April 13 1815: Buonaparte’s Downfall

On April 13 1815, The Prince De Talleyrand, in Vienna,  writes to King Louis XVIII.

SIRE, As Buonaparte has made himself master of Paris, the powers consider that it might be advisable to renew by a second declaration, the manifestation of the sentiments expressed in that of the I3th of March. There is every reason to believe, that with the exception of a few individuals, every one in France of whatever shade of opinion, desires the same thing, the downfall of Buonaparte. It would be well therefore to utilize this general feeling, in order to annihilate him. This object once accomplished, the particular opinions of each party will find themselves without support, without strength, and without means of action, and will no longer present any obstacles.

The declaration has therefore been drawn up in such a manner as to induce the representatives of all parties to compel Buonaparte to retire. Though fully agreed as to the basis of the declaration, we have not yet come to an understanding as to its form; and its publication is for the moment delayed. It is even suggested to substitute for a declaration by the congress, a proclamation, to be issued simultaneously by all the commanders-inchief of the allied troops, at the moment that those troops enter French territory, and I am not disinclined to adopt this idea, which seems to me to possess many advantages.

All I hear from France proves that Buonaparte finds himself greatly embarrassed. I also judge of this from the two emissaries he has sent here.

One of them, M. de Montrond, with the help of the Abbe Altieri attached to the Austrian legation in Paris, has come as far as Vienna. He had no ostensible mission nor any despatches, and he has most probably been sent by the party which favours Buonaparte, not by Buonaparte himself. That at least is my impression. He was the bearer of messages to M. de Metternich, M. de Nesselrode, and myself. He was to ascertain whether the foreign powers were seriously determined not to recognize Buonaparte, but to go to war with him ; he had also a letter for Prince Eugene. What he was told to ask me was, How I could possibly resolve on stirring up a war with France?” Read the declaration,” I replied ; “it does not contain one word which I do not fully endorse. Besides, it is not a question of war against France, it is war against the man of the island of Elba.”

He asked M. de Metternich whether the Austrian government had completely lost sight of the views they held in March, 1814. “A regency?” replied M. de Metternich, “we do not want one.” Finally he tried to find out from M. de Nesselrode what were the Emperor Alexander’s views. “The destruction of Buonaparte and all his people,” was the reply, and there the matter ended.
It was decided to make M. de Montrond at once acquainted with the number of troops that will immediately take the field, and likewise with the treaty of March 25th. He has returned to Paris carrying this information and these answers back with him; it will give those who have attached themselves to Buonaparte’s fortunes, something to think about.
The second emissary he sent was M. de Flahaut.1 When he arrived at Stuttgart the King of Wurtemburg had him arrested and conducted back to the frontier. He carried despatches for the Emperor of Austria, the Emperor Alexander, the Empress Marie-Louise, and for your Majesty’s legation at Vienna. They were we presume (the despatches being all separate) letters to annul the powers of your Majesty’s embassy.
The sovereigns continue very well disposed. I can assure your Majesty that it is an extremely difficult matter to get so many people all to go the same way; I never cease in my efforts to prevent any of them from turning aside. The territorial arrangements for the north of Germany were concluded yesterday; in a few days more I hope the congress will have finished all that it has to do.
I shall have the honour to send your Majesty by the first English courier, who leaves on Saturday the 15th, the declaration of war (very badly drawn up) by Austria, against
Murat. This matter will very shortly I trust be concluded to your satisfaction.
I have the honour to be
P.S.—This letter is taken by M. Fauche Borel.

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