William Godwin's Diary


After the defeats in Russia, Spain, and Germany, alliance diplomats agreed the text of a treaty whose primary clauses stated that France was to be kept to its natural borders of the Rhine, Alps, and Pyrenees, that Holland was to be independent, and that the French had to yield territories in Italy and Hamburg. It was accepted by the French but the allies rescinded their offer until such time as a senior British politician arrived. At about the same time, Wellington led his troops into France from Spain, making his way to Bordeaux by early March. He was greeted by a friendly regime and the news that Bordeaux had declared for the Bourbon monarchy caused a sensation in London and Paris. A couple of weeks later, Emperor Alexander of Russia and King Frederick William of Prussia entered Paris. Napoleon hurried back but was too late. He spent a week collecting his army at Fontainebleau but was told by his officers that they would not fight. They demanded his abdication for the good of France, which he conceded at the beginning of April.

See Rory Muir, Britain and the Defeat of Napoleon, 1807-1815 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1996), pp. 294-95 and 321-24.