Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][merged small]

THE

QUARTERLY REVIEW.

No. 463.-APRIL, 1920,

Art. 1.-METTERNICH AND THE ENTENTE CORDIALE.

BEFORE proceeding to the main business of this article, which is to publish and comment on a hitherto unknown dispatch of Metternich's concerning the Entente Cordiale between France and Great Britain, a few prefatory remarks are desirable. When, in these days, we have occasion to mention the Entente Cordiale, we too often overlook certain striking facts. One is that it can pride itself on having had Talleyrand as godfather; the other, that in a little more than a dozen years it will be a century old. Its birth, indeed, dates back to the period when, from 1830 to 1834, the erstwhile Minister for Foreign Affairs under the Directory represented in London the Government of July.

'J'y arrivais,' he wrote on Sept. 24, 1830, quelques heures après avoir débarqué à Douvres, animé de l'espoir, du désir surtout, d'établir enfin cette alliance que j'ai toujours considérée comme la garantie la plus solide du bonheur des deux Nations et de la paix du monde.' Such was, summed up in a few words, the programme which Talleyrand had laid down; a programme which Louis Philippe and his ministry had, moreover, accepted without changing a syllable.

This declaration of principles remains to-day of such capital importance that it will be of interest to quote the few phrases which the Duc de Broglie devotes, in his preface to the 'Memoirs' of Talleyrand, to the genesis of the Entente Cordiale.

"Son plan Talleyrand's) est fait,' he writes. A la coalition des Monarchies du Continent que toute révolution effraye, il

Vol. 233.-No. 463.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

opposera l'alliance de deux monarchies libérales fondées l'une et l'autre sur un choix national; et, dans le discours qu'il adresse au Roi d'Angleterre la première fois qu'il est reçu en audience solennelle, il ne craint pas d'offrir à l'Héritier de la Maison de Brunswick l'amitié du Roi des Français au nom d'une communauté de principes et d'une fraternité d'origine.

• A partir de ce moment, sa marche est assurée ; l'avènement d'un ministère anglais pris dans le Parti libéral, dont il a pressenti la venue, ne fera qu'aplanir devant lui tous les obstacles. Il a pris en main le levier qu'il peut faire mouvoir. La coalition menaçante est tuée dans son germe dès que l'Angleterre s'en retire. L'alliance anglaise devient même le pivot de la longue négociation qui aboutira à substituer sur notre frontière une neutralité amicale à un voisinage d'une hostilité incommode, en consacrant à Bruxelles une royauté de plus, issue comme celle de France, d'un choix populaire.'

The Entente Cordiale was hardly born when it found itself left to make its way in the world alone. Talleyrand, discouraged because he had not been able to secure for it the application that would have given it more strength and vitality--because he had not succeeded in transforming it forthwith into a defensive alliance between the two powers-threw up his embassy and left London, abandoning his godchild to its fate. Fortune scarcely smiled on it at this period, for Lord Aberdeen, who had shown a certain amount of sympathy for Talleyrand's plan, had been replaced by Lord Palmerston. This new guardian, who had not much love for his ward, hardly troubled himself to guide it, and still less to protect it against the snares that were being constantly laid for it by Metternich, who, fearing to see it grow up, had resolved from the day of its birth that he would leave no stone unturned to destroy it.

Skilfully making the most of the prejudices and the ill-will of his English colleague, the Austrian Chancellor played his cards so well that on Aug. 11, 1840, the Comte de Sambuy, the Sardinian minister at Vienna,* was able to write to his government:

* Count Victor Amédée Balbo Bertone de Sambuy (1793-1846) was one of Napoleon's officers who entered the Sardinian army after the Restoration. Later on Charles Albert sent him as minister to Munich, and in 1835 he was entrusted with the difficult and important post of minister to Vienna which he retained down to his death in February 1846.

« PreviousContinue »