WALEWSKI Alexandre - Autograph Sentiment Signed by Napoleon's son at the end of the Crimean War 1856
Alexandre WALEWSKI (1810-1868)Autograph Statement Signed (“A Walewski”), praising the achievements of the Congress of Westphalia and the Congress of Vienna, and expressing his hopes for the Congress of Paris.
1 page 4to in French, “Congrès de Paris / Séance du 8 avril 1856”.
Trans: “The congress of Westphalia enshrined freedom of conscience, the congress of Vienna the abolition of the slave trade and the freedom of river navigation; it would be worthy of the congress of Paris to put an end to differences which have existed too long by laying the foundations of maritime rights in times of war.”
Alexandre Walewski, illegitimate son of Marie Walewska and Napoleon Bonaparte, was, by birth, Polish, but he became a French citizen under the reign of Louis Philippe. As French Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time of the Crimean War, it was natural that he would be the French envoy at the Congress of Paris which ended the conflict.
Interestingly, Walewski evokes the treaties which ended far longer and bloodier conflicts than the Crimea: the Congress of Westphalia brought the Thirty Years’ War to a close, and the Congress of Vienna effectively re-drew the map of Europe at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, as well as issuing a condemnation of the slave trade (which had been abolished in England some years earlier) and ensuring the freedom of navigation on Europe’s major rivers.
The outcome of the Congress of Paris was less ambitious than the previous treaties mentioned, but it did, importantly, confirm the integrity of the Ottoman Empire, as well as ensuring the neutrality of navigation in the Black Sea.
The page is numbered “2/” at the top, implying that this may have been the second page of a document; however, the lack of salutation at the end indicates that this was not a letter, and the place and date of signing in brackets at the bottom suggest a “sentiment signed” at the time of the Congress of Paris.
Slightly cropped, just touching the edge of two letters, laid down on stiff board. Pin-holes at the top and bottom.
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