January 23 1815: Wellington To Go to Vienna

On January 23 1815,  the Duke of Wellington, who is British ambassador in Paris, writes to Viscount Castlereagh, in Vienna, to confirm that he is leaving in the morning for Vienna. Wellington has been ordered by the British government to take over from Castlereagh at the Congress of Vienna.Castlereagh is needed in parliament. Wellington writes two letters:

 My Lord, In consequence of the directions received from the Earl of Liverpool, I have taken leave of His Majesty, and propose to set out for Vienna in the morning.

I have the honor to be, &c. ‘Viscount Castlereagh, K.G.’ ‘Wellington.

The second letter reads:

My Lord, I enclose a copy of the regulations by which the French Government proposed to carry into execution their prohibition of the slave trade on the north west coast of Africa.

‘After receiving this paper I had a meeting with the Minister of Marine and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in which I pointed out to them the difference between what was contained in the enclosed reglement and what was proposed in the paper transmitted to your Lordship in my dispateh of the 3rd of November; and I stated that what was now proposed to be done did not perform the King’s engagement, nor carry into execution his intentions, as stated in the different notes, letters, and conversations which had passed between His Majesty or his Ministers and your Lordship or myself.

After a long discussion, in which the Minister of Marine offered to extend the prohibitive system as far as Cape Three Points, and I contended that it should be carried, as first proposed, to Cape Formoso, as the only mode of preventing the revival of the horrors of the slave trade in countries in which they had been effectually put an end to by Great Britain during the war, it was agreed that I should propose such alterations of the reglement as would make it suit the views of my Government, and that we should have another meeting to take those alterations into consideration; and that in the mean time the prohibitive system should be continued, as contained in the papers enclosed to your Lordship on the 3rd of November. I accordingly gave to M. de Jaucourt the memorandums of which the enclosed are copies.

I have since had no meeting upon the subject, but I have had two or three conversations upon it with M. de Jaucourt, and M. Beugnot the Minister of Marine, in each of which I observed an increasing disposition in the French Government to act more entirely in our views of this subject, and of colonial policy connected with it. I attribute this change, in a great degree, to their increasing knowledge of the state of St. Domingo, and to their desire to endeavor to regain possession of that colony through the mediation of His Majesty’s Government, founded upon the abolition of the slave trade and upon some liberal system towards the negroes in St. Domingo, both in respect to their own personal freedom and to their properties. It is evident, however, that nothing will be brought forward on this subject till M. de Tallepand shall return; and as the prohibitive system still exists along the coast to Cape Formoso, I have thought it best not to press them farther at present upon the reglement.

M. de Beugnot, the Minister of Marine, has by the King’s commands publicly disclaimed M. . I believe this person was sent to Jamaica to ascertain the state of St. Domingo, but he could not have been authorized to write the letters which have been published as his. ‘I have the honor to be, &c. ‘Viscount Castlereagh, K.G.’ ‘Wellington.

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