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to examine carefully the grounds themselves. Nearly half a century has elapsed since the treaties of 1815 were signed. The work was somewhat hurried by the necessity of giving repose to Europe after so many convulsions. Yet the changes made in this period of fifty years have not been more than might have been expected from the lapse of time, the progress of opinion, the shifting policy of Governments, and the varying exigencies of nations. If we take half a century from the peace of Westphalia to 1700, or a similar period from the peace of Utrecht to 1763, we shall find those periods marked by exten
sive changes, as well as the period which
has elapsed between 1815 and 1863. Yet it was not thought necessary at the epochs mentioned to proceed to a general revision either of the treaty of Westphalia or the treaty of Utrecht. It is the conviction of Her Majesty's Government that the main provisions of the treaty of 1815 are in full force; that the greater number of those provisions have not been in any way disturbed; and that on those foundations rests the balance of power in Europe. If, instead of saying that the treaty of Vienna has ceased to exist, or that it is destroyed, we inquire whether certain portions of it have been modified, disregarded, or menaced, other questions occur. Some of the modifications which have taken place have received the sanction of all the great powers, and now form part of the public law of Europe. Is it proposed to give those changes a more general and solemn sanction ? Is such a work necessary P Will it contribute to the peace of Europe? Other portions of the treaty of Vienna have been disregarded or set aside, and the changes thus made de facto have not been recognized de jure by all the powers of Europe. Is it proposed to obtain from powers which have not hitherto joined in that recognition a sanction to those changes? Lastly come those parts of the treaty of Vienna which are menaced, and upon those portions the most important questions of all arise. What is the nature of the prosals to be made on this subject by the Smperor Napoleon In what direction would they tend ? And, above all, are they, if agreed to by a majority of the powers, to be enforced by arms ? When the Sovereigns or Ministers of Austria, France, Prussia, Russia, and Great Britain met at Verona in 1823 upon the affairs of Spain, the first four of those powers carried into effect their resolutions by means of armed forces, in
spite of the protest of Great Britain. Is this example to be followed at the present Congress in case of disagreement P. Upon all these points Her Majesty's Government must obtain satisfactory explanations before they can come to any decision upon the proposal made by the Emperor. Her Majesty’s Government would be ready to discuss with France and other powers, by diplomatic correspondence, any specified questions upon which a solution might be attained, and European peace thereby more securely established. But they would feel more apprehension than confidence from the meeting of a Congress of Sovereigns and Ministers without fixed objects, ranging over the map of Europe, and exciting hopes and aspirations which they might find themselves unable either to gratify or to quiet. Her Majesty's Government have no reason to doubt that the Emperor Napoleon would bring into such an assembly a spirit of moderation and of justice. They feel confident that his object is to give security to the peace of Europe. The only question is as to the means by which that object is to be attained. You are directed to read and give a copy of this despatch to M. Drouyn de Lhuys. I am, &c.
(Translation.) From M. Drouyn de Lhuys to the Marquis de Cadore.
Palace of Compiègne, Nov. 23. Sir, Lord Cowley communicated to me some days ago a despatch from his Excellency Earl Russell, dated the 12th of this month, and which expresses the opinion of the British Government relative to the proposal to call at Paris a Congress to deliberate on the affairs of Europe. You will find annexed a copy of it. My previous correspondence has answered beforehand some of the considerations developed in this document. It is my duty, nevertheless, to sum up in this despatch, of which you will send a copy to his Excellency the Principal Secretary of State, the motives which have determined the resolution of His Majesty. The Imperial Government have no intention either to apologize for or to criticize the treaties of Vienna. The Emperor declared on mounting the throne that he should consider himself bound by the engagements subscribed to by his predecessors. Lately again, in his letter to the sovereigns, His Majesty showed Z
that the diplomatic acts of 1815 were the foundation on which rests to-day the political edifice of Europe. But this is, he considers, an additional reason for examining whether this foundation is not itself shaken to its base. Now, the Cabinet of London recognizes with us that several of these stipulations have been seriously infringed. Among the modifications which have taken place some have been consecrated by the sanction of all the great powers, and at present constitute a part of international law; others, on the contrary, carried into execution, have not been recognized as law by all the Cabinets. As regards the first, we cannot help calling attention to the irresistible power with which they have forced themselves on the acceptance of the Governments. The eagerness of England herself to give to them her adhesion proves how little the former combinations answered, according to the expression of Lord Russell, the requirements of the lapse of time, the progress of opimion, the shifting policy of Governments, and the varying exigencies of nations; on the other hand, are not we authorized in believing that changes so important have diminished to some extent the harmony and equilibrium of the whole P. We admit with Lord Russell that it is not absolutely necessary to give to these changes a more general and more solemn sanction; but we consider it would be an advantage to clear away the ruins and re-unite in a single body all the living members. As regards the modifications to which the powers have not given an unanimous assent, they constitute so many causes of dispute which at any moment may divide Europe into two camps. Instead of leaving the decision of these to violence and chance, would it not be better to pursue their equitable solution to a common agreement, and sanction these changes by revising them P The third category comprises those parts of the treaty of Vienna which are menaced. “Upon those portions,” says his Excellency the Principal Secretary of State, “the most important questions of all arise. What is the nature of the proposals to be made on this subject by the Emperor Napoleon P. In what direction would they tend, and, above all, are they, if agreed to by a majority of the powers, to be enforced by arms ?” The Emperor, while he pointed out to Europe the dangers of a situation in deep commotion, indicated the method of averting the dire calamities which he foresees, and at which he less than others, perhaps, would have reason to take alarm, for the
questions out of which at the present time war may arise interest France but indirectly, and it would depend on herself alone whether she would take part in the struggle, or stand aloof from it. This he did by addressing all the sovereigns in full confidence and simultaneously, without previous understanding with any of them, in order the better to testify his sincere impartiality, and to enter upon, free of every engagement, the important deliberations to which he invites them. Himself the youngest of sovereigns, he considers he has no right to assume the part of an arbiter, and to fix beforehand for the other Courts the programme of the Congress which he proposes. This is the motive of the reserve which he has imposed upon himself. It is, moreover, so difficult to enumerate the questions, not yet solved, which may disturb Europe. A deplorable struggle is bathing Poland in blood, is agitating the neighbouring States, and threatening the world with the most serious disturbances. Three powers, with a view of putting a stop to it, invoke in vain the treaties of Vienna, which supply the two sides with contradictory arguments. Is this struggle to last for ever ? Pretensions opposed to one another are exciting a quarrel between Denmark and Germany. The preservation of peace in the North is at the mercy of an accident. The Cabinets have already by their negotiations become parties to the dispute. Are they now become indifferent to it? Shall anarchy continue to prevail on the lower Danube, and shall it be able at any moment to open anew a bloody arena for the dispute of the Eastern question ? Shall Austria and Italy remain in presence of each other in a hostile attitude, ever ready to break the truce which prevents their animosities exploding P Shall the occupation of Rome by the French troops be prolonged for an indefinite period P Lastly, must we renounce without fresh attempts at conciliation the hope of lightening the burden imposed on the nations by the disproportionate armaments oecasioned by mutual distrust? Such are, sir, in our opinion, the principal questions which the powers would doubtless judge it useful to examine and decide. Lord Russell surely does not expect us to specify here the mode of solution applicable to each of these problems, nor the kind of sanction which might be given by the decisions of the Congress. To the powers there represented would pertain the right of pronouncing upon these various points. We will only add “Moniteur,” addressed to the German Confederation. Her Majesty's Government fully recognize in this step the desire of the Emperor of the French to put an end to the disquietude which affects several parts of Europe, and to establish the general peace on foundations more solid than those on which, in his opinion, it now rests. The Emperor declares that France is disinterested in this question; that he, for his part, seeks no aggrandizement, and that the interests to be secured are those, not of France, but of Europe. Her Majesty's Government may also declare that Great Britain is disinterested in this matter, that she seeks no aggrandizement, and that she has only to counsel moderation and peace. But France and Great Britain being thus disinterested themselves, are bound to consider what is the position, and what, in a Congress, will be the probable conduct of powers who may be called upon to make sacrifices of territory or of preeminence and moral strength. It would be little to the purpose to say on this occasion any thing more of the treaties of 1815. Practically, the Emperor of the French admits the binding force of many portions of those treaties, and Her Majesty's Government as readily allow that some portions of them have been modified or disregarded, and that other portions are now menaced or called in question. Her Majesty's Government understand from the explanations given by M. Drouyn de Lhuys that, in the opinion of the Government of the Emperor, it is obvious to every one that there are several questions not hitherto solved which may disturb Europe. Of this nature are the following:— Must the conflict in Poland be still further prolonged? Is Denmark to be at war with Germany, and have the powers which formerly took a part in the discussion of this question become indifferent to it? Must anarchy continue in the Danu. bian Principalities, and thus at any moment tend to re-open the question of the East P Must Italy and Austria always remain in presence of each other in a hostile attitude 2 Must the occupation of Rome by French troops be prolonged for an indefinite time 2 The Emperor's Government put a further question:Must we, without having made new attempts at conciliation, renounce the hope of lightening the burdens imposed upon the nations of Europe by excessive armaments, kept up by the feeling of mutual distrust 2 These, no doubt, are the principal questions which either disturb or threaten the peace of Europe; but there is a further question which Her Majesty's Government consider to lie at the bottom of this whole matter, and that is the following:— Is a General Congress of European States likely to furnish a peaceful solution of the various matters in dispute? This, indeed, is the question which it behoves the Governments of the different States to consider seriously and attentively. There appears to Her Majesty's Government to be one main consideration which must lead them to their concluSion. After the war which desolated Germany from 1619 to 1649, and after the successive wars which afflicted the Continent of Europe from 1793 to 1815, it was possible to distribute territories and to define rights by a Congress, because the nations of Europe were tired of the slaughter and exhausted by the burdens of war, and because the powers who met in Congress had by the circumstances of the time the means of carrying their decisions and arrangements into effect. But at the present moment, after a continuance of long peace, no power is willing to give up any territory to which it has a title by treaty or a claim by possession. For example, of the questions mentioned as disturbing or threatening Europe, two of the most disquieting are those regarding Poland and Italy. Let us examine the present state of these questions, and see whether it is probable that a Congress would tend to a peaceful settlement of them. In the first place, with regard to Poland, the question is not new to France, to Austria, or to Great Britain. For several months these powers, while carefully abstaining from any threat, have attempted to obtain from Russia by friendly representations the adoption of measures of a healing nature, but have only succeeded in procuring promises, often repeated, that when the insurrection shall have been put down, recourse will be had to clemency and conciliation. Would there be any advantage in repeating in the name of a Congress representations already made with so little effect P Is it probable that a Congress would be able to secure better terms for Poland
that it would be in our eyes illusory to
Copy of a Despatch from Earl Russell to Earl Cowley.
Foreign Office, Nov. 25. My Lord, Her Majesty's Government have received from the Marquis of Cadore the copy of a despatch addressed to him by M. Drouyn de Lhuys, in answer to my despatch to your Excellency of the 12th inst. Her Majesty's Government having obtained an answer to the inquiries they made, will not any longer delay giving a definitive reply to the invitation addressed by the Emperor of the French to Her Majesty the Queen, to take part in a Congress of the European powers to be assembled at Paris. I enclose a copy of the Emperor's letter of invitation to the Queen, which is similar to one which has already appeared in the
unless by a combined employment of force P Considerable progress has been made by the military preponderance, and by the unsparing severity of Russia, in subduing the insurgents. Is it likely that Russia will grant in the pride of her strength what she refused in the early days of her discouragement * Would she create an independent Poland at the mere request of a Congress * But if she would not, the prospect becomes one of humiliation for Europe, or of war against Russia, and those powers who are not ready to incur the cost and hazard of war may well desire to avoid the other alternative. It may be truly said, moreover, that the present period is one of transition. If the insurrection shall be subdued, it will then be seen whether the promises of the Emperor of Russia are to be fulfilled. If the insurrection shall not be subdued, or if, in order to subdue it, the Polish population is treated with fresh—and, if that be possible—with aggravated rigour, other questions will arise which may require further consideration, but which would hardly receive a solution from a large assembly of representatives of all the powers of Europe. Indeed, it is to be apprehended that questions, arising from day to day, coloured by the varying events of the hour, would give occasion rather for useless debate than for practical and useful deliberation in a Congress of twenty or thirty representatives, not acknowledging any supreme authority, and not guided by any fixed rules of proceeding. Passing to the question of Italy, fresh difficulties occur. In the first place, is it intended to sanction by a new treaty the F.” state of possession in Italy The ope and the sovereigns related to the dispossessed princes might, on the one side, object to give a title they have hitherto refused to the King of Italy; and the King of Italy, on the other, would probably object to a settlement which would appear to exclude him, by inference at least, from the acquisition of Rome and Venetia. But is it intended to ask Austria in Congress to renounce the possession of Venetia 2 Her Majesty's Government have good grounds to believe that no Austrian representative would attend a Congress where such a proposition was to be discussed. They are informed that if such an intention were announced beforehand, Austria would decline to attend the Congress; and that if the ques
tion were introduced without notice, the Austrian Minister would quit the Assembly. Here again, therefore, the deliberations of the Congress would soon be brought in sight of the alternative of nullity or war. But is it possible to assemble a Congress and to summon an Italian representative to sit in it without discussing the state of Venetia? The Emperor of the French would be the first person to feel and to admit that such a course would not be possible. With regard to Germany and Denmark, it is true that several of the powers of Europe have interested themselves in that question, but the addition of Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Turkey to the deliberation would scarcely improve the prospect of a satisfactory solution. And if, with regard to Poland and Italy, no beneficial result is likely to be attained, is it expedient to call together a General Congress of all the States of Europe to find a remedy for the anarchy of Moldo-Wallachia? Were all these questions—those of Poland, Italy, Denmark, and the Danubian Provinces, to be decided by the mere utterance of opinions, the views of Her Majesty's Government upon most of them might, perhaps, be found not materially to differ from those of the Emperor of the French. But if the mere expression of opinions and wishes would accomplish no positive results, it appears certain that the delibe
rations of a Congress would consist of de-
I am, &c.