February 8 1815: Prussia and Saxony

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“Hardenberg then began work on his final note he would submit to the next conference of the Five, to be held the next day. [February 8 1815]  Hardenberg’s note opened with the usual professions of esteem for Austria and Prussia’s ardent desire to live in the greatest harmony with her. It went on, somewhat pointlessly, to deny Austria’s claim in her last memorandum that she was not gaining much and to argue that she would, according to arrangements made so far, acquire 1,761,340 more souls than she had in 1805. It pointed out the vulnerability of the proposed Prussian state and complained that although the Austrian plan awarded it nearly half of Saxony, it was the worst part, ‘poor land, covered in sands, forests and marshes, devoid of commerce, factories, industry, and of all resources’. It went on to state that Leipzig should go to Prussia, which would benefit its inhabitants, before declaring that in spite of all this His Majesty the King of Prussia was prepared to make ‘all the sacrifices which are not absolutely incompatible with the interests of his monarchy’, and giving way, not without saving face with a few minor demands. Metternich replied that while he still had to show the Prussian proposals to his imperial and royal master, he felt able to say that he considered them satisfactory. The signature by all those present of the minutes of this meeting was more of a turning point than the official Austrian declaration, made at the meeting of the Five on 10 February, accepting the Prussian proposals or the signature of the articles framing the agreements reached on Poland and Saxony on 11 February. Prussia would get nearly half of Saxony, but King Frederick Augustus [of Saxony] would keep two-thirds of his subjects and both of his main cities.”

— Rites of Peace: The Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna by Adam Zamoyski (The above map is also from this excellent book.)

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