March 26 1815: Inundate France With Force

Wellington_at_Waterloo_Hillingford

On March 26 1815, Lord Castlereagh, in London, writes to the Duke of Wellington, in Vienna.

London, March 26, 1815.
My dear Lord—I have nothing material to add to my letter. We wait with impatience for intelligence from all quarters. The great question is, can the Bourbons get Frenchmen to fight for them against Frenchmen? If they can, Europe may soon turn the tide in their favour; and, the process of fermentation once begun, they may create real partisans, instead of criers of Vice la Roi ! and doers of nothing.

If we are to undertake the job, we must leave nothing to chance. It must be done upon the largest scale. With Mayence,’Luxembourg, and Lille, you start on solid grounds, and no fortresses in the rear to blockade as before. But you must inundate France with force in all directions. If Bonaparte could turn the tide, there is no calculating upon his plan; and we must always recollect that Poland, Saxony, and much J acobinism, are in our rear.

I wish you would turn in your mind the principles to be acted upon in France. The applying those you acted upon in the South to the force you will now command of all nations, is out of the question. The utmost we could attempt would be to be honest ourselves, and this would only make our ‘Allies more odious. My notion is, that France must pay the price of her own deliverance—that the King should consider the Allied troops—that every corps should be accompanied by a French ordonnateur, through whom all requisitions for forage and subsistence should be made; the value to be paid in Bons, the liquidation of which should be assured upon a peace, either in whole, or in the greater’proportion, at the expense of the French Government.

Unless some system of this kind is agreed upon, the war will either degenerate, as it did last year, into an indiscriminate and destructive pillage, or we shall be bankrupts, and driven out of the field in three- months. I know the difiiculties of what I suggest; but the alternative in the less objectionable sense leads at once to impossibilities and ruin.

Pray consider whether the territorial acquisitions of Austria must not be reduced into articles. I think she cannot rest her title merely upon the secret and very general article in the Treaty of Paris.
I am, &.c., strnnnnxen.

We long to hear of you in Flanders.

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