. It was when approaching Pampeluna and St. Sebastian,
that the English general unfolded his plan of carrying the war into
France. Soult had again taken the command of the French troops on the
Bidassoa; for Napoleon had found it necessary to despatch from the
field of Bautzen, a marshal of skill and ability to the point most
threatened with danger, and the army in Spain was in a state of utter
confusion. Lord Wellington extended his line to Bayonne, after having
carried the position of Nivelle: it was certainly a wonderful war,
full of strategy! Marshal Soult displayed great skill in the manner in
which he manœuvred before a superior force, which only advanced when
prudence permitted; and thus the two armies remained for nearly two
months, watching each other's motions, but prevented by the severity of
the season, and the dreadful state of the roads, from proceeding any
farther. Soult made an attempt to imitate the lines of Torres Vedras
on the frontiers of France, and erected formidable intrenchments near
Bayonne; but Lord Wellington, without attacking them in front, turned
them by the right, and thus compelled his antagonist to abandon them.

The name of France inspired even the Allies with so much respect,
that they could not avoid a feeling of hesitation as to entering
her territories. When, however, we look back upon the early ages of
the French monarchy, we find that English troops had more than once
distinguished themselves on the plains of Gascony; and the exploits of
the Black Prince are interwoven with the feudal history of Guienne.
The Emperor's orders to Marshal Soult were to retreat very slowly, and
to endeavour as far as possible to avert the progress of the English,
Spanish, and Portuguese troops, by constant skirmishes. He had himself
entered into a treaty with Ferdinand VII., in the hope of separating by
this means the Spanish army from the Anglo-Portuguese force under Lord

Matters were, however, too far advanced to admit of the realisation
of these political plans, for the Pyrenees were already passed. After
the battle of Orthes the French army was unable to maintain the road
to Bourdeaux, and Lord Wellington, in concert with Marshal Beresford,
was obliged to give a decided opinion concerning the inclination
in favour of the Bourbons, which began to manifest itself in the
southern provinces. On this occasion he assumed a political position
for the first time; until now he had been merely a general officer,
exhibiting some degree of dexterity in his negotiations with the junta
of Cadiz, but the events of 1814 were evidently assuming a decisive
character fraught with great importance. Would he be justified in
giving a political impulse in favour of the restoration of Louis
XVIII., and what were the orders of his government on this subject when
the Allies were engaged in negotiation at Chaumont? Lord Wellington
permitted the full and energetic manifestation of the public feeling;
and Marshal Beresford made no objections to the white flag being
hoisted. The empire was gradually declining from the northern to the
southern extremity of the kingdom; and letters were received from Lord
Castlereagh, informing the chief of the English armies of the events
that had taken place in Paris. The battle of Toulouse was fought a few
days afterwards, a melancholy and useless sacrifice of human life,--for
it was incapable of arresting the progress of the coalesced armies;
in fact, all was now over, the restoration was completed, and Louis
XVIII. in the act of re-entering his capital. The English remained in
possession of Toulouse, and the peace of 1814 was concluded by all the
allied powers.

Lord Wellington took no part in this treaty, for he was then possessed
of no political influence, his life being entirely military; and Lord
Castlereagh, then at the head of the cabinet, was not inclined to yield
his ministerial influence to any one. When, however, the congress was
assembled at Vienna, the Duke of Wellington, who had been received with
the utmost enthusiasm in England, attended this meeting of crowned
heads, to exhibit the grandeur of his country, and recall to mind
the services he had rendered to the common cause. The talent he had
displayed in the Peninsular war, and the perseverance he had exhibited
during that long struggle, had cast a halo round his person, and
greatly excited the public curiosity concerning him. He was at that
time forty-five years of age, cold and reserved in his manners, but
attaching some value to the attention shewn him by some of the ladies
at Vienna; an immense number of entertainments were given to him, and
it is well known that no city in Europe offers so many resources for
those inclined to pleasure and dissipation.

In the midst of all these amusements the congress was startled by the
fall of the thunderbolt,--news was received of the landing of Napoleon
in the gulf of Juan! It was necessary immediate recourse should be had
to military measures, and without a moment's hesitation the direction
of the operations was entrusted to the Duke of Wellington, as the
person most capable of opposing Napoleon; besides which, as Great
Britain gave the impulse to the European league, it was necessary to
give her a pledge of their sincerity, and the title of generalissimo,
conferred upon the Duke, was undoubtedly due to him, in consideration
of the subsidies which the English parliament were about to vote for
the advantage of Europe. After a hurried journey to England, Wellington
returned with all speed to the Low Countries, to decide in concert
with Field-marshal Blucher upon the plan of his campaign; and when
opposed to the powerful army of Napoleon, he followed the same system
he had been accustomed to pursue in Spain; that is to say, he assumed a
defensive attitude, in a well-chosen position. His military reputation
had commenced with the lines of Torres Vedras, and was destined to
reach its zenith at Waterloo;--thus shewing that the whole of a man's
destiny is sometimes comprehended between two ideas.

I shall not enter here into military details, but content myself
with observing that the battle of Waterloo was a perfect type of the
system pursued by two men whose military capacities were entirely
dissimilar--the Emperor and the Duke of Wellington. Napoleon was
impetuous, actually sublime, when advancing to attack his enemy; but
disordered and devoid of reflection in a retreat. The Duke, on the
contrary, was timid, watchful, and undecided during an active campaign,
to such a degree that he endangered the safety of his troops whenever
he attempted a bold movement; but he was at the same time cool and
collected, and accustomed to avail himself of every advantage when
acting on the defensive. The attack made by Buonaparte at Waterloo
recalled the battles of Wagram and Austerlitz, while the Duke of
Wellington again saw the lines of Torres Vedras in the intrenched
position of Mont St. Jean.

The influence of the Duke of Wellington naturally increased after
this great battle; he was advancing at the head of a victorious army,
and though Blucher did not actually fill a subordinate situation, yet
the Duke, from his being covered with the glory of Waterloo, could
not fail to exercise a considerable influence over the mind of the
Prussian generalissimo. At last, when they approached Paris, all the
revolutionary party, with Fouché at their head, came to meet the Duke,
considering him as the supreme arbiter, whose word was to decide upon
the fate of France. Fouché opened an active negotiation with him for
the occupation of France; and the noble Duke, in a conversation with
Louis XVIII., recommended the ministry of Talleyrand and Fouché, as the
only one capable of bringing about an union between royalty and the
liberty obtained by the revolution. Was the Duke mistaken? or was he
duped? Whichever may have been the case, the coalition fell to pieces
almost immediately, and the powerful and long-continued ascendency
of Lord Castlereagh and the English government was replaced by the
personal influence of the Emperor Alexander. Talleyrand was succeeded
by the Duke de Richelieu.

By the treaty concluded in the month of November 1815, it had been
stipulated that an army of occupation should remain in France; and
it was placed under the command of the Duke of Wellington, without
making any distinction among the contingents furnished by the different
powers. He was also appointed inspector of the fortresses in the Low
Countries, which were erected as advanced posts against France, and
with the money levied upon her. The generalissimo resided in Paris,
where he saw a good deal of Louis XVIII.; and his English principles
were in perfect agreement with a system of moderation and freedom. He
possessed an honest and upright heart, and a habit of judging with ease
and simplicity of the state of events; and we must do him the justice
to say, that when on various occasions he was constituted arbiter of
the claims of the Allies, he almost invariably gave his opinion in
favour of our unfortunate country. Even when he was consulted, more
than once, upon the possibility of diminishing the army of occupation,
he declared that the state of the public mind in France would permit
this relief to be granted, which the suffering condition of the country
rendered imperatively necessary. At this period, when the Duke of
Wellington was engaged in rendering us most essential service, the
Buonapartist spirit armed a fanatic against his life, and a pistol
was fired actually into his carriage. The Duke escaped unhurt; and I
deeply regret that Napoleon, in his will written at St. Helena, should
have degraded himself to such a degree as to award a recompense to the
miscreant who had thus attacked his former military adversary. Conduct
like this communicates a stain which cannot be effaced even from the
most renowned characters in history.

After the departure of the army of occupation, and the signing of
the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, the Duke of Wellington quitted Paris;
his military career was at an end, and his political life may be
said to have just begun: having been raised to a seat in the House
of Peers,[37] with the rank of duke, in the enjoyment of an immense
fortune, and decorated with the stars of every order of knighthood in
Europe, he could hardly fail of possessing a considerable degree of
influence. But the order of things was now changed in England: during
the long wars against the French Revolution and Empire, the English
had shewn extreme energy, and had made great and very judicious use
of their powerful means, thus enabling the Tories to overcome all the
difficulties presented by their situation; they were successful because
they were strongly opposed to all revolutionary principles, and firmly
resolved to carry out the war. The people had then no time to think of
internal dissensions, they were breathlessly engaged in incessantly
recurring struggles, and always hoping for victory; but now that the
war was at an end, passions were reawakened, and Lord Castlereagh saw
his power gradually declining, while that of the Whigs and Radicals was
progressively increasing.

 [37] He had long had a seat in the House of Peers, but the mistake
 is very natural for a foreigner.--_Editor._

The Duke of Wellington was a Tory upon principle and family precedent;
he took his seat in the House of Peers among the Conservatives; and he
and Lord Aberdeen formed the centre of the Tory benches that supported
Lord Castlereagh's ministry. He was not an eloquent speaker, but he
expressed himself with great clearness and precision; and, without
being a man of a very enlarged mind, he was gifted with an instinctive
good sense, that enabled him to form an accurate judgment of the
generality of questions; while, at the same time, he was perfectly _au
fait_ of the political occurrences and situations of Europe, for he had
taken a part in too many affairs of importance not to have retained
a deep impression of them. In short, the Duke of Wellington, as a
statesman, was less distinguished for the _great_ than for the _good_
things he had done. His popularity was now on the decline; the time had
passed away when his carriage was surrounded by crowds of people on his
return to England after his campaigns, for the Hero of Waterloo was too
staunch a Tory to be a favourite with the populace. The queen's trial
had excited public opinion in the highest degree, and every thing was
progressing rapidly towards reform.

Under circumstances like these, the Duke had little political influence
except in the diplomatic circle; but he found himself mixed up with
all the serious continental affairs, in consequence of the important
part he had formerly played; and he was present at the congress of
Verona. He preserved a certain degree of influence in foreign affairs
during Mr. Canning's ministry, although the Whig party was in the
ascendant. Russia appeared at this time likely to become the rival of
England; the Greek question caused considerable public excitement, and
difficulties existed as to fixing the new boundaries of the Hellenic
territory. Mr. Canning, therefore, considered it necessary a person
of great consideration should be sent to St. Petersburg, and the Duke
of Wellington, being held in high estimation by the Emperor Nicholas,
and having also been actively engaged in most of the questions of
general interest, it was decided that his mission should be attached
to the treaty of the sixth of July, which established the independence
of Greece, and settled her territorial boundaries. It had become
necessary the business should be finally decided; and as, in England,
strong prejudices against individuals are never indulged in when
business is at stake, the Duke of Wellington was selected as being the
person most capable of being useful.

When he returned to England Mr. Canning was dead; Lord Goderich's
ministry was struggling feebly with the difficulties it had to
encounter, and as diplomatic matters were assuming a singularly
complicated appearance, the king thought it advisable to form a
Tory ministry of men of capacity and experience. It was composed of
Mr. Peel, Lord Aberdeen, and the Duke of Wellington; and peculiarly
adapted for resisting any encroachments on the part of Russia. When
the Duke came seriously to examine into the state of the country, he
was convinced that one of the first steps necessary to secure the
efficiency and consistency of his ministry was the emancipation of
the Catholics. This had long been a favourite idea in his family; and
Marquis Wellesley[38] had formerly detached himself from George III.
on this very question. The Duke had no hesitation as to the course
he was to pursue, and a bill presented to parliament was passed by a
majority; the Tories were desirous of the glory of originating so just
and equitable a measure.[39]

 [38] Upon this occasion the Duke of Wellington voted against his
 brother's measure.--_Editor._

 [39] The editor begs to remind the reader that he is not answerable
 for M. Capefigue's opinions.

The revolution of July, some months afterwards, struck a fatal blow to
the heart of the Tories; for Radical opinions were already obtaining
great influence in England. The Duke hastened to recognise the events
that had taken place, but in his own mind he qualified the proceedings
with the epithet _untoward_--the same expression he had used concerning
the battle of Navarino. Had not every thing been overturned and
altered by this revolution? How, then, was it possible for the Duke
to contend with a political system which threatened to destroy the
treaties concluded in 1815? He comprehended the full consequences of
this change,--nor did he attempt to avert them; but, on the first
occasion of an equivocal majority, he sent in his resignation, and
gave up his situation to Lord Grey and the Whigs. As in England all
political characters are independent of their position, they resign
it without regret, even for some incidental circumstance. The Duke
then placed himself at the head of the Conservative party, and of the
enlightened Tories in the House of Lords; assuming there about the
same situation as Mr. Peel in the House of Commons. Conservative and
Tory signify in England men of worth and consistency, who venerate
the ancient institutions of their country, and do not wish them to
be interfered with; and it is certainly a magnificent ground for a
statesman to take up, for he places himself as a barrier to oppose
all the storms raised by parties. The Duke's Conservative principles
made him averse to the plan of reform that attacked the ancient
constitution of England: he continued to observe this steadfastness
of opinion in the House of Lords; and when, in 1833, the continental
question again became perplexed, the king proposed forming another
ministry, in which he was to be included; but on this occasion, with an
admirable appreciation of existing circumstances, Mr. Peel was placed
at the head of the cabinet, and the noble Duke only filled a secondary
place. He considered that a name belonging to the commonalty, like
that of Mr. Peel, was better suited to the juncture than that of the
Duke of Wellington or the Earl of Aberdeen. In consequence of this
arrangement the Duke found himself completely eclipsed by Mr. Peel,
and he appeared only to have been included in the ministry that he
might act as its representative in the House of Lords: as it has been
remarked by an English political writer, he certainly did not form its
basis, whatever strength and consideration he might have brought to its

Peel's ministry was not of long duration; and the Tories were certainly
guilty of an oversight in forming this ephemeral cabinet, for nothing
more deeply injures a party than abortive efforts, or attempts which
are not crowned with success. The Duke of Wellington resumed his place
in the House of Lords, and spoke with seriousness and moderation upon
all the questions of importance that came before them. As I have
before observed, strong good sense, and clear reasoning, are the
qualities for which he is especially distinguished, and which carry
every thing before them. His manner of expressing himself is quiet
and serious; and he is always listened to with respect and attention.
His private life is essentially military; and at Apsley House he is
surrounded by pictures of all his battles, from India to Waterloo.
His favourite campaign is that of the Peninsula; and one might say
that the recollections of his youth, under the exhilarating sky of
the south of Europe, are intermingled with it. The Duke likes the old
friends, and the society that reminds him of his military adventures;
he is also very intimate with the _corps diplomatique_, and entertains
magnificently,--displaying all the splendour of an immense fortune
and the grandeur of the English aristocracy. Sometimes he speaks with
bitterness of his past popularity contrasted with the feelings evinced
towards him in later times; and he has more than once called attention
to the windows of his palace, now defended by iron gratings against the
violence of the mob, who threw stones against his windows and into his
splendidly decorated apartments. "What a contrast!" said he to Pozzo
di Borgo, in 1834. "Recollect, my dear friend, my popularity after the
battle of Waterloo, and my entry into London in the year 1815; and now
see how completely I am out of favour with these people!"

The Duke of Wellington likes to be compared to Marlborough and
Nelson--the two most illustrious of English heroes; but he avoids all
comparison with Napoleon, for their two careers are neither on the same
scale nor can be measured by the same proportion.

The Duke of Wellington, a general essentially attached to the defensive
system, always knew how to select a favourable position; received
battle, but very rarely gave it. Every time that he ventured on bold
measures he was guilty of imprudence; and he only shewed himself
eminently superior when acting on the defensive.[40] Napoleon, on
the contrary, was bold and magnificent in the attack; his plans were
cleverly laid, and were the result of a sudden inspiration,--his
wonderful genius enabled him to modify them according to circumstances;
but at the slightest reverse Napoleon was cast down, and his retreat
was almost always a flight: though his attack was made in the most
brilliant manner, he knew not how to resist; and in this he personified
the military genius of the French nation, from the times of Cressy and
Agincourt. I think it necessary to repeat this parallel, as it is the
only one that it is possible to draw between Napoleon and the Duke
of Wellington. Nelson was the only Englishman who carried into naval
warfare the spirit exhibited by Napoleon in the continental war. Had
the Emperor lived to the age of the Duke, it would have been curious to
compare these two great characters at the extreme point of existence.

 [40] See Note, page 208.--_Editor._

Since the revolution of 1830, the history of parties and statesmen
has been greatly developed; Whigs and Tories have in turn been at
the helm--Lord Grey, Lord Palmerston; Mr. Peel, and Lord Aberdeen;
affording opportunities of forming a more correct judgment of the
character and personal value of each. The Tories have now returned into
power with Mr. Peel and Lord Aberdeen; but the Duke would not accept
any office beyond a sort of patronage over the House of Lords.

A parallel may now be drawn between the Whigs and Tories, embracing
the most distinguished characters among both. Lord Grey left all his
celebrity as a leader of the opposition, to become a minister of
mediocrity at the head of the government. Lord Palmerston exhibited so
much emptiness and folly in his adventurous attempt at liberalism, as
to lose all his consistency in England. The Tories on the contrary,
have retained two men of high consideration, whose reputation is
unblemished, viz. Mr. Peel and Lord Aberdeen. No man can equal the
chief of the Tory party in his clear and perspicuous manner of speaking
of business; and the Earl of Aberdeen possesses in an eminent degree
a knowledge of foreign affairs and a most extensive acquaintance with
facts: and this, in truth, constitutes the superiority and the seal of
the Tory party.

People generally mistake the Duke of Wellington's character, by
supposing him to feel a dislike to France; on the contrary, he has many
feelings quite in agreement with our national character and history.
The Tories, to a greater degree than the Whigs, are persuaded that the
predominance of France is necessary for the balance of power in Europe;
they seek all occasions to give a proof of this opinion, and are often
grieved at the prejudices which exist at the bottom of our character
against the politics of their cabinet.

The Duke of Wellington has now reached the advanced age of seventy-four
years, and he seldom speaks in the House of Lords; but when he does
so his speeches are always worthy of attention, for his words carry
with them the importance due to the opinion of a consummate statesman.
His career, which began at so early an age in the burning climate of
India, has been already several times endangered by sudden attacks
of illness, from which he has recovered,--thanks to the strength of
his constitution. Constantly accustomed to be employed, he himself
corrected the proof sheets of his Despatches, which not only place
him in the front rank as a _strategic_ writer, but also award him an
elevated position in the scale of minds imbued with the principles of
order, government, and administration. Let us repeat it, three men form
a summary of the career of the Tories; Mr. Peel for the administration,
Lord Aberdeen for foreign affairs, and the Duke of Wellington for
military glory and renown. All these three are men of powerful minds.


Among the admirable works that have emanated from the pencil of
Lawrence, the reader must have observed a countenance with a melancholy
expression, and a high forehead shaded by locks prematurely blanched;
the mild intelligent eyes, delicate nose, and firmly compressed mouth,
are indicative of a mind of a superior order, but at the age of
scarcely fifty years this countenance, whose nobleness and simplicity
of expression are remarkable, conveys the idea of a man worn out with
the troubles and anxieties of life; and I may almost add, by whom
its vanities and illusions are viewed in their true colours. It is a
mixture of the Frenchman of noble descent, and of the highest Russian
nobility, who live so fast. This portrait was painted by Lawrence
at Aix-le-Chapelle, and the original was distinguished during his
childhood by the title of Comte de Chinon; in youth he was called Duc
de Fronsac, and he finally inherited the title of Duc de Richelieu.

The political systems of all ages are personified by certain
statesmen, who were their representatives. Since the commencement of
the eighteenth century, France has been constantly placed between two
preponderating interests; these are, 1st, an alliance with England,
effected during the regency, and overturned by Louis XV. at Fontenoy;
then resumed by the treaties of 1783 and 1785; again broken by the
convention, with expressions of contempt and violence, in 1793; renewed
for a moment under Talleyrand in 1814, when it was destroyed by the
personal influence of the Emperor Alexander; and finally restored for
a short time in 1833, by the feeble treaty between France, England,
Spain and Portugal. 2dly, the Russian alliance, of more modern date,
though naturally very suitable to the interests of France. It was first
attempted by means of the embassy of M. de Ségur, under Louis XVI.;
was restored by Napoleon at Erfurt, until the disastrous campaign of
Moscow; resumed in 1815, and supported by the ministries of the Duc
de Richelieu in 1816, and M. de la Ferronays in 1828, until Prince
Polignac brought back the English system. After the revolution of July
the diplomatic projects of Prince Polignac were resumed, with this sole
difference, that Talleyrand attempted with the Whigs what the ministers
of Charles X. had endeavoured to effect with the Tories.

I am about to write the life of the Duc de Richelieu as the
personification of the Russian alliance, which I shall consider in all
its various stages, from the period of the Restoration; and this is an
era of very great importance in diplomatic history, for we are living
under the treaties of 1814 and 1815. Those concluded at Vienna, at
Aix-la-Chapelle, at Troppau, and Laybach, form the basis of our present
relations with the rest of Europe.

Armand Emanuel du Plessis, Duc de Richelieu, well known in his early
youth under the name of Comte de Chinon, was born at Paris on the 25th
of September, 1766; his father was the Duc de Fronsac, son of the
old Marshal Richelieu, and his mother was a daughter of the house of
Hautefort. Paris was full of the endowments of his ancestor the great
cardinal, whose purple robe was the glory of his family; and it was
at the college of Plessis, founded by him, that the Comte de Chinon
first commenced his education, and was tolerably successful in his
studies, especially in acquiring the various languages of Europe; for
he learned to speak Italian, German, and English with facility, and
at a later period Russian became as familiar to him as French. At the
age of fourteen he was married to a daughter of the noble house of
Rochechouart, and the young count and his little wife, who was just
thirteen years of age, went to travel for some years, according to the
custom that prevailed at that time among families of rank: he visited
Italy, the country of the fine arts, to admire the works of the old
masters, and the ancient cities, whose renown had once overspread the
world. On the first breaking out of our domestic troubles the young
nobleman hastened to offer his services to his menaced sovereign, and
on the 5th and 6th of October, 1789, he proceeded on foot and alone
to Versailles, and making his way through the assembled mob of ragged
men and women, he went to warn the court of the danger with which it
was threatened. As if in anticipation of his future diplomatic career,
Louis XVI. employed him a few days afterwards on a mission to Joseph
II., a sovereign who patronised reform; and he discharged it with the
silent discretion so necessary to be observed in the relations of the
king with foreigners, at a time when he was so closely watched and
surrounded by the spies of the people. The Comte de Chinon, under the
title of Duc de Fronsac, was already distinguished for the uprightness
of his character; political intrigues did not suit his frank and open
disposition, and he therefore quitted Vienna and hastened to the siege
of Ismael, celebrated by Lord Byron in his poem of "Don Juan." Many of
the French nobility were serving in the armies of Catherine II., and
the Duc de Fronsac fought by the side of Count Roger de Damas at the
taking of the redoubt, where, according to the sarcastic rhymes of the
poet, the cannon that thundered upon the besiegers were as numerous as
the lovers of the licentious empress. The Duc de Fronsac was slightly
wounded, and Catherine sent him a gold-hilted sword and the order of
St. George. He also accepted the rank of Colonel in the Russian army,
when he inherited the illustrious title of Richelieu upon the death of
his father.

When Monsieur, afterwards Louis XVIII., made an appeal to the old
and noble families among his countrymen, calling upon them to serve
under the white banner, the Duc de Richelieu joined the army assembled
to fight for the ancient crown of France; and after the unfortunate
termination of the campaign of 1792, when the Prince of Condé requested
an asylum in Russia for the French exiles, he was despatched by the
Empress Catherine to arrange with the Prince the plan of a colony, to
be established on the shores of the sea of Azof: it was to consist
entirely of men of birth, and this idea was of some service when
the noble foundation of Odessa took place; but in a military crisis
like this, how was it possible to conceive and follow out a project
involving a regular system of administration?

At the siege of Valenciennes by the coalesced armies, the Duc de
Richelieu commanded a company of men of noble birth. There was
something glorious and honourable in this emigration, which followed
the fortunes of the royal banner as their ancestors had done that of
Henry IV; and we must not judge their proceedings according to our
little party prejudices. After the victorious republic had reconquered
her frontiers he returned to Russia, and became colonel of a cuirassier
regiment; but the Emperor Paul was then on the throne, and with his
usual harshness and brutality of disposition he punished the Duke for
his personal attachment to the Czarewitch Alexander, by depriving him
of his regiment; he even went so far as to forbid him to appear at St.
Petersburg: for with a degree of imperial egotism the Czar expected
devotion should be exhibited to himself alone. Such being the cause
of his exile, it is hardly necessary to say, that on the accession of
Alexander he was restored to his former rank, with every mark of the
sovereign's favour; and the esteem and confidence entertained for him
by Alexander, at this early period, was of the greatest service to
France during the events that took place in the year 1815. Even then
the Duke was fully sensible of the importance of an alliance between
France and Russia, two countries whose interests are constantly meeting
without its being possible they should clash; but at this time people
could not even dream of the restoration of the royal dynasty--no event
could appear less likely to occur.

After peace was concluded with Russia in 1801, the Duke took the
opportunity of returning to France and collecting the remains of the
enormous fortune of his ancestors, for the sake of paying the debts of
his father and grandfather, both of whom had greatly involved their
patrimony by their insane prodigality: this was his _sole_ object; and
he abandoned the whole of his rights to the creditors, retaining for
himself nothing of that immense inheritance. It was certainly giving
evidence of a most noble disposition! The Duc de Richelieu, prime
minister of Louis XVIII., and great-nephew of the celebrated cardinal,
did not himself possess an income of more than 20,000 francs![41]

[41] About 800_l._

Buonaparte was at the summit of his consular glory when the illustrious
name of Richelieu was presented to him; and he who attached a great
value to names of historic celebrity, and who was also a great admirer
of the iron-handed minister, offered the Duke employment in his army:
but he refused it, and is it possible to blame him for so doing?
He was a man of high and ancient descent, warmly attached to the
House of Bourbon, and resolved not to serve in a French army except
under the royal banner: his refusal, however, rendered it necessary
he should immediately quit Paris; and on his return to the Emperor
Alexander he was entrusted with the execution of rather a difficult
task, being appointed to the government of the southern portion of
that immense empire. All the provinces on the borders of the Black
Sea had been converted into uncultivated deserts by the ravages of
war, and the barbarous ignorance of the Mussulman inhabitants rendered
them incapable of repairing the mischief--in fact, the old Roman
colonies of the Palus Meotides no longer existed except in name; and
in repeopling this desert, the closest and most careful surveillance
was necessary for the purpose of introducing European customs and
civilisation. In the beginning of 1803, the Duke was appointed Governor
of Odessa, and he was afterwards employed in the general administration
of New Russia--a country where the climate is mild and genial, and
which is like Italy, only devoid of the arts and of cultivation:
institutions had been commenced, but nothing was completed, and in a
city of considerable extent there were hardly 5000 inhabitants.[42]
M. de Richelieu, without the slightest hesitation, had recourse
to the measures necessary for improving this state of things, even
though he sometimes offended ancient customs and selfish interests;
but it is only by means of absolute power that great reforms can be
accomplished. Every thing appeared to have received new life; commerce,
set free from the bonds by which she was before shackled, made a rapid
advance, and the population of Odessa was in a short time doubled. The
administration of the governor extended from the vast countries of the
Dniester to the Kouban and the Caucasus; and the colonies of German
Anabaptists, by whom more than one hundred villages were peopled, first
set the example of agriculture upon the most enlightened system, so
that, in a short time, immense fields of corn displayed their waving
verdure on plains which, formerly, scarcely afforded to the Tartars
pasturage for their cattle.

 [42] Now about 80,000.--_Ed._

It became necessary to establish a sort of feudal system to defend the
country against the invasions of the Circassians, armed, as in the time
of the Crusades, with golden helms and knightly mail; and the Duke,
brave, devoted to his undertaking, and desirous of glory, became the
military chieftain of the colony. It was impossible the establishments
on the Black Sea should attain their full greatness until Circassia
should have submitted to the Russian government; this conquest the
Russian cabinet is at present accomplishing.[43]

 [43] The government of Odessa includes the island of Taman, and
 part of the Caucasian line, inhabited by the Cossacks of the Black
 Sea, who were settled on the Lower Kouban by Potemkin, as a defence
 against the incursions of the Circassians; forming a chain of
 intrenched villages, sufficiently near to communicate by signals,
 and supported by some regiments of infantry and artillery. The
 Circassians have never been able to make any serious impression on
 this line; and the Russians, whose object was purely defensive,
 never even crossed the Kouban with an intention of permanently
 establishing themselves beyond the river till the conclusion of
 the last Turkish war, during which Anapa, and all other forts
 possessed by the Turks on the Black Sea, were ceded to Russia.
 The Circassians had only tolerated these nominal dependencies of
 Turkey, as affording convenient points of trade and export for
 the slaves captured from Russia and Georgia, as well as those
 taken during their own domestic wars. The natural strength of
 the country and its deadly climate have hitherto checked the
 Russian conquests, but, sooner or later, it must yield to a power
 capable of sending unlimited reinforcements, while every action
 permanently diminishes the strength of the mountain tribes. The
 war, which has now lasted sixty years, can have no effect on the
 prosperity of the southern provinces of Russia, nor is it felt
 twenty miles from the frontier. The few Circassians that have
 been educated in Russia are not permitted to return to the tribes.
 The Caucasian guard formed by Prince Paskewitch in 1830, and who
 return periodically to their own country, may have a much greater
 effect; they are taken indiscriminately from all the tribes,
 Circassians, Lesghis, Chechens, and Ossatinians, forming a body
 of about two hundred men, in some measure resembling the Mamelukes
 of Napoleon.--_Editor._

To set a limit to the depredations of the Circassians, the governor
was repeatedly compelled to penetrate into their mountains at the head
of some Russian regiments; he neglected nothing that could lead to
the diffusion of the benefits of European society in that barbarous
country, and several young Circassians, whom the fortune of war or
other events had placed in his hands, were carefully educated under his
superintendence, instructed in our arts, accustomed to our manners,
and then restored to their homes to dwell among their countrymen,
whose customs and habits might be softened and improved by their
example: such was the custom of the ancient Romans with regard to
their vanquished nations. This active administration continued during
the plague which devastated Odessa in the year 1813; and the Duke
then displayed the utmost firmness and energy, though he was obliged
more than once to have recourse to the military power, which in Russia
is always confounded with the civil administration. But it would
be necessary to visit Odessa to form a just estimate of all he has
effected there; he appeared to have inherited the creative genius of
the great cardinal.

A new field soon opened before him. The events of 1814 had brought
about the restoration of the Bourbons, and the influence of the Emperor
Alexander reigned paramount over the proceedings of the senate which
prepared the fall of Napoleon. Louis XVIII., who was a prince of a
touchy disposition, and very ceremonious habits, had but very little
inclination for the Duc de Richelieu, for he could not forgive his
having preferred filling a high and important situation in Russia to
the dignity of an attendant upon his exiled person; nevertheless, he
restored the peerage to his family, as well as the situation of first
_gentilhomme du roi_. The Duke was not in office during the first
restoration, and he employed himself in studying the new spirit that
had arisen in his country, after so many domestic troubles; for he was
sufficiently aware of the state of affairs to comprehend that events
exercise an irresistible power in the modification of the character,
and that when a person is desirous of bringing a revolution to a close,
it is necessary to make incessant concessions to men and circumstances,
and submit to unavoidable acts of necessity: these, no doubt, are
painful duties, but are we not all called to wear the crown of thorns?

Totally unconnected with the negotiations of 1814, which were entirely
in the hands of Prince Talleyrand, the Duc de Richelieu may be said to
have spent the first restoration in renewing his acquaintance with his
country. He had quitted it a young man, and since then what marvellous
events, what a new existence, had taken place! Property had been
invaded, the homes of his forefathers pillaged! The domestic hearth no
longer existed--even the tombs were violated and the bones of the dead
were cast out; and this in the midst of a revolutionary society, which
attached guilt even to the tears of the victims! The events of the 20th
of March were caused by a fatal reaction in the minds of the soldiery,
and a democratic hatred against the unfortunate nobility of France; and
the Duc de Richelieu accompanied the ancient banner of his country into
voluntary exile.

On his return for the second time, Louis XVIII. intrusted Talleyrand
with the formation of a ministry based upon the English system;
nevertheless, the chief of the cabinet was well aware that Russia must
necessarily exercise very considerable influence over the negotiations
relating to France, and he proposed M. de Richelieu as minister of the
king's household, with the idea this choice would be agreeable to the
Emperor Alexander: the appointment, however, was not accepted, for
the Duke had an extreme repugnance to be seated beside the regicide
Fouché; besides which, he was well aware that Alexander was displeased
at the aspect of a ministry so entirely devoted to England, and which
had been formed under the ascendancy of the Duke of Wellington. I have
already mentioned the causes that broke up Talleyrand's ministry; after
its dissolution, Louis XVIII. considered that the Russian influence
would alone be capable of procuring for us some alleviation of the
heavy burdens imposed by the invasion, for the Czar was the only party
whose interest was not concerned in the affair; and it is necessary to
read the diplomatic correspondence of Lord Castlereagh and the German
diplomatists to judge how overwhelming were the conditions imposed by
the Allies. Their crushing demands, their deplorable ultimatum, had
been published; the negotiations did not advance, while, at the same
time, the disastrous condition of the country was aggravated by the
presence of a million of foreigners. It was in order to obtain the
powerful support of the Emperor of Russia that the king appointed the
Duc de Richelieu minister for foreign affairs, and president of the
council; thus assigning him a double and most difficult office.

Still nobody was better fitted than the Duke to hasten the conclusion
of the treaty; nobody had so much reason to hope he might succeed
in abating its severity. The Czar felt the utmost confidence in the
noble governor of Odessa, and he was not ignorant that France had
but little to hope for in point of support from her neighbours, who
had been too long irritated by the weight of her power. Russia alone
had nothing to claim from her, and she was furthermore inclined to
lend her assistance, as to a faithful ally in the south of Europe.
The Duke was well convinced of all these circumstances, and he took
care to represent to the Czar, that all the importance lost by France
would be so much added to the strength and power of her rivals, and
would increase the superiority of Austria and Prussia. Alexander's
inclinations were favourable to our country, and by drawing out
these kindly feelings the Duke was enabled to fulfil the immense
task that had been imposed upon him. Let us take a retrospect of
the afflicting state of our invaded land in the year 1815. 700,000
soldiers occupied the country, the people of Germany were in a state of
extreme irritation, and the remains of the seditious and disorganised
army on the other side of the Loire had been disbanded with great
difficulty; add to which, the treasury was exhausted, and the course
of the contributions interrupted by a long abuse of power. Surely
it required a mind of no common energy to grapple with a situation
so fraught with difficulty and disaster! In quiet times diplomacy
is a work of skill and address, a polished interchange of political
generalities, and some plans proposed for future accomplishment; but
at this time, when we must recollect that Paris was in the hands of
an imperious and vindictive enemy, what could we expect from the
magnanimity of conquerors so long humbled and trampled upon by French
domination? Under these fearful auspices the course of the negotiation
was intrusted to the Duc de Richelieu, just at the decisive moment
when, after a most stormy debate, the plenipotentiaries had come to
an agreement concerning the sacrifices they were determined to exact
from France. The most ruinous projects were maintained by England,
Austria, and Prussia, their demands being comprehended between four
points, viz. the cession of a territory, including the posts of Condé,
Philippeville, Givet, Marienburg, Charlemont, Sarrelouis, and Landau,
and the forts of Joux and Ecluse; the demolition of the fortifications
of Hunningen; the payment of an indemnity of 800 millions; and the
occupation of the frontiers by an army of 150,000 men, kept up at the
expense of France for seven years. England insisted particularly that
the chain of fortresses on the northern frontier should be so closely
curbed, that Dunkirk should be the last in the possession of the
French. The country was to be restored to the limits it occupied in
the days of Henry IV., and a party, dating its birth from the national
excitement which roused Germany against Napoleon, considered it
undoubted that Alsace and Lorraine were to be reunited to the Germanic
confederation. The map which represented France deprived of these fine
provinces had already been designed by the German geographers, and it
has since been preserved as a glorious trophy in the Richelieu family.

Deeply affected by these resolutions, the minister drew up a
memorial addressed to the Emperor Alexander, and expressed with
the conscientious energy of an honest man. "France," said he, "in
regaining her sovereigns, ought also to recover the territory they
governed, otherwise the restoration would be incomplete." The minister
depicted, with the fervour inspired by deep conviction, the despair of
a great people, and the prospective consequences to be feared from it;
for, at the first opportunity, France would again fly to arms. This
remonstrance made a great impression upon Alexander, and though it was
not possible to induce the allied powers to agree to the general idea
contained in it, at least the Duke succeeded in obtaining that the
important posts of Condé, Givet, and Charlemont, and the forts of Joux
and Ecluse, should not be included in the territorial cessions. The
pecuniary indemnity also was diminished by 100 millions of francs, and
it was determined the military occupation should not exceed five years,
and might possibly terminate at the end of three. The French minister
signed the memorable treaty on the 20th of November, 1815, and it bears
honourable witness to the sadness that oppressed his heart.[44] He had
succeeded in obtaining great and noble advantages for his country,
but he bore the name of Richelieu, and was the great-nephew of the
celebrated cardinal who had so greatly augmented the monarchy, and
he could not, without pain and grief, see the smallest particle of
its grandeur torn away. The speech he made five days afterwards bears
the stamp of patriotic sorrow and dignified resignation, and it was
impossible, while listening to it, not to feel that the minister had
yielded solely because the conquerors were inexorable, rendering the
measure of imperious necessity.

 [44] _Vide_ art. Pozzo di Borgo.

The cares incident to so important a negotiation had not led the Duke
to neglect the internal administration of the country; and while the
chambers sanctioned the extraordinary powers required by the government
to repress the old and turbulent spirit of Liberalism, the ministry
was occupied in taking just and solemn measures against those who,
by favouring the return of Buonaparte, had led to the misfortunes of
their country, and authorised these terrible reprisals. The fatal trial
of Marshal Ney was the first that took place; and now that political
ideas are clearer, and we are no longer carried away by declamation,
the motives of the great debate that ensued are easily explained. The
marshal was summoned before a council of war, by an _ordonnance_ signed
under the ministry of Fouché and Talleyrand; and this council having
declared itself incompetent, the marshal ought to have been tried by
the House of Peers, this being the natural order of jurisdiction. The
Duc de Richelieu, on the 11th of November, 1815, carried to the chamber
the royal _ordonnance_, which constituted it a court of justice, and,
with his heart still full of the sad sacrifices that had been exacted
from his country, he expressed himself with warmth and firmness against
the authors of the revolution of the Hundred Days; for was it not the
actions of those people that had brought a million of foreigners into
our land? After the condemnation of the marshal, the Duke, desirous
of calming the unruly passions that raged in the country, presented a
bill for a general amnesty to the two chambers, in which there were no
exceptions, except the names contained in a list drawn up by Fouché.
During seasons of agitation, parties always go beyond the plans
proposed by governments, and upon this project the chamber of 1815
established its system of _categories_; and the regicides were banished
the kingdom, contrary to the personal opinion of Louis XVIII. In the
course of the discussion it was proposed to confiscate the property of
condemned and banished persons, but Richelieu rejected the measure,
saying that "confiscations rendered the evils of war irreparable." And
how much generosity was exhibited in this conduct, when we consider
that the Duke had himself been deprived, by the most implacable
confiscations, of all the property of his family!

The finest portion of his life begins from this period. The great
object he had proposed to himself was the deliverance of invaded
France, overwhelmed by foreign powers; and, at the same time, the
situation of the country gave cause for the most serious uneasiness. It
was now necessary to levy an army to act as a weight in the European
balance of power, and also to fulfil the hard conditions imposed by the
treaty of 1815; while, to remove the fears entertained by the different
cabinets, the Duke gave them to understand that the divisions arising
in the chambers were merely the natural result of the representative
system. One ought to remember the miserable years of 1816 and 1817; the
dearness of grain, the scarcity, and the revolts in various provinces,
the occupations of the strong posts in France by 150,000 bayonets, and
a military contribution of 15 millions a month. In the midst of all
these disasters the Duke suggested the diminution of the foreign army,
thus commencing a negotiation which led to much greater results; and,
on the 11th of February, 1817, he came to announce to the chambers that
30,000 men were about to repass the frontier, and that the expense of
the army of occupation would be diminished by 30 millions of francs.
This relief was owing to the reparative system he had pursued, and to
the efforts of France, so fruitful in resources.

We, perhaps, hardly meet, in the whole course of history, with two
years more difficult to get over than from 1815 to 1817. An armed
invasion, famine, vehemence of parties, factions up in arms; and
withal, extreme constraint in the administration, both as a whole and
in detail, and a country whose ancient frontiers must be by all means

The army of occupation having been diminished, it became indispensable
to have recourse to forced levies, to secure the safety and the dignity
of the country; and a law for that purpose was proposed and accepted at
the opening of the session of 1817, as a complete military system: the
essentials of this law are still in force.

At this period commenced the intimacy between the Duc de Richelieu
and MM. Mounier and De Rayneval, two men of great ability, and who
remained faithful to his memory. And let me be permitted to offer a
last tribute to both these distinguished persons, then in the flower of
their age, and now consigned to the tomb; for men of strong feelings
are soon worn out by public life. M. Gérard de Rayneval belonged to
an ancient diplomatic family, whose employment in the foreign office
dated from the ministry of M. de Vergennes, and the treaty with the
Low Countries. M. Mounier was endowed with a lively and penetrating
mind, and possessed immense erudition; he, like M. de Barante, had, in
early youth, been thrown into the administration of the Empire, and
had filled the situation of secretary to the cabinet; and the Duke
conceived a friendship for both these men equal to the confidence
he deservedly reposed in them. He had a great regard for honour and
probity, and where could it be more fully met with than in people,
whose characters remained pure and free from blemish, nay, who retained
an honourable poverty, in the midst of the liquidation of foreign
debts, amounting to 1700 millions of francs?

When the peace of 1814 was signed, the governments had declared
their reciprocal debts at an end; but while they renounced their own
claims upon the treasury, they made a reservation in favour of those
of private individuals, which had been so violently attacked by the
wars of the Revolution and of the Empire. When Europe dictated the
implacable treaty of November, 1815, claims poured in on every side;
it was stipulated that payment should be effected by inscriptions in
the great book of the public debt of France, and 9 millions a-year
were at first set aside for that purpose; the time, however, for
presenting claims was not to expire until the 28th of February,
1817; and--will it be believed?--the sum total amounted to 1600
millions![45] a sum of almost fabulous magnitude, which surpassed
the value of the two budgets of France. It was enough to drive one
to despair, especially as each person demanded payment in full. What
was to be done under circumstances of so much difficulty? Russia was
so situated as naturally to assume the character of a mediator, for
she had but few claims; and the Emperor Alexander, convinced that,
unless the negotiation were carried on by an arbiter common to all
parties, it would fall to the ground before the diversity of views
and opinions, proposed, as I have before stated, to intrust it to the
Duke of Wellington, making, at the same time, a sort of appeal to his

 [45] 64 millions sterling.

The mediator, under the guidance of M. Mounier, and after unheard-of
retrenchments, fixed the sum destined for the payment of the debts
of France to individuals at 16 millions and 40,000 francs. People
are too apt to forget in the present times the extreme difficulties
encountered by the public credit of the restoration, during the
period of our misfortunes. The Duc de Richelieu very soon came to the
conclusion, that a system of well-conducted loans offered the only
possible means of fulfilling the obligations imposed by the treaty.
During the sway of Napoleon, the credit of the government had been
utterly null; confidence had been destroyed by too many violations of
the public faith, and too many arbitrary actions, for the Revolution
and the Empire were merely the abuse of power; and the events of 1814
and 1815 having compelled the government to increase the public debt
to 126 millions, would it be possible to obtain an additional loan? No
French house had presented itself possessed of sufficient capital to
act upon so vast a scale; their fear of the risk was too great. But
the Duke considered there would be an advantage in foreign loans, in
raising a competition among all the capitals of Europe, and effecting
our deliverance by a mere change of location. The necessary pecuniary
resources were found in the opulent firm of Hope and Baring; and, to
prepare the departure of the foreign troops, the minister succeeded
in obtaining that the sovereigns who signed the treaty of 1815 should
assemble at Aix-la-Chapelle, to determine whether the occupation should
terminate at the end of three years, or whether it should be prolonged
to five, according to the alternative left by the treaty.

This proposal having been accepted, the congress assembled on the
20th of September 1818. All the obstacles had been already overcome
by the pacific views of Russia, which had acted favourably upon the
scruples entertained by Prussia and England; and on the 2d of October
the evacuation of the French provinces was decided upon, and the last
traces of the invasion disappeared; besides which the Duc de Richelieu
obtained a reduction of part of the indemnity still unpaid. Who does
not recollect the proud and natural delight of the French minister on
his return? France was no longer a country in the occupation of Europe,
but a government admitted into the first rank among nations, with its
greatness, its liberty, and its independence. Sufficient justice is
seldom rendered to statesmen who restore to a country its dignity and
consideration: vulgar history only extols those that destroy.

Another crisis, however, was in preparation. The value of the public
securities, owing to excessive speculations, had risen to an immoderate
height, which was followed, in 1818, by an equally rapid fall, and the
Allies might have destroyed the public credit by rejecting the _rentes_
that had been assigned in payment of the subsidies; but the word of
the Duc de Richelieu was sufficient to obtain a considerable extension
of the time fixed for the payments to be made to the allied powers:
and as great embarrassments still prevailed on the Exchange, he still
farther obtained, that 100 millions which were to have been discharged
by inscriptions of _rentes_, and which were included in the payments
stipulated by the Allies, should be withdrawn, and in their stead
_bons_ on the treasury should be substituted, to become due in eighteen

Such was the end attained by the negotiations of the Duc de Richelieu
with foreign powers; the great object of his life was fulfilled, for
in what a state of misery was France when he assumed the reins of
government! 700,000 foreigners, contributions of all kinds, the country
placed at the ban of Europe! Now to that country he had restored
liberty, he had reorganised her army, had established her public
credit, and reconciled France with the world. Before this great result
was achieved, the Duke had repeatedly declared to his friends that,
as soon as the personal credit he enjoyed with foreign powers was no
longer necessary, he should quit the situation he had been compelled
to accept, and retire into private life, and accordingly he sent in
his resignation; but it was not accepted, for the old liberal spirit
had arisen to struggle for victory. Many men possessed of no ability,
except for public speaking, had striven to secure the elections, and
the result of the proceedings of several of the electoral colleges had
caused great anxiety to the friends of government. M. de Richelieu was
therefore compelled to remain at the head of affairs; and he returned
to Paris for the purpose of concerting the measures rendered necessary
by the actual circumstances.

The cabinet were agreed upon the necessity of opposing a barrier to
democratic opinions and principles; nevertheless, serious dissensions
arose when the electoral system came to be debated; and the Duke,
much annoyed by the difference of opinion that existed in the council
between himself, M. Decaze, and Marshal Gouvion St. Cyr, returned to
his former wish of retiring from office. His example was followed
by the rest of the ministers, who gave in their resignation in a
simultaneous manner that was very remarkable. It is a melancholy truth,
that the statesman who had so powerfully contributed to deliver the
territory from foreign occupation, was compelled to retire before the
petty intrigues suggested by narrow policy and the Chamber of Deputies.
The Duke's opinion of the electoral system was different from that
entertained by the partizans of the old liberal school, and he resigned
his portfolio to General Dessole.

In spite of all the great affairs in which M. de Richelieu had been
engaged, he was in a condition of honourable poverty, and the king
conferred upon the retired minister the appointment of Grand Huntsman,
in the same manner as he had conferred the title of Grand Chamberlain
upon M. de Talleyrand, after his services in 1815. The chambers,
however, were conscious that a recompense was due from the country to
the able negotiator of Aix-la-Chapelle, and M. de Lally made a proposal
that the king should be requested to confer a national reward upon the
Duc de Richelieu. The same suggestion was made in the upper chamber, at
the very moment when a letter from the Duke declared to the president
of the deputies, that he should be proud of receiving a mark of the
king's favour, given with the concurrence of the chambers; but that as
it was proposed to award him a _national_ recompense at the expense of
the nation, he could not consent to see any thing added for his sake to
the burdens under which the country was already groaning. Every body
was well aware that the Duke possessed no fortune, and that his sole
income was derived from his office of grand huntsman; a good deal of
littleness, however, was exhibited in the Chamber of Deputies when it
was proposed to assign a _majorat_ of 50,000 francs to the heir of the
name of Richelieu, as a recompense to the minister who had obtained the
liberation of the territory. Are public bodies only capable of great
actions when a profit arises from them to the passions by which they
are actuated? The proposed _majorat_ was afterwards changed into an
annuity; and, out of respect to the king's wishes, the Duke did not
refuse this acknowledgement of his services, but he devoted the entire
income derived from it to the foundation of a religious charity in the
city of Bourdeaux. Such was the personal generosity of this great man,
who was desirous of retiring entirely to private life.

Alas! his political career was not yet concluded! The Decaze ministry,
on every side inundated by old liberal opinions, was at its last gasp.
Advantage was taken of the law of elections against the government, one
concession led to another, and the Duke was summoned to the council
extraordinary, presided over by the king in person, to advise upon
the measures to be pursued in this emergency. The crime of Louvel had
filled Paris with grief and horror, and M. Decaze, abandoned by the
_côté gauche_ of the chamber, who defended the law of February 5th,
1817, rejected by the royalists, who reproached him with not having
agreed to the propositions of the Marquis Barthélemy, at last sent
in his resignation; and at this difficult juncture, the king again
placed the Duc de Richelieu at the head of affairs. The most urgent
entreaties were required to induce him to accept the appointment,
for the situation was melancholy, and the country full of anxiety,
while the irritation of parties had reached its highest pitch. The
preceding administration had proposed an electoral system, which was
distasteful to all parties in the chamber; it had demanded laws arming
the government with extraordinary powers; no majority was yet formed,
and the ministry were doubtful whether these laws would be capable of
overcoming the formidable opposition they would have to encounter; the
fears of Europe also had been aroused, and it was necessary to appease
them. At length, every thing, however, was provided for, and, at the
end of a long and painful discussion, exceptional laws were voted.

But then, who was able to calm the public mind? and what hand was
sufficiently powerful to arrest the evil tendency of society? A bias
had been given to education in France ever since the revolution of
1789; people were closely surrounded by mischievous opinions and
frightful systems; parties considered themselves sufficiently powerful
to conspire openly, and intimidate the government by tumultuous
meetings. Seditious assemblies took place with a view to political
catastrophes, and the slightest hesitation might have given rise to
the most dreadful calamities. The command of Paris was now committed
to Marshal Macdonald, by the ministers' council, formidable military
preparations were made, and proofs were obtained of a conspiracy,
involving some names since exalted by another revolution. During the
ten days that this state of anxiety and trouble prevailed, they had
only to regret the lives of two of the disturbers of the public peace;
and now that the ideas concerning government are become more advanced,
people will be surprised at the declamations of those who held liberal
opinions, against measures which were indispensable for the safety of
the country. Has not every government a right to defend itself, and is
it not bound to do so?

Europe now began to assume an alarming aspect. The revolt of the
Spanish army at the island of Léon found an echo in a similar movement
among the Neapolitan troops. Portugal quickly followed their example;
and the seditious, imagining the French army well inclined to imitate
the conduct of their neighbours, directed all their efforts towards
this end. After having broken all the bonds of civil order, the
revolution endeavoured to overturn the principle of duty and obedience
among the soldiery. In most of the corps, however, the officers
continued faithful to their engagements; a few only were unable to
resist the torrent, and a conspiracy was formed in several of the
regiments at Paris, extending in its ramifications to various military
stations, and it was determined that the rising should take place
in the barracks on the 20th of August, 1820. On the proposal of M.
Mounier, then director-general of the police, the ministers' council
determined upon arresting the conspirators before they had unfurled
a standard and actually proclaimed the insurrection. The heads of
this military conspiracy are well known at present, and some of them
have even been rewarded; but, as is always the case, the plot was
denied by the parties engaged in it. The Chamber of Peers behaved with
much indulgence, as able and experienced authorities usually do when
severity is not indispensably necessary; and the government preferred
pardoning many offences, and consigning much to oblivion, to being
compelled to authorise the shedding of blood.

The elections of 1820, which had taken place when a favourable
impression had been raised by the birth of the Duc de Bourdeaux,
gave a powerful and compact _côté droit_ to the chamber, and MM. de
Villèle and Corbière, who had assumed the position of its chiefs,
ought naturally to have supported the Duc de Richelieu; but, at the
very commencement of the session, clouds appeared on the horizon. The
_côté droit_ of the chambers had hitherto fought by the side of the
ministers, and triumphed with them, and consequently they claimed a
direct participation in the administration. Negotiations were entered
into with them; the Duke would not consent that any of the men who had
hitherto governed with him, and preserved the kingdom in its hour of
peril, should be excluded from the council; however, two only of the
principal deputies on the _côté droit_, MM. de Villèle and Corbière,
were appointed members of the cabinet, with the title of ministerial
secretaries of state.[46] M. Lainé, a man with whose honest and
upright character the Duke had been particularly struck, was also a
member of this administration.

 [46] Ministres secrétaires d'état.

The political principle of this revised ministry was the agreement of
the centre of the _côté droit_, and the _droite_ itself, in one common
vote; but the session under this management was long and troublesome,
and a tedious and stormy debate took place before the Duke was able to
decide upon the execution of his idea of an extended system of canal
navigation, like that at present in force. He drew up a plan, inviting
men possessed of large capital to take a part in these great works;
for at that time the principal part of the capital in the kingdom,
was invested in the funds, and enterprises tending to the benefit of
industry and the improvement of the country were not popular: many
difficulties were encountered, but they were all overcome by means of
firmness and determination.

Order was now established in all the departments of government;
the restraints formerly imposed upon the action of the municipal
authorities, by a system of excessive centralisation, were removed;
and in the financial department the most unlimited competition was
invited, for the first time, in the sale of stock, and the value of
public securities reached its highest pitch. In his foreign policy,
the Duke never ceased for a moment to support the idea of the Russian
alliance, less from former recollections, and his affection for the
Emperor Alexander, than upon the principle constantly expressed in
all his correspondence, that the Russian alliance was advantageous to
France because it was perfectly disinterested. In fact, what can Russia
demand of us? On what point can we clash? Commerce with her can never
be otherwise than an equal exchange; the productions of industry in
her country are not of equal value with ours; she requires our wines,
our fashions, our manufactures, and we, in exchange, require her
timber, her copper, and her iron. Her fleets cannot assume any dominion
over us, her frontiers do not reach us in any direction, and we are
benefited by her influence; whilst, on the other hand, the designs
and interests of France are opposed by the English alliance in all
questions of importance. M. de Richelieu's system was resumed by M. de
la Ferronays in 1828.

During the Duke's second ministry the great European powers met at
Laybach, to agree upon a vast repressive system to be pursued against
the insurrection rising in arms around. The Richelieu cabinet was
resolved upon a firm resistance against all the tumults and disorders
that were disturbing the peace of Europe. Agitation had also arisen
in the East, and the Greeks had raised the standard of the cross. But
Russia, which under Catherine had supported the Hellenic emancipation,
was now too fully occupied with her own affairs to be able to follow
up the system she had then commenced. France, therefore, determined
upon sending a naval force into the Grecian seas for the protection of
commerce, and, while observing a generous neutrality, assistance was
still afforded to all who implored it from the French flag. But now
the Richelieu cabinet, entirely occupied with its foreign relations,
was threatened with danger to itself. Its very feeble parliamentary
combination rested upon a false basis in the chamber. The ministry
only existed by the will of the _côté droit_; and that party with
its chiefs, MM. de Villèle and Corbière, would not fail, sooner or
later, to assume the direction of affairs, because they possessed the
majority. The _droite_ and the _gauche_ were both distinct from the
cabinet, and the former was evidently impatient to seize the reins of

These two fractions of the chamber were desirous of concluding with a
_coup d'éclat_; and the reply to the speech from the throne in 1821
became the arena for the great political struggle. The commission
under the direction of the _côté droit_ insisted that in the plan of
the address presented to the chamber these words should be inserted:
"We congratulate you, sire, upon your friendly relations with foreign
powers, feeling a just confidence that so valuable a peace has not
been purchased by sacrifices incompatible with the honour of the
nation and the dignity of the crown." So offensive an expression was
an open rupture with the cabinet. M. de Richelieu declared such an
insinuation was an insult to the crown, and the ministers tendered
their resignation. The chamber persisted, and voted the address, which
was, in fact, a declaration that they did not wish the ministry to
stand: the cabinet, therefore, retired in a mass, and were succeeded by
MM. de Montmorency and de Villèle.

And here let us pause, and observe to what trials men are exposed who
devote themselves entirely to the defence of the interests of their
country, without intrigue or passion, simply from the feeling for all
that is right and noble! No character can bear a comparison with that
of the Duc de Richelieu; no services equal those he rendered to his
country; and, behold! he was overturned both by the _côté droit_, and
the _gauche_ of the Chamber of Deputies. The conduct of the _gauche_
was this: the Duke took charge of France at the time of the foreign
invasion; the Buonapartists and the remains of the Jacobin faction,
having a second time endangered the country by their madness of
the _hundred days_; the enemy was in Paris--it occupied France;
the influence of the Duke succeeded in preserving the country, and
diminishing the sacrifices exacted from it; the foreign troops were
withdrawn, and, as a recompense, the spirit of liberalism overturned
the Duke.

Would you also know the conduct of the ungrateful monarchical party? A
great crisis had occurred for the crown; the royalists were giving way,
and the power was about to be wrested from their hands by the _côté
gauche_. The restoration was completely compromised, when the Duke
again sacrificed himself: holding his popularity cheap, he augmented
and strengthened the royalist party, and this was the summary of the
instructions concerning the elections, directed by M. Mounier: "Before
every thing, the friends of royalty;" and then the ultras, masters
by this means of the majority, had nothing so much at heart as the
dismissal of the Duc de Richelieu, in order to give themselves up to
their mad projects.

This moment was the conclusion of the Duke's political life; his
feelings had been severely tried by the injustice of parties. It
soon became apparent that his health was rapidly declining, and in a
journey to the Château of Courteille, where the Duchess was living, he
was taken ill, suddenly became insensible, and died at Paris, on the
night of the 16th of May, 1822. He was only fifty-five years of age;
his carriage was erect, and his features simple and regular, as they
appear in the fine portrait of Lawrence of which I have spoken. All
parties concur in awarding the highest praise to the noble qualities of
the Duc de Richelieu. He was not a man of extraordinary genius, but of
a thoroughly honest and upright character; and there are times, when
no talent possessed by a statesman is of so much avail as honesty. I
admire the infinite superiority of a man capable of allowing virtue and
honour their full weight in the political balance, and I take especial
pleasure in rendering this tribute to the Duc de Richelieu, because I
have never known so fine a character combined with so noble a name.


It is natural that States which feel an incessant desire of increasing,
should not retain the inflexible principles of upright and generous
policy in their diplomatic system. Every time they feel stifled, they
strive for more space and the means of more extended respiration;
and such has constantly been the condition of the Prussian monarchy,
from the time of its foundation, which may be said to have taken
place unexpectedly, at the beginning of the eighteenth century. At
this period the Duchy became a Kingdom, and no sooner was the kingdom
established than it wanted to become great; for more room is required
to unfold the sweeping train of a King, than to wear the robes merely
of a Duke or a Margrave.

This necessity for augmentation created a national law peculiar to
Prussia; and looking at nothing but the necessities of her position,
she seized every thing she could lay her hands upon. Frederic II.
carried on this system of conquest, for his wars were regulated by
no principle of the law of nations, and he appeared to have but one
object in view, which was, to attack at one time Poland, and at another
Silesia, for the purpose of conquering cities and provinces. On this
account he availed himself of all means of distinction, striving for
the celebrity of a writer and the pretension of a poet; even making the
most of the puerile vanity of the philosophical party of the eighteenth
century. When we examine into the actual constitution of Prussia, as
well as into that she formerly possessed, we shall observe that her
organisation has always been such as to render conquest imperatively
necessary; even at present is not the kingdom like a lean giant, armed
at all points, whose head is at Königsberg and his feet dipped in the
Rhine, but whose middle is wanting? and the country that is required to
complete the picture, is it not Saxony?

It is, then, as the personification of the Prussian political system,
that I am about to write the life of Baron, afterwards Prince
Hardenberg, the most remarkable statesman that has been at the head
of affairs in the monarchy of Frederic. Charles-Augustus, baron
Hardenberg, was born in October 1750, at Hanover, that principality
wedged into the midst of Germany, which recalls to the recollection
the origin of the kings of England. Hanover preserves its German
character under a separate administration, although it belongs to the
patrimonial inheritance of the princes called to wear the English
crown; and this separation was imperatively demanded by the English, a
people so tenacious of their liberty, in order to avoid the chance of
fatal continental wars, to defend the patrimony of their sovereign--a
contingency their constitution will not permit.

Baron Hardenberg was descended from an ancient family, carried back
by the old heraldic traditions as far as the eleventh century, at the
time of the Emperors of the house of Suabia; he was himself the son
of a marshal of the empire, and went to the military university of
Brunswick with the intention of following his father's profession.
The bent of his inclinations, however, appeared to be different, and
while he applied his mind to the severest studies, he felt a strong
vocation for a diplomatic life, and his curiosity led him always to
endeavour to discover by what springs the cabinets recorded in history
were actuated. He afterwards went to travel, gaining knowledge while
visiting the different parts of Europe, and arrived in London at the
time when Mr. Pitt was at the head of affairs, and a most violent and
active opposition surrounded the ministry. As Hanover, as I have before
mentioned, forms part of the patrimonial inheritance of the reigning
family, Baron Hardenberg, though not an English subject, was naturally
desirous of acquiring an extensive knowledge of the laws and customs
which form a national law peculiar to England, and with which every
British subject ought to be acquainted. But England was the scene of
his greatest domestic infelicity; for having in early youth married the
most beautiful woman in Germany, Mademoiselle de Randlaw, he introduced
her into the brilliant society and dissipation of London, and she was
received with an almost chivalric enthusiasm in the highest circles.

A Prince, from whom Richardson would have drawn his character of
Lovelace, the Prince of Wales, heir to the throne of England,
remarkable for his personal beauty, magnificent in his equipages, and
accomplished in all manly exercises, fell desperately in love with
Baroness Hardenberg; and so much publicity attached to his admiration,
that a separation became inevitable; the Baron therefore quitted
England and returned to Germany. He already gave evidence of three
qualities denoting great ability; the subtlety of intellect necessary
in all negotiations of any importance; a habit of conversation,
alternately discreet and unguarded, cold or vehement, according to
circumstances; and a most profound knowledge of European national
law--talents which naturally fitted him for a high diplomatic
situation: nevertheless, young Hardenberg gave himself up entirely to
the details of the administration of the country--a circumstance in
which he resembled William Pitt, who was at the same time a first-rate
politician and attentive to the smallest minutiæ regarding war and
finance. His perfect acquaintance with the laws of Germany was a great
assistance to him, when he was summoned to the supreme direction of the
affairs of Prussia.

Another quality possessed by Hardenberg, was his strong and decided
taste for literature; and his intimate friendship with Goëthe, who
exercised such absolute dominion over the intellects of his time, arose
from this source. This was not one of the relations of protector and
protégé; for in Germany, where matters of genius and study are viewed
in a serious light, a man of literary celebrity is placed almost in
a superior rank, and he is not only on a footing of equality with
statesmen, but sometimes even in a position of master and scholar.
What a brilliant sceptre was that extended by Goëthe over Germany!
The poet who had shewn such incomparable skill in his delineation of
the feudal ages, appeared to blend in his escutcheon of glory all the
ancient colours of the German nobility. This threefold aptitude of
Baron Hardenberg for literature, politics, and administration, produced
great and uncommon results: first, an expansion of mind arising from
the habit of treating important affairs; then, a close application to
detail, arising from his employment in the executive administration;
and, finally, a clear, exact, and benevolent mind, the consequence of
the literary intercourse he had pursued with enthusiasm during his

We must recollect what was at that time the spirit that prevailed
in Prussia, and also the bent of its government. In addition to her
never-failing desire of conquest, there is always in that country a
certain inclination for serious study, and a wish for the advancement
of ideas; and though no free debate be permitted on matters connected
with the government, the discussion of philosophical and rational
questions is entirely unshackled; religious opinions also are
independent of any controlling theory, the Protestant spirit having
introduced a sort of egotism into the schools, from which it results
that every opinion, even though it be mischievous, is admitted and
examined without regard to the chivalrous feelings that attach a people
to a dynasty, or a generation to the articles of their faith.

It was in this school the statesmen of Germany were formed, more
especially Baron Hardenberg. His devotion to the study of German
law had given him a precise and accurate manner of examining facts,
without being carried away by prejudice or enthusiasm; and when
the French revolution burst forth, Prussia, which was foremost to
join the coalition, saw a new class of statesmen arise to oppose
the chivalrous spirit of the nobility, and place the check of cool
reason upon the ardour of the old families. Baron Hardenberg did not
completely concur in the opinions of M. Haugwitz, of the secretary
M. Lombard, and the Countess Lichtenau, who were even well inclined
towards the revolutionary powers that then reigned in France; he had
less inclination than Count Goltz towards French ideas, but being
completely a Prussian in his interests and opinions, he considered
that the object of his cabinet could not possibly be to act as a
knight-errant in defence of certain political opinions, but rather to
endeavour to acquire a great influence in Germany, at the expense of
Austria, and also a territorial addition in Poland; and as Prussia
was not immediately threatened by the principles and ideas of the
French revolution, he considered it very important to reap all possible
advantage from the new situation of events.

This rendered him the most active partisan of the treaty of Basle,
though he was not at first engaged in it by name; for that very
difficult negotiation was originally undertaken by Count Goltz with M.
Barthélemy; but after the death of the plenipotentiary it was concluded
by Baron Hardenberg; and this was the first commencement of his being
really actively employed in public affairs. His manners were singularly
pleasing to the men of the revolution, especially to Merlin de Douai,
who thought them like those of a marquis of the old school, with
intelligence, ease, and a method of action free from prepossession or
prejudice, even with regard to democratic opinions. The committee of
public safety treated him almost in royal style, by sending him a fine
service of Sèvres china, as at the conclusion of treaties under the old
monarchy, when an interchange of diplomatic presents used to take place
among plenipotentiaries.

In this treaty, as in the negotiation of Rahstadt, Baron Hardenberg
was less actuated by French principles than by the firm conviction
that the treaty of Basle tended to realizing the two most constant and
deeply-rooted feelings of his mind: viz. the Prussian influence over
Germany, and the aggrandisement of his cabinet. He promoted the system
of German neutrality, which influenced the interests of the country,
and to a certain degree excited Germany against Austria; and for this
purpose he made use of France, considering it of little consequence
whether it was a monarchy or a republic: he had a particular object
in view; but he was guilty of a mistake on that point. There were
two questions to be particularly considered in the French revolution:
if it had confined itself to measures that merely regarded its own
internal condition, and had disseminated nothing, neither ideas nor
interests, the selfish policy of Prussia might have been successful;
but neither the committee of the convention nor the directory had
any respect for fixed principles. Baron Hardenberg had established
neutrality in part of Germany; how was it observed when the republican
army required again to pass the Rhine? Did it trouble itself concerning
the principles laid down by the Prussian minister, and the territorial
line of the neutrality? When entering into a treaty with a government,
the first necessary inquiry is, whether it will respect the general
principles of the law of nations. Prussia, however, had assumed too
egotistical a position; indeed she carried her system to such a pitch,
that the minister interfered with the levy of contingents, lest they
should augment the Austrian influence. Many years elapsed before the
ideas of this school were effaced; but Hardenberg's mind afterwards
expanded, and he saw there were other circumstances to be attended
to, besides the antiquated system of politics, which would keep up a
rivalry between Prussia and Austria, at the time when a general social
revolution had taken place.

After a long stay at Basle, during which time he was in habits of the
greatest intimacy with the ministers of the French republic, Baron
Hardenberg returned to Berlin, where the king conferred upon him the
order of the Black Eagle of the first class, as a mark of his perfect
concurrence in the politics of the treaty just concluded. The direction
of foreign affairs was still, however, in the hands of Count Haugwitz,
a friend of Countess Lichtenau, and the secretary Lombard, and Baron
Hardenberg being a person of too much importance to occupy a situation
subordinate to Count Haugwitz, the administration of the principalities
of Bayreuth and Anspach was again conferred upon him. This was a
recreation to the diplomatist, who was glad to seek repose from
political theories in the executive government of a principality, which
he may be said to have added to Prussia. In Germany statesmen like to
be men of business, and even in retirement their life is one of labour
and study.

Baron Hardenberg took no part in active business during the life of
Frederic William II.; his private opinions had been a little modified,
and he was not quite so decided in his approval of the convention of
Basle, since he had had occasion to see the mischievous and arbitrary
application made by the republicans of its principles in Germany.
Nothing had been awarded to Prussia by the treaty of Rahstadt, in spite
of the promises of real indemnities, as well as of absolute liberty,
which had been made to her at Basle; he, therefore, had no connexion
with the negotiations carried on by M. Caillard, when an endeavour
was made to place Prussia in a new attitude, and produce a great
degree of intimacy between the republic and Frederic William II. Baron
Hardenberg does not appear to have exercised any influence until the
accession of the young prince Frederic William, when, being attached
to the young queen, Louisa of Prussia, by the most respectful and
chivalrous devotion, he adopted her ideas and opinions, as indeed did
all those who were within the circle of her almost magical influence.
What a grand though melancholy existence was that of Louisa Wilhelmina,
queen of Prussia, daughter of the Duke of Mecklenburg Strelitz and of
Caroline of Hesse Darmstadt! Filled with the enthusiastic and visionary
feelings natural to her country, she exercised, at the age of scarcely
twenty years, the most holy, as well as the most absolute influence
over her husband, while the hopes of Germany appeared to centre upon
her. She introduced a more noble and elevated feeling into the selfish
system of politics hitherto adopted by Prussia; and being as it were
queen of the students and of the universities, she was the origin
and the hope of the secret societies, which gave so poetical a tinge
to Germany during the latter years of Napoleon. Under her influence,
Baron Hardenberg took charge of the ministry for foreign affairs,
shortly after the commencement of the consulate. In the midst of the
various coalitions of the period, Prussia had hitherto preserved a
strict neutrality; after the 18th Brumaire, however, she shewed herself
perfectly willing to agree to all required by the First Consul, and the
insinuations made by Buonaparte to Louis XVIII., proposing to him to
abdicate, were despatched from Berlin; nor was even the proper degree
of dignity exhibited on this occasion, though it ought to increase,
rather than diminish, where illustrious sufferers are concerned.

The Consul became Emperor; and with a view of still farther
strengthening the bonds of union with Prussia, Napoleon appointed
Marshal Duroc, his confidential friend, to represent him at Berlin.
It was rather a difficult moment, as war was about again to resound
in Europe, and the combined armies of Russia and Austria to take the
field, rendering it a matter of very great importance to create a
suitable post for Prussia; Baron Hardenberg was, therefore, summoned
to the head of affairs, as the representative of a middle system then
beginning to arise and develope itself under the influence of the Queen
of Prussia. He was attached at the same time to English principles,
and to the politics of France and Germany, and was under the necessity
of instituting a close comparison among the various interests and
influences presented to his view; he, however, detached himself from
the debased political system pursued by Count Haugwitz. His great fault
on this occasion was his not perceiving that Buonaparte's deceit was
equal to his genius, and that he only kept terms with Prussia now, to
ensure him a greater facility in punishing her at a future period.

The first dissatisfaction entertained by the cabinet of Berlin
against Buonaparte appeared in a despatch of Hardenberg's, on the
violation of the Prussian territory, an extraordinary dereliction
of the law of nations, which had given extreme offence to the court
and to the people. "His majesty," said the Prussian minister, "does
not know with which he has most cause to be astonished, the violence
the French armies have chosen to commit in his territories, or the
incomprehensible arguments by which it is pretended to justify them.
His majesty, properly tenacious of the consideration due as much to his
power as to his character, has read, with feelings he would in vain
endeavour to conceal, the justificatory despatches that have been sent
by the French legation to his cabinet. They rest upon the example of
the former war and the parity of circumstances, as if the proceedings
then permitted had not been founded upon exactly defined treaties,
which ceased with the peace! as if the Emperor Napoleon had borne these
treaties in mind when he took possession of Hanover, of a country
which by these same treaties had been for many long years under the
protection of Prussia! Ignorance of our intentions is made a pretext,
as if our intentions were not, in this instance, proved by the actual
fact; and as if the nature of the affair could be altered without any
previous stipulation! His majesty had not given sufficient publicity
with the Elector of Bavaria to circumstances it was unnecessary he
should mention! And as if I had not myself, with the map in my hand,
declared long before, in my conferences with M. le Maréchal Duroc,
and M. de Laforest, the impossibility of permitting any troops to
march through the margraviate! The king considers himself, from this
time forth, set free from all the engagements he has formed, and feels
under the necessity of commanding his armies to assume the position
necessary for the defence of the state." The Emperor Napoleon was
greatly offended by this despatch, and the firm language in which it
was couched; but he was then desirous of keeping on good terms with the
cabinet of Berlin to prevent their joining the coalition.

By assuming a system of perfect neutrality, Prussia was likely to
derive the advantage of being on friendly terms, even with the parties
opposed to Napoleon; and there were English, Austrian, and Russian
ministers at Berlin, with whom Baron Hardenberg was naturally in

According to the principles and the precedents of the court of
Berlin, Hanover, though a hereditary fief of the British crown, was,
nevertheless, under the protection of the German neutrality; such,
however, was not the theory of Napoleon, who was deeply irritated
against England; and more than one violation of territory had already
shewn that the powerful Emperor would not consider the respect due to
the rights of neutral powers, if it were likely to prove any obstacle
to his success.

Prussia was greatly displeased, and a decisive moment was at hand,
for the Russian and Austrian armies were advancing against Napoleon.
According to his usual custom, the impetuous military chieftain of
France had ventured all risks, for he had boldness and fortune in
addition to his genius; he entered Moravia, and, if Prussia had then
declared herself, it would have been all over with him, as with
150,000 men on his flank, his position would have been utterly lost;
and to obtain this object the most pressing negotiations were going
on at Berlin, England offering subsidies, Russia support, and Austria
a larger share of territory, even in Poland. Hardenberg's opinion was
to decide at once, but was his influence always predominant in the
midst of so much corruption? Among those who sided with him was the
noble-minded Queen, and the brave and generous Prince Louis of Prussia;
but he had to contend with the personal opinion of Count Haugwitz and
the Marquis Lucchesini, both strongly in favour of the French cabinet.
The system of a supine neutrality, therefore, carried the day, and the
utmost Hardenberg could obtain was permission to assure England that
they would protect the independence of Hanover, so far as to allow a
passage to the English troops, should they be attacked or pursued by

On this subject the Prussian minister wrote a letter to Lord Harrowby,
in which rather a remarkable view was taken of the neutrality; a
certain inclination towards the opinions and sentiments of the
coalition appeared to filter through it, with a considerable degree of
irritation with regard to the French cabinet, which had already failed
to respect the Prussian neutrality.

Baron Hardenberg had been in hopes of obtaining a positive decision,
which would have placed Prussia in the first rank among nations, for
150,000 men directed against the flank of Napoleon would have secured
the victory to Europe, when intelligence was received of the wonders
achieved at Austerlitz. Napoleon was a gambler on an immense scale! His
eagle threw the dice of human destiny from his immense claws, and the
chances had hitherto always been in his favour; but, besides this, did
he not always quarrel with characters inclined to temporise, and who
delayed declaring themselves until victory had decided in favour of one
of the parties? After the battle of Austerlitz was it a time to assume
a threatening attitude, when Austria and Russia were going to treat
with the Emperor of the French on a common footing?

Under these circumstances, then, the position of Baron Hardenberg
became difficult, nay, intolerable, for was he not considered as the
representative of the warlike party and the opponent of Napoleon? How
could the minister of the heroic Queen and Prince Louis of Prussia
remain at the head of the cabinet, when Prussia, prostrate before
Napoleon, seemed almost to solicit pardon for having assumed, however
slightly, an attitude of independence? At that time, Napoleon, who was
incapable of forgiveness, knew well how to ruin a man by dictating
articles for the _Moniteur_, pronouncing thus a sentence against
statesmen whom he wished to get rid of. Buonaparte was an excellent
pamphleteer, and, when he got into a passion, he gave vent in this
manner to his ill-humour, against a king, a minister, or a general.
M. Maret used to write from his dictation in short-hand, and send
it afterwards to the official newspaper, according to his original
profession of a journalist; he, also, possessed a certain knack for

Upon this occasion Hardenberg was honoured by the capricious abuse of
the Emperor, in consequence of a despatch full of impartiality which he
had addressed to Lord Harrowby, concerning the neutrality of Hanover. A
word from Buonaparte to the court of Berlin was sufficient to procure
the dismissal of the minister, and, having retired from the cabinet,
he the very same day repelled the attacks of the French emperor, who
had accused him of not even being a Prussian. "I am proud," said he,
"of the esteem and confidence of the sovereign and people of Prussia;
I am proud of the opinion of estimable foreigners, and it is with
great satisfaction that I number some Frenchmen among them. I am not
a Prussian by birth, it is true, but I will yield in patriotism to no
native of that country; and I have obtained a right to assert this
fact, both by my services, and by having transferred my patrimony, and
become a proprietor in this country. Though I am not a soldier, I feel
that I should not have proved unworthy, had fate summoned me to bear
arms in defence of my sovereign and his rights, or the dignity, safety,
and honour of the state."

There was a degree of asperity in these expressions as uttered by a
man who had given up the direction of affairs, without the hope of
resuming it. He resigned his portfolio to Count Haugwitz, under the
influence of the Marquis Lucchesini and the secretary, M. Lombard,
and then, encompassed by the attachment of the Prussian army, and the
enthusiasm of the universities, he retired into the country, like a man
to whom the present time is devoid of interest. Some very significant
proceedings, however, were going on in Prussia; the government had
adopted extremely moderate measures, and both the king and the cabinet
were desirous of maintaining the conditions of the French alliance:
but there was a movement among the people, an energetic expression of
national feeling, which would not allow this condition of quiet and
peace to be maintained in the state.

This double situation affords an explanation of the events, and many of
the faults, of this period; the tergiversations of the cabinet, which
appeared constantly to have an inclination towards public opinion, and
then again, especially after the battle of Austerlitz, returned to
their former dread of the Emperor. At length the king, pressed by the
people, roused himself, and manifested a chivalrous disposition in
accordance with the spirit of the nation, and more especially of the
universities; and it reached such a pitch, that, after the retirement
of Hardenberg, the people flew to arms in a hasty and adventurous
manner, and without sufficiently calculating the course they were
to pursue. And who was to conduct this war? Count Haugwitz, already
devoted to France, and the secretary Lombard, both creatures of
Napoleon! One would have said treachery was already determined upon.

Nothing could surpass the campaign of Jena, no praise be too great for
that admirable military movement directed by the Eagle of Austerlitz.
But were these splendid victories due entirely to the brilliant and
energetic courage of the imperial army? had not a series of faults been
committed by their opponents? and were those who directed the cabinet
of Berlin perfectly faithful and devoted to the interests of Prussia?
After the disasters of Jena so many acts of secret treason came to
light, that Hardenberg, under the influence of Queen Louisa and the
Emperor Alexander, was again placed at the head of foreign affairs,
for an inclination to resist the power of France had now sprung up.
This new situation of the cabinets of Russia and Prussia requires
some explanation, because it formed the basis of the intimate union,
which at a later period led to the ruin of the French empire. The
dissatisfaction before entertained by the cabinet of St. Petersburg
against Prussia proceeded entirely from the position of indifferent
neutrality assumed by the latter ever since the treaty of Basle; and
all the endeavours made by England, Austria, and Russia to induce the
cabinet of Berlin to break through this mischievous situation had met
with a refusal, for neutrality appeared to be the fundamental principle
of the Prussian political system. It was, therefore, satisfactory to
see Prussia willing to engage in hostilities, though at _the eleventh
hour_, for her position by that means became clear and decided; and it
was of little consequence if they had been unsuccessful in the campaign
of Jena, provided the spirit of their government was in favour of
war; if, in short, there was a degree of unity and vigour capable of
supporting the coalesced cabinets.

Baron Hardenberg thus became the representative of the alliance between
Russia and Prussia. Frederic William having been obliged to evacuate
Berlin, had fallen back with the ruins of his army upon the Russian
troops, and then commenced the campaign in the midst of wintry snows,
the fiercely-contested and sanguinary battle of Prussisch-Eylau,
where first paled the star of Napoleon! Friedland, however, saved the
audacious eagle, as Austerlitz had preserved it two years before, and
treaties were again had recourse to. Who can express the humiliating
conditions dictated by the victor to Prussia? Who describe the cold
sarcastic conduct of the fortunate soldier towards the heroic queen,
the idol of the universities?

Baron Hardenberg, being again compelled to retire, resigned his
portfolio to the new cabinet formed by Napoleon, from which every mind
possessed of any degree of independence or elevation was excluded.
Prussia became almost a department of France, traversed in every
direction by military roads; the whole population of some districts was
carried away by the generals of Buonaparte, with blows and violence;
the universities were closed, and the provinces reduced to the last
extremity; while such heavy military contributions were imposed, that
they wrung from the peasant his last hard-earned crown, and even
his plough and his oxen. People must not treat a country thus, when
they are desirous of governing it; they should recollect that the
superiority of a power does not result from violence, but from the
moral ascendancy produced by protection and support.

But at the side of the public government of Prussia, bowed down before
the wrath and violence of Napoleon, a number of secret associations
had been brought into existence, by the oppression of the conquerors;
and taking the Fatherland for their watchword, they only awaited a
crisis for vengeance. After the death of their noble-hearted queen
these associations greatly increased, and the most eminent among the
patriots, as well as the statesmen out of favour, participated in them,
for the salvation of the country was at stake. It is incontestable that
Hardenberg was the _mind_ of this national conspiracy, as Blucher and
Gneisenau were its _sword_; this secret and magnificent undertaking,
this moral resistance, advanced with indescribable and undeviating
energy, during the period which elapsed between 1808 and 1811, and
then, by a capricious will of the Emperor Napoleon, Hardenberg was
again destined to receive a mark of confidence from his sovereign, and
the government of Prussia was once more placed in his hands. I consider
this to have been the most critical period for Northern Germany; the
provinces, constantly traversed by French troops, were completely in
the power of their generals, and that fine country was now nothing but
a magazine of forage, provisions, and money for the French troops.
In the midst of these disastrous circumstances, the minister applied
himself particularly to reinstating some little degree of order in the
complicated administration of Prussia; he relieved the people as far as
it was possible, and above all, he endeavoured to reorganise the army,
firmly, but not openly, for this Napoleon would not have permitted,
but by a military system which constantly summoned the young soldiers
to their duties, and then shortly afterwards restored them to their
families and their homes; a plan which permitted him to have a fine
army in preparation for future events, at a very moderate expense.
The system of military reserves is essentially Prussian, because it
realizes the double idea of a considerable army in time of war, and
a limited contingent during peace; by this means every Prussian is a

If at this time the Emperor treated Prussia with some little degree of
respect, if he even called for the concurrence of Baron Hardenberg, it
was because, being then almost on the eve of undertaking a campaign
against Russia, he was desirous of engaging Prussia in it as an
auxiliary; and as the cabinet was already devoted to him, Buonaparte
sought to enlist popular opinion in his favour, by means of their
favourite minister. And here a question may be asked, of great
importance to history. How came Hardenberg to affix his signature to
the secret treaty which placed the Prussian army under the orders of
Napoleon? Had he really and in good faith entered into the alliance?
or had he only signed it with the determination of breaking through
its conditions at the first check experienced by the French arms? It
is necessary we should recollect, that with Napoleon there were no
discussions, no considering the various clauses of a treaty; and the
correspondence of M. de Saint-Marsan with M. Maret, with the notes and
explanations of the Prussian minister with the French ambassador, are
sufficient to carry conviction that nothing was free or spontaneous on
this occasion: every thing was submitted to from the most imperious
necessity; there was no choice given of acceptance or refusal, but
Prussia placed her army and her treasury at the disposal of the
conqueror, because he had said, _It is my will_.

Now in these necessities, imposed by misfortune, did no gleam of hope
remain? In politics, no alliances are durable but those resting upon a
perfect agreement of views and interests. When two people unite because
they are free and happy, because they feel a mutual esteem and regard
for each other, because they reciprocally afford and receive important
services, then, depend upon it, these alliances are durable, these
treaties will be carefully carried out. But suppose, on the contrary,
a people vanquished and humbled--a king of Prussia, the descendant of
Frederic the Great, to whom M. Maret insolently writes, "that he must
sign a military and diplomatic convention, under pain of captivity;"
does such a treaty as that form an alliance? is the convention which
delivers up Berlin to the French army, a treaty between friends and
allies? or could the plan which parcelled out the Prussian army, into
divisions under French marshals or generals, be a free, upright, or
durable proceeding? Surely not: this reconciliation could only be
momentary; it was imposed by main force, and with the decline of power
it must come to an end.

In addition to this, the Prussian government could no longer control
the people of Germany, indignant at the humiliations they were called
upon to submit to. That Hardenberg was acquainted with the proceedings
of the secret societies, does not admit of a doubt, neither is it less
certain that he permitted their developement, in order afterwards to
avail himself of them, as a powerful instrument against the oppression
of France; but a circumstance one cannot comprehend is, that it should
not have occurred even to the inferior mind of M. de Saint-Marsan,
and the very moderate capacity of M. Maret, that at the first reverse
experienced by the grand army, all these alliances would be got rid
of, as something troublesome and offensive--in fact, as a yoke to be
cast off. To what a degree of humiliation was the House of Frederic now
reduced! Prussia, in a suppliant attitude, had solicited an alliance
with the Buonaparte family, and Hardenberg, the principal negotiator,
had received a cold refusal! Was it possible all this should be
forgotten? On one side was the recollection of their young and heroic
queen, who had died broken-hearted, insulted in the public papers,
and calumniated in pamphlets; and on the other, was a people ground
down by oppression, but undertaking its own preparations for the day
of independence; while to the insolence of the chief we must add all
the harshness of his generals, and of the people employed in levying
contributions. I do not wish here to mention proper names, but if any
men are still living who were then employed in the local administration
of Prussia, let them speak, and say, whether the system to which
Prussia was subjected, was one possible for her to maintain, in spite
of all the hopes of liberty inspired by the general rising in Europe?
and whether it was not natural the conflagration of Moscow should be
succeeded by other flames?

The most important events in Prussia commenced from this period. The
fatal campaign of Moscow being concluded, the French army, a miserable
swarm of fugitives, fell back upon the frontiers of Prussia, so lately
traversed under different auspices! The corps of Marshal Macdonald was
compelled to retreat from the siege of Riga, and the brave and faithful
chief brought back with him the Prussians, especially the division
of York, long under the influence of the principles inculcated by
Schill. News suddenly arrived that the Prussians refused to fight, and
General York addressed a respectful letter to the Marshal, declaring
his intention of maintaining a perfect neutrality with the Russian
armies. This defection extended to all the Prussian troops, and excited
surprise, though it had long been in preparation; in fact, both
officers and soldiers were all strongly imbued with the doctrines
of Schill, Stein, and the secret societies; and Prussia, ripe for
independence, obtained it at last: a bright dawn had begun to appear,
and wherefore should she not avail herself of it?

Such being the state of popular opinion in Prussia, let us now inquire
what was the spirit of the cabinet conducted by Baron Hardenberg. He
had evidently been well acquainted with the existence of the secret
societies, and the edicts of Breslau, issued on the 3d and 9th of
February, which gave a military organisation to the _Tugendbund_, were
drawn up and signed by him; and admirable indeed were these patriotic
papers, calling upon all the sons of Germany to take up arms in defence
of the Fatherland! It is necessary to read them, fully to understand
the pitch excitement had now reached in Germany; all the young men
between the ages of seventeen and twenty-four, were to take up arms,
and form volunteer corps, clothed in the dress that had been worn by
Schill and Stein, that is, the short frock girded with a leathern belt,
and the little cap usually worn by students. No youth could be married
unless he had performed this service, nor could he fill any public
situation unless he had discharged his duty to his country; without
this there was no hope for him, either in the path of ambition or of
love. The patriotic edicts were signed by Hardenberg, who was desirous
of placing himself at the head of popular feeling in Prussia. They were
thus worded:--"The dangers with which the state is threatened demand
an immediate augmentation of our military force, at the same time that
the state of our finances forbids any increase of our expenditure. The
subjects of Prussia have always been distinguished for their attachment
to their king and country, and they require nothing to direct them to
a determined object but a favourable occasion, which may enable our
brave youth to display the courage which leads them to join the ranks
of the ancient defenders of their native land, and acquit themselves
at their side, of their first and noblest duties. It is with this
object, that his majesty has been pleased to command the formation of
detachments of yagers, intended to be annexed to the battalions of
infantry and the regiments of cavalry of which the army is composed,
so as to summon to military service those classes of the inhabitants
of the country who are not compelled to it by the laws, and yet whose
means permit them, to clothe and equip themselves at their own expense,
and to serve the state in a manner compatible with their situation
regarding the civil government. It will also afford an opportunity to
young men of education to distinguish themselves, and become some day
clever officers, or non-commissioned officers."

The spirit of Prussia was now thoroughly roused and up in arms. At the
same time Baron Hardenberg was engaged in a negotiation with M. Maret,
who did not perceive that the Prussian cabinet was merely following the
stream--that it was, in fact, no longer the king who governed, but the
people, and that the people were boiling with indignation. Generally
speaking, the functionaries of the empire did not attach sufficient
importance to public opinion; the greater part of them, forsooth, were
too great people, men of too illustrious birth, as every one is aware,
and they looked down upon the mass of the nation! These men, born of
the people, raised by them--some being old newspaper-writers, others
scriveners, or retired attorneys--considered themselves, by the grace
of God, such great lords and princes, that they paid no attention to
the vast power which gives laws to kings and states. When Hardenberg
wrote that he was desirous of forming the plan of an alliance, even
after the campaign of Moscow, M. Maret's mind was quite at ease on
the subject of Prussia; and the diplomatic despatches give sufficient
evidence of the perfect ignorance that existed at Paris as to the
approaching movement at Berlin: they did not observe that fresh ideas
were becoming developed, and that the cabinet was no longer master of
the country. "What is going to happen?" wrote M. de Saint-Marsan to
the Prussian minister; and, as his sole answer, the latter despatched
General Krusemarck and Prince Hatzfeld to Paris, bearing soothing
words. "Prussia is desirous of maintaining peace, and the French
alliance is pleasing to her, but she requires fresh conditions." Read
this note from Hardenberg to M. de Saint-Marsan, which describes
perfectly the situation of Prussia, a situation M. Maret had not
understood:--"It has occurred to the king, that nothing would more
advance the great work than a truce, according to which the French and
Russian armies would retire to a certain distance, and establish lines
of demarcation, leaving an intervening country. Would his imperial
majesty be willing to enter into such an arrangement? Would he consent
to resign the charge of the fortresses of the Oder, of Pilau, and of
Dantzic (with regard to the latter, conjointly with the Saxon troops,
as agreed by the treaty of Tilsit), to the troops of the king, and
withdraw his army beyond the Elbe, provided the Emperor Alexander
should withdraw his beyond the Vistula? The king has commanded General
Krusemarck and Prince Hatzfeld to inquire into the intentions of his
imperial majesty on this head; and he has made similar proposals to
the Emperor Alexander, as concerning an idea emanating entirely from
himself, and which can in no way compromise the resolution which your
sovereign, his imperial majesty, may come to on this point. According
to what is decided upon at present, the king will regulate his ulterior

Although Hardenberg's language was somewhat timid, matters were,
nevertheless, in a state of progression. In her first position, the
situation of Prussia was that of an ally; in the second, that of
a neutral power: would she stop there? The arrival of the Emperor
Alexander at Breslau decided the king upon following the popular
movement, and the court of Berlin pronounced in favour of the
coalition; information being conveyed to M. Maret, in a paper drawn
up by Hardenberg, that Prussia had declared war. This remarkable
exposition of their causes of complaint against Napoleon contains, more
especially, a summary of pecuniary grievances, unheard-of violations of
the various clauses of the treaty, and recollections of the harsh rule
of the French generals. One circumstance, however, is omitted, although
it occupied the first place in the mind of the Prussian minister, viz.
that the country was weary of foreign dominion. The _Tugendbund_ had
arisen, like an ancient German warrior, armed at all points.

Hardenberg quickly followed up this first despatch by a second,
addressed to General Krusemarck at Paris, who transmitted it to M.
Maret. "The Emperor of Russia offers a noble and faithful friendship
to Prussia, while Napoleon has thrust away his ally, not even having
condescended to enter into any explanation with her. Prussia has
endured all the insolence unsparingly heaped upon her by the conqueror;
all her fortified places have been seized by the French troops; Berlin
has been occupied, and 94 millions levied upon the country. These
circumstances render further hesitation impossible; honour commands us
to draw the sword, and never will we sheath it until an honourable and
advantageous peace has been obtained."

Baron Hardenberg was now completely in his element; his original
inclinations bound him to Russia and the Emperor Alexander, and he
rejoiced in seeing the idea of Queen Louisa accomplished, and the two
monarchs pressing each other's hands. From this time forward, all
the efforts of the minister were directed to the developement, and
organisation of the secret societies. His object was to give a heroic
impulse to Germany, and, laying aside for the moment all the divisions
between the Catholic and Protestant parties, he resolved to see nothing
but the Fatherland thirsting for deliverance from the tyranny of
Napoleon; he encouraged the young men to carol patriotic songs, and
excited them to march boldly to battle, without any distinction being
made between the civilian and the soldier.

Then were seen universities rising _en masse_, and the professors
themselves leading their pupils to the battle of the giants. The
engagements of Lutzen and Bautzen have never been considered in a point
of view which would invest them with a melancholy interest. The flower
of both countries was there opposed to each other; the conscripts of
the empire, from the age of eighteen to twenty-one years, and the
students of the universities bearing the funereal banner of Queen
Louisa, the oldest of whom did not exceed the age of twenty-two years.
In the midst of these noble squadrons were heard the thunders of 1500
pieces of artillery, tearing their youthful and tender bodies, carrying
off heads, mutilating limbs; yet none of these youths faltered, for
they were fighting for their country, their common mother.

During this tremendous conflict, the minister did not neglect liberal
concessions, capable of increasing the enthusiasm of the people.
Germany, so heavily oppressed, thirsted after liberty, and when the
people were giving such pledges to the government, it was but just the
government, in return, should do something for the people. In Prussia
there is a spirit essentially of organisation, a constant want of
improvement and progress. All the acts of Hardenberg at this period
were impressed with a character of liberty; he augmented the municipal
administrations, all the pecuniary privileges of the nobility and
clergy were annulled, and, following the ideas of the economic school,
wardenships and the freedom of cities were abolished. By some acts of
the cabinet a political constitution was promised to Prussia, although
it is hardly possible to believe they could ever have thought seriously
of such a thing for a country whose interests and opinions were so
disjointed as those of Germany. But at that time Napoleon was regarded
by the whole world as a great despot; the power raised to oppose him
must of necessity be the spirit of liberty; and every national feeling
rose in arms, because the season of oppression must be brought to a
close. Under these peculiar circumstances, engagements naturally were
entered into and promises made. To a people capable of such noble
daring, great concessions might be promised, and in this, Hardenberg
only followed the impulse that had been given; he pressed the hand
of Stein, Blucher, and Gneisenau, because their names, like that of
Suwarow in Russia, were the symbol of the country in arms.

See what name is given in Germany to our disastrous defeat at
Leipsic--the Victory of the Nations! Yes! it was indeed there, the
nations overcame the terrible oppressor who had crushed them to the
dust! It was from the battle of Leipsic, that dated the sudden,
but prolonged reaction, which finally delivered the people and the
governments from that giant hand. Accustomed as we are to place the
character of Napoleon in the highest rank, we will not understand that
he was the tyrant of Europe, and that even now we are undergoing the
reaction of two fatal ideas--the recollection of our conquests and of
our disorganising principles.

After Leipsic, the Rhine was crossed, and Hardenberg did not for a
moment quit the head-quarters of the Allies: he also represented
Prussia at the congress of Châtillon. From this moment, in all the
diplomatic proceedings, as well as in the military operations, Prussia
always manifested the strongest animosity against the French Emperor;
she hoped for great reprisals, and would undoubtedly have obtained
them, had not the general inclination in Europe for peace, and the
exclusive and generous influence of the Emperor Alexander, swayed the
negotiations concerning the treaty of Paris, and the restoration of the
Bourbons. All the political transactions were signed by Hardenberg,
from his having been the powerful hand which for two years had steadily
directed public affairs; the King of Prussia conferred upon him the
title of Prince; and he was invested with that high dignity when he
accompanied the sovereigns to England.

The sight of the palace of St. James's must have awakened melancholy
feelings in his mind; in his youth he had there experienced domestic
sorrow, and been agitated by contending passions; for he had been the
lover and husband of the Countess Randlaw, the most beautiful woman in
Germany: she had been lost to him through the means of the Prince of
Wales, and her seducer was now the Regent of the British islands. But
they had both grown much older; and when twenty-five years have been
passed in political agitations and tempests, the heart has been worn
out by emotion, and but little room is left for recollections of enmity
and vengeance. Prince Hardenberg was therefore presented to the Prince
Regent, who received him with marked attention; and the past only
recurred to their minds, like one of those views which scarcely leave a
trace in the memory.

From London, Prince Hardenberg repaired to Vienna, to be present at
the meeting of the great congress, and he had the honour of seeing the
immense aggrandisement of Prussia sanctioned by successive treaties.
She now became the kingdom most immediately in an offensive position,
and was placed in the situation of an advanced post in the coalition
against France. Those who have investigated the spirit of Europe in
the remodelling which took place in 1815, can easily perceive that
the whole system of politics was directed against our country, whose
influence had caused the most dreadful agitations in all the world
during the last thirty years. Prussia, which during the revolutionary
war had almost invariably maintained a neutral position, now received
such a territorial organisation, as to render it necessary she should
henceforth be the first to engage in war. This long strip of land,
which has one extremity on the Niemen, and the other on the Meuse, must
necessarily strive to extend itself by means of conquest, and in this
manner the neutrality was avoided, which had occasioned a degree of
torpor in Europe during the revolution.

An implacable hatred again burst forth, when news arrived at the
congress of the landing of Napoleon: the young students had but just
returned to the universities, the _landwehr_ and _landsturm_, disbanded
but yesterday, were called to resume their arms on the morrow; and
the closest alliance was renewed in Europe, so as to march at once
against Napoleon, who, like an adventurous soldier, threw himself
almost immediately into Belgium and the Rhenish provinces. In this
military movement, which threatened Prussia, Prince Hardenberg was
compelled again to appeal to the national troops, who had shed their
blood on the fields of Lutzen and Bautzen. The same spirit was still
found in full strength and vigour; Blucher was at the head of the
Prussian contingent at Waterloo; they fought with the utmost fury, and
victory having decided in their favour on that plain, fatal to the
last hopes of Napoleon, the northern provinces of France were soon
inundated with enemies. In all the proclamations of Hardenberg, and
all his acts calling Germany to arms, a deadly hatred, a rancorous
degree of vengeance against France was manifested, in order to rouse
the courage and the powerful energy of the old Prussian monarchy. This
irritation was conspicuous at every step taken by the German troops
on the French territory; they appeared desirous of at once taking
vengeance for all the humiliations they had undergone during the last
ten years. Waterloo was not sufficient to appease the anger excited by
Jena; the recollection of the oppressive dominion of the French was
fresh in every heart; and it must be confessed, the most rancorous and
vindictive during the war were not the regular troops, the soldiers
devoid of mind or imagination, but the young men from the universities,
the _landwehr_ and the _landsturm_: it was the fair-haired Germans,
with the short frock and leathern belt, the admirers of Schiller
and Goëthe, and, more than all, the noble worshippers of the Queen
of Prussia, who came to claim the spoils of France; for the revered
image of the heroic Louisa, oppressed and calumniated by Napoleon, was
mingled in all their dreams.

The despatches of Hardenberg, while the negotiations of Paris were
in progress, bore the impress of this bent in Germany, and in fact of
the whole of his German existence. From the time he first took part
in public affairs, he particularly interested himself in every thing
concerning the confederation; his influence alone had induced Prussia
to enter into the system of neutrality and centralisation, which became
the national law of Germany from the time of the French revolution;
and now these same interests were placed under his supreme direction.
Germany, which had so long been endangered by French principles, was
desirous of reacting against that power; and everywhere declared and
averred, that Alsace and Lorraine had been taken from her, and that
they ought to be restored to their elder sister; conquest alone had
given them to France, and a reverse of fortune might deprive her of
them. Prince Hardenberg set forth these ideas, and supported them at
the conference in Paris; he asserted that the Rhine was not natural to
France, but was, on the contrary, offensive to Germany; Strasburg is
a threatening position, and so would be Mayence; the Vosges and the
Moselle were the limits he was desirous of assigning as a disgrace
to us, and this desire proceeded less from his own mind than from
the detestation Germany had vowed against us: it was the reaction of
liberalism against Napoleon, extending almost to the partition of
France. I have already described how M. de Richelieu preserved us from
this great misfortune, by appealing to the Emperor Alexander, more
disinterested in the question of partition, and who interposed in
favour of our vanquished country.

Notwithstanding this, the sacrifices imposed upon us by the treaty of
Paris were sufficiently heavy. Hardenberg was one of those who signed
it, and the influence he had exerted gave him very great claims upon
the confidence of his sovereign. He became, in the Prussian cabinet,
the representative of the Anglo-German alliance; renewing the union
between the Tory party and the German aristocracy, whose fundamental
principle was a hatred and hostility towards France, dating as far back
as the battle of Fontenoy, where the troops of the Duke of Cumberland
were humbled before the fortune of Louis XV.

Although peace was now established, the task of the minister was not
completed, and a most difficult mission remained to be accomplished.
The strong national impulse given to Germany by the necessity of
getting rid of Napoleon, had roused an energetic feeling in favour of
liberty in every breast; charters and constitutions had been promised,
and a sort of mystic unity in Germany had been spoken of; and how
were these promises to be redeemed? This political question, which I
have already mentioned as so delicate, I may almost say so terrible,
for Prince Metternich, was still more so for the head of the Prussian
government. In Austria the popular mind was neither so advanced, nor so
philosophically organised, as in Prussia; the enthusiasm of the people
was at bottom only an extreme devotion to the Emperor and the august
house of Hapsburg; and all they requested in return, was the repeal
of a few of their taxes, some local liberties, and a little public
happiness. But in Prussia the desires were not so moderate; all the
secret societies had visions of a state of things so strangely liberal,
that Germany would have been nothing more than a republic under a king,
if a free course had been allowed to their expectations. In order to
arrive at a regular plan of government, Hardenberg was obliged, even
in the face of his former promises, to break with the patriot party,
whose efforts he had so strenuously seconded during the crisis. Blucher
and Gneisenau, the chiefs of these young men, were anxious for a
national representative system, and for that purpose they wished the
secret societies to remain in full force; but Hardenberg demonstrated
to them that the object of these associations no longer existed, and
that as to the constitution of the States, the part designated as
the administration must be separated from the political legislation.
Under this point of view Hardenberg's theory is particularly worthy of
remark. According to him legislation belongs to the king alone; and
it was certainly a right no one would have disputed with Frederic,
the founder of the kingdom; the administration only belongs to the
provincial states, as also the power of voting taxes. He established
this theory by many successive acts, drawn up under his influence;
and it reached such a pitch, that a royal edict even put a stop to
the secret societies, as dangerous and fatal. The king's language is
paternal, and explanatory of his motives; such being the usual course
pursued in Prussia, where reason and explanation are had recourse to
with a thinking people.

This second portion of the life of Hardenberg presents exactly the
reverse of the medal; and such, we may observe, is generally the case.
The existence of political characters is almost invariably divided
into two parts: the one, all action and advance; the other, devoted
to the repression of the ideas they may have favoured in the days of
their youth and strength. The secret societies occasioned alarm, and,
perhaps, with some reason, at a time when the strangest theories had
begun to appear in Germany, and the press was doing mischief. There
had been a time when it was desirable to rouse Germany, and then every
thing might be said in favour of Liberty, as it was by her means
that every thing was to be done; but, after the crisis was over, the
government would be exposed to sudden and unexpected accusations. In
the Prussian universities it is permitted to discuss all questions, to
examine into the most important points of theology and morals; but when
they come to the application, when the principles of the government
are actually attacked, there is liberty no longer. All discussion is
formally forbidden which leads to the examination of the rights of the
crown or the obedience of the subject, because the head of the state is
essentially military, and his power is the work of the soldier.

Hardenberg, as minister of the king, took a part in all the acts which
prepared the Germanic constitution; for Frederic William abandoned
himself to his long experience, and he was prime minister in the
fullest sense of the word. To mark how perfectly he was satisfied with
his services, the king not only wrote to him with his own hand on his
birthday, but he also, as an agreeable surprise, caused his portrait to
be placed in the principal apartment of his hôtel.

By the act of the Germanic Confederation a close alliance took place
between Prussia and Austria, in order that they might share the power
equally between them; the one in the north, the other in the south;
Prussia as the representative of the Protestant, and Austria of the
Catholic system. The German unity was remodelled on that plan, and
there was no longer any thing but a moral struggle between the two
nations. Prussia was more advanced in her philosophical ideas, and
Austria more paternal and provident in her domestic regulations.

The well-established distinction between the administration and the
political system is particularly owing to the exertions of Hardenberg.
The administration is careful, economical, and often dishonest; the
political branch watchful and military, carefully restricting the
developement of liberty within the most exact limits. After the
termination of the great transactions of 1816, Hardenberg occupied
himself only in applying his system of repression to the press, to the
convocation and to the limited constitution of the States. At Troppau
and Laybach he supported Prince Metternich's designs, and all the
measures against the schools were taken in concert with Austria. The
system of the German universities embraced two main points,--studious
and intellectual ideas, and political influence. Hardenberg, a highly
educated man, the friend of Humboldt, Gentz, and Kotzebue, and
himself distinguished for his literary tastes, was willing to leave
to philosophy the vast domain where intellect displays, and often
loses itself; therefore the studies were not restricted in their
developement, the universities were still left mistress of their
doctrine, but they were obliged to resign their mysterious influence
on secret societies, and they no longer formed acting and deliberating
corps. Science, thought, and philosophy, remained as a grand and noble
trinity in the domain of the learned, like the school divinity of the
middle ages.

Political action being restrained, it was easier to bring the
administration to perfection. The system of Prussian presidencies was
only a collection of vast prefectures or local administrations, and
every thing was regulated with so much economy, that the taxes are
collected with a third less expense than in France.

In this long struggle of every-day labour, the life of Prince
Hardenberg was worn out; and at Aix-la-Chapelle and Troppau it was
evident that his strength was beginning to give way. Old age had come
upon him, and one is astonished a war with parties should have been
carried on so vigorously by a man who had reached the advanced age of
threescore and ten. One can imagine the peaceful government of an aged
man over a peaceful state; but the last four years of Hardenberg's life
had been the most laborious, because he not only had to contend with
external powers, but with his own opinions and ideas, hardly five years
old. He had organised the secret societies, and he was now compelled
to destroy them. It was not his feelings that had changed, but the
necessities of Europe, with whom deliverance had passed into repression.

At the congress of Verona, Hardenberg was seen, for the last time,
exerting all his strength to support the opinions of the Emperor
Alexander and Metternich, upon the necessity of a war with Spain. His
last public act was a journey to Rome, to sign a concordat between
Prussia and the Holy See; and the reconciliation between a Protestant
state and the head of the Catholic Church was certainly a most singular
and novel proceeding. Whence did it proceed? and what was the cause
of it? The excitement occasioned in Europe by the Holy Alliance had
reunited the various and scattered sovereignties. Their ideas were
confounded by the necessity of mutual defence, and the various shades
of opinion were effaced by the urgent anxiety for the repression of the
democratic principle; so that the Pope was restored by the English,
Prussians, and Russians, who all belong to different communions. These
political reconciliations had strengthened the religious feeling, and,
at this time, the Czar was dreaming of an universal church, by the
union of all the sects, which offers some explanation how Hardenberg
might go to Rome to sign the concordat. We must not, however,
forget that, owing to her new position, and her great acquisition
of territory, nearly half her population were now Papists, all the
Rhenish provinces surrounding the great cathedral of Cologne being
of that profession, and it was necessary to secure the exercise of
their religion to these people, but half-subject to their new master.
Hardenberg had still sufficient strength to preside over this treaty;
he then proceeded to Genoa in search of a milder climate, and had taken
one of those delightful villas where Lord Byron was accustomed to enjoy
the charms of a lovely country, when he was surprised by illness and
death, at the age of seventy-two years.

It was a diplomatic career as long as that of Prince Talleyrand; but
Prince Hardenberg had not, like him, preserved the polished manners
and mode of expression which, in his youth, won the hearts of the
republicans. His speech had become thick and heavy; he spoke French
well, but with the German accent, that is slightly observable with
Baron Humboldt. His language was very cold, and appeared the mirror
of his feelings, which seldom permitted themselves to be excited
by the imagination; he appeared to be even more a man of business
than a statesman; and, in fact he has organised, not created, an
administration which still exists, and gradually advances on the path
marked out for it by him.

At present, Prussia has done nothing beyond enlarging this system,
and at the same time stamping it more powerfully with a poetical and
philosophical tendency; for the ideas and impressions of stormy and
difficult times are not required in calmer seasons. Prussia appears
likely to realise the problem of an intelligent people, highly advanced
in philosophical knowledge, and yet capable of doing without what
are called constitutional institutions. The idea that proposes to
centralise and confound every thing, the visionary desire that would
group Germany around the cathedral of Cologne, is grand and vast; but,
in order this unity should triumph, would not the first necessary
condition be, that there should be but one faith, one object of love,
one system of belief? And how can Protestantism, which is so constantly
subject to internal dissensions, create unity? To make Berlin the
capital of science, to cause all the universities to converge towards
that point, as to an Athens dreamed of by the philosophers, is a noble
idea of the government; but, on the other hand, what means this license
against Christianity? Though Frederic the Great received Atheists
privately at his table, he would never have permitted atheism to be
publicly taught; and an empire desirous of seeking for unity in science
and philosophy must lay the first foundations in religion and Christian
instruction. My opinion, then, is, that the Romish system can alone
form a powerful bond among the people; otherwise, Cologne restored will
only present a barren proof of the utter incapacity of Protestantism to
renew the Catholic union of the arts and religion, as it existed during
the middle ages.


In the march of generations two distinct periods are observable: the
one of ardent and vigorous activity, when quiet and lukewarmness are
vexatious and annoying; the other of fatigue and exhaustion; and, when
this reaction has taken place, it is necessary there should be at the
head of affairs, wise and moderate ministers, perhaps even men who are
themselves weary of too active and busy a life. The great European
monarchies enjoy an incontestable advantage over freer but more stormy
governments, in the perpetuity of their system and the lengthened
career of their statesmen. Look at Austria and Russia during the last
thirty-three years; they have been under the unvarying direction of
two ministers, who have alone had the direction of affairs,--Prince
Metternich and Count Nesselrode; and only the death of Prince
Hardenberg has deprived Prussia of his services. This perpetuity of
statesmen is attended with many advantages: it creates a constant
succession of precedents in the cabinet; it permits the conception of a
long series of measures, and allows one idea to be followed and worked
out with perseverance. A young man is selected immediately he has
finished his studies, and placed in the second or third rank among the
_attachés_ of an embassy; he next becomes a minister plenipotentiary;
and, if he rises and distinguishes himself, he obtains a post in the
_chancellerie_; and when, owing to the confidence of his sovereign, or
the force of circumstances, he has once been placed in a superior rank,
he remains there to the end of his life. And what is the result?--a
most serious attention to all transactions, and a most profound
knowledge of business: the political situation, which was originally
the great object of his ambition, now becomes the subject of his
careful study, and, indeed, his whole existence is bound up in it.

England, always intelligent and clear-sighted, has striven to apply a
remedy to the instability of men, by the stability of parties. In that
country there are two schools opposed to each other, the Whigs and the
Tories; and men from their earliest childhood are destined to belong to
one, or other of these vast divisions. The universities of Oxford and
Cambridge receive into their bosom this twofold generation of students,
who apply themselves to the study of the peculiar ideas which divide
these shades of parliamentary opinion, and proceed without hesitation
on the path they have chosen for themselves; and, on quitting the
university, they support in parliament the opinions in which they have
been educated, or which they have adopted. Suppose a young man to be a
Tory, if the Tories are in power he obtains an appointment as one of
the under-secretaries of state, and only resigns it when his party go
out of office; should he be a Whig, and the Whigs are at the head of
affairs, the same thing takes place: every thing is fixed, and proceeds
according to rule in the government; by that means alone it is known
whence people come, and they are equally well acquainted with the
course they are likely to take.

In bringing together the names of Metternich, Nesselrode, and
Hardenberg, I do not pretend to draw an absolute parallel between them;
on the contrary, there exists a strong and well-defined difference.
Metternich and Hardenberg always expressed their own ideas, and were
the representatives of a system, which they followed with the utmost
perseverance, and applied through all the changeful course of events
that occurred in the two great kingdoms committed to their care. They
were statesmen who had taken office with fixed principles, and their
whole life was employed in their developement. For instance, the
self-imposed object of Prince Hardenberg's foreign policy, was the
increase of the national influence of Prussia against Napoleon; and of
his internal government, the reconstruction of the States and of the
Prussian citizen classes. Prince Metternich, in the foreign relations
of the cabinet of Vienna, especially strove to establish his system of
armed mediation, and moral influence produced by means of vast military
establishments; while, to speak the truth, Count Nesselrode has been
nothing more than the upright and intelligent executor of the will of
his sovereign: he was the reflected image of Alexander, the faithful
hand which undertook the execution of his wishes, even of those where
his personal feelings were most concerned. The position of Nesselrode
with regard to the Emperors Alexander and Nicholas, might be compared
to that of the _ministres secrétaires d'état_ under Napoleon; the
influence he exercises results from his long experience, and from
the circumstance of his every-day life being passed in the midst of
politics, which are thus interwoven with all his habits; and this in
itself confers a great degree of power.

Charles Albert, count Nesselrode, was born at Lisbon in 1770, of
a noble family of German extraction. His father was minister
plenipotentiary in Portugal under Catherine II., and some traditions
exist concerning the cause of this species of exile; there are,
however, always some of these rather sneering, and random legends,
current in the _corps diplomatique_, as if for the purpose of unbending
the brow of official gravity.

Count Nesselrode was still very young at the termination of the
reign of Catherine,--that extraordinary woman, whose character forms
so curious a study, because it perfectly represents the state of
civilisation in Russia; whose political ideas were so masculine, and by
whom the system of Peter the Great had been constantly followed up and
advanced. She appeared to effect an alteration in the influence of the
cabinet of St. Petersburg, which had hitherto been purely oriental, and
to render it more German and central; being the first step towards the
predominance in Southern Europe, which was afterwards the ambition of
her grandson Alexander. Peter the Great had pointed to Constantinople;
but Catherine considered Warsaw the most favourable point, as a
position which might enable the Russian power, at a later period, to
assume in the south the importance which her literary correspondence,
and political despatches were already preparing. It was solely with
this view that she encouraged the spirit of the eighteenth century, and
caressed D'Alembert and Diderot, journalists who were devoted to her
interests. When Voltaire, with his expression of flattering vanity,
wrote to Catherine that light came from the north, he foretold the
consummate ability of the Czarina, which prompted her to make herself
talked of at any price; "because," as she cleverly observed, "by dint
of exalting the Russian name, it will at last be made some account of
in France and in England; we shall no longer be reckoned among the
barbarians; we shall be talked of at Versailles, in London, and at
Madrid; and this, in politics, is indispensable, if we are desirous of
obtaining any ascendancy."

The leading principle of the cabinet of St. Petersburg for the last
hundred years, has been the agglomeration of Poland, and the expulsion
of the Turks, whom they are desirous of driving back as far as the
Black Sea. Poland has fallen; nor was it in the power of any government
to prevent the ruin of that fated country. A strong antipathy, a deep,
unmeasured hatred, exists between the Poles and Russians; they are two
races ready to fall upon each other; two giants, armed at all points,
constantly contending during six centuries. The most unpopular of all
proceedings at Moscow, at Kalouga, at Novogorod, and in the old castles
of the ancient nobility, was the erection of Poland into an independent
kingdom, organised by Alexander,[47] which occasioned murmurs of
dissatisfaction on every side. The other object of Russia, the fall of
Turkey, will also take place sooner or later; it cannot be prevented,
and, if the government will not undertake it, the people will do it
themselves. Saint Sophia is required to crown the patriarchate of the
Greek Church. Of this Europe is well aware; she delays the explosion
until the proper time has arrived, and determines the various shares
beforehand: but to prevent it altogether is beyond her power. And some
day we shall hear that the Russians, with the cross as their banner,
have marched to the succour of their brethren, and that another empire
of Constantine has arisen on the Bosphorus. It is so written in the
book of fate!

 [47] _Vide_ art. Pozzo di Borgo.

I am not aware that the Russian cabinet has ever been made the subject
of consideration in France, in the point of view of its great
diplomatic ability. The principal source of its predominance has been
sought in the strength communicated by its armies, and in its absolute
organisation; but they have been mistaken: the truth is, that there is
nothing more persevering, or more deeply reflecting, than the Russian
cabinet; it goes on slowly, without attracting attention by noise or
tumult. During the last century, the Russian population has increased
by eleven millions of souls, who occupy more than five hundred leagues
square of territory, if we include Georgia and the part of Tartary
united to the government of the Crimea; and, independent of these
actual conquests, Russia has acquired an undoubted protectorate over
Moldavia and Wallachia, and such a degree of influence in Persia, that
no other country would now think of disputing it with her: finally,
every one is aware of the position she has obtained at Constantinople,
and also of the efforts made by the whole of Europe to prevent her from
actually accomplishing the vast projects formed by Peter the Great. In
order to arrive at this result, nothing has been neglected by Russia;
neither political protestations, nor appeals to religious feeling,
have been spared. Knowing exactly where to stop, she never ventures
too far in an idea; she waits patiently till the opportunity is ripe;
and, should her system have too much awakened attention, she does not
overstep certain limits, but makes a momentary concession, and then
resumes her projects with admirable consistency. As soon as the proper
season has arrived, and that the obstacles she at first encountered are
overcome, then Russia progresses straight to the accomplishment of her

Catherine, struck with a fatal apoplexy, had descended to the tomb,
and the sceptre passed to the Grand Duke Paul, who had been condemned
to the most profound obscurity, until the moment when he was summoned
from his solitude to the government of forty millions of people. The
gloomy singularity of his character has been exaggerated; he has been
represented as a capricious prince, who would pass suddenly from acts
of savage tyranny to kindness and tender intimacy; but we must remember
that Paul came of the blood of Peter the Great, and being incessantly
surrounded by conspiracies, which threatened both his crown and his
life, he often formed resolutions which flew at once from unreserve
to anger, from confidence to sudden fury. Characters generally spring
from situations, and are what events have made us. Paul had to defend
his life, which had been endangered by many attempts against it; we
must not, therefore, be too hasty in our judgment of this prince, but,
in order to form a fair opinion, we must descend to the depths of the
national character, and view the general situation of her politics.

Europe had received a vehement impulse from the French revolution. The
Grand Duke, who was himself threatened by the spirit of revolt, must
have viewed with but little satisfaction this popular explosion at the
other extremity of Europe; but the distance of Russia, her financial
embarrassments, and the accomplishment of the partition of Poland, did
not permit her to take part in the first coalition against the French
revolution: the Russians did not join the hostile party until the
second Italian war, during the campaign of Suwarof. I will not repeat
the well-known military story; the divisions in the cabinets of Vienna
and St. Petersburg put a stop to the second coalition: but the Russian
regiments had seen Italy; they had touched the soil of Switzerland; for
the first time their breasts had been warmed by the mild rays of the
southern sun; and, like the invaders of the third and fourth centuries,
they recollected during the long wintry nights of their icy clime,
that there were large towns and fair cities in the south of Europe,
that those fertile lands produced delicious fruits, while the smiling
plains were crowned with abundant harvests: these recollections lay
deep in the mind of many a Russian veteran in the years 1813 and 1814,
and from this time forth the cabinet of St. Petersburg took a part in
the interests of southern Europe.

The diplomatic career of Count Nesselrode began at the time of the
embassy of Count Marcoff at Paris, under the Consulate--that wonderful
period when every thing, government, institutions, and political and
social ideas, appeared to have been renewed with the vigour of youth.
The forcible administration of the First Consul easily opened the way
to negotiations with Russia, for whenever a regular power has been
established in France, Europe has never attempted to overturn it. Count
Nesselrode being attached to the embassy in Paris, had the opportunity
of witnessing the magnificent developement of the power and genius of
Buonaparte, then First Consul. Who would have foretold that fifteen
years later, he, as the Chancellor of Alexander, would preside over the
acts relative to the downfall of the Emperor, and sanction the decrees
of the senate of 1814 for the restoration of the House of Bourbon?

Paris, at this early period of the Consulate, was an abode full of
pleasure and enjoyment. The treaty of Amiens had just been concluded,
peace had been obtained through victory, and people were desirous
of amusement and repose; they were emerging from the system of the
Directory, the spirit of good society again raised its head, and
its rules and customs were eagerly sought for, in order to restore
it from its ruins. There was a little court at the Tuileries around
Joséphine; all the ceremonies and etiquette of former times were
collected with avidity; ambassadors alone had liveries, and their
splendid equipages shone with double lustre among the half-republican
assemblage, where there was a long string of hackney-coaches with their
numbers concealed. Napoleon still reserved all his magnificence for
his military festivals; his grand reviews on the Place du Carrousel,
where in the midst of clouds of dust the squadrons of _guides_, and the
grenadiers of the consular guard defiled, as we see them depicted in
the pictures of Isabey.

The luxurious splendour of the embassies cast over every thing
belonging to the legation, an aristocratic gloss which turned the heads
of this generation; and this may explain the success in female society
enjoyed by various members of the _corps diplomatique_ at this period,
and the close and tender intimacies which were afterwards so useful to
Prince Metternich in his diplomatic _surveillances_. Young Nesselrode,
like all Russians, spoke French with the greatest fluency, and without
the decided accent, which all Prince Metternich's talents are unable
to correct. He had his share of the dissipation of the new court,
where some young women, as if astonished at their own position, forgot
themselves, and forgot also that they had the gravest and most serious
head in the world as their chief. I can hardly say wherefore, but
nothing has given me a more contemptible idea of society in the time of
the Consulate, than the perusal of some memoirs that have been written
in apology for it; beside the wonders achieved by one man, how mean and
wretched appear the tricks and narrow intrigues of those around him!

The Russian legation was at that time obliged to concern itself, with
one of the most important questions of maritime rights, and of the
law of nations. The treaty of Amiens, which never could have been any
thing more than a truce between France and England, was broken by both
parties at once; and it is an invidious question to inquire which of
these two governments, was guilty of the first infringement of the
treaty: the peace fell to the ground because it was only a momentary
repose for two cabinets unable to live in peace with each other, on
account of their gigantic ambition. As soon as war was declared between
France and England, Napoleon was naturally desirous of carrying on
hostilities in a vigorous manner, and for that purpose he endeavoured
to secure the co-operation of some of the continental powers. Paul, who
was as ardent in his admiration as in his hatred, had conceived a high
esteem for the First Consul, and Buonaparte, taking advantage of this
feeling, requested him again to put in force, for the benefit of the
neutral powers, the principle of the liberty of the sea; a principle
completely opposed to the ideas and interests of England, for the
British government never would admit that the flag should protect the
merchandise. A squadron appeared in the Sound, to act simultaneously
against Denmark, Sweden, and Russia, who had adhered to the principle
of armed neutrality. The legation at Paris, under the direction of
Count Marcoff, based the treaty on the rights of the neutral nations,
being the developement of a grand maritime idea renewed by Louis XVI.

A change, however, soon took place, for, as if stricken by a
thunderbolt, Paul fell a victim to a conspiracy. The mysterious horrors
of that awful night have been recorded in history. The mild and
romantic Alexander was placed on the throne of his father, who appeared
almost immediately inclined to proceed to warlike measures against
France and Napoleon; and accordingly the influence exercised by England
over the cabinet of St. Petersburg was very considerable. The Russian
legation quitted Paris, and as it had lately exhibited great activity
in obtaining information that was not favourable to the ideas of
Napoleon, Count Marcoff was on the point of being arrested, and there
was a good deal of hesitation whether he should receive his passports.
These acts of violence were a habit of Napoleon, for even the barrier
opposed by the law of nations to his will was displeasing to him, and
he was always on the eve of breaking through it.

The part played since this period by Count Nesselrode, and the
importance of the negotiations between Russia and France, render
it necessary to explain the organisation of the highest class of
the _corps diplomatique_, as it exists in the Russian empire. The
Emperor being the supreme head of the army, of the government, and
of the church, all the authorities depend upon him, and consequently
he reserves to himself the entire direction of what is called the
_Chancellerie_. This _chancellerie_ appoints agents, who, under the
title of ministers or ambassadors, represent officially their sovereign
at foreign courts; it also exercises much activity and vigilance, and
keeps a watch upon the ambassadors, who are often compelled to collect
the most minute information--a proceeding not at all in keeping with
their elevated rank, for the shades are almost imperceptible between
what is allowable, and what is forbidden in diplomatic affairs; and,
as I have before stated, this ambiguous situation often induced the
Emperor Napoleon to be almost violent in his measures against the
Russian ambassadors, when he found they obtained statements of the
military establishments, and secret conventions, so as to become
masters of the most carefully guarded secrets of the cabinet.

Independent of these people, who are officially accredited, the Czar
despatches aides-de-camp, without any positive commission except that
of travelling, or perhaps being the bearers of some complimentary
message; and these officers examine into every thing and send reports,
not only regarding the government and the population they are
deputed to inspect, but even concerning the Russian agents. To recall
an example: under the Emperor Napoleon, in 1811, the aide-de-camp
Czernitcheff made two or three journeys to Paris, ostensibly to
compliment the Emperor, and to carry him autograph letters from the
Czar; and then he returned to Russia with a statement of all the
military strength of the country, which had been given him by an
_employé_ in the war-office--information that was of the greatest
possible service to Russia in the defence of 1812. In addition to all
this, when the Czar takes the field a great number of general officers
unite diplomatic missions and services, to their military titles;
as, for instance, Count Pozzo di Borgo, as we have before observed,
attended at the same time to the strategic operations, and to the
arrangements in the cabinets, which might secure their developement.
When England, who was the first to follow this plan, granted subsidies
to a power, she always sent a commissioner with each army to follow the

Count Nesselrode was early attached as a councillor to the private
_chancellerie_ of the Czar, who soon discovered him to possess
a faithful disposition, great and solid erudition, a serious
understanding, and a spirit of ready obedience that would willingly
support his sovereign will. Count Nesselrode took especial pains to
please Alexander, whose mind was too full of his own ideas to bear any
impulse that was not given by himself. At the time of his departure
for the interview at Erfurt, it was evident that three ideas in
particular possessed the minds of the members of the cabinet of St.
Petersburg. The one, entirely Russian, observed with feelings of grief
and humiliation, the alliance between Alexander and the head of the
French government; a strong dislike was felt by the old Muscovites
to the greatness of the new empire; the noble Sclavonian detested
the proud and arrogant _parvenus_. They did not wish for an open
rupture with France, but the engagements entered into by the treaty of
Erfurt, the intimacy between the two crowns, which had been formed by
the fascinations of Napoleon--all this, I say, was a source of great
displeasure to the old aristocracy, to the successors of those Boyards
who claimed the feudal government of the Russian provinces.

The second school of this diplomacy was in some degree Greek and
Oriental. Napoleon had been desirous of satisfying some of the projects
of Russia by the treaty of Erfurt; and as he was then dividing
the world with Alexander, he conceded to him the full and entire
realisation of the plans of Catherine, agreeing that Constantinople
should be his in a few years, Ispahan and Persia in the course of
time; they even spoke of the independence of Greece, and consequently
of the possibility of an insurrection among the Hellenic and Syrian
population. Napoleon had long revolved these projects in his mind; in
fact, had not the general of the army of Egypt already had an idea of
appealing to the Christian profession, as a means of rousing the Copts
and Syrians against their Ottoman masters? Some maxims of liberty were
to be attached to the Greek school of diplomacy, and they were brought
forward some years afterwards at the congress of Vienna by Count Capo

The third diplomatic school, which was to a certain degree founded by
Count Nesselrode, consisted in taking a middle course between the two
former systems. The young Count had never been devoted to the plans
proposed at Erfurt, and he did not for a moment allow himself to be
carried away by the gigantic projects then determined upon in a moment
of enthusiasm; he did not identify himself either with the Greek or the
German school, nor even entirely with the Muscovite, in its repugnance
for Napoleon. What Alexander particularly remarked was, the perfect
obedience of his minister to all his wishes, though he sometimes strove
to infuse a little moderation into his decisions, when their tendency
was too abrupt or positive to be advisable in political affairs.
Nesselrode always executed the orders of his sovereign, but in so doing
he tempered the expressions of enthusiastic mysticism which often
characterised the politics of the Czar; he did not attempt to give an
impulse, but he endeavoured to prevent the will of his master from
going too far.

The commencement of Count Nesselrode's favour dates especially from
the French expedition to Russia. The movement, still more national
than military, which repulsed this gigantic undertaking, naturally
took its source from the old Muscovite families, and in the savage
energy against which the Czars, ever since the days of Peter the Great,
have struggled in vain; and Alexander, whose education and principles
rendered him particularly averse to this return of barbarism, felt the
need of a confidential friend, in whose bosom he might confide his
fears of the results to be apprehended from this Muscovite tendency,
which went beyond his own ideas and wishes. Count Nesselrode became one
of these confidential servants, and as early as 1812, although he did
not fill the official situation of _conseiller d'état_, he took the
principal part in the prodigious diplomatic movement then in progress;
he concluded and signed the treaty of the subsidies with England, and
the secret alliance of the two great powers against Napoleon, which
completed his political fortune.

The intimacy between Count Nesselrode and Prince Metternich began in
the course of the negotiations at the congress of Prague. As I have
before observed, it is impossible to institute a comparison between
these diplomatists; Prince Metternich being the creator of a system,
while Nesselrode was merely employed in executing, or perhaps in
moderating an idea, which was not always his own. Count Nesselrode was
not the official plenipotentiary at the congress of Prague, the full
powers being entrusted to M. d'Anstett, a man of considerable ability,
but hardly likely to be very favourably inclined to a peaceable system,
for he was a French _émigré_; however, the impulse and the direction of
the whole business emanated entirely from Alexander, and consequently
from Count Nesselrode, the most faithful and devoted of his
representatives. It was then, as we cannot but feel, of the greatest
importance, to induce Austria to join the coalition of the Allies
against Napoleon, for upon it depended the success of the campaign of
Germany; but Metternich was far from being decided in favour of this
step, and he wished to oblige them to purchase the co-operation of
Austria at a very high price: the negotiations, however, were conducted
with great ability by Count Nesselrode, and at the conclusion of the
congress of Prague the alliance of Austria was well secured to the
coalition. The Russian minister arranged in the name of his sovereign
all the articles of this treaty, which calmed the fears of Austria, by
assigning to her an advantageous frontier in Germany and Italy.

A new element had just manifested itself in the Russian diplomacy,
General Pozzo di Borgo having arrived at head-quarters, after
accomplishing his mission to Bernadotte, crown-prince of Sweden. Count
Pozzo was the friend of the disaffected generals of the Empire; and his
constant thought, and the master-passion of his soul, was his desire
to bring about the ruin of his ancient rival, whom he considered as
the oppressor of Europe. It was necessary for Count Nesselrode, if not
exactly to contend with this influence over the mind of Alexander,
at least not entirety to concur in it; for he, like Metternich, for
a short time considered it might be possible to treat with Napoleon,
and to impose such a degree of restraint upon his military power, as
to prevent him from injuring the German independence, or the security
of the interests and relations of the States. On this head Nesselrode
perfectly agreed in the opinions of Alexander, who, during the campaign
of 1813, was as far from desiring the downfall of Napoleon, as from
wishing to interfere with the form of government in France; there was
then quite enough to do in Germany, the Rhine had not yet been passed,
and the question concerning the deposition of the French Emperor did
not occur until 1814. Count Nesselrode having been present at the
interview at Abo, between the Czar and Bernadotte, it was impossible
he should be ignorant that questions had been raised concerning
certain possible events, among which the chance of another form of
government being established in France was spoken of. Those who have
some knowledge of the state of the case, are well aware that nothing
could be more vague and undecided than all that was settled in this
interview, if we except the close alliance between Russia and Sweden,
and certain decisions concerning their territorial claims. The Emperor
Alexander conversed with Bernadotte about the plan of the campaign, and
the state of the public mind in France, as well as concerning all the
possibilities and chances that might be the consequence of the war; and
Bernadotte in his turn naturally spoke of his grievances, and of the
injuries which, as a Republican general, he had been exposed to from
Napoleon, and for which he retained a strong dislike to him: but there
was no talk of any change, and they entered into no positive agreement
to overturn the sovereign who then reigned in France.

During the campaign of 1814, there was as much activity in the
negotiations as even in the military operations; and when the Allies
had once passed the Rhine it was considered necessary diplomacy
should follow all the phases of the war, so as to be ready to reply
to the proposals that might be made by the Emperor of the French,
and also to resolve all the difficulties they might encounter. The
arrival of Lord Castlereagh on the Continent greatly facilitated the
transactions regarding the subsidies and the equipment of the troops;
and the treaty of Chaumont was signed by Count Nesselrode, as well as
by the plenipotentiaries of the other allied powers. The ascendancy
acquired by England just then was so great, that she may almost be
said to have alone given the impulse and direction to all the acts of
the cabinet; it must, however, be acknowledged, that as she furnished
the sinews of war, it was very natural she should fix positively the
use to which they were to be applied. Count Nesselrode arranged with
Lord Castlereagh the method of issuing the pay of the troops, and the
diplomatic result of the campaign.

The sad events of the war brought the Allies to Paris; and the moment
was decisive for that portion of the senate which, under the direction
of Talleyrand, D'Alberg, and Jaucourt, wished for the fall of Napoleon.
A provisional government was established, after the occupation of the
capital. There could be no hesitation in the choice of alliances, for
the support of Alexander was indispensably necessary to accomplish the
ruin of the imperial system, whose hour was come! For this purpose,
however, it was essential to obtain the concurrence of Nesselrode,
the minister who had signed all the diplomatic acts concluded in the
last three years; and even had they considered him as a mere secretary
(Alexander being accustomed to act very much for himself), they would
naturally have been desirous of engaging him in the interests of the
provisional government.

As soon as Alexander entered the French territory, the disaffected
placed themselves in communication with his cabinet. I have already
mentioned the mission of M. de Vitrolles, who, with a view to the
restoration, had informed the Czar of the state of the public mind; and
Count Nesselrode had hardly arrived in Paris before he was surrounded
and assailed by a thousand conflicting intrigues and negotiations
of all sorts, for the purpose of inducing his cabinet to decide in
favour of the Bourbons. It was the general bent of the period, as the
revolutionary principle had been that of a former era. The first steps
taken by the Russian minister were full of caution; he wanted to feel
his way and judge of the public feeling, and it was also necessary to
induce Prince Schwartzenberg, who commanded the active army, to make an
open demonstration in favour of the Bourbons; yet, at the same time,
they were not quite certain what was the ultimate decision of Austria,
and, more especially, of Prince Metternich. All the papers written
about this time by Count Nesselrode bear evidence of this complicated
situation; he, however, spoke in plain terms in an official letter
addressed to M. Pasquier, that he might set at liberty some people
arrested on account of _the good cause_, and this _good cause_ was the
restoration of Louis XVIII.

It was evident from this expression of opinions favourable to
legitimate sovereignty, that the decision had been made before it was
officially announced. Never, perhaps, at any time had more activity
been displayed than at this period; Nesselrode must remember it as
the most brilliant and busy part of his life. His _salon_ never was
empty; at one time Caulaincourt, with full powers from the Emperor,
solicited peace; at another, the marshals of the empire stipulated
for the rights of the army, and a special treaty for Napoleon; then,
again, Talleyrand, D'Alberg, and De Jaucourt, came to press the Russian
minister to put an end to all uncertainty by pronouncing the downfall
of Buonaparte; and, finally, the royalists devoted to the Bourbons,
such as Sosthènes de la Rochefoucauld, and De Vitrolles, endeavoured to
obtain the triumph of the ancient dynasty.

After these various negotiations, the declaration of the Emperor
Alexander, announcing to France that they would not treat with
Napoleon, was agreed to in the cabinet. This remarkable declaration was
drawn up by Pozzo di Borgo; it was printed by means of a hand-press at
the hôtel of Prince Talleyrand, in the Rue St. Florentin, and thousands
of copies were thrown from the balconies. It was a great party stroke
for the house of Bourbon, for from that time its cause was secure. It
has been reported that the resolution of Count Nesselrode was decided
by immense diplomatic presents; but one should generally regard with
distrust the various stories that are current after political events
have been accomplished: there is less corruption than people imagine
in public business. At the same time it is very probable that some
gratitude would be manifested after so important an act; secret
presents almost invariably accompany the signature of stipulations in
all diplomatic transactions--it is an old custom, and, no doubt, the
value of these presents was increased in consequence of the immense
importance of the service rendered; but this is all that historical
impartiality can say on the subject.

This season of 1814 was very brilliant for Count Nesselrode; there was
nothing at Paris but _fêtes_ and flowers. The moderation of Russia had
swayed all the resolutions and softened the conditions of victory, and
the Emperor Alexander enjoyed a great reputation as the symbol of peace
and the expression of magnanimity in the midst of triumph. England
and Austria were quite cast into the shade, nobody was spoken of but
Alexander, and this celebrity was reflected upon Count Nesselrode in so
great a degree as to occasion a feeling of jealousy in Metternich, who
had hardly any thing to do with the transactions at Paris in 1814. The
Austrian minister awaited his turn at the congress of Vienna. The first
occupation of our capital was the _apogée_ of the moral omnipotence of
Russia in the affairs of southern Europe.

Here it is necessary I should mention all the difficulties of
Nesselrode's situation. Nothing could be more changeable and more prone
to sudden impressions than the mind of Alexander, who passed from one
enthusiastic fancy to another with inconceivable rapidity; when he
had taken up one idea it was difficult to put it out of his head; and
if you followed in the same track, some time afterwards he would meet
with some other fancy, which he adopted with equal warmth. We may,
therefore, imagine how difficult was the part of a secretary of state
desirous of giving some consistency to these projects, of classing them
in a certain order, and of producing any result from them all. From the
close of 1813, Alexander had been deeply imbued with the mysticism of
Madame Krüdner, and he mingled with his manifestoes on the principles
of Europe, and his theories of peace and war, a species of ascetic
worship and enthusiastic superstition very difficult to translate or
apply to the real business of life, and of which the ultimate object
was not always understood by powers like England and Austria.

At the congress of Vienna they had to treat of serious affairs, and
it was necessary to give a positive meaning to the vague conceptions
of Alexander, and translate theories into treaties. Poland was
occupied by a Russian army, and the diplomatists of the old Muscovite
school, in hopes this occupation would become permanent, pressed the
annexation of Poland to Russia, without a constitution or any free
state privileges. Alexander, who was desirous of wearing the crown of
Poland, was entirely opposed to these demands, and wanted to collect
the ruins of that kingdom into one system of political organisation;
and Count Nesselrode faithfully executed this idea of his sovereign at
the congress of Vienna. The question of Poland was his sole anxiety, as
the integrality of Saxony and the restoration of the House of Bourbon
at Naples was the exclusive thought of Prince Talleyrand.

At the congress of Vienna Nesselrode formed an intimacy with Prince
Hardenberg. Russia had supported the pretensions of Prussia, the
States had been bound to each other by means of political and family
arrangements, and, for the future, Prussia was destined to act as
the advanced guard of Russia, in her projects of influence over the
south of Europe. Russia was too busy with her own affairs to observe
the sort of underhand alliance forming between England, France, and
Austria, against Alexander's design of instituting a kingdom in Poland,
dependent on a viceroyalty of the czars. Nesselrode had to contend at
once with Metternich and Hardenberg, who were both afraid of seeing the
portion of Poland that had accrued to them at the time of the first
partition escape from their grasp; Austria fearing for Gallicia, and
Prussia for the districts beyond the Vistula. The other opposition the
Russian minister had to overcome was, as I have before observed, that
of the old Muscovite families, who murmured at seeing the organisation
of Poland with an independent constitution and a degree of national
liberty. Great difficulty existed in this quarter, although Nesselrode
had not entered as warmly into this project as his sovereign had done,
but had taken a middle course, in order to avoid a misfortune with
which he had at one time appeared threatened.

But all these divers interests were confounded by the astounding news
of Napoleon's landing in the Gulf of Juan. The Emperor Alexander, whose
mind was more than ever impressed with the mystic and liberal ideas of
the German school, did not hesitate a moment in lending his powerful
aid to the coalition. Madame Krüdner had persuaded him that the _white
angel_, Peace, was to overcome the _black angel_, which presided over
battles, and that the part of mediator and preserver of the human race
was intended for him. The immense armies of Russia, therefore, marched
against the _black angel_ (Buonaparte). I will not enter into the
military details of the Waterloo campaign; suffice it to remind the
reader that the Russians, who had afforded such decisive support during
the invasion of 1813 and 1814, upon this occasion only arrived with the
third division after the struggle was over, which explains the reason
why the influence of England and Prussia was paramount in France during
the transactions of 1815.

I have elsewhere given an account of these negotiations;[48] the
Emperor Alexander constituted himself the protector of the French
interests, being led to do so as much by the natural generosity of his
disposition as by a certain degree of national rivalry, which already
began to appear between Russia and England. Nesselrode's influence
over the mind of the Emperor was quite as powerful as that of Pozzo
di Borgo, and we must acknowledge that they rendered us the most
essential service, by preserving us from a partition of our territory,
and a pecuniary indemnity beyond the power of France to discharge.
Still the treaty of Paris stands in evidence, that we were obliged to
submit to very painful sacrifices and heavy humiliations.

 [48] _Vide_ articles "Pozzo di Borgo" and "Richelieu."

Just at this time the influence of Nesselrode was endangered by a rival
in Alexander's favour; I allude to Count Capo d'Istria.

Capo d'Istria was born in the Ionian islands, in the midst of the Greek
population, which have so often been encouraged by Russia to strive
for their liberty, ever since the time of Catherine II. He was the
friend of Ipsilanti and of all the ardent generation who fought for
the independence of their country. At a very early age he had been
employed in secret and mysterious negotiations. However the cabinet
of St. Petersburg might be situated with regard to the Porte--let
the relations of the two countries be what they might, Russia, for
the last century, had never ceased to favour secretly the efforts of
Greece to shake off the Ottoman yoke. Alas! had she not had frequent
cause for self-reproach on this subject? More than once she had
instigated the Greeks to revolt, and then, when all their efforts had
proved ineffectual, she had not dared to defend them openly in the
face of Europe; for she was closely watched by England and Austria,
who denounced to the Divan the slightest action of the unfortunate
Hellenists--even the groans of an oppressed people were not allowed
to pass in silence. When, therefore, Capo d'Istria was admitted to
the confidence of the Emperor, the cause of the Greeks enjoyed the
advantage of a constant advocate, and a warm, faithful representative.
His credit dated from the negotiations in Switzerland in 1815, whose
result was a new act of mediation under the threefold influence of
Austria, Russia, and Prussia. Capo d'Istria was afterwards appointed to
divide with Nesselrode the ministry for foreign affairs.

It was, as I have before observed, a complete rivalry, for Count
Nesselrode had entirely adopted the ideas of the European school.
Since the year 1812, he had followed the political system opposed
to the military principle of the French revolution, now pursued in
concert by all the cabinets of Europe, whose ruling desire, from the
year 1816, had been the repression of the liberal movement engendered
by the resistance of the people to the conquests of Napoleon.
Nesselrode perfectly agreed with Metternich on this point, and the
Emperor Alexander's partiality for the liberal and Hellenic school
of Capo d'Istria was a source of sorrow and vexation to them both.
The difficulties they had to encounter were of a complicated nature,
for religious feelings were mingled with political ideas--there
was strong sympathy between the two churches of Moscow and Athens,
and the patriarchs were in constant communion with each other. It
was impossible openly to attack Alexander on this point; all that
Nesselrode could do in opposition to Capo d'Istria, was to spread the
alarm in every direction concerning the fearful progress made by the
spirit of insurrection.

As early as the close of 1815, the Emperor Alexander had conceived
the project of the Holy Alliance--an idea resulting from the mystic
and religious fancies of Madame Krüdner, but involving at bottom very
positive resistance to the spirit of revolt; for the Holy Alliance
was nothing more than a contract of mutual support, a sort of bond
entered into by all the crowned heads against the revolutionary
movement in Europe. Metternich and Nesselrode were certainly not the
men for ideal transactions--there had been too much reality and
matter of fact in their lives; still they saw the cabinets adopt these
measures with satisfaction, as they both entertained hopes of bringing
over the Emperor to their way of thinking; and, indeed, the general
course of events at that time appeared to favour the common idea of
Metternich and Nesselrode, for the secret societies in Germany had
been greatly developed, and kept Prussia and Austria in a state of
perpetual anxiety. They sent repeated despatches to St. Petersburg,
and Nesselrode secretly supported the ideas of the alarmed cabinets.
Thus the liberal plans advocated by Capo d'Istria met with secret
opposition, and more than once the Emperor Alexander remained undecided
among the various tendencies which disputed among themselves his mind,
his power, and his affections.

Events, however, were progressing in a manner likely to weaken the
credit of Capo d'Istria, and augment that of Nesselrode. The Polish
senate had been the especial creation of Alexander, it was the work
of his own hands; and this senate, by an ill-advised resistance, had
just deeply offended the will of the sovereign--a circumstance which
might have been considered as a legal act, in a long-established
government, was construed into an armed and criminal revolt; and the
Czar suddenly issued harsh and firm resolutions regarding Poland. The
strong repressive measures advocated by Nesselrode and Metternich thus
regained their place among the ideas of the European system; from the
same cause the influence of Capo d'Istria visibly lost ground with
the Emperor, and with his influence declined the idea of a Christian
insurrection in Greece.

Capo d'Istria, as I before observed, was favourably disposed towards
his countrymen the Greeks, who, by a spontaneous movement, had shaken
off the yoke of the Porte; and he urged Alexander immediately to
interfere, by causing a Russian army to appear on the Pruth and an
imperial fleet in the Mediterranean. The revolt of the Greeks was
observed with great anxiety by Metternich; the house of Austria,
being considered as the protectress of the Divan, made every possible
effort to avoid a conflict calculated to injure the Ottoman influence,
which was necessary to the balance of power in Europe: consequently,
it was the object of Austria to persuade Alexander that the real
spirit evinced by Greece was that of revolution, where Capo d'Istria
saw nothing but a religious question; and in this opinion Nesselrode
perfectly concurred. He considered that the actual state of Europe
would not admit of the emancipation of a people, for rebellion was
every where forming against the crowned heads, and Greece was merely
employed as a pretext.

The moment was well chosen to infuse these alarms into the mind of the
Emperor, the bent of the German universities having just manifested
itself by the assassination of Kotzebue; Piémont had taken up arms,
Naples was in a state of insurrection, and Spain had proclaimed the
Cortes. Metternich, in concert with Nesselrode, then returned to the
idea of congresses, those great fusions of the sovereignties, according
to the course that had been settled by the Holy Alliance.

The diplomatic school had rather a predilection for this assembling
of Europe--those meetings in which all the statesmen of the various
countries met on friendly terms to discuss the affairs of the
Continent. The same passion for congresses was to be observed in
Talleyrand, Metternich, Hardenberg, and Nesselrode; it was a habit they
had formed, a desire of appearing and playing an important part on the
diplomatic stage. The Emperor Alexander was also fond of these great
_réunions_ because he was consulted as an arbiter, the princes of
Europe trusting both to his experience and to his magnanimity.

Nesselrode accompanied the Emperor to Troppau and Laybach; those who
studied the character and deportment of both observed that their minds
appeared to be undecided: there was a kind of uncertain hesitation
between the liberal ideas they had lately entertained and the strongly
repressive tendency advocated by Austria. Metternich made use of all
his talents and influence to convince the Emperor of the dangers by
which all the European sovereignties were threatened, if they did not
decide upon one of those great military demonstrations which, by their
overwhelming force, at once made an end of rebellion; when, just at the
most critical moment, intelligence was brought to the Russian minister
of a mutiny that had taken place in one of the regiments of guards at
St. Petersburg. This news quickly determined the Emperor's opinion;
Nesselrode received orders to enter with the utmost vigour into the
plans proposed by Austria, and the downfall of Capo d'Istria appeared

One thing must be particularly observed in this struggle between
liberal principles and those of absolute dominion; and that is, that
Capo d'Istria had always been the faithful interpreter of an idea of
independence for Greece, consequently, when liberal opinions were in
the ascendant, he was not likely to continue in favour. The great
misfortune of the Greeks at this moment, and what retarded their
emancipation, was the circumstance of their insurrection taking
place at the same time as the revolt in Piémont and the proclamation
of the constitution of the Cortes; rendering it difficult always
to discriminate exactly between an unruly military movement which
terrified the regular governments, and the noble spectacle of Greece,
with a spirit worthy of her forefathers, raising the holy symbol of
her religion on her banners, stained and torn in many a former heroic
struggle. Capo d'Istria's affection for Greece led to the loss of the
Emperor's favour; and he, the protector of the Hellenists, was stabbed
to the heart by a Greek,[49] affording a melancholy proof of the
ingratitude of revolutions.

 [49] Count Capo d'Istria was murdered in September, 1831, by the
 brother and son of a Mainote he had imprisoned.--_Ed._

Then took place the intimate fusion of the Russian and Austrian system
of politics, occasioning the absolute triumph of Metternich; and this
situation was continued at the congress of Verona under Nesselrode,
from that time forth sole minister of Russia, and chief of the
_chancellerie_ under Alexander. At the congress of Verona he held the
pen, and all the resolutions regarding Spain were taken in concert;
the diplomatic notes were drawn up by the two ministers together;
Metternich wrote to the Austrian minister at Madrid, while Nesselrode,
recalling the Russian ambassador, fulminated a sentence of proscription
against the Cortes. It was no longer the liberal and generous Alexander
they had to deal with, but an imperious prince, who, through his
ministers, laid down the law in a sovereign and dogmatic manner. When
M. de Villèle craftily objected for a short time to engage in an
expensive and hazardous campaign, Nesselrode, without the slightest
hesitation, wrote to him, in the name of the Emperor, that Russia was
determined to venture every thing in order to repress the spirit of
revolt in the Peninsula. The impulse was so powerful it was no longer
possible to resist it.

The close of Alexander's life was greatly harassed by these feelings;
the sacred cause of the Greeks weighed upon his mind as a subject
of remorse, and the sorrow it occasioned him was imprinted on his
countenance, which now bore the appearance of ill health. Yet what
was to be done? The panic of impending revolutions had seized upon
his mind, and delivered him over to a thousand terrors, for his dread
of the spirit of the secret societies was extreme. Liberalism filled
him with alarm, he viewed it as a spectre threatening him with the
seditions that might arise in his empire, and he did not comprehend
that the most effectual means of employing the national effervescence
of the Russians would have been to march them against Turkey for the
deliverance of Greece. The causes of the unexpected death of Alexander
have formed the subject of much inquiry; perhaps this acute sorrow was
not entirely unconnected with it: he was a man of a deeply religious
mind, with a mild disposition and a tender and impressionable heart;
thus he felt deeply for the sufferings of Greece. Every stroke of a
yataghan which caused the head of a woman or child to roll in the dust,
among the ruins of Athens or Lacedæmon, made his heart bleed.

Soon after Alexander had been gathered to his fathers, a commotion, at
once political and military, took place in Russia. In southern Europe
people are not sufficiently acquainted with the character of the noble
family of the Czar: there was a degree of enthusiasm in the filial
affection entertained by the Emperor Alexander for his aged mother, and
the deepest respect existed in the hearts of Constantine and Nicholas
for their elder brother Alexander. His death took them all by surprise,
and upon his tomb burst forth the military movement prepared by the
secret societies, and by a generation of young officers, dreaming of
the old Sclavonian independence.

Was the accession of the Emperor Nicholas likely to make any
alteration in Nesselrode's position? One powerful reason which
operated against any diminution of the minister's influence was the
respectful admiration of Nicholas for the policy and the opinions of
his deceased brother, and being also inexperienced in business, he
considered it indispensable to surround himself with the men who had
been acquainted with the politics of Russia ever since the great epoch
of 1814. These men of traditions are essential to governments; they
preserve the history of all the precedents in the cabinets; they know
what has been the conduct of Europe during a long series of years,
what are the springs by which she has been actuated, and the acts she
has been called upon to concert; comprising information of the most
essential utility for the comprehension of treaties and the conduct of
negotiations: besides this, it was impossible to deny that Nesselrode
was possessed of very great ability in unravelling events, and had
always shewn an enlightened, though passive obedience, to the wishes of
his sovereign. The Emperor Nicholas, then, being desirous of continuing
the policy of his brother, to whom could he better address himself than
to the man who had had the direction of affairs during the last fifteen
years? Nesselrode also enjoyed the esteem of the Empress-Mother; and
what power that remarkable woman had exercised over political affairs!
She alone always manifested a sovereign contempt for Napoleon--she
alone swayed the mind of her son Alexander, even after Erfurt; and,
according to the patriarchal fashion, all her children appeared, to a
certain degree, to do homage to her for the crown, as if they owed the
supreme power to her from whom they had derived their existence.

Nevertheless, Nesselrode soon found it necessary to modify his
opinions. Ideas had advanced since the death of Alexander, and it was
impossible to restrain the Russian spirit, which had decided in the
most energetic manner in favour of Greece; it therefore required
military food, and a war was indispensable. The influence of Metternich
over the cabinet of St. Petersburg daily lost ground from this moment,
and Nesselrode began to draw off from Germany, and become more
essentially Russian in his principles and ideas; he also began to take
a decided turn in favour of the Greeks. Nor in this conduct ought he to
be reproached with inconstancy, for the times and circumstances were
no longer the same, the monarchical principle having triumphed every
where, in Piémont as well as at Madrid and at Naples, while Poland
appeared entirely subject to her viceroy Constantine. Under these
circumstances it was less difficult to discern the holy and heroic
principle of the Greek revolution, and to rekindle the ardent hope of
an independence, acquired by means of so many pious sacrifices. From
this new tendency of affairs, Nesselrode found himself the antagonist
of Metternich, with whom he had hitherto been agreed; but the Russian
interest now prevailed over the Austrian spirit.

The friendship between France and Russia dates from the year 1815, and
was increased at the congress of Aix-la-Chapelle, under the influence
of the Duc de Richelieu; but at that period, as we learn from the
despatches of Count Nesselrode, France was too much overwhelmed by
the fatal consequences of the two invasions to take an active part
in affairs, or afford a support that would make her alliance worth
seeking by the various cabinets of Europe: but from the year 1819
France exhibited such a developement of vital powers and military
energy, that Russia hastened to include her in her diplomatic means.
The inclinations of the French cabinet turned in this direction, under
the Duc de Richelieu and M. Dessolles; and they continued thus until
the more English administrations of Polignac, of Montmorency, and of
Villèle. The ministry of M. de la Ferronays again was favourable to
the Russian alliance; and the ties that now bound France to Russia
were not merely those of gratitude for the services rendered at the
restoration, but the well-grounded conviction that the Russian alliance
could on no occasion injure our interests, but might, on the contrary,
on many occasions augment our diplomatic influence and our territorial
boundaries. The collection of the despatches of Nesselrode and Pozzo di
Borgo during this interval, and all the diplomatic papers that exist
in the Foreign Office, attest the good-will of the cabinet of St.
Petersburg, and the offers made secretly by it to obtain the alliance
and concurrence of France on the Eastern question.

Another cause which made this friendship so greatly desired, was the
rivalry that had already become apparent between Russia and England.
The system of the alliances in 1815 had overturned all the ancient
diplomatic ideas, and all private jealousies had given way before the
common object of Europe,--the destruction of Napoleon's power. But one
great fault then committed by England was her inordinate augmentation
of the power of Russia, thus, to a certain degree, creating her future
omnipotence; for it was with the money and subsidies of England that
the cabinet of St. Petersburg acquired the means of influencing for
ever the southern interests. Nesselrode, who had been engaged in
the greater part of the transactions of 1815, was obliged to detach
himself from the traditions of the alliance of 1812, and great ability
is required in order to make these transitions without abruptness;
supple minds possess their influence as well as those of a more decided
character, and ruin follows close upon the attempt to resist too much.
Nesselrode is essentially the man of transitions; he has never assumed
an inflexible attitude in a system or an idea, but has constituted
himself the translator of times and interests: from which cause, as
I have before observed, it sometimes occurred that his opinions as
_chancelier d'état_ to the Emperor Nicholas were opposed to those he
professed when he held the same situation under Alexander. The ideas of
these two princes were not alike, neither were they placed in the same
situations; yet Nesselrode served them both with the same fidelity and
the same intelligence. It is a talent in public affairs to know how to
make one's self the interpreter of another person; there are but a few
of those very superior minds who, being deeply impressed with their own
conceptions, obtain a dominion over times and characters, and even they
frequently fall. But many very distinguished ministers never are able
to attain that point of elevation, and, not daring to make themselves
types, they are content with being impressions. They agree with all
periods, all situations, and all difficulties.

From the accession of the Emperor Nicholas to the revolution of 1830,
the Russian policy was in some measure absorbed by the war with the
Porte. All the ancient theory of the Holy Alliance was abandoned for
less undecided interests, and less fear was entertained concerning
revolutions at the time the most complete revolution took place.
Whatever judgment may be formed of the event of 1830, it must suddenly
have awakened a new train of emotions in the Russian _chancellerie_;
for the popular principle which had caused this violent irruption had
demonstrated as much energy, as did formerly the military power of
Napoleon, against whom all Europe had risen in arms. The old education
of Nesselrode was here destined again to be of service to him; for the
first consequence of the revolt was, though not exactly to _revive_
the treaties of the Holy Alliance, an old parchment which had fallen
to pieces, at least to pave the way for a treaty of mutual guarantee.
All private dissensions were naturally compelled to give way, that
people might hasten to provide against the most pressing danger;
Metternich appeared entirely to resume his former ideas, as if he were
returning to the projects of 1815, and the diplomatic school abandoned
many serious plans for the chances of a crusade against democratic
principles. We are inclined to think Nesselrode did not dislike this
reminiscence of the principles of political repression, being those
which he most perfectly understood, and which he had particularly
dwelt upon during his early years of study and labour: but age had now
supervened; in 1830 Nesselrode was no longer young, and it is not at
the second period of existence people are able to encounter the great
perturbations which shake the world to its centre. In recapitulating
the causes of the maintenance of peace, people have not sufficiently
considered the dread of change that possessed those wearied existences.
Truly, it was not without reason that the Greeks placed in the hands
of the aged the decision concerning peace or war. Let us suppose
Metternich with the impetuosity of youth, and Nesselrode fifteen years
younger, who can tell what might have occurred? Perhaps a violent war
might have broken out, and with it all the chances of disorder.

The insurrection in Poland, however, gave plenty of occupation to
Russia, and the ideas of the Emperor Nicholas on the subject of
repression harmonised perfectly with those of his minister. What
the Russian people desired was the union of Poland to Russia; and
the amalgamation, which had so long been the constant subject of
Nesselrode's thoughts, was, at last, on the point of being finally
accomplished. He never fully entered into the prejudices of the old
Muscovites on this point, but he, nevertheless, was of opinion that
this divided nation, this double and simultaneous government, injured
the political and administrative unity of Russia.

The divers administrations which constitute the vast Russian empire,
and which all tend to one common centre, under the hand of the
Emperor, are, as a whole, very remarkable. Ever since the constituent
assembly established an unity of administration in France, our system
of government has no longer cause to dread that, in a homogeneous
whole, one province or one district will be opposed to another; their
strength has been blended in a manner very convenient to those in
power. But it is far otherwise in Russia: the cabinet of St. Petersburg
has to command thousands of different races--Tartars, Mahometans,
Poles, and Cossacks; each of these people has its laws, its customs,
its power, and its recollections, and it is necessary to maintain
this individuality without detracting from the unity of the system.
There is neither one general rule observed in the mode of levying the
taxes, nor even, in a great measure, is there any undeviating rule
for the military conscription. Some pay tribute, others are subject
to contributions of arms and horses; in some places the recruits are
furnished by the nobles, in others they are obtained by means of
_levées en masse_; some people are still subject to feudal government
under the Czar, and others, again, depend on the regular and immediate
authority of the princes. In France the administrative clockwork is so
simple that nothing but a will and a hand for business are required
to set it in motion; nothing can be easier than the situation of a
prefect, or even of a minister for the home department; interests,
rights, and customs, are all sacrificed to the strength of the

All these circumstances lead to the necessity in Russia of a more
careful and more finished education for a statesman; for a young man
who is preparing for a diplomatic situation at St. Petersburg, must not
only be acquainted with French and German, but must also understand
modern Greek and some of the Oriental languages. Nesselrode, in spite
of his long experience, has been obliged to submit to the general rule;
and a considerable portion of his life has been devoted to the study of
living languages. His mind has become a repertory of treaties, he is a
living catalogue of all the transactions of his time. The offices over
which he presides are the most extensive, the most multiplied, and the
most minute that can be imagined; there is a division for the relations
with Persia, another for those with China, and with the little
Mahometan princes, independent of those for the secret correspondence
with the chiefs of the various tribes lately conquered by Russia.
Nesselrode presides over all these affairs of the _chancellerie_ with
an activity nothing can slacken: his extreme facility in the despatch
of business, and his laborious existence in the midst of the European
relations, have naturally confirmed his credit with the Czar; who is
also accustomed to act very much for himself, and only requires a
minister as a sort of memorandum-book he can consult when he pleases,
and as a faithful arm to execute his will. During the last five years
the system of diplomatic aides-de-camp has been revived in full force,
for the Emperor likes those semi-military appointments, which give a
constantly armed attitude to Russia; in fact, it is one of the active
sources of his moral influence.

Nesselrode, it is true, is only the enlightened hand which writes the
will of the Emperor; he is valued as a man of good counsel, which
means, that he listens a great deal, and that he can discover the
secret thoughts of the person that consults him, without himself
having any of those determined plans which clash with the will of the

The junior diplomatic school of Russia regard Nesselrode as a living
archive, something in the way M. d'Hauterive was considered in France;
and it is of great importance that a person who is called to direct the
affairs of his country in the present times should be well acquainted
with its former history--it also adds greatly to the elevation of his
position. The temperate system, adopted by men weary of agitation, is
a great benefit when opposed to the fiery spirits who wish to proceed
with impetuosity in public affairs. The proud and generous disposition
of the Emperor renders it necessary he should have at his side a man
who will not execute his orders till the following day, because time
is thus afforded for reflection, and an order issued to-day might very
possibly be revoked after the lapse of a night; on these occasions
there is a great advantage in a man of a temperate mind.

Nesselrode has, in every respect, the most agreeable _salon_ in St.
Petersburg, and the one where the most conversation goes on. He takes
pleasure in collecting people who hold the most various opinions, in
such a manner as to form a neutral ground, on which every body may
meet; and when a man has reached a venerable age, full of years and of
honours, what more can be desired? our tent must be pitched somewhere.
When for forty years, people have been engaged in the most gigantic
events, like the aged men in Homer, they offer hospitality to the
young, when they recount to them all they have seen, and the judgment
they have formed; they contemplate the present generation with the
feelings experienced by a traveller who, from an elevated tower, looks
down on the cities far below him, and the people incessantly busy, and
thronging to perform the part assigned to them in the weary task of


I am about to write the life of a statesman whose character has been
more violently attacked in the annals of England--I might almost say
of Europe--than any other with whom I am acquainted. No one ever had
to endure more outrages and insults, and no one ever displayed more
inflexible firmness, in the course of a most chequered and agitated
life. I shall offend many little prejudices, and hurt many vulgar
opinions; but things of this sort have never prevented me from
proceeding straight to the truths of history, respecting men who have
accomplished a great political career.

On the picturesque Lake Foyle[50] in Ireland, whose shores are studded
with ancient mansions, and whose waters are diversified with fertile
islands, inhabited by little colonies of aged fishermen, a young man of
eccentric manners, but whose appearance denoted a being of a superior
class to those around him, had for two years fixed his residence. His
only habitation was his boat: fishing, hunting, and violent exercises,
filled up his time; and in the evening, surrounded by the fishermen,
he made them relate to him all the old legendary tales of the country,
and, in his turn, instructing the inhabitants of the district, he drew
up laws respecting fishing, and hunting, as if he were the sovereign
of this watery republic. No one could exhibit more intrepidity than did
this singular being. Upon one occasion he set sail in his frail bark,
in the strait that separates Ireland from England; and his shipwreck on
the Isle of Man, where he had alone managed his yacht in a stormy sea,
like one of the Ossianic heroes, was long recorded by the peasantry.
His dreams were of the legends of the lake; and being deeply enamoured
of the daughter of one of the fishermen named Nelly, he sacrificed
every thing to this ardent and romantic passion, wearing simply the
dress of the children of the lake, for he loved and was desirous of
being beloved again. Enthusiastic and passionate in his feelings, he
would endure no contradiction; and an attempt having one day been made
to deprive him of his mistress, he defied his rival to a duel after the
Scandinavian fashion--that is to say with battle-axes--and conducted
himself with a degree of intrepidity that was celebrated all over Great

 [50] Quære, Coyne?--_Editor._

This young man, whose eccentricity took so poetical a form, for his
youth was like a ballad, was Robert Stewart, afterwards Viscount
Castlereagh and Marquess of Londonderry. His family was not originally
Irish, but came from Scotland. James I., as every one is aware, created
some great fiefs in Ireland, and bestowed them upon some of his most
faithful subjects, in the hope of more closely uniting Ireland to the
British empire. Eight of these fiefs, with a kind of _suzeraineté_,
fell to the share of the Duke of Lennox; and the Stewarts, that noble
name in Scotland, no doubt allied to the royal line, held some of the
lands subject to the Lennox family. It has always been the fate of
Ireland to be under the dominion of strangers to her soil; the yoke of
conquest becomes more heavy after each impatient tumult. Her oppression
arises from her disturbed condition; each unsuccessful revolt produces
additional servitude, and much of her suffering is owing to the crime
of the popular agitators, who are instigated by nothing but their own
insatiable vanity to endeavour to destroy all old and respectable
national feeling.

The Stewarts, however, decided in favour of William III., and of
what is termed in England the glorious Revolution. As possessors of
military fiefs they were naturally inclined to second the accession
of a new dynasty, by whom their usurpation of the conquered country
was likely to be sanctioned. When great alterations have taken place
in the rights and tenure of property, a change of power is required,
and, indeed, is almost indispensable to restore peace and quiet to
the country. The Orangemen, therefore, formed a closely-united party
in Ireland, and exercised military dominion over the people. In vain
did the unfortunate James, in his rapid passage through Ireland, cause
the parliament of Dublin to pronounce a sentence of confiscation, on
account of felony, against the estates of Colonel Stewart, serving
under William of Orange. This confiscation continued in force but
a short time; and William, having gained the victory, lavished his
rewards upon the officer who had so powerfully supported his cause.
William Stewart, thus loaded with wealth by the king of 1688, was one
of the most determined oppressors of Ireland--one of those who ruled
with a rod of iron the country reconquered after the battle of the

The young man dwelling among the fishermen on the shores of the lake,
therefore, came of a noble lineage; and his mother was a Seymour,
named Sarah-Frances, like the Puritan dames who have been re-animated
by the genius of Walter Scott. Robert Stewart, like the rest of the
youth of Great Britain, had pursued his studies at the University of
Cambridge; and, on leaving college, he had precipitated himself into
this romantic sort of life, some said from his love for the fisherman's
daughter, while others, on the contrary, declared such a passage was
merely incidental to his eccentric life, like a wreath of wild flowers
on the brow of a Scandinavian warrior. He, however, led a generous
life, for money appeared to be of no value to him; and he spent largely
in constructing little ports for the fishermen, and distributing among
them boats of a superior construction, like a beneficent deity. Such
is the great source of the power enjoyed by the English aristocracy.
While their public life is passed in the midst of cities, their private
life is in the country. All that was benevolent in the old feudal
system is still to be found in their castles: from their turrets flow
the alms still, as in ancient times, conferred upon the people; the
donjon is converted into a dispensary, where medicines and assistance
are afforded to the sick. And thus the aristocracy reign over the
peasantry, in virtue of the powerful aid they are ready to afford to
all who require it in their neighbourhood.

Nevertheless, the wish to distinguish himself in public life began to
animate the heart of young Stewart. Parliament appears necessary to
the youth of Great Britain, and it is there they prepare themselves
for political life, taking their place among the Whigs or Tories
according to a certain order of political principles. It was necessary
the Stewarts should have seats in the Irish parliament, for they had a
great stake in the country; but, owing to the family being Protestants,
the election was violently contested, and cost the successful candidate
thirty thousand pounds. These corruptions are a general rule in
England, and they even add to the strength of the country; for there
is no danger a bad choice should result from them, every thing being
fixed according to settled rules; every thing is so well foreseen and
organised by the mechanical arrangements made, that the elections that
take place are always of men of safe principles. Pecuniary corruption
in the existence of states often acts as a corrective of another, and
far more injurious, corruption for a people--I mean ideas tending to
revolutionary principles.

The Irish parliament, then still existing, was a great cause of
disorder in the unity of the British government, until the illustrious
Pitt placed every thing under the common law of the triple crown. There
is something strange and perfectly inconsistent in the pretensions of
Ireland. The people profess to respect the Union without ever wishing
to depart from it; and then they claim a parliament for themselves,
and desire something resembling a republic independent of England. Let
them exult in their Catholic emancipation; they have a right to do so,
and cannot value it too highly. But do they wish still to make part of
the British empire?--do they wish the harp of Erin still to hold her
place on the escutcheon of England? Alone, Ireland cannot subsist. Her
commerce is supported by the vast trade of England: she only exists by
means of the colonies, and the day she ceases to be English she will be
ruined. What, then, is the meaning of all those revolts, those protests
on all occasions, which serve no purpose except that of conferring a
certain sort of renown upon street orators and demagogues?

The election of Robert Stewart, however, though anti-Catholic, was not
ministerial; for he promised on the hustings to support parliamentary
reform, and on taking his seat in the House of Commons he placed
himself on the opposition benches. This was a sort of sacrifice to
popularity necessary from all statesmen at the beginning of their
career, and the most powerful have not been exempt from paying this
tribute to rhetoric. However, even at that time, young Stewart
appeared to keep within certain limits of order and principles; and,
avoiding declamation, he spoke seriously, and restrained himself while
speaking. He was not an orator with a sonorous, reverberating voice,
who, by means of biting epigrams, drew peals of laughter from his
auditors. His speeches bore the impress of the Toryism of his family,
and all his inclinations were those of an eminently Conservative mind.

England and Ireland were at this time agitated more especially by two
questions; the first was parliamentary reform, and the other the free
commerce of Ireland with the colonies. On the first of these points,
the Castlereagh family, like the Wellesleys, considered it absurd to
impose upon the Catholics a conscientious oath, which would exclude
them from participating in the benefit of the elections; but, at the
same time, was it not very unwise to prepare an indefinite reform,
which would overturn the whole of the social condition of Great
Britain? It was with a view to the admission of the Catholics into
parliament that the Irish Tories became friends with the opposition;
they shewed themselves favourably inclined to the emancipation of those
who differed with them in belief, and at the same time opposed to
radical reform: and this last subject was the cause of Castlereagh's
withdrawal from the Irish agitators, who now began to aim murderous
blows at the Union.

Robert Stewart, also, considered that Ireland could not with justice be
deprived of an extensive commerce with the colonies. What was the use
of a system which made all the advantages fall to the share of England
and Scotland, without allowing the essentially agricultural population
of Ireland, to participate in them? Young Stewart defended the
interests of Ireland with energy and great ability, and he immediately
attracted the attention of those in power, more especially the Marquis
of Buckingham and Lord Westmoreland.

The rebellion in Ireland took place at this juncture; the people
were determined to separate themselves from the English crown; the
time was past when the questions raised by the opposition were those
of religious liberty or political independence; they now wanted to
establish a sort of Irish republic, under the protection of the
democracy that was then setting Europe in a blaze. Treasonable
correspondence with the French republic could not fail to place the
society of United Irishmen without the pale of the constitution and
of all patriotic feelings. Ireland called for the assistance of
foreigners, and a strong party was naturally formed to oppose these
evil designs. The Orangemen, who sided with the government, organised
the yeomanry--a sort of feudal system against the insurgents, and
a civil war broke out in Ireland at the time of the expeditions to
their coasts, commanded by Generals Hoche and Humbert. The members
of parliament could not venture on further hesitation; for it was
necessary either to take part with the United Irishmen supported by
foreigners, or to declare for the government of Mr. Pitt. Robert
Stewart, who had just acquired the title of Castlereagh, upon his
father being created Earl of Londonderry, exhibited no indecision as
to the course he was to pursue, and from this time forth he was always
firmly convinced that the only real statesmen are those who know how to
repress the tumultuous movements of popular excitement.

He now devoted himself to repressive measures, with the energy that
formed the basis of his character. He had been appointed secretary for
Ireland under Lord Camden, and by this means became identified with
the Orange party. It was principally owing to his vigorous measures
that the insurrection was brought to a termination, for he never was
arrested by any of the trifling obstacles which often form the ruin
of causes; he considered it necessary the government should display
perfect inflexibility, for the salvation of the country was at stake:
amnesties were granted, it is true, but not until the tumult was
over and the rebels had laid down their arms. During this struggle
Lord Castlereagh was particularly distinguished for the strength and
importance he conferred upon the Orange party, consisting of men of
property who were formed into a body for the defence of their land.
Lord Cornwallis was able, after a time, to succeed Lord Camden in the
government of Ireland, and the repressive system had then produced
such a state of security, that the government considered the season of
pardon and oblivion to have arrived.

The most violent hatred was now aroused against Lord Castlereagh:
it is, alas! the fate of all who by violent means restore order in
a country, for they occasion discontent, and all the spirits whose
turbulence had troubled the country are, of course, opposed to them;
because their proceedings have been severe, people insist that they
have been sanguinary. These invectives of the Irish did not permit
Lord Cornwallis to retain Lord Castlereagh as secretary, he therefore
gave in his resignation; for, in peaceful times, the men who commanded
during the storm are no longer required, and when the tempest is over
the services of the hardy pilot are scarcely remembered: thus Marquis
Cornwallis, whose government was distinguished for its indulgence,
no longer required the inflexible hand of the former secretary. No
part of his conduct, however, had escaped the vast intellect of the
statesman then at the head of the English government. Mr. Pitt had
discovered the secretary for Ireland to possess an inflexible mind,
which, when once convinced of the expediency of any measure, was
capable of making every exertion, and encountering every risk, in order
to carry out an idea he had formed; and this kind of disposition must
have been particularly satisfactory to Mr. Pitt at a time when England
was threatened with so many dangers. In unsettled times, the presence
of men of firm and determined characters, who will prevent society
from falling to pieces, is of the greatest importance to a government.
From this moment, a communication took place between Pitt and Lord
Castlereagh. The great minister required a powerful supporter in the
definitive question of the parliamentary union of Ireland and England;
for the late disturbances, and more especially the unfortunate appeal
to a foreign power, and to the leaders of the French revolution, had
inspired Mr. Pitt with a firm conviction, that neither strength nor
order were to be hoped for, except through the means of the Union, and
that the existence of the Irish parliament was in direct opposition to
the spirit of centralisation, which can alone secure the prosperity
and glory of a country. After every insurrection Ireland was losing
some portion of her freedom,--a fate always prepared by agitators for
those who trust too much to their words! A nation obtains concessions
only when it remains in a quiescent position, and when its well-founded
complaints are uttered with calm sobriety of manner; silent suffering
produces a great effect on the minds of the beholders, and the feeling
of justice exercises an unspeakable influence. Lord Castlereagh in the
Irish parliament made himself the zealous champion of Mr. Pitt, in his
plan for uniting the two parliaments; the country comprehended the
advantages to be derived from this measure, and it was decided that
the three crowns of England, Scotland, and Ireland, ought to form one
great whole, which would hereafter be the support of the Continent
when threatened with danger. Pitt was highly satisfied with Lord
Castlereagh's speech for the Union; he was summoned by the ministerial
party to the united House of Commons, and appointed president of
the Board of Control for the affairs of India. This is one of the
appointments conferred in England by the ministers upon the talented
men with whom they surround themselves, for the sake of their support
in parliament.

No man could be better acquainted with the situation of Ireland than
Lord Castlereagh, or more perfectly aware of all the resources of the
Orange party which could be employed for the purpose of repression.
This knowledge rendered him a person of great importance, for the prime
minister was then anxious to put into execution the union between
England and Ireland, which had been decided upon in parliament, and
Lord Castlereagh, who by his profound acquaintance with the moral
topography of Ireland was the man most calculated to realise this
design, was consulted upon all the measures to be pursued. Mr. Pitt
especially possessed the practical genius which enabled him to discover
men of particular capacity, and around him were a multitude of young
and clever men, each with his appointed station and employment. The
system of under-secretaries of state in England produces wonderful
results; it gives to affairs their full developement, enabling the
statesman to confine himself to generalities, both of ideas and
systems, while the young under-secretaries devote all their energies to
the statistics of detail and the internal administration. Thus was Lord
Castlereagh situated; a man of an inflexible and laborious disposition,
who never arrived at a general idea except by means of the most careful
and minute study of all the circumstances.

This special knowledge of affairs caused Lord Castlereagh to be
retained even during Mr. Addington's ministry, which lasted but a very
short time, and was succeeded by Mr. Pitt's still more decided plans
against the French revolution. Addington signed the peace of Amiens,
and Castlereagh, as president of the Board of Trade, had to deliberate
upon all the measures which augmented the commercial relations of
England with India and the colonies. He assumed no position as a
political character, for he did not agree with the ideas entertained
by Addington, and he, therefore, completely gave himself up to his
duties at the Board of Control and to the affairs of Ireland. His heart
was full of detestation for France, and, in imitation of his master,
he allowed this administration to pass without taking any part in it.
As a reward for his conduct on this occasion, Pitt, on resuming his
situation at the head of affairs, gave him the portfolio of the War

It is necessary to observe that Pitt's great ambition was that all
the various departments should be entirely dependent upon him; he did
not like to have any men about him except those of his school, or
immediately attached to his system,--his _fides Achates_, as they were
classically termed by Dundas; and among these young men the names of
Castlereagh and Canning are especially resplendent: both were subject
to his power, but of essentially opposite characters, and jealous of
each other. Castlereagh was so firm and decided, that he never gave up
an idea he had once formed; his manner of speaking was slow, and rather
heavy, but serious, and never thoughtless. Canning, on the contrary,
was sarcastic, and rather inclined to classic declamation; an orator,
rather spoiled from a constant striving after effect. Castlereagh was
often listened to with impatience, nevertheless, he generally attained
his object; while Canning, by the generality of people, was only viewed
in the light of an eloquent speaker. Castlereagh was a statesman;
Canning, a man of words, rather theatrical, not to be relied on, and
with an indescribable levity of language and purpose. Castlereagh
would have laid down his life for his party, or for an idea; Canning
was a renegade to his party, he supported every thing with ability,
and gloried in his oratorical triumphs, at the very time he was
compromising his cabinet.

When Pitt, their illustrious chief, died broken-hearted by the victory
of Austerlitz, the king considered it indispensable, in order to
conclude a peace with France, that Fox and Grenville, the leaders of
the Whigs, should assume the ministry; it was an unfortunate attempt,
often repeated in England. Fox, and all his friends, shewed themselves
perfectly devoid of political knowledge, and they also evinced extreme
incapacity, which gave occasion to the remark that a Whig ministry was
a misfortune both for the country and for the party itself; for the
country, because it compromises it, and for the party, because the
Whigs always forfeit their reputation, throwing away, in a ministry
which lasted fifteen months, the fruit of fifteen years of popularity.
As might be expected, Canning and Castlereagh were the most violent
opponents of Fox's cabinet. The debates in parliament during this
ministry form a curious study; Canning and Castlereagh did not like
each other, though they were on the same side of the question, and
this was mainly owing to the difference in their talents, as well as
in the character of their minds and intellects. Castlereagh attacked
the administration by means of reasoning, an appeal to figures, and a
sort of traditional influence, which produced a great effect upon the
Tories; while Canning, on the contrary, trusted to poetical sallies, or
ridicule. Above all, Fox was out of place at the head of affairs.

Men whose whole life is passed in attacking others, are essentially
in a bad position when they assume the direction of affairs; they are
unable to breathe, they are neither free nor happy in this sphere, for
it is not congenial to them. The men of business, on the contrary,
who are for a short time in the opposition, become very dangerous
opponents, especially if they possess a flow of language and a quick
and earnest manner; as they have seen a great deal, they preserve an
incontestable degree of authority while reproaching the opposition with
succeeding no better than _they_ did when in power, and with imitating
awkwardly the very conduct they had formerly attacked with great
violence. The men who declaim are not to be feared; the only really
formidable adversaries are those who have had much experience in the
course of events.

The wretched administration of Lord Grey, after the death of Fox, was
a continuation of the Whig politics. His lordship had at all times
been rather the bulwark than leader of his party, and the tool of the
able men who availed themselves of his high reputation: there are
generally in politics some characters who serve as a stalking-horse for
certain opinions; they have a great name, which is taken hold of, to be
employed or absorbed according to circumstances.

The ministry of Lord Grey, and Grenville, only lasted for a few
months after the death of Fox, for the continental questions began to
assume so serious an aspect that it was not possible for the Whigs
to direct them. Fox had been desirous of a peace with France--one of
those bastard truces attempted by Addington at the peace of Amiens;
but how was it possible there should be peace between two such proud
and powerful authorities as Napoleon and the English aristocracy?
the irrevocable fall of one or other of the parties was inevitable.
Austerlitz had given birth to Fox's ministry, and the awaking of
Prussia from the torpor in which she had been plunged brought about
the fall of the Whigs. The Duke of Portland, belonging to the moderate
Tory party, undertook the difficult and painful task of directing the
affairs of Great Britain, and the two most determined and unvarying
opponents of the former administration were naturally included in the
present ministry: as I have before observed, they were men of perfectly
different characters. Castlereagh returned to the War Office, with
the detail of which he was perfectly well acquainted; and Canning was
appointed minister for foreign affairs, as being the favourite pupil of
Pitt and the inheritor of his doctrines.

From this time a peace with France was no longer thought of; that idea
gave place to the determination to engage in a fierce and implacable
war against Napoleon, who had now reached the _apogée_ of his glory,
and on this point the opinion of Lord Castlereagh was firm and
unvarying. His great object was to find the leaven of war, on that
continent now humbled under the sword of the Emperor; and, by means of
secret springs, to arouse the governments and people, crushed beneath
his gigantic power. The influence of France extended from Cadiz to
Hamburg, from Antwerp to Trieste; Austria had made peace with her
after the sad defeat at Austerlitz; and Prussia, after appearing for a
moment as if roused to resistance, had again bowed beneath the yoke.
Germany was subject to the Confederation of the Rhine; Switzerland to
the predominant mediation of the French empire; Italy was in a state of
vassalage under the Iron crown; at Tilsit a friendship had been formed
between Russia and France, and the two emperors were about to meet
again at Erfurt, to cement the alliance projected at Tilsit, and divide
the world between them.

England, therefore, stood _alone_ in the struggle now fiercely
undertaken against Napoleon. Castlereagh, who held the same opinions
that Mr. Pitt had done, resolutely rejected every attempt at peace with
a power whose principle had hitherto been to grasp at every thing,
and which appeared resolved it should continue so to be. The Duke of
Portland had a degree of rashness, and something chivalrous, in his
disposition, which led him to engage boldly in the struggle; and the
new connexion between Lord Castlereagh and the Duke of Wellington gave
him a sort of pre-eminence in the cabinet, which offended the vanity
of Canning. Like all political speakers, the minister for foreign
affairs aimed at power, and, because he possessed a happy facility in
quoting some classical verses acquired at the University, he considered
himself fitted to occupy a higher situation than Castlereagh, whose
speech was slow and embarrassed. This jealousy increased after the
brilliant expedition to Copenhagen, in which the minister of war had
displayed very great ability, and the arrangements of which were so
perfectly successful that the Danish fleet remained in the power of the
English. The opposition in vain declared it was an iniquitous action,
contrary to all the principles of the law of nations: but necessity has
no law; and was it not absolutely necessary that Great Britain should
prevent the coalition of the Danish squadron and the fleet of Antwerp?
The lukewarm neutrality of Denmark was not a sufficient guarantee to
England, and it was indispensable either to force that government to
declare itself, or to destroy a fleet which lay too near the formidable
arsenal of Napoleon. Mr. Canning was very jealous of his ministerial
colleague; he had always considered himself to hold the first place
since the death of Mr. Pitt, and he could not bear that another should
share in this renown: this enmity soon burst forth in a striking

The active diplomatic proceedings of England on the Continent had
excited the fears of Austria, as to the probable results of a war;
the interview at Erfurt determined the cabinet of Vienna to take arms
against Napoleon, and England immediately contracted a league of
offence and defence with Austria, based upon subsidies which she agreed
to furnish.

It was well known that, ever since the commencement of the war in
Spain, great dissatisfaction had existed in the French empire against
the insatiable ambition of Buonaparte; and several ministers, as for
instance Talleyrand and Fouché, had begun to look forward to the
possibility of the death or downfall of the Emperor. When generals
like Bernadotte were out of favour, one might easily imagine that,
in case of the death of Napoleon, or of a military insurrection, the
vast empire raised by one man would fall into complete decay and
dissolution. This was, from henceforward, the groundwork of the plans
of England. It was intended an English army should land in Holland,
at the same time that Austria should open the war by an immense
military demonstration, and thus effect a rapid popular insurrection.
The thing Lord Castlereagh considered of the most importance was the
destruction of the fleet and arsenal of Antwerp, in the same manner
as the capture of the Danish fleet had formerly been effected; he
therefore, as minister of war, made immense preparations for the
Walcheren expedition; but,--must it be said?--here commenced the
treachery of Mr. Canning towards his country and his colleague. It is
incontestable that Mr. Canning furnished information to Fouché, to let
him know the intentions of Lord Castlereagh;[51] for when jealousy
has taken possession of the heart it listens to nothing. As to his
conduct towards his colleague, Canning persuaded the Duke of Portland
to get rid of Lord Castlereagh, as a man of a harsh and inflexible
disposition, incapable of conducting the war department, or of
directing or supporting a debate. In parliament, Mr. Canning wanted to
rule over the Tory party, and Lord Castlereagh was an obstacle to his
ambitious designs.

 [51] This assertion is untrue, and not borne out by any

The Walcheren expedition failed, and explanations naturally took place
between the colleagues. Unfortunate catastrophes are always followed
by harsh and bitter words, because no one is willing to stand by the
consequences. A feeling was raised against Lord Castlereagh, who
was denounced by the Whigs as unfit for his situation. "How had it
happened," said they, "that a fine English army had been thus plunged
into sickness and misery?" Lord Castlereagh was obliged to defend
himself, and the storm which was growling around him rendered it
impossible for him to retain his situation; but he wrote a sharp and
angry letter, openly accusing Canning, if not of actual treason, at
least of underhand practices, which had occasioned all these disasters.
Canning replied in a confused manner, by details on the delays that
had taken place in the departure of troops, and the wrong address
of the despatches; he was only ardent and cutting when he came to
personal recriminations against Castlereagh, who, deeply offended, sent
a challenge to his adversary. He was thus returning to the early and
poetic part of his existence, to the reminiscences of the eccentric
youth on the shores of Lough Foyle, where he had fought a duel in the
Scandinavian fashion; and now, when he was a serious and reflecting
statesman, he considered that in personal questions the only means
of terminating a quarrel was by a personal encounter. Canning and
Castlereagh fought with pistols: in England people are ready to lay
down their lives for an idea or a system; both were brave men, and
would not draw back, but Castlereagh was the most fortunate, for
Canning was severely wounded. The resignation of the minister of war
was nevertheless accepted, while Canning continued in office, and the
Duke of Portland pursued the middle course which had occasioned the
rupture between his two colleagues.

The situation of parties and of affairs is sometimes such, that a
man is possessed of more influence when out of the cabinet than when
he actually forms one of the ministry; and the firm and inflexible
attitude of Lord Castlereagh, and his implacable hatred towards France,
secured him a degree of ascendancy among the Tories, which Canning
had striven for in vain. The Wellesleys, then rendered so powerful
by the successes of the Duke of Wellington, shared their credit
with the ex-minister; and he followed in parliament the energetic
political system which infallibly leads to the downfall of all feeble
or temporising measures. The ministry of the Duke of Portland and Mr.
Canning had already taken some steps towards peace with Buonaparte,
but Castlereagh was constantly opposed to it; he agreed with the
ministers whenever repressive measures, or any plan favourable to
Conservative ideas was in debate, but opposed them when they were
inclined to make any concessions to Whiggism, or the idea of peace. By
this skilful conduct he gradually rose in public estimation, and when
the unfortunate death of Mr. Perceval occasioned the dissolution of the
ministry, the Tories proposed Lord Castlereagh as minister for foreign
affairs in the room of Mr. Canning.

The situation of Europe at this time rendered it imperatively necessary
that the conduct of England should be decided and full of energy.
Though it can hardly be said that war was actually on the point of
breaking out on the Continent, there were every where the elements
of an universal conflagration: Spain had hoisted the signal of
independence, and the English armies extended in the Peninsula, from
Lisbon to Cadiz. Immediately after he had taken charge of the Foreign
Office, Lord Castlereagh was called upon to explain himself concerning
the question of peace or war with France. Buonaparte was then on
the eve of undertaking the Russian campaign, and in order to give
an undeniable proof of his pacific inclinations, and also as a lure
to public opinion, he caused M. Maret to write to Lord Castlereagh,
proposing peace upon what he termed easy and simple conditions, which
reduced themselves to the following points. At Naples and at Madrid,
the actual dynasty, and in Portugal and Sicily also the reigning
dynasty (without any further explanation). The English minister,
being closely connected with Russia, had little inclination to treat
with Napoleon; and it was no doubt sarcastically that he proposed the
following question to M. Maret,--"First of all, it is necessary to
understand what dynasty you are speaking of; in Spain, is it Ferdinand
VII. or Joseph Buonaparte? At Naples, is it the House of Bourbon or
Murat, that is considered as the actual dynasty?" And when M. Maret
replied that his majesty Don Joseph and his majesty Joachim were meant,
Lord Castlereagh, with proper spirit, declared any further proceedings
were out of the question, because he had nothing to do with these
usurpers,--it was only with the legitimate sovereigns of Spain and
Naples that England had any connexion. The accession of the leader of
the active Tory party, therefore, caused the politics of England to
assume a firmer attitude respecting all the affairs of Europe. When
Buonaparte undertook his adventurous expedition against Russia, the
English minister turned his closest and most careful attention upon
Turkey and Sweden, both of which possessed powerful means of action.
The negotiation feebly entered into by the agents of M. Maret, had been
rendered abortive by the abrupt and imperative character of Buonaparte;
and Lord Castlereagh, more fortunate and more adroit, went direct to
his object with regard to Bernadotte and the Porte. He knew the Crown
Prince was displeased with the haughtiness of Napoleon, and offered
him subsidies if he would maintain a strict neutrality, reserving to
himself the chance of future events. In his relations with Europe he
was still more fortunate in bringing about the peace of Bucharest,
which left the Czar master of all his forces. This plan of increasing
the strength of the enemies of Buonaparte, and thus depriving him of
the necessary alliances, was an admirable mode of attack. The peace of
Bucharest enabled the Czar to advance with the army, which attacked
Napoleon on the flank and encircled him in its vast coils; and the
neutrality observed by Sweden permitted to Russia the disposition of
her forces near Riga--a circumstance that did more towards causing the
defection of Prussia than people are aware.

The active mind of Lord Castlereagh, and the determined energy which
distinguished his character, were more especially manifested in the
European movement which led to the fall of Napoleon. In 1813, the whole
continent was full of English agents; they were everywhere--at Vienna,
at Berlin, and at Stockholm, and even among the secret societies of
Germany: for the Tories perceived that the time was come for them to
act with vigour, and put an end to the power by which they had so
long been threatened. Parliament never presented a more animated or
truly national spectacle, or evinced a more unanimous devotion to the
cause supported by the old English aristocracy; no sacrifice appeared
too great, and subsidies were granted almost without limitation. The
disasters of Moscow had inflamed all hearts, and with the assistance
of one magic word, _Liberation_, the plans most hostile to Napoleon
were realised. Treaties of alliance and subsidy were concluded by Lord
Castlereagh with almost all the powers of Europe; and in order more
completely to identify himself with his system, the minister appointed
his brother, Sir Charles Stewart, to a special mission to the courts
of Prussia and Sweden. This officer, now Marquis of Londonderry, was
sent as commissioner with the English armies, and has himself published
his despatches addressed to him whom he mentions as his illustrious
brother. The English commissioners, who all received appointments both
military and political, were at the same time soldiers, negotiating
agents, and commandants of troops. We see in these despatches the
painful efforts made by Sir Charles Stewart to produce some degree of
unity in the coalesced camp. As England was paying armies to the right
and left, with unheard-of liberality, she was desirous of retaining the
political direction of events in her own hands, and as this supremacy
encountered obstacles raised by the spirit of calculation and of
self-love, it was necessary to be perpetually engaged in discussions
with the generals-in-chief and the government. Sir Charles was at that
time a young man, with a warm temper and some pride of birth; and
Bernadotte, in spite of his doubtful position, preserved a certain
degree of personal dignity: this led to perpetual differences of
opinion, and even to quarrels, which required the skilful and moderate
interference of the Russian commissioner, Count Pozzo di Borgo. Sir
Charles having conceived a feeling of mistrust regarding Bernadotte,
no doubt with reason, watched him closely, and his elevated position
as brother to the Prime Minister of England invested him with an
undoubted superiority in all negotiations. The attitude of England at
that time was so proud! I am not acquainted with any period in the
history of empires more magnificent, from the energy displayed, than
that of England from the year 1792 to 1814; and this energy led to
the general rising of Europe against Napoleon. Castlereagh was the
soul of it, for the elements of which the English ministry were then
composed were subject to his power; indeed when a character of great
strength is anywhere met with, every thing gives way to his influence,
for a superior mind never fails to be acknowledged. Lord Liverpool was
no doubt a man of great consideration, and he held the first place
officially in the cabinet; but when Europe began to rouse herself from
her sleep, Castlereagh gave so powerful an impulse to the English
diplomacy that it very soon ruled the world: let us now see what an
immense task she had to perform.

Europe, with all her desire of acting vigorously against Buonaparte,
possessed neither money nor credit, and this to such a degree, that
Prussia, for instance, had not a million of florins at her disposal;
England not only provided subsidies, but also the means of negotiating
loans: she became security for Prussia, Austria, and Russia; thus
taking upon herself the credit of the world. The whole of the subsidies
were not paid in money--arms, clothing, and provisions were also sent;
and this extraordinary effort gave employment to her machinery, work
to the labouring classes, and immense occupation to her mercantile
navy. Her inexhaustible liberality demanded in return the abatement of
the tariffs and free entry for her manufactures; by which means she
regained a great portion of the advantages she afforded. In order
to be convinced of this, it is only necessary to consult the rate of
exchange for that period, which was almost always in favour of London;
that is to say, that while she appeared to be furnishing money, it was
merely changing the location of her funds. Hamburg, Frankfort, Vienna,
and Berlin, were in debt to London, and the loans thus compensated
themselves; shewing the prodigious strength of the commercial
principle, and the magnificent power of an aristocratic state, directed
by a superior mind.

The principal object Lord Castlereagh had in view was to bring about
a degree of persevering unity in the European coalition; it was the
ruling idea of Mr. Pitt and the labour of his life: but the statesman
had so often failed in his object. The weakness of Europe against
Buonaparte resulted from its divisions, from its conflicting interests,
and the separation of one cabinet from another; it was therefore
necessary to unite them all in one common cause, and this was not the
least difficult task he had to perform. If they might reckon upon the
willingness of Russia to proceed to extremities against Napoleon, if
the national spirit had been roused in Prussia to strive earnestly
for the fall of the Emperor, were they likely to meet with the same
concurrence, the same absolute devotion on the part of Austria, and of
Sweden under Bernadotte? What obstacles and opposition Lord Castlereagh
had to encounter in the course of the year 1813, at the time of the
armistice of Plesswitz and the congress of Prague! Fresh discussions
were incessantly started, and the coalition was repeatedly ready to
fall to pieces, from the selfish tendencies of private interests. As
for him he had but one object, one desire--the fall of Napoleon and
the dissolution of the French Empire, and no words can express the
power possessed by a man who has one idea constantly present to his
mind, and follows it up with undeviating energy. The dissolution of the
congress of Prague was occasioned by this absorbing passion in the mind
of Lord Castlereagh, who induced Metternich to engage more decidedly in
the coalition; he was like the intrepid hunter who sounds the halloo in
pursuit of the stag at bay.

The vast plan he had conceived rested upon two points--exertion on the
part of the various governments to promote the march of troops, and a
general rising among the people to second the efforts of the cabinets.
The material impulse was given by Russia, and he allowed it to proceed
and develope itself, well knowing the example of that great power would
be followed by Prussia and Austria, and that their efforts would be
sufficient for the liberation of Germany. It then became necessary in
the north to urge Sweden to take the field, and with her Denmark and
Holland; all his efforts were therefore directed to this point, and
gave rise to the mission of Sir Charles Stewart and General Graham. He
considered there would be no difficulty in inducing a revolt among the
oppressed Dutch and Belgian population, and a popular movement would
bring about the restoration of the House of Orange; while in the south
the armies of England overspread Spain and Portugal, and France was
thus attacked at both extremities at the same time. This has always
been the favourite political system of England; by acquiring influence
in Spain and Portugal, and also in Belgium, she prevents France from
affecting her either commercially or diplomatically; and as English
statesmen, in what situation soever they may be placed, never lose
sight of the hereditary diplomatic traditions, one plan is transmitted
through many generations, in the same manner that it formerly descended
in our monarchy, when under the dominion of kings, and of able and
distinguished ministers. Nothing is done in that country from a sudden
impulse; every plan is maturely weighed, and England in the nineteenth
century is swayed by the same principles as in the sixteenth.

Lord Castlereagh's task, however, increased in difficulty as the allied
armies drew near France, and their interests became more personal
and more divided. It then became a question whether Austria would be
willing to overturn France, and whether the Emperor Francis would
sacrifice his son-in-law; there was also a doubt whether Russia would
consent to the proposed augmentation of Austria and Prussia, which
would add so considerably to their importance; and in addition to all
the other questions, what compensation was likely to be awarded to
England? Such were the difficulties that arose at every step after
the Allies had reached the Rhine, until at last Pozzo di Borgo was
despatched to England, with the firm determination to induce Lord
Castlereagh, if possible, to visit the Continent; his presence now
seemed really indispensable amidst the clashing of ideas and interests,
which threatened to lead to the dissolution of the coalition. England
alone was capable of reconciling all their wishes, and restoring to the
various forces the unity which, like the bundle of sticks in the fable,
rendered them invincible when united, though each separately would be
easily overcome.

Lord Castlereagh arrived on the Continent to confer with Lord Aberdeen,
Lord Cathcart, and his own brother Sir Charles Stewart; and from this
time the influence of the British legation was complete and paramount.
The intervention of the English minister was indispensable, as I
have before observed, to fortify the bonds of cohesion between the
various cabinets, and more especially for the purpose of enforcing
the principle, that no treaty was possible with Napoleon. In the
conferences that took place between Metternich and M. de St. Aignan
at Frankfort, the English legation observed that the Allies appeared
rather inclined to a pacific arrangement, which would leave the Rhine
as the boundary of the French empire, and would consequently include
Belgium; but never would England have consented to a proceeding which
would abandon Antwerp to France: she had too long coveted her fleet and
great arsenal, and many had been the expeditions she had undertaken
with that object!

The opinion of Castlereagh was therefore inflexible; France, he
declared, must be reduced within her ancient limits, and this
resolution led to the conviction that with the ancient frontiers
the ancient dynasty would be necessary. It was not that the English
minister had entered into any engagements with the house of Bourbon;
the Tories might consider the restoration of Louis XVIII. as a
desirable circumstance after the general disorder that had existed
in Europe, but it did not make one of the necessary conditions of
a general peace, for the selfishly English interest was paramount
over every other consideration. This state of affairs is evident in
the correspondence between Lord Castlereagh and the French princes
who had taken refuge in England; and though he might insinuate to
the Comte d'Artois and the Duc d'Angoulême that they might appear
on the Continent, he would not officially approve of their conduct,
so as not to make the restoration a necessary condition for the
re-establishment of peace. This caution affords an explanation of the
Duke of Wellington's conduct after the battle of the Pyrenees; he made
no objections to the Duke of Angoulême's presence in the south of
France, but the white flag was not hoisted, because Lord Castlereagh
was completely engaged in the negotiations at Châtillon.

In these conferences, so fatal to our interests, the predominance of
the English minister was manifested in the highest degree. As England
furnished the subsidies, she exercised very great influence over
the movements of the Allies, and Lord Castlereagh's language often
assumed an imperious tone. Upon the first hesitation manifested by
Austria, he declared that England would no longer be security for the
money borrowed by the cabinet of Vienna, if they should attempt to
enter into a separate treaty; and he was supported in his design of
a general unity against Napoleon by Pozzo di Borgo, who had not left
his side since they had travelled together from London. In fact, he
was convinced it was not possible to make a treaty with Buonaparte.
What peace would there be for Europe as long as he continued to wear
the French crown? Had they not for many years been engaged in a
protracted and constantly recurring struggle? For this reason, upon
firm conviction, he supported as a statesman the maxim adopted by the
Tory party,--_The ancient territory and the ancient dynasty_.

Although Lord Castlereagh held no acknowledged diplomatic office at
the congress of Châtillon, he nevertheless swayed all the resolutions
formed there; he was the principal author of the treaty of Chaumont,
which placed the military direction of the campaign under the influence
of England. It was a singular example of the power that may be
exercised by a commercial and monied government over military powers,
for England had hardly any soldiers engaged in this war, but by means
of her subsidies alone she set in motion a million of men, and made
them subservient to her national and exclusive interests. Thus it
was admitted as a general principle, that France was to be reduced
within her ancient limits, and the object of England was gained by our
being deprived of Antwerp; her vast arsenal was no longer dangerous,
and her fleet was to be divided. It may be said that the treaty of
Paris in 1814, which was the consequence of the treaty of Châtillon,
formed in some measure a realisation of the leading ideas of Toryism;
that is to say, the re-establishment of the House of Orange, with a
territory extending to our frontier; Prussia increased in strength
and importance, Austria assumed a predominant position in the south
of Germany, while they both served as barriers to Russia; and above
all, the maritime and commercial supremacy of Great Britain, to
such a degree that, in the secret treaty of 1814, Lord Castlereagh
imperatively insisted on the rupture of the family compact among the
various branches of the House of Bourbon, for the purpose of rendering
her influence as secure over Spain as over Holland.

One might have supposed that, after this long and painful struggle
against Buonaparte, the English minister would have enjoyed some
rest from his anxieties; but such was far from being the case, for
the Colossus had scarcely been hurled from its base before intestine
dissensions arose in the coalition which had so lately set the world
in motion. Various interests were the subject of secret discussion
at Vienna; and the questions concerning Saxony, Poland, and Italy
occasioned him extreme uneasiness. Throughout the whole period of the
French revolution, England had undoubtedly played the principal part,
and her perseverance alone had saved the Continent from a general and
overwhelming oppression; but in diplomatic matters, as in politics,
ancient services are less considered than the new situation in which
countries are placed: England had been too much engaged in continental
affairs not to continue to feel great anxiety concerning them, and
on the question of Poland, Lord Castlereagh was opposed to the plans
of the Russian cabinet, and he did not restrain the expression of
his dissatisfaction respecting the Polish _suzeraineté_, which the
Emperor Alexander was desirous of reserving to himself. No one ever
surpassed his lordship in the union of firmness of character with the
most polished manners, the distinguishing mark of a true gentleman;
there was a degree of steadiness, I may almost say of nobleness, in
his private conferences with Alexander, in the midst of the splendid
_salons_ of Vienna, that was quite admirable.

No aristocracy in Europe is more magnificent than that of England. Lady
Castlereagh's parties at Vienna exceeded in splendour those even of the
Emperor of Austria, and were replete with every pleasure and amusement;
while her ladyship, who was a woman of extraordinary abilities,
afforded considerable assistance to the diplomatic proceedings of
her husband. The bold and rather presumptuous manner of Sir Charles
Stewart, Lord Castlereagh's brother, were tempered by the studied
mildness of Lord Aberdeen and the military profusion of Lord Cathcart;
and the _soirées_ of the English legation were cited as the most
brilliant of the season, not excepting those of the sovereigns. The
English minister, however, was not satisfied with the decidedly Russian
tendency of the congress. He had carefully studied the character of
Alexander, and was well aware that vast ideas and infinite ambition
lay concealed under the religious mysticism he had adopted under the
influence of Madame Krüdner; and looking at it under this point of
view, he naturally came to the conclusion that, if the English policy
had been the means of saving the Continent from the absorbing power
of Napoleon, it would be necessary to guard against a new danger, and
prevent the power of Russia from becoming too great and exercising too
absolute a dominion over the destinies of the world. This feeling,
common to them all, formed a tie between Castlereagh, Metternich, and
Talleyrand, all of whom were equally convinced that the combination of
the three sovereignties would not be too much to oppose the projects
of Russia; and their dissatisfaction increased so much towards the
termination of the congress, that the three plenipotentiaries signed
the treaty of alliance concluded in February, 1815, to guard against
any possibilities that might arise regarding Saxony and Poland. Thus
the man who had been the keystone of the coalition, whose powerful hand
had cemented and directed it, contributed at this moment to introduce
divisions into its bosom, because the common danger had passed away.

This danger, however, appeared again when intelligence was received
of the landing of Buonaparte and his march to Paris; and the English
minister had no hesitation in placing himself at the head of the
coalition, for Napoleon was considered as the general enemy of Europe.
In 1814, Lord Castlereagh had opposed the sovereignty of the island of
Elba being awarded to the ex-Emperor, and now, laying aside all other
considerations, he looked at nothing but at the necessity of restoring
unity to the confederation, and marching at once against the man who
had been placed at the ban of Europe. Reports were in circulation that
England had favoured the return from Elba, in order again to humble
France and to impose heavier conditions upon her; and Lord Castlereagh,
when asking for subsidies, was obliged in the House of Commons to enter
into an explanation upon the subject. He had only to answer, that it
was against his opinion a sovereignty had been granted to Buonaparte;
but that, after he had once been acknowledged as an independent
sovereign, no one had any right to watch his actions and proceedings.
He and the Duke of Wellington now shared the arrangements between
them, the one directing the debates in parliament while the other was
employed in organising the army. Immense subsidies were again required
to assist the coalition, and set a million of men in motion against the
glorious adventurer who had made but one step from the Gulf of Juan to

Lord Castlereagh had vowed an implacable hatred to all the ridiculous
dynasties who sheltered themselves under the mantle of Napoleon, and he
revealed to the House of Commons the correspondence between Murat and
the Emperor; thus paving the way for the downfall of that melodramatic
king who was playing his part among the lazzaroni at the palace of
Portici, or at the Villa Reale. In the stormy debates in the House
of Commons he always exhibited the same tenacity of principles and
resolution which had supported him in the imperial crisis, and even the
present situation awakened in his mind the pride of a statesman who
has realised some great thing for his country; for the supreme power
henceforth belonged to England, and no one could dispute with her the
empire of the sea: for a short time she had been at war with America,
but peace had just been concluded, and all these circumstances had
greatly augmented her power.

In the struggle now taking place, his lordship was possessed with one
great object: in 1814 he had made some concessions to France, and he
considered the affair terminated when her ancient limits, augmented
by Savoy and the Comté Venaissin, were assigned to her, under the
government of her ancient dynasty; but he now found all his work had
fallen to the ground, and he concluded from thence that the power of
France was still too great, and predominated too much on the Continent:
for the sake, therefore, of obtaining the applause of Germany and the
support of Prussia, he entered unhesitatingly into all the hatred vowed
to us by them. Waterloo had placed France under the especial direction
of England and Prussia, and deprived her of the Russian influence;
therefore his lordship was at liberty to explain his ideas, and there
was every facility for the execution of his system. His principles
being in perfect agreement with those of the Duke of Wellington, he
communicated to him his opinion about the future condition of France.
In the first place, the ministerial system must be entirely English;
and as a good understanding had existed between him and Talleyrand at
Vienna, he chose him to fill the situation of prime minister. Then
again, the Tories do not like revolutionists; but as these last assumed
a suppliant attitude before the English, and that the patriots, under
the shield of Fouché and of the representative chamber, were at the
feet of the Duke of Wellington, even to obtain a foreign prince, they
decided Fouché should be appointed to the ministry with Talleyrand.

But this was only the commencement of the system. Lord Castlereagh had
observed that the material power of France was too considerable for the
balance of power in Europe, and also that Belgium was not sufficiently
protected; he therefore considered it necessary another frontier should
be adopted, to prevent any irruption on that side; and as England
wanted to secure the good will of Germany, he agreed to support, if
necessary, the proposal for the cession of Alsace and Lorraine to the
Germanic confederation. These ideas gave birth to the hard conditions
insisted upon by England, and rendered it necessary that France should
have recourse to the Emperor Alexander to obtain better terms after her
heavy afflictions.

With regard to Buonaparte, the minister's conduct was perfectly
consistent. In 1814 he had strenuously opposed the idea of an
independent sovereignty in the island of Elba, and the enemy of
England was now again in his power. It has been written and currently
reported, that Napoleon's resolution to throw himself for protection
upon the generosity of England was a free and spontaneous action; but
such was far from being the case: too well did he know the unpitying
and irritated feelings entertained against him by that nation, but he
went on board the English man-of-war because he could no longer escape
the cruisers, and perhaps the sailors in those vessels might have done
him some injury, in vengeance of the sufferings of Captain Wright,
who died in so mysterious a manner in the Temple. His letter to the
Prince Regent was only an attempt to escape his fate by assuming the
position of a free agent, when a few hours later he would have been a
prisoner of war. As soon as Buonaparte was on board the Bellerophon,
Lord Castlereagh hastened to acquaint the plenipotentiaries of
the allied powers, assembled at Paris, with the fact; and then he
naturally returned to his original and favourite idea of placing him
under the charge of the Allies, in some spot sufficiently remote from
the Continent to secure Europe against the risk of any further bold
attempt on his part. This proposal did not arise from any personal
hatred or feeling of animosity, but was the result of a profound and
well-considered conviction. As for the rest, every thing was done
with proper attention and consideration; but no one ever shewed more
sulkiness, ill-humour, and I may say more littleness, than did Napoleon
in adversity. How had he treated the Duc d'Enghien? Had he not pursued
and striven to ensnare Louis XVIII. in every part of Europe? Was it
too much, immediately after his adventure of the hundred days, which
had cost us so dear, to send him to a place of security, from whence
he would no longer be able to torment Europe? Buonaparte took offence
because the title of majesty was refused him, and because he was not
permitted to live quietly like one of the citizen classes in England or
the United States (a proposition he made with just the same degree of
sincerity as his request to be appointed _juge de paix_ of his district
before the 18 Brumaire). Imagine Buonaparte a citizen of Westminster or
Charleston! After so long a drama on the theatre of the world, if a man
has not been able to die he ought to know how to submit to obscurity;
but he, at St. Helena, did not exhibit the greatness that ought to have
arisen from his recollections and his glory, and I would willingly
believe his flatterers garbled his conversations in the narratives
published of his exile.

By the treaty concluded in the month of November, which was the
completion of the transactions at Vienna, a magnificent position
was allotted to England. In the south of Europe her influence over
Portugal was secured, and the family compact was broken; in the north,
a kingdom was constructed of Holland and Belgium, under her patronage,
for the Prince of Orange, one of her generals; Prussia was closely
attached to her system, and the Elbe opened to her the road to Germany;
Hanover belonged to the British crown; she absorbed the factories and
establishments of France in India, and acquired the Cape of Good Hope,
the Isle of France, and Ceylon, besides Malta and the Seven Islands
in the Mediterranean. She had reached the highest degree of power
permitted to a state, and it was the firm and resolute conduct of Lord
Castlereagh that had led to these great results; for had the weak and
unconnected opinion of the Whigs carried the day, had peace been signed
with Buonaparte, based on the terms approved by Fox and Grenville,
never would England have attained to such a pitch of power and
splendour. In mortal struggles like these one party must perish; and
as it was, Napoleon sunk under the efforts of Britain. The captive of
St. Helena was well aware of this, for he never accused any one of his
fall but Lord Castlereagh and the English aristocracy, whom he devoted
to the execration of future ages; no doubt for thus having succeeded in
exalting the grandeur of England, as he had dreamed of doing with the
magnificence of his nation and his race.

In the history of states, two periods usually occur. When there is a
strong inclination to foreign wars, it very seldom occurs that there
is much agitation among parties at home, because when society is
hurried with violence into affairs of great importance, she has no
time for considering her own troubles or inquiring closely into her
domestic afflictions; but when the war is over she turns her attention
upon herself, and internal dissensions take place. This was the case
in England after the treaty of Paris in 1815, extreme irritation was
displayed in her troubles; and this requires some explanation: that
there was much suffering among the various classes of British subjects
is an undoubted fact, and it proceeded from many different causes. The
successive debts she had been obliged to contract had inordinately
increased the taxes; a war, lasting for twenty years, had been suddenly
succeeded by a peace which had injured the interests of many people,
because war, by occasioning an unnatural excitement to industry of
every kind, had given employment to thousands, for the commerce of the
world was in the hands of England. Peace opened an immense competition;
Great Britain, formerly alone in the market, now met with the French
and Americans, and the ports were no longer exclusively open to her
manufactures. Besides this, pauperism, that species of leprosy in a
nation, had greatly increased, and it had now become an actual sore in
the British government, a vermin on the velvet robes of her rulers.

A radical and deep-seated movement had also taken place in the public
mind. Great excitement always leaves a degree of fermentation behind;
the revolutionary doctrines had sheltered themselves behind the shield
of parliamentary reform, and this very reform became a pretext gladly
seized upon by agitators; thus England found herself covered, not with
secret societies, for on her soil people breathe freely, but with
clubs and inflammatory meetings, so that the country resounded with
petitions. On this occasion it again became necessary to display a
degree of firmness; the inflexible character of Lord Castlereagh was
alone capable of opposing to doctrines which manifested themselves by
riotous assemblies of 100,000 men in various cities.

Independent of these domestic troubles, there were also difficulties
connected with foreign affairs that exhibited a no less serious aspect.
Ever since the year 1792 but one great danger had occupied the mind of
Europe, the absorbing and inordinate power of the republic and empire
of Napoleon. England having always been at the head of the implacable
movement which attacked the revolutionary power in France, had also
naturally taken the lead in the political transactions; and Europe did
not stop to examine whether the cabinet of London assumed too great an
influence while protecting the general interest; for Buonaparte excited
alarm, and the assistance of Great Britain was required to oppose him:
but as soon as this powerful Colossus was overthrown, a continental
system was formed under the influence of the Emperor of Russia, and led
to all those congresses, annually repeated, in which England could not
take an active or predominant part. The statesmen of Great Britain,
both Whigs and Tories, rejected all the theories of absolute power;
they had been educated in the principles of 1688, and neither would,
nor could, adopt the maxim of the divine right of kings. Thus Lord
Castlereagh could not unite in all the manifestoes and declarations of
principles which the Emperor Alexander issued in his mystical ideas of
the Holy Alliance. We must not lose sight of this circumstance in the
last four years of the minister's life. The treaty of 1815 had hardly
been signed before a formidable conspiracy of Radicalism in arms arose
in England, not merely easily suppressed riots, but bodies of 100,000,
who broke the power-looms and pillaged the houses, and the ancient
aristocracy appeared threatened with the most imminent danger; yet
such is the spirit of order in that country, and the reliance to be
placed on the English population, that these tumults were not attended
with danger. On this occasion the firm repressive spirit of Lord
Castlereagh was fully manifested; without hesitation, he demanded from
parliament the suspension of all liberty, even of the _habeas corpus_,
that powerful security of the English citizen. The troops ordered to
act vigorously against the rioters, shewed no compassion, because
there appeared no limit to the disturbances. How many accusations
were brought against Lord Castlereagh after the riots at Manchester
and Birmingham! The pamphlets published on the occasion represented
him as a butcher of human victims, and Lord Byron wrote some lines on
the cold impassiveness of his countenance. Was England to be allowed
to perish to please the poets? or were the designs of housebreakers
and destroyers of machinery to be seconded? The minister only did his
duty as a statesman--he saved society, and what do people want more?
He did it even at the peril of his fame--a great sacrifice for those
who devote themselves to the idea of order in the midst of disorder.
Very vigorous bills were passed, on the demand of the minister, against
foreigners, and against the instigators of the disturbances, and
he undertook in parliament the painful task of obtaining repressive
measures. In England there are resources, even in times of the greatest
danger, because there exists a race of statesmen, the Tories, who never
give way to public clamour; in the midst of the most formidable riot a
degree of respect for the laws is still felt, and people submit to the
summons of a constable.

This agitated situation lasted nearly five years; the counties were in
a blaze; and at last the Queen's trial became the pretext for fresh
disorders. No one could take any interest in a queen who, in the
decline of life, had carried on her intrigues in Syria, in Greece,
and in Italy, with true English disregard of public opinion, which is
in itself an eccentricity. Every one was aware of the irregularities
of the Princess of Wales, now queen by the death of George III., and
retaining in her service the witness and partaker of her excesses, her
chamberlain, Bergami. But the Radical party did not look so closely at
the affair; all they wanted was a pretext to excite the public mind,
and they had recourse to the queen's trial as a means of occasioning
riot and disorder. The Tories, deeply sensible of the embarrassed state
of the country, and desirous, if possible, of avoiding a scandalous
trial, proposed a middle course to the princess. Her name was not to
be mentioned in the Liturgy, but she would still be queen, only she
would be required to remain abroad, constantly travelling about, and a
large pecuniary allowance would be made to her; but upon the Radical
party being consulted, the old queen refused all the offers, and a
long and disgraceful trial was obliged to take place. Lord Castlereagh
determined upon the measure with firm and respectful energy; the more
unwilling he had been to resort to this mode of proceeding, the more
vigorously he was resolved to carry it through. When we contemplate
the angelic figure of Anne Boleyn, beside the gross and sensual Henry
VIII., every one feels a strong and lively interest in the unfortunate
victim; but who could have the slightest feeling for a queen grown old
with the most degrading passions?

The minister here again was opposed by his old adversary Canning, who
was then aiming at extreme popularity. He had constituted himself the
Queen's champion, not because he esteemed her, but because this course
furnished him with the means of the most violent opposition to the
ministry over which Castlereagh presided. The trial began, and was
followed by debates, and the disgraceful and disgusting revelations are
too well known. The oratorical fame of Brougham and Canning was greatly
augmented by these proceedings; their popularity became immense, and
their opponents were visited with a degree of reprobation to which men
of distinguished capacity must accustom themselves in the course of
their painful and wearisome task.

All these domestic events occurred at a period when Europe, still
full of agitation, was constantly holding congresses, in order to
declare her principles, or to decide upon general arrangements.
Since the declaration of Alexander, bearing the title of the Holy
Alliance, England had taken up a separate position; her statesmen,
more especially Lord Castlereagh, had declared the principles of that
convention to be too vague to allow the English ministers to admit
them, under their legal responsibility. From this first separation of
interests from the rest of Europe, two political systems resulted: the
one Russian, whose ascendency over the congress was almost absolute;
the other English, which opposed any general deliberation upon
interests now divided.

Lord Castlereagh assumed this position when he attended the congresses
of Troppau and Laybach; he signed the protocols without adopting
the ideas of the Holy Alliance, but simply as the consequence of
the treaties of 1815 and the articles of the congress of Vienna. In
his conversations with Metternich he advanced this principle, that,
although Europe might enter into an agreement to repress disturbances
affecting the security of crowned heads, she neither could, nor ought
to interfere with any modifications which a people might freely and
spontaneously choose to make in their respective governments. This
declaration referred to several very important questions that had
lately arisen: first, the separation of the Spanish colonies from the
mother-country; secondly, the disturbances in Greece; and, thirdly, the
revolution in Spain. The emancipation of the Spanish colonies of an
ancient date originated in the commercial interests of England, which
constantly require to be satisfied; the markets opened by peace must
replace those of war, and a new world was requisite for the overflow of
her manufactures; under this point of view, therefore, the emancipation
of the Spanish colonies secured a market to England, she henceforth
became favourable to their independence, and her consuls resided with
their _exequatur_ in these colonies. Lord Castlereagh's position at
this juncture was rather delicate; for with one hand he favoured the
sedition of the colonies, and with the other he severely repressed the
riots in the English counties.

Being a partisan of the emancipation of the colonies, he naturally felt
no repugnance towards the government of the Cortes at Madrid. What is
considered of importance in England, is not the form of government
adopted by a power, but its tendency with regard to herself and her
interests. She seldom breaks a lance for a mere chivalrous idea. Both
Whigs and Tories are equally actuated by the same spirit of national
selfishness, which is, in fact, patriotism; and, while holding this
doctrine, that England is not to meddle with the internal form of
government, the path remains open, so that they can decide according
as interest advises. With regard to the emancipation of the Greeks,
Lord Castlereagh viewed it in its true light, without weakness, and
without sentimental feelings, allowing the question to rest on the
ground of Russia and Turkey: thus, to emancipate the Greeks would be to
aggrandise Russia, open to her the gates of the Bosphorus, and drive
the Turks into Asia, and this policy would be unfaithful and puerile
as far as the interests of England were concerned; it was, on the
contrary, most advantageous to her to protect the Ottoman empire by the
British flag, to develope her strength, and create in that country a
commercial alliance for herself. Thus at the same time to give a new
world to industry, by the emancipation of the Spanish colonies, to take
no heed of the revolutions at Naples and in Spain, but watch Russia and
restrain any ambitious projects she might have formed, by supporting
the Porte: such were the politics of Lord Castlereagh in the first five
years that succeeded his vigorous contest with Napoleon.

The disturbances in England had begun to subside, when the ancient
civil war was again renewed in Ireland between the Orangemen and the
Catholics; it was a constantly recurring quarrel, as between two races
who entertained the greatest detestation for each other. All the people
who thought seriously on the subject felt that something must be done
for the Catholics; the reason for the former oppression having ceased
to exist, Ireland could not always remain in a state of slavery. Lord
Castlereagh was well acquainted with this country, where his youth had
been passed, and, whenever business left him leisure, was accustomed
to visit the ancient towers of Londonderry, the beautiful lakes, and
the old fishermen, whom his munificence assisted in rebuilding their
villages and their boats, portioning their daughters, or increasing
their own comforts. The bill for the admission of the Catholic lords
into parliament was then in debate; it was opposed by the Orange
party in Ireland, and, after passing the House of Commons, was thrown
out by the Lords; and this was the cause of the sanguinary troubles
which again threw Ireland into the most fearful state of disorder.
The ministry shewed no indulgence, for the country was deluged with
blood; and Lord Wellesley, then lord-lieutenant, declared at last that,
if they were desirous of saving that country, more agitated than the
ocean, it must be placed under a most vigorous system of legislative
exception.[52] The old laws of the conquest were put in force against
the parties of Whiteboys who ravaged the country, but by degrees these
demonstrations gave way before the severe measures used to repress them.

 [52] Parliament decided upon the re-enactment of the Insurrection
 Act, and the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, in Ireland.--_Editor._

As soon as order was restored, it was necessary the ministry should
take measures to relieve the sufferings of the three kingdoms, and they
devoted themselves with the greatest attention to their difficult task.
It is a historical truth worthy of the remembrance of agitators, that
they occasion the slavery of all for the sake of the vain pleasure they
derive from some ovations to themselves. Despotism is the successor of
disorder, and there is more influence in reason and resignation than
in the noisy acclamations of the public streets. O'Connell appears to
me, to be just the man destined to bring about the complete subjection
of Ireland; he will be the destroyer of his country for the sake of
a little personal vanity, for the applause of 100,000 men, collected
round the hustings. The Tories did every thing that was possible for
Ireland when it was quiet: the emancipation of the Catholics was
promoted by the Wellesleys, nor did they stop there.

Lord Castlereagh, deeply sensible that there was real suffering among
all classes of the people, now unfolded his vast plan of economy, with
all the logic of Pitt in his admirable budget of 1798. Taking his
ground on the existence of much distress in the agricultural districts,
and in the principles of credit, he proceeded at once to retrenchments.
The expenses of the army and navy were reduced by two millions sterling
a-year; the interest of the public debt was reduced from 5 to 4 per
cent; and the sinking fund was considerably increased.[53] These
measures permitted the decrease of imposts, the suppression of all
additional taxes, and a system of loans to agriculture by means of
the bank, the grand instrument he always had recourse to, in order
to make advances to parishes, and more especially to the producers
of corn, so as always to keep down the price. It was an earnest
undertaking, and the last he had to carry on during this session. In
the meanwhile he could not fail to observe that the renown of his old
adversary, Canning, was marvellously increasing; he was becoming a
popular character, he was the favourite of the mob, while the firm and
persevering minister who had aroused the world, and saved England, was
branded with reprobation by the populace, who broke the panels of his
carriage. Ought he to allow himself--he, so proud and haughty, to be
drawn into the wake of Canning, on the boundless waste of revolutionary
ideas? Partially reconciled to his adversary on the Catholic question,
his lordship took only a secondary part in the debate; and he was stung
by the conviction, that, while in foreign relations his influence
was overpowered by the Holy Alliance, at home Canning was the person
considered most necessary to the administration, because he was better
suited to the new liberal situation in which they were becoming
entangled; and he repeatedly expressed his grief and vexation at this
circumstance. In England, where public questions are adopted like a
mission, and the feelings of statesmen on the subject are deep and
interwoven in their whole being, the destruction of a system involves
that of the man. Mr. Pitt was killed by the battle of Austerlitz,
and Lord Castlereagh belonged to that noble school. He whose life
had commenced in so poetical a manner, who had feared neither single
combat, nor the dangers of the raging waves in his shipwreck on the
Isle of Man, could not be afraid of death; but as his hour drew near,
his disposition became extremely irritable, and he expressed himself
in parliament with a degree of bitterness and sullen haughtiness: I
should almost say he looked with pity and contempt upon the opposition
of the Whigs, who were advancing towards fresh storms and disturbances.
There are times when people wish to have done with a situation which
oppresses them, and with adversaries of whom they are weary; they utter
their last words to their face, and after that they die without regret.

 [53] This is a mistake.--_Editor._

Lord Castlereagh announced his intention of visiting the Continent,
with the intention, if not of being present at the congress of Verona,
at least of meeting the assembled sovereigns there; and Canning was in
hopes that, when his colleague had once left England, he would send
in his resignation, and consequently leave him at the head of affairs.
But matters were more rapidly drawing to a close: Lord Castlereagh
had been unwell for several days, and there was every appearance of
extreme nervous irritability about him; some expressions that fell
from his lips shewed that he had some sinister ideas in his head, and
when he went to take leave of the king, the state of his mind did not
escape the monarch, who had a great esteem for him. From that time he
constantly complained of a feeling of oppression in his head, and his
physician, Dr. Bankhead, reported that when he visited him he was calm,
though there were symptoms of impatience and caprice in his manner, and
a few short and hurried words were all that he could draw from him;
he let fall some observations on the troubles of life which raised
apprehensions of suicide, and he was watched: but on Monday, the 12th
of August, 1822, just as his physician entered his dressing-room, Lord
Castlereagh uttered these few words: "Doctor, let me fall on your arm;
it is all over!" and fell with the heaviness of a corpse. The blood
was flowing in torrents, from a deep wound which he had inflicted
in the carotid artery, with a small penknife he had concealed in a
letter-case. Such was the end of the man, who had conducted the affairs
of England with so much firmness and consistency for the last ten years!

Since then people have endeavoured to prove that he was raving mad,
and the opposite party have even asserted, that the energy of his
government shewed a tendency to mental alienation: would they not have
considered any man mad, who wanted to contend vigorously against them?
No, Lord Castlereagh was _not_ mad; he only felt the deep sorrow of
a statesman who, after having fulfilled a great duty, finds himself
forgotten and abandoned at the end of his career. Mr. Pitt had died at
his post while his work was progressing towards its accomplishment, and
Lord Castlereagh saw it completed by the fall of Buonaparte. But he,
in his turn, had to contend with the revolutionary opinions that were
again invading the world; Canning was like his evil genius, and as in a
long political career they were both constantly before the public, we
may inquire what services they rendered to England. Castlereagh gave
his country the pre-eminence she every where exercises; he signed the
treaties of 1815, he secured to her vast stations, colonies, and new
worlds, and he was forced to escape, by suicide from the reprobation
of the people; while Canning the declaimer, the renegade from the
opinions of Pitt, and who, though threatening all the cabinets, did
not dare to oppose the expedition to Spain in 1823, died peaceably in
his bed, and was crowned with universal applause. Alas! it is because
men who devote themselves to the serious affairs of their country, are
in general persecuted and misunderstood; for with the populace, noise
and clamour are thought more of, than good measures. Let it, however,
be said to the credit of England, that she is returning to the men
she formerly blamed. The noble hierarchy of statesmen which begins
with Pitt and Castlereagh, and extends to Peel, Lord Aberdeen, and the
Duke of Wellington, is now hailed as the school most fitted to afford
protection to Great Britain; and Fox, Sheridan, and Canning, are only
mentioned as eloquent speakers, who passed away long nights in the
House of Commons.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is not the slightest doubt that the unfortunate termination of
Lord Castlereagh's existence was owing to delirium.--_Editor._

Printed by George Barclay, Castle Street, Leicester Square.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

Obvious printer errors have been corrected. Otherwise, the author's
original spelling, punctuation and hyphenation have been left intact.

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