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is to be an attack by France on the European dominions of any one of the contracting parties.
The comments of Phillips upon the relative positions of Alexander and Great Britain on the matter of this proposed grand alliance are worthy of reproduction:
Here we have at the very outset the European Alliance defined as Great Britain from first to last conceived it. In contradistinction to Alexander's unlimited union with indefinite objects, it was to be a limited union with definite objects. In taking this attitude Great Britain was doubly strong; she was materially strong because on her financial support the whole combination depended; she was morally strong because from the first she clearly defined her own requirements and the limits within which she was prepared to sacrifice her own immediate profit to the ultimate good. Sorel, writing as usual from a somewhat narrowly French point of view, says in his summary of Castlereagh's character and policy that "he piqued himself on principles to which he held with an unshakable constancy, which in actual affairs could not be distinguished from obstinacy; but these principles were in no degree abstract or speculative, but were all embraced in one alone, the supremacy of English interests; they all proceeded from this high reason of state."
Now, even had this been entirely true, it could hardly be put to Castlereagh's discredit; it is the duty of a statesman to consider first of all the interests of his country. But it is only partially true-or rather it is a suggestio falsi. Castlereagh put English interests first; but he believed firmly that these interests were not inconsistent with the general good. Years later, Canning was to declare that henceforth Great Britain was to "revolve in her own orbit." If Castlereagh brought her into the European system, allowing her course to be deflected by the influence of alien bodies, it was because he believed-and I think rightly-that under the circumstances of the times this was the only way to produce and preserve the general peace. "The interests of Great Britain," we find in a memorandum signed by the British plenipotentiaries at Langres on February 2, 1814, "neither require to be asserted with chicane nor with dexterity—a steady and temperate application of honest principles is her best source of authority." And these principles, as Sorel rightly says, were in no degree abstract or speculative. We may sum them up as those of Realpolitik tempered by altruism. They stood from first to last in contrast and opposition to the principles championed by the Emperor Alexander, which may be summed up as altruism tempered by Realpolitik—principles which he maintained with that invincible obstinacy which, as Caulaincourt rightly observed, in spite of an apparent pliability, due to the dissimulation almost obligatory on princes, lay at the very root of his character."
Treaty of Chaumont
On March 1, 1814, a treaty of "union, concert, and subsidy" was entered into between Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, and Russia, known as the treaty of Chaumont, the opening paragraph of which reads:
having transmitted to the French Government proposals for concluding a Genéral Peace, and being desirous, should France refuse the Conditions therein contained, to draw closer the ties which unite them for the vigorous prosecution of a War undertaken for the salutary purpose of putting an end to the miseries of Europe, of securing its future repose, by re-establishing a just balance of Power, and being at the same time desirous, should the Almighty bless their pacific intentions, to fix the means of maintaining against every attempt the order of things which shall have been the happy consequence of their efforts, have agreed to sanction by a solemn Treaty, signed separately by each of the 4 Powers with the 3 others, this twofold engagement."
It was under this treaty which created the Grand Alliance, and its renewals, that operations among the powers so allied, were conducted during the remainder of the Napoleonic wars.
Treaties of Paris
As already pointed out, Paris fell on March 30, 1814. Following the fall of Paris three treaties were negotiated: April 11, 1814, the treaty of peace between Austria, Prussia, Russia and France; April 23, 1814, treaty between Great Britain and France for the cessation of hostilities; 35 May 30, 1814, the definitive treaty of peace between Great Britain and the Allies on the one side and France on the other (first Treaty of Paris).86
Di Borgo accurately forsees American policy
In August 1814, when negotiations were opened between the United States and Great Britain for a treaty of peace, Pozzi di Borgo, Russian Ambassador to Paris, in a letter to Nesselrode, commented upon the aims of the United States in a manner which showed he had an appreciation of the feelings of the United States as against Europe. He is quoted as saying:
The conclusion of this important matter [negotiations for peace] is uncertain. The dominant party in America, which desired the war, is aiming at a complete revolution in the relations of the New World with the Old, by the destruction of all European interests in the American continent."
British-Austrian treaty of 1815
The conduct of Alexander with reference to France and the restored Bourbon monarch was such, at this time, as to create grave
British and Foreign State Papers, vol. 1, pt. 1, pp. 121-122.
apprehensions in the minds of British and Austrian statesmen as to the course which he was likely to pursue. Accordingly, Castlereagh and Metternich (who, with Talleyrand, must be regarded as the great European diplomats of the time) negotiated a treaty of alliance, under date of January 3, 1815, which was aimed to provide a secret alliance which should be able to meet a possible alliance between Alexander and the restored Bourbon King of France.
British-French treaty of 1815
But there was also a fear upon the part of Castlereagh that Alexander might attempt to be a Napoleon, and on the same day that Great Britain signed with Austria a treaty of alliance, it also signed with France a treaty of alliance in identical words. The opening paragraph of the preamble of this treaty reads as follows:
His majesty the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, His Majesty the Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary and Bohemia, and His Majesty the King of France and Navarre, being convinced that the Powers which have to perfect the provisions of the Treaty of Paris must be kept in a state of safety and perfect independence in order to be in position faithfully and properly to discharge so important a duty; regarding, therefore, as necessary, because of the pretentions recently made known to provide for the ways and means of repelling any aggression to which their own possessions or those of any one of them might be exposed, in hatred of the propositions they deemed it their duty to make and uphold in common accord, on principles of justice and equity; and having it no less at heart to perfect the provisions of the Treaty of Paris in the manner that will conform as well as possible to its true purport and spirit; have, to those ends, resolved to have a solemn Convention between themselves and to conclude a Defensive Alliance.88
Napoleon quit Elba and arrived at Cannes March 1, 1815. He was defeated at Waterloo, on June 18, 1815. The final act of the Congress of Vienna was signed on June 9, 1815, just nine days before Waterloo.
On March 25, 1815, the news of Napoleon's return having reached Vienna, the four powers, Austria, Great Britain, Prussia, and Russia, signed a treaty renewing that of Chaumont.
The Holy Alliance
The position of Russia during the winter of 1814-1815 was such as to cause considerable apprehension in the minds of statesmen of Western Europe. This apprehension was not lessened by the attitude of Alexander when he reached Paris the second time (on July 10, 1815), for he had by this time fallen under the influence of the Baroness von Krudener. Concerning her, Phillips says:
'British and Foreign State Papers, vol. II, pp. 1001-1002.
Suffice it to say that she was the daughter of a wealthy Livonian noble and widow of a Russian ambassador, and that, after a youth spent in frivolity, she had in 1806 "found salvation" through the agency of a pious cobbler of Riga."
It would appear that this woman was to exert great influence over the Emperor, not only during his presence in Paris at this time, but for some time thereafter. She had first apparently met the Emperor on June 4 at his headquarters at Heilbronn where she sought an interview. The result (as narrated by Phillips) is as follows:
To the Tsar, who had been reading the Bible in solitude, her sudden arrival came as an answer to his prayers. She was at once admitted, and for three hours preached her strange gospel, while the Autocrat of all the Russias sat sobbing, with his face buried in his hands. At last, alarmed at the effects of her words, she ceased, and prayed the Emperor to pardon her temerity. “Do not be afraid,” replied Alexander; "all your discourse has justified itself to my heart; you have helped me to discover in myself things which I had never yet perceived. I thank God for it. But I shall often have need of similar conversations, and I beg you not to leave my neighbourhood."
It was in this "exalted mood" that during the next weeks Alexander lived and moved forward in his dream of European peace and union.
On September 26 (a little more than three months after the Von Krudener interview) at a great review of the allied troops on the plain of Vertus near Chalons, Alexander announced that he, together with Frederick William of Prussia and Leopold of Austria, had concluded the Holy Alliance to which all the Christian sovereigns of Europe were to be invited to join. This Holy Alliance reads as follows:
In the name of the Most Holy and Indivisible Trinity.
Their majesties the Emperor of Austria, the King of Prussia, and the Emperor of Russia, having, in consequence of the great events which have marked the course of the three last years in Europe. and especially of the blessings which it has pleased Divine Providence to shower down upon those States which place their confidence and their hope in it alone, acquired the intimate conviction of the necessity of settling the steps to be observed by the Powers, in their reciprocal relations, upon the sublime truths which the holy religion of our Saviour teaches;
They solemnly declare that the present Act has no other object than to publish, in the face of the whole world, their fixed resolution, both in the administration of their respective States, and in their political relations with every other Government, to take for their sole guide the precepts of that Holy Religion, namely, the precepts of Justice, Christian Charity and Peace, which, far from being applicable only to private concerns must have an immediate influence upon the counsels of Princes, and guide all their steps, as being the only means of consolidating human institutions and remedying their imperfections. In consequence, their Majesties have agreed on the following articles:
ART. I. Conformably to the words of the Holy Scriptures which command all men to consider each other as brethren, the Three contracting Monarchs will remain united by the bonds of a true and indissoluble fraternity, and, considering each other as fellow-countrymen, they will, on all`occasions and in all places, lend each other aid and assistance; and, regarding themselves towards their subjects and armies as fathers of families, they will lead them, in the same spirit of fraternity with which they are animated, to protect Religion, Peace, and Justice.
ART. II. In consequence, the sole principle of force, whether between the said Governments or between their subjects, shall be that of doing each other reciprocal service, and of testifying by unalterable goodwill the mutual affection with which they ought to be animated, to consider themselves all as members of one and the same Christian nation; the three allied Princes, looking on themselves as merely delegated by Providence to govern three branches of the One family, namely, Austria, Prussia, and Russia, thus coufessing that the Christian world, of which they and their people form a part, has in reality no other Sovereign than Him to whom alone power really belongs, because in Him alone are found all the treasures of love, science and infinite wisdom, that is to say, God, our Divine Saviour, the Word of the Most High, the Word of Life. Their Majesties consequently recommend to their people, with the most tender solicitude, as the sole means of enjoying that Peace which arises from a good conscience, and which alone is durable, to strengthen themselves every day more and more in the principles and exercises of the duties which the Divine Saviour has taught to mankind.
ART. III. All the Powers who shall choose solemnly to avow the sacred principles which have dictated the present Act, and shall acknowledge how important it is for the happiness of nations, too long agitated, that these truths should henceforth exercise over the destinies of mankind all the influence which belongs to them, will be received with equal ardour and affection into this Holy Alliance.43
Alexander's own interpretation of the purpose of this alliance was given in a letter to Count Lieven, his Ambassador to St. James, on March 18, 1816. Alexander said:
The sole and exclusive object of the Alliance can only be the maintenance of peace and the union of all the moral interests of the peoples which Divine Providence has been pleased to unite under the banner of the cross. An act of this character could not contain any design hostile to the peoples who have not the happiness to be Christians. Its only aim is to favour the internal prosperity of each state and the general welfare of all, which ought to be the outcome of the friendship between their sovereigns, made all the more indissoluble by the fact that it is independent of accidental causes."
Concerning this Holy Alliance Phillips makes the following com
In its origin and idea, then, the Holy Alliance was not a conspiracy of tyrants; it was not a Christian league against Turkey; nor was it altogether the "piece of sublime mysticism and nonsense" that Castlereagh judged it to be. Its political significance did not lie on the surface, but it was none the less there. It was that, in contradistinction to the treaties on which the Grand
Phillips, The Confederation of Europe, pp. 301-302.
44 Ibid., p. 150.