July 10 1815: Desperate Measures

On July 10 1815, Lord Liverpool writes to Lord Castlereagh, who is in Paris.

My dear Castlereagh—I received this morning your letters of the 7th, and Sir Charles Stuart’s of the 6th. The account of the state of Paris, and, indeed, of a large part of the interior of France, appears to us by no means favourable. Though the general disposition may be in favour of the King, in many quarters, it is quite clear that he has no party to support him, and that the most able and active members of the community are against him. It will be an Herculean task, I think, to give any real strength to this Government. For, what is a King, unsupported by opinion, by an army, or by a strong national party?

I am glad, upon the whole, that he has determined to employ Fouché. He may betray him; but he may likewise feel it his best interest to save him. In a desperate state of affairs, we must try desperate remedies. The more I consider the present internal state of France, and the little chance there is of security for Europe from the character and strength of the French Government, the more I am satisfied that we must look for security in frontier, and in really weakening the power of France. This opinion is rapidly gaining ground in this country; and I think, even if Buonaparte was dead, there would now be considerable disappointment at any peace which left France as she was by the Treaty of Paris, or even as she was before the Revolution.

Bathurst will write to-night to the Duke of Wellington on the subject of the system for supplying our army. It is quite right to prevent plunder of every description ; but France must bear a part of the expenses of the war. This was, in~ deed, understood, when we agreed to the Convention at Ghent; and we shall not be able to justify the system which we adopted last year, either to our own country or to our Allies. We do not exactly know what course, in this respect, the Duke of Wellington has been following, for we have received no information in regard to it since he entered France.
I trust, however, that you will be able to satisfy him that the French nation ought to bear a part of the expenses ; and we should take care that this part of the charge is defrayed before we leave the country; for otherwise we shall certainly gain nothing.

We have our Council to-morrow, for the Prince Regent’s Speech, and Parliament will be prorogued on Wednesday. I conclude we shall hear by the next courier whether the Allied Sovereigns intend coming to Paris, or what place is fixed for the general discussions on political affairs.

Believe me, my dear Castlereagh, yours very sincerely,

(The image above is “The Arrival of King Louis XVIII at Calais in 1814” by Edward Bird)

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