Wellington's letter to Blücher, 2 July 1815

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Gonesse, 2nd July, 1815.

Sir,

I requested General Müffling to write to your Highness yesterday, upon the subject of the propositions which had been made to me by the French Commissioners for a suspension of hostilities, upon which I have not yet had a positive answer from your Highness.

It appears to me that, with the force which you and I have under our command at present, the attack of Paris is a matter of great risk. I am convinced it cannot be made on this side with any hope of success.

The army under my command must then cross the Seine twice, and get into the Bois de Boulogne before the attack can be made; and even then if we should succeed the loss would be very severe.

We must incur a severe loss, if it is necessary, in any case. But in this case it is not necessary. By the delay of a few days we shall have here the army under Marshal Prince Wrede, and the Allied Sovereigns with it, who will decide upon the measures to be adopted, and success will then be certain with a comparatively trifling loss; or, if we choose it, we can settle all our matters now by agreeing to the proposed armistice.

The terms on which I think this armistice can be made, and on which alone I will consent to make it, are these:

First; that we shall remain in the positions we now occupy.
Secondly; that the French army shall retire from Paris across the Loire.
Thirdly; that Paris shall be given over to the care of the national guard till the King shall order otherwise.
Fourthly; the time to be fixed for notice to break off this armistice.

By adopting this measure, we provide for the quiet restoration of His Majesty to his throne; which is that result of the war which the Sovereigns of all of us have always considered the most beneficial for us all, and the most likely to lead to permanent peace in Europe.

It is true we shall not have the vain triumph of entering Paris at the head of our victorious troops; but, as I have already explained to your Highness, I doubt our having the means at present of succeeding in an attack upon Paris; and, if we are to wait till the arrival of Marshal Prince Wrede to make the attack, I think we shall find the Sovereigns disposed, as they were last year, to spare the capital of their ally, and either not to enter the town at all, or enter it under an armistice, such as it is in your power and mine to sign this day.

I earnestly urge your Highness, then, to consider the reasoning which I have submitted to you on this occasion; and to let me have your decision whether you will agree to any armistice or not; and, if you will, I beg you to name a person to treat in your name with the French Commissioners. If you will not, my conduct will be guided by your decision.

I have the honour to be, &c.

Wellington