February 4 1815: Settlement Within Reach in Vienna

“The following day, 4 February [1815], Castlereagh called on Alexander. Fortunately for him, the Tsar had been considerably softened by the interview he had had the previous morning with Wellington. Chastened by the news that the French were capable of supporting Austria militarily, he was less sanguine than before, and agreed to calm Frederick William. He also responded positively to Castlereagh’s argument that they should all make concessions in order to reach a settlement before matters got out of hand. Castlereagh informed Alexander that he would persuade Münster to agree to give up an area with 50,000 souls that Hanover was to acquire, and reduce the increase in territory that Holland was to receive in order to produce another 50,000 for Prussia. He then suggested that Alexander reciprocate by agreeing to give Thorn and the area around it to Prussia. Alexander gave his consent. Hardenberg had spent that morning working on a fresh note reiterating Prussia’s claim to most of Saxony, with Leipzig. He then went off to Talleyrand’s for dinner with the Duke of Wellington. It was not until he got home that evening that he saw Castlereagh, who called on him with the news that Alexander had agreed to cede Thorn to Prussia. Hardenberg undertook to persuade Frederick William to relinquish his claim on Leipzig as a quid pro quo, but he was wary of making any promises.”

Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna by Adam Zamoyski

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