The Erfurt Convention
October 12, 1808.
De Clercq, Traites, II, 284-286.
This document should be studied in connection with the Documents upon the Peace of Tilsit. The Spanish rising against Napoleon for a time threatened to produce a general rising against his domination. Napoleon, however, induced the Czar to meet him at Erfurt, where a series of conferences led to the signing of this convention. The consolidation of the Franco-Russian alliance prevented the threatened general rising. Both the general character and the special terms of this alliance, as set forth in the document, merit careful attention.
His Majesty the Emperor of the French, King of Italy, Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine, and His Majesty the Emperor of all the Russias, wishing to cause the alliance which unites them to he more and more close and forever durable, and reserving to themselves to agree subsequently, if there is need, upon the new determinations to be taken and the new means of attack to he directed against England, their common enemy and the enemy of the continent, have resolved to establish in a special convention the principles which they are determined to follow invariably in all their measures to obtain the re-establishment of peace. . . .
- His Majesty the Emperor of the French, King of Italy, etc., and His Majesty the Emperor of all the Russias confirm and, in as far as there is need, renew the alliance concluded between them at Tilsit; binding themselves, not only not to make any separate peace with the common enemy, but in addition not to enter into any negotiation with it, and not to listen to any of its proposals except by common consent.
- Thus resolved to remain inseparably united for peace as well as for war, the High Contracting Parties agree to appoint Plenipotentiaries to treat for peace with England and to send them for this purpose to the city of the continent which England shall designate.
- In all the course of the negotiation, if it occurs, the respective Plenipotentiaries of the High Contracting Parties shall constantly act with the most perfect accord, and it shall not be permissible for either of them to support, nor even to receive or approve contrary to the interests of the other Contracting Party any proposal or demand of the English Plenipotentiaries, which, taken by itself and favorable to the interests of England, may also present some advantage to one of the Contracting Parties.
- The basis of the treaty with England shall be the uti possidetis.
- The High Contracting Parties bind themselves to consider as an absolute condition of peace with England that she shall recognize Finland, Wallachia, and Moldavia as making part of the Empire of Russia.
- They agree to consider as an absolute condition of the peace that England shall recognize the new order of things established by France in Spain.
- The High Contracting Parties agree not to receive from the side of the enemy during the continuance of the negotiations any proposal, offer or communication whatsoever, without immediately sharing it with the respective courts: and if the said proposals are made at the Congress assembled for the peace, the respective Plenipotentiaries shall he bound to communicate them.
- His Majesty the Emperor of all the Russias, in consequence of all the revolutions and changes which disturb the Ottoman Empire and which do not leave any possibility of giving, and in consequence any hope of obtaining, sufficient guarantees for the persons and goods of the inhabitants of Wallachia and Moldavia, having already carried the limits of his Empire to the Danube on that side and united Wallachia and Moldavia with his Empire, and being able only on that condition to recognize the integrity of the Ottoman Empire, the Emperor Napoleon recognizes the said union and the said limits of the Russian Empire, extended on that side to the Danube.
- His Majesty the Emperor of all the Russias agrees to keep in the most profound secrecy the preceding article and to enter upon a negotiation, either at Constantinople or anywhere else, in order to obtain amicably, if that be possible, the cession of these two provinces. France renounces its mediation. The Plenipotentiaries or agents of the two powers shall agree upon the language to be held, in order not to compromise the friendship existing between France and the Porte, nor the security of the French who reside in the Turkish dominions in order to prevent the Porte throwing itself into the arms of England.
- In case the war should happen to be rekindled, the Ottoman Porte refusing the cession of the two provinces, the Emperor Napoleon shall not take any part therein and shall confine himself to the employment of his good offices with the Ottoman Porte; but if it should happen that Austria or any other power should make common cause with the Ottoman Empire in the said war, His Majesty the Emperor Napoleon shall immediately make common cause with Russia, being obliged to consider this case as one of those of the general alliance which unites the two Empires. In case Austria should engage in war against France, the Emperor of Russia agrees to declare himself against Austria and to make common cause with France, that case being likewise one of those to which the alliance that unites the two Empires applies.
- The High Contracting Parties bind themselves, moreover, to maintain the integrity of the other possessions of the Ottoman Empire, not wishing to undertake themselves or suffer that there should be undertaken any enterprise against any part of that Empire, unless they should be previously informed of it.
- If the measures taken by the two High Contracting Parties are unavailing, either because England evades the proposal which shall be made to it, or because the negotiations are broken off, their Imperial Majesties shall meet again within the space of one year, in order to agree upon the operations of the common war and upon the means to pursue it with all the forces and all the resources of the two Empires.
- The two High Contracting Parties, wishing to recognize the loyalty and the perseverance with which the King of Denmark has supported the common cause, agree to procure for him an indemnification for his sacrifices and to recognize the acquisitions which he shall have been in a position to make in the present war.
- The present convention shall be kept secret for at least the space of ten years.
Fournier, Napoleon, 438-444; Rose, Napoleon, II, 164-170; Sloane, Napoleon, III, 133-138; Lanfrey, Napoleon, Ill, 485-494; Lavisse and Rambaud, Histoire Generale, IX, 135-147.
Placed on the Napoleon Series 7/00