The Emergence of Modern Russia, 1801-1917

By Sergei Pushkarev; Robert H. McNeal et al. | Go to book overview

4
Foreign Affairs
from the Napoleonic Era to the Crimean War

The Napoleonic Wars

Alexander began his reign by announcing to the European powers his decision not to interfere in the affairs of other states. On September 26 (October 8), 1801, a peace treaty was concluded in Paris between Russia and France, with which Paul had ceased active hostilities but had not yet concluded a peace treaty. Some three months earlier, on June 5 (17), a treaty of friendship and free trade had been concluded with Great Britain. Early in the summer of 1802, Alexander traveled to Memel for a meeting with the Prussian royal couple; he stayed there seven days and soon became fast friends with King Frederick William III and his fascinating wife, Queen Louise.

However, this circle of friendship did not last long. To Alexander's displeasure, in 1802 Napoleon declared himself Life Consul. That feeling was increased in 1804 by the French seizure of the Duke d'Enghien, which took place on the territory of Baden, and his subsequent execution. The act was especially annoying to Alexander because Baden was the homeland of his wife and because the victim of this aggression was a relative of the French royal house. Alexander protested against France's violation of the security and independence of European states, and France answered in a sharp and insulting note, which contained a reminder of the unpunished murder of Paul I. That same year Napoleon declared himself Emperor of the French and proceeded to seize new territory in Italy and Germany. Alexander thereupon branded Napoleon as a tyrant striving to enslave Europe and agreed to an alliance with Austria and England

-96-

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