Eylau: Precis Des Travaux de la Grande Armée
Report from Talleyrand to Napoleon on Prussia: 6 October 1806
Second report addressed to H. M. the Emperor and King by the Minister of Foreign Relations, October 6, 1806.
When, in the report that I had, few days ago, the honor to address to Y. M., I established that if Prussia had some reason of personal interest which carried it to war, it could only be the desire to control Saxony and the Hanseatic cities; I was far from expecting that it bold enough to ever acknowledge such a reason. It is nevertheless an acknowledgement which it does not fear to make and to consign in a note only Mr. Knobelsdorf to sent to me in Metz, and which I have the honor to address to Y. M.
Of the three requests that this note contains, the first and the third are made to only disguise, if it is possible, that they only attach real importance to the second.
Prussia, after having seen with a calm demeanor the French Army in Germany during one year, could not be alarmed at their presence, when their numbers have fallen, that they were dispersed by small bodies, in cantonments far removed, at the time especially that Y. M. had solemnly announced that he would remove them to France once the business of Cattaro, that causes the prolongation of their stay in Germany, would have been settled by an agreement reached with Austria, and that already the order for their return was given.
Prussia, which speaks about a negotiation to fix all the interests in litigation, knows well that there is unspecified interests in litigation between the two States: the friendly discussion which works to definitively determine the fate of the abbeys of Essen and Werden, was modified by no slowness from the French cabinet. The French troops evacuated these territories, which the Grand Duke of Berg had occupied, where many intimate and persuasive documents had put him; that they belonged to the Duchy of Clèves, and that they had been included in the transfer of this duchy.
Thus the demands of Prussia on these various points and the other of comparable nature, and the alleged objections which it seems to indicate, does not offer the true thought of the cabinet of Berlin. It does not reveal it, but it lets escape its secrecy only when it asks that it not be put any more, on behalf of France, any unspecified obstacle with the formation of the line of the North, which will embrace without any exception, all the States not named in the fundamental act of the Confederation of the Rhine.
Thus, to satisfy this most unjust ambition, Prussia agrees to break the bonds which linked it in France, to invite new calamities on the continent, whose Y. M. wanted to heal the wounds of and to ensure peace, to cause a faithful ally to be put in the cruel need for pushing back force by force, and for still tearing off its army while at rest, of which it wished to enjoy after so much tirednesses and so many triumphs.
I say it with pain, I lose hope that peace can be preserved, since they propose that it depends on conditions of repulsive equity and of repulsive honor also, proposed, as they are, with a tone and a form that the French people will not endure in any time and on behalf of any power, and which they can even less endure under the reign of Y. M.
Signed CH. MAUR. TALLEYRAND, Prince of Bénévent.
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