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Title: England and the Orleans Monarchy

Date of first publication: 1912

Author: Sir John Richard Hall, bart., (1865-1928)

Date first posted: Sep. 26, 2013

Date last updated: Sep. 26, 2013

Faded Page eBook #20130922

This eBook was produced by: David T. Jones, Al Haines & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net

[Pg iii]

H.M. Louis Philippe, King of the French

[Pg iv]





“The history of the day before yesterday is the
least known, it may be said, the most forgotten,
by the public of to-day.”

Guizot, Mémoires, viii. p. 515






All rights reserved

[Pg v]


[Pg vi]

S. H.

[Pg vii]


In this volume the story is told of the first entente cordiale and of the circumstances which led to its disruption. The questions which occupied the attention of the French and the British governments at that period have now passed into the domain of history. The resentment evoked by the Egyptian crisis of 1840 and the controversies raised by the Spanish marriages has died away. The attitude towards the Liberal and national movements in Europe, adopted, on the one side, by Louis Philippe and M. Guizot and, on the other, by Lord Palmerston, can, at this distance of time, be reviewed dispassionately. In the light of the knowledge of to-day, the difficulties which beset the “Citizen King” may be estimated, and the injustice of many of the attacks made upon the policy of Palmerston can be demonstrated.

Researches in the diplomatic correspondence of the period, both in London and in Paris, have enabled me to place in print, for the first time, many documents bearing upon the part played by Talleyrand in the Belgian question and upon the secret policy of Louis Philippe in the same affair. In these pages some new light has, I venture to think, been thrown upon the situation in Spain during the regencies of Christina and Espartero, and during the early years of the rule of Isabella. In connection, also, with Palmerston’s Eastern policy, certain facts, hitherto unpublished, are now presented for consideration.

[Pg viii]

During the eighteen years covered by this volume the Whigs were, for the greater part of the time, in office. Amidst the Russells, the Greys, the Spencers and the other powerful Whig families Palmerston was an interloper. Nor was he ever a Whig. In external affairs he remained always a Canningite. Some of the worst miscalculations of Louis Philippe and his ministers were due to their inability to grasp the fact that the foreign policy of the Whigs was in the hands of the most “un-Whiggish” of statesmen. The period was one of political unrest, the precursor of great wars and revolutions. France was disenchanted and profoundly dissatisfied with her “Citizen King.” In Germany and Italy Metternich still maintained his system, but there were symptoms that the end of his long rule was fast approaching. In Spain the transition from autocracy to constitutionalism coincided with a fiercely disputed succession to the throne. Turkey, in the words of Nicholas, was “the sick man of Europe.”

J. H.

Sept., 1912.

[Pg ix]


The Revolution of July, 1880—Louis Philippe—Louis Philippe and the
military democratic party—First communications with the
Sovereigns 1-13
Effect of the Revolution of July in England—Character and system
of Metternich—The chiffon de Carlsbad—Metternich’s policy
towards the Germanic Confederation and Prussia—Hostility of Tsar
Nicholas to the new régime in France—Revolution at Brussels—Talleyrand
in London—France proclaims the principle of non-intervention—The
Duchesse de Dino and the Comte de Montrond—Great
Britain proposes that the Belgian question be submitted
to a conference—Molé and Talleyrand—Change of government in
France and England 14-39
The Whigs in office—Talleyrand insists upon the necessity of
establishing a good understanding with England—Palmerston’s
distrust of the French Liberals—State of Europe—Revolution at
Warsaw—“The Frenchmen of the North”—Belgium declared
[Pg x]independent and neutral—Candidates for the Belgian throne—Bresson
and Ponsonby at Brussels—British government will treat
as a case for war the enthronement of a French prince—Flahaut
in London—Lawoëstine at Brussels—The Duc de Nemours elected
King of the Belgians—Critical situation—Louis Philippe declines
the throne for his son—Proceedings of Bresson—Anger of
Talleyrand—Casimir Périer forms a government—War in Poland
and insurrection in the Papal States—The Austrians at Bologna—Leopold
of Saxe-Coburg—Dissatisfaction of the Belgians—Reluctance
of French government to see coercion applied to the
Belgians—The protocol of 18 articles accepted by Belgium,
refused by Holland—Leopold enthroned—Roussin at Lisbon—The
Dutch invade Belgium—French army enters Belgium—Palmerston’s
suspicions of Talleyrand—Stockmar’s suspicions of
Palmerston—Excitement in London—Talleyrand’s warning—Why
the French army remained in Belgium—King Leopold’s
dilemma—The French evacuate Belgium—Londonderry attacks
Talleyrand in the House of Lords—“l’ordre règne à Varsovie”—Palmerston’s
despatch on the Polish question—The treaty of the
24 articles—The Fortress Convention—Talleyrand’s advice—French
threaten King Leopold—Palmerston stands firm—Casimir
Périer gives way—Austrians re-occupy Bologna—The
French at Ancona—Palmerston exerts himself to avert a
rupture—Solution of the difficulty—Orloff’s mission to the Hague—Lamb
furnishes Palmerston with a copy of Orloff’s secret instructions—Austria
and Prussia ratify—Orloff in London—Russia
ratifies with certain reservations 40-117
The Reform Bill and the House of Lords—Death of Casimir Périer—A
Republican insurrection in Paris and a Royalist rebellion in
La Vendée—Death of the Duc de Reichstadt—The Belgian treaty—Durham
at St. Petersburg—Palmerston’s proposals to the Court of
the Hague—Stockmar’s advice to Leopold—France and England
resolved to coerce the King of the Netherlands—The absolute
Courts—London Conference breaks up—Scene between Louis
Philippe and M. Dupin—The Doctrinaires—Broglie’s conditions—The
position in England—The Tories—King William IV.—Granville’s
warning—Attitude of the Northern Courts—The Convention
of October 22nd, 1832—Claim put forward by French
minister at Brussels—Siege of Antwerp—Sympathies of the
Tories with the Dutch—Proposal made to Prussia by France and
England—Capitulation of Antwerp—Convention of May 21, 1833—Palmerston’s
[Pg xi]skilful conduct of the negotiations—Talleyrand 118-144
The Sultan Mahmud II.—The Greek insurrection—Sultan invokes the
aid of Mehemet Ali—Intervention of the Christian Powers—Navarino—Russo-Turkish
War—Mehemet Ali—Ibrahim Pasha lays
siege to Acre—Mahmud resolves to crush his rebellious vassal—Defeat
of Hussein Pasha—Stratford Canning at Constantinople—Mahmud
appeals to England for help—Battle of Konieh—Muravieff
at Constantinople—Russia offers help—The policy of
Russia towards Turkey—Ibrahim advancing—Sultan accepts the
aid of Russia—Mehemet Ali rejects the Sultan’s terms—Russian
fleet in the Bosphorus—Roussin at Constantinople—Ultimatum
of the Pasha—The Convention of Kiutayeh—Anger of Nicholas—Why
Mahmud surrendered Adana—Ponsonby and Orloff at Constantinople—Treaty
of Unkiar-Skelessi—Great Britain and
France protest—Meeting of the two Emperors at Münchengrätz—Treaty
of October 15, 1833—Secret treaty of September 18, 1833—Palmerston
and Broglie vainly endeavour to arouse the fears of
Metternich 145-170
Dom Miguel usurps the throne of Portugal—Dom Pedro prepares to
reconquer his daughter’s kingdom—Ferdinand VII. marries
Maria Christina—The Salic Law of Spain repealed—Birth of
Isabella—Stratford Canning at Madrid—Napier destroys the
Miguelite fleet—Great Britain recognizes Maria II. as Queen of
Portugal—Death of Ferdinand VII.—France and England acknowledge
the sovereignty of Isabella—Don Carlos and Dom Miguel—Negotiations
in London—Quadruple Treaty—Capitulation of the
two Pretenders—Don Carlos returns to Spain—Scope of Quadruple
Treaty enlarged—Palmerston’s policy in the Spanish question—Views
and secret leanings of Louis Philippe—Zumalacárregui—The
Whigs dismissed—Wellington at the Foreign Office—Eliot
sent to Spain—Louis Philippe refuses to take part in the negotiation—Palmerston
again at the Foreign Office—The Queen Regent
appeals to France for help—The Spanish legion—The Decree of
Durango—Louis Philippe refuses to protest—French intrigues at
Lisbon—The Moderados and the Progressistas—Advice given to
Christina by Mr. Villiers—No vigilance maintained on the French
frontier—Mendizabal and the British minister—The secret
divulged—Threatening language of the Duc de Broglie—British
government declines Mendizabal’s proposal—Palmerston’s
counter-proposal—Plans of M. Thiers—Talleyrand and England—Death
[Pg xii]of Zumalacárregui—Palmerston proposes that the French
should enter Spain—Mendizabal dismissed—Military revolution
in Spain—Scene at the Palace of La Granja—Resignation of
Thiers—The “No mention” incident—Why Don Carlos retreated
from before Madrid—Dissensions among the Carlists fomented by
Villiers—Palmerston’s suspicions of Louis Philippe—Muñagorri—Reasons
which compelled Maroto to bring the war to an end—Soult—The
Convention of Bergara—Don Carlos driven across the
frontier—Cabrera and España—The Municipal Bill—Espartero—Christina
and Espartero—Abdication of Christina 171-218
Efforts to prevent a renewal of the struggle between the Sultan and
the Pasha—Strained relations between Great Britain and Russia—Wellington
and the Dardanelles—Ponsonby at Constantinople—Durham
at St. Petersburg—M. Thiers—M. de Lesseps—Secret
negotiations—General Chrzanowski—The Pasha’s monopolies—Ponsonby
negotiates a commercial treaty—Indian government
occupies Aden—Importance of the victories of Mehemet Ali over
the Wahabites—The Pasha announces his intention of declaring
his independence—Russia and the Court of Teheran—The Shah
lays siege to Herat—Palmerston protests—Disavowal of
Simonitch and Witkewitch—The general situation in the East—Mahmud
resolves on war—Policy of Lord Palmerston—French
government obtains a credit of 10 millions of francs—Harmony
of French and British relations—Self-restraint of Mehemet Ali—Ibrahim
defeats the Turks at Nezib—Death of Mahmud and
suspension of hostilities—The Turkish fleet treacherously
surrendered to Mehemet Ali—Strange conduct of the French
admiral—France seeks to isolate Russia—The Collective Note of
July 27, 1839—Satisfaction of Palmerston and uneasiness of the
French government—Conversation between Bulwer and Louis
Philippe—Palmerston does not share in the general illusion
respecting the military strength of the Pasha—Brunnow’s mission
to London—The Treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi—France scouts the
Russian proposal—The French party in the English Cabinet—Return
of Brunnow—Palmerston’s letter to Sébastiani—Guizot
in London—Thiers, President of the Council and Minister for
Foreign Affairs—Guizot’s despatches—Thiers mediates in the
sulphur dispute—Remains of the Emperor to be removed to
France—Proceedings of “Bear” Ellice—Metternich alarmed—Palmerston
accepts the Austrian proposal—Attitude of M. Thiers—M.
Coste and the French agents at Constantinople and Cairo—Princess
Lieven in London—Palmerston tenders his resignation—Insurrection
in Syria—The Quadrilateral Treaty of July 15,
[Pg xiii]1840—Palmerston informs Guizot of the treaty 219-278
Language of M. Thiers and Louis Philippe on learning of the
conclusion of the treaty—Warlike declamations of the French
press—Attitude of different parties in England—Thiers’ instructions
to Guizot—The conference at the Château d’Eu—Louis
Philippe seeks to alarm Queen Victoria—Louis Napoleon at
Boulogne—Guizot at Windsor Castle—Leopold’s proposals—Ibrahim
suppresses the insurrection in Syria—Palmerston’s
despatch of August 31—The Sultan’s ultimatum—Movements
of the British fleet—Threatening language of M. de Pontois—The
French armaments—Warlike language of Louis Philippe
and M. Thiers—Mehemet Ali invokes the protection of France—Interview
at Auteuil between Thiers and Bulwer—Intrigues
against Palmerston in London—A Cabinet crisis impending—Why
Lord John Russell “disappointed” Greville—Meeting of the
Cabinet of October 1—Bombardment of Beyrout—Warlike excitement
in Paris—Henry Reeve—Lord John Russell calls a Cabinet
for October 10—Two despatches from Thiers—A Cabinet crisis
averted—French government reported to have designs upon
the Balearic Islands—Melbourne writes to King Leopold—Louis
Philippe and M. Thiers—Resignation of M. Thiers—Thiers’
proceedings reviewed—M. Guizot’s plans—Palmerston’s communications
with Guizot—Successful progress of the operations
in Syria—Proposals to Mehemet Ali—Napier’s convention and his
disavowal—Mehemet Ali submits—The firman of February 13,
1841—M. Guizot manœuvres to bring back France into the Concert
of Europe—Nicholas’ proposal—Palmerston’s reply—Policy of
M. Guizot—Bourqueney and Palmerston—The Convention of the
Straits drafted and initialed—Mehemet Ali refuses to accept the
firman of heredity—Ponsonby’s advice to the Porte—Procrastinations
of the Porte—Mehemet Ali accepts the amended firman—Convention
of the Straits signed—Unsatisfactory character of the
criticisms passed upon Palmerston 279-330
Aberdeen and Palmerston contrasted—Why Guizot would not conclude
the right of search treaty with Palmerston—The Chamber refuses
to ratify the slave trade treaty of November 20, 1841—Conspiracies
in Paris against Espartero—The question of Isabella’s
[Pg xiv]marriage—Designs imputed to Louis Philippe by Bulwer—Insurrections
in Spain—The Spanish government demands the
expulsion of Christina from France—The Salvandy affair—Pageot’s
mission—Count Toreno and Lord Cowley—Louis
Philippe connives at the Spanish plots—Insurrection at Barcelona—Conduct
of M. de Lesseps—Military revolution in Spain—Fall
of Espartero—Aberdeen alarmed—Queen Victoria at the
Château d’Eu—“The cordial understanding”—The Duc de
Bordeaux in Belgrave Square—Admiral Dupetit-Thouars in the
Pacific—France proclaims a protectorate over Tahiti—Mr. Pritchard—Queen
Pomare deposed and Tahiti annexed—Dupetit-Thouars
disavowed—The Prince de Joinville’s pamphlet—The Tsar
Nicholas in London—France quarrels with Morocco—Imprisonment
and expulsion of Mr. Pritchard—Excitement in London—Guizot
and Aberdeen—Bombardment of Tangier—Violence of the
press in both countries—The Comte de Jarnac—The Pritchard
affair settled—France concludes peace with the Emperor of
Morocco—Louis Philippe at Windsor Castle—Condition of Spain—The
descendants of Philip V.—Bulwer and Bresson at Madrid—Montpensier
to marry the Infanta—Queen Victoria’s second visit
to Eu—The compact with Louis Philippe—State of affairs at
Madrid—The Memorandum of February 27, 1846—Christina and
Narvaez—The Queen-Mother entrusts to Bulwer her proposal to
the Duke of Saxe-Coburg—Aberdeen reprimands Bulwer and
informs M. Guizot of the negotiation—The Whigs once more in
office 331-380
Lord Palmerston in Paris—Louis Philippe and M. Guizot disconcerted
by Christina’s proposal to the Coburgs—Palmerston’s despatch of
July 19, 1846—Bresson’s letter to Guizot of July 12—Anger of
Louis Philippe—Bulwer implores Palmerston to promote the
Coburg marriage—Palmerston puts forward Don Enrique—Effect
at Madrid of the despatch of July 19—The double marriage
announced—Correspondence between the French Queen and
Queen Victoria—Guizot’s letter to Lord John Russell—Louis
Philippe’s letter to his daughter—Queen Victoria’s reply—Palmerston’s
protest founded upon the renunciations at Utrecht—Attitude
of the Northern Courts—Palmerston’s despatches of
October 31, 1846, and January 8, 1847—Debates in the French
Chamber and the British Parliament—Christina’s conduct
reviewed—Louis Philippe’s Bourbon policy—Why Louis Philippe
broke the compact of Eu—Palmerston’s Spanish policy from 1834
[Pg xv]to 1846—Weakness of Aberdeen 381-405
Annexation of Cracow—Political unrest in Europe—Charles Albert
and Pius IX.—Enthusiasm in Italy—Attitude of French government—Revival
of French and British rivalry—Guizot sends a
secret agent to Vienna—Metternich realizes the danger in Italy—The
Roman plot and occupation of Ferrara—Palmerston’s
despatch of September 11, 1847—Minto’s mission—Prince
Consort’s Memorandum—The situation in Switzerland—Sympathies
of the absolute Courts with the Sonderbund—Palmerston’s
attitude—Probable reason of Morier’s recall—Palmerston’s
despatch of October 29, 1847—The French proposal—Palmerston’s
counter-proposal—Palmerston master of the situation—Battle
of Lucerne and dissolution of the Sonderbund—Crafty designs
imputed to Palmerston—Policy of the Swiss Radicals—Stratford
Canning at Berne—The absolute Courts and France present the
identic note—Haughty reply of the Swiss Diet—Alarm of the
absolute Courts—Coloredo and Radowitz in Paris—Revolution in
Paris, Berlin and Vienna—Charles Albert in Lombardy—Une
revolution de mépris—Why the rupture of “the cordial understanding”
displeased the French middle-classes—Effect of M.
Guizot’s rapprochement with Austria—Palmerston and Thiers—Palmerston’s
policy substantially the same as Aberdeen’s—Why
“the cordial understanding” failed to justify expectations 406-444
Index 445-452

[Pg 1]




The spontaneous rising of the French people to expel their King, Charles X., who had ventured to infringe the Constitution, aroused the enthusiasm of Liberals all over Europe. But the real character of the movement which brought about the downfall of the elder branch of the Bourbons was, at the time, very imperfectly understood. It was not a determination to preserve at all costs the parliamentary system which animated the combatants in the “glorious days of July.” “Long live the Charter” was the watchword of the peaceful bourgeois. “Down with the Bourbons” was the war cry of the men of the barricades.

Outside the limited circle of the old Royalist families the restored monarchy had never been popular. Yet it was unquestionably the best and freest form of government which the country had ever enjoyed. The reason of the unpopularity of the Bourbons lay in the circumstances which had attended their return to France. By the large majority of Frenchmen their restoration was deeply resented, as one of the humiliating conditions imposed upon their country by the allied sovereigns, after Waterloo.

[Pg 2]

In respect to her frontiers, France in 1815 had been replaced in the position which she had occupied in 1789. Seeing the expenditure of blood and treasure which her wars had entailed upon Europe, these terms cannot be regarded as onerous. Nevertheless, it is not surprising that the treaties of 1815 should have been extremely distasteful to her. They were conceived in a spirit of suspicion and were directed mainly towards securing Europe from a fresh outbreak of her aggressiveness. Nor were the barriers, by which it was hoped to confine her within her boundaries, the only cause of her irritation. Her vanity and love of military glory had been dangerously stimulated by the Republican and Imperial wars, and it was a bitter blow to find that, in the final settlement, France, alone of all the great Powers, was to acquire no increase of territory. Vexation at these conditions was not confined to Republicans and Bonapartists. Hatred for the treaties of 1815 was the one political sentiment which Liberals and Royalists possessed in common.

In 1830, there was no Bonapartist party, but a strong Bonapartist spirit existed throughout the country. Veneration for the memory of “the man”[1] constituted the whole political philosophy of many thousands of Frenchmen. It was to the Bonapartist element that the Liberal party owed its chief strength and influence. Notwithstanding that the Liberals had opposed the Emperor during the Hundred Days, and had insisted upon his abdication after Waterloo, their alliance with the Bonapartists was cemented in the early days of the second Restoration. A common hatred of the Bourbons was the bond of union between them. In the Masonic and Carbonari lodges the bolder spirits of the two parties plotted together against the monarchy. When the reigning dynasty should have been overthrown, [Pg 3]the conspirators proposed to proclaim the sovereignty of the people and to declare once more the tricolour the national flag. Then, and not till then, could France regain her “natural frontiers.”[2] It was the practice of these military democrats invariably to assert that the Bourbons were responsible for all the misfortunes of 1814 and 1815. They believed, or professed to believe, that the loss of territory, which France had sustained, was the price which the Bourbons had agreed to pay for their restoration. So long as a Bourbon was upon the throne Waterloo must go unavenged and France must submit to be deprived of her natural boundaries. It was this spirit which had animated the combatants in the Revolution of July. Men who understood and cared nothing for constitutional questions took up arms, believing that a victory over Charles’ guards would be a first defeat inflicted upon the allied sovereigns, and that a successful invasion of the Tuileries would be followed by a great national war upon the Rhine.[3]

The enthronement of the Duc d’Orléans was the strange termination of a revolution, carried out mainly by men who were animated by sentiments such as these. Even on the evening of the third day’s fighting, when the Royal troops had been driven from Paris and when the people were in possession of the Tuileries, the Duke’s name was still unmentioned. Most of the Liberal deputies were disposed to make their peace with their lawful king, and to be satisfied with the withdrawal of the unconstitutional ordinances and with the dismissal of the Prince de Polignac and his colleagues in the government. The extreme party, the old soldiers, the members of the former Carbonari lodges, the students of the polytechnique, the men who [Pg 4]had borne the burden of the struggle, were not prepared with an immediate solution of the question. Beyond declaring that they would take up arms again, rather than accept any concessions at the hands of Charles X. or the Dauphin, they had no definite plan to bring forward. Louis Philippe was to owe his crown to a skilfully worded placard, the work of Laffitte the Liberal banker, and of Thiers, a clever young journalist, which on the following morning, greeted the Parisians at every street corner. In this proclamation the enthronement of the Duc d’Orléans was held up as the one solution which would restore public order without further bloodshed. A republic, it was declared, would entail both internal strife and war abroad, whilst Charles X., the monarch who had shed the blood of the people, must be adjudged unworthy to retain his crown. The Duc d’Orléans, on the other hand, was a prince devoted to the cause of the Revolution, who had never borne arms against his own countrymen, but who, on the contrary, had worn the tricolour at Valmy and at Jemappes. Let the people call for him and the Duke would come forward, content to accept the Charter and his crown from their hands.

The prospect of concluding the revolution in this fashion was eagerly adopted by the Liberal deputies and by the middle classes generally. But the more turbulent members of the so-called Hotel de Ville party indignantly repudiated the notion of allowing their glorious achievements to culminate in the enthronement of “another Bourbon.” The allusions in Laffitte’s and Thiers’ placard to the tricolour, to Valmy, and to the crown as the free gift of the people, left them cold. Nor were they to be mollified by a second proclamation, in which it was boldly asserted that the Duc d’Orléans was a Valois, not a Bourbon.[4] No [Pg 5]sooner was the Duke put forward as a candidate for the throne, than the demagogues began to exhort the people to call upon La Fayette to assume the presidency of the republic. The old man was, as he had been forty years before, in command of the national guards, and was once more the hero of the mob. He was, however, little disposed to undertake the responsibility which his ultra-democratic friends wished him to assume. Under these circumstances, Rémusat and other of his colleagues in the Chamber, assisted, it is said, by Mr. Rives, the American minister, had little difficulty in persuading him that, were he to play the leading part in founding a Liberal monarchy, it would be accounted, throughout the Old and the New World, the most honourable act of his declining years. Accordingly, on the following day, July 31, 1830, he agreed to receive the Duc d’Orléans, the Lieutenant-General of the Kingdom, at the Hotel de Ville. Upon his arrival he led him to the window and, placing the tricolour in his hands, embraced him warmly before the dense crowd upon the Place de Grève. When this ceremony had been completed the elect of the people rode back in triumph to the Palais Royal, exchanging enthusiastic handgrips with citizens along the road. For the moment, even the most truculent democrats were willing to accept La Fayette’s assurance that in an Orleans monarchy they had found “the best of republics.” Ten days later, on August 9, 1830, the Duke having sworn fidelity to the Charter was formally invested with sovereign power in the Chamber of Deputies, under the title of Louis Philippe, King of the French.

At the time of the Revolution of July Louis Philippe was in his fifty-third year. He was the son of Egalité, and had been educated according to the Liberal views of his father and of Madame de Genlis. Although in 1794 he had deserted from the national [Pg 6]armies along with Dumouriez, his commander-in-chief, he could assert truthfully that, throughout the long years of his subsequent exile, he had never turned his arms against his own country. During his wanderings in America and upon the continent, he had mixed with men of all sorts and all conditions. In Switzerland, indeed, he is said to have earned a livelihood by teaching in a school. In 1814 the idea of conferring the crown upon him, rather than upon Louis XVIII., had found favour in some quarters. But although, from this time forward, there had always existed some kind of a party, to which the name of Orleanist might have been applied, the Duke himself would appear to have been innocent of any participation in the proceedings of his adherents.

After Waterloo the plan of substituting him for Louis XVIII. had an increased number of supporters. Louis, who had never liked him, began from this moment to treat him with great suspicion. Both in England, where he continued to reside in a kind of disgrace till 1817, and at the Palais Royal, after his return to France, he was beset constantly by the spies of the police.[5] Charles X. had no share in his brother’s dislike and distrust of the Duc d’Orléans, and one of his first acts, after his accession, was to raise him to the rank of a Royal Highness. But, notwithstanding that, from the beginning of the new reign, more cordial relations were established between the Tuileries and the Palais Royal, there was never any real intimacy between the King and his sagacious relative. Charles was a man of limited intelligence and a bigot in religion. Politically he had not changed since the time when, as the Comte d’Artois, he had emigrated to Coblentz, and had called upon the Powers to assist him with men and with money to re-establish the old [Pg 7]régime in France. The Duc d’Orléans, on the other hand, was a well-informed man of the world, a Liberal, who was neither a friend nor an enemy of the clergy.

It is clear that during the whole period of the Restoration the Duc d’Orléans was at pains to impress upon the public how greatly he differed in all matters, both great and small, from his cousins of the elder branch. When the return of Bonaparte from Elba compelled the Royal family to fly once more from France, he had not joined Louis XVIII. at Ghent, but had gone to England and had resided, throughout the Hundred Days, in complete retirement at Twickenham. Moreover, before quitting Lille he had addressed a farewell letter to the general officers serving under him, bidding them act, after his departure, in whatever manner might appear to them the most calculated to promote the highest interests of their country—an injunction which aroused as much indignation among the “pure Royalists” as it elicited commendation from the majority of Frenchmen. As they grew up, his sons, the young princes, were educated like ordinary citizens at the Lycée, and at the Palais Royal a simplicity was observed which contrasted strongly with the ceremony maintained, on all occasions, at the Court and in the apartments of the Dauphin. Nor could it fail to attract remark that men whose fidelity to the reigning dynasty was doubtful and prominent members of the Opposition were his habitual guests.

But, although there may be some circumstances of a suspicious nature in Louis Philippe’s conduct under the Restoration, it is improbable that he ever seriously harboured any thoughts of usurping the crown. His general behaviour is capable of a different explanation. He had tasted the bitterness of poverty, and appears to have been haunted constantly by the dread that his children might, some day, be reduced to the straits under which he had suffered in the early years of his exile. He [Pg 8]was too clear-sighted a man not to perceive that the restored monarchy had no place in the affections of the people, and that the first serious mistake on Charles’ part would be the signal for his overthrow. It became, therefore, his policy to dissociate himself, as far as possible, from the Court in the hope that, should the Bourbons be expelled, he might escape from the necessity of sharing in their misfortunes. It is scarcely doubtful that the true motives of his somewhat equivocal attitude, at this period, should be ascribed to a keen desire to be allowed to remain in possession of his great estates, whatever political changes might take place, rather than to any deep-laid schemes of personal aggrandizement.[6]

At the time of the promulgation of the famous ordinances of July the Duke was with his family at Neuilly. For the past four months he had viewed Charles’ obstinate determination to retain his ministers, in defiance of the Chamber, with alarm. Nevertheless, the King’s coup d’état seems to have taken him completely by surprise. His chief endeavour, from the moment that it became apparent that the execution of the ordinances would lead to serious trouble, was to avoid committing himself with either party. Between Monday, July 26, the day on which the decrees were published in the Moniteur, and Friday, July 30, when the success of the revolution was assured, he would not appear to have had any communication with either the Court at Saint-Cloud or the Liberal deputies in Paris. Indeed, on Wednesday, July 28, when the fighting in the streets assumed a very serious character, he secretly withdrew from Neuilly and went into hiding at Le Raincy, another of his residences near Paris. Thiers, in consequence, when he visited Neuilly on Friday morning, was unable to see him, and it was only at last, after repeated messages had [Pg 9]been sent him by Laffitte and other supporters, that he ventured to emerge from his retreat and to return secretly, and in the dead of night, to the Palais Royal. It is said that in arriving at this decision he was greatly influenced by his sister, henceforward to be generally known as Madame Adelaïde, to whose opinion in political matters he was accustomed to attach greater weight than to that of his wife, the sweet-natured and dignified Marie Amélie.

After a few hours in Paris any doubts and hesitations with which he may have been beset vanished completely. The old King was in full flight from Saint Cloud, his guards even were demoralized and were deserting him. From country towns came the news that the tricolour had been hoisted, amidst the greatest enthusiasm, and that the revolution was spreading rapidly. When, on that Saturday afternoon, the Duc d’Orléans mounted his horse to meet La Fayette at the Hotel de Ville, he was fully determined to seize the crown, which his unfortunate kinsman had let fall into the gutter.

Legitimist historians and others, professing to write in a more impartial spirit, have commented most adversely upon his conduct in this, the supreme crisis of his eventful life. It must, however, be admitted by everybody who studies the question with an open mind that France was irrevocably resolved to expel the Bourbons. It has, nevertheless, been contended that, had the Duc d’Orléans consented to undertake the regency, no serious objections would have been made to the enthronement of the Duc de Bordeaux,[7] in whose favour Charles and the Dauphin had abdicated [Pg 10]on August 2. Unfortunately, however, it was notorious that this young prince was the pupil of the Jesuits, and the prejudice against him, on that account, was unquestionably very strong. Without doubt, had the plan been given a trial, it must have speedily ended in disaster. In addition to the many and great difficulties with which Louis Philippe was confronted, during the whole course of his reign, he must, as Regent, have been perpetually exposed to the suspicion of acting under the inspiration of the young King’s family, and that suspicion would quickly have proved fatal. There were, therefore, but two alternatives, either a republic or an Orleans monarchy. Seeing the dispositions of the continental sovereigns and the condition of France in 1830, the proclamation of a republic, if it had not entailed war, must certainly have produced anarchy and brought untold misery upon the people. On the other hand, the statutory monarchy, at the time when it was set up, had the support of the best elements of the nation, and Louis Philippe, by accepting the crown, can justly claim to have preserved France from the imminent danger of civil and foreign war.

Louis Philippe was a man of more than usual courage. In his early life he had displayed it at a critical moment upon the battlefield. In his middle age, in his famous progress to the Hotel de Ville, he had never hesitated to ride, without a military escort, through an armed and hostile mob. No king has probably been the object of attacks upon his life of so determined a character as Louis Philippe. The ever-present danger of assassination is said to have broken down the nerves of some of the boldest of men. But, throughout his reign, the “citizen king” always confronted this particular peril, to which he was so constantly exposed, with a serene and lofty courage. In the face of political difficulties, however, he was as [Pg 11]timid as he was brave when it was a question of meeting physical danger. His attitude towards the Jacobinical spirit, which the “glorious days of July” had so greatly stimulated, is characteristic of his weakness in this respect. It is not improbable that in his heart he was secretly convinced of the ultimate triumph of revolutionary principles. Be that as it may, he appears to have shrunk from attacking Jacobinism openly and boldly. He seems to have looked upon it as a most dangerous monster which it was advisable to coax and to humour, in the hope that, by careful handling, it might be temporarily subjugated.[8]

In the days which intervened between La Fayette’s acceptation of him and his actual enthronement, he lost no opportunity of putting his theory into practice. Youthful Republicans were admitted into his presence, and he submitted to be questioned about his political principles.[9] It is probable that in some of these discussions he was induced to promise far more than he afterwards found it convenient, or even possible, to perform. On many occasions afterwards he was, in consequence, reminded of a more or less mythical Hotel de Ville Programme, with the conditions of which he was accused of having broken faith. But of all the difficulties by which he was confronted in these early days, the demand for a vigorous foreign policy was by far the most serious to deal with. The convinced democrats, who had been so bitterly opposed to his enthronement, were now the most vehement in insisting upon the adoption of a spirited course of action abroad. Without doubt, these men represented only a small minority of the nation, but, when they talked of military glory and of “natural frontiers,”they appealed to sentiments which a “king of the [Pg 12]barricades” could not afford to disregard. It was a matter of indifference to the demagogues of the party that the flower of the army was in Algeria, that many of the regiments at home were demoralized by their recent collision with the people, and that France had neither allies nor financial credit. The war for which they clamoured was to be conducted upon strictly revolutionary principles. “Peace with the nations, war with the kings,” the old cry was to be raised once more under cover of which, in former days, France had acquired her coveted boundaries.

Apart from the question as to whether the conditions of France and of Europe, in 1830, were such as to render it probable that a repetition of the methods of 1793 would be attended with success, the fact that the first shot fired on the frontiers would be the signal for the opening of the floodgates of revolutionary propagandism, made it of vital moment to Louis Philippe to avert the outbreak of hostilities. In a war, having for its loudly proclaimed object the destruction of kings, what hope could he have that his throne, resting upon new and untried foundations, would escape the general ruin? But although he was resolved to use every effort to maintain the peace, it was thoroughly in accordance with his habitual practice to cajole and flatter the faction which desired war. Accordingly, in his replies to the numerous patriotic addresses which were presented to him, he would dilate in fulsome language upon the heroic conduct of the citizens in the recent street fighting. All his speeches and his public utterances teemed with references to Valmy and Jemappes. When the band struck up the Marseillaise, he would beat time with his finger, “casting ecstatic glances at the tricolor like one who has found a long-lost mistress.”[10] Yet, whilst he was thus appealing to [Pg 13]the revolutionary recollections and flattering the military vanity of the people, all his thoughts were bent upon obtaining his recognition by the great European Courts. No sooner, therefore, was he enthroned, than he sent off emissaries, upon whose discretion he could depend, bearing letters to his brother monarchs announcing his accession. But in these communications, intended only for the eyes of the sovereigns and their confidential advisers, he was careful to speak of the “glorious revolution” as a lamentable catastrophe which he sincerely deplored.[11]

[Pg 14]



In 1830 England was still suffering acutely from the financial crisis of five years before. The losses of the capitalists entailed distress upon the working classes in the shape of unemployment and diminished wages. The misery of the people led to the commission of acts of violence and incendiarism upon a scale unparalleled in the recent history of England. The advocates of parliamentary reform drew their best arguments, in support of their cause, from the wretched condition of the country. The elections, rendered necessary by the death of George IV., began in the very week which saw France in the throes of her revolution. By the Opposition the victory of the Parisians was acclaimed enthusiastically as the triumph of a neighbouring people over despotism and aristocratic privilege. The downfall of Polignac was celebrated as a crushing blow to Wellington. The belief that the Duke had connived at, if not directly inspired, the French King’s attempted coup d’état, was not confined to ignorant people, but was professed by the leaders of the Whig party.[12] Whilst this supposed connection of Wellington with Polignac increased the voting power of the Opposition, Tory patrons of rotten boroughs, incensed at his Catholic policy, withheld from him their support. [Pg 15]The Duke returned from the elections with a diminished majority, and one, moreover, which, such as it was, in no way represented the real opinion of the country.

Wellington had been chiefly instrumental in effecting the restoration of the Bourbons after Waterloo. The news of their expulsion could not, under these circumstances, fail to cause him some personal regret. But, in addition, he was too well acquainted with French affairs not to be aware that the triumph of the democratic party was a grave menace to the peace of Europe. On the other hand, however, far from being, as was supposed, upon confidential terms with Polignac, the French expedition to Algiers had strained seriously the official relations which alone subsisted between them. But any reluctance, which he and his colleagues might have entertained, to recognizing the new régime in France, had to give way before the popular enthusiasm which the revolution called forth throughout England. The Duke, accordingly, lost no time in advising the King to acknowledge Louis Philippe. It was a policy, he maintained, which not only offered the best prospect of preserving peace, but which would meet with the approval of all the great Powers.[13] Consequently, when on August 22 General Baudrand arrived in London, bringing with him a letter from Louis Philippe to William IV., he was accorded a good reception in ministerial circles. Although he fancied he could detect a little coldness in Wellington’s manner, his mission achieved a complete success. After a stay of about a week in London he returned to Paris, taking back with him King William’s answer together with a box ornamented with a portrait of that monarch set in diamonds.[14] Meanwhile, on [Pg 16]August 18, Charles X. and the members of his family had arrived at Spithead on board The Great Britain, the American vessel chartered by the French government to convey them to England. The state of public feeling made it inadvisable that they should proceed to London or even land at Portsmouth, and they were, in consequence, taken, a few days later, by steamer to Lulworth Castle, in Dorsetshire, which had been prepared for their reception. The mob which had cheered exultingly as Castlereagh’s body was borne through the streets to its last resting-place at Westminster Abbey, which, two years later, was to threaten Wellington with violence on the anniversary of Waterloo, would have shown scant respect for the misfortunes of the fallen King.

Ever since the days of her crowning disaster at Wagram, Metternich had directed the foreign policy of Austria. Clement Wenceslas von Metternich, Chancellor of the Court and of the State, was descended from a family of counts of the empire and was born at Coblentz in 1773. His predecessors in office, old Kaunitz, the minister of Maria Theresa, Thugut, Cobenyl, and Stadion, had in vain attempted to cope with republican and imperial France. Without doubt, Metternich in the final struggle with Bonaparte was assisted by circumstances not of his own creation, nevertheless he unquestionably proved himself, on many occasions, a crafty, wary adversary, who could await his opportunity patiently. The flattery which was lavished upon him at the peace and the prominent part which he was enabled to play in the great territorial settlement at Vienna stimulated greatly his natural vanity and presumption. In addition, as he grew older, he began to indulge more and more in long philosophical disquisitions upon every kind of political subject. But under his pedantic manner, he retained always his alert resourcefulness and shrewd [Pg 17]common sense. In the words of Sir Frederick Lamb, who had transacted much business with him, “he was far too practical a man to regulate his conduct by his doctrines, and far too ingenious a one to be at a loss for a doctrine to cover his conduct.”[15]

Without doubt, Metternich was a man of aristocratic and conservative instincts, but, had he been differently disposed, the conditions of the Empire must have rendered very difficult the adoption of a Liberal policy. At the Congress of Vienna Austria had renounced all claim to her former possessions in the Low Countries and in Western Germany, and had withdrawn to the south and south-east to exercise an uneasy dominion over Slavs and Italians. Progress on national lines was hardly possible in an empire thus constituted, and circumstances contributed to facilitate the imposition of a strictly conservative system. The Liberal impulse, to which the War of Liberation had given birth in Prussia, had no counterpart in Austria, nor had Francis II., like Frederick William III., even in his darkest days, promised constitutional reforms. At the peace, accordingly, Austria reverted uncomplainingly to her old absolutist traditions.

In Italy Bonaparte had encouraged deliberately a spirit of nationality. But the patriotic hopes, which he had raised, were extinguished at the Congress of Vienna. Italy, Metternich decreed, was to be henceforward merely “a geographical expression.” By the settlement of 1815 Austria acquired actually the provinces of Lombardy and Venetia, but her influence extended far beyond these districts. Austrian princes ruled over the Duchies of Tuscany, Modena and Parma. Treaties which provided that Piacenza, Commachio and Ferrara should be garrisoned by Austrian troops gave her military control of the [Pg 18]valley of the Po. Tuscany was forbidden to make either peace or war without her consent, and the King of Naples was pledged to introduce no constitutional changes, other than those sanctioned in the Austrian dominions.

In the Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom, as it was termed, it was Metternich’s policy to make the Lombards “forget that they were Italians.” The Austrian code of laws was introduced without regard to native customs and prejudices. The civil service was composed almost exclusively of Germans, and the most trifling administrative questions had to be referred to Vienna.[16] The stagnation engendered by this system could not fail to have a demoralizing effect. At Venice two-fifths of the population were in receipt of charitable relief, the middle classes were without enterprise, the aristocracy fawned upon the Austrians. On the other hand, in Lombardy and Venetia there were few monks and a comparatively good system of popular education existed. The people, moreover, enjoyed equality before the law which, except in political cases, was justly administered. But as in all Italian States, the police were arbitrary and interfering and the censorship of the press was enforced rigidly.

The heterogeneous composition of the Austrian Empire, which demanded a strictly conservative policy at home, prescribed no less urgently the preservation of peaceful relations abroad. Since the conclusion of the great war Metternich’s foreign policy had had no other object than the maintenance of the status quo, by the strict observation of existing treaties. The revolutionary spirit was the most serious danger to the settlement of 1815. Bonaparte might be dead or a prisoner at St. Helena, but Metternich was under no illusion that the peril had passed away for ever. The [Pg 19]revolutionary monster still survived and required ceaseless watching. Only, he conceived, by a European Confederation, ruled over by a council of the Great Powers, could complete security be obtained against the common enemy of all established governments. Metternich’s combination of the Powers “for the maintenance of everything lawfully existing,”[17] which has been held up to execration under the name of the Holy Alliance, was an adaptation to practical politics of the fantastic scheme, which Alexander had propounded, on September 26, 1815, after a review of his army on the plain of Vertus. According to the Tsar’s manifesto the relations of all European sovereigns were in the future to be guided by the teachings of Christ. They were to regard each other in the light of brothers and to look upon their subjects as their children. The policy of Metternich’s Holy Alliance was set forth in the famous preliminary protocol of the conference of Troppau, signed, on November 19, 1820, by the plenipotentiaries of Austria, Russia, and Prussia. “States,” it was laid down, “which have undergone a change of government due to a revolution, the results of which affect other States, shall cease to be members of the European Alliance. If owing to these alterations immediate danger threaten neighbouring States, the Powers bind themselves to bring back by force of arms the erring State into the folds of the Alliance.”

Acting upon this principle, Austria, in 1821, invaded the Kingdom of Naples and abolished the constitution which the Carbonari had compelled Ferdinand to accept, whilst Bubna, the Austrian general commanding at Milan, entered Piedmont and suppressed the revolution which had broken out at Turin. The Tsar, Alexander, during these operations, held an army upon the Galician frontier ready to march into [Pg 20]Italy, should his assistance be invoked. The same policy, in 1823, dictated the French armed intervention in Spain, when the constitution, which the Liberals had proclaimed three years before, was abolished and the absolute rule of King Ferdinand VII. was restored. But the determination of England “to abstain rigidly from interference in the affairs of other States” deprived the alliance of that appearance of complete unanimity which Metternich hoped would convince the peoples of the futility of attempting revolutions. The Greek insurrection, the quarrel between Russia and the Porte and the conflict of national interests to which the Eastern question gave rise, completed the work of disruption which Castlereagh and Canning had begun.

Metternich received the news of the revolution in Paris and of the downfall of Charles X. at Koenigswart, his country seat in Bohemia. Ever since the termination of the Russo-Turkish war he had been striving to re-establish the concert of the Powers and, more especially, to place the relations of Austria and Russia upon their former friendly footing. Deeply as Austria was interested in all developments affecting the integrity of Turkey, greatly as Metternich mistrusted Nicholas’ designs upon the Porte, the spread of Liberalism constituted in his eyes an even graver danger. The Russian government was intensely conservative and the people were little likely to be affected by the revolutionary spirit of Western Europe. Were a serious crisis to arise it was essential that Austria should be in a position to look to St. Petersburg for support. A visit which Nesselrode, the Russian Chancellor, paid to Carlsbad, in the summer of 1830, afforded Metternich an opportunity of sounding him as to the views of his Court, and it was upon his return from a satisfactory interview with his old friend that he found awaiting him at Koenigswart the first [Pg 21]intelligence of Charles X.’s violation of the constitution. On August 6, when the complete triumph of the revolutionists in Paris was known to him, Metternich determined to return at once to Vienna, making another short stay at Carlsbad upon the way. At this, their second meeting, both statesmen affixed their signatures to a short document, which was to acquire a certain celebrity in the chanceries of Europe under the name of the chiffon de Carlsbad. By this agreement the basis was established of the policy which the absolute Powers were to adopt towards France. No attempt would be made to interfere with her, provided that she should abstain from seeking to infringe existing treaties and from disturbing the internal peace of neighbouring States.[18]

Soon after Metternich’s return to Vienna, on August 26, General Belliard arrived, bringing with him a letter from Louis Philippe to the Emperor Francis. Some days were allowed to elapse before he was admitted to an audience, but in the interval he had two interviews with Metternich. The Chancellor accepted his assurances that the King of the French would do all in his power to maintain peace at home and abroad. At the same time, however, he gave him plainly to understand that he had no confidence in Louis Philippe’s ability to carry out his intentions. Both the private and the official answers of the Emperor were coldly expressed, but they contained the definite assurance that he had no wish to interfere with the domestic affairs of France, in which country he sincerely desired to see tranquillity restored. He was determined to abide by treaties, and was gratified to learn that His Majesty, the King of the French, was animated by the same resolution. As Metternich, on September 8, placed these documents in Belliard’s hands he took the opportunity of impressing upon him solemnly that his [Pg 22]Imperial master, although he had decided to acknowledge the sovereignty of Louis Philippe, viewed the events which had taken place in France with the utmost abhorrence and was convinced that the new régime could have only a brief existence. In truth Metternich was full of apprehensions, and, in a private letter to Nesselrode, unburdened himself of the conviction that “the end of old Europe was fast approaching.”[19]

The Germanic Confederation had been formed with the object of protecting Germany from external and internal dangers. The thirty-eight States and the four free cities of which it was composed were debarred from entering into any alliance with foreign governments against another member of the Confederation and, in case of need, were pledged to furnish contingents to the federal army. Austria and Prussia, however, in order to preserve the independence of their foreign policy, brought portions only of their territories into the Confederation, which, in consequence, was not committed to the defence of Hungary, Gallicia, Lombardy and Venetia, on behalf of Austria, or to the protection of the Polish provinces of Prussia. Each State was represented at the federal Diet at Frankfort, which assembly was in no sense a federal parliament, but resembled rather a conference of diplomatists, the ministers attending it being strictly bound by the instructions furnished them by their respective Courts. Austria and Prussia had only one vote apiece, Austria, however, held the perpetual presidency.

Prussia in 1815 had been regarded as the champion of Liberalism. The Constitutionalists, however, soon discovered that the hopes which they placed in her were not destined to be realized. In the counsels of Frederick William, the influence of Wittgenstein, the leader of the reactionary party, and the friend of [Pg 23]Metternich, soon superseded that of Stein, Hardenburg and the heroes of the War of Liberation. The conditions of the country, it must be admitted, were hardly suitable to the immediate establishment of representative institutions. The inhabitants of the nine provinces which, it had been decreed at the Congress of Vienna, were to constitute the Kingdom of Prussia, were not agreed as to the form of government under which they desired to live. Until they had become Prussians, the Poles of the Duchy of Posen, the Westphaliand, the Saxons, and the Rhinelanders had existed under different codes of law and of administration. The imposition of a uniform system upon the kingdom was a matter of urgent necessity, and it was to administrative measures that the Prussian government devoted its attention exclusively in the years which followed Waterloo. It is clear that there was no strong demand for a constitution among the mass of the people, and Frederick William III. could listen, in consequence, without much danger, to Metternich’s warning that representative institutions must prove incompatible with military strength.

Successful as he had been in persuading Frederick William to withhold a constitution from Prussia, Metternich could not prevent certain rulers of the minor States from complying with Article XIII. of the Federal Act, and from establishing representative government within their dominions. In 1816, the Liberal Duke of Saxe-Weimar granted a constitution, and his example was followed by the Kings of Bavaria and of Wurtemburg and the Duke of Baden. A wave of Liberalism swept over Northern Germany. The universities were affected profoundly by the new ideas. In their lecture-rooms, professors denounced existing governments and harangued their pupils in the language of demagogues. The agitation culminated, [Pg 24]on March 23, 1819, in the murder of the dramatist and publicist Kotzebue, who was said to be in the pay of Russia, by Karl Sand, a student of Jena University and a lecturer to the Burschenschaft. This crime and an attempt to assassinate Ibell, the minister of Nassau, gave Metternich the opportunity for which he had been waiting. In the month of July of this same year he had an interview with Frederick William at Teplitz, in the course of which the King promised never to give Prussia a constitution, to place his confidence only in ministers of the type of Bernstorff and Wittgenstein, and to sanction such repressive measures as the Austrian Chancellor might see fit to suggest. After a conference of the ministers of the different States at Carlsbad, Metternich’s decrees were submitted to the Frankfort Diet, on September 20, 1819, and adopted forthwith.

Under the provisions of the celebrated Carlsbad decrees, the ruler of every German State was bound to appoint commissioners to regulate the universities and to impose a censorship upon all newspapers and matter printed within his dominions. Furthermore, a central tribunal was established at Mainz to inquire into the doings of the secret societies, and upon the members of this court was conferred the power of arresting the subjects of any German sovereign, and of demanding from any law court the production of documents. These decrees, however, did not constitute the sum total of Metternich’s measures of precaution. In November, 1819, he convened a council of German ministers at Vienna, when, under the pretext of defining the functions of the Diet, sixty-five new articles of a repressive character were introduced into the Federal Act. The general effect of the Vienna resolutions, as these measures were termed, was to impose upon the Federation the duty of defending absolutism by force of arms in small States in which the sovereigns [Pg 25]might prove incapable themselves of maintaining a despotic form of government.

Metternich’s manipulation of the Diet was the great triumph of his home policy. By converting the Federation from a combination of States into a league of sovereigns against their own subjects, he averted the danger that it might promote the cause of Liberalism or of national unity. From this time forward Metternich, to all appearance, dominated the Court and the Cabinet of Berlin, and held in leading strings the minor princes of the Confederation. Nevertheless, the position of Austria as a German Power was weakening steadily. At the Congress of Vienna he had craftily withdrawn the empire from the post of danger, and had thrust upon Prussia the task of protecting the western flank of Germany. To his secret satisfaction, he saw her pour out her treasure to defend the frontier from which Austria had recoiled. He believed that by his Carlsbad decrees and his Vienna resolutions he had rendered national unity impossible, and had condemned Northern Germany to the political stagnation in which the empire appeared contented to repose. But the enlightened bureaucratic system of Prussia was incomparably superior to that of Austria. In educational matters she was the foremost State in Europe, and already she was drawing the minor States into her system of internal free trade—the famous Zollverein which was to prove so important a factor in the struggle for Prussian hegemony and national unity. Even in 1830, acute observers could perceive that the people were stifling within the narrow confines of their duchies, and that, when the day of Germany’s awakening should come, it would be to the Power standing on guard upon the Rhine that they would look for leadership.[20] But that hour had not yet struck, and, in the question [Pg 26]of the attitude to be observed towards France, after the Revolution of July, Prussia, as was her wont, shaped her policy upon that of Austria. The Emperor’s acknowledgment of Louis Philippe carried with it, accordingly, Frederick William’s recognition of the King of the French.

At St. Petersburg it was not until August 19 that any mention of the Revolution of July was allowed to appear in the newspapers. Two days earlier a new levy of two men in five hundred had been called up for service in the army, all Russians had been ordered to leave France, Frenchmen had been refused admission to Russia, and any display of the tricolour had been forbidden. But Lord Heytesbury,[21] the British ambassador, was informed that this increase of military strength had no reference to French affairs, and that the recall of Russian subjects from France was a simple measure of precaution.[22] In the eyes of Nicholas any rising of the people against their lawful sovereign was necessarily a highly offensive proceeding, and in this instance it had the additional disadvantage of disturbing a condition of affairs, the continued duration of which was very favourable to the national policy of Russia. Under the different governments of the Restoration an excellent understanding had been established between the Courts of the Tuileries and of St. Petersburg. The Eastern question, which had brought Russia to the verge of war with England and which had interrupted the smooth course of her relations with Vienna, had, on the contrary, drawn France towards her. When, in the campaign of the previous year, Constantinople had appeared to lie at the mercy of General Diebitsch, politicians as opposed as Chateaubriand and Polignac had been disposed to look upon the situation complacently, in the hope that [Pg 27]the disruption of the Turkish Empire might lead to a readjustment of the map of Europe, which might enable France to rectify in her favour the treaties of 1815. Furthermore, since the intervention in Spain, in 1823, there had been little cordiality between the Cabinets of London and Paris. This estrangement had been intensified by the French occupation of Algiers, the one important measure of foreign policy of the last government of the Restoration. These circumstances rendered it very improbable that Russia in the near future would have to confront a coalition of the maritime Powers. But now that a new régime had been set up in France, the possibility of that dreaded contingency would have to be seriously considered.

In spite of the Tsar’s military preparations, Lord Heytesbury had no fears that he proposed to attack France. Nicholas informed him that he had directed his ambassador “to remain in Paris, but to remove immediately from the house furnished to the Russian embassy by the government of France.” He was constantly to hold himself in readiness to quit Paris at an hour’s notice, and to leave at once, should the English, the Prussian, the Austrian or the Dutch ambassadors be compelled to depart. “En âme et en conscience he never would consider the Duc d’Orléans in any light except that of a usurper.” Nevertheless he had no intention of intervening, unless France were to attempt to disseminate revolutionary doctrines in other countries or to carry her arms beyond her frontiers.[23] In due course Baron Atthalin arrived at St. Petersburg, bringing with him a letter from Louis Philippe to the Tsar, and, on September 8, was received in private audience by Nicholas. On this occasion the question of the acknowledgment of the [Pg 28]King of the French was avoided, the Emperor being resolved to reserve the matter for further consideration. But at Tsarskoye Selo, a week later, Nicholas, whilst regretting that the British government should have so hastily decided to recognize Louis Philippe, gave Lord Heytesbury to understand that his own acknowledgment of the King of the French would not be deferred much longer.[24]

In the meantime, an event had occurred which threatened seriously to aggravate the embarrassments of the situation. The creation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands occupied a most important place in the territorial settlement following the overthrow of Bonaparte. British statesmanship had been largely responsible for the union of Belgium with Holland, and for the formation of a strong State of secondary rank which was to act as a barrier against France. Under Wellington’s advice the great Powers, at their own expense, erected a line of fortresses, connected with Prussian territory upon the left bank of the Rhine, to protect the southern frontier of the new kingdom. From a purely military point of view the plan may have been sound, but to propose to mould the Belgians and the Dutch into a nation was to treat as of no account the differences of race and of religion which divided the two peoples. The Belgians soon began to complain that they were very inadequately represented in all branches of the public service. Questions relating to education, taxation, and the freedom of the press increased their discontent. The Dutch, who could look back proudly upon two centuries of independence, despised them as having been constantly under the dominion of a foreign Power. In 1830 it was generally recognized that the attempt to fuse the two peoples into one nationality had failed. The Belgians, however, still remained loyal [Pg 29]to the House of Nassau and desired only administrative separation under the reigning dynasty.

The Revolution of July in Paris created an immense excitement at Brussels. The town was the favourite place of refuge for the political offenders of all countries. Yet in spite of the prevailing unrest the authorities neglected to take the most ordinary precautions against a popular rising. A performance of Scribe’s opera, La Muette de Portici, which treats of the insurrection of the Neapolitans against the Spaniards, furnished the spark which was to cause the explosion. Serious rioting began on the night of August 25, and continued throughout the following day. The military commander appears to have acted with a strange irresolution, and on the 28th, the insurgents being complete masters of the town, a deputation of notables carried a respectful address to the Hague praying for the redress of their grievances. The next three weeks were spent in fruitless attempts to arrange a compromise. The Prince of Orange, who was personally popular, visited Brussels, but his efforts to solve the question met with no success. After the failure of his eldest son’s mission the King consented to dismiss van Maanen, the unpopular governor of Brussels. But this concession was made too late. Encouraged by emissaries of the revolutionary clubs in Paris, and emboldened by the weakness of the government, the advocates of complete separation pressed their demands with increasing violence. At last the King ordered Prince Frederick of Orange to advance from the camp of Vilvorde against the town. On September 23 the attack began. The troops penetrated into the park, but failed to carry the barricades which obstructed the streets beyond. After three days’ fighting the Prince abandoned the struggle and withdrew from the neighbourhood of Brussels. The discomfiture of his army left King William no alternative but to appeal [Pg 30]for assistance to the Powers, whilst at Brussels a provisional government declared Belgium independent, and convened a national congress.

This attempt on the part of a neighbouring people to imitate “the glorious days of July” was exceedingly gratifying to the republicans and the military democratic party in Paris. Their orators and journalists loudly declared that the revolt of the Belgians was an opportunity both for extending the French frontiers, and for effecting a breach in the treaties of 1815. Louis Philippe, however, was resolved not to be drawn into an adventure of this kind. He knew that the powers would never tolerate an invasion of the Low Countries, and he realized that the French army was in no condition to oppose a European coalition. Accordingly, as it was not in his power to silence the cries for intervention or to repress the noisy sympathy for the Belgians indulged in by a large section of the press, he determined to give to foreign governments a practical proof of his pacific intentions by despatching to London, as his ambassador, the aged statesman who, sixteen years before, had figured so conspicuously at the Congress of Vienna.

The Prince de Talleyrand was in his seventy-third year. Notwithstanding the great services which, in 1814, he had rendered to the cause of Legitimate Sovereignty, the Bourbons of the elder branch had never been able to forget his conduct under the Republic and the Empire. At the second Restoration he had been appointed President of the Council, but had retired before the Chambre introuvable and the Royalist reaction, and neither Louis XVIII. nor Charles X. had given him a second opportunity of returning to office. Upon the triumph of the popular party in July, he had promptly placed his services at the disposal of Louis Philippe. But, in spite of his Liberal opinions, Talleyrand retained the language, the habits, [Pg 31]and the appearance of a noble of the old régime. It might have been expected that all the King’s ingenuity would have been required to impose so fine a gentleman upon a Cabinet, which counted among its members the democratic M. Dupont and the elder M. Dupin, famous for his hobnailed boots and his affectations of middle-class simplicity. Louis Philippe’s ministers, however, were agreed upon the necessity of preserving the peace, and, when it was proposed at the Council table that Talleyrand should be sent to London, no opposition was made to the suggestion. Guizot, who was Minister of the Interior at the time, supposes that those who disliked the appointment must have stated their objections to the King in private.[25]

But if Louis Philippe and his ministers were determined to abstain from any intervention in Belgium, they were bound to insist that other Powers should adopt the same attitude. It was, therefore, notified to foreign governments that French policy, in the future, would be based strictly upon the principle of non-interference in the domestic affairs of other nations. It was a system to which both the great parties in England had declared their adherence, and its adoption by France might, in consequence, be expected to facilitate the establishment of cordial relations between the two countries. But the declaration of such a principle could not fail to be highly displeasing to the absolute Courts. Already movements of troops were in progress in the Rhine provinces which suggested an intention on the part of Frederick William of rendering military assistance to his brother-in-law, the King of the Netherlands. Baron Werther, the Prussian ambassador, although still without official credentials, had been instructed to remain in Paris. Molé, Louis Philippe’s first Minister for Foreign Affairs, accordingly arranged [Pg 32]to meet him at a private house, where he gave him clearly to understand that the entry of a Prussian army into the Low Countries would be regarded as an act of war directed against France. This threat, which evoked much indignation in Berlin and at Vienna, was effectual in inducing King Frederick William III. to renounce any thoughts, which he may have entertained, of reducing the Belgians to submission by force of arms.[26]

Talleyrand arrived in London on September 24, and in a despatch, sent off the next day, expressed his satisfaction at the reception accorded him.[27] He was accompanied by the Duchesse de Dino, who officiated as hostess at his table, and presided over his household. In 1807, at the conclusion of the campaign in Poland, Talleyrand, then Napoleon’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, had obtained for his nephew, Edmond de Périgord, the hand of Dorothée, the daughter of the last reigning Duke of Courland. After a few years of married life, however, husband and wife agreed to live apart, and Madame Edmond from that time forward took up her residence with Talleyrand. She accompanied him to Vienna, in 1814, and brought back from the Congress the title of Duchesse de Dino. In return for the services he had rendered him, the King of Naples had conferred this dukedom upon Talleyrand, who had asked that the title might be assumed by his nephew. The duchess’ position in Talleyrand’s household was so generally recognized that, upon their arrival in London, King William IV., at Wellington’s request, allowed her to take rank as an ambassadress.[28] The Comte Casimir de Montrond, another frequent guest at Valençay, and at the house [Pg 33]in the Rue Saint-Florentin, followed the ambassador to London. Talleyrand’s friendship with this curious individual appears to have begun under the Directory. In the terrible days which preceded the downfall of Robespierre, Montrond had been an inmate of the prison of Saint-Lazare. The fortunate possession of some ready money, a rare commodity at the time, had, however, enabled him to effect his escape, and that of the citizeness Franquetot, the heretofore Aimée de Coigny, Duchesse de Fleury, the heroine of André Chénier’s poem.[29] After this miraculous deliverance, Aimée de Coigny, who under the emigration laws had divorced the Duc de Fleury, married the man to whom she owed her life. But, after a brief and most unsatisfactory experience of matrimony with the gay incroyable, she again contrived to obtain her freedom. Montrond’s introduction to London society appears to date from the year 1812, when, having incurred the grave displeasure of Bonaparte, he succeeded in eluding the French police and in reaching England. He seems to have become very rapidly a well-known and popular member of the fashionable world in London. During all this period of his life he is believed to have been totally without regular means of subsistence, and to have existed solely by play, assisted by an occasional windfall in the shape of employment upon any secret political work which Talleyrand, when in favour, was enabled to procure for him. But from the earliest days of the Monarchy of July his circumstances began to improve. From this time forward he appears to have drawn a pension of about £1000 per annum from the secret service funds of the French Foreign Office.[30] This [Pg 34]allowance is said to have been granted him in order that “he should speak well of Louis Philippe in the London clubs.” It was, moreover, strongly suspected that he had obtained knowledge of certain of the King’s proceedings during the emigration which His Majesty had good reasons for wishing to keep secret.[31]

The uneasiness aroused in London by the first news of the insurrection in Brussels developed into serious alarm, when the triumph of the revolutionists over the Royal troops became known. Wellington openly declared that it was a “devilish bad business,”and many people began to fear that a great European war was inevitable.[32] The British government, whilst prepared to accept as an accomplished fact the complete separation of Belgium from the Kingdom of the Netherlands, held that no changes must take place of a nature to interfere with the efficiency of the barrier fortresses, these defences “being necessary for the security of other States.” After drawing up instructions to this effect for Lord Stuart de Rothesay, Aberdeen intimated that the government was desirous of conferring upon the situation “in friendly concert with France and the other Powers.”[33] Talleyrand was of opinion that it was a matter for congratulation that the first offer of co-operation should have come from England, and strongly recommended that the proposal should be responded to cordially. An entirely passive attitude, he wrote, [Pg 35]must deprive France “of that influence which they are disposed to ascribe to her over here.”[34]

Meanwhile, in Paris, notices were appearing in the papers calling upon men to enroll themselves to assist their Belgian brothers. The Society of the Friends of the People equipped a battalion which actually set out for the northern frontier. La Fayette was still the recognized leader of the ultra-Liberals, and his house was a meeting-place for the Carbonari and the revolutionists of every country. But he was occupied chiefly in encouraging insurrectionary movements in Spain and Italy. The union of Belgium with France was advocated mainly in the ranks of the Bonapartist or military democratic section of the party. The protestations of Louis Philippe and Comte Molé were probably true that the government in no way favoured their designs, and that strict orders had been given to the prefects to prevent the passage of arms into Belgium. On the other hand, however, their assertions to Lord Stuart were untrue that they were innocent of conniving at the proceedings of the Spanish revolutionists. Broglie and Guizot, both members of the Cabinet, admit that in order to compel the King of Spain to acknowledge Louis Philippe, facilities for assembling their followers upon French territory were accorded to the Spanish insurrectionary leaders. This rather disingenuous policy appears, without question, to have contributed materially to the establishment of diplomatic relations between Paris and Madrid at the end of the month of October.[35]

None of the Powers evinced any intention of responding to the King of Holland’s request for [Pg 36]military assistance to subdue the revolted Belgians. The English proposal that a conference should be held to consider the situation was generally regarded as the best solution of the question. “Austria and Prussia,” wrote Talleyrand on October 11, “intend to follow the lead of England with respect to Belgium, and there can be little doubt that Russia will adopt the same course.”[36] The French government at this time was greatly incensed at the conduct of the Cabinet of the Hague. No official appeal for help had been sent to Paris, but in a letter to Louis Philippe the Prince of Orange openly accused the French authorities of encouraging the disturbances in Belgium, and suggested that the King should make a public declaration of his intention not to meddle with the affairs of the Low Countries. In return, the Prince undertook to use all his influence with the Tsar in favour of the acknowledgment of the sovereignty of the King of the French. At a Council of Ministers it was resolved that Talleyrand should be instructed to bring the affair to the notice of the British Cabinet, and that Molé should draw up a note for presentation at the Hague, expressing surprise at the continued silence observed towards the French government. Two days later, however, the news was telegraphed from Strasburg that General Atthalin had passed through the town, bringing with him the Tsar’s recognition of Louis Philippe. But, upon the general’s arrival, the satisfaction caused by this intelligence was diminished by the cold and formal language of Nicholas’s letter, and by his pointed omission to address the King as “his brother,” the designation generally employed by sovereigns in their communications with each other.[37]

[Pg 37]

The proposal of the English government that a conference should be held upon Belgian affairs having been accepted by the Powers, it remained only to decide upon the town in which the deliberations should take place. London, where for some time past the representatives of Russia, France, and Great Britain had been engaged in settling the frontiers and discussing the future of Greece, appeared to be the capital in which, by reason of its proximity to Brussels, the plenipotentiaries could assemble with the least inconvenience. France alone dissented from this view, and urgently demanded that the conference should be held in Paris. Aberdeen, when Talleyrand communicated to him his instructions upon the subject, would appear to have seen little to object to in the French proposal. Wellington, however, refused to entertain the suggestion, for a moment. It was highly important, the Duke contended, that matters should be settled promptly, and he was confident that he could induce the ministers attending the conference to agree to the French and English proposals, provided they were to meet in London. On the other hand, were Paris to be the scene of their deliberations, they would insist upon referring every question to their respective Courts. Talleyrand, who considered that there was much sound reason in the Duke’s contention, was nevertheless directed to reiterate his demand. But his further representations only evoked the reply that the English Cabinet regarded Paris as un terrain trop agité, and at a subsequent interview, on October 25, in the presence of the ambassadors of Austria and Prussia, the Duke assured him that the Powers were unanimous in opposing the notion of discussing the affairs of the Low Countries amidst the tourbillon révolutionaire of the French capital.[38]

[Pg 38]

In his conversations with Lord Stuart de Rothesay in Paris, Molé, in order to gain his ends, had recourse to a singular argument. Talleyrand himself, he explained, constituted the true reason why the government was desirous that the Belgian conference should not take place in London. He never would have been accredited to the Court of St. James’ had ministers foreseen how greatly the public would resent his appointment. To allow him to represent France at a very important conference would expose the Cabinet to attacks which must prove fatal to its existence. “This extraordinary reason for objecting to our proposition,”wrote Aberdeen, “does not appear to His Majesty’s government to be entitled to serious consideration.” Molé nevertheless continued to press his point with much warmth, and it was only after several more interviews with Lord Stuart that he began to talk of sending a second plenipotentiary to the London conference to be associated with Talleyrand.[39] This plan, which was probably not put forward seriously, was certainly never carried into execution. At the end of October, the Cabinet was reconstructed, and Molé resigned the portfolio of Foreign Affairs. After his retirement no further allusion appears to have been made to the alleged inconvenience of Talleyrand’s presence at the London conference. Molé was perhaps jealous of allowing him to conduct these important negotiations, in which he probably desired himself to play the chief part. He was a highly cultivated man, with much charm of manner, and of an ancient family, and in Imperial days had enjoyed the favour of the Emperor, and had held important positions. Under the Restoration he had been Minister of Marine in Richelieu’s first administration, and in this capacity [Pg 39]had incurred Louis XVIII.’s displeasure by intriguing against his favourite the Duc Décazes.

The Cabinet, known as that of August 11th, had never been a united body. Guizot, Broglie, Molé and Casimir Périer constituted the Conservative element, whilst Laffitte and Dupont were opposed to all measures which savoured of resistance to progress upon democratic lines. The riots of October 17 and 18, in Paris, the mob’s protest against the apparent intention of the government to abolish the death penalty in political cases, in order to save the lives of the imprisoned ex-ministers of Charles X., brought matters to a crisis. Seeing that the King decidedly inclined to the views of Laffitte and the so-called party of laissez-aller the Conservatives, advising him to give the policy of their dissenting colleagues a fair trial, tendered their resignations. Laffitte was accordingly charged with the task of reconstructing the Cabinet.[40]

On November 2, the day on which the composition of the new French ministry was published in the Moniteur, King William IV. formally opened the British Parliament. In the Speech from the Throne, the Belgians were described as “revolted subjects” and the intention was expressed of repressing sternly disturbances at home. In the House of Lords, Grey deprecated the employment of such language, and, in reply, Wellington made his declaration against Reform. A fortnight later, upon a motion of Sir Henry Parnell for referring the Civil List to a select committee, the government was placed in a minority. The Duke thereupon resigned and advised the King to send for Grey. Lord Grey undertook to form a ministry upon the understanding that he was to bring forward a measure of Reform.

[Pg 40]



The accession to power of Lord Grey was an event justly calculated to raise the hopes of those who wished to see more cordial relations established between France and England. The Whigs had been out of office during the whole period of the Imperial wars; they had not been concerned in the territorial settlement at the peace, nor were they responsible for the measures which had been taken to ensure the safe custody of Bonaparte after Waterloo. Many prominent members of the party had avowed their sympathy for France, and, moreover, the revolution of July had, unquestionably, contributed to the overthrow of the Tories. Under the new régime in France political power was to rest with the bourgeoisie. It was by the support of the trading and commercial classes that the Whigs purposed to carry out their scheme of Parliamentary Reform. Nor were these the only circumstances which seemed to indicate that the two countries would, in the future, develop upon parallel lines. Although William IV. had succeeded to the throne legitimately, whilst a revolution had placed the crown upon the head of Louis Philippe, and although no two men could be more different in character, there were, upon the surface, curious points of resemblance between them. Both were, or were supposed to be, Liberals, both were simple and unostentatious in their tastes and habits, both had succeeded sovereigns of reactionary views [Pg 41]who had been rigid observers of courtly ceremony and etiquette.

“England,” wrote Talleyrand in a despatch in which he reviewed the situation created by the change of government, “is the country with which France should cultivate the most friendly relations. Her colonial losses have removed a source of rivalry between them. The Powers still believe in the divine right of kings; France and England alone no longer subscribe to that doctrine. Both governments have adopted the principle of non-intervention. Let both declare loudly that they are resolved to maintain peace, and their voices will not be raised in vain.”[41]

Lord Palmerston, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, was in his forty-sixth year. From 1811 he had continuously held the post of Secretary-at-War in succeeding Tory administrations until the year 1828, when, with other Canningites, he had seceded from the Duke of Wellington. He was an excellent linguist; indeed, in the opinion of so competent a critic as Victor Cousin, there were not twenty Frenchmen who could lay claim to his knowledge of their language.[42] In the course of a visit which he had paid to Paris, in the year 1829, Palmerston had made the acquaintance of most of the prominent members of the Liberal party under the Restoration. From his conversations with these men, who were now the masters of France, he had carried away the conviction that they chafed bitterly at the treaties of 1815 and were determined, at the first opportunity, to extend the French frontiers to the Rhine. General Sébastiani, who, on November 15, had succeeded Marshal Maison as Minister for Foreign Affairs, had, whilst in opposition, [Pg 42]been one of the loudest advocates of a policy of expansion.[43] The recollection of his boastful language and of the aggressive schemes which he had heard him propound was always present in Palmerston’s memory, and was sensibly to influence his conduct of his first negotiations with the French government.

The general outlook in Europe in the autumn of 1830 augured ill for the continued maintenance of peace. Great military preparations were reported to be in progress in Russia. Marshal Diebitsch, the hero of the recent war with Turkey, was at Berlin upon a mission which, although it was described, as “wholly extra official,”[44] excited considerable apprehension in Paris. Insurrectionary movements, the repercussion of the Revolution of July, had taken place in Saxony and other States of Northern Germany. Metternich was said “to have proposed certain armaments to the Diet, wholly out of proportion to the necessities of the situation.” The King of Prussia, although he was universally credited with a sincere desire for peace, was suspected, nevertheless, “of preparing quietly for war.” The alarm was not dispelled by the assurances which, in London, Prince Lieven gave to both Palmerston and Talleyrand that the Russian armament was merely a measure of precaution necessitated by treaty obligations with the King of the Netherlands, and that, under no circumstances, would his Imperial master take action except in combination with the Powers.[45] On December 1 the French Chamber voted supplies for a considerable increase of the army.

The suspicion that the three Northern Courts were meditating an unprovoked attack upon France was unfounded. As Lord Heytesbury pointed out, the [Pg 43]cholera, which had made its appearance in the Tsar’s dominions, threw an insuperable obstacle in the way of recruiting upon a large scale. Russia indeed, he considered, might almost be looked upon as hors de combat.[46] Nor was Metternich proposing to begin hostilities against France. “Austria’s task,” he instructed Esterhazy, the ambassador in London, “consists in suppressing any insurrectionary movement in Italy.” But should the French interpose in favour of the revolutionists, their action must be resisted vigorously. It was expedient, therefore, for the three great continental Powers to hold their armies in readiness. “The British government must be brought to understand that Austria cannot accept the principle of non-intervention. England, as an insular State, can adhere to it without danger, but when adopted by France it imperils the existence of neighbouring Powers. The proclamation of such a doctrine can be compared only to the complaints of thieves about the interference of the police.”[47] But, although the absolute Courts were certainly innocent of any desire to provoke a war deliberately, there were serious elements of danger in the situation. The King of the Netherlands, without doubt, looked upon the outbreak of a great European war as the only chance of regaining his Belgian provinces. Charles X. was once more installed quietly in his old quarters at Holyrood, but his adherents, the Legitimists, or Carlists, as they were more usually termed, were convinced that a war must prove fatal to the new régime in France. Talleyrand suspected that they were in league with the military party in Paris, and suggested that an agent should be sent over to London to watch them. He had no complaints to make about the assistance afforded him by the Home [Pg 44]Secretary, who placed all the information he could obtain about them at his disposal, but, “in a country in which the police system was so bad, such reports had little value.”[48]

At the Congress of Vienna nearly the whole of those territories, known as the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, had been constituted into the Kingdom of Poland and assigned to the Tsar. Under the terms of the treaty, which was guaranteed by the Five Powers, the crown of the Kingdom was to be hereditary in the Imperial family of Russia. The Poles, however, were to be granted a constitution, and were to be allowed to maintain a national army. These stipulations were duly carried out by Alexander. But, as the Tsar’s Liberalism waned, the first conditions were considerably modified, and, after the accession of Nicholas, the Poles appear to have suspected, with perhaps good reason, that the Imperial Cabinet purposed to abolish gradually all their special privileges. Suddenly, on November 28, 1830, an insurrection broke out at Warsaw. The Viceroy, the Grand Duke Constantine, was driven from the town and several of his generals were murdered. The revolution spread rapidly through the country, and, after some vain attempts to negotiate a compromise, the Grand Duke retreated across the frontier with his Russian troops. On December 5, Chlopicki, a popular Polish general, who had served with distinction under Bonaparte, was proclaimed Dictator. Nicholas, whilst collecting his troops to reconquer his revolted kingdom, declared that the French revolutionary propaganda and the creation of Lancastrian schools[49] were responsible for the insurrection.[50]

[Pg 45]

The rebellion evoked the utmost enthusiasm in Paris. The designation of “the Frenchmen of the North,” which it became the fashion to apply to the Poles, tickled the national vanity. It was remembered that they had remained true to Bonaparte in his misfortunes, and that the unsympathetic treatment which they had experienced at the hands of the sovereigns at Vienna had been the penalty of their fidelity. Moreover, it was a natural consequence of their hatred of the treaties of 1815 that Frenchmen should feel drawn towards those countries which, like Poland or Italy, had cause for dissatisfaction with the conditions settled at the Congress of Vienna. Unquestionably this was the secret of much of that sympathy for “oppressed nationalities” which, from 1830 onwards, manifested itself so keenly in France. The war party and other factions hostile to the monarchy encouraged the popular ferment. Lord Stuart de Rothesay was disposed to think that Louis Philippe and his ministers regarded the excitement with secret approval, in the hope that it would distract public attention from the impending trial of the ex-ministers of Charles X.[51] In addition to Polignac himself three members of the Cabinet, who had signed the ordinances of July, had failed to escape abroad. The King, however, notwithstanding that the populace called furiously for their heads, was determined to save their lives. This merciful intention he was enabled to carry out successfully. On December 21 the peers adjudged them guilty of high treason but, in deference to Louis Philippe’s wishes, sentenced them only to perpetual confinement. Meanwhile Montalivet, the Minister of the Interior, had personally conducted the prisoners back to Vincennes, where they were lodged in safety [Pg 46]before the mob, which thronged all the approaches to the Luxembourg, realized that it had been baulked of its prey. The satisfactory conclusion of this momentous trial was followed by an event of no less happy augury for the future. Nettled by a resolution of the Chamber affecting his position, La Fayette retired from the command of the national guard. The government accepted his resignation with grave misgivings, but, to the general surprise, the fickle multitude saw their hero replaced by Mouton de Lobau with comparative indifference.

But of all the questions which threatened to disturb the peace of Europe, that of Belgium, by reason of the conflict of national interests to which it gave rise, was by far the most delicate. It is not without cause that, for centuries, the Low Countries have been the chief battle ground of the Powers. Bonaparte is supposed to have described the possession of Antwerp as “a loaded pistol held at England’s head.” Unquestionably, during the great war, England had had experience of the difficulties of watching the coastline of Belgium and Holland united to that of France. The lesson had not been thrown away upon Lords Grey and Palmerston, who were fully determined to resist, at all costs, the acquisition of any portion of the Low Countries by a first-class military Power. On the other hand France had excellent reasons for objecting to the system under which the Kingdom of the Netherlands had been created, and the barrier fortresses erected. In the words of General Lamarque, the chief parliamentary spokesman of the war party, these defences constituted, within four days’ march of Paris, a tête de pont behind which the armies of a hostile coalition might assemble at leisure. Moreover, France, in 1815, had been deprived of the fortresses of Marienburg and Philippeville, both of which had been incorporated into the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and it was hoped [Pg 47]that in any scheme of re-arrangement these two places would be restored to her. All supporters of the new monarchy were keenly alive to the immense satisfaction with which the smallest modification of the hated treaties of 1815 would be received throughout the country. Men of moderate views, such as Charles de Rémusat and Guizot, looked upon “a brilliant diplomatic triumph” or “some acquisition of territory towards Belgium” as conditions essential to the stability of the Orleans throne.[52] On the other hand, it was the policy of Austria, Prussia and Russia, as it was that of Great Britain, to preserve intact the territorial settlement of 1815 and to resist the aggrandisement of France. But the attitude of the Northern Courts was also greatly influenced by the marriages which connected the King of the Netherlands and the Prince of Orange with the Royal family of Prussia and the Imperial House of Russia. In addition to these considerations of relationship the sympathies of the absolute sovereigns necessarily went out to a monarch struggling with a rebellion of his subjects, and they could not but be reluctant to participate in measures tending to legalize a revolution.

The first sitting of the conference of the five Powers upon Belgian affairs took place at the Foreign Office in London, on November 4, on which occasion it was decided to impose an armistice upon the contending parties. According to the protocol, the Dutch and Belgian armies “were to retire behind the line which, previous to the treaty of May 30, 1814, separated the possessions of the sovereign prince of the United Provinces from the territories which have since been joined to them.”[53] No further step of much importance was taken until December 20, when [Pg 48]Talleyrand proposed that the conference should proclaim the independence of Belgium.[54] After a discussion of seven hours’ duration, the objections of the plenipotentiaries of the absolute Powers were withdrawn, and the plan was acceded to unanimously. A month later, on January 20, 1831, the frontiers of Holland and Belgium were defined, and Belgium was declared neutral under the guarantee of the Powers. At the sitting of January 27, the plenipotentiaries apportioned the share of the general debt which each State would be called upon to bear.[55]

The difficult question of selecting a sovereign for Belgium was not lost sight of, whilst the delimitation of frontiers had been proceeding. As early as October 19, Molé informed Lord Stuart in confidence that M. Gendebien had brought proposals from the provisional government in Brussels for the enthronement of one of Louis Philippe’s younger sons. But he assured the British ambassador that, as France was about to confer upon the situation with the other Powers, the offer would not be entertained for a moment.[56] Again Talleyrand, on November 7, reported that “a kind of agent of the provisional government” was in London seeking to ascertain whether the elevation to the Belgian throne of the Duc de Leuchtenberg, a son of Eugène de Beauharnais, would be permitted.[57] At first the Powers, France included, had regarded the enthronement of the Prince of Orange as the safest solution of the difficulty. But after the bombardment of the town of Antwerp by the Dutch, at the end of October, he became very unpopular, and, on November 24, the national congress at [Pg 49]Brussels resolved that all members of the House of Orange-Nassau should be excluded from the throne.[58] In consequence, possibly, of this action by the Belgian deputies, Lords Grey and Palmerston appear to have mentioned the Archduke Charles of Austria to Talleyrand as a suitable candidate. But he objected, reminding them that his enthronement would constitute a restoration, which the most famous of Whigs had once described as “the worst of revolutions.” Moreover, Metternich, who had no desire to extend the influence of Austria in that direction, soon afterwards declared that the Archduke would decline the crown, both for himself and for his children, were it to be offered to him.[59] Talleyrand himself appears to have been the first to suggest that Leopold of Saxe-Coburg might with advantage be chosen to rule over the new State.[60] In putting forward this plan he seems to have been actuated chiefly by a desire to please the British government, but, for reasons which will be explained later, his proposal met with very little response. Meanwhile, the language of Mauguin and Lamarque in the Chamber, and the evident intention of the military party to object to any settlement which should not admit of the future union of Belgium with France, were rapidly impelling Louis Philippe to adopt an attitude of opposition to Great Britain and the other Powers.[61]

At the first sitting of the conference it had been decided that M. Bresson, the first secretary of the French embassy in London, and Mr. Cartwright, who held a similar position at the British embassy at the [Pg 50]Hague, should act as the commissioners of the Powers at Brussels. Cartwright, however, had soon been recalled in order that he might assume the duties of British minister at Frankfort, and Lord Ponsonby had been sent to take his place at Brussels. Ponsonby was the brother-in-law of Lord Grey and was reputed to be the handsomest man of his time. There was a story that as a youth he had been set upon by the mob in the Rue Saint-Honoré, in the early days of the revolution, and that it was only the protests of the women, that he was too good-looking to be hanged, which had saved him from “la lanterne.” Canning is said to have sent him to Buenos Ayres, in 1826, upon his first diplomatic mission of importance, in order to please George IV., whose peace of mind was disturbed by Lady Cunningham’s too evident admiration of him.[62] In Belgium, at this time, the two chief political parties were the French party, consisting of the advocates of a union with France, and the Orange party, the members of which favoured the enthronement of the Prince of Orange. The first were unquestionably by far the most numerous, but the Orangists, who were to be found chiefly in business and commercial circles, were not without power and influence. Bresson, from the first moment of his arrival at Brussels, appears to have identified himself closely with the aspirations of the French party, whilst Ponsonby espoused no less zealously the cause of the Prince of Orange.[63] There was, thus, keen rivalry and apparently much personal dislike between these two representatives of the conference.

Louis Philippe would never appear seriously to have [Pg 51]entertained the notion of allowing one of his younger sons to accept the crown of Belgium, or of consenting to the union of Belgium with France. Lord Grey had given Talleyrand, who had been directed to sound the British government upon the subject, clearly to understand that the enthronement of a French prince would be regarded as a case for war—a declaration, which, in the words of Sébastiani, “had at least the merit of frankness.”[64] Of all the possible candidates for the Belgian crown Louis Philippe justly considered the Duc de Leuchtenberg to be the most undesirable. To have allowed any one connected with the Bonaparte family to become King of Belgium would have been exceedingly dangerous to the French monarchy. “There are no personal objections to him,” wrote Sébastiani to Bresson, “but all considerations must give way before the raison d’état.”[65] The candidate for whose success Louis Philippe was in reality most anxious, and whose selection Sébastiani instructed both Bresson and Talleyrand to advocate cautiously, was Prince Charles of Naples. This young prince was a Neapolitan Bourbon, a brother of the Duchesse de Berri and a nephew of the French queen, Marie Amélie, and Louis Philippe was always as desirous as any king of the old régime to promote the aggrandizement of his family. But when Talleyrand mentioned his name to Lord Grey he was told at once that his connection with the reigning House in France constituted an insuperable objection,[66] whilst from Brussels Bresson reported that “the Prince of Naples had no following.”[67]

[Pg 52]

A second attempt, on the part of the provisional government at Brussels to persuade Louis Philippe to accept the crown for his son, was made in December 1830. On that occasion M. Van de Weyer carried the proposal to Paris. British hostility was to be overcome by the marriage of Nemours, the young prince whom it was proposed to elevate to the throne, to an English princess, and by the conversion of Antwerp into a free port and by the destruction of its fortifications.[68] Louis Philippe declined the offer, but the already-mentioned instructions sent to Talleyrand to ascertain the views of the British government upon the subject were probably a consequence of Van de Weyer’s mission. Bresson, however, soon after he had received Sébastiani’s despatch, informing him of the King’s determination to refuse the crown for his son, expressed great fear lest Leuchtenberg should be selected. His candidature was, he reported, the result of a Bonapartist intrigue organized in Paris, but the Belgians were tired of their unsettled condition and were anxious that a ruler of some kind should be chosen.[69] Some ten days later he forwarded intelligence of a more precise and of a yet more disquieting nature. The French party, led by M. Gendebien, in consequence of the refusal of Nemours, had now definitely adopted Leuchtenberg as their candidate. Moreover, three notorious Bonapartist generals, Excelmans, Lallemand and Fabvier, were reported to have arrived at Namur and Liège. This news was followed the next day by a despatch in which he complained of Ponsonby’s activity on behalf of the Prince of Orange and, at the same time, accused him of being favourable to the election of Leuchtenberg.[70]

[Pg 53]

Louis Philippe was genuinely disquieted by Bresson’s news. He was resolved, he told Lord Granville, who, early in January, had replaced Lord Stuart de Rothesay at the British embassy, to send the Comte de Flahaut to London to impress upon the government the keen anxiety with which he regarded the march of events at Brussels. By existing treaties, he reminded him, no member of the Bonaparte family was allowed to live in Belgium, and, in the course of conversation, he hinted that a Neapolitan prince would be the best king for the new State.[71] Flahaut was a distinguished general officer of the empire and was, besides, the admitted father of that half-brother of Louis Napoleon, who was to acquire celebrity under the name of the Duc de Morny. During the greater part of the Restoration period Flahaut had lived in London, where his attractive manners and charm of conversation had made him a popular member of society. Moreover, during his residence in England, he had married Miss Mercer Elphinstone, a great heiress of her day.[72] The mission, upon which he was now despatched to London, was not confined merely to the communication to the British government of Louis Philippe’s fears respecting a Bonapartist candidate for the Belgian throne. But, as his instructions are not to be found among the diplomatic papers of the period, the exact nature of the proposals he was empowered to make can only be conjectured. In a private letter to Granville, on February 8, Palmerston speaks of a suggested offensive and defensive alliance between France and Great Britain “which was to be kept an entire secret from all the world,” to which proposal he had replied, “that these alliances are not popular in England, but that if France were attacked [Pg 54]unjustly, England would be found upon her side.”[73] From the despatches of Granville and of Talleyrand it may be inferred with certainty that some scheme was on foot whereby France was to acquire a part of Belgium and, in return for her consent to this plan, England was to have the right of garrisoning Antwerp, which was to be declared a free port.[74] Talleyrand, whilst favourable to the idea of converting Antwerp into a Hanseatic town, was very much opposed to the notion of assisting England to regain a footing upon the continent. It would be too high a price to pay, he contended, even for so popular a measure as the extension of the French frontiers into Belgium.[75]

Whilst Flahaut was thus engaged in London, Colonel the Marquis de Lawoëstine, a former aide-de-camp of Sébastiani and a Belgian of good family, had been despatched to Brussels. In his case also the precise object of his errand can only be surmised. It is clear, however, that M. Juste[76] is mistaken in supposing that he was sent to urge the national congress to elect the Duc de Nemours. “In general,”wrote Sébastiani to Bresson, when announcing the despatch of Lawoëstine, “you must say as little as possible about his mission, but you need make no mystery about it to Lord Ponsonby,”[77] a sentence which precludes the possibility that his journey to Brussels can have been connected with the election of a son of Louis Philippe. Without doubt Lawoëstine was primarily charged to combat the candidature of Leuchtenberg, but it would seem that he was directed [Pg 55]quietly to oppose Prince Charles of Naples to him. “It will be difficult,” answered Bresson upon receipt of Sébastiani’s despatch, “to keep secret the object of Lawoëstine’s mission. The candidature of Prince Charles of Naples has been talked about and the factions in Paris are working against him. Even M. de Mérode[78] is threatening to abandon Prince Charles and to vote in favour of the Duc de Leuchtenberg.”[79]

Lawoëstine, after “seeing all the chief people,”appears to have returned to Paris to lay before the King the urgency of the situation, whilst the tone of Bresson’s despatches, during the next few days, became yet more alarming. The bust of the Duc de Leuchtenberg, he reported, had been crowned at the theatre amidst cries of “Vive August 1er, Roi des Belges.” Only, he considered, by the nomination of the Duc de Nemours could Leuchtenberg be combated effectually.[80] Bresson himself, probably on either January 25 or 26, seems to have paid a hurried visit to Paris. On February 1 the national congress was to proceed to elect a King for Belgium, and, presumably, he wished to obtain fuller instructions as to the attitude he was to adopt in the different eventualities which might arise. By this time the 11th protocol of the London conference, that of January 20, 1831, defining the boundaries of Holland and Belgium, had been received by Lord Ponsonby and himself for communication to the provisional government. The conditions of separation, as laid down in that document, fell far short of the hopes of the Belgians. They claimed the districts of Luxemburg and Limburg, but the Powers assigned these provinces to Holland. The King of the Netherlands was also Grand Duke of [Pg 56]Luxemburg and as such was a member of the Germanic Confederation. His position had been recognized by the conference which, in its protocol of December 20, 1830, had formally declared its incompetence to interfere with territories forming part of the Confederation, a decision which excited equal dissatisfaction in Paris and in Brussels. If she could not obtain Luxemburg for herself, France hoped to see this province withdrawn from the Germanic Confederation and handed over to Belgium.

On January 29 Bresson reported his return to Brussels, having performed the journey from the French capital in twenty-five hours. He would appear to have been empowered by Louis Philippe himself to assure the members of the national congress that, were Nemours to be elected, he would be allowed to accept the crown. It is probable, however, that he was instructed only to resort to this step should he find it impossible to oppose Leuchtenberg successfully by other means. It may be inferred that neither Bresson nor Lawoëstine felt any enthusiasm about the election of a Neapolitan Bourbon, and were only too anxious to bestir themselves actively on behalf of a French prince. “Ponsonby supports Leuchtenberg as leading up to the Prince of Orange,” wrote Bresson on the day of his return.[81] “The effect of Lord Ponsonby’s communication to the congress of the protocol of January 20 has been very great,” reported Lawoëstine, who also was back in Brussels. “The only way of preventing the election of the Duc de Leuchtenberg is by bringing forward the Duc de Nemours. Even at the risk of a war with the Powers this course should be adopted. Belgium would be with us heart and soul, and we should begin the campaign in possession of the 23 frontier fortresses, all of which are provided with an immense matériel.”[82]

[Pg 57]

On receipt of this news from his agents at Brussels Sébastiani, in order, presumably, to influence the national congress in favour of the French candidate, despatched a letter to Bresson the contents of which were intended for communication to the Belgian deputies. In this document, dated February 1, Sébastiani stated that France could not give her consent to the delimitation of frontiers or to the apportionment of the debt, as laid down in the 11th and 12th protocols of the London conference, unless these conditions should be deemed satisfactory by both the States concerned. The French government, holding that the conference had been convened for purposes of mediation only, could not allow it to assume a different character.[83] On February 3 the Duc de Nemours was elected King of the Belgians, and a deputation started at once for Paris to communicate the news officially to Louis Philippe.

In the meantime Sébastiani, on February 2, had informed Talleyrand that, were the Belgians to elect a son of Louis Philippe for their King, he would decline to accept the crown, but the occasion was to be utilized for bringing forward the Prince of Naples. He was confident that, in order to escape from the complications entailed by Nemours’ election, the Powers, at present hostile to the Neapolitan prince, would look upon his enthronement as a happy alternative. On February 4 he again affirmed the King’s intention of declining the crown for his son, but his despatch of the following day was replete with complaints of Ponsonby’s efforts upon behalf of the Prince of Orange, a course of conduct which, he declared, would inevitably lead to civil war. Were serious disturbances to break out in Belgium, France would be driven to intervene, and it was, therefore, necessary for Lords Grey and [Pg 58]Palmerston to understand that the situation was extremely critical.[84]

Talleyrand, however, was doing all in his power to convince his government of the disastrous effect which the rumours from Brussels were having upon public opinion in London. His declaration to the conference, on February 7, that the King of the French would refuse the crown of Belgium for his son had made a very good impression, and it had induced the plenipotentiaries to guarantee that, were Leuchtenberg to be elected, he would not be acknowledged by their respective Courts.[85] But, on the same day, he reported that the Cabinet, after a prolonged sitting, had resolved to declare war upon France, should the crown of Belgium be accepted by Nemours, and he begged Sébastiani to reflect most seriously upon the consequences of a naval conflict. Bresson’s behaviour at Brussels, he complained, had placed him in a very difficult position, and if the King could not see his way to follow his advice, his continued presence in London could no longer serve any useful purpose, Montrond, who by his desire was returning to Paris, would tell the King and his ministers that in London, at the clubs and in society, the prospects of a war with France were the chief topic of conversation.[86]

Although Louis Philippe and Sébastiani repeatedly assured Lord Granville that there was no intention of accepting the crown for Nemours,[87] it was not until February 17 that the King officially received the members of the deputation and signified to them his refusal. The interval, between their arrival in Paris and their formal interview with Louis Philippe, appears [Pg 59]to have been employed in vain attempts to induce them to pronounce themselves in favour of the Neapolitan prince. “We have tried to make them see,” wrote Sébastiani to Talleyrand, “the advantages which would accrue to all parties from the enthronement of Prince Charles of Naples.”[88] But, in the meantime, his letter to Bresson of February 1, in which he had declared that the French government could not adhere to the 11th and 12th protocols of the conference, had been published in the Belgian newspapers and had caused Palmerston to instruct Granville to demand an explanation. The ambassador was to point out that, “when a government sees fit to disavow the acts of its plenipotentiary, it should acquaint the parties with whom the engagement has been made of the fact, not, as in this case, communicate its disavowal to third parties.” Palmerston’s despatch concluded with the intimation that “His Majesty’s government had only allowed the conference to continue because it was convinced that satisfactory explanations would be forthcoming.” Instructions of a like nature were received by the Russian, the Prussian and the Austrian ambassadors.”[89]

Sébastiani, whilst pretending that Bresson had no authority to make public his letter, maintained that the London conference had no power to do more than mediate between the contending parties, and that France “could not be a member of a revised Holy Alliance which was to decide arbitrarily upon the affairs of nations.” Furthermore he declined to recall M. Bresson from Brussels, unless Lord Ponsonby were removed at the same time.[90] Fresh instances were soon forthcoming, however, of Bresson’s opposition to [Pg 60]the decisions of the conference of which he was nominally the agent. Since the conclusion of the armistice between the Belgians and the Dutch, disputes had been frequent as to the infractions of its conditions. The Dutch, in violation of the terms imposed by the Powers, held the citadel of Antwerp and closed the navigation of the Scheldt, whilst, as a reprisal, the Belgians set up a blockade of Maëstricht. The conference had, in consequence, instructed its representatives at Brussels to warn the provisional government that, unless communications were opened between Maëstricht and the surrounding country, the Federal Diet would be invited to raise the blockade by force of arms. But M. Bresson, alleging as a reason for his conduct des motifs à lui personnels, declined to sign the note which Lord Ponsonby duly presented to the Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs.[91] Lord Granville was in consequence directed to inform Sébastiani that the conference could no longer regard M. Bresson as its agent.[92] When the contents of Palmerston’s despatch were read out to him Sébastiani declared that he should retain him at Brussels as French minister.[93] This was, however, but an empty threat. Bresson, since Louis Philippe’s refusal to allow his son to be proclaimed King, was most unpleasantly situated towards the members of the national congress, to whom he had given the most positive assurances that, were Nemours to be elected, he would be permitted to accept the crown. It is very probable that in order to overcome the hesitation of his government he may deliberately have expressed exaggerated fears about the prospects of Leuchtenberg’s enthronement. The complete subsidence[94] of the [Pg 61]agitation on behalf of the Bonapartist candidate certainly accords ill with the alarming reports about the strength of the movement in his favour which he had transmitted to Sébastiani. But it would appear that when he paid his visit to Paris, at the end of January, he was himself deceived by Louis Philippe, and that his promises to the Belgian deputies, that Nemours would accept the crown, were made under the honest impression that the King’s objection had been withdrawn. “You know the august mouth from which issued my last orders,” he wrote to Sébastiani on February 9. “You heard them. Do not fear, they shall remain hidden at the bottom of my heart. But I cannot go back upon my footsteps. I cannot be the agent of another change of policy. I must ask you to replace me. I can sacrifice my interests, not my honour.”[95] “The painful and difficult situation in which you are placed,” answered Sébastiani, “is well understood here, but the King does full justice to your conduct and to your zeal for his service.”[96]

On March 6 Bresson formally transmitted to London his resignation of the post of commissioner to the conference and returned to Paris, being replaced at Brussels, as the agent of the French government, by General Belliard. The rapid advancement which awaited him was to compensate him amply for the loss of this appointment. But it was not alone from foreign governments that Sébastiani received complaints about these proceedings at Brussels. Talleyrand expressed the greatest indignation at the ignorance in which he had been kept of the instructions sent to Bresson. The whole affair, he pointed out, had placed him in a false position with Palmerston [Pg 62]and the ministers of the Powers, and had laid him open to the most injurious suspicions. It must appear either that he was unacquainted with the intentions of his government, or that he was in league with Bresson to deceive the conference.[97]

In the meantime, Paris had been the scene of disturbances which were to change completely the course of French policy. On February 14, the anniversary of the death of the Duc de Berri, the Carlists decided to hold a memorial service in the church of Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois. But the ceremony was interrupted by a mob, which had collected at the rumour that a portrait of the Duc de Bordeaux[98] had been crowned. The church and the palace of the archbishop were sacked, and much valuable and beautiful property was destroyed. The authorities made only the feeblest attempts to restrain the rioters, and cast the whole blame for the disorder upon the Carlists.[99] Moreover, as a concession to the rabble, all crosses were removed from in front of churches, the bust of Louis XVIII. was destroyed at the Louvre, and Louis Philippe even sanctioned the erasure of the lilies from his coat of arms. The indignation with which these despicable signs of weakness were greeted, soon convinced him, however, that he might with safety abandon his policy of truckling to the mob. For some time past, the hopes of all lovers of order had been centred in, Casimir Périer, as the one man capable of maintaining peace abroad, and of combating anarchy at home. Negotiations were accordingly begun, and, on March 14, the Moniteur announced that Laffitte had been replaced as President [Pg 63]of the Council by Casimir Périer, who had, besides, assumed the duties of Minister of the Interior. With two exceptions the members of the new Cabinet had all held office in the Laffitte administration. But so little were the rules of the party system observed, that they were quite prepared to enter a government, formed upon principles diametrically opposed to those which had guided the policy of the former Cabinet. Casimir Périer was pledged to the stern repression of internal disorder, and to the maintenance of external peace. In addition, he had asked that the King should be absent from meetings of the Cabinet—request to which Louis Philippe had given a grudging and a qualified assent.[100]

The news that M. Casimir Périer had assumed office was received with feelings of intense relief at the Courts and in the Cabinets of Europe.[101] The new President of the Council belonged to a family of high repute in banking and commercial circles. Under the Restoration he had been an eloquent and much respected member of the Liberal party. Heinrich Heine, who disliked the French as keenly as he admired the English statesman, has declared that Casimir Périer strangely resembled George Canning in personal appearance. In both he perceived the same expression of “invalidity, over-excitement and lassitude.”[102] Sébastiani’s continued retention of the portfolio of Foreign Affairs was also a subject for congratulation. In spite of his Corsican excitability, he had, upon the whole, won the confidence of the ministers with whom he had had business to transact. “The Dips,” wrote Lady Granville to her sister, “are [Pg 64]all pleased that Sébastiani remains, he is decidedly pacific.”[103]

The state of affairs in Europe, at the time of the formation of Casimir Périer’s government, still bore a most disquieting appearance. At the beginning of February, 1831, General Diebitsch entered Poland at the head of a strong Russian army, and, on the 25th, there was fought at Grochov one of the fiercest battles of the century, with results rather favourable to the Poles. At the same time the Italian States were in a condition of acute discontent. The Duke of Modena had been compelled to invoke Austrian assistance against his revolted subjects, and, on February 5, the Carbonari raised the standard of rebellion at Bologna. The States of the Pope extended from the Latin coast across the Campagna to the marches of Ancona, and, spreading out into the plains of Romagna, were bounded by the Po. In the opinion of Chateaubriand,[104] who was ambassador at Rome in 1828, one of the chief defects of the Papal government lay in the fact that “old men appoint an old man, and he in turn makes none but old men cardinals.” This feature of the Pontifical rule seems to have attracted the attention of Charles Greville[105] when he visited Rome, in 1830. “The cardinals,” he records, “appear a wretched set of old twaddlers, all but about three in extreme decrepitude. On seeing them and knowing that the sovereign is elected by and from them, nobody can wonder that the country is so miserably governed.” But it was the doctrine that only ecclesiastics could administer a government of divine appointment which constituted the radical vice of the Papal system. Cardinals ruled over the four Legations of Romagna—Bologna, Ferrara, Ravenna [Pg 65]and Forli. Generally speaking, their administration was both bigoted and corrupt. The finances were constantly in a condition of hopeless confusion—a circumstance hardly to be wondered at, seeing that a prelate in charge of the Exchequer is said to have refused to study political economy, because some of the text books were upon the Index. The roads were bad, few in number, and infested with brigands. Taxation was light, but trade was hampered by customs barriers. An arbitrary and interfering police system was supplemented by the Holy Office of the Inquisition, which still repressed heresy among Roman subjects, although it did not venture to meddle with foreigners. Lastly, it was estimated that not more than two per cent. of the population attended school.

Bologna was the most flourishing manufacturing town in the dominions of His Holiness, and Ancona the only port which could boast of a real trade. Probably it was because of their comparative prosperity that the people of Romagna were in a chronic state of unrest. The Pontifical troops, sent to suppress the insurrection, quickly proved their inability to carry out the task, and His Holiness appealed to Vienna for assistance. Sébastiani, so soon as he received intelligence that this request had been made, instructed Marshal Maison to warn Metternich that France could not consent to the entry of Austrian troops into the Papal States, and, on February 24, he informed Apponyi in Paris that, in accordance with its principle of non-intervention, the French government would regard the passage of the Piedmontese or Roman frontiers by an Imperial army as a declaration of war.[106] But Metternich had already sent off the Comte Athanase d’Otrante, a son of Fouché, the famous regicide and Minister of Police, to Paris, with [Pg 66]documents to prove that the Italian insurrections were fomented by the Bonapartists. It was always in the power of Austria, he pointed out significantly, to put an end to the republican agitation in Italy, Spain, Germany or France, by simply allowing the Duc de Reichstadt, the heretofore King of Rome, to be proclaimed Emperor of the French.[107] It was perfectly true that the Bonapartes were concerned in the Italian revolutionary movement. Both Prince Charles and his brother Prince Louis Napoleon held commands in the rebel army at Civita Castellana. Without doubt this was a circumstance calculated to induce Louis Philippe to exercise the greatest caution. It was decided, accordingly, to despatch the Comte de Sainte-Aulaire to Rome to urge upon the Papal government the expediency of withdrawing from ecclesiastics the administration of the provincial affairs of Romagna, and of confiding the management of local business to the nobility and middle classes. Maison was to press the Cabinet of Vienna to join with France in persuading His Holiness to inaugurate these reforms, whilst in London Talleyrand was to seek to obtain the co-operation of the British government. Palmerston, who looked upon the condition of Italy as a perpetual menace to the peace of Europe, readily consented to instruct Sir Brooke Taylor, the British Minister at Florence, to proceed to Rome to take part in the conference.[108] Metternich agreed with equal alacrity to the French proposals. But it was not his policy to allow reforms of any kind to be introduced into Italy, and he was fully resolved that the deliberations should lead to no results of any consequence. “We risk nothing,” he [Pg 67]wrote to Apponyi. . . . “Count Lützow[109] is a man of character, he knows what is practicable.”[110]

But the good effect of Metternich’s consent to confer with the Powers, upon the condition of affairs, in the Papal States, was dispelled by a false report which reached Paris of the conclusion of a treaty between Austria and His Holiness. This news was followed, on March 18, by the intelligence that an Imperial army had entered Bologna. War, Sébastiani informed Granville, was now inevitable. Nevertheless, in the evening, when the ambassador read over to him the account of their conversation which he proposed to send to London, he suggested that the words “war was very probable” should be substituted for his statement that “war was inevitable.”[111] For the next fortnight the situation continued to wear a most critical appearance. At a Cabinet Council, held on March 28, it was resolved to demand the evacuation of the Papal States, and to ask the Chambers for a vote of credit, to enable the King to mobilize the army. Casimir Périer,[112] however, reassured Lord Granville by telling him that the Austrians would assuredly have crushed the insurrection in Romagna before Maison’s instructions could reach Vienna, and that the message to the Chambers, far from being a measure calculated to bring about war, would, on the contrary, assist the King to preserve peace. Were the government to appear indifferent to the entry of the Austrians into the Papal States, the military party would at once raise the cry that ministers wanted peace at any price. Louis Philippe himself expressed to the British ambassador the greatest confidence that [Pg 68]hostilities would be avoided. The preservation of the temporal power of the Pope, he went on to tell him, was a cardinal feature of French policy. Five or six millions of his subjects professed the Roman Catholic religion,[113] and he was determined to remain upon good terms with the head of the Church.[114] The King of Prussia, Lord Granville was satisfied, was resolved to take no part in the struggle, should the Austrian intervention in Italy lead to a collision with France.[115] Heytesbury, on the other hand, reported that Nicholas, although the cholera was raging in Russia and notwithstanding that he had still the Polish war upon his hands, had announced his determination “to bring the whole force of his Empire to the assistance of his Austrian ally.”[116] But Metternich, in the meanwhile, had empowered Apponyi to declare that no treaty had been concluded, and to support his statement by the production of a copy of His Holiness’ appeal for help to the Emperor Francis. Moreover, he promised that the Legations should be evacuated “as soon as they should have been purged of the Carbonari vermin with which they were infested.”[117] In effect the Austrians experienced little difficulty in dispersing the insurgents and in restoring a semblance of tranquillity in the disturbed districts, whilst at Rome His Holiness undertook to initiate certain reforms, in accordance with the spirit of the proposals which the western Powers urged him to adopt. By July 17 the complete withdrawal of the Imperial troops from the territories of the Pope had been carried out.

The effect of Casimir Périer’s assumption of office upon the course of the Belgian negotiations was soon [Pg 69]apparent. Nothing more was heard of the candidature of Prince Charles of Naples. “As a member of the elder branch of the Bourbons, France,” wrote Sébastiani, “would reject him with indignation.”[118] Under these circumstances the French government decided to exert its influence in favour of Leopold of Coburg, although his enthronement, Louis Philippe assured Lord Granville, would not be well received in France. He will be looked upon as an English viceroy, but, insinuated the King, the nation could be reconciled to the choice of this prince, were it possible to announce that those portions of her northern territory, of which she had been deprived by the treaties of 1815, were to be restored to France.[119]

Leopold, the youngest son of Francis Duke of Coburg, was born in 1790. On May 2, 1816, he married the only daughter of George IV., the Princess Charlotte, who died the following year, five hours after giving birth to a dead child. As a widower, the Prince continued to live in England in enjoyment of the pension of £50,000 a year which Parliament had settled upon him for life. In 1829 he was chosen by the Powers for the throne of Greece, but, after signifying his acceptation of the crown, he saw fit to change his mind, alleging that the frontiers, which the conference purposed to impose upon the new State, were regarded as unsatisfactory by the Greek nation. There would appear to have been good reasons for his withdrawal, but it, nevertheless, caused the greatest annoyance to the Tories who were then in office. The Whigs, although less bitter against the Marquis Peu-à-Peu, as George IV. nicknamed him, had certainly no very high opinion of his ability to fill [Pg 70]a difficult position.[120] It was clear, however, that all hope must be abandoned of inducing the Belgians to accept the Prince of Orange for their King. This Prince had been spending the winter in London where, according to Greville, “he made a great fool of himself and destroyed any sympathy there might have been for his political misfortunes.”[121] In the words of Talleyrand, Palmerston was, in consequence, prepared to accept “sans chaleur,”[122] the candidature of Leopold of Coburg, whilst maintaining that, before electing their Sovereign, the Belgians must adhere to the 11th and 12th protocols, which laid down the conditions under which their country was to be separated from Holland.[123]

On April 17 Talleyrand was in a position to announce to the conference that France now gave her unqualified assent to the proposed terms of separation. On this occasion it was resolved, at the suggestion of the French plenipotentiary, that, should Belgium decline to adhere to the conditions in question, which the King of the Netherlands had accepted, all relations should be broken off between the five Powers and the Belgian authorities. To prove the satisfaction which this changed attitude on the part of the French government afforded them the plenipotentiaries of Austria, Prussia, Russia and Great Britain met, and recorded their agreement to the principle of the destruction of the barrier fortresses, the protocol of this conference of the four Powers being communicated in confidence to Talleyrand.[124]

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The question of the nature of the coercion which should be applied to the Belgians, should they persist in laying claim to Luxemburg, was not easy of solution. The Grand Duchy formed part of the Germanic Confederation, and therefore it should have devolved upon the Federal Diet to take the steps required for restoring the sovereignty of the King of the Netherlands. Sébastiani, however, deprecated the idea of employing German troops for the purpose of enforcing the decisions of the conference. But on the understanding that both the strength of the contingent, which was to enter Belgium, and the date on which the military operations were to begin should be settled by the five Powers, the French government withdrew its objections.[125] Prince Leopold, at the same time, informed the members of the deputation, who had come to London to offer him the crown of Belgium, that he could not listen to their proposals, until the national congress should have accepted the conditions of the 11th and 12th protocols. No persuasion could move him from this resolution which met with the full approval of the British government. Talleyrand, however, as a compromise appears to have suggested the plan of proposing to the King of the Netherlands the cession of the province of Luxemburg, without the fortress, in return for a pecuniary indemnity.[126] This solution of the difficulty was considered so practicable by Lord Ponsonby that, upon his own responsibility, he left Brussels and journeyed to London to urge its adoption. The conference, in consequence of his representations, [Pg 72]agreed to open negotiations with the King of the Netherlands for the purchase of Luxemburg and for “so much of the province of Limburg as would connect Maëstricht with North Brabant.”[127] But when June 1, the date which had been assigned as that on which the Belgians must signify their agreement to les bases de separation, went by without a favourable answer having been received from Brussels, the conference withdrew Ponsonby and decided to resort to measures of coercion. The action of the national congress, in electing Prince Leopold King of the Belgians on June 4, had no effect upon the decision of the Powers. “It has been used,” wrote Palmerston, “as a fresh opportunity for putting forward pretensions to portions of the territory of the King of Holland and by implication, at least, of repeating their determination to gain possession of them by force.”[128]

But, as the moment approached for setting in motion General Hinüber’s Federal corps d’armée, the French government evinced symptoms of alarm. Sébastiani begged Talleyrand to try by all means in his power to discover some less objectionable method of terminating the difficulty. The King and his ministers, he assured him, placed their entire trust in his wisdom and vast experience.[129] Casimir Périer impressed upon Lord Granville that he would be powerless to restrain the army, were the Prussians and the Dutch to attack the Belgians “ranged under the tricolour.” “Sufficient allowance,” he pleaded, “was not made for the weakness of a government sprung from a revolution.”[130] Talleyrand, however, reported that, in spite of his efforts and of those of Prince [Pg 73]Leopold to make the Belgians listen to reason, they refused obstinately to accept the conditions imposed upon them. At the Hague there was, he believed, a keen desire to bring on a general war, whilst the Tsar Nicholas was not sorry that the attention of the western Powers should be diverted from Poland to the Low Countries. In England men’s minds were concentrated exclusively upon the Reform Bill, and the knowledge that France and Great Britain were confronted by grave domestic problems undoubtedly encouraged the Belgians to defy the conference. Under these circumstances, his favourite scheme, the partition of the country, appeared to him the only practicable solution of the question. But on this occasion the idea of acquiring some part of Belgium offered no attractions to the French government. “We are disposed to think,” answered Sébastiani, “that any partition would recall that of Poland, and would not be popular.”[131]

The determination of the Powers to impose by force of arms the terms of the protocols of January 20 and 27 was, however, growing weaker. In their desire to avoid a general war they agreed to depart from a decision, which they had once pronounced to be irrevocable. The event was to prove that by this concession they had sensibly increased the danger of that armed conflict between the nations, which they were so anxious to avert. At the sitting of the conference, on June 26, the plenipotentiaries, “in the interests of the general peace,” affixed their signatures to a protocol of eighteen articles for acceptance by Holland and Belgium.[132] The altered conditions, although they did not fulfil all their aspirations, were far more favourable to the Belgians than the terms of the former bases de [Pg 74]séparation. The most important modification consisted in a provision for maintaining a status quo in Luxemburg, pending the negotiations which were to be carried out between Belgium, on the one hand, and Holland and the Germanic Confederation, on the other. Prince Leopold, when the protocol of the eighteen articles was laid before him, agreed to accept the crown provided, always, that the national congress could be brought to assent to the new conditions which it set forth. After several stormy debates in the assembly this stipulation was complied with, and on July 11, a deputation arrived in London to conduct the King to Belgium.

Leopold had been assured that, even should the King of the Netherlands decline to accept the eighteen articles, the Powers would none the less recognize him as the Sovereign of Belgium. But, when the refusal of King William was known in London, the plenipotentiaries of Austria, Prussia and Russia declared that their respective governments had decided to withhold their recognition of him. Leopold, however, wisely determined to adhere to his resolution and to be satisfied with the acknowledgment of France and Great Britain. Before finally leaving London he informed Lord Grey of his intention to renounce his English pension. Claremont was to be kept up and all his debts were to be paid, but, when these conditions had been fulfilled, his trustees would pay the balance of his annuity into the English exchequer. His decision to act in this manner was quickened, without doubt, by learning that in the House of Lords, Londonderry, an Opposition peer, purposed to raise the question of his retention of his English pension.[133]

During the month of July an affair of some delicacy was amicably settled between the Cabinets of London and Paris. For some time past the government [Pg 75]of M. Périer had been trying to obtain redress for the indignities to which French subjects, especially those suspected of affiliation to masonic lodges, were exposed in Portugal. Palmerston admitted the justice of the French complaints and raised no objections when it was proposed to send a fleet to Lisbon to demand satisfaction.[134] On July 8, accordingly, Admiral Roussin forced the entrance to the Tagus and ranged his squadron within gunshot of the quays of Lisbon. The Portuguese government, under these circumstances, was compelled to accede to the demands which the admiral had been instructed to make, and the French fleet, shortly afterwards, withdrew, carrying off with it, however, several Portuguese vessels of war. But, although the affair gave rise to no complications between England and France, it was seized upon by an embittered Opposition in London, as an opportunity for denouncing the failure of the government to protect England’s “most ancient ally.”[135]

The refusal of the King of the Netherlands to accept the new conditions of separation, as defined in the protocol of the eighteen articles, was communicated to the conference by the Dutch minister, Verstolk. The despatch, dated July 12, 1831, concluded with the menace that, “were any Prince to accept the crown of Belgium without having acceded to les bases de séparation as laid down in the protocol of January 20, he would be regarded as in a state of war with His Majesty and as his enemy.”[136] The representatives of the Powers appear to have treated these ominous words very lightly. An intimation was conveyed to the Hague that hostilities must not break out afresh, but no active measures were taken to prevent a rupture of [Pg 76]the peace. It was soon evident, however, that the King was fully resolved to put his threat into execution. On August 1, Chassé, the Dutch general commanding the citadel of Antwerp, denounced the armistice and gave notice that hostilities would begin on the 4th. Leopold at once appealed for help to France and England, and then placed himself at the head of a wing of his army upon the Scheldt. But the retreat of General Daine, commanding the Belgian division upon the Meuse, who abandoned his positions without firing a shot, compelled the King to fall back to Louvain. Here he made his dispositions for withstanding the Dutch inroad, but, in spite of the gallant example which he set his men, his army, at the first contact with the enemy, fled in wild confusion. In the meantime, however, Marshal Gérard had entered Belgium in command of 50,000 French troops, and, when Leopold was upon the point of being surrounded, Sir Robert Adair, the British minister at Brussels, prevailed upon the Prince of Orange to suspend hostilities. The Dutch, shortly afterwards, began their retreat closely followed by the French, and, by August 20, the last of the invaders had evacuated the territory of Belgium.

It had been an easy matter to bring the actual hostilities to a close, but the Dutch raid had none the less created precisely that situation which British diplomacy had always striven to avoid. The French were now in complete possession of Belgium. Palmerston, indeed, strongly suspected them of having instigated the King of the Netherlands to break the peace. Sir Richard Bagot, the British ambassador at the Hague, inclined to the belief that a secret understanding existed between the Dutch and French governments. “Talleyrand,” wrote Palmerston in a private letter to Granville, “proposed to me some time ago that we should goad the Dutch on to break the armistice, [Pg 77]cry out shame upon them, fly to the aid of the Belgians, cover Belgium with troops and settle everything as we choose.” “It would seem,” reported Granville, “that the King of Holland rather expected from the French government approbation than opposition to his invasion.”[137] It is not improbable that the Cabinet of the Hague may have been led to believe that a rupture of the armistice would meet with approval in Paris. But, in order to have furthered French designs, it should have taken place at an earlier date. Talleyrand’s proposal to Palmerston, it is clear, must have been made in June, when he was telling Sébastiani that he could devise no other plan for settling the question of Belgium but that of partition. Once Leopold had been enthroned, however, he knew full well that no British government could acquiesce in the appropriation by France of any portion of his kingdom. The Dutch invasion, which might have served French policy, had it occurred whilst matters were still unsettled in Belgium, became simply an embarrassment and a certain cause of discord between France and England, after Leopold’s arrival at Brussels.[138] Talleyrand, therefore, who regarded the maintenance of cordial relations between the two countries as an object of far higher importance that any extension of French frontiers into Belgium, strove by all means in his power to second the efforts of the British government to bring the French occupation to a close as speedily as possible. But, whilst Palmerston attributed to French intrigues the Dutch attack upon Belgium, he himself was suspected by Stockmar[139] of having known of the King of Holland’s [Pg 78]plans and of having connived at the invasion. A few weeks later, however, when in London upon a confidential mission, Leopold’s trusted counsellor satisfied himself that Palmerston was wholly innocent of any double dealing in the affair.

Casimir Périer had been on the point of resigning, in consequence of the defeat of the ministerial candidate for the post of President of the Chamber, when the news reached Paris of the Dutch inroad into Belgium. This new development at once caused him to change his plans and to decide to remain in office. Talleyrand was instructed to explain in London that it was only the necessity for immediate action which had induced the French government to order a French corps to enter Belgium, without previous consultation with the Powers. Lord Granville, at the same time, was informed that, upon the withdrawal of the Dutch, the French troops would return to France.[140] The news of the French intervention in Belgium aroused great excitement in London. The funds fell, and Palmerston was sharply questioned upon the matter in the House.[141] Ministers, however, reassured by the accounts of the intentions of the French government transmitted by Granville, took a cheerful view of the situation.[142] At a sitting of the conference, on August 6, Talleyrand announced that Marshal Gérard’s occupation of Belgium would cease directly the Dutch should evacuate the country. On this same occasion it was agreed that the scope of the French operations should be decided by the conference and that, under no circumstances, should they be extended to the right bank of the Meuse. It was further resolved that siege should not [Pg 79]be laid to either Maëstricht or Venlo, on account of their proximity to the Prussian frontier.[143]

But, when the Dutch withdrew and the French showed no disposition to follow their example, the affair began to assume a very different complexion. Sébastiani, changing his ground completely, declared that Marshal Gérard’s occupation must continue until the conclusion of a definite treaty of peace between Holland and Belgium. In the Chamber, Soult, the Minister of War, stated explicitly that the retreat of the Dutch did not entail the evacuation of Belgium by the French army. The unfavourable impression created by these words was not removed by Casimir Périer’s promise to Lord Granville, that he would say something from the tribune calculated to diminish the importance of the Marshal’s pronouncement. Sébastiani’s conversations with the British ambassador, and the reports forwarded by Adair from Brussels made it too clear that the French government purposed to avail itself of the presence of its troops in Belgium for coming to a separate agreement with King Leopold, respecting the immediate destruction of the frontier fortresses. This was an arrangement which the Cabinet of Lord Grey was determined to oppose, even to the point of war.[144]

Talleyrand, as was his invariable practise in these disputes between France and England, left no stone unturned to dissuade his government from embarking upon a course of conduct destined inevitably to revive the old rivalry between the two countries. Were France to break her word and to retain her troops in Belgium, he was convinced that Lord Grey and his colleagues would be driven from office and their successors would be men far less well disposed towards [Pg 80]France. Palmerston, he wrote, was assailed by questions in the House and must before long make some definite statement. Sébastiani, in reply, expressed regret for the difficulties by which Lord Grey was beset, but maintained that the French government, were it to allow the army to return home empty handed, would be confronted by a still more unpleasant situation. Talleyrand, however, might announce that, in consequence of the retirement of the Dutch, 20,000 of Marshal Gérard’s troops would be recalled and that the remaining 30,000 would be concentrated at Nivelle.[145] The news of this partial evacuation caused much satisfaction in London, but none the less Palmerston, on August 17, instructed Lord Granville formally to demand the complete withdrawal of the French army corps. He was directed to remind the French government of its pledges and to point out that, by the protocol of April 17, the four Powers had agreed to the principle of the destruction of the frontier fortresses, “the satisfactory execution of which arrangement could only be impeded by any measures having the appearance of making the protracted occupation of Belgium by the French army bear upon it. . . .” He was to speak “in terms of friendship and goodwill, enforcing at the same time the just expectations of His Majesty with firmness and decision.”[146]

On August 23 the conference decided to impose an armistice upon the Dutch and Belgians, to expire on October 10.[147] The French government, however, declared that a mere undertaking by the King of the Netherlands, not to begin hostilities afresh, could not provide a guarantee for the maintenance of peace of sufficient weight to permit of the complete withdrawal [Pg 81]of the French army. General Baudrand, moreover, was sent to London with a letter from Louis Philippe to Talleyrand, in which the King expressed his displeasure with his action in signing a document of that nature. Baudrand during his stay in England had interviews both with Grey and Palmerston.[148] He appears to have expatiated upon the outcry which would be raised in the Chamber, were France to gain neither moral nor material advantages, in return for the expense to which she had been put by her intervention in aid of the King of the Belgians. Palmerston assured him that his colleagues and himself were sincerely anxious that M. Casimir Périer should remain in office, but, he added pointedly, “when to keep in a ministry of peace it became necessary to comply with the demands of the party which was for war, it was problematical what decree of advantage was thereby to be acquired.”[149] Talleyrand appears to have been little moved by the censure passed upon him. He contended that he had acted for the best, and that no fears need be entertained that the Dutch would again attack Belgium. At the same time he continued to urge the necessity of bringing the occupation of Belgium to a close. “There is more real anxiety over here than I have yet seen,” he wrote on August 27. “People are all talking of an interview between the Duke of Wellington and Lord Grey.” A few days later he again pleaded earnestly for evacuation, suggesting that the withdrawal of the troops might be carried out so slowly that some portion of them should still be in Belgium, at the expiration of the armistice.[150]

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In the meantime General La Tour-Maubourg had arrived at Brussels, on August 18, furnished with the draft of a treaty which he was to conclude with the Belgian government for the destruction of the barrier fortresses. In the first instance it was probably intended to keep his mission a secret, but different counsels seem to have prevailed, and, a few days after his departure, Sébastiani informed Granville of the reason of this officer’s journey to Brussels. France, he told the British ambassador, claimed the right to negotiate with regard to the fortresses and it was hoped that powers would be given to Sir Robert Adair to act with La Tour-Maubourg in the matter. This request, when in due course Granville transmitted it to London, was refused. Palmerston, in a long interview with Talleyrand, had already declared, in the most uncompromising language, that the pretensions of the French government to have a voice in determining the fate of these fortresses, erected at the expense of Great Britain, Russia, Austria and Prussia, could not be entertained.[151] Immediately on hearing of La Tour-Maubourg’s arrival at Brussels Sir Robert Adair, guessing the object of his mission, sought an audience with Leopold. Both to the King and to Meulinäer, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, he asserted emphatically that his government could never admit that the withdrawal of Gérard’s troops could be made to depend upon the conclusion of an arrangement between France and Belgium, respecting the fortresses.[152]

Leopold was in a most difficult situation. Although [Pg 83]he had invoked the assistance of France and England the moment the Dutch had announced their intention of beginning hostilities, he had only invited Marshal Gérard actually to cross the frontier when the misconduct of General Daine had seriously compromised his position.[153] He appears to have greatly distrusted the intentions of the French and to have proposed that England should occupy Antwerp in the name of the five Powers. Three days later, however, he desired Sir Robert Adair to consider this suggestion as withdrawn, stating that he was satisfied with Belliard’s assurances that the French would withdraw, as soon as the Dutch should have effected their retreat.[154] After the retirement of the Prince of Orange he was pressed, on the one side, by Sir Robert Adair to declare that he no longer required the presence of the French for his protection, whilst, on the other hand, General Belliard urged him no less vigorously to invite Marshal Gérard to remain in Belgium. Without doubt he was in a most cruel dilemma. He had no army worthy of the name, and was at the mercy of the Dutch should they return to the attack. Moreover, he had every reason to apprehend that the Republican and Orangist factions would regard the disturbed condition, to which the invasion had reduced the country, as a favourable opportunity for putting their designs into execution. Against the external and internal perils by which he was threatened he could only look for active assistance to the French. England was very jealous of French intervention in the Low Countries, but he had no grounds for supposing that Lord Grey would stir a finger to defend him from a rebellion of his subjects. The British government, indeed, had declined to send the fleet to the mouth of the Scheldt. The [Pg 84]desire to afford the French no pretext for remaining in Belgium undoubtedly dictated this refusal, which nevertheless increased Stockmar’s distrust of Palmerston’s policy. Adair soon discovered that, in his endeavours to obtain the speedy departure of the French, he could expect no assistance from Leopold. He could discern, he reported, no sense of shame nor of humiliation in the attitude of ministers or of the people generally. They appeared to regard the presence of Marshal Gérard’s troops simply as a means of extorting better terms from the Dutch.[155]

When Palmerston was informed of La Tour-Maubourg’s mission he at once directed Adair to remonstrate against any separate negotiation between France and Belgium, on the question of the fortresses. But his first interview with Meulinäer, after the receipt of his instructions, convinced Adair that “this delicate matter had already proceeded so far that no choice was left to him except to object in toto to every sort of communication on the subject.” A solution of the difficulty was discovered, however, in a suggestion, brought forward by the British minister, that “the King of the Belgians should declare to the King of the French, through M. de La Tour-Maubourg, that he was taking measures, in concert with Great Britain, Austria, Russia and Prussia, for the demolition of some of the fortresses erected since 1815.” A few days later Adair was informed that General Goblet would be despatched to London to negotiate a convention, whilst Leopold, on September 8, affixed his signature to a document, wherein he undertook to instruct his plenipotentiary to act in accordance with [Pg 85]the wishes of the French government in the matter of the selection of the fortresses to be dismantled.[156]

But in Paris the ambassadors of the four Powers had protested formally against the protracted occupation of Belgium by a French army. Palmerston, in forwarding to Granville a memorandum of the points he was to urge in his conference with Sébastiani, directed that this document “was not to be handed to that minister as a note, but that it was to be read to him confidentially . . . a course which has been adopted out of delicacy, and under the conviction that we shall hear in a few days that the French government has, of its own accord, given orders for the evacuation of Belgium.”[157] These representations obtained the desired effect. At Brussels Leopold suddenly discovered that the presence of Marshal Gérard’s soldiers were no longer necessary for his safety.[158] The announcement in the Moniteur, of September 15, of the ministerial decision to recall the army from Belgium was the signal for a violent outburst in the newspapers against the poltroonery of the government, in yielding to the dictation of the conference.[159] In London satisfaction at the French withdrawal was marred by the publication of a long list of officers, appointed by Marshal Soult, to inspect and organize the Belgian army. This circumstance was seized upon by the Opposition as an opportunity for attacking the foreign policy of the government. The Reform Bill was before the House of Lords and party spirit was running high. “King Leopold’s intention to employ French officers in his army,”declared Lord Londonderry, “was more prejudicial [Pg 86]to his independence than the retention of 12,000 French troops in Belgium.” His Lordship then proceeded to review Talleyrand’s career, and to asperse his conduct, under the various régimes which he had served, with a virulence of language which has never since been used in that dignified assembly about the ambassador of a friendly Power. “There was a flirtation,” he asserted amidst much laughter, “going on between the government and France which he thought most improper. . . . To see ministers running to consult with that individual (Talleyrand) was creating a disgust which he thought most natural.” The Duke of Wellington, however, spoke up strongly for Talleyrand. In the many transactions upon which they had been engaged together, he assured the House that the Prince had always conducted himself with honour and uprightness. “He believed that no man’s public and private character had been so much maligned as that of that illustrious individual.”[160] Talleyrand was deeply moved by the Duke’s conduct on this occasion. “He was especially grateful to him,” he told Lord Alvanley, who the next day found him perusing an account of the debate, “because he was the only public man in the world who had ever said a good word for him.”[161]

Following closely upon the announcement that the French government had agreed to evacuate Belgium came the intelligence of the defeat of the Poles and of the entry of the Russians into Warsaw. The news was the signal for the outbreak of disturbances in Paris. Sébastiani’s famous statement to the Chamber “l’ordre règne à Varsovie,” was denounced with indignation by the demagogues. Both he and Casimir Périer were surrounded by a furious mob upon the Place Vendôme, and were for a time in no little [Pg 87]danger. The rioters interrupted the performances at the theatres, crying out that all places of amusement must be closed on a day of mourning. The marked reluctance of the national guards to act against their fellow-citizens imparted a serious aspect to the situation. But the regular troops retained their discipline and dispersed the rabble.[162] At the first outbreak of the rebellion in Poland the French government had sought to induce England to join with it in a proposal to mediate between the Emperor and his revolted subjects. Talleyrand, however, who was always disposed to create difficulties for Russia, was obliged to report regretfully that British ministers were extremely averse to embarking upon any diplomatic action calculated to add to the Tsar’s embarrassments.[163]

In March, 1831, a false report had reached London and Paris of the total defeat of the Poles, whereupon Sébastiani again instructed Talleyrand to urge, in the most pressing language, the British government to unite with France in insisting upon the humane treatment of the rebels. Palmerston, believing the insurrection to be at an end, readily promised to direct Lord Heytesbury to support the representations upon their behalf which the Duc de Mortemart had been enjoined to make at St. Petersburg.[164] Heytesbury, accordingly, intimated to Count Nesselrode that, were any measures to be adopted towards Poland at variance with existing engagements, both Great Britain and France would be under the necessity of remonstrating formally. The Kingdom of Poland, it should be remembered, had been constituted in 1815 under the guarantee of the five Powers, and it was, in [Pg 88]consequence, possible to contend, with some show of reason, that all of them were equally concerned in the maintenance of the liberties conceded to the Poles, under the terms of the Vienna treaty. Heytesbury’s conversations with Count Nesselrode convinced him, however, that, although the letter of that agreement might be observed, the Polish constitution would be virtually abolished. But, in reporting the nature of the intentions by which he conceived the Russian government to be animated, the able and experienced diplomatist who then represented Great Britain at St. Petersburg was at pains to point out the difficulties of the Tsar’s position. In Russia there was a strong public opinion which even the autocratic Nicholas could not afford to disregard. Were former conditions to be restored in Poland, and were the authors of the cold-blooded assassinations at Warsaw to be permitted to escape unpunished, great indignation would be aroused throughout the Empire. His representations had been well received, but he was plainly allowed to see how deeply the St. Petersburg Cabinet regretted the existence of the close understanding between France and England, which his action had revealed. He could perceive clearly from the demeanour of his Austrian and Prussian colleagues that neither the Court of Vienna nor of Berlin would be disposed to interfere upon behalf of the Poles. France not Russia, he pointed out, was now looked upon as an object of common danger.[165]

French sympathy for the Poles was so keen that, in July, Talleyrand was again instructed to invite the English government to join with France in proposing “a mediation in the bloody struggle raging in Poland.” Palmerston, in reply, appears to have suggested that the French government should set forth its views upon the matter in writing. Talleyrand, accordingly, [Pg 89]transmitted this request and, at the same time, begged Sébastiani to remember, when framing his proposals, that “he was dealing with cold-blooded people and that it would be well therefore to avoid the use of emotional language.” But, on July 22, Palmerston informed him that the Cabinet could not entertain the suggestion of addressing to Russia any demand for a cessation of hostilities, nor was he able to report better success when, in September, whilst the Belgian difficulty was at its height, he was once more directed to approach the British government upon the subject of Poland. “No party in the Parliament,” he wrote, “was in favour of intervention, and the newspapers merely spoke of the Poles in sympathetic language.”[166] Heytesbury, who at St. Petersburg was in a position to judge correctly of the national resentment which any attempt at foreign interference in Polish affairs would create, strove to convince his government of the unwisdom of impairing the good relations of Russia and England by raising a question in which no British interests were involved. Remonstrances, he was prepared to admit, might effect an improvement in the condition of the people of the Kingdom of Poland. But, even under these circumstances, the sum of human misery, which the rebellion must entail, would not be lessened, inasmuch as the revolted Russo-Polish provinces, not included in the Kingdom, would be treated with increased severity.[167]

But, with the complete suppression of the insurrection, Lord Grey and his colleagues assumed a more sympathetic attitude towards the vanquished Poles. In a closely reasoned despatch Palmerston, on November 23, formulated the arguments which Heytesbury was [Pg 90]instructed to press upon the Cabinet of St. Petersburg. The most important passage in this long document was that in which the interpretation was set forth which the English government placed upon the wording of the treaty of Vienna. The futility of the plea that no specific constitution had been guaranteed to Poland, a contention which Heytesbury had warned his chief the Russian government would certainly set up, was clearly exposed. “Surely,” wrote Palmerston, “it was no forced construction of the meaning of the treaty to consider the constitution, which the Emperor had given, as existing under the sanction of the treaty.” The constitution contained no clause reserving to the Sovereign the right of modifying its provisions. The action of the Poles in declaring themselves separated from Russia could not be held to absolve the Emperor from adhering to his compact. “Wrongs committed by one side,” he concluded, “were not to be punished by the commission of wrongs on the other.”[168]

Heytesbury, after prefacing his disagreeable task of communicating these instructions by assurances that his government was only desirous of tendering friendly advice to a former ally, proceeded to read out to Count Nesselrode Lord Palmerston’s despatch. “The Count,” he reported, “listened with great attention and in silence, but his silence was not the silence of assent.” The Russian Chancellor expressed his regret that the British government should have seen fit to make representations of this nature, notwithstanding the intimation, conveyed to it by Prince Lieven, that the Tsar could not admit of foreign interference in the Polish question. The official answer of the Imperial Cabinet was in due course communicated to Palmerston by the Russian ambassador. As Heytesbury had foreseen, Nicholas, “strong in the [Pg 91]support of Austria and Prussia and in the unanimous approbation of the Russian nation,”[169] refused to adopt the interpretation of the treaty which it was desired to place upon it in London and in Paris.

In the meantime, important progress had been made towards a settlement of the Belgian question. At the end of August, Baron Stockmar, Leopold’s confidential adviser, proceeded to London to watch over his interests in conjunction with Van de Weyer, the Belgian minister at the Court of St. James’. Stockmar realized speedily that the Belgians would have to suffer for the defeat inflicted upon them by the Dutch. In the treaty of peace and separation, which the conference was resolved must be concluded without delay, they could not hope to obtain the favourable terms conceded to them in the convention of the eighteen articles. Should they refuse to agree to the necessary concessions, Palmerston warned him that the conference would be broken up, and the King of Holland would be left free to fight out his quarrel with Leopold. Stockmar, however, continually impressed upon his master that this was a threat which he could safely afford to disregard. The French had always considered the union of Holland and Belgium and the creation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands as a diplomatic combination directed against them. Public opinion in France might, therefore, be depended upon to compel the government to resist any attempt on the part of the Dutch to reconstitute the kingdom by force of arms. But, although he admitted that Leopold could only expect active assistance from France, Stockmar strongly deprecated the idea of using French intervention as a means of intimidating the conference. Such a course, he was convinced, [Pg 92]would simply incline the four Powers to lean all the more towards Holland. Lords Grey and Palmerston were well disposed, but they had to reckon with national sentiment, which was more favourable to “England’s ancient allies,” the Dutch, than to the Belgians. Nevertheless, although the British government might be unable to render him practical assistance, Leopold, Stockmar considered, should strive to gain its moral support. The prolonged occupation of Belgium by the French was to be deplored, because it engendered the suspicion in London that the King was over-anxious to place himself under the protection of France. In order effectually to put a check upon both Dutch and French intrigues Leopold, in Stockmar’s opinion, would be well advised to propose for the hand of a daughter of Louis Philippe.

After the French evacuation Stockmar urged unceasingly the necessity of a speedy conclusion of a definite treaty of peace. Russia, he pointed out, was no longer distracted by the Polish rebellion, and the sympathies of the Tsar were entirely with the King of the Netherlands. This was a circumstance bound to have a considerable influence upon the policy of the Courts of Berlin and of Vienna. It was of the highest importance, therefore, that Leopold should bring his ministers and the Chambers to recognize that the conditions of separation, set forth in the protocol of the eighteen articles, could no longer be obtained, and that only those stipulations should be insisted upon which were essential to the independent existence of Belgium. As Stockmar had foreseen, the new treaty, known as that of the twenty-four articles, which the conference proceeded to frame, imposed harsher terms upon Belgium than those contained in the protocol of June 26. That part of the province of Limburg which lay upon the right bank of the Meuse was now assigned to Holland, and Belgium was called upon to [Pg 93]contribute an increased share of the public debt of the two countries. In other respects also the Belgians had to suffer for their military inferiority to the Dutch. Nevertheless, when all efforts to induce the conference to modify its terms had proved useless, Stockmar, scouting the notion of abdication, counselled Leopold to agree to them. “Let the King,” he wrote, “cry aloud against the injustice which has been done him . . . Let him show that he went to Belgium under perfectly different conditions . . . Let the Belgian ministry cry out equally loud. But in the meantime let everything be done to induce the Chambers to accept the treaty.”

Leopold having let it be known that, were the deputies to refuse to agree to the terms imposed by the conference, he would be driven to abdicate, the Chambers, on November 3, authorized him to conclude a formal treaty of peace and separation upon the basis of the twenty-four articles. This document was accordingly signed in London, on November 15, 1831, by the plenipotentiaries of Belgium and of the five great Powers. The King of Holland refused to be a party to the agreement, but, before the expiration of the armistice, he had been warned that any act of hostility against Belgium would be treated as a declaration of war against the Powers. In addition, by a supplementary article, the contracting parties guaranteed to Belgium the execution of the treaty. Ratifications, it was laid down, were to be exchanged within the space of two months.[170] At various periods during these negotiations Talleyrand had experienced considerable difficulty in persuading the French government to agree to the decisions of the conference. When at last it had reluctantly given its assent to the conditions of separation he was at pains to show the advantages which France would derive from the treaty. The [Pg 94]Duchy of Bouillon, he pointed out, no longer formed part of the Duchy of Luxemburg, whilst the incorporation of Arlon with Belgium increased the strength of the French frontier towards Longwy. Furthermore, the cession of half of the Duchy of Luxemburg to Belgium placed the Germanic Confederation at a greater distance from France and, inasmuch as the fortress was no longer to form part of a military system,[171] it would cease to have any importance. With regard to the repartition of the debt, which the French government had objected to as pressing unduly upon Belgium, Talleyrand contended that the general interests of Europe urgently demanded a settlement of the whole question, and that the Belgians, after their wretched display in the summer, had been treated with more generosity than they had any right to expect.[172]

Whilst the conference had been framing the conditions of separation between Holland and Belgium, the French government had brought forward a scheme for a general disarmament. Sébastiani in the summer had proposed a reduction of establishments to a normal peace footing, but had found that the German Powers were unwilling to revert to ordinary conditions of military strength, until the Polish insurrection should be at an end. After the Russian entry in Warsaw, however, the French overtures met with a ready response. The continental Powers agreed to begin disarming on January 1, 1832, and to proceed until their armies should be reduced to their peace establishments. Inasmuch as England had not added to her naval or land forces she could not enter into an [Pg 95]agreement to disarm, but Lord Granville was instructed to communicate to Sébastiani the satisfaction which so practical a manifestation of peaceful intentions afforded to the British government.[173]

The question of the demolition of the barrier fortresses had been proceeding side by side with the settlement of the conditions under which Belgium was to be separated from Holland. Talleyrand, however, was not admitted to these negotiations which were conducted between the plenipotentiaries of Great Britain, Austria, Russia and Prussia and those of Belgium. The result of their deliberations was embodied in a document, known as the Fortress Convention, which was signed by the representatives of the five Powers concerned on December 14, 1831. When La Tour-Maubourg had been sent to Brussels, during the French occupation of Belgium, he had been instructed to press for the demolition of the fortifications of Ath, Mons, Menin, Charleroi and Tournay. The Powers, however, elected to preserve the defences of the two last-named towns and to dismantle in their place the works of Philippeville and Marienburg. Palmerston, without doubt, was mainly responsible for this decision which was to create great dissatisfaction in Paris. He was resolved, under no circumstance, to admit the principle of allowing France to have a voice in determining which of the fortresses, erected at the expense of the four Powers, should be destroyed. After her attempts to arrive at a separate understanding with Belgium concerning them, he may have thought that she required to be reminded of the true state of the case. Yet it would appear that the mere fact that her plenipotentiary had not appended his signature to the convention must have made her position in the matter sufficiently clear [Pg 96]to the world. But, in persuading the members of the conference to substitute Philippeville and Marienburg for Charleroi and Tournay, Palmerston was not actuated by a desire wantonly to slight France. In the question of the destruction of the Belgian fortresses Grey’s Cabinet was in a very delicate position as regards the Parliament.[174] An embittered opposition was bound to demand to know on what grounds the government proposed to justify its policy of sanctioning the demolition of fortifications, which the greatest captain of the day had pronounced to be necessary to the security of Europe. Now Wellington, it would appear, considered Charleroi and Tournay as of more importance to the defence of Belgium than Philippeville and Marienburg, and Lord Grey and his colleagues could not afford to disregard his opinion. It must be remembered also that, on several occasions during the course of the negotiations, France had shown a strong desire to regain possession of these two places of which she had been deprived after Waterloo, and it was hoped that, were their fortifications to be demolished, they would cease to offer the same attractions to her.[175]

Without doubt the decision of the Powers to deprive France of any voice in the settlement of the question of the fortresses placed her in a very anomalous position. She was a party to the treaty which established the independence, defined the frontiers and guaranteed the neutrality of Belgium, nevertheless Austria, Prussia, Russia and Great Britain had proceeded to conclude at once a separate convention with Belgium against her. By her own action, however, she was debarred from bringing forward this aspect [Pg 97]of the case as an argument against her exclusion from the fortress agreement. Far from raising any objections to the conduct of the four Powers in drawing up the protocol of April 17, without consultation with her, she had expressed the greatest satisfaction with its contents. At her request it was communicated to her officially, in order that an allusion might be made to it in the Speech from the Throne. Louis Philippe, in opening the Parliament on July 23, 1831, accordingly announced the early destruction of the barrier fortresses, as a proof that the four Powers had abandoned the system established against France in 1815. In point of fact the apprehensions of her aggressive spirit had been intensified by the Revolution of July and, in deciding to demolish some of the frontier defences of the Low Countries, the Powers had not been actuated by any desire to propitiate the new régime. But once the partition of the Kingdom of the Netherlands had been accomplished, it was recognized that the Belgians alone could not keep in repair and efficiently defend the twenty-three barrier fortresses. Ill-equipped and insufficiently garrisoned they would not have contributed to the protection of Belgium, but would have offered a constant temptation to the French to lay hands upon them. If France, however, chose to imagine that in this matter the policy of the Powers was dictated by a desire to please her, it was unnecessary to inform her that she was labouring under a delusion. It was probably the knowledge that the fiction contained in the paragraph of the King’s Speech, referring to the fortresses, could not be maintained for long, which had induced the French government to attempt to negotiate a separate agreement with Belgium.[176]

[Pg 98]

Both Palmerston and Stockmar appear to have been convinced that Talleyrand had prompted his government to protest against the fortress convention.[177] But their suspicions with regard to him seem to have been unfounded. In pursuance of his instructions, in his conversations with Grey and Palmerston, he was bound to employ those arguments most calculated to induce them to make some concessions to the wishes of his Court, but his despatches show that he disapproved strongly of the attitude he was directed to adopt. On December 15, in forwarding a copy of the fortress treaty, the contents of which he knew would be exceedingly displeasing to his government, he told Sébastiani plainly that La Tour-Maubourg’s mission to Brussels was largely responsible for the determination of the four Powers to select the fortresses for destruction, without regard to the wishes of France. That affair, moreover, in his opinion, had been managed in a very clumsy fashion. When the government decided to try to arrange a separate understanding with Belgium, it should have conducted its negotiations in the strictest secrecy.[178]

Sébastiani, for the reason which has already been explained, was precluded from objecting openly to the exclusion of France from the fortress convention, and was compelled to confine his protests to remonstrances against the selection of Philippeville and Marienburg for demolition. Talleyrand was instructed to contend that the fortifications of these two places, having been erected before 1815, could not be held to fall within the category of works constructed at the expense of the Powers. Furthermore, he was to urge that it was incompatible with the complete independence of [Pg 99]Belgium, which France was anxious to see established, that the Powers should specify which fortresses King Leopold was to dismantle.[179] Talleyrand, however, reported that Lord Palmerston was quite unshaken by these arguments. The British minister gave him clearly to understand that La Tour-Maubourg’s proceedings at Brussels had impressed him most unfavourably. At the same time, pointing out that Philippeville and Marienburg were the fortresses in closest proximity to the frontier of France, he hinted that the French government must have some secret reason for objecting to their demolition. “Nevertheless,” reported Talleyrand, “I still believe that he is well disposed towards us. He is, however, in a difficult position as regards the Commons. . . . We must bring pressure to bear upon the Belgians.”[180] Sébastiani’s fears that the policy of the Powers aimed at the re-establishment of the Holy Alliance, were, he assured him, in language no less emphatic than that used by Granville in Paris, entirely without foundation. Far too much importance, he urged, was attached to the fortress convention. The King’s government, in his opinion, would be well advised to accept it, and to declare publicly that its provisions were in harmony with the protocol of April 17. Russia was no longer occupied with the rebellion of the Poles, and the Northern Courts were evincing a strong disposition to draw together closely. Under these conditions, he regarded it as essential that France should maintain friendly relations with England. “It was a matter of far more real importance than the question of the fortresses.”[181] But his endeavours to soothe the irritation of his government met with no success. He was instructed to announce in London that France, [Pg 100]seeing that satisfaction was denied her in the affair of the fortress convention, would refuse to ratify the treaty of separation of November 15, 1831. Furthermore, Casimir Périer, who, on account of Sébastiani’s state of health, had taken charge of the portfolio of Foreign Affairs, declared that, “in view of the general uncertainty respecting the course of events in Belgium and Holland, the signature of the proposed convention of disarmament must be postponed.”[182]

The French agents in the meanwhile had not been idle at Brussels. On December 12 General Tiburce Sébastiani, the brother of the minister, arrived. “Ostensibly,” reported Adair, “he has come to visit this town and Antwerp, but his real purpose is to prevent the accession of the Belgian government to the fortress convention.” This officer certainly brought a letter for Belliard containing instructions which justified the British minister’s conclusions, but his mission appears also to have been connected with some unfounded rumour, which had reached the French government, that the Orangists were about to put into execution their designs against Leopold’s throne.[183] That monarch now found himself once more, as he himself described it, “between the hammer and the anvil.”[184] Louis Philippe[185] wrote indignantly complaining that the agreement of September 8, entered into with La Tour-Maubourg, had not been complied with. In vain Leopold produced the instructions, with which Goblet and Van de Weyer, who had negotiated the convention, had been furnished, [Pg 101]and protested that the Belgian plenipotentiaries had been forced to sign, under the threat that the Powers would refuse to ratify the treaty of separation, should they persist in opposing their wishes with respect to the fortresses. General Belliard, at the same time, intimated that, were the Dutch again to attack Belgium, no assistance from France could be expected. To Adair, who, on the other hand, begged him to stand firm, Leopold had expressed his determination to disregard the French objections and to adhere to the convention. But at the threat that, were his Kingdom again to be overrun, France would leave him to his fate, his resolution broke down and Goblet was directed to announce in London that the Belgian ratification of the fortress agreement would be withheld.[186] Stockmar, writing from London, impressed upon King Leopold that his refusal to ratify the convention of December 14 would be eagerly seized upon by the absolute Powers as an excuse for withholding their adhesion to the treaty of separation. Already the news that differences had arisen between France and England, upon the subject of the fortresses, had enabled Metternich to reply to Mr. Forbes, the British chargé d’affaires, who had been instructed to urge him to transmit to London the necessary authority for an exchange of ratifications, that France was holding back and that it was important that all the Powers should act together in the matter. Prince Metternich was torn between his fears that the continued state of uncertainty as to the affairs of the Low Countries might lead to a war, and his desire to propitiate Russia. Nicholas was believed to have counselled the King of the Netherlands to agree to the treaty, but to be resolved, none the less, to [Pg 102]withhold his own ratification until that sovereign’s reluctance to accept the conditions of separation should have been overcome.[187] M. Casimir Périer, in the meanwhile, however, was beginning to realize that Palmerston was determined not to yield to the outcry about the fortresses, and that were France, on that account, to decline to ratify the treaty of separation not only would the labours of the London conference for the past year be rendered nugatory, but the good relations which had been established with England would be seriously impaired. Moreover, should the negotiations break down, Lord Grey might be compelled to resign, and he had good reason to apprehend, that a change of government in England would be followed quickly by his own downfall. An important group of deputies in the Chamber gave him their votes, only because they believed that his alliance with the Whigs ensured the maintenance of peace. But this reason for their support of him would disappear on the day on which the Tories should return to office.[188] Under these circumstances Talleyrand was directed to obtain from the representatives of the four Powers “some declaration calculated to reassure the King’s government as to the spirit in which the fortress convention had been drawn up.” This result was achieved by means of a document in which it was affirmed that the arrangements respecting the fortresses were consistent with the independence, neutrality and sovereignty of Belgium, and that that country stood upon an equal [Pg 103]footing as regards the five guaranteeing Powers. Casmir Périer declared himself well pleased to receive this empty satisfaction and, forthwith, announced his intention of adhering to the treaty of separation.[189] On January 31, accordingly, the two western Powers exchanged ratifications with Belgium and, at the same time, it was resolved to keep open the protocol, in the hope that the Northern Courts would before long confirm the signatures of their plenipotentiaries.[190]

Scarcely had this difficulty been settled when grave complications arose in another direction. The promises of the Pope, that reforms would be introduced into the administration of local affairs in Romagna, had not been carried out. The intention manifested by the Roman government to disregard its pledges was followed by a recrudescence of unrest in the Legations. M. Casimir Périer, accordingly, proposed that, were foreign intervention to be required to maintain the authority of His Holiness, a French corps should occupy Ancona. But Metternich demurred, and, as an alternative, suggested that a French naval force should be sent to the Adriatic to act in combination with the Austrian squadron. On February 1, however, the news arrived that the Austrians had entered Bologna, whereupon M. Casimir Périer at once ordered a French regiment to be embarked at Toulon for Ancona. Were that town to be occupied by the Austrians before the French expedition could arrive, the troops, Lord Granville was informed in confidence, would be landed at Civita Vecchia. The action of the French government would, M. Casimir Périer declared to the British ambassador, hasten the departure of the Austrians and induce Prince [Pg 104]Metternich to press the Court of Rome to adopt those reforms by which alone permanent tranquillity could be established in the Legations.[191]

The more detailed information as to the course of events in Romagna, transmitted by Sainte-Aulaire and the British consul at Rome, suggested the existence of a secret understanding between His Holiness and the Cabinet of Vienna. At Forli the Pontifical troops were reported to have shot down in cold blood peaceful and unarmed inhabitants, and their behaviour created the impression that they were anxious to produce disorder, in order to furnish Cardinal Albani, the Legate, with a pretext for invoking the aid of Austria.[192] Suspicions on this score were heightened by the fact that, although Marshal Radetzky only received the application for assistance on January 23, his orders, in which he styled himself commander-in-chief of the army of Italy, were dated on the 19th, four days before the arrival of the cardinal’s demand for intervention.[193] Upon learning of these proceedings the Comte de Sainte-Aulaire at once notified to Cardinal Bernetti, the State Secretary, that the entry of an Imperial army into the Papal States would be followed by the immediate occupation of Ancona by a French force. Bernetti appears reluctantly to have acquiesced, but, after the expedition had sailed from Toulon, acting, without doubt, at the dictation of the Austrian ambassador, he formally protested against the disembarkation of any French troops within the dominions of the Pope.[194] When [Pg 105]the news first reached Vienna that the French had taken steps to occupy Ancona, Metternich, concealing his annoyance, was at pains to impress upon the public that this measure was the result of a previous understanding with Austria.[195] On the other hand, at St. Petersburg the intelligence that the French had intervened in Italy was held to have rendered war inevitable, and Nicholas forthwith declared his intention of giving armed assistance to Austria.[196] From London Talleyrand reported that Palmerston spoke very guardedly when he sought to ascertain the views of the British government upon the matter. In his own opinion, and this aspect of the case he on more than one occasion brought to the notice of M. Casimir Périer, it was much to be regretted that the demonstrations in Italy had taken place before Austria should have ratified the Belgian treaty. The accounts, moreover, of the lawless proceedings of the French commander at Ancona, which soon began to arrive, created a very general alarm. Not only had the troops forced their way into the citadel, but a proclamation was issued by Captain Gallois, drawn up in terms so hostile to Austria, as to amount practically to a declaration of war. That individual, however, who was either a member of, or in league with, the French secret societies, the agents of which were striving to stir up a revolution in Italy, was promptly disavowed and the fact of his recall to France was communicated to foreign governments. Nevertheless, wrote Talleyrand, the affair has created a most painful impression. “The territory of an independent sovereign has been violated at a time of profound peace and the tricolour has been hoisted over a fortress [Pg 106]which does not belong to France.”[197] In a conversation which he had had with William IV. at a levée, His Majesty spoke to him most strongly about the impropriety of these proceedings which, ministers also informed him, had greatly increased their difficulties in both Houses. They could have added with perfect truth that their relations with their sovereign had suffered considerably owing to this affair.[198]

The Austrian policy of deliberately encouraging misgovernment in the Italian States and of placing every obstacle in the way of reforms was hateful to Lord Palmerston. Apart from other considerations he was convinced that a continuance of this state of affairs must, sooner or later, drive France to intervene in such a manner as to render a war inevitable with Austria.[199] Already, on February 20, before he had received the news of the arrival of the French expedition at Ancona, he had directed Mr. Seymour, the British minister at Florence, to proceed to Rome “to represent the anxiety of His Majesty’s government to see those causes, which have produced so much difficulty, effectually removed.” He was to urge that no measures would appear “to afford so good a hope of success as a complete adoption of those reforms which were pointed out in the memorandum of May 21, 1831.” Lastly, he was to impress upon Cardinal Bernetti that, “if the reports be true that the ranks of the papal troops, which recently entered the Legations, have been replenished by emptying the prisons of criminals and by calling down the lawless bands from the mountains, the Roman government cannot divest itself of a deep responsibility for the [Pg 107]melancholy events which marked the entry into Cesena and Forli. The innocent blood which was wantonly shed in the streets of those towns might well be accepted as a full atonement for the political offences of the people of Romagna.”[200] When the story became known of the manner in which the French entry into Ancona had been carried out, Palmerston readily agreed to do all in his power to soothe the irritation of Austria and to assist to remove the bad impression created by Captain Gallois’ lawlessness. Seymour was further instructed to inform Cardinal Bernetti that the British government was fully satisfied that the French occupation of Ancona was but a temporary measure, which the condition of the Legations had occasioned. He was to reiterate the necessity for the immediate introduction of the promised reforms and “to draw the serious attention of the Roman government to the fact, that the course which it was pursuing with respect to the Legations, had already had the effect of turning the eyes of the population of those provinces towards Austria. . . . The system of administration established in Lombardy and Venetia, although not free from defects, was looked upon with envy by the subjects of the Pope.[201] At Vienna Sir Frederick Lamb was directed to assure Prince Metternich that the occupation of Ancona would cease as soon as His Holiness should have carried out his engagements.[202]

Metternich, reported Lamb, received the news of the French proceedings at Ancona very calmly. He expressed himself as confident that Gallois’ actions would be disavowed by his government. “The Emperor,” he declared, “would be justified in falling upon the French at Ancona, but he was too great a [Pg 108]sovereign to receive an insult from the captain of a frigate or the colonel of a regiment.” It was to England that Austria looked for support at this crisis. She ruled the seas and it rested with her to decide whether, or not, France should hold the command of the Mediterranean. About a week after this conversation had taken place Metternich informed Lamb that he was perfectly satisfied with the explanations which Marshal Maison had been instructed to give, and that no demand would be made to the French government for the evacuation of Ancona, so long as the Austrians continued to occupy the Legations.[203]

This condition of affairs was allowed to prevail for some years. Both Powers retained their troops in the Papal States, and the embarrassing necessity under which the French government was placed of making the occupation of Ancona depend upon the presence of an Austrian garrison at Bologna constituted Metternich’s revenge for M. Périer’s intervention in Italy.

The attention of the corps diplomatique had not been concentrated exclusively upon the complications to which the French proceedings at Ancona might give rise. Early in the month of February it was known that Count Orloff had been despatched by the Tsar on a special mission to the Hague. It was in deference to the wishes of Nicholas that the Courts of Vienna and of Berlin had decided to withhold their ratification of the treaty of separation of November 15, 1831, and the keenest curiosity prevailed as to the instructions with which the Tsar’s emissary had been furnished. In respect to the condition of affairs in the Low Countries Russia was in a somewhat peculiar situation as regards England. During the Napoleonic war Russia had borrowed at Amsterdam a sum of 25,000,000 florins. [Pg 109]At the peace the King of the Netherlands and the King of Great Britain agreed respectively to bear one-half of the charge of this debt. But it was provided that, should at any time the King of the Netherlands be deprived of his sovereignty over the Belgian provinces, this charge should cease. The contingency referred to in the treaty had come about, under circumstances never contemplated by the statesmen by whom it had been drawn up. They had hoped to give Russia a direct interest in preserving the union, but it was now the British government which desired to see it abolished and the Tsar who wished it to be maintained. Without doubt, according to the letter of the treaty, England was no longer bound to pay a share of the Russian-Dutch loan. Judged by the spirit of it, however, she could not honestly escape from the charge which she had undertaken to bear. This last construction of the agreement was adopted by Palmerston, who admitted the British liability in a new convention, by the terms of which the Tsar guaranteed that, should the stipulations made for the independence and neutrality of Belgium be endangered by the course of events, he would contract no other engagements without a previous agreement with his Britannic Majesty. Palmerston had thus earned the gratitude of the Tsar and had, in addition, made it difficult for him to intervene actively on behalf of the King of Holland.[204] Ministers were debarred, however from referring to this inner history of the affair in Parliament, where their policy in the matter of the Russian loan was severely attacked both by the Tory Opposition and by the Radicals, who deprecated the notion of voting pecuniary assistance to the autocratic government of Russia.

The Count Alexis Orloff, whose journey to [Pg 110]the Hague was the subject of so much speculation in the chanceries of Europe, was the natural son of a younger brother of Gregory Orloff, the lover of Catherine II. and a prominent actor in that palace revolution of 1762, which cost the Emperor Peter III. his throne, and very probably his life. After serving in the Napoleonic wars, the Count Alexis had gained the lasting gratitude of his imperial master by his resolute behaviour, which had contributed not a little to upset the designs of the Decembrists, as those military conspirators were termed, who, in 1825, had sought to prevent the accession of Nicholas. Ever afterwards, in consequence, Alexis Orloff was selected by the Tsar for the most delicate and secret missions. No notice of his departure was given to any member of the corps diplomatique at St. Petersburg. Count Nesselrode, after he had started, merely informed Lord Heytesbury that he had been sent to the Hague to extract a categorical statement from the King of the Netherlands as to whether he would accept the treaty of separation, and, in the event of his declaring that he would withhold his consent, to signify to him that he must not look to Russia for support.[205] This was in substance all that Mr. Chad, the British minister at Berlin, could discover about the objects of Orloff’s mission during the Count’s stay in the Prussian capital. But he noted that the general effect of his visit to Berlin had been to incline the Prussian government to espouse more warmly the cause of the King of the Netherlands, a result which, he pointed out, was inconsistent with the purpose which the Tsar’s emissary was alleged to have in view.[206] Fuller information, however, on that score [Pg 111]was soon forthcoming from Vienna. On February 25, Sir Frederick Lamb was able to transmit to Lord Palmerston a copy of Orloff’s secret instructions. These contained a clause to the effect that the Emperor of Russia would not recognize the King of the Belgians, until he should have been acknowledged by the King of the Netherlands. Furthermore, the Count was directed to protest against any measures of coercion, which France and England might decide to adopt against Holland, and to declare that the Tsar would regard all concessions, obtained by such means, as null and void. Lastly, whilst in London, whither he was to proceed when he had completed his task at the Hague, Orloff was “to assist by all means in his power the endeavours which, for the past twelve months, Prince Lieven and Count Matuszewic[207] had been making to prevent a union of the British Cabinet with that of the Palais Royal.”[208]

During his stay at Berlin, Orloff tried to win over the Prussian government to the Tsar’s views upon the Belgian question. But his attempts were unsuccessful. Ancillon, the chief minister, was greatly alarmed at the disturbance of the European Concert to which he feared the Russian policy must lead. Were Austria, Prussia and Russia to make their ratification of the separation treaty depend upon the acceptation of its conditions by the King of the Netherlands, the Powers must necessarily fall into two opposing groups: France and Great Britain on the one side, and the three Northern Courts on the other. Rather than help to create so perilous a situation, Prussia would, with much regret be obliged to “aller en avant [Pg 112]et de ratifier.” Ancillon seems to have succeeded in extracting from Orloff a promise that he would for the present, at least, refrain from communicating the secret clauses of his instructions to the King of the Netherlands, and to have directed the Prussian minister at St. Petersburg to endeavour to persuade Nicholas to cancel them. Metternich, reported Lamb, regarded the matter in the same light as Ancillon, and was resolved to assimilate his policy to that of the Court of Berlin. It was presumably for the purpose of thwarting the Russian plan that a copy of Orloff’s secret instructions was placed in the hands of the British ambassador.[209]

When France and England had ratified the treaty of separation, Palmerston at once instructed the British representatives at Vienna and at Berlin to urge the Austrian and Prussian Courts to follow the example of the western Powers. Metternich, wrote Lamb, eluded the question, and insisted upon the necessity of waiting to hear the result of Orloff’s mission.[210] At Berlin, Mr. Chad was enjoined to remind M. Ancillon that the action of the Prussian government in refusing to ratify was a violation of its promises.[211] In M. Casimir Périer’s opinion, the policy of the absolute Courts was dictated by the hope that a second rejection of the Reform Bill by the House of Lords might lead to a change of government in England.[212] In the meanwhile, Count Orloff had arrived at the Hague on February 20. At Berlin, he had intimated that under no circumstances would his stay in Holland be prolonged beyond ten days.[213] Nevertheless, the period which he had assigned for the duration of his visit was greatly exceeded. There was [Pg 113]reason to believe, however, that communications had reached him from his Court which, if they did not absolutely annul, unquestionably modified his instructions and brought them more into harmony with the views of the constitutional Powers.[214] Without doubt, the repugnance evinced at Vienna and at Berlin to break with the London conference was largely responsible for the changed disposition of Nicholas. But the arrival at St. Petersburg, after Orloff had left, of the draft of a proposed new treaty of separation, in which the King of the Netherlands put forward the most absurd pretensions, would seem to have impressed the Tsar most unfavourably. He appears to have grown very suspicious that the Dutch Court, acting under the inspiration of the French legitimists, was striving to embroil the Great Powers in a war.[215]

Palmerston, under these circumstances, decided to exercise an increased pressure upon the wavering resolution of the Northern Courts. The sittings of the conference, he announced, would be suspended until the signatory Powers of the treaty of separation should have ratified that agreement. Furthermore, on March 16, Sir Charles Bagot, the British ambassador, was instructed to protest against Count Orloff’s continued stay at the Hague.[216] The threat that the London conference would be dissolved appears to have excited considerable alarm at Berlin.[217] Although the obstinacy of the King of the Netherlands was proof against all remonstrances, Palmerston’s action, which had the support of the French government, was probably successful in bringing Orloff’s mission to an end. In any case, on March 22, Verstolk, the Dutch Minister for Foreign Affairs, officially informed Nicholas’ envoy [Pg 114]that the King could not accept the separation treaty of the twenty-four articles as it existed. No sooner had he made this statement than Count Orloff at once handed him the declaration which he had been instructed to deliver. The note in question was to the effect that, although His Imperial Majesty would not participate himself in any measures of coercion to force the King to accept the treaty, he should not oppose those steps which his allies might resolve to take in order to impose its conditions upon Holland. Directly they learnt that Orloff had delivered his declaration, the Austrian and Prussian ministers sent separate notes to M. Verstolk, notifying the adhesion of their respective Courts to the course pursued by the Russian Cabinet. Orloff, two days later, took leave of the King and started for London.[218]

The failure of Orloff’s mission deprived the Austrian and Prussian Cabinets of all reasonable excuse for withholding their assent to the treaty. Indeed, before the Russian agent had taken his departure from the Hague, Metternich informed Sir Frederick Lamb that the Austrian ratification would be forwarded to London without further delay. The presence of the French in Italy, and the fear that the course upon which the absolute Courts had embarked would tend to promote a close alliance between England and France were factors in the situation, which, in the opinion of the British ambassador, had greatly influenced Metternich’s decision.[219] Accordingly, on April 18, at the London Foreign Office the Austrian and Prussian plenipotentiaries exchanged ratifications of the treaty of November 15, 1831, with the representative of Belgium. The Prussian minister, Bülow, had been furnished with a discretionary power either to proceed with the matter or to await the Russian [Pg 115]ratification, and he appears to have yielded to the pressure brought to bear upon him by Palmerston and Talleyrand.[220] Both the Prussian and Austrian ratifications were accompanied by reservations with respect to the rights of the Germanic Confederation in Connection with any cession or exchange of a portion of the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg.[221]

It was resolved, as on former occasions, to keep open the protocol in order that Russia might still be enabled to become a party to the treaty. Lieven and Matuszewic, the Russian plenipotentiaries, had authority to ratify, but with reservations respecting three articles of the treaty which concerned the navigation of the Scheldt, the construction of a road, and the share of the debt to be borne by Belgium. But, were a limited ratification of this description to be accepted, Russia would necessarily be placed in a different situation as regards Belgium to that occupied by the other contracting parties. This was a development to which Palmerston was altogether opposed. On the other hand, he was desirous above all things to avoid the necessity of excluding Russia from the treaty. The rift in the European Concert, which such a result would disclose, must encourage the King of the Netherlands to resist the decisions of the conference and might endanger the general peace. The representatives of the Powers, not excepting Orloff, Lieven and Matuszewic were, however, sincerely anxious to discover a way out of the difficulty. At Brussels it was contended with some reason that the limited ratification of Russia might be held to invalidate the treaty as a whole. But Stockmar, the counsellor of Leopold, pointed out that the existing governments in France and England considered that their acts of [Pg 116]ratification bound them indissolubly to the treaty. The struggle over the Reform Bill had, however, entered upon its final stage, and it was doubtful whether Lord Grey and his colleagues would emerge from it successfully. Under these circumstances, urged Stockmar, it was well to remember that both Wellington and Aberdeen had declared that they should not consider the treaty of the twenty-four articles as binding, until it should have been ratified by all the signatory Powers. Were Grey to fall, and were a Tory Cabinet to be formed, Russia very probably might altogether refuse to ratify.[222]

On May 4 the deliberations of the conference at the Foreign Office were prolonged far into the night. Talleyrand’s powers of persuasion, Palmerston’s determined will and skill in argument were alike directed to the task of devising some solution of the problem, which all parties might accept with dignity. The desired result was at last attained by means of an explanation of the purpose of the Russian reservation, which was inserted into the protocol. According to this declaration, the Russian plenipotentiaries asserted that their Court had no other intention than to leave open the matters contained in the three articles in question for subsequent settlement by Holland and Belgium. Under these conditions, Van de Weyer agreed to accept the Russian ratification with the proviso, which was also to be embodied into the protocol, that his Court laid claim to the full benefit of the engagements contracted towards Belgium by the five Powers. That same night Orloff departed from England.[223] Nicholas had been very gratified by the flattering welcome which had been accorded to his favourite in London society.[224] His satisfaction on [Pg 117]this point contributed, doubtless, to the happy termination of the negotiation. But the statesmanlike conduct of Van de Weyer was, at the time, little appreciated in political circles in Brussels, where he was censured for accepting the limited ratification of Russia.[225]

[Pg 118]



The Cabinets of Lord Grey and of M. Casimir Périer had always regarded the execution of the separation treaty as a measure which must necessarily follow its ratification by the five contracting Powers. But, during the spring and early summer of 1832, ministers, both in France and in England, were confronted by an internal situation of exceptional gravity. The Lords, on April 14, had passed the second reading of the third Reform Bill by a narrow majority. On May 7, however, three days after Russia had ratified the Belgian treaty, Lord Lyndhurst successfully carried against the government a motion postponing the clause which disfranchised the boroughs. The Cabinet, therefore, decided to advise the King “to advance to the honour of the peerage such a number of persons as might ensure the success of the Bill in all its essential principles.”[226]

In the early days of the struggle the King had been a keen advocate of parliamentary reform. But the violent opposition which the measure had excited had sensibly altered his feelings. Nor was it only with respect to the Bill that His Majesty was beginning to entertain misgivings. The conduct of foreign affairs had, for some time past, caused him grave anxiety. He perceived, he wrote to Lord Grey, a dangerous tendency on the part of the government [Pg 119]to subscribe to all the democratic theories which found favour in Paris. He realized the importance of good relations with France, and he was prepared to admit that it might be due to the existence of such an understanding that war had been avoided in the Belgian question. But he mistrusted France and could not believe that she had abandoned her schemes of conquest and of territorial expansion. He held, therefore, that it was impolitic to “unite too closely with her in the prosecution of measures tending to give umbrage and alarm to other Powers.”[227]

In consequence of these criticisms Lord Grey signified his willingness to resign. But a second letter from the King and a conversation, in which His Majesty assured him that he still enjoyed his full confidence, induced him to remain in office. A fortnight later, however, when the King declined to follow the advice, contained in the Cabinet minute of May 8, to create a sufficient number of peers to enable the Bill to pass, the government resigned. But the excitement throughout the country and the attitude of the House of Commons compelled Lord Lyndhurst and the Duke of Wellington to abandon all hope of forming a ministry. In face of their inability to carry out the task with which he had entrusted them, the King had no alternative but to send for his late ministers and to give them the guarantees, which they made an indispensable condition to their acceptation of office. Lord Grey, however, was spared the necessity of resorting to the powers which the crown had placed at his disposal. In deference to the King’s wishes[228] Wellington and the chief opponents of the measure agreed to stay away from the House, and on June 4, in their absence, the Bill was passed into law.

[Pg 120]

France was less fortunate. Her domestic difficulties were only temporarily overcome after grave disorder and much bloodshed. The cholera, brought back by the Russian armies from Turkey, had spread westwards. The disease, which made its first appearance in England in the latter months of 1831, did terrible execution in Paris during the spring and summer of 1832. M. Casimir Périer, who had been in bad health for some time past, was its most illustrious victim. His death, on May 16, 1832, was the signal for a furious outburst of hostility on the part of the parliamentary opponents of his system. At the same time the avowed enemies of the Orleans monarchy, both Republican and Carlist, actively prepared to take advantage of the situation. The Society of the Friends of the People, in defiance of the police, held meetings at which armed insurrection was preached openly. “I was present at one of them,” wrote Heinrich Heine, “the smell reminded me of an old file of the Moniteur of 1793 grown dirty from too much reading.”[229]

The funeral, on June 5, of General Lamarque, the most prominent advocate in the Chamber of the union of Belgium with France, was chosen by the revolutionary leaders as a favourable occasion for striking their blow. But the authorities were upon the alert and both regular troops and national guards were quickly upon the scene of action. Nevertheless, it was not until artillery had been brought up that, on the following day, June 6, the great barricade at the Cloître Saint-Merri was stormed and that this formidable insurrection was finally suppressed. Nor was it only in the streets of Paris that the government had to deal with an armed rising. On June 4 the Duchesse de Berri, the mother of the Duc de Bordeaux, the lawful King of France in the eyes of the Carlists, raised the standard of rebellion in La Vendée. But [Pg 121]her insurrection, which had been undertaken against the advice of the wiser of the Carlists and of the old Royalist leaders in the West, was, in a few days, stamped out completely. The defence of the Château de la Pénissière, where a handful of Carlist gentlemen made a brave stand against overwhelming odds, imparted, however, a tinge of heroism to this, the last and the least famous of the Royalist rebellions of La Vendée.

Following quickly upon the defeat of the republicans in Paris and of the Carlists in the West, came the news that the Duc de Reichstadt, the heretofore King of Rome, was dying of consumption at Vienna. But Metternich, in transmitting this information, desired that Louis Philippe’s attention should be especially directed “to his successor in the eyes of the Bonapartists.” The young Louis Bonaparte, he begged him to remember, was not under the safeguard of the Emperor of Austria, but, on the contrary, “was deeply involved in all the machinations of the revolutionary societies.”[230] Few people, however, shared Metternich’s forebodings, and the death of the Duc de Reichstadt, which took place on July 22, 1832, was generally considered, even by staunch Imperialists, to have disposed effectually of the chances of a Bonapartist restoration.[231] But neither the successful suppression of two rebellions, nor the decease of a dangerous pretender to the throne could make up for the loss of the President of the Council. The death of M. Casimir Périer had deprived the Cabinet of its strength and prestige. Louis Philippe, whilst doing full justice to the courage and abilities of his late minister, was perhaps not altogether sorry that his masterful personality no longer presided at the council table. The rôle of a constitutional [Pg 122]monarch was never to his taste. He longed always to take a direct part in the management of public affairs, and rather liked his people to think that his was the hand which guided the ship of State. He was, therefore, in no great hurry to appoint a new President of the Council. He soon perceived, however, that a prolongation of this state of affairs would be prejudicial to the best interests of the monarchy both at home and abroad.

For the past two months the London conference had been engaged upon fruitless efforts to induce the King of the Netherlands to agree to the separation treaty. Moreover, His Majesty’s obstinacy was not the only difficulty with which the representatives of the Powers had to deal. The Belgians clamoured loudly for the execution of the treaty, and declared that, so long as the Dutch retained possession of Antwerp, they must decline to discuss any modification of its conditions.[232] Oblivious of their disasters of the year before, they even began to talk of ejecting the Dutch by force, and, as though to prove the seriousness of their intentions, proceeded to enrol Polish officers in their army, and to make other warlike preparations.[233]

Although determined that the main conditions of the treaty must be left untouched, the members of the conference were anxious that the minor points in dispute should form the subject of amicable discussions between the Dutch and Belgian representatives. It was on this principle that all their proposals had been made. But neither at the Hague nor at Brussels was any disposition evinced to listen to reasonable suggestions for a compromise.

At last, on July 10, the plenipotentiaries decided to forward their final proposals to the Hague and to announce, at the same time, that, if they were not [Pg 123]accepted, no further modifications of the original treaty would be submitted. Little hope, however, was entertained that the King’s obduracy would be overcome without a resort to force. But before proceeding to adopt more active measures the British government decided to dispatch Lord Durham upon a special mission to St. Petersburg. Ill-health had recently compelled Lord Heytesbury to relinquish his post, and his successor had not as yet been appointed. The King of the Netherlands, it was believed, still trusted that the Tsar would intervene on his behalf, should France and England begin hostilities against him. Lord Durham was therefore charged to endeavour to persuade the Emperor Nicholas “to give immediate instructions to the Russian plenipotentiaries at the conference to co-operate cordially and effectually in whatever measures might appear best calculated to effect an early execution of the treaty.” He was to state most positively that France and England, under any circumstances, were resolved to fulfil the engagements which they had contracted towards Belgium. Lastly, he was to explain the views of His Majesty’s government upon Italian, German and Polish affairs.[234]

Seeing that it was the object of the British government to conciliate the Tsar, in order to induce him to take part in measures which could not be otherwise than extremely distasteful to him, it is strange that this particular minister should have been selected for the mission. As one of the most advanced politicians in the Cabinet Lord Durham would hardly seem to have been the person best qualified to propitiate the Emperor Nicholas. But at the time his suitability was perhaps only a secondary consideration. On the question of the creation of peers to enable the Reform Bill to pass, he had seriously differed from Lord Grey, his own father-in-law, and it may have been the wish to avoid [Pg 124]a complete rupture between them that prompted his despatch to St. Petersburg. The Emperor, however, whatever may have been the real nature of his feelings with respect to Durham’s appointment, evinced not the slightest resentment. On the contrary, he appeared to be at pains to pay him the greatest honours and, during the whole period of his six weeks’ stay in the Russian capital, the ambassador was the object of his most flattering attentions. Durham, who was highly gratified by the warmth of the Imperial reception and by the marked deference with which he was treated, was, for his part, no less anxious to create a favourable impression. When removed from the turmoil of party politics he rarely failed to display those statesmanlike qualities which he unquestionably possessed. Yet in spite of all his efforts, on this occasion, his embassy, in so far as its immediate objects were concerned, proved a complete failure. Under no circumstances would the Tsar agree to join in any hostile action against Holland. But, whilst the autocrat assured him that such was his irrevocable determination, he told him that he was equally resolved not to oppose those measures which other Powers might see fit to adopt, in order to obtain the execution of the separation treaty.[235] This categorical statement of Nicholas’ intention not to interpose, should coercion be applied to Holland, was the one satisfactory piece of news which Lord Durham was enabled to transmit. In all his conversations the Tsar manifested his extreme dislike of Louis Philippe and expressed his determination to render military assistance to Austria and Prussia, should France attempt to interfere in German affairs.[236] Lord Durham was not long in discovering that no good purpose would be served by adverting to Poland. The greatest indignation prevailed throughout Russia at the conduct of the [Pg 125]Poles, and he quite agreed with Lord Heytesbury that the Tsar dared not disregard the national resentment which their insurrection had provoked. Only force, he saw clearly, would induce him to admit that other Powers had a right to interfere with his treatment of his Polish subjects, and England most certainly had no intention of making the question a case for war. He conceived, therefore, that he might depart from the letter of his instructions and confine his observations upon the subject to a mere informal expression to Count Nesselrode of the interest felt by the British government in the general welfare of Poland.[237]

Before the end of July, it was known in London that the King of the Netherlands was determined to reject the proposals which the conference had declared must be the last which could be submitted to him. Nevertheless Palmerston, encouraged seemingly by the language of Van Zuylen, the Dutch plenipotentiary, decided to make a further attempt to avert the necessity of an appeal to force.[238] Accordingly, he drew up a fresh scheme for the settlement of the points in dispute, and showed it confidentially to the Dutch representative. Van Zuylen professed to be on the whole well satisfied with Palmerston’s proposals, and held out distinct hopes that they might serve as the basis of a definite agreement between Holland and Belgium. But, before any progress could be made in the matter, it was necessary to induce the Belgians to abandon their declared intention of refusing to negotiate, until the Dutch should have evacuated the citadel of Antwerp. In order to try to persuade the Belgian government to adopt a less uncompromising attitude, Baron Stockmar, early in August, proceeded to Brussels as [Pg 126]the semi-official representative of the conference. King Leopold’s confidential adviser saw clearly that the Belgians must appear in a very unfavourable light should the negotiations break down, owing to their obstinate refusal to recede from the position they had taken up. He had never approved of the policy of the Meulinäer Cabinet, and had always deprecated the warlike preparations upon which that minister had ostentatiously embarked. As he constantly pointed out to the King, the chances of success in a single-handed contest with Holland were necessarily very doubtful. Moreover, under any circumstances, the Great Powers were pledged to intervene to put an end to the struggle, and, in such a case, Belgium, if the aggressor, would certainly be dealt with very harshly. One measure, however, which Stockmar had constantly advocated, was now an accomplished fact. In the month of May, the Princess Louise, a daughter of the King of the French, had been affianced to Leopold, and the marriage had been duly celebrated on August 9, at the Château de Compiègne. But the newly married king showed as little disposition to adopt the counsels of his father-in-law[239] as he had those of the sagacious Stockmar. Indeed, the language of many leading Belgians at this period suggested that they were encouraged to defy the Powers, from the security which they considered was assured to them by the family ties uniting their sovereign to the reigning House in France.[240] Leopold, without doubt, had no share in so dangerous an illusion, but his ministers had pledged themselves to the Chambers to insist upon the surrender of Antwerp as a preliminary to any fresh negotiations, and [Pg 127]he seems to have thought that it would be too unpopular a step to dismiss them on that account. Stockmar returned to London on August 18. His visit to Brussels had failed in its object, but he still continued to press his views upon King Leopold. A prolongation of the status quo constituted, he argued, no disadvantage to Belgium. Although it was the case that the Dutch held the citadel of Antwerp, which, by the terms of the treaty, should have passed out of their possession, their retention of it was counterbalanced by the Belgian occupation of parts of Limburg and Luxemburg, which, under the conditions of separation, had been assigned to Holland. Moreover, even the absolute Powers were prepared to admit that a continued refusal on the part of the Court of the Hague to evacuate Antwerp, would justify the Belgians in declining to pay their share of the public debt, jointly contracted by the two countries before their separation. Before long, the force of this reasoning began to be appreciated at Brussels, where both Adair and La Tour-Maubourg, the British and French ministers, were using their best endeavours to persuade the King to conform to the wishes of their respective governments. In diplomatic circles the conviction was gaining ground that the King of the Netherlands was merely trifling with the Powers, and that he had still no intention of bringing the negotiations to a conclusion.[241] Should these suspicions prove correct, Leopold probably realized that it must be to his advantage to display a readiness to meet the wishes of the conference, at a time when the members of it would necessarily be heartily disgusted at the dilatory and evasive attitude adopted by the Cabinet of the Hague.

Under the influence of these various considerations [Pg 128]his resolution rose to the required point.[242] The Meulinäer government was dismissed, General Goblet was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs, and powers were transmitted to Van de Weyer to enter into negotiations with the Dutch plenipotentiary upon the basis of the new proposals, Le thème de Lord Palmerston, as they were called by the diplomatists.

Accordingly, on September 20, M. Van de Weyer officially informed the conference that he was authorized to discuss with the Dutch plenipotentiaries the points in dispute between the two countries. But in a note dated the same day, Van Zuylen, ignoring completely the thème de Lord Palmerston, claimed the execution of the treaty on the terms set forth in the Dutch counter proposal of June 30. The conference, thereupon, called upon him definitely to state whether he was empowered to negotiate with Belgium in accordance with the proposals submitted by the British plenipotentiary. To this demand he returned an answer which was unanimously held to be highly unsatisfactory, and, on October 1, in consequence, the representatives of the five Powers met to consider the steps which should now be taken to bring matters to a conclusion. As had been foreseen, it was clear at once that the prospects of arriving at an agreement were hopeless. According to the absolute Powers, coercion must be confined to a declaration authorizing the Belgians to withhold payment of their share of the Dutch-Belgian debt, until the citadel of Antwerp should be handed over to them. France and England, on the other hand, deriding the notion that pressure of this kind would suffice to overcome the obstinacy of the King of the Netherlands, called for the application of sterner measures. To this demand the plenipotentiaries of the northern Powers opposed the irrevocable resolution of their respective Courts [Pg 129]not to participate in any hostile acts against Holland. In face of this irreconcilable divergence of opinion, the conference broke up, the representatives of France and England announcing the intention of their governments to take steps to ensure the prompt execution of the terms of the separation treaty.[243]

But, although the concert of the Powers had thus ceased to exist, there was still no distinct understanding between France and England, as to the measures by which the Dutch were to be compelled to evacuate Antwerp. Louis Philippe’s continued inability to reconstruct his Cabinet necessarily increased the reluctance of the British government to agree definitely to combined action with France. When, towards the end of June, the King had become convinced of the necessity of strengthening the ministry his thoughts, in the first place, had turned towards M. Dupin. His oratorical powers, the considerable following which he commanded in the Chamber, and the support which he had given to M. Casimir Périer, furnished excellent reasons for his inclusion in a government which was to carry on the policy of the late President of the Council. But insurmountable difficulties had arisen. It is not clear whether M. Dupin’s objections to joining the Cabinet should be ascribed to conscientious doubts about the future policy of the government, or merely to disappointed ambition, because the King was not prepared to confer upon him the Presidency of the Council. According to one account, he is said to have pointed to his hobnailed boots and to have asked insolently whether they were to debar him from transacting business with “Milord Granville.” But, whatever may have been the true cause of his misunderstanding with his royal master, their discussion unquestionably grew very heated and culminated in the King seizing him by the collar and [Pg 130]ejecting him from the room.[244] A strong sense of personal dignity, however, was never a characteristic of Louis Philippe, and, notwithstanding this scene, he soon reopened negotiations with M. Dupin. But this second attempt to arrange matters was attended with no better success than the first. Baffled in this direction, Louis Philippe was compelled to make overtures to the Doctrinaires. Under the Restoration this designation had been applied to a small but distinguished group of politicians, of whom the best known were Royer-Collard, Guizot, Broglie and Barante. All were strong advocates of limited monarchy and, generally speaking, fervent admirers of the British constitution. Their system of government was based upon the theory that, in the modern France which the Revolution had created, no régime could endure which did not depend for support upon the middle classes. The political principles which found favour with the bourgeoisie, constituting as they did a juste milieu between the reactionary sentiments of the old aristocracy and the revolutionary tendencies of the labouring classes, were precisely those to which, in the opinion of the Doctrinaires, all future governments would have to conform. Accordingly, they had accepted the Monarchy of July and both Broglie and Guizot had sat in Louis Philippe’s first Cabinet. But, holding that insurrection must be put down with a firm hand, they had always supported Casimir Périer.

Louis Philippe had no great liking for the Doctrinaires. As strict constitutionalists they were necessarily opposed to the direct interference of the sovereign with the business of the State. Moreover, they were unquestionably unpopular in the country. On this occasion, however, when compelled by circumstances to seek their assistance, he hoped to overcome [Pg 131]this last objection by nominating a popular soldier, in the person of Marshal Soult, to the presidency of the council. All through his reign Louis Philippe was inclined to place a military man at the head of the government. Not only were appointments of this kind invariably well received, but he soon discovered that soldiers, brought up in the school of Bonaparte, were seldom troubled with constitutional scruples about the exact position of the sovereign in a limited monarchy. But, at the same time, he was careful to assure Lord Granville that the Marshal’s duties, as President of the Council, would be purely nominal. “Under any circumstances,” said Louis Philippe, “his appointment need excite no apprehensions abroad, his love of peace is notorious, indeed, his description of himself as l’apôtre de la paix has almost passed into a byword.”[245] The Duc de Broglie, the son-in-law of Madame de Stael, into whose hands the King proposed to confide the portfolio of Foreign Affairs, was a cultivated man but of reserved and somewhat displeasing manners. He enjoyed, however, a high reputation for honourable dealing and integrity of purpose and was, moreover, on terms of friendship with Lord Lansdowne and other prominent members of the Whig party. His selection, therefore, might be expected to meet with the cordial approval of the British government.

The Duc de Broglie, however, was not prepared to accept unconditionally the task which the King proposed he should undertake. After one of his first interviews with Louis Philippe he met Lord Granville at Talleyrand’s house in the Rue Saint-Florentin and explained the situation to him. The French public, he told the ambassador, were weary of the interminable negotiations about Belgium, and it was only by a military exploit, such as the capture of the citadel of Antwerp, that the Cabinet would be able to obtain the [Pg 132]support of the Chamber. It was useless to attempt to disguise the grave character of the situation. Were the government to be overthrown by a parliamentary majority, the King would be forced to depend upon the Left, and be rendered powerless to control the violence of extreme members of the party. The Duke went on to assure him that he was not ignorant of the suspicion with which the entry of a French army into Belgium would be regarded. There was no pledge, no guarantee, however, which he would not be prepared to give that, eight days after the capture of the citadel, every French soldier should be withdrawn from Belgium.[246] This conversation had been regarded by Lord Granville as quite unofficial, but, on the following day, October 5, Sébastiani informed him that “the King purposed to defer concluding his ministerial arrangements until the British ambassador should be enabled to state the opinion of his government, respecting the conditions under which alone the Duc de Broglie would undertake the direction of foreign affairs.”[247] It is evident, however, that other counsels must have prevailed seeing that, on the morning of October 11, the Moniteur contained the names of the members of the new Cabinet. The despatches of Mareuil, the chargé d’affaires in London, respecting the intentions of the British government, were, it may be presumed, considered so satisfactory as to render further assurances unnecessary. The ministry presided over by Marshal Soult, assisted by four such men as Broglie, Guizot, Humann, and Thiers, could almost aspire to the name of “a government of all the talents.”

The British government was in a difficult situation. The elections were impending, and a Reformed Parliament, bent upon retrenchment and the settlement of domestic questions, was little likely to regard [Pg 133]with favour any policy which might conceivably lead to serious complications with foreign Powers. The very indifferent display of the Belgians, in their short campaign of the year before, had deprived them of all popular sympathy. In commercial circles, especially, the idea of embarking upon hostilities against England’s old allies, the Dutch, was strongly deprecated.[248] Although the unreasonable attitude of the King of the Netherlands, during the past twelve months, had alienated from him the support of The Times[249] and of many persons who derived their opinions from its columns, there was unquestionably something to be said upon his behalf. He had adhered to the protocols of January 20 and January 27, 1831, which the plenipotentiaries had declared must form the basis of any separation treaty. Nevertheless, in order to conciliate the Belgians, they had gone back upon their decision, and both the convention of the eighteen articles and the separation treaty of November 14, 1831, had been framed upon different conditions.

The Tories had always supported the Dutch, and during the stormy months which had preceded the passing of the Reform Bill, had delivered some damaging attacks upon the foreign policy of the government. It was certain that they would vehemently denounce any combined action with France in the Dutch-Belgian question. Nor would it be politic to disregard their attacks and merely to treat them as the venomous outburst of party animosity. Notwithstanding that the republicans had been crushed in the streets of Paris and that the Carlist rebellion in La Vendée had been stamped out, the situation in France undoubtedly presented many [Pg 134]disquieting symptoms. The hiding place of the Duchesse de Berri was still undiscovered, and her presence in the west prevented the complete restoration of tranquillity. The great difficulty which Louis Philippe was experiencing in forming a government of moderate men afforded food for yet more serious reflection. The possibility could not be ignored that, in the near future, he might be compelled to select his ministers from the Left—from the party, the leading members of which proclaimed unceasingly that the treaties of 1815 must be abrogated and that Belgium must be united to France.

King William IV., moreover, was strongly opposed to hostile action against Holland. The “Jack Tar animosity”[250] which he always entertained for the French blazed up afresh at the notion of England and France engaging upon joint operations in the Low Countries. The King’s dislike to the policy of his ministers was encouraged by the Howes and the Fitzclarences,[251] who used their best endeavours to persuade him to refuse his consent to all measures of coercion. In view of the little sympathy which the cause of Belgium evoked in the country, and of the many difficulties by which they were beset, Lords Grey and Palmerston might not improbably have felt disposed to adopt some middle course, more in harmony with the views of the Court and of the absolute Powers. But a refusal on their part to resort to force, in order to obtain the execution of the treaty, would not have restrained the French from beginning hostilities. “I should deceive your Lordship,”wrote Granville on October 19, “were I to hold out any expectation that the British government, by withholding its concurrence, could prevent a French army from entering Belgium.”[252] It was to be [Pg 135]apprehended, however, that a refusal of the English Cabinet to join with France in the application of coercion to Holland might lead to the resignation of the Duc de Broglie. In that case it was more than probable that the direction of French policy, at a most important moment, might pass from the hands of a statesman of moderate views into those of some politician of advanced opinions, in whom it would be impossible to feel the same confidence. This was a consideration which, without doubt, carried the greatest weight with the English ministers and exercised a deciding influence over their resolutions.

It was soon apparent that the withdrawal of their plenipotentiaries from the conference would be the extent of the support which the Northern Courts purposed to give to the King of the Netherlands. The neutral attitude, which the Tsar had promised Lord Durham he should adopt, rendered it certain that Austria would not move a man to the assistance of Holland. Metternich was much concerned at the recrudescence of a demand for more Liberal institutions in Germany, a state of affairs which had called forth from the Diet fresh decrees of a repressive character. The prevailing unrest, however, made it the more desirable that the Dutch-Belgian question, with all the possibilities of danger attaching to it, should be promptly settled. Furthermore, the burden of military establishments was already grievously straining the Imperial exchequer.[253] But, although Metternich had no thought of opposing the action of the constitutional Powers in the Low Countries, he chafed bitterly at the undignified attitude which his Court was compelled to adopt. At one time he would impute the whole blame for the situation which had arisen to the plenipotentiaries at the conference who, by manifesting too plainly their dread of war, had allowed [Pg 136]Palmerston to see that he might, without danger, conduct matters as he chose.[254] At other times the Cabinet of Berlin was the object of his fretful complaints. Had Prussia on the first outbreak of the insurrection at Brussels marched an army into the Low Countries, the revolution would have been stamped out, and all the subsequent trouble would have been avoided. France, in that case, he professed to believe, might have threatened, but would never have dared to intervene.[255]

The break-up of the conference and the intention avowed by the two constitutional Powers of expelling the Dutch from Antwerp, although not unexpected, caused considerable perturbation at Berlin. Ancillon, the chief minister, declared that Prussia would agree to the weekly deduction of a million florins from Belgium’s share of the debt due to Holland, for so long a period as the Dutch should retain possession of the citadel of Antwerp. Nor would his Court be prepared seriously to oppose a blockade of the Scheldt by the two maritime Powers. The entry of a French army into the Low Countries, however, was a different matter, and one which would compel Prussia to take steps to safeguard her interests. But, neither the angry language of M. Ancillon at Berlin nor the veiled threats indulged in by Baron Werther in Paris, excited any real apprehension. Nevertheless, as both the French and English governments were sincerely desirous of conciliating the absolute Powers, it was resolved to propose that, pending the settlement of the Dutch-Belgian question, Prussia should occupy Venlo and that part of Limburg which the treaty had assigned to Holland.[256]

[Pg 137]

It was not until October 22 that the convention, to regulate the conditions under which France and England were to apply coercion to Holland, was signed in London. The French government chafed impatiently at this delay, for which King William’s reluctance to agree to the measures advocated by his ministers was chiefly responsible. Notwithstanding Talleyrand’s[257] explanations of the delicate situation in which Lord Grey was placed, the Duc de Broglie, on October 21, informed Lord Granville that his government could wait no longer. The very existence of the Cabinet, he assured him, was at stake. Unless he were to be in a position to announce to the Chambers, which were about to reassemble, that definite steps were to be taken in order to expel the Dutch from Antwerp, he and his colleagues would assuredly be driven from office. If no news were received from London within the next twenty-four hours, the Cabinet, he had no doubt, would resolve to march an army against Antwerp, in the event of the King of the Netherlands refusing to comply with a summons to evacuate the citadel. This resolution would, however, be at once transmitted to London, and would be kept entirely secret until the British government should have had time to reply to it. But, to the great joy of Louis Philippe and his ministers, the arrival, on October 29, of the convention signed in London relieved them from the necessity of deciding upon their course of action, without having previously obtained the concurrence of the English government.[258]

By the terms of the convention of October 22, [Pg 138]1832, the King of the Netherlands was to be summoned to enter into an engagement by November 2 to withdraw his troops, before the 12th of the same month, from the territory which the separation treaty had adjudged to Belgium. Should he refuse to comply, France and England agreed to lay an embargo upon the Dutch shipping within their respective harbours, to order their cruisers to seize all Dutch vessels at sea, and to blockade the coast of Holland with their combined fleets. If, by November 15, the required evacuation should not yet have taken place, a French army would enter Belgium. But its operations were to be limited strictly to the capture of the citadel of Antwerp and the forts dependent upon it, and, when this result should have been attained, it was to withdraw immediately. At the same time, a note was to be addressed to the government at Brussels calling for the evacuation of Venlo and those places still occupied by Belgium, which, under the provisions of the separation treaty, had been assigned to Holland.[259] This demand, however, would be of a purely formal character, and was to be made upon the understanding that it need only be complied with, should the King of the Netherlands agree to the concessions required of him.[260]

Immediately upon receipt of the convention in Paris, the French fleet at Cherbourg was ordered to unite with the British squadron at Spithead. This junction was duly effected, and, on November 4, the King of the Netherlands having declined to comply with the demand which had been presented to him, the combined fleets set sail for the mouth of the Scheldt, whilst, two days later, both governments laid an embargo upon the Dutch shipping within their ports. The Duc de Broglie, in the meanwhile, had [Pg 139]instructed La Tour-Maubourg, the French minister at Brussels, to negotiate a convention for the entry of a French army into Belgium. The French government had always insisted that the operations, for the reduction of the citadel of Antwerp, must be carried out exclusively by its own troops. The Belgian army was to be entirely separated from them, and was to do no more than hold itself in readiness to repel an invasion, should the Dutch make an incursion across their frontiers. King Leopold reluctantly assented to these conditions, which necessarily deprived his people of an excellent opportunity of wiping out their humiliations of the year before. It came, therefore, as a disagreeable surprise when, on the occasion of the exchange of the ratifications of the convention, La Tour-Maubourg handed in a statement reserving to the French government the right of demanding payment for the expenses of the expedition. This claim, it was afterwards explained, would not be enforced immediately, but would be allowed to stand over until some future occasion. In Palmerston’s opinion, however, the fact that payment was to be deferred made the demand no less objectionable. Were it to be admitted, Belgium must necessarily be placed in a position of dangerous dependence upon France. His vigorous protests achieved the desired result. After some discussion the French government agreed to abandon its claim for the repayment of its expenses.[261] In all other respects matters proceeded with perfect smoothness. In accordance with the terms of the convention, on November 16th, a French force of 60,000 men, under the command of Marshal Gérard, crossed the Belgian frontier and laid siege to the citadel of Antwerp, the Duc d’Orléans and the Duc de Nemours, the two eldest sons of Louis Philippe, [Pg 140]accompanying the headquarters staff of the army of operations.

In London the application of coercion of so vigorous a nature was far from evoking the universal applause which it called forth in Paris. Among the general public the entry of Marshal Gérard’s army into Belgium was regarded with suspicion, and a meeting of London merchants was held, and a petition was forwarded to the King, praying that hostile measures might not be taken against the Dutch. The Tories openly declared that they placed all their hopes in General Chassé, the commandant of the citadel of Antwerp. If only that gallant officer could contrive to repel the French, the Grey Cabinet, they conceived, might be forced to resign. Possibly there were sanguine members of the party who fancied that the prowess of a Dutch general might pave the way to the repeal of the Reform Act. In the meantime all their sympathies went out to a drunken sailor who, from the dock in the police-court, proclaimed the union of the British flag with the tricolour to be a national disgrace.[262]

The proposal that Prussia should occupy Venlo and parts of Limburg, and the limitations which the convention of October 22 set upon the scope of the French operations, somewhat reconciled the German Powers to the forcible ejection of the Dutch from Antwerp.[263] Nevertheless, after having in the first instance declared its readiness to take temporary possession of portions of the disputed territory, the Court of Berlin, at the instigation, it was suspected, of the Tsar, declined to entertain the suggestion. Inasmuch as the acquisition of the citadel of Antwerp [Pg 141]by the Belgians depended upon the success of the French arms, they could not reasonably be expected to yield up, even to a third party, any territory which they actually occupied, before the operations under Marshal Gérard should have achieved their desired result. Accordingly, in the formal proposal of Talleyrand and Palmerston, which was submitted to Bülow on October 30, it was provided that the Prussian occupation of Venlo and parts of Limburg and Luxemburg should begin, only when the French expedition should have accomplished its object. Ancillon, however, declared that this suggestion was altogether inadmissible. Prussia, it was true, had signified her willingness to hold certain districts of the Low Countries. But she had only consented to take temporary possession of them for the security of her own interests during the French operations against Antwerp. To occupy any portion of Holland, after the withdrawal of Marshal Gérard’s army, would amount, in effect, to the application of military pressure to the King of the Netherlands to compel him to accept the conditions of the separation treaty. Such a proceeding would be wholly inconsistent with the policy which the Court of Berlin had invariably pursued, and to which it was resolved to adhere. Prussia, therefore, would content herself with the concentration of an army of observation upon the Meuse, for so long a period as the French might see fit to remain in Belgium.[264]

In the meantime the siege of the citadel of Antwerp had been proceeding steadily, although hardly with the rapidity which the British government, in its impatience to see the affair concluded, could have wished.[265] At last, after having sustained a [Pg 142]very heavy bombardment and having done all that honour required, General Chassé, on December 22, agreed to surrender. But the two detached forts of Lillo and Liefkenshoek, which, owing to the opening of the dykes, could only have been reduced by a long blockade, were not included in the capitulation. The arrangements connected with the transference of the fortress to the Belgian military authorities were quickly carried out, and, on December 27, the French army began its homeward march.

The operations of Marshal Gérard had placed the Belgians in possession of the citadel of Antwerp, and had infused vitality into the Soult government, but they had not succeeded in overcoming the reluctance of the King of the Netherlands to adhere to the separation treaty. It remained to be seen whether the embargo which France and England continued to maintain, and the loss entailed by the non-payment of the Belgian share of the Netherlands debt, would suffice to break down his obstinacy. After this state of affairs had continued for some four months distinct symptoms began to manifest themselves in Dutch commercial circles of discontent at the prolongation of the crisis. About this same time also the Russian and Prussian Cabinets became imbued with the notion that the conclusion of the Dutch-Belgian affair might lead to a separation between France and England. Their intimate union had grown up in the course of the negotiations, the final settlement of the question, it was hoped, might cause them to drift asunder. The agents of the northern Courts at the Hague were, accordingly, instructed to urge the King to terminate definitely his troublesome quarrel with Belgium and the maritime Powers.[266]

[Pg 143]

This combination of internal and external pressure was more than the Dutch Cabinet could withstand. On May 21, 1833 a convention was signed in London by the plenipotentiaries of Holland, on the one side, and those of Great Britain and France, on the other, stipulating that, so long as the relations between Holland and Belgium should not be settled by a definite treaty, His Netherlands Majesty would never begin hostilities against Belgium, and would leave the navigation of the Scheldt entirely free. France and England in return engaged to remove the embargo, immediately upon the ratification of this convention.[267]

The convention of May 21, 1833, was, in effect, an agreement for the maintenance of the status quo. It constituted, however, a condition of affairs very favourable to the Belgians. The retention of the districts of Limburg and Luxemburg, which, according to the twenty-four articles, should have formed part of Holland, compensated them amply for the small inconveniences imposed upon them by the refusal of the Court of the Hague to acknowledge their independence and the sovereignty of their King. Five years later, in 1838, this fact was brought home to them when, the King of the Netherlands having announced his intention of adhering to the separation treaty, the Powers insisted upon the surrender to him of those territories. By that time, however, Leopold had obtained the recognition of all the great European Courts with the exception of that of Russia, whilst, relieved from the fear of aggression on the part of the Dutch, his kingdom had already begun to thrive and to prosper greatly.

It was the firm and skilful hand of Palmerston which had guided the conference through a sea of dangers to the creation of a free and independent Belgium. But if the chief credit for the successful [Pg 144]termination of these protracted negotiations should be given to the English statesman, second honours, without doubt, should be assigned to Talleyrand. The veteran diplomatist was no friend to Belgium, but he was a consistent supporter of the British alliance. The exceptional position, which his age and his reputation permitted him to assume, enabled him on many occasions to uphold successfully the English policy against his own sovereign and his government. In 1814, at the Congress of Vienna, friendship with England had been the object of his untiring efforts. But, if he looked upon a close understanding with that Power as highly advantageous to the restored Bourbons, he regarded it as a matter of vital necessity to the Monarchy of July. An intimate union with England, he was convinced, was Louis Philippe’s best security against the malevolent hostility of the Northern Courts.

The Belgian conference had shown that, in the person of Lord Palmerston, a worthy successor to Canning had entered the arena of European politics. As was the case with that statesman, Palmerston soon came to be regarded with the bitterest dislike in the Courts and Cabinets of the absolute Powers. Metternich hoped devoutly that the Tories might soon be back in office, and, not without good reason, expressed a pious wish that never again might a conference take place in London.[268] The real weakness of the absolute Courts had transpired all too clearly in the course of the negotiations.

[Pg 145]



Scarcely had the withdrawal of the French troops from Belgium been effected, than grave news was received from the east. At Konieh, in Asia Minor, on December 21, 1832, Ibrahim Pasha, the son of Mehemet Ali, the rebellious viceroy of Egypt, was reported to have inflicted so signal a defeat upon the Turkish army, as to place it beyond the Sultan’s power to resist his advance to the shores of the Bosphorus. The dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, with all the fearful complications which it would entail, appeared to be upon the point of taking place.

The Sultan, Mahmud II., had always been keenly alive to the necessity of remedying the decrepit condition of his Empire. But only a Peter the Great could have eradicated effectually the many evils from which Turkey was suffering, and Mahmud was merely an Oriental despot. All through his reign, however, he set himself resolutely to destroy the almost independent power which some of his Pashas had begun to assume over the provinces which they governed. He imposed the European dress upon his ministers and officials, he introduced the French system of drill into his army, and he exterminated the janissaries, when they rebelled against his innovations. Even at a time of profound peace reforms of this superficial character could have effected little real improvement. Under the actual conditions under which they were [Pg 146]carried out they proved a cause of anarchy and a further source of weakness to the State.

In 1821 the Sublime Porte was called upon to deal at the same time with the rebellion of Ali, the celebrated “Lion of Janina,” and with the more serious national rising of the Greeks. After the struggle in the Morea had been carried on for three years, with ruthless barbarity on both sides, the Sultan was reluctantly compelled to invoke the aid of his too powerful vassal, the Pasha of Egypt. The intervention of the well-equipped fleet of Mehemet Ali deprived the Greeks of the sea power, which had been the secret of their success. Nevertheless, Ibrahim’s invasion of the Morea in 1825, by compelling the Powers to interfere, gave Greece her independence. The romantic episodes of the struggle, the classic memories with which the theatre of war was associated, had gained for the insurgents the popular sympathies of the western nations. The philhellenism of the French and English people gradually drove Villèle[269] and Canning to concert measures for terminating the conflict with Nicholas, whose subjects were eager to strike a blow on behalf of their co-religionists.

Negotiations proceeded slowly, but, on July 6, 1827, Great Britain, France and Russia bound themselves by treaty to obtain the autonomy of the Morea. Moreover, in a secret article, it was provided that an armistice was to be proposed to both sides to be enforced by such means as might “suggest themselves to the prudence of the High Contracting Parties.” Three months later, on October 20, the allied fleets of the three Christian Powers, under the command of Codrington, the senior admiral, were face to face with the Mussulman armada in the Bay of Navarino. Immediate hostilities were probably not intended, but a dispute about the position of a fire-ship led to an [Pg 147]exchange of shots. Before nightfall the “untoward event” had come to pass—the Turkish and Egyptian fleets had been destroyed completely.

Mahmud in his fury proclaimed a holy war, and declared null and void the convention of Akkerman, which he had recently concluded with Russia for the settlement of certain points, long in dispute between the two Powers. Canning was dead and Wellington was determined to abstain rigidly from anything in the nature of hostile action against Turkey. Nevertheless, under the conditions which had been created by Canning’s departure from the traditional policy of his party, he could do nothing to prevent Nicholas from appealing to the last argument of princes. On May 6, 1828, the Russians crossed the Pruth and the war began, which British and Austrian diplomacy had always striven to avert. The Turks, however, in a struggle with their hereditary foes displayed unexpected powers of resistance, and it was not until September 14, 1829, when Constantinople appeared to lie at the mercy of the invaders, that peace was concluded at Adrianople.

In accordance with his promises to the Powers, Nicholas had exacted no cession of territory in Europe. But Turkey had been compelled to grant a practical independence to the Danubian principalities, to pay a heavy war indemnity and to surrender to Russia Anapi and Poti on the eastern shore of the Black Sea. Moreover, the Sultan was forced to acknowledge the complete independence of Greece, which was placed under the guarantee of Great Britain, France and Russia. The loss of the Morea was a serious blow to the Porte. Not only was the Turkish navy deprived of its finest recruiting ground, but the countenance given by the Powers to the rising of the Greeks necessarily had a most disturbing effect upon all the Christian subjects of the Sultan.

[Pg 148]

Whilst the power of the Sultan was thus sensibly diminished, Mehemet Ali, who had taken no part in the Russian war, was preparing to avail himself of the embarrassed condition of the Empire for the prosecution of his own designs. This remarkable man was born at Cawala, a small seaport town in Roumelia, in 1769, the year which gave birth to Napoleon Bonaparte and to Wellington. His father was a yeoman farmer and he himself, in early life, was a small trader in tobacco. In 1798, however, Bonaparte’s descent upon Egypt gave him his opportunity. Young Ali sailed for the country in which he was so rapidly to acquire fame, in the rank of second-in-command to a regiment of Bashi-Bazouks. In the troublous times which followed, his military talents and his statesmanlike qualities soon brought him into prominence. In 1804, the sheikhs of Cairo elected him Pasha, and, two years later, a, firman of the Sultan confirmed their selection. The last obstacle to his complete ascendency over Egypt was removed, on March 1, 1811, by the terrible affair known as the massacre of the Mamelukes. The Beys and chiefs, to the number of 470, were invited to witness the ceremony of investing his second son with the command of the army destined for operations against the Wahabites. These men versed in all the wiles and stratagems of eastern politics complied, and walked blindly into the trap set for them by one who, they must have known, was their deadly enemy. On leaving the citadel of Cairo they were relentlessly shot down by a picked body of the Pasha’s Albanian troops, at a point where the road becomes a narrow winding pathway cut out of the rock. Alone Emin Bey, by blindfolding his horse and by forcing him through a gap and down a high, precipitous bank, succeeded in escaping from the scene of slaughter.[270]

During the next few years Mehemet Ali won a [Pg 149]high reputation in the Moslem world by his wars against the Wahabites, and by his deliverance of the Holy Cities of Medina and Mecca from these enemies of the true faith. He had always entertained a great liking and admiration for Europeans, and his experience of French and English troops had impressed him with the superiority of western over eastern methods. As early as 1803 he had begun to build up a fleet, and with the assistance of Colonel Sèves, known in Egypt as Soliman Pasha, a former aide-de-camp of Marshal Ney, he hoped to obtain an army trained and disciplined on a European model. His efforts had been so far crowned with success, that, but for the intervention of the Powers, his son Ibrahim would, unquestionably, have crushed the Greek rebellion.

Mehemet Ali’s curious experiment in state socialism can be discussed more conveniently later on. Suffice it to say that, unsound as was his economic system, and destined as it was largely to contribute to his ultimate undoing, it, for a time, furnished him with ample funds for the prosecution of his ambitious schemes. By nature he appears to have been rather a kind-hearted than a cruel man. To some extent, without doubt, he was an oppressor of the people, yet at the same time he constantly protected them from the ill-treatment and exactions of his officials. But, although he was too large-minded to find any satisfaction in useless tyranny, when he conceived that reasons of state called for their application, he would resort unhesitatingly to the most ruthless measures.[271] In passing judgment on Mehemet Ali, however, it must always be remembered that he was an altogether illiterate man, who had only taught himself to read in middle life by dint of great [Pg 150]perseverance. Nor should it be forgotten that Egypt, when he assumed the supreme control, was in a state of confusion and anarchy almost impossible to realize.

It was not loyalty which had prompted Mehemet Ali to assist the Porte to crush the Greek insurrection. In 1822 he had obtained the island of Crete from the Sultan, and the Morea and the pashalics of Syria and Damascus were to have been his rewards in 1825. The intervention of the Powers had deprived him of the Morea, which he had always regarded as one of the gates of Constantinople. After the Russo-Turkish war, however, he felt confident of his ability to take forcible possession of Syria, the eastern avenue of approach to the Imperial city. A quarrel with Abdullah Pasha of Acre furnished him with an excuse for setting his army and his fleet in motion. On November 1, 1831, a force of about 10,000 Egyptians, under Ibrahim, entered Syria and laid siege to the fortress of Saint-Jean d’Acre.

To the commissioner of the Porte sent to remonstrate with him for thus invading a neighbouring pashalic, without the permission of the Sultan, Mehemet Ali loudly protested the loyalty of his intentions. The presumptuous Abdullah, he swore, had “insulted his beard whitened in the service of his sovereign,” and, in the interests of the Porte, he now proposed to chastise his arrogance. These assurances were, however, estimated at their true value, and neither the Sultan nor his ministers had had any doubts that the Pasha was now launched upon a career of conquest.[272] The destruction of his powerful vassal had, for many years past, been an object very near to Mahmud’s heart. To accomplish this purpose, he was prepared to strain to their uttermost the exhausted resources of the empire. His favourite, Hosrew, the [Pg 151]Seraskier,[273] was the sworn enemy of Mehemet Ali, and both the Grand Vizier and the Capudan Pasha[274] were the creatures of this minister.[275] On the other hand, however, the Ulemas and the Mullahs argued in favour of an arrangement with the rebellious viceroy, even at the price of large concessions. The three guaranteeing Powers had settled upon the boundaries of the new Kingdom of Greece, and Sir Stratford Canning was about to arrive at Constantinople to arrange the final conditions of separation with the Porte. But, were peace to be maintained with the Pasha of Egypt, contended the true Mussulman party, a united front could be turned to Europe, and the concessions demanded, in respect of Greece, might be scornfully rejected.[276]

Notwithstanding his wrath, this consideration appears to have carried some weight with the Sultan. But his hesitation was not of long duration. Hussein Pasha, a former janissary, and Mahmud’s chief instrument in the destruction of his comrades, was appointed to the command of the troops in Syria. No pains were spared to render the army of operations as efficient and as numerous as possible, and, early in May, both Mehemet Ali and Ibrahim were declared outlaws. Meanwhile, the siege of Acre had been proceeding, but the defence was stubborn, and it was not until May 27, 1832, that Ibrahim carried the fortress by storm. The victorious general now set his face northwards. On June 15, Damascus opened its gates, and, on July 9, he defeated the advanced Turkish troops at Homs. A week later, he entered Aleppo, and, on July 29, routed Hussein Pasha himself, who had taken up a strong position near [Pg 152]Alexandretta. This victory left him free to pass the Taurus mountains and to enter Asia Minor.

It was to the politic attitude which he had observed towards the people of the country through which he had passed, rather than to any superiority of his Arab troops over the Turks, that the success of Ibrahim’s invasion should be ascribed. In those wild and mountainous districts any resistance on the part of the inhabitants must have greatly impeded the advance of an army. Ibrahim, however, maintained the strictest discipline, and paid promptly for all the requirements of his troops. The people, contrasting his behaviour with the treatment they had been accustomed to experience at the hands of the Turks, were strongly impressed in favour of the Egyptians.[277] The Emir Beshir, the powerful chief of the Lebanon, threw in his lot with the invaders. The warlike Druses and the Maronites tendered Ibrahim their services. Christians were won over by promises of equal rights, and Moslems by the prospect of escaping from Ottoman oppression. Ibrahim’s troops were equipped in European fashion, but there was nothing about their uniform which could offend the most rigid Mussulman. He himself was dressed in the same simple manner as his soldiers, and he affected always to be a strict observer of Turkish customs. Although in private, in the company of the Christian officers of his staff, he would often indulge freely in French wine, in public he was never seen to drink anything stronger than water.[278]

Ibrahim’s rapid succession of victories and his continued advance filled the Sultan with consternation. Having resolved to throw all the resources of the [Pg 153]Empire into the struggle with Mehemet Ali he could not afford to quarrel with the Christian Powers. Stratford Canning, accordingly, experienced little difficulty in bringing the Porte to agree to the conditions under which it was proposed that Greece should be separated from Turkey. Soon after his arrival, however, on May 17, in the course of a confidential talk, Mustafa-Effendi, the Sultan’s private secretary, let fall certain expressions indicative of a desire on the part of his master to enter into a close and intimate connection with England.[279] On August 7, 1832, on the occasion of Sir Stratford’s audience for the purpose of taking leave, the Sultan “honoured him with the gift of his portrait suspended by a gold chain and set in brilliants,” a mark of His Highness’ consideration which, the ambassador reported, “was without precedent.”[280] Direct proposals for the conclusion of an alliance between England and Turkey were immediately afterwards made to him both by the Reis-Effendi[281] and by the Sultan himself.[282] Furthermore, M. Maurojeni, the Turkish chargé d’affaires at Vienna, was sent to London to sound the British government upon the subject, and, on October 18, Namic Pasha, a major-general of the Imperial Guard, set out for England with a letter from His Highness to King William IV. praying for naval assistance on the coast of Syria.[283]

Had the decision rested with Palmerston alone it is possible that aid of some kind might have been furnished to the Porte. But the majority of the members of the Cabinet were strongly averse to embarking upon any fresh adventure, while the Belgian [Pg 154]question was still unsettled. Moreover, since the conclusion of the great war, the naval establishments had been cut down to so low a point that it would have been highly inconvenient to reinforce the Mediterranean squadron. The British chargé d’affaires at Constantinople was, therefore, instructed to inform the Porte that “naval assistance was a matter of greater difficulty than at first sight it would appear to be.” Nevertheless, the request was regarded as a striking proof of the Sultan’s confidence in British friendship, and His Majesty’s government would at once convey to Mehemet Ali “an expression of regret that he should so far have forgotten what was due to his Sovereign.”[284] This was all the comfort which Mandeville was able to give to the distracted Turkish ministers, at the moment when the news reached Constantinople that the Grand Vizier had been completely defeated at Konieh, that he himself was a prisoner in Ibrahim’s hands and that, in the words of the Reis-Effendi, “the Turkish army existed no longer.”[285]

A few days before the arrival of the news of the disaster at Konieh, the Russian general, Muravieff, suddenly appeared at Constantinople. On December 23 both he and Boutenieff, the Russian ambassador, had a conference with the Reis-Effendi and the Seraskier, and, on the 27th, the general was received in private audience by the Sultan, to whom he presented a letter from the Tsar. No mystery was made of the fact that Muravieff had been charged to proceed to Cairo, to warn Mehemet Ali that, should he persist in refusing to make his submission to the Sultan, he would bring down upon himself the wrath of the Emperor Nicholas. But both Mandeville and Varennes, the French chargé d’affaires, were soon satisfied, notwithstanding the [Pg 155]secrecy with which the Russian proceedings were surrounded, that an offer of military assistance had been tendered to the Porte. Their information was correct.[286] Boutenieff had offered to place a squadron of the Black Sea fleet at the Sultan’s disposal, but his Highness, with profuse expressions of gratitude, had declined the proffered assistance. Rather than accept help from Russia, he was prepared to humble his pride and to send Halil Pasha to attempt to arrange a settlement with his rebellious vassal. On January 5, 1833, this decision was conveyed to Boutenieff, whereupon Muravieff at once set out upon his mission to Mehemet Ali, the Sultan’s envoy, Halil Pasha, having already started upon his way to Alexandria.

There had, for a long time past, been a disposition in England to regard French relations with Egypt with suspicion. Ever since Bonaparte’s descent upon the country, Egypt was believed to have a sentimental attraction for the French. Now that by their acquisition of Algiers, they had gained a footing upon the African shore of the Mediterranean, this feeling of distrust had increased. It was remembered that Polignac had seriously entertained the notion of subsidizing Mehemet Ali and of employing a corps of Egyptian troops in the Algerian expedition. During the course of Ibrahim’s campaign in Syria, both Stratford Canning and Mandeville had looked with sour disapproval upon Varennes’ efforts to persuade the Porte to allow France to mediate between the Sultan and the Pasha.[287] But both the French and English governments were agreed as to the necessity of [Pg 156]preserving the Ottoman Empire and were resolved to prevent, if possible, the Porte from falling completely under the influence of Russia. The Duc de Broglie, when he learnt that offers of assistance had been made to the Sultan by Boutenieff, at once suggested the joint mediation of France and England in the Turco-Egyptian dispute, and was greatly disappointed to find that his proposal met with no response in London. Palmerston, for the present, was content to direct Lord Ponsonby to proceed from Naples to Constantinople, as ambassador to the Porte, and to despatch Colonel Campbell to Egypt, in the capacity of British agent and consul-general, with instructions to communicate “freely and confidentially” with the French and Austrian representatives at Alexandria.[288]

It was one of the ironies of the situation that, at this time, when Russia was suspected of intending to put into execution long-matured schemes against the integrity of the Ottoman Empire, her traditional policy towards Turkey had in fact been completely reversed. As far back as the year 1802 the minister, Kotchuby, taking as his text Montesquieu’s doctrine that no Power can have a better neighbour than a weak State, had drawn up a memorandum to prove that the preservation, not the destruction, of Turkey should be the object of Russian policy. More recently, in 1829, when the terms of the peace of Adrianople were under consideration, the members of the eastern committee had endorsed Kotchuby’s views, and the Tsar Nicholas had reluctantly adopted their conclusions.[289] Muravieff’s instructions had been drawn strictly in this spirit. Mehemet Ali, Nesselrode laid [Pg 157]down, must not be allowed to reach Constantinople and to overthrow the existing régime. Such a development would be opposed to the Imperial policy, which aimed at maintaining Turkey in her present “stationary condition.” Should the Pasha succeed in establishing himself at Constantinople, Russia would be placed “in contact with a strong and victorious Power instead of a weak and defeated neighbour.”[290]

Meanwhile, Ibrahim who was still at Konieh was believed to be on the point of moving forward to Brusa.[291] Both to Colonel Duhamel, Muravieff’s aide-de-camp, and to a messenger despatched to him by M. de Varennes, he returned the same answer. He was a soldier and must obey his orders, his father alone could decide upon his movements. He should be sorry to displease the Emperor Nicholas, but he must abide by his instructions.[292] Ibrahim’s uncompromising attitude overcame the Sultan’s hesitation. Boutenieff was informed that the promised naval assistance would be thankfully accepted and that, in addition, His Highness craved for the despatch of 30,000 Russian troops for the defence of his capital. The Sultan knew well that to invoke the military protection of the Tsar must lower him in the eyes of his subjects and of every true Mussulman. But, upon the whole, he regarded it as less dangerous than to allow Ibrahim to advance to the shores of the Bosphorus. It was in vain, therefore, that Varennes and Mandeville exerted themselves to induce the Porte to withdraw the demand for Russian help.[293] “A drowning man,” said the Reis-Effendi, “will clutch at a serpent.”[294]

[Pg 158]

Early in February Muravieff was back at Constantinople. The terms which Halil Pasha had been empowered to offer had not been accepted, but Mehemet Ali had promised Muravieff that, for the present, the Egyptian army should not advance beyond Kiutayeh.[295] Upon the news that no immediate forward movement on the part of Ibrahim was to be apprehended, both the French and British ministers again endeavoured to persuade the Porte to ask that the despatch of the Russian succour might be delayed. According to the Reis-Effendi such a request was actually made to Boutenieff, who replied that he had no ship at his disposal to send to Sevastopol, although a Russian brig of war was at the time at anchor in front of the embassy.[296] On the other hand, accounts of these proceedings, derived from Russian sources, state that the question of postponing the departure of the fleet was never seriously raised.[297] Be that as it may, on February 20, 1833, the Russian squadron, consisting of four sail of the line, three large frigates, a corvette and a brig, entered the Bosphorus and anchored at Buyukdere.

Three days earlier, on February 17, Admiral Roussin, the newly appointed French ambassador to the Sublime Porte, arrived at Constantinople. Upon the appearance of the Russian fleet he at once instructed his dragoman to warn the Porte that, unless the admiral in command were requested to depart within twenty-four hours, he should consider his mission at an end. At the same time he tried to induce the British minister to make a similar representation. Mandeville, however, could only reply that he had no authority “to hold language of so high and energetic a character.” Roussin appears to have seen very soon [Pg 159]that he had acted with undue precipitation, and that his own withdrawal would not hasten by an hour the departure of the Russian ships. But his next step was scarcely more judicious. On the 21st, he affixed his signature to a document guaranteeing that Mehemet Ali would make peace with the Sultan, upon the terms proposed by Halil Pasha and which had already been rejected. In return the Sublime Porte was to undertake to refuse “foreign succour” of any kind in the future.[298]

It was hoped to satisfy Mehemet Ali by conferring upon him the government of the districts of Acre, Naplous, Jerusalem and Tripoli. He, however, was resolved to extend his rule over the whole of Syria, and to acquire, in addition, the pashalic of Adana and the seaports of Selefkeh and Alaia. Adana possessed an especial value in his eyes, by reason of its forests from which he proposed to obtain the timber necessary for the building of his ships. He understood the difficulties of the Sultan’s position and he was well informed about the rivalries of the Powers.[299] He perceived clearly that he was never likely again to have so favourable an opportunity for pressing his demands upon the Porte. On March 23, accordingly, Reshid Bey arrived at Constantinople bringing a letter in which Mehemet Ali rejected scornfully Admiral Roussin’s proposals. He would rather, he declared, meet with an honourable death than submit to be deprived of territories which were his by right of conquest. At the same time, Ibrahim was directed to march on Constantinople if, within five days of Reshid’s arrival, the Sultan should not have agreed to the required concessions.[300]

Terrible consternation prevailed in the Seraglio, [Pg 160]and great was the perplexity at the French and British embassies. Roussin counselled a complete surrender to Mehemet Ali, and Mandeville had no alternative to propose. It was decided, finally, that a Turkish plenipotentiary should proceed, accompanied by M. de Varennes, to Ibrahim’s headquarters at Kiutayeh with authority to offer the pashalics of Damascus and Aleppo.[301] Ibrahim, however, would not entertain the idea of a compromise, and Varennes could only report the failure of his mission and advise the cession of Adana. In opposition to the recommendations of Mandeville, but with the approbation of Admiral Roussin, the Sultan consented to yield up to his vassal this valuable district.[302] The preliminaries of this agreement, known as the Convention of Kiutayeh were signed on April 8, 1833, and Ibrahim forthwith began his preparations for retiring into Syria.

In the meantime, however, on April 6, a second division of the Russian fleet had arrived in the Bosphorus and 5000 troops had been disembarked on the Asiatic shore opposite to the British embassy at Therapia. The Tsar Nicholas was greatly incensed at Admiral Roussin’s attempts to induce the Porte to ask for the withdrawal of his squadron. Pozzo di Borgo was, in consequence, charged to protest vigorously in Paris against the admiral’s conduct, and the complaints of the Russian ambassador were warmly supported by his colleagues of Austria and Prussia. Broglie, although he might allow Lord Granville to perceive that he was not altogether convinced of the wisdom of Roussin’s actions, invariably met the representations of the agents of the Northern Courts with the reply that the admiral’s conduct was fully approved of by his government.[303] [Pg 161]At Constantinople Boutenieff declared emphatically that nothing short of the complete evacuation of Asia Minor by the Egyptians would induce his Imperial master to recall either his fleet or his troops to Sevastopol.[304]

When the list of the pashalics to which Mehemet Ali had been appointed was officially made public, it was seen that no mention had been made of the province of Adana. Upon hearing of this breach of the Convention of Kiutayeh, Ibrahim promptly arrested the homeward march of his army.[305] A few days later, however, on April 22, a third division of the Russian fleet and a second detachment of troops entered the Bosphorus. These reinforcements, which should have added to the Sultan’s powers of resistance, became, in effect, the determining cause of his decision finally to give way about Adana. Ever since the entry of Ibrahim into Asia Minor, the people of Constantinople had been deprived of their usual sources of supply. The necessity of provisioning the Russian fleet and corps d’armée had greatly aggravated the difficulties of the situation. Confronted by the prospect of a famine and a rising of the populace, Mahmud elected to humble his pride and to obtain the withdrawal of the Egyptians at the price of the surrender of Adana.[306] Yet he could not bring himself openly to nominate his rebellious vassal to the governorship of this important province. Ibrahim was, in consequence, officially appointed collector of the crown revenues of the district. Mehemet Ali, provided he could exercise an effective dominion over Adana, was content, in this instance, to waive his claim to be styled its Pasha. In point of fact he was delighted that matters had been so satisfactorily [Pg 162]arranged. Under Campbell’s threat that, should he persist in claiming Adana, the coast of Egypt would be blockaded by the British fleet, he had actually announced his intention of withdrawing his demand, when the news arrived that the Sultan had invested his son with the administration of the territory in dispute.[307] Relations of amity were thus once more officially established between the Sublime Porte and the Pasha.

On May 1 Lord Ponsonby, the newly appointed British ambassador, arrived at Constantinople, preceding by three days Count Orloff, the generalissimo of the Russian military and naval forces in the Black Sea and the Bosphorus, and Ambassador-Extraordinary to the Sublime Porte. His appointment was due to the Tsar’s desire to be represented at Constantinople by some one who could be depended upon resolutely to oppose Admiral Roussin. Boutenieff appears to have been considered as somewhat deficient both in energy and strength of character. Orloff had been furnished with very wide powers, but he was charged to regard the task of convincing the Sultan and his ministers that their safety entirely depended upon the degree of support which, in the future, the Tsar might be disposed to afford them, as the primary object of his mission. He must be admitted to have carried out his instructions most faithfully. From the day of his arrival Russian influence was supreme at the Porte and in the Divan. Roussin’s request that French war ships should be allowed to pass through the Dardanelles was peremptorily refused. Ponsonby saw clearly that, for the time being, he must submit to be overshadowed completely by the Russian ambassador. For the present he could only gaze moodily from [Pg 163]his windows at the Russian encampment in the valley of Unkiar-Skelessi and endeavour to restrain his French colleague from affording Orloff any excuse for delaying the departure of his troops. At last, on July 9 and 10, the Egyptian withdrawal behind the Taurus mountains having been completely carried out, the Tsar’s soldiers were embarked and his ships sailed out of the Bosphorus.[308]

For some weeks prior to the departure of the Russian expedition, it had been reported that an offensive and defensive treaty was on the point of being concluded between the Tsar and the Sultan.[309] The truth of this rumour was confirmed after Orloff had quitted Constantinople. It would appear that it was the Sultan himself who first suggested an alliance, at an audience accorded to Orloff shortly after his arrival, and that Ahmed Pasha acted as the intermediary between the palace and the Russian embassy in the very secret negotiations which followed. The diplomatic instrument, known as the Treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi, concluded between the Porte and Russia on July 8, 1833, for a duration of eight years, consisted of six public and one secret article. The public articles merely proclaimed the existence of peace and friendship between the two Empires and provided for their mutual succour in case of need. The whole importance of the treaty lay in the secret clause in which it was stipulated that, inasmuch as Russia had no intention of exercising her right to ask for military assistance, the Porte, in return, would, “upon demand and in accordance with the [Pg 164]principle of reciprocity,”[310] close the Dardanelles to the warships of all nations.

It appears that, when it became necessary to inform the Turkish ministers of the projected treaty, they one and all evinced the greatest repugnance to the idea of an alliance with their hereditary enemies. But, at the news that the British fleet was approaching the Dardanelles, they withdrew their objections. They had besought the British government for naval assistance in the struggle with Mehemet Ali, and their request had been refused. The arrival, on June 25, in the Bay of Tenedos of Sir Pulteney Malcolm’s squadron, which, a few months earlier, could have intercepted the communications with Egypt and changed the course of the campaign, now only served to revive painful recollections of Admiral Duckworth’s proceedings in 1807.[311]

The question of access to the sea, which bathes the coasts of the richest provinces of the Empire, must necessarily be a matter of the highest importance to Russia. The principle of regarding the Black Sea as a mare clausum found a place in the treaty concluded between the Porte and Russia, on December 23, 1798. It was again inserted into the treaty of September 23, 1805, but with this important addition—that to the Russian fleet was granted a right of passage to the Mediterranean through the straits. These conditions, however, had been terminated by the outbreak of hostilities in 1806, and in the subsequent treaty of peace, signed at Bucharest on May 10, 1812, no mention was made of the special privilege which Russia had obtained seven years before. Again in the treaty of peace concluded between Great Britain and Turkey, on January 5, 1809, England undertook to observe “the ancient rule of the Ottoman Empire,” which [Pg 165]declared the straits of Constantinople closed to the warships of the Powers. But this arrangement, which had ever since been regarded as a law of nations, was suddenly terminated by the act, signed at the palace of Unkiar-Skelessi, restoring Russia to the favoured position which she had enjoyed for a brief space of time in 1805. No specific mention, it was true, had been made of her right of passage to and from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. Nevertheless, although for obvious reasons both Russian and Turkish ministers might prefer to elude a direct statement on the subject, they unquestionably placed this interpretation upon Orloff’s treaty.[312] It was in this light also that it was looked upon by Lord Palmerston and the Duc de Broglie.

At the suggestion of Broglie,[313] as it would appear, the French and English governments resolved to instruct their representatives at Constantinople to advise the Porte not to ratify the treaty. But, should the Sultan confirm the signatures of his plenipotentiaries, they were to hand in a note, pointing out that by the treaty the relations of Turkey with Russia seemed to have been placed upon an entirely new footing. In the event of this changed situation leading to the armed interference of Russia in the internal affairs of Turkey, France and Great Britain were resolved to act as the circumstances might appear to require, “equally as if the treaty above mentioned were not in existence.”[314] Directly it had been reported that this note had been presented to the Porte, a copy of it was transmitted to the French and British ministers at St. Petersburg, for communication to the Imperial Cabinet. Nesselrode in reply contended that the treaty was purely defensive and aimed solely at [Pg 166]the preservation of Turkey. It had, it was true, changed the relations of the two Empires towards each other. It had converted a state of hostility and suspicion into one of friendship and confidence. His Majesty the Emperor was determined, should circumstances demand it, faithfully to carry out the obligations which he had contracted, “as though the declaration contained in the French and British notes did not exist.”[315] In return Lord Palmerston reiterated the dissatisfaction with which the treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi was regarded in England. This despatch was in due course communicated to Count Nesselrode by Mr. Bligh, the British chargé d’affaires, who, as he placed it in the hands of the Russian chancellor, added that his government “was resolved not to be drawn into a controversy upon a question in which it differed so widely from the Imperial Cabinet.”[316]

In the meantime, a meeting had taken place, in September, at Münchengrätz, between the Tsar of Russia, the Emperor of Austria and the Crown Prince of Prussia. The object of this interview had been officially ascribed solely to a desire upon the part of Nicholas to become better acquainted with the Emperor Francis.[317] This explanation, which was received with contemptuous derision by Palmerston,[318] and which Bligh “could scarcely read with becoming gravity,” deceived nobody. In point of fact weighty political matters were the subject of the deliberations of these potentates and their confidential advisers. The formation of a league of the three Northern Courts to resist the doctrine of non-intervention had, ever since the Revolution of July, been the favourite scheme of Nicholas and Metternich. Frederick William III., [Pg 167]however, was doubtful of the wisdom of openly resuscitating the Holy Alliance. He was strongly impressed with the dangers of a policy, which must necessarily draw a sharp dividing line between the absolute and the constitutional Powers. For this reason neither the King of Prussia nor his chief minister travelled to the little town on the Bohemian frontier to assist at the deliberations. But, after the two Emperors had set out on their return to their respective capitals, Nesselrode journeyed to Berlin and succeeded in inducing the King of Prussia to become a party to the convention to which Nicholas and Francis had given their adherence. By this treaty, signed at Berlin, on October 15, 1833, the right of every independent sovereign to call to his aid another sovereign was proclaimed. Should one of the three Courts see fit to render material assistance to any sovereign, and should such action be opposed by another Power, the three Courts would consider any interference of this kind in the light of an act of hostility directed against them all.

In consequence of the objections of the King of Prussia, the plan of transmitting this convention to the French government was abandoned. But the principle, which it involved, formed the subject of separate despatches, couched in more or less threatening language, which the agents of the three Northern Courts in Paris duly communicated to the Duc de Broglie. The Duke, however, declared emphatically that, whatever her attitude might be as regards more distant States, France would assuredly resist by force of arms any intervention in Switzerland, Belgium or Piedmont. Moreover, he caused a circular to be sent to all French representatives at foreign Courts clearly defining the line of action which would be adopted in cases of intervention. The boldness of his language came as a disagreeable surprise to Metternich. The [Pg 168]Northern Courts, when they made their communications to the French government, had not intended to provoke a defiant rejoinder of this kind.

At their meeting at Münchengrätz, however, the two Emperors had not been concerned exclusively with the question of intervention, and with their policy towards France. On September 18, 1833, Nesselrode and Metternich signed a convention, pledging Russia and Austria to combine for the preservation of the Ottoman empire. The contracting parties specifically undertook to oppose any extension of the authority of Mehemet Ali over the European provinces of Turkey. Lastly, should the existing régime at Constantinople be overturned, Russia and Austria agreed to act in concert on every point relating to the establishment of a new order of affairs.[319]

Unfortunately, Nicholas saw fit to insist that absolute secrecy should be observed with regard to this convention, which might, with so much advantage, have been communicated to the western Powers. He probably feared that Russia’s changed policy towards Turkey would be ascribed to alarm, engendered by Admiral Roussin’s hostile attitude at Constantinople. Sincerely desirous as he was to conciliate the English government, he would not consent to admit, so long as France and Great Britain were intimately united, that Russia had renounced her old ambition of establishing her power upon the Bosphorus. But, although his pride would not allow him frankly to explain his eastern policy to the British government, he was at pains to convince Mr. Bligh of the purity of his intentions. He was a “chevalier anglais,” he reminded him at the conclusion of a long talk about the Treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi, and, pointing to his star of the Garter, twice repeated the words “Honi soit [Pg 169]qui mal y pense.”[320] But assurances of this kind carried no weight with the English government. Russia was universally believed to be moving steadily towards Constantinople. The chief organs of the press accused her daily of secretly preparing to conquer or to absorb the Ottoman empire. The most extreme Radicals in the reformed Parliament, and Tory gentlemen, the hunting friends of Matuszewic,[321] at Melton, were alike convinced of the duplicity and of the aggressive character of Russian policy.

It was necessarily a matter of the deepest interest to both Palmerston and Broglie to ascertain the spirit in which Metternich would regard the Treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi. The despatches from Vienna, however, speedily dispelled the hope that the dominant position which Russia had acquired at Constantinople would meet with the disapproval of Austria. Metternich’s lips were sealed on the subject of the Austro-Russian convention respecting Turkey, and he could, in consequence, only declare emphatically that he felt no distrust of Russia, and was satisfied that she harboured no hostile designs against Turkey. If England, he reminded Lamb,[322] had not refused the Sultan the assistance for which he had asked, he would not have been driven to look to Russia as his sole protector against Mehemet Ali. Neither Palmerston nor Broglie believed that these expressions of confidence in the honest intentions of Russia represented Metternich’s real convictions. Both attributed his attitude to his intense fear of revolution, which made him wilfully blind to the schemes which Russia was maturing so craftily. But, so long as he [Pg 170]should continue in this frame of mind, they were agreed that it would be “imprudent for Great Britain and France to found upon the treaty any measures of decided hostility.”[323] For the present, therefore, they were content to exercise the greatest vigilance, and to be prepared for fresh developments. Every endeavour, however, was to be made to open the eyes of the Sultan to the real nature of his position, and to induce him to withdraw from the fatal alliance into which he had been inveigled. At the same time it was greatly to be desired that Russia should be afforded no excuse for intervening under the stipulations of Orloff’s treaty. A fresh quarrel between the Porte and Mehemet Ali was the only circumstance which could possibly justify such action on her part. The whole influence of Great Britain and France must, accordingly, be exerted to prevent the Pasha from committing any renewed act of aggression.[324]

[Pg 171]



The growing power of Mehemet Ali, and the increasing decrepitude of the Ottoman Empire were not the only subjects which, in the year 1833, engaged the serious attention of the European Cabinets. A civil war was in progress in Portugal, and Spain was threatened with the same calamity. Dom Pedro, the Emperor of Brazil, had, on the death of his father, abdicated the crown of Portugal in favour of his seven year old daughter, Donna Maria de Gloria. At the same time he had appointed his brother, Dom Miguel, to the Regency, on the understanding that he would agree to observe the Charter, and to marry his niece, the young Queen. Dom Miguel gave the required assurances, but upon his arrival at Lisbon, early in the year 1828, he proceeded to abrogate the constitution, and shortly afterwards to usurp the throne. His unlawful assumption of the crown was followed by harsh and reactionary measures against Liberals and Freemasons, which culminated in the establishment of a veritable reign of terror. It was in consequence of this state of affairs, that, in July, 1831, a French fleet had, with the full approval of the British government, been dispatched to the Tagus to exact reparation for outrages committed on French subjects.[325]

Meanwhile, a successful revolution in Brazil had compelled Dom Pedro to seek refuge in England, [Pg 172]where he arrived with his daughter at the very moment when Admiral Roussin’s squadron was before Lisbon. The fallen Emperor threw himself heart and soul into the task of reconquering his daughter’s kingdom. Lord Grey’s Cabinet regarded his warlike preparations with tacit approval, whilst the French government openly encouraged him, and allowed his followers to assemble at Belle-Isle. The constitutional fleet, commanded by Sartorius, a British naval officer, set sail from that port on February 10, 1832, and, by the following month of July, Dom Pedro was master of Oporto. But, though he constantly succeeded in defeating the Miguelite forces sent to re-take the city, his cause made little or no progress in other parts of the country.

Whilst these events were taking place in Portugal the health of the King of Spain had been visibly declining. Under ordinary circumstances it would have been a matter for congratulation, rather than for regret, that any country should be relieved from the rule of such a man as Ferdinand VII. In this particular instance, however, it was too probable that a fiercely disputed succession would be the legacy which he would bequeath to his unfortunate subjects. His third wife, Maria Amalia of Saxony, had died on May 17, 1829, and he, thereupon, announced his intention of re-marrying. His choice fell upon an intelligent and attractive woman in the person of his niece, Maria Christina of Naples. His first three marriages had been childless, but his fourth wife, Christina, presented him with a daughter on October 10, 1830. By the ancient law of Spain females could succeed to the throne, in the event of there being no direct male heirs. But in 1713, Philip V., in order to prevent the union of the Spanish and French crowns, had been forced to issue a Pragmatic Sanction, which gave the preference of succession always to the male [Pg 173]line. This act, however, was repealed in 1789 by Charles IV., who restored the ancient law.

This return to the old order of succession was not, however, made public until May 19, 1830, when Christina succeeded in persuading Ferdinand to allow the decree of Charles IV. to be promulgated. Consequently, when some five months later her daughter was born, she was promptly proclaimed Princess of the Asturias, a title only conferred upon an heiress to the throne. A fierce struggle then began between Christina and Don Carlos, who had hitherto been looked upon as his brother’s successor. This prince was the champion of the ultra clerical—the so-called Apostolical party—whereas Christina, who, during her passage through France, had promised to use her influence on behalf of the Spanish political exiles, represented the hopes of the Liberals. Thus, in September, 1832, when Ferdinand was supposed to be at the point of death, the Apostolical minister, Calomarde, succeeded in procuring the abrogation of the law of 1789. But the King most unexpectedly recovered, and, under the influence of Christina, caused the decree of Charles IV. to be promulgated a second time. Calomarde, moreover, was disgraced and dismissed and a comparatively Liberal Cabinet was formed.

From the moment of Dom Pedro’s return to Europe, the French Cabinet had endeavoured to persuade the British government to join with France in expelling Dom Miguel from Portugal. Palmerston, however, had declined to interfere actively.[326] He was very unwilling that France should be afforded an opportunity of extending her influence in Portugal, and he, moreover, suspected Louis Philippe of scheming to marry one of his sons to Donna Maria. But, [Pg 174]provided it could be brought about without a French intervention, he was sincerely anxious that the usurper should be overthrown and that a Liberal régime should be set up at Lisbon. The dismissal of Calomarde appears to have suggested to him that the King of Spain might not be found unwilling to render assistance to the constitutional cause in Portugal. Under ordinary circumstances Ferdinand could scarcely have been expected to regard with a friendly eye the establishment of a limited monarchy in a country bordering upon Spain. But the birth of his daughter had introduced a new element into the situation. Dom Miguel derived his strength from the support of the Apostolical party, which in Spain looked upon Don Carlos as its champion. There were some grounds, therefore, for hoping that Ferdinand’s paternal anxiety to see his daughter Isabella’s succession to the throne assured might prove stronger than his natural aversion to the growth of Liberal institutions in a neighbouring State.

The task of inducing Ferdinand to intervene on behalf of Donna Maria was entrusted to Sir Stratford Canning, who was generally selected for the most difficult negotiations. Canning arrived in Madrid, upon his special mission, at the beginning of January, 1833. His first conferences with the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs convinced him that he had little prospect of bringing his task to a successful conclusion. Compared to a man of the type of Calomarde, Cea Bermúdez, his successor, might seem to be a Liberal. In point of fact, however, although he was strongly opposed to Don Carlos and the clerical party, he was even more hostile to representative institutions in any shape. An enlightened despotism, in his opinion, constituted the best form of government for Spain. Accordingly, he made it very clear that the change of ministry had in no way modified the views of the [Pg 175]Court as to the situation in Portugal. It would be, he declared, altogether inconsistent with honour and good faith for the King to participate in any measures directed against the sovereignty of Dom Miguel.[327]

Stratford Canning, notwithstanding that his task seemed almost hopeless, remained some four months in the Spanish capital. So long as Cea Bermúdez was in power it was plainly useless to expect that Ferdinand could be induced to enter into the views of the British government. Canning, accordingly, set himself to work to undermine the position of that minister. For a brief moment he seems to have been sanguine that, by means of “a difference of opinion in the Cabinet,”he might be able to effect his purpose. But his hopes were speedily dispelled. The three ministers opposed to Cea Bermúdez with whom he had established communication were suddenly dismissed by the King.[328] Nor was he more fortunate with Queen Christina, with whom he contrived “to open a direct and confidential intercourse.”[329] She appeared to agree with him that the triumph of Dom Miguel in Portugal could not fail to react disastrously upon the fortunes of her daughter, but she either could not, or would not influence the King to regard matters in the same light.

Sir Stratford’s difficulties had been aggravated by the news that Dom Pedro’s resources were exhausted, and that his position at Oporto was desperate. But a few weeks after Canning’s departure from Madrid the situation in Portugal assumed a very different complexion. Sartorius, the admiral of the constitutional fleet, had been replaced by Charles Napier, who from the first appears to have judged the political and strategical situation correctly. The mere possession of [Pg 176]Oporto and victorious sallies against the Miguelite lines would never, he saw clearly, win the crown for Donna Maria. A bold move on Lisbon itself could alone give the victory to the constitutionalists. The capital, in his opinion, might be captured, provided he could obtain the command of the sea. Having succeeded in persuading Dom Pedro and his advisers to adopt his views, he sought out the Miguelite fleet, and, on July 5, 1833, despite the inferiority of his ships, completely destroyed it off Cape St. Vincent.[330] Three weeks later, Lisbon was occupied by Terceira, the constitutional general, in the name of Donna Maria.

The capture of Lisbon compelled the Miguelites to raise the siege of Oporto. The civil war continued, nevertheless, in other parts of the country. No sooner, however, was Dom Pedro, the Regent, installed in the capital than the British government recognized the sovereignty of Queen Maria, and undertook to protect her from aggression on the part of the King of Spain.[331] But the fear that Ferdinand might send military assistance to Dom Miguel was speedily set at rest. On September 29, 1833, he died, and Christina, thereupon, assumed the government in the name of her daughter Isabella, who was at once acknowledged as Queen of Spain by France and Great Britain. The partisans of her uncle Don Carlos were, however, upon the alert. The Basque provinces rose in arms to the cry of “Long live Carlos V. Long live the Inquisition,” and Don Carlos was proclaimed King, on October 7, at Vittoria.[332]

Don Carlos himself was fortunately absent from Madrid at the time of his brother’s death. Some few months earlier he had been practically exiled from Spain and had joined Dom Miguel in Portugal. [Pg 177]The presence of the Spanish Pretender at the headquarters of the Portuguese Usurper appears at last to have brought home to Christina and her minister, Cea Bermúdez, that the fortunes of Isabella must largely depend upon the success of the constitutional cause in Portugal. Mr. Villiers, the British minister newly accredited to the Court of Madrid, experienced, in consequence, none of those difficulties which had baffled Stratford Canning’s ingenuity, whilst Ferdinand was alive. The Queen Regent’s government consented, after some little hesitation, to propose to the contending parties in Portugal the joint mediation of Great Britain and Spain, and, when Dom Miguel declined to consider this offer, Cea Bermúdez announced that his refusal had released Spain from all engagements which she had contracted towards him.[333]

At the news that Ferdinand was dead and that serious disturbances had broken out, the French government proceeded to concentrate troops in proximity to the Spanish frontier. These military movements excited considerable alarm in London, where it was feared that they were a prelude to an active intervention. Palmerston, however, was soon satisfied that neither Louis Philippe nor the chief members of his government wished to despatch an army across the Pyrenees.[334] In the opinion of Duc de Broglie, the expulsion of Dom Miguel from Portugal was a necessary preliminary to any attempt to settle Spanish affairs. Both he and his colleagues, he declared, were prepared to respect England’s traditional dislike to any foreign intrusion in Portugal. But, under these circumstances, they had a right to expect, he contended, that great Britain should herself [Pg 178]take the necessary measures for terminating a situation, which threatened to disturb the tranquillity of neighbouring States.[335]

Although very anxious to see peace restored, the British government wished to escape from the necessity of landing a military force in Portugal. It hoped to attain the desired result by concerting measures with Spain for the expulsion of both Pretenders. Seeing that Don Carlos was levying war from Portuguese territory against the government of the Queen Regent, the right of Spain to intervene was beyond question. In January, 1834, Cea Bermúdez had been succeeded by Martinez de la Rosa. The new minister entered readily into the plans of the British government and agreed to despatch an ambassador to London, provided with full powers to conclude a convention. Strict secrecy was observed about the negotiations, and it was only, on April 13, 1834, when all the details had been settled, that Palmerston showed Talleyrand a draft of the proposed treaty. Spain was to send an army against Dom Miguel, whilst England was to furnish Dom Pedro with naval assistance. It was not intended to invite France to be a party to this agreement; she would merely be asked to adhere to it.[336]

Talleyrand’s account of this transaction was sent to Admiral de Rigny, not to the Duc de Broglie. The refusal of the Chamber to ratify his proposals for settling a long-standing dispute with the United States, respecting the indemnity to be paid for the seizure of certain ships between the years 1806 and 1812, had driven the Duke to resign. The conditions of the projected treaty caused the greatest irritation in [Pg 179]Paris. “The effect would be disastrous,” wrote Rigny, “were it to appear that France had entered into the agreement under the protection of England.”[337] Talleyrand was, accordingly, directed to insist that France should be made a party to the treaty. After a lengthy and, at times, a heated discussion, Palmerston gave way and, on April 22, 1834, the instrument, known as the Quadruple Treaty, was signed by the representatives of Great Britain, France, Spain and Portugal. An article had been inserted into it stipulating that, “should the co-operation of France be deemed necessary by the High Contracting Parties the King of the French would engage to do, in this respect, whatever might be settled by common consent between himself and his august allies.”

The immediate object of the alliance was rapidly achieved. The junction of a Spanish army under General Rodil with the constitutional forces, operating in Tras-os-Montes, was followed, on May 16, by a decisive victory over Dom Miguel at Asserceira. A week later both Pretenders capitulated at Evora Monte. Dom Miguel agreed to accept a small pension[338] and to retire to Italy, whilst Don Carlos, at his own request, was conveyed to England on board H.M.S. Donegal. But the elation of the allies at the rapid success which had crowned their operations was of brief duration. After a stay of little more than a week in London Don Carlos departed secretly, and, contriving to cross France undetected, reached Spain, where he appeared at the head of his followers in Biscay on July 9. This new development, both the French and British governments agreed, must be met by an extension of the scope of the Quadruple Treaty. Certain additional articles were, accordingly, formally [Pg 180]annexed to it, on August 18, 1834. By the first of these, the King of the French undertook to hinder supplies and arms from reaching the Carlists from his southern provinces. By the second, His Britannic Majesty pledged himself to furnish Her Most Catholic Majesty with arms and ammunition and, in case of need, to supply naval succour; whilst by the third, the Regent of Portugal promised to render whatever military assistance it might be in his power to give.

In thus deciding to afford Queen Isabella material assistance, the French and English governments appear to have been strangely oblivious of their loudly proclaimed principle of “abstention from interference in the affairs of other States.” It was, doubtless, the inconsistency of their conduct in this respect which elicited from Talleyrand his cynical definition of the word non-intervention as “un mot métaphysique et politique qui signifie à peu près la même chose qu’ intervention.”[339] Both governments had, unquestionably, excellent reasons for desiring to put an end to a state of civil war and anarchy, which interfered with English trade, and had a disturbing effect upon the internal condition of France. In addition, there was the consideration, to which Palmerston attached much weight, that the Quadruple Treaty, by proclaiming the intimate union of the Liberal Powers, would counterbalance the league which the absolute Courts had, in the previous autumn, concluded at Münchengrätz.[340] Martinez de la Rosa, Christina’s chief minister, had been engaged in framing a constitutional Charter and the Estatuto Real,—the result of his labours—was about to be made public. Spain might, therefore, claim to be numbered among the Liberal Powers of Europe. But there would [Pg 181]seem to have been another, and a more exclusively national reason, for the support which the English government decided to extend to the cause of constitutionalism in Spain. For the past century Spain had constantly followed the impulse of France and that state of affairs had, on many occasions, proved detrimental to British interests. “Foreign influence, however,” wrote Lord Palmerston some years later, “can best be exerted over the Court of a despotic monarch and becomes much weaker, if not entirely paralyzed, when it has to act upon the constitutional representatives of a free people. The British government, therefore, perceived that, by assisting the Spanish people to establish a constitutional form of government, they were assisting to secure the political independence of Spain, and they had no doubt that the maintenance of that independence would be conducive to important British interests.”[341]

One of the chief reasons, therefore, which led England to enter into the Quadruple Treaty was to destroy that influence which, for more than a century, France had been striving to establish over the Spanish government. Her statesmen had constantly laid it down as the first principle of their policy that her ascendency must be supreme at the Court at Madrid. It was essential, they argued, that France should have no fears of an attack from beyond the Pyrenees, should she be engaged in war with her powerful eastern neighbours. On that account the Salic Law, the Duc de Broglie explained to Lord Granville, was distinctly advantageous to France, inasmuch as it debarred females from succeeding to the Spanish throne. Now that it was abolished, he pointed out, the French government had to contemplate the possibility that an Austrian Archduke might some day [Pg 182]aspire to the hand of the Queen of Spain.[342] Louis Philippe not only endorsed the views of his minister in this matter, but frankly confessed to the British ambassador that the triumph of absolutism, in the person of Don Carlos, would suit him infinitely better than the establishment of a Liberal monarchy at Madrid. In that case “he was greatly afraid that the Peninsula would become the resort of all the revolutionists and republicans in Europe.”[343]

These being Louis Philippe’s opinions, it seems strange that he should not have attempted to dissuade his ministers from committing him to the Quadruple Treaty. The adoption of such a course, however, would have been very dangerous. The “citizen King” might in his heart greatly prefer les capuchons to les bonnets rouges,[344] but he dared not publicly proclaim these sentiments. Moreover, had France abandoned the English alliance she would not have been received into the league of the absolute Courts. Louis Philippe, consequently, if he wished to avoid complete isolation, was compelled to appear to adopt the British policy. But his secret leanings being what they were and Palmerston’s object being what it was, it is not surprising that, from the moment of the conclusion of the Quadruple Treaty, symptoms of serious disagreement should have manifested themselves in the relations of the two governments.

Before the close of the year 1834 the Carlists were masters of the whole of Biscay and Navarre, with the exception of some of the larger towns. It was not [Pg 183]alone the influence of the priests and the monks which induced the people of these provinces to espouse the cause of the Pretender so enthusiastically. They knew well that, were a representative form of government to be established throughout Spain, the Fueros,[345] those special rights and privileges to which they were devotedly attached, must either be abolished or greatly curtailed. A leader arose in Zumalacárregui, who quickly proved his superiority over the constitutional generals sent against him. Henceforward the struggle between the Carlists and the Christinos was carried on with a barbarity unknown in Europe for centuries. Neither side gave nor expected quarter. After every engagement wounded and unwounded prisoners were ruthlessly massacred. Such was the condition of affairs when a change of government took place in England.

Lord Grey had resigned, on July 9, 1834, on a question of Irish policy and had been succeeded as Prime Minister by Lord Melbourne. Signs were plentiful that the Whigs were losing their popularity in the country, and the King resolved to dismiss his ministers at the first opportunity. The death of Lord Spencer gave him the pretext for which he was seeking. Althorp’s removal to the Upper House, he told Melbourne, had left the government so weakly represented in the Commons that he should call upon his ministers to resign. Sir Robert Peel, accordingly, undertook to form a new government, and Wellington accepted the post of Secretary for Foreign Affairs. The Duke had never approved of his predecessor’s policy of intervening in the disputed succession to the Spanish throne. But, soon after he had taken up his [Pg 184]duties at the Foreign Office, an opportunity arose of interposing in a manner more in accordance with his views. In the course of a conference with Mr. Villiers, Martinez de la Rosa had suggested that the French and British governments should propose to both parties some arrangement for the exchange of prisoners and, generally, for mitigating the horrors of the war. The opening of communications with Don Carlos on these lines might with advantage be made to serve a double purpose. The commissioners, selected to proceed to the headquarters of the Pretender, might be instructed to impress upon him the hopelessness of his position, and to explain to him that he could obtain no assistance from the absolute Courts. An authoritative statement to that effect would, in the opinion of Martinez de la Rosa, be more useful than “six victories by her Majesty’s troops.” It would furnish Don Carlos with the excuse, for which he was believed to be seeking, for abandoning the struggle.[346]

Lord Eliot was, accordingly, dispatched to Spain. Ostensibly, his mission had no other object than the negotiation of some agreement for terminating the inhuman methods of warfare, which both parties had adopted. In reality, however, he carried with him secret instructions based upon the suggestions of Martinez de la Rosa. Whilst in Paris he was to communicate these to the Duc de Broglie, who was once more at the head of the Foreign Office, in order that the French commissioner might be furnished with identical instructions.[347] Hitherto, there had been no great cause for complaint as to the manner in which France performed the duties imposed upon her by the additional articles of the Quadruple Treaty. It was, [Pg 185]therefore, with the utmost confidence that the request would be promptly complied with, that Wellington had decided to invite the French government to appoint some person to repair with Eliot to the seat of war. But Lord Cowley, who, upon the change of government, had succeeded Lord Granville as British ambassador in Paris, speedily ascertained that the Duke’s proposal was regarded with much disfavour. Nor was he long in doubt as to the quarter from which the opposition to it was inspired. Louis Philippe himself assured him, on April 2, that he dared not allow communications to be opened with Don Carlos, except in response to an official invitation from the government of the Queen Regent. But, although the Spanish ambassador shortly afterwards made the desired request, the King still hesitated to comply with it. He was greatly afraid, he told Lord Cowley, that Don Carlos would refuse to entertain the suggested proposals. Were the Pretender to take such a course, popular indignation would be aroused in France, and the government might be forced to march an army into Spain to enforce its demands.[348]

Eliot, in the meanwhile, had proceeded, unattended by a French colleague, to the headquarters of Don Carlos. He experienced little difficulty in inducing both contending parties to conclude a convention for the proper custody and exchange of prisoners of war. But no success attended his efforts to carry out the secret and more important part of his mission. Don Carlos resolutely declared that he never would abandon the struggle. Nor could Eliot flatter himself that any of his arguments had in the smallest degree shaken the Pretender’s determination to assert his right to the crown. Having exhausted all his powers of persuasion [Pg 186]he set out on his return journey. As a result of his visit to the theatre of war he brought back to England the conviction that, without foreign assistance, the government of the Queen Regent would never contrive to pacify Alava, Biscay and Navarre.[349] Some weeks before he arrived in London Sir Robert Peel’s brief administration had come to an end. Melbourne had been recalled and Palmerston was once more at the Foreign Office.

Upon learning of the failure of Eliot’s mission, the government of the Queen Regent resolved to apply to France for military assistance against Don Carlos. Palmerston, who at this time regarded a French intervention as the worst of evils, lost no time in directing Villiers to protest. No more telling indictment of the whole policy of the Quadruple Treaty exists than the despatch which, on this occasion, Palmerston himself sent off to Madrid. The British minister was to represent that to appeal for foreign aid, before all the resources at the disposal of the Queen Regent had been exhausted, “would little redound to the honour of the Spanish government.” A settlement, he was to remind Queen Christina’s advisers, brought about by French or British bayonets, “could only be temporary and would never be acquiesced in as legitimate and final by the nation.”[350] It was very far, however, from Louis Philippe’s desire to despatch troops to Spain in support of the constitutional throne of Isabella. But, as Palmerston was also strongly opposed to direct French intervention, the King felt that he might with safety consult the British government about the propriety of acceding to the Spanish demand. Palmerston, as he had foreseen, had numerous objections to urge against the entry of a French army into Spain. [Pg 187]The French ambassador at Madrid was, accordingly, instructed to inform Martinez de la Rosa that his appeal could not be complied with.[351] But, whilst making it perfectly clear that direct intervention was out of the question, M. de Rayneval was authorized to suggest that the foreign legion at Algiers might be transferred from the French to the Spanish service, and to promise that facilities for enlisting soldiers in France would be granted to the Spanish government.

The Cabinet of Madrid readily accepted this limited form of assistance. Help of the same description, but upon a more extended scale, was also furnished by Great Britain. The Foreign Enlistment Act was suspended and officers and men were encouraged to enter the service of the Queen of Spain. In England, where the war in the Peninsula was remembered with pride, volunteers were easily obtained. In France, for obvious reasons the appeals of the Spanish recruiting agents met with far less response. Nevertheless, before the autumn of 1835 some 4000 men, chiefly from Algiers, were transported to Spain, whilst rather more than double that number of British volunteers, under the command of De Lacy Evans, the Radical member for Westminster, were conveyed to the seat of war. Don Carlos, however, retaliated promptly. From his headquarters at Durango he issued a proclamation announcing that the Eliot Convention could not be permitted to apply to foreigners. Any person not of Spanish nationality, caught in arms against him, would be shot. The moment this decree was brought to the notice of the British government Colonel Wylde, the officer attached to the headquarters of the Queen’s armies, was directed to protest against it.[352] Wylde obtained access to Don Carlos and read out to him the declaration which Palmerston had [Pg 188]drawn up. But the threats contained in it had no effect upon the Pretender, who replied that his proclamation was lawful, under the circumstances, and that his officers had the strictest orders to conform to it.[353] The only reprisal to which the British government could resort was to signify to its naval commanders that, in the event of Don Carlos applying for protection on board any of His Majesty’s ships, such protection was to be denied to him.[354]

The French government altogether declined to associate itself with Great Britain in protesting against the Decree of Durango. Lord Granville, who upon the return of the Whigs to office had resumed his post in Paris, found Louis Philippe and his chief ministers, with the exception of the Duc de Broglie, strongly opposed to any step of that kind. France, they argued, was differently circumstanced to Great Britain, inasmuch as she was not a party to the Eliot Convention. Moreover, were she to use threatening language to Don Carlos and were he to disregard her menaces, she would be driven to send troops across the frontier, and both the French and English governments had agreed that direct intervention was highly inexpedient for the moment. In vain Lord Granville protested that to remonstrate against the barbarity of the decree was a duty which the government owed to the men, who had been transferred from the French to the Spanish service. Neither that argument, nor the consideration that any appearance of lack of harmony between the French and British Cabinets must necessarily encourage the Pretender, had the smallest effect upon Louis Philippe or upon the majority of his ministers.[355]

[Pg 189]

Lord Palmerston’s indignation at Louis Philippe’s conduct was increased by the news which he was receiving from Lisbon. Dom Pedro had died on September 24, 1834, and the Cortes had, thereupon, declared the Queen to be of age, although she was not yet sixteen years of age. Shortly afterwards she had married Augustus of Leuchtenberg, the young duke whose candidature for the Belgian throne had so alarmed Louis Philippe in 1830. Their married life, however, was of brief duration. On March 25, 1835, Maria became a widow and the Cortes at once urged her to lose no time in contracting a second alliance. The young queen was quite ready to comply and soon, afterwards, informed her ministers, Marshal Saldanha and the Duke of Palmella, that she purposed marrying either the Duc de Nemours or the Prince de Joinville, both sons of Louis Philippe. Her selection of the French princes, wrote Lord Howard de Walden,[356] was to be ascribed to the influence of her aunt, the Marquise de Loulé, who was afterwards discovered to have been in the pay of Louis Philippe.[357] The British minister, however, succeeded in obtaining from Saldanha a promise in writing that he would resign, sooner than allow the French marriage to take place.[358] In Paris, meanwhile, Louis Philippe emphatically denied to the British [Pg 190]ambassador that he had ever entertained the idea of bringing forward one of his sons as a candidate for the hand of the Queen of Portugal.[359] It seems certain, nevertheless, that some intrigue with that purpose in view had been in progress, and that it was not persevered with on account of the opposition of the British government. In the opinion of Lord Howard de Walden, it was to be attributed to the machinations of the French party at the Court of Lisbon that Queen Maria, about this time, displayed the greatest reluctance to sanction the despatch of a Portuguese division to the assistance of the Christinos.[360] But before long it was announced that she was betrothed to Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg, a nephew of the King of the Belgians. The marriage was celebrated on April 9, 1836, and from that moment the influence of the French party at the Court diminished.

But the proceedings of the French agents at Lisbon and Louis Philippe’s sympathy for the Spanish Carlists were secrets, as yet known only to certain ministers and diplomatists. It was otherwise with the increasing rivalry between the British envoy and the French ambassador accredited to the Court of the Queen Regent at Madrid. It was the subject of comment in the newspapers that France openly favoured the cause of one, whilst England no less ostentatiously gave her support to the other, of the two great political parties which Spanish constitutionalism had called into existence. Most of the leading men in the Cortes had been in exile, until the death of Ferdinand, on account of their participation in the revolutionary movement of 1820. Some, like [Pg 191]Martinez de la Rosa, had sought refuge in France, whilst others, prominent among them being the financier Mendizabal, had repaired to England. Their political views had, in consequence, been greatly influenced by the statesmen with whom they had come into contact in the countries in which they had resided. Thus Martinez de la Rosa, whose literary abilities had brought him to the notice of M. Guizot, had adopted the theories of the Doctrinaires and in framing the Estatuto Real—the Spanish Constitution of 1834—he had taken the French Charter of 1814 for his model. His followers, the Moderados as they were called, consisted mainly of the nobility, military and civil officials, and, generally, of persons who, although opposed to Don Carlos, disliked democratic institutions. Their opponents, the Exaltados, or Progressistas, as they were more usually termed, were made up chiefly of members of the trading and commercial classes in the large towns. The extreme wing of this party advocated the restoration of the Constitution of 1812, which recognized the sovereignty of the people and provided for government by a single chamber. It was this code which, in 1820, Riego and his followers had imposed upon King Ferdinand. But, although only the more violent of the Progressistas may have desired that the very defective Constitution of 1812 should be re-established without amendments, the whole party derided the Estatuto Real as too timid an experiment in representative government.

A party, which aimed at imposing salutary checks upon the development of democracy and the leaders of which were in close personal relationship with some of his ministers, was naturally regarded with a friendly eye by Louis Philippe. From 1834 onwards the Moderados derived an artificial strength, which to some extent counterbalanced the numerical superiority of their opponents, by reason of the support given [Pg 192]them by Louis Philippe and by Christina, the Queen Regent. It was no less logical that the Progressistas should develop rapidly into “the English party.” For reasons which have already been explained Palmerston desired that Spain should be free and independent. But, before Don Carlos could be crushed and the civil war terminated, the cause of the Queen must be made popular with the Spanish people. From Palmerston’s point of view, therefore, it was essential that political power should rest with the party which sought to place the government upon a broad and national basis. Objectionable in many respects as were the principles of the Progressistas, they were, in the opinion of the British government, unquestionably better adapted to the immediate requirements of the situation than the narrow and restricted views of the Moderados.

The strength of the democratic movement, which had begun at the death of Ferdinand, drove Martinez de la Rosa from office in June, 1835. But his successor, Count Toreno, was not more successful in his efforts to stem the rising tide of Liberalism, and, in the following month of September, Christina reluctantly consented to allow Mendizabal to form a Progressista Cabinet. Louis Philippe and his ministers were greatly annoyed and declared that Toreno’s fall was due to English intrigue.[361] Villiers, it was perfectly true, had taken part in the negotiations which had preceded the change of government. He had discussed the situation, not only with Toreno and Mendizabal, but with the Queen Regent herself. To Christina he explained that he had no authority to speak in the name of the British government. She, however, replied that she required no more than “the advice of an Englishman in whom she had entire confidence.” Villiers, therefore, told her plainly that, inasmuch as [Pg 193]she had not the necessary force at her disposal for arresting by violent means the advance of democracy, she must submit to the formation of a more Liberal government. The Queen’s dread of Mendizabal appears to have been overcome temporarily by Villiers’ assurance that that statesman had no intention of restoring the Constitution of 1812.[362]

After the downfall of the Moderados, the French authorities no longer attempted to prevent supplies from reaching the Carlists. Upon the road from Bayonne to Irun, an uninterrupted stream of waggons was to be seen openly conveying stores and provisions of all kinds to the insurgents.[363] The Pretender, wrote Villiers, had received assurances from Louis Philippe that in the future he intended to remain absolutely neutral.[364] To all representations upon this subject, whether made by the British or the Spanish ambassador, the French ministers returned evasive replies. Although from time to time Lord Granville succeeded in extracting a promise that greater vigilance would be exercised upon the frontier, the lucrative trade, which the inhabitants of southern France were carrying on with the armies of the Pretender, was never interfered with seriously.

Mendizabal, in the meantime, was devoting himself assiduously to the task of prosecuting the war against Don Carlos. But his efforts to carry on the operations vigorously were hampered by the penury of the treasury, and by the impossibility of raising a loan abroad. It was under these circumstances that he made a proposal to Mr. Villiers which, when it was divulged to the Duc de Broglie, increased the ill-feeling which was rapidly growing up between the [Pg 194]French and the English governments. Modern views about the advantages of unrestricted commercial intercourse had not as yet penetrated into Spain. The imposition of prohibitory duties upon almost all articles made abroad was still regarded as essential for the protection of Spanish trade. England necessarily suffered greatly from this system, which brought no revenue into the Spanish exchequer, and benefited only the smuggler. The question had often been the subject of discussion between the two governments, but Spain had hitherto always evaded her promises to reform her tariff. Mendizabal, however, now undertook that, provided England would guarantee the interest of a loan of a million and a half sterling, Spain would admit the chief articles of British manufacture upon a low scale of duty. Villiers was without authority to conclude any agreement of that kind. But, as Mendizabal assured him that any delay would be most inconvenient, he decided to draw up the necessary documents. The moment the treaty had been signed by Mendizabal and himself, he forwarded it to Palmerston, explaining the reasons which had led him to act without instructions. “The Queen,” he wrote in conclusion, “Mendizabal and his English private secretary, Southern,[365] and himself, were the only persons who had any knowledge of the transaction.”[366]

When the projected agreement and Villiers’ covering despatch reached Paris, whither they had been transmitted, as was the custom, under flying seal, Granville was so impressed with the necessity of keeping the matter secret, that he did not even allow the attachés of his embassy to know of the affair. Furthermore, his own observations upon the subject [Pg 195]were conveyed to Lord Palmerston in a private letter. “It will not be liked here,” he warned his chief. “It is already thought that Mendizabal is entirely under English influence, and this admission of English manufactures at a reduced duty, even though purchased by the guarantee of a loan, will very much confirm the impression.”[367] But all these precautions were of no avail. Within a few days, Broglie received intelligence of the transaction both from the French ambassador at Madrid, and from some Spanish agent in Paris. It seems highly probable that the secret was disclosed by Christina herself. Perhaps she wished to ingratiate herself with Louis Philippe, whilst by exposing Mendizabal to his wrath, she may have hoped to facilitate the return to power of the Moderados.

M. de Rayneval having obtained his information “under the seal of the most profound secrecy,”Broglie could not make representations on the subject of the proposed treaty to the British government. Rayneval, however, was directed to protest against it at Madrid, and to warn Mendizabal that, if the affair were to be concluded, “the Quadruple Alliance would certainly undergo modifications of a nature which Spain would regret.”[368] But the British government, in the meanwhile, “whilst fully appreciating the motives which had prompted Villiers to sign the treaty without instructions,” had decided not to advise the King to ratify it. “His Majesty’s government,”wrote Palmerston, “does not consider that it would be consistent with the spirit of the alliance that two out of four should make separately, and without previous communication with the others, an engagement. . . . Great Britain would expose herself to the [Pg 196]charge of having severed herself from her allies in order to grasp at an object conducive to her own particular interests.”[369] At the same time, however, he enclosed the project of a new commercial treaty, which Villiers was to invite Mendizabal to consider. England, according to its provisions, asked for no exclusive advantages, the only stipulation being that British goods should be placed upon a footing of equality with those of the most favoured nation. The Spanish minister, however, professed his inability to proceed with the matter. Great Britain’s guarantee to a loan was a condition, he declared, essential to the conclusion of any commercial treaty. The proposal to admit English cotton goods would be deeply resented by Spanish manufacturers, and he must, in consequence, be in a position to show that, by consenting to it, he had gained some great political advantage.[370] Without doubt, also, he was not insensible to Broglie’s threats. He foresaw that, although there was to be no concealment about Palmerston’s treaty, and notwithstanding that France was to be given full information about the negotiations, her objections to the “reciprocal equality,” and “mutual facilities,” for which England stipulated, would not on that account be diminished. Nor was he mistaken. When the matter was revived under the ministry of Comte Molé, that statesman summed up the French case with perfect frankness. Equality of opportunity for trading in Spain, he informed Lord Granville, would act solely for the benefit of England, seeing that the French merchants were possessed of less capital, and were less industrious and enterprising than their British rivals. Palmerston, as may be supposed, entered with zest upon the task of denouncing the [Pg 197]selfishness of founding an objection to a reform of the Spanish tariff upon so unworthy a reason.[371]

Broglie’s instructions to Rayneval respecting the commercial treaty were among his last acts as Minister for Foreign Affairs. Parliamentary and other difficulties, in the creation of which Louis Philippe is supposed to have taken a part, brought about the resignation of the government. M. Thiers, thereupon, notwithstanding that he had been a member of Broglie’s Cabinet, undertook to form a new ministry. At the time of the Revolution of July, M. Thiers had been known merely as one of the editors of the National and as the author of a very popular and successful History of the French Revolution. Louis Philippe’s enthronement, in which he had been so prominently concerned, enabled him to abandon journalism and to embark upon the career of a politician. Only two years later, on October 11, 1832, he was appointed Minister of the Interior in Marshal Soult’s first government. In that capacity, by means of a bribe judiciously administered to the Jew Deutz, he succeeded in discovering the hiding-place of the Duchesse de Berri at Nantes—a mystery which, until he took the matter in hand, had baffled the ingenuity of the police. Having accomplished this object and having no desire to be remembered in history as “the Fouché of the Monarchy of July,” he promptly exchanged the portfolio of the Interior for that of Commerce and of Public Works.[372]

Ever since the conclusion of the Quadruple Treaty, Louis Philippe had been quietly endeavouring to improve his relations with the absolute Powers, in general, and with Austria, in particular. Early in the year 1835 he appears to have embarked, without the [Pg 198]knowledge of his ministers or of Sainte-Aulaire, the French ambassador at Vienna, upon a confidential correspondence with Metternich.[373] Without doubt, his flattering advances to the Chancellor were made with the hope that a marriage might be arranged between his eldest son, the Duc d’Orléans, and an Austrian Archduchess. Neither Broglie nor Sainte-Aulaire shared the King’s illusions on that subject. Broglie was firmly convinced that there could be no intimacy between the Monarchy of July and the Northern Courts, and it was chiefly on that account that Louis Philippe had been so anxious to drive him from office. But, whilst Louis Philippe had frequently been annoyed by the independence and uncompromising honesty of the Doctrinaire Duke, he had always admired the resourcefulness and political adroitness of M. Thiers. For some time past M. Thiers had been desirous of obtaining the portfolio of Foreign Affairs, and he appears to have satisfied the King that, were it to be confided to him, he would promote the dynastic object which was constantly in His Majesty’s mind. He was, it was said, greatly attracted by the prospect of raising “the matrimonial blockade” which the Legitimists exultingly declared had been established round the Orleans throne.[374]

It has generally been supposed that Talleyrand was largely responsible for the overtures made to the Court of Vienna by Louis Philippe, and for the coolness which set in, about the same time, in the relations of France and England. This view of the case may be correct, but it is difficult to believe that the reasons, usually given to explain his changed attitude towards England, can be true. At the end of the year 1834 Talleyrand had retired from his embassy in London. His advanced age and his increasing infirmities were [Pg 199]the reasons officially given for his resignation. It was notorious, however, that he had been frequently annoyed by Palmerston’s unceremonious behaviour towards him, and it has been suggested that the lack of deference with which he had been treated had caused him greatly to modify his opinions about the advantages of a close friendship with England.[375] It is, however, most improbable that Talleyrand, who, up to the time of his departure from London, unceasingly endeavoured to extend the scope of the alliance,[376] should have changed his views completely, because Palmerston may have kept him waiting in an ante-room or may have failed to treat him with that respect to which his age and his long diplomatic career entitled him. Nevertheless, it is not to be denied that, notwithstanding the marked attentions which had been paid him at Court and in London society, he had returned to France in a somewhat dissatisfied frame of mind. The recently published memoirs of the Duchesse de Dino show plainly that, in 1834, he no longer entertained his former admiration for England and English institutions. But it was to the new conditions created by the Reform Act that his altered dispositions should be ascribed. Although he had been in favour of that measure, in his heart he, doubtless, loathed the idea of government by the people. Like Lord Grey himself, once the Bill had become an accomplished fact, he was horrified at the ugly aspect of democracy. Believing, therefore, that Great Britain was advancing rapidly towards a revolution he would naturally counsel Louis Philippe to draw as close as circumstances would [Pg 200]permit to conservative Austria.[377] Nor was there anything in this advice which should be regarded as unfriendly towards England. At Vienna in 1814, be it remembered, he had insisted upon the necessity of an alliance between France, Great Britain and Austria, as the only means of checking the insatiable ambition of Russia.

Meanwhile, the civil war in Spain continued and the prospects of the constitutional cause were gloomy. During the summer of 1835, however, the Carlists sustained a loss the magnitude of which was hardly appreciated at the time. Whilst superintending the operations against Bilbao Zumalacárregui sustained a wound and died a few days later. The original injury was of a trifling character and his death has generally been ascribed to the unskilful treatment of the doctors. But Colonel Wylde, as he was returning from his interview with the Pretender on the subject of the Decree of Durango, received some curious details about the last hours of the famous Carlist chief from an English surgeon who had dressed his wound. According to this person, a dose of laudanum, not a Christino bullet, was the cause of death. Furthermore, Wylde’s informant asserted that the doctors had under various pretexts refused to allow the body to be opened. This story, taken in connection with the detestation with which Zumalacárregui was regarded by the Apostolical section of his party, led Wylde to suspect that he might have been the victim of foul play.[378] Be that as it may, his death had an effect upon the cause of absolutism and bigotry which may be compared with that of Dundee at Killikrankie.

[Pg 201]

The Christinos, however, appeared incapable of taking advantage of the loss which their opponents had sustained. Even Mendizabal was unable to infuse the required energy into the counsels of the Queen’s generals. “Everything,” wrote Wylde on February 12, 1836, “seems to stagnate for want of money.” The British legion had suffered cruelly during the winter. Sickness had thinned its ranks, the pay of officers and men was in arrears, and the whole force was in a state of acute discontent.[379] Under these circumstances the British government decided to intervene more effectually. Hitherto, Lord John Hay’s squadron off the north coast of Spain had only been allowed to transport troops and stores, and to give indirect assistance to the Christinos. But the admiral was now ordered to take an active part in the operations of the Queen’s armies. At the same time, Lord Palmerston’s objections to the entry of a French army into Spain disappeared completely. He asked that the French cordon of observation should be advanced across the frontier and that the valley of Bastan should be occupied. The measure which he proposed “would not entail extensive military operations, but would enable General Cordoba to enclose the Carlists in a small space and to deprive them of all supplies.”[380] The British government, doubtless, hoped that M. Thiers, who had always professed to be in favour of armed intervention, would, now that he was President of the Council, be able to induce Louis Philippe to consent to it. But that illusion, if it was ever entertained, was soon dispelled. The course proposed by Palmerston was incompatible with that policy of conciliating the absolute Courts, upon which M. Thiers had embarked. [Pg 202]He was, consequently, compelled to explain to Lord Granville that he had altogether changed his mind about the expediency of intervention, owing to the wide development of the Carlist insurrection, and to the revolutionary character which the government at Madrid had recently assumed. Louis Philippe expressed himself in more emphatic language. Never, he told the British ambassador, would he allow the French flag to be carried beyond the frontier.[381]

The unsatisfactory progress of the war necessarily had a damaging effect upon the position of Mendizabal’s Cabinet. Dissensions broke out among his followers, and Christina, who had only accepted him with reluctance, most unwisely decided to dismiss him. She had been prompted to take this disastrous step, Palmerston suspected, by her French advisers.[382] The dissolution of the Cortes, which the change of ministry entailed, was followed by a most suspicious inaction on the part of the Queen’s generals. The Carlists, on the other hand, displayed unwonted activity. Insurgent bands penetrated to within twenty miles of La Granja, where the Queen Regent was in residence. Ramon Cabrera, “the Tiger of the Maestrargo,” who, as a reprisal for the murder of his mother, refused to recognize the Eliot Convention, desolated Aragon, whilst de Lacy Evans, on July 11, 1836, suffered a reverse at Fuentarabia, on which occasion all the British prisoners were shot, in accordance with the Pretender’s decree.[383] Meanwhile, the Progressistas were carrying all before them at the elections, and their victories were followed by grave revolutionary outbreaks. But neither civil disorder nor military disasters could rouse M. Isturiz, the new [Pg 203]President of the Council, or his colleagues to action. In the words of Mr. Villiers, “they appeared to consider that calmness in adversity constituted the whole duty of the responsible advisers of the crown.”[384]

The condition of affairs rapidly assumed a most alarming appearance. The Constitution of 1812, was proclaimed in many of the chief towns. At Madrid, Quesada, the Captain-General, disarmed the national guards, and declared the city in a state of siege, whilst at La Granja, the Queen Regent announced her firm intention of resisting the demands of the revolutionists. But, on the evening of August 12, her guards mutinied, and, led by their sergeants, invaded the palace. On two nights in succession, the unfortunate Christina was compelled to receive deputations of non-commissioned officers, many of whom were under the influence of liquor. Circumstanced as she was, with no loyal troops at her disposal, she had no alternative but to yield. After promising to accept the Constitution of 1812, to raise the state of siege, and to re-establish the national guards, she was allowed to depart for the capital. But when the news of these events reached Madrid, the people rose, murdered Quesada, and carried his head in triumph through the streets. Order was, however, gradually restored by Calatrava, the Progressista minister, whom the revolted sergeants had imposed upon Christina.[385]

Some weeks before these events took place M. Thiers had had to abandon all hope of bringing his matrimonial negotiations to a successful conclusion. It was in vain that he had refused to join with England in protesting against the Austrian occupation [Pg 204]of the free town of Cracow. It was to no purpose that he had forced the Federal government to expel all political refugees from Switzerland. The Duc d’Orléans’[386] proposal for the hand of an Austrian Archduchess was declined. In order to hide his discomfiture and to punish Metternich, M. Thiers resolved to take up the Spanish affair vigorously. Direct intervention, however, he looked upon as out of the question. Not only would the King oppose it, but it would be very unpopular with the country. Nevertheless, by a process to which he gave the name of “armed co-operation” he proposed to attain the desired result. He prepared, accordingly, largely to reinforce the French legion in Spain, which he intended should be commanded by some well-known general. Louis Philippe reluctantly assented to these initial proceedings, but, when the news arrived of the military revolt at La Granja, he promptly placed his veto upon all measures of that kind. Never, he declared, would he allow assistance to be supplied to the Jacobins in power at Madrid.[387] Thiers and his fellow-ministers, in consequence, resigned.

Under Molé, to whom the King confided the portfolio of Foreign Affairs and the formation of a new Cabinet, France for all practical purposes withdrew from the Quadruple Treaty. The depôts formed by Thiers were broken up and three battalions, which he had raised for the service of Queen Isabella, were sent to Algiers. It would be highly dangerous, Molé informed the British ambassador, to expose French soldiers to the influence of the revolutionary societies in Spain.[388] In vain Lord Palmerston protested that in no way could the spirit of anarchy be combated so [Pg 205]effectually as by the expulsion of Don Carlos from the Peninsula.[389] That argument and his contention that the stability of the Orleans monarchy depended upon the triumph of the constitutional cause in Spain were alike unheeded.[390] In order to show their displeasure at the manner in which the French government was thus evading its engagements, Lord Melbourne and his colleagues decided to omit the customary reference to France from the King’s Speech at the opening of Parliament in 1837. But the “no mention” incident, although it caused Louis Philippe the keenest annoyance and created a great sensation in Paris,[391] had no effect upon Molé’s resolution to refuse assistance of any kind to the government at Madrid. The only safe policy for France, the King informed Granville a few months later, was to look upon Spain as infected with the plague and to have as little communication with her as possible.[392]

Although Calatrava, whom the sergeants at La Granja had raised to the head of the Queen Regent’s government, was invariably spoken of by Louis Philippe and Comte Molé as a dangerous revolutionist, he was far from deserving that appellation. Not only was he successful in infusing a certain vigour into the conduct of the war, but he contrived, in addition, to frame a constitution which, in spite of its imperfections, effected a happy compromise between the Jacobinical code of 1812 and the ultra-monarchical Estatuto Real. The year 1836 closed with a brilliant success for the arms of the Queen Regent. Powerfully assisted by [Pg 206]the bluejackets and marines of Lord John Hay’s squadron, the Christinos stormed the formidable lines of Luchana and relieved the city of Bilbao. Henceforward the name of Baldomero Espartero, the victorious general, was to figure very prominently in Spanish politics. Nevertheless, during the campaign of the ensuing year, complete success appeared to be within the grasp of the Pretender. Eluding Espartero, who was preparing to attack him in the Basque provinces, Don Carlos, who had been liberally supplied with money by the Tsar and the Kings of the Netherlands[393] and of Sardinia, marched southwards on Madrid. But, when the capital lay at their mercy, his generals were ordered to retrace their footsteps, recross the Ebro and re-enter the northern provinces.

Various reasons have been given for the sudden retreat of the Carlists from before Madrid.[394] The most probable explanation appears to be that Don Carlos had secretly arranged with Christina that, upon the arrival of his army in the vicinity of the capital, the gates were to be thrown open, and that the marriage of his son with Isabella was to be announced and peace proclaimed.[395] It would seem, however, that at the last moment Christina decided that this scheme was impracticable and the Pretender, finding, in consequence, that no movement in his favour was likely to break out in Madrid, gave the order to retreat. The remainder of the year 1837 was spent by the Carlist leaders in fierce quarrels and bitter recriminations. But the condition of the Queen’s armies was still more pitiable. Officers and men were unpaid and wholly without confidence in their generals. Horrible excesses were committed by the mutinous [Pg 207]regiments. Generals Escalera and Sarsfield were murdered by their men, and, although Espartero upon his arrival from Madrid, succeeded in restoring some semblance of discipline, he dared not undertake offensive operations with troops so completely demoralized.

The Pretender’s advance upon Madrid proved fatal to the Calatrava Cabinet. That government, which had been created by the action of the sergeants at La Granja, was destroyed by a pronunciamento on the part of the officers of a brigade which had been hurried south, when Don Carlos was threatening the capital.[396] The downfall of the Progressista Cabinet was, doubtless, one of the reasons which led the Queen Regent to break her compact with the Pretender. A transition ministry was formed, whilst Christina cautiously prepared to recall the Moderados. Throughout the country party differences were submerged in the general desire for peace, and the opinion was rapidly gaining ground that, without French assistance, the Pretender could never be expelled. This idea was sedulously encouraged by the Court party, and, as was suspected, by agents of the French government. These conditions at the elections, at the close of the year 1837, produced an overwhelming majority for the Moderados. It was soon evident, however, that the electors had been completely deluded in imagining that the triumph of the Conservative party would be followed by French intervention. The political effacement of the Progressistas had not altered the determination of Louis Philippe and Comte Molé to withhold all assistance from the government of the Queen Regent.[397]

Villiers, the British minister at Madrid, was now [Pg 208]convinced that in the dissensions of the Carlists lay the only hope of preserving the crown for Isabella. The animosity was extreme between the Provinciales, whose chief object in supporting the Pretender was to ensure the maintenance of their highly prized Fueros, and the Castillanos, as that section of the party was called which followed the lead of the fanatical Bishop of Léon.[398] In order to widen this breach Villiers instructed Lieutenant Turner, a British officer attached to the division of the Queen’s army at Pampeluna, to open up a secret communication with the discontented Navarrese chiefs. Turner experienced little difficulty in executing his mission, and was soon able to report that the men of Biscay and Navarre would be prepared to discuss terms of peace upon the basis of the recognition of their local rights and privileges. But all the leaders with whom he had conferred had stipulated that any compromise which, might be arrived at, must have the guarantee of Great Britain.[399]

The news of these proceedings was most agreeable to Lord Palmerston, who forthwith drew up precise instructions for the future conduct of the negotiations. Whilst suggesting that on the subject of the Fueros the Queen Regent’s government would be well advised to make concessions, he laid it down distinctly that Great Britain could not guarantee the conditions of peace.[400] A copy of this despatch was sent to Lord Granville in Paris, who was directed to invite the French government to act with England in the affair. In Palmerston’s opinion it was most important to draw France “into an open and avowed mediation for the purpose of reuniting the northern provinces to the rest of the Spanish dominions.”[401] He was convinced [Pg 209]that Louis Philippe cherished secret hopes that the civil war might lead to the secession of Biscay and Navarre and their incorporation into France. There can be little doubt that he was entirely mistaken in imagining that either the King of the French or his ministers entertained any views of this kind. It is possible, however, that the separatist movement, which unquestionably existed in Catalonia, may have been encouraged by French agents, with the object of preventing the conclusion of a commercial treaty with England. The threat of the manufacturers of Barcelona that the Catalans would proclaim their independence, should the duty upon English cotton goods be lowered, was one of the chief reasons which deterred the Cabinet of Madrid from accepting Palmerston’s commercial proposals.[402]

Louis Philippe, however, would not hear of allowing the French ambassador to be the organ of any communications with the discontented Carlist chieftains. He had been accused most unfairly, he told Lord Granville, of sympathizing with Don Carlos, and to accede to the British request would expose him to further suspicion.[403] A new French ambassador was at this moment about to proceed to Madrid, who appears to have been admirably adapted for the part which the King desired that his envoy should play at Christina’s Court, whilst the issue of the struggle between constitutionalism and absolutism was so extremely uncertain. “A more inoffensive person,”wrote the British chargé d’affaires about a year later, “than the Duc de Fezensac does not exist. He has no political principles and has never taken the slightest interest in the questions which agitate the [Pg 210]country. I have observed that, as a soldier, he would now and then demonstrate some curiosity about the movements of the armies and seem glad when the advantage had been on the side of the Queen’s troops.”[404]

In the meantime Mr. Turner’s secret relations with the Navarrese chiefs had been betrayed. The sudden imprisonment of the disaffected officers and the murder of one of his emissaries compelled him to suspend his proceedings.[405] A counter-insurrection, however, broke out against Don Carlos to the cry of “Peace and the Fueros,” under the leadership of an individual named Muñagorri. From Bayonne, where “the French authorities coldly permitted him to remain,” he endeavoured to foment disaffection in, and to encourage desertion from, the Pretender’s armies.[406] Villiers at one time expected great results from this new development, but, before long, he was forced to realize that Muñagorri, a Basque lawyer, had not the influence required for bringing the enterprise to a successful conclusion.[407]

Never, in the opinion of both Villiers and of Wylde, had the constitutional cause presented so gloomy an appearance as in the closing months of the year 1838. The Queen’s generals had suffered heavy defeats in the open field and Espartero had been compelled to abandon his operations against Morella, Cabrera’s stronghold. Political rather than strategical considerations appear to have dictated the conduct of the campaign. Fearing that Espartero might grow too powerful, the Cabinet was suspected of having deliberately neglected to reinforce him, whilst keeping [Pg 211]his rival and enemy, Narvaez, who commanded the army of reserve, liberally supplied with troops.[408] In England no minister would have ventured to propose that any further assistance, either in men or money, should be sent to the Christinos, who had greatly fallen in the public estimation. The commercial classes were indignant that, notwithstanding the help which the Queen’s cause had received, prohibitory duties upon British manufactures should still be maintained. The newspapers were full of the complaints of the soldiers of the legion, who had returned home with their claims upon the Spanish treasury unsatisfied. The policy of encouraging these men to enter Isabella’s services was now universally condemned. The good name of the British army had, it was feared, suffered from their misconduct at the seat of war. The action of the government, in conferring a knighthood of the Bath upon De Lacy Evans, in no way lessened this impression.[409]

But, in the early spring of 1839, the news arrived of strange proceedings in the Pretender’s camp. Maroto, the Carlist commander-in-chief, having discovered the existence of a plot to overthrow him, had caused four general officers to be shot at Estella, on February 18. Don Carlos, who was in secret sympathy with the conspirators, thereupon deprived Maroto of his command and proclaimed him a traitor. That officer, however, knew that he could count upon the devotion of his men, and he, accordingly, boldly marched upon Tolosa, where the wretched Don Carlos was residing, and compelled him both to revoke his decree and to dismiss his Apostolical advisers. But Maroto, although he had on this occasion triumphed so completely, was well aware that at any moment his troops might turn against him, and that his life [Pg 212]depended upon a speedy termination of the war. Notwithstanding that Turner’s attempts to incite the Navarrese chieftains to rebellion had failed, and that Muñagorri’s insurrection had practically collapsed, the longing for peace had not diminished among the men of Biscay and Navarre. After the executions at Estella and his coercion of Don Carlos, Maroto had no alternative but to adopt the popular cry of “Paz y Fueros.” Instead of an obscure lawyer, the commander-in-chief of the Pretender’s armies was now at the head of the counter-insurrection against him.[410]

Whilst the Carlist general had thus the strongest possible inducement for coming to terms with the Christinos, other circumstances had arisen which contributed to the undoing of the Pretender. Espartero was now all powerful and in a position to carry on the war, untrammelled by the intrigues of the Court and of the Cabinet.[411] In France Molé had fallen and Soult was once more at the head of the government. The Marshal, in the previous year, had represented Louis Philippe at the coronation of Queen Victoria, and had returned to France delighted with the welcome accorded him in London by all classes of the population.[412] He was, consequently, very well disposed towards England and far more inclined than any of his predecessors to act up to the spirit of the Quadruple Treaty. No sooner was he in power than orders were sent to the French ships, stationed off the north coast of Spain, identical in every respect with those with which the British admiral was furnished. At the same time, the authorities upon the frontier were strictly enjoined both to prevent supplies from reaching the Carlists and to embarrass the movements [Pg 213]of the Pretender’s armies by all means in their power.[413]

Maroto’s first definite proposals of peace seem to have been made to Lord John Hay, either on July 27 or 28. It is probable, however, that for some time past he had been in more or less direct communication with Espartero, with whom he had served in South America. The negotiations, once formally begun, continued for the next month. Espartero, however, wisely refused to grant any suspension of hostilities, and, whilst showing himself always ready to listen to reasonable proposals, pushed on his military operations vigorously. The question which proved the most difficult of settlement was that of the Fueros, which the Biscayans and Navarrese stipulated must be maintained in their integrity. The Queen Regent’s government, in accordance with Palmerston’s advice, was only prepared to make such concessions with regard to them, as might be compatible with the representative form of government which Spain had adopted. The recognition of the sovereignty of Isabella, the regency of Christina and the Constitution of 1837 were also insisted upon. Colonel Wylde was present at most of the conferences which took place. He was authorized to explain to any Carlist officers, with whom he might be enabled to converse, that, “although it would not be consistent with the dignity of the Spanish nation that Her Majesty’s government should guarantee any arrangement, they could rely upon the good offices of the British government should, at any time, the government of Madrid depart from its agreements.”[414]

Espartero’s skilful conduct of the negotiations, [Pg 214]combined with the personal reasons which made it imperative for Maroto to conclude a peace, triumphed at last over all obstacles. On August 29, a convention was signed at Vergara settling the points in dispute and providing for the capitulation of Maroto’s army. Two days later the 21 battalions specified in the treaty marched into the camp of the Christinos and, having been harangued by Espartero, proceeded to fraternize joyfully with the Queen’s troops.[415] Don Carlos, nevertheless, was still able to command the fidelity of a certain number of his regiments. But Espartero, the moment the capitulation of Maroto’s people had been completed, pressed these remnants of the insurgent army with the utmost vigour. Their resistance was soon overcome, and, on September 15, 1839, Don Carlos with a few thousand followers was driven across the frontier. On reaching French territory they were at once disarmed, the Pretender and the members of his family being conveyed to Bourges, where they were detained under strict supervision. It was not without difficulty that Louis Philippe’s ministers had obtained his consent to that measure of precaution.

Although Don Carlos had abandoned the struggle, Cabrera in the Maestrargo, and the no less bloodthirsty Count of España in Catalonia, still carried on the war with ruthless barbarity. In November, however, España, having incurred the displeasure of the Carlist junta, was removed from his command. His body shortly afterwards was taken out of the river Segre “tied neck and heels.”[416] Without doubt he had been murdered by the escort which was supposed to convey him to a place of confinement. But it was not till the month of July, 1840, that Espartero succeeded [Pg 215]in driving Cabrera and his lieutenant, Balmaceda, into France and in breaking up the last of the Carlist bands.

Spain, however, was not destined to enjoy the blessings of internal peace and tranquillity. Christina had never really accepted the principles of constitutional government, and most of the leading Moderados shared her dislike to democratic institutions. With the object, accordingly, of rendering nugatory certain of the Liberal provisions of the constitution the party, during the session of 1840, introduced a bill abolishing the election of municipal officers, and establishing a system under which they were, in the future, to be appointed by the central government. The Spaniards, however, have always been tenacious of their municipal rights and privileges, and the proposed law was, in consequence, greatly disliked by the people. The Queen Regent and her Moderado advisers would have cared little for popular opposition, provided always that they could have obtained the support of one man. “Espartero,” in the words of Mr. Southern, the British chargé d’affaires, “now formed one of the bodies of the State.”[417] The general who had succeeded in terminating the civil war was, for the time being, the idol of the nation.

Espartero, however, was deaf to the blandishments of the Moderados, and publicly declared that he regarded the municipal bill as unconstitutional.[418] Christina, nevertheless, was confident that he would never resist her personal appeal. She had always recognized the importance of winning his gratitude. For his services he had been created Count of Luchana, Duke de la Victoria, and a Spanish grandee of the first class. After his capture of Cabrera’s [Pg 216]stronghold, in 1840, she had conferred upon him the additional title of Duke of Morella. When the municipal law was under discussion in the Chamber, she suddenly announced her intention of proceeding to Caldes, near Barcelona, with Isabella, who was alleged to have been ordered sea bathing. But the significance of her journey to the coast lay in the fact that it would enable her to meet, and to confer with, Espartero, who was directing the final operations in Cabrera’s country.[419] Her interview with the all-powerful general took place, in due course, at Lerida, but it disappointed her expectations. Espartero advised her strongly to refuse her assent to the bill, although it had been passed by both Chambers. It was notorious that the Moderado majority had been obtained by means of corruption and intimidation at the elections of the previous year, and that it in no way represented the will of the nation. Christina wavered. At one time she decided to follow the counsels of Espartero, at another she resolved to adhere firmly to her Moderado policy. Meanwhile, the country was growing dangerously excited, and Barcelona was the scene of serious rioting. Christina, in consequence, decided to move the Court to Valencia, where O’Donnell, on whom she could depend, commanded the troops. Upon her arrival, she boldly announced that she purposed to commission Modesto Cortazar, a former minister of Joseph Bonaparte, to form an ultra-Moderado Cabinet. At the news, the country rose, juntas sprang into existence in the principal towns, and a provisional government was established at Madrid.[420]

Villiers was no longer at Madrid. On succeeding to the earldom of Clarendon, he had returned home, [Pg 217]where a seat in the Cabinet had been found for him. When he learnt of the critical state of affairs in Spain, Palmerston at once directed Mr. Aston, Clarendon’s successor, to seek out Christina, wherever she might be, and to attempt to convince her of the imprudence of the course upon which she had embarked.[421] But before he could reach Valencia, she had abandoned the struggle, and had sullenly surrendered the direction of affairs to Espartero. She fully intended, she informed Aston at his first audience, to resign the regency, and no words of his could turn her from her resolution.[422] It was not alone the desire to avoid the disagreeable necessity of having to accept a Progressista government which had prompted her to arrive at this decision. Gonzalez Bravo and the Radicals possessed the proof of her marriage to Nuñoz, the guardsman, by whom she had already had several children. In order to retain the regency, and especially the emoluments appertaining to it, she had allowed it to be generally believed that she was the mistress of the handsome and low-born soldier. But now that her secret had been betrayed, her marriage might be adduced at any moment as a reason for declaring her incompetent to hold the post of Regent.[423] Only by a voluntary abdication could she escape from this further humiliation. Accordingly, on October 12, 1840, she signed the act whereby she resigned the regency, and left it to the Cortes to appoint her successor. A few days later she parted from her daughters, and set out for France. On May 18 of the following year, Espartero was duly elected Regent, [Pg 218]whilst Argüelles, a veteran Progressista, was nominated guardian of Queen Isabella.

Christina’s abdication passed almost unnoticed outside Spain. The quarrel between the Sultan and the Pasha had broken out afresh, and England and France were upon the verge of war.

[Pg 219]



It will be remembered that, in the autumn of 1833, both France and Great Britain ineffectually protested against the treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi. But so long as Russia and Austria were closely united, neither Palmerston nor Broglie were prepared to enforce their demands by actual measures of hostility. Both, however, were resolved vigilantly to watch the course of events at Constantinople, and to interpose should the Russian fleet return to the Bosphorus. Being thus anxious to avoid a collision with Russia, it became their policy to prevent a fresh outbreak of hostilities between the Sultan and Mehemet Ali, in order that the Tsar should be furnished with no excuse for intervention. It was soon apparent, however, that the preservation of peace between Mahmud and his powerful vassal would prove a difficult matter. Already, in the summer of 1834, only a little more than a year after the conclusion of the Convention of Kiutayeh, there was once more grave danger of an armed conflict between the Sultan and the Pasha of Egypt.

In 1832, the Syrians had welcomed Ibrahim as their deliverer from Turkish misrule. But no sooner had they become the subjects of the Pasha, than their disenchantment began. The introduction of the conscription into Syria was fiercely resented. In the spring of 1834, the whole country was in a [Pg 220]state of rebellion, and it required sixteen months of arduous operations, attended with much bloodshed, before Ibrahim could disarm the tribes, and restore the authority of his father over the revolted districts.[424] But in the eyes of the Sultan, the insurrection was an opportunity for attacking Ibrahim under favourable conditions, and for wiping out the humiliations of the former campaign. Accordingly, he prepared to renew the struggle, and it was only in deference to the protests of the Powers that he refrained from carrying out his intention.[425] At the same time the consuls at Alexandria insisted that Mehemet Ali must strictly comply with the conditions of the Convention of Kiutayeh, and afford Mahmud no pretext for beginning hostilities. Nevertheless, on September 4, 1834, the Pasha officially informed the agents of the Powers that he was resolved to proclaim his complete independence.[426] He soon, however, perceived the necessity of postponing the execution of this design, in face of the unanimous declaration of the different Cabinets that he must abandon “a project which the policy of Europe could not allow him to realize.”[427]

But, although the five Powers thus combined to check the ambitious schemes of Mehemet Ali, the suspicion with which the policy of Russia towards Turkey was regarded by France and England was in no way diminished. So strained were the relations of Great Britain and Russia, at the beginning of 1834, that Nicholas, notwithstanding his inveterate dislike of Louis Philippe, allowed Nesselrode to make certain [Pg 221]discreet advances towards France. These half-hearted overtures, however, led to no results. Although Broglie indulged in less provocative language than the British minister, and deprecated the idea of another naval demonstration in Levantine waters, he was in complete agreement with Palmerston in the eastern question.[428] A personal dispute served to increase the tension which existed between the Imperial Cabinet and the English government. Notwithstanding Prince Lieven’s intimation that the Tsar would greatly dislike the appointment,[429] Palmerston had allowed Sir Stratford Canning to be gazetted as ambassador to the Russian Court. Nesselrode, thereupon, informed Mr. Bligh, the British chargé d’affaires, that Sir Stratford would not be received. His “suspicious, overbearing and irritable disposition” appears to have been the reason assigned for the objections which were made to his appointment. Palmerston, however, absolutely refused to send any one else in his place. “The whole thing,” he believed or affected to believe, “was a mere remnant of the Apostolical and Holy Alliance abomination of the name of Canning.”[430] But Nesselrode was equally unyielding and no British ambassador was, in consequence, accredited to the Russian Court. Matters continued upon this footing until Nicholas, in the spring of 1834, decided to recall Prince Lieven from London and merely to appoint a chargé d’affaires to replace him. The departure of the Lievens created a [Pg 222]great sensation, and was by many people regarded as a prelude to a complete rupture between Russia and Great Britain. The ambassador was a commonplace person, but his wife[431] was a conspicuous figure in the fashionable and political world. Besides being well acquainted with most of the prominent diplomatists in Europe, she had, during her long stay in England, enjoyed the confidence of Grey, Aberdeen and other statesmen. It may be imagined how bitterly she deplored the necessity of exchanging a life, replete with political interest in London, for an existence at the Court of St. Petersburg, bereft of all the excitement in which she delighted. It was to her influence, she considered, that Palmerston owed his appointment as Foreign Secretary, and she never forgave him for his share in the events which led up to her husband’s recall.[432]

Whilst the Duke of Wellington was at the Foreign Office, during Sir Robert Peel’s “Hundred Days,”Anglo-Russian relations perceptibly improved. The Duke’s views upon the question of the Dardanelles differed from those which Broglie and Palmerston had hitherto entertained. In his opinion England and France should endeavour to effect the closure of the straits to the warships of all nations. The evil arising from the passage of Russian ships from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean would not, he maintained, be diminished by the opening of the Dardanelles to the fleets of the Powers. Accordingly, he cancelled [Pg 223]Palmerston’s secret instructions of March 10, 1834,[433] authorizing Ponsonby, should the Porte ask for assistance against Russia, to call upon the Mediterranean squadron to enter the Dardanelles. Moreover, apart from this particular question, it was not fitting, in the eyes of the Duke, that “the King’s ambassador should have the power of placing the country in a state of war with another Power.”[434] Wellington also proposed to restore the diplomatic relations of the two countries to their normal condition by the despatch of an ambassador to St. Petersburg. But his selection of Lord Londonderry for this post was disapproved of by the House of Commons. Londonderry was an ultra-Tory who was supposed to have used unsympathetic language about the Polish insurrection, and, had he not voluntarily declined the mission, the government would certainly have suffered a defeat upon the question of his appointment.[435]

Palmerston, upon his return to the Foreign Office in the spring of 1835, was struck by the soundness of the Duke’s opinion upon the subject of the Dardanelles.[436] Ponsonby was, in consequence, given no further authority over the movements of the Mediterranean squadron. No man at this time was more absolutely persuaded of the Machiavellian character of Russian policy than Lord Ponsonby. Neither words nor deeds could shake his opinion upon that point. Although the Russian envoy at Constantinople had co-operated with his colleagues in preventing a renewal of the struggle between the Sultan and the Pasha, the British ambassador was none the less convinced that Nicholas was secretly scheming to create a pretext for intervention. Again, when M. de Boutenieff assisted [Pg 224]him in obtaining redress for the ill-treatment of a British subject at the hands of the Turkish police, he explained his conduct by suggesting that “the Russian minister was perhaps taken by surprise, and that those honourable feelings, which are natural to him, operated upon him.”[437] Nor would he allow that the Cabinet of St. Petersburg was actuated either by disinterested or generous motives when, in 1836, it consented to remit some of the indemnity due from Turkey and to evacuate Silistria. That fortress, he declared, was of no value to Russia, and, by relinquishing it, she “would obtain the advantage of making the world believe in her moderation.”[438] Being thus convinced that the Tsar and his advisers entertained the most sinister designs against the integrity of the Ottoman Empire, he concluded that a secret understanding must exist between Russia and Mehemet Ali, the powerful and disaffected vassal of the Sultan.

The effect of Lord Ponsonby’s alarmist despatches was to some extent counteracted by the more statesmanlike reports of Lord Durham, his nephew by marriage. The Duke of Wellington’s intention to send an ambassador of St. Petersburg had enabled the Whigs, upon their return to power, to despatch Lord Durham in that capacity to the Russian capital. Durham, during the two years he was in Russia, travelled through the southern provinces and made an exhaustive study of the resources of the country. The result of his observations and enquiries convinced him that Russia’s power for offensive war had been greatly exaggerated. Furthermore, he was persuaded that the Tsar Nicholas and almost all intelligent Russians were sincerely desirous of establishing a good understanding with England, and had altogether abandoned the idea of acquiring Constantinople. In short, he saw [Pg 225]no reason why “a rival and an enemy should not be converted into a friend and an ally.”[439]

Meanwhile, Palmerston and Broglie had been quietly endeavouring to induce Austria to join with France and Great Britain in guaranteeing the integrity of Turkey. But Metternich, having contracted the secret agreement with Russia[440] for the maintenance of the Ottoman Empire, was not disposed to incur the Tsar’s displeasure by entering into a second compact. Broglie, finding that his advances met with no response, suggested that France and England should separately conclude a treaty for the object which both their governments had at heart and invite Austria to adhere to it. Palmerston[441] acquiesced in this plan, but was unable to obtain the assent of his colleagues to its execution. Before any further discussion of the subject could take place Broglie fell, and the Presidency of the Council and the direction of Foreign Affairs passed into the hands of M. Thiers. The new minister professed to be as anxious as his predecessor to preserve the integrity of the Ottoman Empire, but it was apparent, at once, that his first political object, to which all other questions of European diplomacy would for the present be subordinated, was the negotiation of a marriage between the Duc d’Orléans and an Austrian Archduchess.[442]

With the downfall of the Duc de Broglie the harmony, which had hitherto characterized French and British relations, began to diminish. Both Whigs and Tories had scrupulously abstained from [Pg 226]raising the delicate question of the French occupation of Algiers.[443] Broglie and the Doctrinaires were opposed to the permanent retention of the colony, and a considerable section of the Chamber looked upon it as a useless and expensive encumbrance. M. Thiers, however, thought otherwise. He was in favour of “nationalizing the Arabs”—an expression which Mr. Aston[444] interpreted to mean that he was contemplating their extermination. No sooner was he in office than he began to prepare an expedition against the Bey of Constantine, with whom the French authorities had a long-standing dispute. At the same time, whilst protesting that he had no thought of extending French domination over either Tunis or Tripoli, he refused to recognize the sovereignty of the Sultan over those regencies. To support this policy he sent Admiral Hugon to Tunis to oppose, by force if necessary, the entry of the Ottoman squadron into the bay. “I really believe,”privately wrote the British chargé d’affaires to Lord Palmerston, “that in order to gain popularity he wishes for a war with Turkey, provided he could make it appear that it was undertaken to protect French interests.”[445]

Whilst M. Thiers thus set himself to consolidate the French rule over Algeria a secret negotiation was initiated, at Constantinople and at Cairo, for the purpose of establishing, under the guarantee of the French government, the relations of the Sultan and the Pasha of Egypt upon a more secure foundation. Campbell appears to have received the first intelligence of what was taking place from his Austrian colleague. The news caused him to pay a [Pg 227]visit to M. Ferdinand de Lesseps,[446] who, in the absence of M. Mimaut, was acting as French consul-general. Lesseps was in a great state of indignation, and in his wrath was inclined to be communicative. M. Thiers, he confided to Campbell, before he left Paris, had told him that an important negotiation was in progress, but that he would not discuss it with him as, upon his arrival at Alexandria, he could learn all about it from a perusal of the documents at the consulate. Mimaut, however, had carefully removed every paper relating to the affair, and he was, in consequence, in complete ignorance of all that had passed. He had endeavoured, he added ingenuously, to make Boghos Bey believe that he was acquainted with the transaction, but the astute secretary of the Pasha had discovered the true state of the case and had promptly changed the conversation.[447]

Soon after Campbell’s interview with Lesseps, on December 11, 1836, Sarim Effendi, who was described by Mehemet Ali as a confidential agent of the Sultan, arrived at Alexandria. Ostensibly his mission was concerned with questions of arrears of tribute. In reality, however, he appears to have been empowered to propose some repartition of territory. The statements upon the subject which Campbell succeeded in extracting from Mehemet Ali were conflicting. At one time he told the British consul that the Sultan was willing to invest him with the hereditary government of Egypt and the Pashalic of Acre, whilst, on another occasion, he asserted that the hereditary tenure of all the territories which he actually occupied had been offered to him, on condition that he would undertake [Pg 228]to reduce his army.[448] In Paris Lord Granville was unable to obtain any information about this affair. In answer to his enquiries he was told that Roussin had, “with the object of saving the dignity of the Sultan, held out to the Pasha the prospect of obtaining for his son the reversion of his Syrian possessions, in return for the abandonment of the other territories which he occupied.” But he was assured that the admiral had acted without instructions from his government, which had, on the contrary, “discountenanced his proceedings.”[449]

If Mahmud really empowered Sarim Effendi to make substantial concessions to the Pasha, such conduct on his part is altogether inconsistent with the sentiments of implacable hostility which he had constantly entertained towards his powerful vassal. In the spring of 1836 he had shown a strong disposition to renew the struggle, and had sent a secret agent to London to solicit help. His appeal was rejected, but Palmerston intimated that the British government was constrained to urge him to keep the peace from fear that his military resources would be unequal to the contest, rather than from any desire to see the status quo in Syria maintained.[450] Finding that no assistance would be forthcoming from England, Mahmud may have listened to the advice of the French government to make further concessions to Mehemet Ali, in order to put an end to the armed peace which was draining his depleted treasury. But the conditions, whatever they may have been, which [Pg 229]were proposed to the Pasha were not accepted. Nevertheless, the negotiation, although it led to no direct results, had an important influence upon the march of events. It disclosed to Mehemet Ali that France and England were pursuing different objects in the East, and gave him grounds for hoping that he need no longer fear a combination of the two naval Powers against him.

But, although the Sultan may have been disappointed and annoyed at the refusal of Great Britain to assist him actively, he could derive comfort from the knowledge that the power of Mehemet Ali was regarded with misgivings in England. Ponsonby’s influence at the Porte grew in proportion as it became more and more evident that his government disapproved of the Egyptian occupation of Syria, and was prepared to uphold the sovereignty of Turkey over Tunis and to resist French encroachments. On the other hand, the Russian ambassador, who declared unceasingly that under no circumstances must the status quo, as established by the Convention of Kiutayeh, be disturbed, found his authority diminish. Early in 1836, shortly before the arrival in England of the Sultan’s secret agent, Palmerston had despatched General Chrzanowski, an able and experienced Polish officer, to Asia Minor. He had served in the Turkish campaign of 1828-1829, and was, Palmerston considered,[451] “just the sort of man to be of the greatest use to Reshid Pasha.”[452] But as the Russians, by whom he was looked upon as a deserter, would greatly resent his employment, he was instructed to avoid Constantinople, and to proceed direct to Smyrna. He would never appear to have been given a command or to have been employed officially [Pg 230]by the Sultan, who probably scarcely ventured to defy his powerful neighbour so openly. He was allowed, however, to travel about Asia Minor, and to study the strategical situation. He was thus enabled to furnish Palmerston with excellent military advice, in return for the salary which Lord Ponsonby was instructed to pay him, from the moment of his arrival in the East.[453] Several Prussian officers, among them a certain Major von Moltke, destined to become very famous, were at this time serving with the Turkish army, to the re-organization of which, in preparation for the coming struggle, Palmerston unceasingly urged the Sultan to devote his whole attention.

Whilst instructing Ponsonby to impress upon the Turkish ministers the necessity of increasing the efficiency of the army, Palmerston was intent on creating embarrassments for Mehemet Ali. The economic system, which he had established in Egypt, and which he was imposing upon Syria, presented an excellent field for hostile criticism. By often very equivocal methods the Pasha had gradually expropriated the former freeholders, and had converted them into his own tenants. He would then buy at a fixed rate their produce, and thus, before long, the sale of almost all articles of prime necessity became a monopoly of the State. At first his system appeared to work well, but, when he began to pile up his armaments, he met the increased expenditure which they entailed by reducing the price, which he had hitherto paid to the unfortunate occupiers of the soil. In order to compensate themselves these people were necessarily compelled to raise the price of all articles which the government did not take from them. In 1838 Colonel Campbell computed that, as the result of the Pasha’s administration, articles of ordinary [Pg 231]consumption in Egypt were from six to ten times dearer than they had been under the rule of the Mamelukes. Moreover, Mehemet Ali, ever since the year 1816, had been busily endeavouring to convert Egypt into a manufacturing country. With this object he had imported at great expense skilled workmen and machinery from France and England. The native labour required was obtained in the same manner as the army was recruited. Men, women and children were impressed and compelled to work in the factories. But by their unskilfulness they injured the machinery, nor did the articles which they turned out pay the cost of manufacture. The result of this experiment was that some 30,000 peasants, who might with advantage have been engaged in agriculture, were forced to labour unprofitably in the factories of the government. The Pasha, however, was too ignorant of the most elementary principles of political economy to understand the folly of these proceedings, in which he was encouraged to persevere by the foreign merchants, who sold him machinery or who bought his cotton and his indigo upon very advantageous terms.[454]

The British government had always been desirous to put an end to the old system of capitulations,[455] and to negotiate a new commercial treaty with the Porte. But as many influential persons in Turkey were interested in the preservation of existing abuses, the proposals of successive ambassadors had constantly been eluded. At the beginning of 1838, however, Palmerston directed Ponsonby to bring the matter forward again, and to lay great stress upon the prejudicial effect which the abolition of monopolies throughout the Ottoman Empire would not fail to [Pg 232]have upon the personal position of Mehemet Ali.[456] This argument attained the desired result. Mahmud quickly resolved that no vested interests should be allowed to interfere with a commercial arrangement, which must either seriously embarrass Mehemet Ali or, should he refuse to adhere to it, bring him into conflict with Great Britain. The Sultan’s consent having been obtained, Ponsonby entrusted to Henry Bulwer the negotiation which was brought to a satisfactory conclusion on August 19, 1838.[457]

In the meantime, it had not escaped the vigilance of the Indian government that the protracted resistance of the Wahabites was weakening, and that Mehemet Ali was upon the point of making himself master of the whole of Arabia. The importance of Aden as an intermediate coaling station between Bombay and Suez had been realized, and it happened, most opportunely, that a quarrel[458] between the ruler of that port and the East India Company enabled the Governor-General to take action at the very moment when the absorption of the Yemen by the Pasha was imminent.[459] The management of the affair was confided to Captain Haines of the Bombay navy, who, early in 1838, was able to inform Ibrahim that the Sultan of Aden had ceded the port to the East India Company “par simple motif d’amitié et de son cosentement.”[460] Nevertheless, the expedition sent from India to take possession of the place encountered, on January 16, 1839, a fierce resistance which was only overcome after a sharp engagement. Palmerston, upon receipt of the news of its cession, at once directed Campbell to warn Mehemet Ali that any movement of his troops against Aden would be treated [Pg 233]as an attack upon a British possession. The Pasha, although unable wholly to conceal his chagrin, accepted the situation with a good grace.[461]

Ever since the beginning of the year 1838, great military preparations had been in progress both in Egypt and Syria. The consuls, had in consequence, been instructed to inquire of Mehemet Ali the reason of his armaments. It was whilst they were engaged in warning him that any aggression upon the Sultan would bring down upon him the vengeance of the Powers that the news arrived of the submission of Nejd, the great central district of Arabia, extending from Medina and Mecca to the Persian Gulf.[462] It was impossible to calculate what might result from the enhanced prestige which he had thus acquired in the eyes of the faithful. The immediate effect was seen, a few days later, when he sent for the consuls and announced to each of them separately his unalterable resolution to proclaim his independence. “The interests of his family,” he declared to Campbell, “imperiously called upon him to fix their future state, and it was les larmes aux yeux et le coeur serré that he had taken his present resolution.” Nevertheless, he would wait a reasonable time in the full persuasion that the British government would take such steps as would permit of an amicable and satisfactory settlement.[463]

The Cabinets of the Powers were not greatly disturbed by the Pasha’s threats. Palmerston alone showed any anxiety to arrange the military measures which might be put into force against Mehemet Ali, should he proceed to carry out his declared intentions.[464] [Pg 234]But it was soon evident that the Pasha had no desire to bring on a crisis. Although he continued to impress upon the consuls that he was fully as determined as ever to obtain for his children the succession of the countries which he governed, he at the same time announced his intention of proceeding to Upper Egypt to inspect his gold mines. Furthermore, he duly transmitted his yearly tribute to the Sultan. Nevertheless, his military preparations were not relaxed and reinforcements were continuously despatched to Ibrahim in Syria. It was clear that he had no intention of affording the Powers a pretext for taking active measures against him, but hoped, by keeping them and the Porte in a constant state of apprehension, to weary them into conceding him some of his demands.[465] In pursuance of this astute policy he accepted the British commercial treaty with the utmost unconcern. He was confident, he assured Campbell, that he could derive a larger revenue from duties on exports and imports than he had ever obtained under his system of monopolies.[466] M. Molé, on the other hand, testified his surprise and annoyance at the success which had attended Lord Ponsonby’s negotiations. He was greatly afraid, he told Granville, that Mehemet Ali would now be provoked into an immediate declaration of independence. But, upon learning that the Pasha had announced his intention of adhering to the terms of the British treaty, he promptly instructed Roussin to conclude, on behalf of France, a similar arrangement with the Porte.[467]

Whilst the aims and ambitions of Mehemet Ali [Pg 235]were once more attracting the attention of the Powers, Anglo-Russian relations again assumed a threatening aspect. Both the British and Indian governments had, for some time past, been disturbed by the ascendency which Russia was acquiring over the Court of Teheran, and by the intrigues of her agents in Afghanistan. Encouraged by Count Simonitch, the Russian envoy, the Shah, who entertained pretensions to the sovereignty of Afghanistan, at the close of the year 1837, marched against Herat. Before the siege had been long in progress both the British and Russian ministers arrived upon the scene—the one to endeavour to bring about a cessation of hostilities, and the other to direct the operations of the Persian army. Whilst Macneil and Simonitch thus strove for supremacy in the camp of Mohammad, Eldred Pottinger, a subaltern of the Indian army, who had reached Herat disguised as a horse-dealer, stimulated by his example the courage of the garrison. At the same time Captain Witkewitch, a secret agent of Count Simonitch, arrived at Cabul, for the purpose of drawing Dost Mohammad into the Russo-Persian alliance and of counteracting the influence of Alexander Burnes, who, like his Russian rival, was in Afghanistan upon a mission which was described as commercial. The idea of a Russian agent established at Cabul, free to intrigue with Ranjit Singh, the Maharajah of Lahore, and supported by the whole weight of Mohammedan Persia, seriously alarmed Lord Auckland, the Governor-General.[468] To combat this danger he conceived the fatal plan of sending an Anglo-Indian army into Afghanistan to overthrow the Barakzai dynasty, and to set up in the place of Dost Mohammad an exiled Sadozai prince, a pensioner of the Indian government.

The conduct of the Russian agents in Persia and Afghanistan was made the subject of a note which, on [Pg 236]October 26, 1838, Clanricarde, the British ambassador at St. Petersburg, was directed to deliver to Count Nesselrode. The Russian Chancellor, whilst deprecating the construction placed by Palmerston on some of Count Simonitch’s actions, admitted that he had exceeded his instructions and undertook to recall him.[469] This promise was duly carried out. Consequently, when Witkewitch arrived at St. Petersburg he was coldly informed that he must forthwith return to his post at Orenburg. In despair at finding that the negotiations, which he had conducted so skilfully, were to be disavowed, the unfortunate man blew out his brains.[470] Only a little more than two years later Burnes, his rival, perished at Cabul at the hands of an infuriated mob.

The assurances and explanations of Count Nesselrode were accepted as satisfactory by Lord Palmerston. The visit of the Tsarewitch, the future Alexander II., to London, in the spring of 1839, contributed still further to restore harmonious relations. Nevertheless, the general situation which confronted Palmerston was disquieting. Russia, which by means of the Treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi had assumed the exclusive protectorship of Turkey, now appeared to exercise a dangerous ascendency over the Court of Persia. Although the Shah had been compelled to raise the siege of Herat, and although the proceedings of Simonitch and Witkewitch had been disavowed, there was room for grave anxiety. Distant as was the frontier line of the Sutlej from the most advanced Cossack posts, the presence of Russian agents in the intervening States foreboded trouble. At Lahore, Hyderabad and Cabul, the appearance of a new [Pg 237]power in Central Asia could not fail to be eagerly discussed.

But it was not alone the advance of Russia beyond the Caspian which gave those responsible for the safety of British India cause for uneasy reflection. At this time, when the introduction of steam as a means of transport was making the question of rapid communication a matter of the first importance, Mehemet Ali was building up an Arab Empire which already extended from Khartum to the Taurus mountains and the Persian Gulf. Whether in the future the Indian mail would be carried over the Isthmus of Suez, or whether Colonel Chesney should succeed in establishing steam communication by way of the Euphrates, the ruler of Egypt was master of either route. Nor did he stand alone. Whilst busily engaged in strengthening her own position as a Mediterranean power, England’s most formidable naval rival was showing a marked disposition to befriend him. In Syria France was the acknowledged protector of the Catholics, and her influence was reported to have increased of late years.[471] From Algiers she was extending her grasp over the whole north coast of Africa, whilst in Spain she was striving to re-establish that predominating influence which she had formerly exercised. It seemed possible that France, in alliance with Spain and Mehemet Ali, might yet be enabled to realize Napoleon’s dream of converting the Mediterranean into a “French lake.”

When Mehemet Ali had announced his intention of shaking off his allegiance, Mahmud had seemed to defer to the pacific counsels of the Powers, and had refrained from ordering his troops in Asia Minor to invade Syria. But, before the spring of 1839, it was clear that he was resolved to appeal to arms, and that all the efforts of diplomacy to prevent a renewal of [Pg 238]the conflict would be fruitless. It was not alone his bitter hatred of his rebellious vassal which prompted the Sultan to disregard the advice of the ambassadors at Constantinople. His sole claim to the Khalifate rested upon the protection of Mecca, and, inasmuch as Mehemet Ali was in possession of the Holy Cities, were he to declare himself independent, Mahmud must forfeit his right to command the temporal obedience of Mohammedans. Already Constantinople was seething with disaffection, and he is said to have been aware that a plot had been formed to depose him and to enthrone his son, under the guardianship of Mehemet Ali.[472]

Mahmud was dying from a complication of disorders, but he gave his whole expiring strength to his military preparations. Men, horses and guns were hurried across the Bosphorus and forwarded to Hafiz Pasha in Asia Minor. Moltke with his plane-table was busily engaged in exploring the country up to Nezib, “a small town hidden among the olive trees close against the Syrian frontier.”[473] At the news that the Porte was bent upon war, Mehemet Ali, curtailing his visit to Khartum, hastily returned to Cairo, whilst at Constantinople the ambassadors made a last endeavour to dissuade the Sultan from disturbing the peace.[474] But Mahmud was not to be diverted from his object, and in Paris, on May 23, 1839, it was known that Hafiz Pasha had crossed the Euphrates and that hostilities were about to begin.

French historians have generally imputed duplicity to the British government in this affair. Palmerston, they say, whilst pretending that he was anxious to dissuade the Sultan from war, was in point of fact [Pg 239]allowing Lord Ponsonby, his agent at Constantinople, to encourage the Turkish ministers to break the peace. Ponsonby was unquestionably opposed to the policy of maintaining the status quo in Syria. In his opinion Mehemet Ali was the sore which was sapping the strength of the Ottoman Empire, and, seeing that it was a British interest that Turkey should be in a condition to resist Russia, he held that England should assist the Sultan to crush his too-powerful vassal.[475] It is undeniable that Palmerston allowed him a liberty of action and of language which he would not have tolerated in any other ambassador. There can be no doubt, moreover, that he regarded the Egyptian question in very much the same light as Ponsonby. But he differed from him in one very important particular, inasmuch as he considered that the moment had not yet come when Mahmud could, with a reasonable chance of success, try conclusions with the Pasha. France, he was well aware, would never join in an attack upon Mehemet Ali. Indeed, it was rather a question whether she would not openly espouse his cause. The possibility of a combination between Russia and France could not be dismissed as a development outside the range of practical politics.[476] Hitherto, Nicholas’ dislike of Louis Philippe had rendered the chance of such a contingency very remote. But, were England to adopt a separate policy in the east, it was improbable that the Tsar would allow his personal animosity to stand in the way of an alliance, which he might consider would serve the best interests of his Empire. Accordingly, when, at the close of the year 1838, Reshid Pasha, the Reis-Effendi, arrived upon a special mission to [Pg 240]London, he discovered, to his disappointment, that Palmerston was not prepared to hold out any hopes that the British government would join in an attack upon Mehemet Ali. Only, Palmerston explained, in the event of the Pasha beginning hostilities, could England furnish the Sultan with naval assistance. Mahmud being intent upon war, a purely defensive alliance could be of no service to him, and was declined.[477] If the bellicose policy of the Sultan had received any encouragement from Lord Ponsonby, Reshid’s conferences at the Foreign Office in London must have made it clear that the ambassador had been using language which he had no authority to employ. When, therefore, the Sultan ordered Hafiz Pasha to advance, he was perfectly aware that he was acting in opposition to the wishes of the British government, which did not believe that he had an army capable of defeating Ibrahim’s Arab and Egyptian troops.

Directly it was known that the Turkish army had been set in motion and that all hope of maintaining the peace must be abandoned, the Soult Cabinet asked the Chamber for a credit of ten million francs. The sum demanded was accorded by an overwhelming majority and, in the debates which followed, the deputies were enabled to declare their views upon the eastern question. The sympathies of the majority were plainly on the side of Mehemet Ali, and ministers were given clearly to understand, by the long succession of orators who in turn ascended the tribune, that with the large sum which had been placed at their disposal they must do something both great and glorious.[478] Soult, in the meanwhile, had despatched [Pg 241]two officers, the one to Constantinople and the other to Alexandria, with instructions to proceed, after conferring with Admiral Roussin and M. Cochelet, to the headquarters of the two armies, in order to endeavour to bring about a suspension of hostilities. The friendly feelings towards England entertained by Marshal Soult, and the better understanding with regard to Spanish affairs between the French and English governments, which followed his assumption of office, have already been mentioned. Their co-operation in the eastern question was no less cordial. “We are in complete accord,” said Palmerston to Bourqueney, the French chargé d’affaires in London; “our communications are not those of one government with another but of two colleagues in the same Cabinet.”[479] It was decided that both the French and British fleets should proceed to the Levant, and that the admirals should be instructed to do all in their power to induce the opposing generals to suspend hostilities. Both Soult and Palmerston, however, were agreed that the great danger in the situation lay in the possibility that Nicholas might avail himself of the outbreak of war for invading Turkey, under the plea that Constantinople must be protected against Ibrahim. They, accordingly, resolved to intimate to the Porte that, in the event of Russian aid being invoked, or of a Russian fleet entering the Bosphorus, permission should be given to the French and British squadrons to pass through the Dardanelles into the Sea of Marmora.[480]

Mehemet Ali, when the news arrived that the Turks had crossed the Euphrates, displayed the greatest self-restraint. In his heart he was, doubtless, eager for the [Pg 242]fray, but he was determined that the responsibility for the outbreak of the war should rest with the Sultan. Accordingly, he delivered a written communication to the representatives of the Powers, in which he undertook to withdraw his troops to Damascus, provided the Turkish army would recross the river.[481] It was only on June 10, upon receipt of a report from Ibrahim that his cavalry had been attacked within the Egyptian frontier, that he directed him to assume the offensive.[482] But three days after these orders had been despatched Captain Caillier, the officer sent off by Marshal Soult, arrived at Alexandria. He was the bearer of despatches from the Marshal to M. Cochelet, instructing him to declare to Mehemet Ali that the Powers were taking steps to settle the eastern question, and that they must insist upon the immediate withdrawal of the Egyptian army within the boundaries of Syria. The Pasha, after some little hesitation, consented to write to his son enjoining him not to pursue the Turks beyond the frontiers of Syria and to halt wherever Caillier might come up with him.[483] But before Marshal Soult’s emissary could reach Ibrahim’s headquarters that general had completely defeated the Turks, on June 24, 1839, in a great battle near Nezib.

Before the news of this disaster could reach Constantinople Mahmud was dead, and when, shortly afterwards, the intelligence of the complete defeat of Hafiz Pasha was brought to the Turkish ministers, they kept the matter strictly secret. Abd-ul-Mejid, the sixteen-year-old son of the deceased Mahmud, was proclaimed Sultan, and the ambassadors of the Powers were invited to a conference on July 3. On this occasion Nourri-Effendi, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, announced that the Porte had no reason to [Pg 243]suppose that any engagement had yet taken place between the two armies. Nevertheless, the Sultan purposed to send “one of the eminent men of his Court” to offer Mehemet Ali a full pardon for the past and to assure him of his favour in the future. Furthermore, he was prepared to confer upon him the hereditary government of Egypt, provided he would abandon Syria and the other territories over which he now exercised his dominion. Pending the result of this negotiation orders had been sent to Hafiz Pasha to suspend hostilities.[484]

It was not until July 8 that the true facts were generally known in Constantinople, and, on the evening of that day, Lord Ponsonby was informed by the French ambassador of a fresh disaster. Admiral Lalande, who with a small French squadron was lying at the entrance to the Dardanelles, reported that the Capudan Pasha had sailed away with, he believed, the intention of delivering up his fleet to Mehemet Ali. Osman Bey, the second in command of the Turkish squadron, had had an interview with the French admiral,[485] and had declared that the Sultan had been murdered by Halil and Hosrew Pasha, both of whom were in league with the Russians. Under these circumstances the Capudan Pasha determined to place his ships in safety. On this pretext he proceeded with all speed to Alexandria, where he delivered up to the Pasha his whole fleet, consisting of twenty-one sail, of which eight were of the line.

The indifference with which Admiral Lalande had heard of the treacherous intentions of the Capudan Pasha, and the apathy which had characterized his proceedings, could not fail to attract attention. Marshal Boult himself, in discussing the surrender [Pg 244]of the Turkish fleet with Lord Granville, was forced to admit that Lalande’s conduct appeared to him inexplicable.[486] In the course of the next few months, however, further light was thrown upon the matter. An Armenian, a certain Avedick, the confidential dragoman of the Capudan Pasha, was smuggled out of Alexandria on board a British ship. This man, when he arrived at Constantinople, agreed to disclose all he knew to Reshid Pasha. According to his statement, Admiral Lalande, accompanied by the Prince de Joinville, came on board the Turkish flagship, and held a consultation with Osman, the Reala Bey,[487] who seems to have been the evil genius of the Capudan Pasha. On learning of his intention to proceed to Alexandria, the French officers, far from attempting to detain him, applauded his resolution, bidding him only to be careful to avoid H.M.S. Vanguard, which was in Besika Bay. Ponsonby, in forwarding the papers connected with this affair, emitted the opinion that, although many circumstances appeared to confirm the truth of the dragoman’s story, “he could not feel it to be true of an honourable man like Admiral Lalande.”[488] Palmerston either adopted this view, or more probably, deemed it impossible to base a formal representation to the French government upon Avedick’s unsupported statement. But after the abdication and death of his father, the Prince de Joinville saw fit to publish, under an assumed name in the Revue des Deux Mondes;[489] an account of these transactions which confirmed the dragoman’s allegations in every particular. Throughout the French fleet there was, says [Pg 245]His Royal Highness, a bitter hatred of England and an intense desire to avenge former defeats. The Pasha of Egypt was regarded as the ally of France in a struggle, which every man hoped and believed, would take place in the near future. Admiral Lalande was, therefore, clearly justified in encouraging the Capudan Pasha to surrender his fleet to Mehemet Ali. Although thirteen years had elapsed since the events referred to in this article had taken place, the Prince evidently experienced the greatest satisfaction in remembering that Captain Walker, and the other British naval instructors of the Ottoman fleet, had been carried off to Alexandria on ships which were to be handed over to England’s enemy, the Pasha of Egypt.

These successive disasters, Lord Palmerston maintained, should make no difference in the policy of the Powers. On the contrary, the battle of Nezib had made it the more imperative that steps should be taken to check the progress of the victorious Ibrahim.[490] Metternich held the same opinion. Russia, however, appeared disposed to adopt a different view of the situation. In 1838, when Mehemet Ali was threatening to proclaim his independence, she had refused to acquiesce in Palmerston’s proposal that the Turco-Egyptian question should be submitted to a conference of the Powers.[491] But in the following spring, when it was plain that the Sultan was resolved to embark upon war, she had not appeared disinclined to entertain Metternich’s suggestion that the seat of the negotiations should be established at Vienna. “Each Cabinet,” Metternich proposed, “might send its opinion to its representatives at Vienna, leaving a certain latitude for discussion, and from a comparison of [Pg 246]the five opinions, one should be sought in which all might coincide.”[492] By this arrangement much delay would be obviated, and the same advantages could be obtained as by the summoning of the conference, to which Nicholas had objected. But at the news that, as a consequence of the death of Mahmud and of the defeat sustained by the Turkish arms at Nezib, the Porte purposed to open a direct negotiation with the Pasha, the Cabinet of St. Petersburg once more evinced a strong disinclination to assent to the plan of establishing a European concert for the settlement of the eastern question.[493] The disposition which Nicholas thus manifested to diverge from the policy advocated by Great Britain and Austria, was hastily seized by France as an opportunity for isolating Russia. The Soult Cabinet, accordingly, insisted upon the necessity of counselling the Porte to avoid any precipitate action, and only to treat with Mehemet Ali through the intermediary of the Powers.[494] Palmerston, as may be supposed, lost no time in expressing to the Marshal the satisfaction which he derived from seeing that he was animated by sentiments coinciding so completely with his own.[495]

In the meanwhile Akiff-Effendi, the Turkish envoy, sent to treat with Mehemet Ali, had returned to Constantinople, after a fruitless mission to Cairo. The Pasha had protested his loyalty to the young Sultan, but he had none the less received the Capudan Pasha and his officers with open arms and clearly meant to [Pg 247]retain the Ottoman fleet. Moreover, he had declared emphatically that he must be invested with the hereditary government of both Syria and Egypt, and had expressed indignation that his old enemy Hosrew Pasha, the Grand Vizier, had not been dismissed. He had, however, undertaken that, for the present, Ibrahim should not advance into Asia Minor.[496] It was clear to the ambassadors at Constantinople that the Porte, if left to itself, would consent to all the Pasha’s demands. “I consider the Ottoman Empire to be delivered over to Mehemet Ali,” wrote Ponsonby on July 26.[497] But, on the following day, Baron Stürmer received despatches from Vienna.[498] Metternich had either foreseen, or had obtained early information, that the Turkish ministers would make further concessions, and he, accordingly, informed the Internuncio that the five Powers were determined to resist the pretensions of Mehemet Ali, and directed him to urge his colleagues to unite with him in representing to the Porte the necessity of allowing the conditions of peace to be settled by the Powers. Lord Beauvale[499] and M. de Sainte-Aulaire had, it is said, at Metternich’s request, written in the same strain to Ponsonby and to Roussin.[500] A meeting of the representatives of the five Powers was immediately convened and a note was drawn up, informing the Porte “that agreement among the five Great Powers, on the question of the East, was secured,” and inviting it to suspend any definitive resolution without their concurrence. M. de Boutenieff, the Russian minister, appears to have made no difficulty about affixing his signature to this document, which was to be known as the collective note of July 27, 1839. When it was presented to them, the Turkish [Pg 248]ministers expressed the utmost gratitude, and promised to suspend all negotiations and to inform Mehemet Ali that the affair was now in the hands of the five Powers.[501]

The news that the collective note had been delivered, and that it had been accepted by the Porte in the desired spirit, afforded the keenest satisfaction at Vienna and in London. Palmerston, agreeing with Ponsonby, perceived that it had destroyed the Treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi, and that the days of Russia’s exclusive protectorship over Turkey were at an end. One of the chief objects of his eastern policy had thus been attained, and he could devote his whole attention to the other—the curtailment of the power of Mehemet Ali. In Paris, on the other hand, the situation created by the collective note awoke serious misgivings. Since the battle of Nezib, French enthusiasm for Mehemet Ali had increased alarmingly. “Men,” wrote Véron,[502] “defended the claims of the Pasha with the same fervour as, in 1828, they had espoused the cause of Greek independence.” Ministers, under these circumstances, could only reflect ruefully that, now that France was a party to the collective note, they must join with the Powers in devising measures for depriving Mehemet Ali of the fruits of his victories. Nor could they escape from the dilemma by disavowing Admiral Roussin, seeing that he had only acted in strict accordance with the policy which Soult himself had advocated, in the secret hope of isolating Russia. But it was evident that the Cabinet of St. Petersburg was reconciled to the necessity of allowing the eastern question to be settled by the Powers, and it was to be apprehended that both Russia and Austria would adopt the hostile attitude [Pg 249]towards Mehemet Ali which Palmerston had already assumed.

Palmerston had invariably proclaimed the opinion that the whole of Syria must be restored to the Sultan, before a permanent peace could be established in the East. The Egyptian desert, he had always insisted, must be interposed between the Pasha and the territories under the direct rule of the Porte.[503] Soult had hitherto contrived to elude a discussion upon this point by declaring that France and England must, in the first place, concert measures for checkmating the designs of Russia upon the integrity of Turkey.[504] Palmerston, so long as he was doubtful about the Tsar’s intentions, had been content to leave in abeyance the question of the future position of Mehemet Ali. But his tone changed from the moment that he became aware that Russia had adhered to the collective note. The French government on various pleas had declined to entertain his proposal that the French and English squadrons should combine for the purpose of obtaining from Mehemet Ali the surrender of the Turkish fleet.[505] On August 20, however, in a dispatch which Mr. Bulwer, the British chargé d’affaires was directed to communicate to Marshal Soult, he insisted that the restitution of the Turkish ships must be regarded as an indispensable preliminary to any negotiations between the five Powers and the Pasha. Furthermore, he declared that the decision as to the measures, which should be taken to obtain this result, “should emanate from Vienna, which was to be the central point of the negotiations instead of London or Paris,” and that Sir Robert Stopford would be instructed to comply with [Pg 250]whatever directions he might receive from Lord Beauvale, “either with or without the co-operation of anyone of the other squadrons.”[506]

The French government, however, displayed a marked reluctance to enter into any general discussion of the Egyptian question. Notwithstanding that Soult had himself suggested Vienna as the seat of the negotiation, when he was under the impression that Russia would object to confer with the Powers on the affairs of the East, he now deprecated the selection of that capital.[507] The French government, reported Bulwer, on August 30, will refuse to consent to any measures of coercion against the Pasha, “until the whole question—that portion of it relative to the Dardanelles and Russia as well as that relating to Egypt and Mehemet Ali—is decided.”[508] About a fortnight later, Bulwer was enabled to ascertain Louis Philippe’s opinions upon the situation. It was advisable, the King considered, to discover what would satisfy the Pasha, and then to insist upon the Porte making the required concessions. When Bulwer objected that such a course was hardly consistent with the collective note of July 27, His Majesty gave him to understand that “in affairs of this kind, all notions of honour and dignity among States need not be greatly considered. I want peace,” said he, “nothing but peace, and I see no way of preserving it but by soldering up this affair as soon as possible.” The discussion then turned upon the military means which were available for the coercion of the Pasha. “Naval measures,” Louis Philippe declared, “would prove insufficient; bayonets were [Pg 251]needed, and we (England?) had no bayonets to employ.”[509]

The very high estimate which had been formed in France of the power of Mehemet Ali was the chief reason of the attitude which her government now proceeded to adopt. Palmerston, on the other hand, had no share in the illusions which were very generally entertained as to the strength of the Pasha. Nor had the battle of Nezib caused him to alter his views. Yet neither Sir Robert Stopford,[510] the admiral of the Mediterranean squadron, nor Colonel Campbell, the British consul-general at Alexandria, agreed with him. Both were convinced that the expulsion of Ibrahim from Syria would prove a most difficult undertaking, and Campbell was to owe his recall to his strongly expressed opinion upon this point.[511] Palmerston appears to have placed the greatest faith in General Chrzanowski, the Pole, who for the past three years had been attached to the British embassy at Constantinople. This officer had made a careful study of the brief campaign which had terminated at Nezib, and was not prepared to admit that Ibrahim’s victory was due to the superiority of the Egyptian army over that of the Turks.[512] The result, he considered, would have been very different had Hafiz Pasha elected to follow the advice of Moltke, instead of listening to the foolish talk of the Mullahs, who ranked as lieutenant-generals, and were present in large numbers at his headquarters.[513] On the morning of June 24, when the [Pg 252]battle had only lasted an hour, no less than twelve Egyptian battalions fled from the field, whilst three others deserted in a body to the Turks. The panic, which set in shortly afterwards among the troops of Hafiz Pasha, was caused by a change of position on the part of a brigade of their own cavalry. It was significant that, although the battle had consisted only of an artillery duel, and although the Egyptian infantry had never been really engaged, Ibrahim had not ventured to pursue. The report of General Jochmus,[514] a Hanoverian who had served upon the staff of the British legion in Spain, and who was now in the pay of the Foreign Office, pointed to the same conclusions. Chrzanowski, moreover, was convinced that Ibrahim would be unable to keep up his communications with Egypt, were he to be deprived of the command of the sea. A corps of 15,000 Turkish troops acting in combination with the disaffected tribes, and supported by the British fleet, would, he believed, suffice to compel him to evacuate Syria.[515]

Whilst symptoms of disagreement between the French and English governments were beginning to appear, Russia made an unexpected move. Shortly after the arrival at St. Petersburg of a despatch from Count Medem, in which he reported that Marshal Soult had declared to him that France would never consent to apply coercion to the Pasha, Baron Brunnow, the Russian minister at Stuttgart, was sent upon a special mission to London. “It would not be possible,” Nesselrode informed Clanricarde, “for the Emperor to have chosen any person more thoroughly acquainted with the foreign affairs and policy of Russia [Pg 253]than the Baron.”[516] The proposals, which upon his arrival in London, on September 15, Brunnow was empowered to make, filled Lord Palmerston with astonishment. The Imperial Cabinet, he was instructed to declare, agreed with the English government in thinking that alone the hereditary pashalic of Egypt should be conferred upon Mehemet Ali, who must be made to restore to the Sultan Arabia, Syria and Crete. The Emperor was ready to enter into a treaty to enforce these measures upon the Pasha, and he, therefore, suggested that such military operations as might be necessary in Syria or in Egypt should be undertaken by Great Britain, France and Austria, whilst, in the event of Ibrahim advancing to the Bosphorus, the defence of Constantinople should devolve upon Russia. It was, however, to be clearly understood that any assistance which Russia might afford would be given, not by reason of the Treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi, but in virtue of engagements about to be contracted between the Powers of Europe and the Sultan. Furthermore, the Emperor was ready to adopt the view of the British government and to consider “as a permanent principle and standing rule,” that the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles should be closed to the war ships of all nations. Lastly, Baron Brunnow was authorized to promise that, if Russia and England should come to an understanding on these matters, the Treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi would not be renewed.[517]

The Tsar’s sudden determination to abandon those advantages, which he was supposed to have acquired by the Treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi, has always been ascribed to his desire to separate France and England. Without doubt, this consideration entered largely into his calculations. But he was also annoyed with [Pg 254]Metternich and was anxious to thwart his plan of establishing the seat of the negotiations at Vienna. Moreover, it was now realized that Orloff’s treaty was a document of no practical value. Russia, by reason alone of her geographical position, could never be prevented from exercising her influence over the counsels of the Porte. Nor could the stipulation that the Sultan must close the Dardanelles at the demand of Russia be of any real utility, seeing that the maritime Powers had refused to accept this condition, and that Turkey would be unable to carry out her engagements in the face of their opposition. In a general way the doctrine that a weak State makes an excellent neighbour might be sound, but it was plainly inapplicable to Turkey—the custodian of straits so vitally important to Russia as the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles. Under these circumstances, there was much to be gained by waiving the purely illusory advantage to be derived from the Treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi, and by agreeing that the closure of the straits to the warships of the Powers should be declared a law of nations.[518] Brunnow made no secret of the fact that his Imperial master would be only too pleased, were France to refuse to accede to his proposals. His desire was soon gratified. When the project was communicated to it by Lord Palmerston, the French government flatly declined to entertain it. The Russian overture, wrote Marshal Soult, was clearly a device for separating France and England, and it was with “feelings of painful astonishment” that he perceived “a man of such enlightened judgment as Lord Palmerston entertain it with so much complacency.” Russia, he proceeded, had betrayed her real intentions by insisting that she alone should undertake the defence of Constantinople. If her motives were such as she [Pg 255]pretended, why this repugnance to the idea of “the flags of the allied Courts floating side by side with her own” in the Bosphorus? “Never,” he concluded, “with our consent shall a foreign squadron of war appear before Constantinople, unless ours appears there also.”[519] Whilst he thus declined absolutely to consider Baron Brunnow’s propositions, Marshal Soult put forward a plan for the settlement of the questions in dispute between the Porte and Mehemet Ali. But the solution of the difficulty, suggested by the French government, when it came to be examined, was found to amount to little more than an arrangement whereby the Pasha was to obtain the hereditary tenure of Arabia, Syria and Egypt, in return for which he was to restore to the Sultan the district of Adana.[520]

In Palmerston’s opinion the entry of a Russian fleet into the Bosphorus, or of a Russian army into Asia Minor, at the demand of the Powers, was a very different proceeding to an intervention in virtue of a separate engagement between the Porte and the Cabinet of St. Petersburg. Had the decision rested with him alone he would gladly have accepted the Russian proposal. But both it and Marshal Soult’s despatch had to be considered by the Cabinet, some of the members of which held opinions very opposed to his own. Lord Holland and several of his colleagues—“our Whig friends”[521] as Lord Palmerston called them—were either completely indifferent to the Imperial aspect of the question, or regarded it as a minor consideration. In their eyes the point at issue was simply whether England should break with Liberal France, in order to enter into a compact with autocratic Russia. The French party in the Cabinet gained the upper hand and Palmerston had to agree to [Pg 256]certain concessions. He had already consented, in deference to the wishes of France and Austria, to allow his demand for the restoration by Mehemet Ali of the Turkish fleet to be merged in the larger question of the territorial settlement, and he was now obliged to inform Sébastiani that the English government would be prepared to see, in addition to that of Egypt, the hereditary tenure of the province of Acre, exclusive of the fortress, conferred upon the Pasha. At the same time Baron Brunnow was to be told that Her Majesty’s government was ready to adopt the whole arrangement which he had proposed, with the exception of one single point—should it be necessary for a Russian force to enter the Bosphorus, a British force must enter the Dardanelles.[522]

Brunnow had no instructions to discuss the question raised by the English Cabinet, and he was, in consequence, obliged to bring his mission to an unsuccessful conclusion. But he and Palmerston parted from each other upon most excellent terms and with little doubt that their negotiations were suspended, rather than finally broken off. The French government heard of the Baron’s departure with intense satisfaction, and, a few days later, on October 15, Sébastiani communicated to Lord Palmerston a despatch, in which Marshal Soult emphatically declared that the proposal to cede to Mehemet Ali the Pashalic of Acre was inadmissible. So trifling a concession, he averred, would merely drive the Pasha to seek to obtain by the sword the frontiers to which he considered himself entitled. Palmerston listened to the words of the ambassador in silence, and when he had concluded his statement, informed him that the offer regarding Acre must now be considered as definitely withdrawn.[523]

[Pg 257]

It was significant of the divergent courses upon which the two governments were embarked that, almost at the same time, Admiral Roussin was recalled from Constantinople, and Colonel Campbell from Alexandria—the Frenchman because of his hostility to,[524] and the Englishman because of his sympathy with, Mehemet Ali.[525] For several weeks after Brunnow’s departure from London, the situation remained unchanged. Palmerston was content to wait in the confident expectation that Nicholas would not refuse to accede to the British proposal. The Soult Cabinet, convinced that no agreement between England and Russia on the question of the Dardanelles was to be apprehended, was equally satisfied to remain inactive. “In the French councils,” reported Bulwer, “there is a mixture of positiveness and of vagueness—positiveness as to what will not be done, vagueness as to what may be done.”[526]

Early in December Sébastiani transmitted to his government the information, which he had received from Palmerston, that the Emperor had agreed to the English conditions, and that Brunnow would shortly return to London to negotiate a convention. This news came as an unpleasant surprise to the French Cabinet. Under the circumstances, however, Soult could only express satisfaction at this most unexpected concession, which, he admitted, completely altered the character of the Russian proposals. But, at the same time, he cast the gravest doubts upon the good faith of the Imperial Cabinet, and reiterated his conviction that its real object was to effect a breach in French and English relations.[527] In due course [Pg 258]Brunnow arrived in London, and in a note written at Holland House, on January 5, 1840, Palmerston made Sébastiani acquainted with the result of his first deliberations with the Russian envoy. “Brunnow,”he informed him, “is empowered to negotiate with the object of bringing about a permanent and definite solution of the Turkish and Egyptian question, in order to ensure the independence and integrity of the Ottoman Empire. Baron Neumann has arrived from Vienna and has expressed to us that Austria is entirely with us and Russia in this important affair. I think I can say for certain that Prussia will look at matters in the same light. It only remains for us, therefore, to secure a European accord on a question which is incontestably the most important that we have had to deal with these last years. We sincerely hope that the co-operation of France will not be refused. . . .”[528]

Louis Philippe and his ministers were convinced, however, that, when the Powers came to consider the measures which would be required for expelling the Pasha from the territories which he occupied, they would soon discover the magnitude of the task upon which they purposed to embark. Harsh conditions, they were confident, would never be imposed upon him, once it was realized that their enforcement would entail the invasion of Syria by a large Russian army. They were, in consequence, not apprehensive, although fully informed that negotiations were in progress, that any definite arrangement would be concluded without their participation. Nevertheless, on January 27, 1840, Sébastiani[529] reported that Palmerston had replied in the affirmative to Neumann’s official inquiry as to whether, in the [Pg 259]event of the four Powers arriving at an agreement, and France withholding her consent, the clauses of the treaty would be acted upon in spite of her abstention. But, on the following day, the ambassador informed his government that the English Cabinet had decided that the Porte must be a party to any convention which might be concluded, and that the negotiations would, in consequence, be suspended until the arrival of the Turkish plenipotentiary. This was the last news of any importance transmitted by Sébastiani. Soult and his colleagues, in order to propitiate the Doctrinaires, whose support was essential to their parliamentary existence, had insisted upon his recall and upon the appointment of M. Guizot to the embassy in London.[530]

Although he had studied English constitutional history so deeply, Guizot had never visited England, and, moreover, he had not before been engaged upon a diplomatic mission. He had, however, formed a friendship with Princess Lieven, who was well acquainted with most of the chief statesmen and members of the corps diplomatique of the time, and who, besides, had been a leader of English society. After her husband’s recall from London,[531] the Princess quickly tired of St. Petersburg, and, upon the plea of ill-health, took up her abode in Paris. At Talleyrand’s death in 1838, she moved into an apartment in his famous house in the Rue Saint-Florentin, where her salon soon acquired a European celebrity. Her friendship with Guizot, which was to endure to the day of her death, is said to have begun, in 1837, at Chatenay, Madame de Boigne’s house, near Paris. The Princess was at the time fifty-three years of age, whilst the grave Doctrinaire was three years her junior.[532]

[Pg 260]

Guizot arrived in London on February 28, and, on the following day in Paris, the Soult Cabinet was defeated and resigned. The King was, in consequence, reluctantly compelled to commission M. Thiers to form a government. Thiers, who himself assumed the direction of Foreign Affairs, was probably honestly desirous of maintaining a good understanding with England. But he was a convinced believer in the military strength of Mehemet Ali, and was determined to uphold his claim to the hereditary tenure of Syria. In his opinion, the collective note of July 27, 1839, was the cause of all the difficulty; it was “the rut in which the coach had stuck.”[533] But, although he was secretly resolved to escape from the obligations which his predecessors had contracted, he was not prepared openly to repudiate them. On the contrary, he admitted readily that he was bound to refrain from attempting to arrange matters between the Porte and Mehemet Ali, except in co-operation with the other signatory Powers. Should, however, the Sultan spontaneously agree to terms acceptable to the Pasha, the Powers could hardly interfere to prevent a settlement which the Porte itself pronounced satisfactory.[534] If such a result could be brought about, the collective note would become a dead letter, and France would regain her full liberty of action. Moreover, Mehemet Ali would attain the object of his ambition in a large measure owing to the goodwill of the French government.

Soult had instructed Guizot to declare that France was sincerely anxious to establish a permanent and lasting peace in the East. But to attain the desired [Pg 261]result, she was convinced that Mehemet Ali must, at least, be given the hereditary tenure of Syria and Egypt. He was to impress upon Palmerston that the real object of the “trifling concessions,” which Brunnow had been empowered to make, was to obtain the signature of England to some agreement to which France would refuse to adhere.[535] Thiers, in his first despatch, expressed his approval of these instructions, and of the language which M. Guizot had employed in carrying them out. He directed him to persevere with his arguments and constantly to impress upon the British government that France had no “parti pris,” no “système irrévocable,” nor was she bound by either promises or engagements to the Pasha. Her sole desire was to contribute to the establishment of peace upon a firm and durable foundation. The coercion of Mehemet Ali would demand a vast expenditure of military strength, and Lord Palmerston would, doubtless, agree that the armed intervention of Russia would greatly menace the independent existence of the Ottoman Empire.[536] Thiers, whose judgment on this, as on many other occasions, was greatly influenced by his hopes, was persuaded that the decision to call in a Turkish plenipotentiary, and the delay which it entailed, signified that the plans of Palmerston and Brunnow had encountered some serious obstacle. But the longer the negotiations could be drawn out, the better he would be pleased. Whilst matters were drifting to a deadlock in London, his agents, he trusted, would be enabled quietly to effect some definite arrangement at Constantinople or at Cairo.[537]

Guizot in his Mémoires has described at length his [Pg 262]proceedings in London. As he himself admits, he entertained an exaggerated belief in the strength of Mehemet Ali.[538] But, on the other hand, he had not Thiers’ serene confidence that England would never conclude an agreement for the settlement of the Turco-Egyptian question without the co-operation of France. On March 12, when relating a conversation he had had with Lord Palmerston in one of the drawing-rooms at Stafford House, he expressed the opinion “that the British government regarded the present moment as a favourable opportunity for settling affairs in the East, and that a sudden resolve might be taken to act without us.” Again, a few days later, he sent M. Thiers a warning couched in more emphatic language. Full powers to conclude a convention, Lord Palmerston informed him, had been transmitted to Nourri-Effendi, the Turkish ambassador in Paris, who would shortly arrive in London. “It is possible, therefore, that we may be on the eve of important decisions. . . . The British government has two interests at stake in the eastern question—the wish to keep Russia from Constantinople and the fear of French influence in Egypt. . . . The present moment is looked upon as favourable for the attainment of these objects. By a singular combination of circumstances, Russia is both prepared to abandon her pretensions to exercise an exclusive protectorship over the Ottoman Empire, and to assist England to weaken the Pasha of Egypt. . . . Great Britain, consequently, is far from regarding the present situation as embarrassing, but on the contrary deems it a most fortunate development which she must make use of to the best advantage. . . . She is aware, however, that in prosecuting this policy she may impair her good understanding with France. To retain our friendship she will make some concessions, but I am disposed to think that she has no intention of allowing [Pg 263]the present opportunity of attaining her ends in the East to escape.”[539]

Matters, nevertheless, proceeded very slowly. Nor was the situation altered by the arrival, early in April, of Nourri-Effendi. The Porte in sending him to London only desired to make manifest its intention of conferring with its allies. When the deliberations should begin in earnest, it purposed to be represented by Chekib-Effendi, who had been appointed Ottoman ambassador at the Court of St. James’, and another month must elapse before he could reach England. Guizot, however, reported that he perceived a strong tendency upon the part of both Austria and Prussia to draw closer to France. Bülow had asked him in confidence whether the concession to Mehemet Ali of the governorship of Syria for his life would meet with the approval of his government. Neumann had also talked to him in the same strain. But Thiers was little disposed to accept any compromise. These overtures, in his opinion, were symptoms that the Powers were beginning to realize that they were in a false position. Before long, he was certain, they would adopt the French view of the question in its entirety. Until some agreement should be arrived at with England, he recommended that Guizot should abstain, as far as possible, from any discussions with the ministers of the Northern Courts.[540] Nor was Palmerston’s suggestion admissible that the Turco-Egyptian difficulty should be submitted to a conference of the Powers. Under existing conditions, “the differences between France and her allies were too marked to permit of any general deliberation conducing to a satisfactory result.”

[Pg 264]

In the month of March, Palmerston’s brother, Sir William Temple, the British minister at Naples, had been instructed to insist upon the immediate execution of the King’s promise to abolish the sulphur monopoly and to ask for an indemnity on behalf of the English merchants who had suffered by its imposition. Upon King Ferdinand’s refusal to comply with this demand, Admiral Sir Robert Stopford was directed to blockade the coast and to seize and send to Malta such Neapolitan merchant vessels as he could capture. Thiers, having ascertained that his offer would be acceptable to both parties, proposed to mediate in the dispute. He was glad of the opportunity, which was thus afforded him, of displaying both that France and England were still upon excellent terms and of extending French influence in Italy. Thiers’ mediation was successful. The Neapolitan Court conceded the British demands, and, early in July in consequence, the blockading squadron was free to carry out Palmerston’s policy in another direction. Soon after it had accepted his offer to settle the sulphur dispute, Thiers made a second proposal to the English government. In this instance he was probably desirous simply of acquiring popularity at home.[541] On May 10, Guizot formally asked that the remains of Napoleon might be handed over to a deputation of officers and conveyed back to France, on board a French warship, for interment in Paris. Palmerston made no difficulty about immediately complying with this request.

The extraordinary confidence of both Louis Philippe and of M. Thiers that, under no circumstances, would Great Britain separate herself from France in the eastern question[542] reposed upon their joint conviction that Palmerston’s colleagues in the government would never allow him to disturb the [Pg 265]harmony of French and English relations. Mr. Ellice,[543] the brother-in-law of Lord Grey, and a former Cabinet minister, was largely responsible for encouraging this erroneous belief, which was to bring the two countries to the verge of war. Since about the year 1835, “Bear Ellice,” as he was generally known, by reason of his connection with the Canadian fur trade, had been much in Paris. Although he appears to have disliked the responsibilities of office, he was keenly interested in public affairs and was an inveterate political gossip. Grey, who was well aware of his brother-in-law’s vanity and peculiarities, nicknamed him le grand faiseur. In Paris he frequented Princess Lieven’s salon, where he was consulted and listened to with a deference which he enjoyed exceedingly.[544] Not only was he very intimate with M. Thiers, but, according to Creevey,[545] “Louis Philippe could scarcely bear to have him out of his sight.” “I hear,” wrote Palmerston at a most critical time, “that Thiers says he has three agents upon whom he can rely—Guizot, Flahaut[546] and Ellice.”[547]

Guizot had quickly discovered that the Cabinet was not united upon the eastern question. At Holland House, where he was a constant guest, neither his host nor hostess concealed from him their antagonism to Palmerston. Clarendon, notwithstanding the insight into Louis Philippe’s diplomacy which he had acquired at Madrid, was a declared opponent of any solution of the Turco-Egyptian difficulty which might endanger the French alliance. Charles Greville, [Pg 266]with whom Guizot appears to have become very friendly, had no scruples about informing him of any dissensions in ministerial circles. The vindictive clerk of the council detested Palmerston and distrusted his policy. Dedel, the Dutch minister, in talking over these events a year or two later with the Duchesse de Dino,[548] expressed the opinion that Guizot’s great mistake lay in imagining that intrigue played as large a part in public affairs in London as in Paris. Palmerston, he told her, had proofs of his proceedings, which would have justified him in demanding his recall. This last statement is probably somewhat exaggerated. Guizot, however, whatever he may have done, appears to have judged the situation with great discernment. “Not to mention Lords Holland and Clarendon,”he wrote to Thiers on June 1, “Melbourne and Lansdowne would be very loath to see the French alliance dissolved. . . Yet Palmerston, I believe, is as firm as ever, and I am far from certain whether those of his colleagues who disagree with him would stand up to him very firmly, when it comes to the point.”[549]

The overtures which Bülow and Neumann had made to Guizot were followed by a definite proposal from Austria. Metternich was alarmed. He believed that Palmerston had formed a totally erroneous opinion of the military situation. He was certain that naval assistance alone would not enable the Turks to regain possession of Syria. He had no intention of allowing Austrian troops to be employed in the East, and Russia had recently sustained reverses in the Caucasus which might make it difficult for her to send an imposing force into Asia Minor. Great Britain was engaged upon warlike operations in Afghanistan, and was, besides, threatened with trouble [Pg 267]in China and Canada. It would be, therefore, an arduous undertaking to attempt to coerce the Pasha without the co-operation of France. To obtain her assistance, he suggested that Syria should be divided into two portions. The southern half, including the fortress of Acre, might, he proposed, be given to Mehemet Ali. But, should the French government be not satisfied with this concession, Austria would agree to enforce these conditions upon the Pasha in combination with England and Russia and without the participation of France.[550]

Palmerston reluctantly decided to agree to the Austrian proposal and, on May 8, officially informed Guizot that the British government adhered to it. But this concession only served to strengthen Thiers’ belief that the Powers would before long adopt his views completely. Chekib-Effendi had not yet arrived, and there was, therefore, no necessity for returning an immediate answer. Even when the Turkish plenipotentiary reached London, Palmerston appeared to be in no hurry to resume the negotiations. On the other hand, Guizot was inclined to think that the representatives of the other Powers were growing restless. Even Brunnow seemed disposed to adopt a more conciliatory attitude, and there appeared to be a growing feeling that no settlement could be concluded without the assent of France. Thiers’ answer to the Austrian plan of partitioning Syria could not, however, be indefinitely postponed, and, on June 16, he directed Guizot to tell Lord Palmerston that he could not entertain it. “We could not,” he wrote, “suggest it to Mehemet Ali; he would refuse it, and we could not refute his arguments which we should ourselves consider to be sound and well founded.” He was greatly struck by the account which Guizot had sent him of Brunnow’s attitude, “which could only be [Pg 268]ascribed to disasters in Circassia. It was clear that Russia was not ready to embark upon serious operations elsewhere.”[551]

When Thiers thus declined to consider the Austrian proposal, he believed that his hopes of bringing about secretly a direct arrangement between the Sultan and the Pasha were about to be realized. Mehemet Ali had been unable wholly to conceal his disappointment on learning of the collective note of July 27, 1839. When it was officially communicated to him by the consuls of the Powers, he declared firmly that there could be no peace until the hereditary tenure of Syria should be conferred upon him and until his enemy Hosrew Pasha, the Grand Vizier, should be dismissed from office.[552] Since then, he had sometimes angrily asserted that he would wait no longer and that he should order Ibrahim to march upon Constantinople, whilst, on other occasions, he had shown a disposition to adopt a more conciliatory attitude. Throughout the winter and the spring he pressed on his military preparations. Some of these, however, proved very unsuccessful—an attempt to form a national guard in Egypt itself breaking down completely.[553] At the same time he appears to have experienced great difficulty in keeping Ibrahim’s army in Syria supplied with money, food, and clothing,[554] whilst, to add to his embarrassments, in the spring, the Druses and other tribes began to display renewed symptoms of disaffection.[555] Palmerston, now that he [Pg 269]no longer feared the separate intervention of Russia, would probably have been well pleased could the Pasha have been provoked into some act of aggression against the Sultan. But he was too sagacious to be moved from his attitude of prudent inaction by the threatening language of Campbell’s successor, Colonel Hodges, which, however, caused some alarm at Vienna and at St. Petersburg, where neither Metternich nor Nesselrode entertained Palmerston’s contemptuous disbelief in the military power of Mehemet Ali.[556] M. Thiers seems to have been wilfully blind to the difficulties of the Pasha’s position, and to have persuaded himself that it was from respect to the wishes of the French government that Ibrahim abstained from advancing into Asia Minor.

M. Cochelet, the French consul-general, was probably instructed[557] to urge Mehemet Ali to refrain from hostilities, to limit his demands to the hereditary tenure of Syria and Egypt and, generally, to depend upon the good offices of France for the attainment of his wishes. M. Thiers, however, was well aware that his plan of bringing about a direct arrangement between the Sultan and the Pasha would encounter far more serious difficulties at Constantinople than at Cairo. Ever since the arrival of M. de Pontois, the successor of Admiral Roussin, Ponsonby had constantly reported that the French minister was endeavouring to persuade the Porte to conclude a peace with Mehemet Ali, without reference to the Powers.[558] But the advice of M. de Pontois had hitherto been disregarded. Hosrew, Reshid, and Halil Pasha, the most influential of the [Pg 270]Turkish ministers, were very hostile to Mehemet Ali and firm supporters of the British policy. Soon after his accession to office, Thiers appears to have decided to supplement the efforts of the recognized representative of the French government by those of an unofficial agent. At the beginning of May, a correspondence was opened between M. Jacques Coste[559] and Fethi Ahmed Pasha, the Minister of Commerce and brother-in-law to the young Sultan. Under ordinary circumstances there would be nothing to excite attention in the fact that a prominent French journalist should write on political matters to a Turkish statesman, whom he had known as Ottoman ambassador in Paris. But the close intimacy which notoriously existed between M. Coste and M. Thiers gives importance to this particular correspondence. Certainly both Palmerston and Ponsonby and, indeed, Ahmed Pasha himself, who delivered the original letters into the hands of the British ambassador, appear to have been satisfied that the sentiments and advice contained in them emanated from M. Thiers.[560]

The primary object which M. Coste had in view was to persuade Fethi Ahmed Pasha that it was essential for the Porte promptly to conclude a peace with Mehemet Ali. All the powers, he contended, were pursuing selfish ends with the sole exception of France, and she was both resolved not to intervene herself and not to allow any other Power to interfere actively in [Pg 271]the Turco-Egyptian dispute. Her hands were free and she was strong enough to enforce her will upon Europe. The perfidy of England’s policy was manifest. As in 1839, Great Britain now proposed to incite the Porte to make war upon the Pasha. If she could achieve this object she would, of a surety, encourage Russia to intervene in order to crush the Egyptians, whilst at the same time she would insist at Vienna and in Paris upon the necessity of preventing the occupation of Constantinople by the armies of the Tsar. Should she be enabled to carry out her Machiavellian plan of bringing about a general war she purposed, in the confusion, quietly to lay hands upon Egypt, which she had long coveted for herself. He was sorry to hear that Chekib-Effendi, when passing through Paris, had declared to M. Thiers that it would be better that England should take Egypt, than that it should continue in the possession of a rebellious vassal of the Sultan. Such reasoning was deplorably unsound. “That which England takes she keeps,” whereas, in the future, it should be an easy task for the Sultan to compel the descendants of Mehemet Ali to give back the territories which must now be surrendered temporarily. Writing on June 8, M. Coste suggested, as a compromise, that Syria might be given to Ibrahim and Adana to another son of the Pasha. They would certainly quarrel among themselves, and the Porte might avail itself of their dissensions for expelling them altogether. Let the Sultan be assured of the wisdom of the old saying, “diviser pour regner.”[561] This curious correspondence continued intermittently until the fall of M. Thiers in September. But after the end of June, Coste’s communications became less frequent and were less cordially expressed. On July 8 he explained that the silence with which his well-meant [Pg 272]advice had been received “had placed him in an awkward position with M. Thiers,” whilst to Prince Vogoride, a son of the Prince of Samos, another of his correspondents, he conveyed his surprise and annoyance that his letters, written “en quelque sorte sous la dictée d’un tres haut personnage” should have elicited no response.[562]

Whilst the French agents at Constantinople were thus striving to render nugatory the provisions of the collective note, another attempt to achieve the desired result was being made in a different quarter. The Sultana Mother was believed to have been concerned in the secret negotiation conducted by Sarim-Effendi,[563] under the patronage of Admiral Roussin and M. Mimaut, during M. Thiers’ first administration, and her support was now obtained to the plan of a direct arrangement between the Sultan and the Pasha. The sudden dismissal, on May 19, of Hosrew, the Grand-Vizier, was the result of her intrigues.[564] The first news of this event was conveyed to Mehemet Ali by M. Cochelet. The Pasha at once declared that the fall of his old enemy had removed the last obstacle to a satisfactory conclusion of his quarrel with the Sultan. He should, he announced, forthwith send back the Turkish fleet, and Sami Bey, his confidential secretary, should proceed without delay to Constantinople to make the necessary arrangements.[565] Nevertheless, some three weeks elapsed before the Pasha’s emissary started upon his journey, and it was only on June 13, on the eve of his departure, that the object of his mission was disclosed to Colonel Hodges and the other agents of the Powers.[566] But Cochelet, on May 26, duly reported [Pg 273]this new development to his government in a despatch, a copy of which M. Thiers transmitted to M. Guizot with instructions that its contents must, for the present, be kept strictly secret. In spite of these precautions, however, Cochelet’s confidential communication appears to have been divulged to Apponyi, the Austrian ambassador in Paris, who, on June 16, was enabled to inform Neumann in London of the negotiation which had been initiated between Mehemet Ali and the Sultan.[567] Meanwhile, at Constantinople, Lord Ponsonby had discovered that a potent influence was at work to induce the young Sultan to surrender Syria in exchange for his fleet. But, encouraged by the British ambassador, both Reshid and Fethi Ahmed Pasha declared that they should resign, were any compact of that kind to be concluded, and their firm attitude defeated the insidious schemes of the Sultana Mother, and rendered abortive the mission of Sami Bey.[568]

M. Thiers, however, was confident that the news of Hosrew’s dismissal would be followed quickly by the intelligence that the Sultan and the Pasha had settled their differences amicably. This unexpected development would, he was convinced, place a totally new complexion upon the Turco-Egyptian question. But in point of fact, Palmerston had been informed by Neumann of the negotiation which was to be opened between Mehemet Ali and the Sultan. Thus, when the news reached London of the mission of Sami Bey to Constantinople, he was fully prepared for it. Far from being suddenly confronted by the embarrassing prospect that the settlement of the affair was about to pass out of his control, he was, on the contrary, enabled to adduce the proceedings of the French agents at Constantinople and at Cairo, as a reason for promptly [Pg 274]concluding a treaty for the protection of the young Sultan from the machinations of his enemies.

Thiers’ illusions were by no means shared by Guizot. The ambassador divined correctly that the crisis of the affair was approaching. Since the rejection of the Austrian proposals Palmerston, he reported, had pointedly avoided all discussion of the eastern question with him. But from the moment that the news arrived that a direct negotiation was in progress between Cairo and Constantinople he had been very busy. This last development, moreover, had made a great impression upon the representatives of the Powers, and those of them, who had lately been inclined to adopt the French view of the question, were now, it was evident, less favourably disposed. Cabinet councils had been held, dissensions had arisen, and Palmerston, he believed, had threatened to resign. It was probable, he considered, that Great Britain, Russia, Austria, and Prussia would agree to some form of joint action in the East, and that France would be formally asked whether or not she would participate in whatever measures they might resolve to adopt.[569] This idea that no treaty would be actually concluded until France should have been invited to adhere to it, was the one point upon which M. Guizot may be held to have misled M. Thiers. Princess Lieven, who was staying at Stafford House, is said to have encouraged his delusion. She appears to have tried to extract from Bülow, the Prussian minister, some information about the progress of the negotiations. Her enquiries, however, only elicited from him the fact that he was still without the new letters of credence which the recent death of Frederick William III. had rendered necessary. From this circumstance Guizot seems to have inferred that there was no immediate danger of the conclusion of a treaty between the four Powers, [Pg 275]inasmuch as Bülow had not yet been officially accredited to the Court of St. James’.[570]

As Guizot had correctly surmised, Palmerston experienced the greatest difficulty in inducing his colleagues to adopt his views. Both Holland and Clarendon strongly deprecated the conclusion of any treaty to which France would not be a party, and Melbourne and Lansdowne seemed disposed to agree with them. Palmerston, thereupon, placed his resignation in the hands of the Prime Minister.[571] In a long letter, on July 5, in which he recapitulated the whole history of the Turco-Egyptian question, he explained the reasons which made it impossible for him to remain at his post. Were Great Britain to elude the engagements which she had contracted towards the Sultan, because France was not prepared to co-operate with the other signatory Powers, Russia would resume once more “her separate and isolated position” towards Turkey. England, he contended, would thus by her own deliberate act, re-establish that protectorship of Russia over Turkey, which had for so long been a cause of apprehension to other Powers. “The ultimate results of such a decision would be the practical division of the Ottoman Empire into two separate and independent States, whereof one would be a dependency of France and the other a satellite of Russia.” Never would he consent to be an instrument for the execution of a policy which, he believed, must entail disastrous consequences upon his country. Unless, therefore, his colleagues were prepared to pursue the course which he advocated he must retire, even though his resignation should lead to a break up of the government.[572]

[Pg 276]

The most recent intelligence from the East had, moreover, supplied Palmerston with an argument which had a great effect in overcoming the resistance of his opponents in the Cabinet. A formidable insurrection was reported to have broken out in Syria, where the tribes were in open rebellion against Mehemet Ali. He could, therefore, contend that the treaty, which he urged his colleagues to conclude with Russia, Austria and Prussia, was a Liberal measure, inasmuch as it meant the delivery of an oppressed people from a tyrannical ruler. This last consideration, combined with the desire to avoid the crisis which must result from the resignation of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, induced the dissenting members of the Cabinet reluctantly to assent to Palmerston’s proposals.[573] Accordingly, on July 15, “a convention for the pacification of the Levant” was signed by the plenipotentiaries of Great Britain, Russia, Austria and Prussia, on the one side, and that of the Sublime Porte on the other. In view of the expediency of speedily affording military succour to the Syrians, it appears to have been agreed that Bülow should be considered as empowered to act on behalf of his Court.

By the convention which was thus concluded the four Powers undertook actively to assist the Sultan to reduce the Pasha to submission—Austria and Great Britain engaging to intercept all communication by sea between Egypt and Syria. To this instrument was annexed a Separate Act in which were laid down the terms which the Porte purposed to offer to Mehemet Ali. The hereditary tenure of Egypt was to be conferred upon him together with the governorship for life of the greater part of the pashalic of Acre. But, if he should not accede to these conditions [Pg 277]within a space of ten days, the offer of Acre would be withdrawn. A further delay of ten days would, however, be accorded him in which to consider the second proposal which would be limited to the hereditary pashalic of Egypt. If, after the specified term had elapsed, he should still refuse to accept the proffered conditions, the Sultan would be free to bring the negotiations to a conclusion and “to follow such ulterior course as his own interests and the counsels of his allies might suggest to him.” In a third document, known as The Reserved Protocol, it was laid down that, inasmuch as “the state of affairs in Syria, the interests of humanity and grave considerations of European policy” made it desirable that active operations should begin with as little delay as possible, the naval measures to which Austria and Great Britain were pledged would be initiated at once, without waiting for the ratification of the convention.[574]

The decision of the four Powers to conclude this treaty had not been communicated to M. Guizot. French historians have adduced the secrecy which was observed as a proof of Palmerston’s malevolent intentions towards France. But no other course could have been pursued with safety. It was certain that France would not take part in coercing the Pasha,[575] and it was no less certain that she would warn him of the measures which the allies were proposing to adopt against him.[576] Inasmuch, therefore, as it was advisable that the naval commander in the Mediterranean should receive his orders before Mehemet Ali could be aware of the nature of the pressure which was to be brought to bear upon him, it was impossible to acquaint M. Guizot with the resolution of the Powers. [Pg 278]Nor was the expediency of enabling the British fleet to forestall any hostile move on the part of the Pasha the only reason which made secrecy desirable. Although Palmerston was not apprehensive that the French government would proceed to extremities, it was possible that M. Thiers might decide actively to support the Pasha. In that case war could not be avoided and it was very necessary that Sir Robert Stopford should receive the earliest information of the intentions of his government. No communication, accordingly, was made to the French ambassador until the couriers from London had obtained a start of forty-eight hours. But, on July 17, Palmerston invited M. Guizot to call at the Foreign Office, where he read out to him a memorandum acquainting him with the convention which had been concluded. The numerous efforts which had been made to induce France to co-operate with the other Powers were insisted upon, and great regret was expressed that she had not seen fit to comply with the several proposals which had been communicated to her. Palmerston then proceeded to explain the general nature of the measures of coercion which it was intended to apply to Mehemet Ali, without, however, supplying the ambassador with a copy of the treaty. Guizot, after disputing the accuracy of certain statements contained in the memorandum, took his departure. The situation was so grave that he must receive instructions from his government before he could discuss it.[577]

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Henry Bulwer,[578] who during the absence of Lord Granville from Paris was in charge of the embassy, was agreeably surprised at the calmness with which M. Thiers received the news of the conclusion of the treaty. At their first interview, after the arrival of Guizot’s despatch, he contented himself with expressing a pained astonishment that England should have treated her ally with so little consideration. The affair would, he feared, arouse the greatest indignation throughout the country and, for the present, he must beg him to observe the strictest secrecy about it.[579] A few days later, in the course of a long and confidential conversation with Louis Philippe, Bulwer was enabled to judge of the King’s opinion of the situation. Adopting the contention, which Thiers was instructing Guizot to urge in his conferences with Palmerston, that no definite proposals for settling the eastern question had ever been made to the French government, Louis Philippe complained of the secret manner in which the treaty had been negotiated. “Ah, Mr. Bulwer,” said he, “I know you wished to read me a lesson, I know it, but it may be a perilous one for all parties.” Assuming a more confidential tone, the King then proceeded to explain the difficulties by [Pg 280]which he might be confronted. It would not be easy, he feared or affected to fear, to maintain peace. Thiers, he had reason to believe, would wish him to go to war, and in that case he might be placed in a very delicate position. “How do you think I should stand,” he asked plaintively, “were Thiers at the head of a large parliamentary party to announce that he had resigned, sooner than submit to the dishonour of France?” It was to be hoped that the coercion which the four Powers proposed to apply to Mehemet Ali would either at once prove effectual, or fail completely and be promptly abandoned. The sooner the affair could be settled the better. For his part, only this was a circumstance which Bulwer must never disclose to M. Thiers, he had taken steps to induce the Pasha to refrain from ordering Ibrahim to pass the Taurus mountains.[580] On August 3, before leaving Paris for the Château d’Eu, Louis Philippe discussed the situation in the same spirit with Lord Granville.[581]

The conclusion of the Treaty of July 15 was announced in London on the 25th, and two days later, the news was published in the Paris papers. The expectation of the King and of M. Thiers that it would arouse a dangerous excitement was fully realized. The bourse was panic-stricken and securities fell heavily. The Chambers were not sitting, but the press with one accord gave voice to the popular indignation. The decision of the four Powers to adopt, without consultation with France, hostile measures against her protégé Mehemet Ali, was denounced as a national insult which must be wiped out in blood. The tone of the Constitutionel, which was notoriously inspired by the President of the Council, was nearly [Pg 281]as bellicose as that of the National, the organ of the republican and military party. M. Thiers, if he did not actually encourage, certainly did nothing to allay, the excitement, which was increased, on August 1, by the publication of a Royal ordinance decreeing substantial additions to both the army and the navy.

In London the affair only began to attract much public interest, when the extent of the resentment which it had aroused in Paris became known. The High Tories, who had always disliked the French alliance, were delighted to think that that combination was at an end. The more moderate members of the party, however, who followed the leadership of Wellington, Peel and Aberdeen, whilst agreeing as to the necessity of driving Mehemet Ali from Syria, regretted that means had not been found of inducing France to adhere to the treaty. The Times,[582] which was very antagonistic to Palmerston, supplied its readers, on August 3, with an article by Henry Reeve in which he expressed a sincere hope that relations with France “would not be imperilled for the sake of a desperado like Mehemet Ali,” and, at the same time, suggested that throughout the negotiations the Foreign Office had not improbably been the dupe of Russia. The Radicals adopted this view, and furthermore, deprecated any intervention in Turkish affairs. It was only in their quarter of the House that the policy of the government encountered any real hostility. But even their attack was not pressed with much spirit, and Palmerston, on August 6, a few days before the prorogation of Parliament, had no difficulty in repelling Joseph Hume’s allegation that the insurrection in the Lebanon had been fomented by British agents.[583]

Guizot, in the meanwhile, had had several [Pg 282]conferences at the Foreign Office, and had discussed the situation with both Melbourne and John Russell. The position which the French government intended to assume was set forth in a memorandum which he was instructed to read to Lord Palmerston. No formal proposals for a treaty, M. Thiers contended, had ever been made to France. Various suggestions, it was true, for settling the Turco-Egyptian question had been put forward, with none of which she had been able to agree. She had always looked upon Mehemet Ali as an integral part of the Ottoman Empire, and considered his strength as necessary to the preservation of Turkey. Hence she had constantly opposed the idea of wresting Syria from him by force, and she was now disposed to think that the four Powers had scarcely realized the magnitude of the task upon which they had embarked so light-heartedly. “Treat Lord Palmerston,” wrote M. Thiers, “as he treated you. Read out to him this written declaration. Question him boldly. Ask him whether he has any plans for helping the rising in Syria, and what measures he proposes to adopt should the Pasha return a flat refusal to the Sultan’s demands? Press him hard. Place him in the position of having to confess that he has acted in a very foolhardy fashion. . . . Be careful, however, to frame your questions in such a way that, should he decline to answer them, you are not compelled to announce a rupture of relations. For the moment France must restrain herself.”[584]

There is no reason to suppose that Guizot displayed any lack of skill in the performance of his prescribed task. He was, however, unable to report that he had achieved the smallest measure of success. Palmerston, whilst expressing his deep regret that a divergence of opinion should have alienated the two [Pg 283]Cabinets, and admitting the hope, which Guizot himself was convinced was sincere, that their separation would be of brief duration, was clearly determined to carry out the treaty to the letter. As regards the military situation in Syria—the point upon which M. Thiers laid the greatest stress—he was full of confidence. Ibrahim, surrounded by a hostile population and deprived of communication by sea with Egypt, would, he felt certain, be reduced to impotence. Melbourne, however, displayed far less confidence, and the Austrian and the Prussian ministers, with whom Guizot also conversed, adopted an almost apologetic tone. Indeed, throughout this affair, it would seem that the appellation of “time-serving dog” applied by Charles Greville to Neumann might with equal justice have been applied to Bülow, his Prussian colleague.[585]

Whilst news from the East was eagerly awaited Guizot was summoned to the Château d’Eu, where he would be enabled to confer with both the King and M. Thiers. From the subsequent proceedings of the chief actors in these transactions, as well as from the somewhat meagre account of his visit which M. Guizot has given in his Mémoires, it is not difficult to surmise the nature of the plan which it was resolved to adopt. France was to arm upon an imposing scale, and her representatives at the different Courts were to assume an attitude of dignified resentment. Such a course possessed a twofold advantage. Abroad, it could not fail to have a great effect upon the timid Cabinets of Vienna and Berlin, and might even incline them to withhold their ratification of the treaty. At home, warlike preparations would be popular, and might prevent people from enquiring too closely into the policy which had resulted in the isolation of France. Moreover, M. Thiers was glad of the opportunity, [Pg 284]which the crisis afforded him, of strengthening the army and of repairing the effect of many yeas of military neglect.

But, although the King and his minister were thus resolved to show a menacing front to Europe, Guizot was supplied with confidential instructions of a most pacific character. Palmerston, they were convinced, had grossly miscalculated the strength of Mehemet Ali, and it was to be hoped that the unexpected difficulties which the execution of the treaty could not fail to encounter would produce a great revulsion of feeling, not only at the continental Courts, but among the majority of the members of the British Cabinet. Should, therefore, M. Guizot perceive signs of a disposition to adopt a less uncompromising attitude towards Mehemet Ali and to draw nearer to France, he was to encourage it by all means in his power. Provided the Treaty of July 15 could be declared to be at an end, the French government would gladly join with the Powers in guaranteeing the integrity of Turkey, on the basis of the maintenance of the conditions of the Convention of Kiutayeh. M. Thiers, it will be seen, was thus ready to consent to restrict Mehemet Ali to the life government of both Syria and Egypt, a state of affairs to which he had always declared that it was useless to expect him to submit. As an alternative to this solution of the difficulty, France might be invited to mediate on behalf of the Pasha with the allied Powers. In that case the hereditary tenure of Egypt and the life government of Syria for Mehemet Ali would be the basis of the negotiation.[586] This was another arrangement which a few weeks before M. Thiers had rejected as altogether inadmissible. The Comte Walewski, a natural son of Napoleon, who had been sent upon a special mission to Egypt, on August 2, for the purpose [Pg 285]of counselling the Pasha to refrain from beginning hostilities, was, accordingly, instructed to suggest to Mehemet Ali that he should defer his dispute with the four Powers and the Porte to the mediation of France.

But in addition to these instructions Guizot carried back with him to London a letter from Louis Philippe to his son-in-law, the King of the Belgians. Leopold was at Windsor Castle, consumed with anxiety at the thought of the dangers to which a European war must expose his newly established Kingdom. Louis Philippe’s letter of August 13 was plainly intended to be read by Queen Victoria, and was drawn up with the object of seriously alarming her, and of prejudicing her against Palmerston. “The situation in which France finds herself,” wrote the King, “is neither of her choice nor of her creation. It was said of the death of the Duc d’Enghien that it was worse than a crime, it was a blunder. I say now of the Treaty of July 15, that it is worse than a blunder, it is a misfortune of which the consequences are incalculable. The situation is particularly painful for me who have always scouted the notion that England could ever enter into an alliance without France. I find I am wrong. For the present we can only wait and see. But there is one thing we must do and that is to arm, and we are doing so vigorously. Our rôle must be one of expectation. We must see what England means to do, before deciding what France shall do, either in the way of restoring or preserving the balance of power.”[587]

A few hours before M. Guizot departed from England to visit the King at Eu, a steamer left the Thames having on board Louis Napoleon, who, with some fifty followers, a tame eagle and a bundle of proclamations, purposed to overthrow the Orleans [Pg 286]Monarchy. His destination was Boulogne, where a subaltern officer of the garrison had been drawn into the plot. On the morning of August 6, the Imperial Pretender disembarked at Vimereux and presented himself before the 42nd regiment upon the barrack square. But his appearance aroused no enthusiasm. Finding that their plans had miscarried, the conspirators attempted to regain their ship. Their flight was, however, intercepted by the police and the national guards, who captured the whole party and lodged them in the gaol. Four years before Louis Napoleon had made a similar attempt at Strasburg. On that occasion he had not been brought to trial, but had simply been placed on board a ship and sent off to America. This second offence, however, could not be treated with the same leniency. On September 28, he was arraigned before the peers and sentenced to perpetual imprisonment in the fortress of Ham. The affair excited little public interest and was generally treated with contemptuous indifference. Certain French newspapers, however, published accounts of meetings between the Pretender and Palmerston, and declared that his attempt must have been connived at by the British government. But at his first interview with Baron Bourqueney, who had come over to London to take charge of the embassy during the absence of Guizot, Palmerston was enabled to pledge his word of honour that, for “the past two years, neither he nor Lord Melbourne had set eyes upon Louis Bonaparte or upon any of the adventurers by whom he was surrounded.”[588] His assurance was readily accepted and the matter was quickly forgotten.

Upon his return to London, Guizot found awaiting him an invitation to Windsor. Among the party at the Castle were the King of the Belgians, Melbourne, [Pg 287]Palmerston, and Wellington. Leopold, to whom Guizot at once delivered Louis Philippe’s letter, applied himself diligently to the task of extricating his father-in-law from his difficulties. With the view of terminating the isolation in which France was placed, he proposed that the convention of the four Powers for the pacification of the Levant should be merged in a larger instrument, to which she might be a party. But Palmerston, with whom he had a long conference, whilst acknowledging the advantages to be derived from a general agreement to uphold the integrity of Turkey, declared emphatically that no plan of that kind could be considered, until the Treaty of July 15 should have been executed in all its details. On August 20, at the termination of his visit, Guizot carried back with him to London the conviction that Leopold’s efforts had in no way modified the situation. He had, however, been able to derive some small consolation from the evident desire of the Queen and of Prince Albert to treat him with unusual consideration, whilst he had noted with satisfaction that Melbourne had appeared depressed and even Palmerston seemed out of spirits.[589]

From the French point of view the news from Syria was of a distinctly reassuring character. The insurrection in the Lebanon, upon the wide development of which Palmerston was supposed to have confidently depended for the realization of his plans, had been suppressed without difficulty by Ibrahim Pasha. This circumstance, combined with the efforts of King Leopold, revived the active opposition of those of Palmerston’s colleagues who disapproved of his eastern policy. They urged, accordingly, the expediency of making some friendly advances towards France. Palmerston consented with [Pg 288]an unexpected alacrity to meet their wishes. He had not answered Thiers’ memorandum of July 21, and he now proposed that he should reply to it and thus re-open communications with the French government. But his long despatch of August 31, was scarcely so conciliatory as some of his fellow-ministers would have desired. It was in effect an amplification of the memorandum which, on July 17, he had read out and handed to M. Guizot. It gave a luminous account of the negotiations and set forth the British case with admirable clearness, but only in the concluding paragraphs was a vague hope expressed that, after the complete execution of the Treaty of July 15, France would once more resume her place in “the union of the five Powers.”[590] The document was intended for publication and, in drawing it up, Palmerston had been more concerned to convince his countrymen of the justice of his cause than to conciliate the French government. As the event was to prove, he had judged correctly in supposing that a lucid exposition of his policy would greatly strengthen his hand, and enable him to counteract the intrigues of the French party, in the Cabinet. When, about a month later, his despatch was communicated to the press, it silenced the opposition of all fair-minded persons.[591] Guizot, suspecting at once the real object which Palmerston had in view, lost no time in urging upon Thiers the necessity of presenting, no less skilfully, the French case to the public.[592]

The conclusion of the Treaty of July 15 was known at Constantinople on August 3. The Porte, acting under the advice of the ambassadors of the four Powers, proceeded without loss of time to carry out its conditions. Rifat Bey, accompanied by Mr. [Pg 289]Alison of the British embassy, was despatched to Egypt with the Sultan’s ultimatum, and measures were promptly taken for rendering effective aid to the Syrian insurgents.[593] At the same time as the documents relating to the treaty were sent to Constantinople, the instructions of the Admiralty were forwarded to Sir Robert Stopford, commanding the British Mediterranean Squadron. All communication by sea was to be cut off between Egypt and Syria. If the Pasha’s fleet should be discovered within the harbour of Alexandria, it was not to be allowed to leave. Should an Egyptian squadron be cruising off the Syrian coast, the admiral was to use his own discretion as to the means to be employed for carrying out the intentions of his government. Peaceful persuasion was to be tried in the first instance, but, should it prove ineffectual, force must be resorted to without hesitation. Five thousand stands of arms from the stores at Malta were placed at his disposal, for distribution among the insurgent mountaineers. Lastly, Stopford was warned to be on his guard against “any sudden movement of the French squadron, in consequence of orders which might be sent from Paris, under the first impulse of irritation which the French government would naturally feel at finding itself placed in a separate and isolated position.”[594]

The French naval force in the Mediterranean was at this time extremely efficient[595] and, in point of numbers, slightly superior to the British. Ever since the beginning of the year, Palmerston had made the strength of the Toulon fleet the subject of [Pg 290]numerous representations to the French government.[596] Should, therefore, warlike counsels prevail in Paris the initial advantages of the naval situation would be on the side of France. But, as early as July 25, Palmerston was so satisfied that no danger of that kind was to be apprehended, that he desired that Stopford should be informed that the French government had clearly “no intention of opposing by force the measures which the allies had resolved to execute.”[597] That officer, on receipt of his instructions, had proceeded to Alexandria, both to support by his presence the demands which Rifat Bey was pressing upon the Pasha and to prevent the egress of the Egyptian fleet. A few days before his arrival, the squadron, which Mehemet Ali had recently sent to the coast of Syria,[598] had hastily returned to Alexandria, upon the advice, as it was believed, of the French admiral.

Whilst he was in these waters, Stopford was joined by Admiral Bandiera with two Austrian frigates, one of which was commanded by the Archduke Charles Frederick. Commodore Charles Napier, famous for his destruction of the Miguelite Meet, had at the same time been detached to the coast of Syria with five sail of the line and some smaller vessels. Arriving off Beyrout, on August 12, Napier found that the insurrection, which he had been informed was in full progress, had been suppressed. Nevertheless, two days later, he took up a position “abreast of the town” and sent an officer on shore to notify to the governor that the four Powers had decided to restore Syria to the Sultan, and to demand that the arms taken from the inhabitants of the Lebanon should be [Pg 291]restored to them. Furthermore, he issued a proclamation calling upon the Syrians to return to their allegiance to the Sultan, and proceeded to detain a number of small vessels carrying provisions and military stores for the use of Ibrahim’s army. But, as the twenty days allowed Mehemet Ali for considering the demands of the Porte had not yet expired, he did not consider himself justified in beginning actual hostilities. Finding, therefore, that Soliman Pasha[599] was not disposed to comply with his summons and that his proclamation produced no effect, he withdrew his squadron to a better anchorage and employed his time in reconnoitring the coast.[600]

M. de Pontois, the French ambassador to the Sublime Porte, had, in the meanwhile, not been idle. On August 16, on receipt presumably of instructions from M. Thiers, he sent his dragoman to Reshid Pasha, the Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs. The message, of which M. Cor was the bearer, was to the effect that France was deeply offended at the action of the Ottoman plenipotentiary in signing the Treaty of July 15, and that she was resolved to support Mehemet Ali and actively to oppose the measures of coercion which the allies were proposing to apply to him.[601] M. de Pontois himself further declared to the Russian minister that he regarded war between France and England as inevitable. This threatening language was at once reported by the representatives of the Powers to their respective Courts and Lord Ponsonby, at the same time, sent to warn the British admirals that an outbreak of hostilities with France was to be seriously apprehended.[602] A few days later, however, the French [Pg 292]ambassador, whether in consequence of fresh instructions from Paris, or whether because on considering the matter he was afraid he had said too much, saw fit to disavow the language imputed to him.[603] This was the attitude adopted by M. Thiers when, in due course, representations on the subject of M. de Pontois’ menaces were made to him by the Powers. The full brunt of his ill-humour fell, as was usual, upon the Austrian ambassador, who met with a very warm and disagreeable reception. “Vous pouvez dire à Reshid Pasha qu’il en a menti,[604] was the only statement which Apponyi could extract from him. Guizot, but in more courteous terms, conveyed the same explanation to Lord Palmerston. No written communication having passed between M. de Pontois and Reshid Pasha, the matter was allowed to drop.[605] It was evident that whatever might have been the precise words used by M. Cor, the message of the French ambassador to the Reis-Effendi was a rather clumsy attempt to frighten the Sultan into withholding his ratification of the treaty.

France meanwhile was arming in most ostentatious fashion. On September 13 the fortification of Paris was decreed by a Royal ordinance. This was a measure which had been under consideration for some time past, but which had always been set aside on account of the difficulty of inducing the Chambers to consent to the required expenditure. Thiers, as a student of the campaign of 1814, had constantly advocated it, whilst Louis Philippe was also in favour of it because, as was generally believed, he hoped that a circle of forts round the capital would greatly facilitate the suppression of any revolutionary movement. M. Thiers gave his [Pg 293]closest personal attention to the military preparations. With the journalists and stock-jobbers, by whom he was surrounded,[606] his conversation turned on war unceasingly. In the early days of August he had hinted at a campaign upon the Rhine, whilst the papers which he inspired denounced the treaties of 1815 and talked of “natural frontiers.” But his thoughts soon assumed a new direction. The débordement,[607] when it came, would be in Italy, where Austria was to be assailed at her most vulnerable point. Lying on the floor, with his maps spread out before him, like the great man about whom he had written so much, he planned vast military and diplomatic combinations.[608]

Nor was Louis Philippe less warlike than his minister. All Paris heard of the indignant and threatening language which he had used to the Prussian and Austrian ambassadors. Taking them aside at the Tuileries, he had bitterly reproached them for the ingratitude which their Courts had displayed towards him. For ten years he had held the revolution in check and his reward had been the Quadrilateral Treaty of July. But, and at this point his voice could be heard far beyond the confines of the room in which the interview took place, “they had better not provoke him too far. He had discarded the red cap. Some day, perhaps, they might be disagreeably surprised to find that he had resumed it.”[609] This threat, which was uttered as though it had escaped him in the heat of passion, was well calculated to give Metternich much cause for uneasy reflection. At the same time the King’s eldest son, the Duc d’Orléans, a keen and ambitious soldier, loudly proclaimed that France had [Pg 294]been insulted. With perfect sincerity he declared his belief in the necessity of war. “If the worst came to the worst,” he told his friends, “he had rather be killed in action upon the Rhine, than be shot in a street fight and die in the gutter.”[610]

Under the influence of the revolutionary recollections evoked by the anti-dynastic press, and of the threats of war to be waged upon Jacobinical principles,[611] indulged in by the organs of M. Thiers, public excitement in Paris rose to an alarming pitch. The situation was complicated by a series of strikes in different trades. Bands of men deprived of their employment marched through the streets singing the Marseillaise. The secret republican societies fomented the discontent of the working classes and fanned the flame of war. Disturbances took place, and the authorities were apprehensive of an attack by the mob upon the British embassy.

Towards the middle of September the news reached Paris that, in consequence of the Sultan’s demands, conveyed to him by Rifat Bey, Mehemet Ali had invoked the protection and mediation of France.[612] Furthermore, at the instance of the Comte Walewski, he had declared his readiness to restore to the Sultan the island of Crete, the Holy Cities and the province of Adana. Although maintaining his claim to the hereditary tenure of Egypt, he had announced that he would be satisfied, as regards Syria, were the government of Tripoli, Damascus and Aleppo to be conferred upon his son Ibrahim for his life. Thiers perceived, at once, that in these proposals lay his last chance of preventing without war the full execution of the Treaty of July 15. Notwithstanding that he still derided the [Pg 295]notion that a blockade of the coast would suffice to make Mehemet Ali relax his hold upon Syria, in his heart he was, doubtless, beginning to suspect that he had overestimated the military power of the Pasha. Napier’s proceedings at Beyrout and his detention of the Egyptian store ships and transports had not been followed by that vigorous offensive, which, he had always predicted, Ibrahim would assume the moment any act of war was committed against him.

Hitherto M. Thiers, in his intercourse with the British chargé d’affaires, with whom he was in private life on very friendly terms, had never made use of those asperities of language and warlike threats which he had sometimes indulged in with Werther and Apponyi. But, on the morning of September 18, when Mr. Bulwer called upon him, he resolved to adopt new tactics. As they paced up and down a long gallery in his house at Auteuil, M. Thiers declared emphatically that he considered the Pasha’s last proposals both just and reasonable. If England would agree to join with France in pressing their acceptance upon the Porte and the Powers, there would once more be established the intimate relations between the two governments which the Quadrilateral Treaty had interrupted. But if not, then seeing that Mehemet Ali had made these concessions at the instance of France, she would “be bound to support him.” As he concluded he looked Bulwer full in the face and asked him whether he realized the full import of these words. “Perfectly,” replied he imperturbably, “you mean to declare for the Pasha and go to war with us in his favour.” Before they parted, however, M. Thiers somewhat modified the gravity of his statement, by saying that he had spoken as a private individual, not as the President of the Council.

A few hours later Bulwer returned to Auteuil. Before leaving M. Thiers he had told him that he [Pg 296]would like him to see the account of their conversation which he proposed to send to London. The despatch which he, accordingly, placed in his hands began by stating that, in the writer’s opinion, the moment had come when M. Thiers purposed saying to the King, “You must follow me even to war, or I will leave you exposed to public opinion as expressed by the newspapers.” It was certain, however, that the King would not accept such a programme, and that, were M. Thiers to place his resignation on those grounds, it would be unhesitatingly accepted. This was very far from the kind of message which Thiers wished conveyed to Lord Palmerston. “My dear Bulwer,” he said, “you are greatly mistaken, you will ruin your promising career. The King is far more warlike than I am.”[613] Bulwer saw no occasion to argue that point, and, having produced the desired effect, he readily agreed merely to relate to his chief the substance of their morning’s conversation. In a private and confidential despatch, however, he stated that this interview had left a strong impression upon his mind that M. Thiers had, in reality, an earnest desire to maintain peace.[614]

These so-called concessions of Mehemet Ali were, Lord Palmerston declared, unworthy of serious consideration. Whether Syria were governed by Ibrahim or by Mehemet Ali was a matter of very little importance. The object with which the treaty had been concluded must be relentlessly pursued. Syria must be replaced under the direct rule of the Porte. Until the Egyptian desert should intervene between the territories of the Sultan and those administered by his too-powerful vassal, there could be no permanent peace in the East. No arguments of M. Guizot could induce him to adopt [Pg 297]a less uncompromising attitude. The Pasha’s proposals indicated, he maintained, that he already perceived the necessity of bowing to the inevitable, and that he would, before long, yield to all the demands of the Powers.[615] Certain of his colleagues, however, altogether dissented from this view of the case. Mehemet Ali’s concessions, they contended, had created an opportunity for terminating the differences with France and for drawing her into the negotiations.

The French party in the Cabinet had recently received a great accession of strength. Lord John Russell, the Colonial Secretary and the leader of the House of Commons, had cordially approved of the Treaty of July 15. Nevertheless, early in September, he appears to have been seized with grave misgivings as to the wisdom of carrying out its provisions. A letter from Lord Spencer to his brother the Duke of Bedford, expressing the fear that Palmerston’s policy would lead to a war with France, seems to have made a great impression upon him.[616] Moreover, “Bear” Ellice[617] was actively engaged in propagating alarmist rumours and in discoursing upon the indignation which the Anglo-Russian alliance had aroused in France. There are grounds for believing that the intrigue, of which he was the soul, aimed at driving Palmerston to resign, in order that Clarendon might replace him at the Foreign Office.[618] Be that as it may, the inspiration of M. Thiers can plainly be discerned in the correspondence of Mr. Ellice with both Russell and with Melbourne.[619] Charles Greville also appears to have spent much time with Guizot in inveighing against the presumptuous [Pg 298]recklessness of Palmerston and in discussing the votes and opinions of different members of the Cabinet.[620] But the French ambassador could listen to even more congenial sentiments in the social circle presided over by Lord and Lady Holland. M. Thiers, a few weeks after Holland’s death, openly declared in the Chamber that, throughout this crisis, he had always been able to depend upon the support of that statesman.[621] It is impossible to say how far he was justified in making such a statement. It is undeniable, however, that matters, which should have been treated as Cabinet secrets, were known in Paris. In commenting upon M. Thiers’ amazing indiscretion, The Times,[622] which cannot be charged with partiality to Palmerston, positively asserted, as a notorious fact, that “every transaction within the doors of the British council-chamber were as well known upon the bourse as in the deepest recesses of Downing Street or Whitehall.” This statement is to a great extent confirmed by Bulwer, who relates that, in consequence of certain information which he had acquired in Paris, he was enabled to warn Palmerston of an attack which was to be made upon him in the Cabinet.[623] “The talking at Holland House,” wrote Lord Melbourne, “is irremediable. They cannot help it, and they are not themselves aware how much they talk.”[624] It was always a subject of complaint against Palmerston that he would come to important decisions and would embark upon grave measures of policy, without reference to his colleagues. The conduct of certain of his “Whig friends and grandees”[625] upon this occasion was, it must be admitted, [Pg 299]calculated to dispose him to confide in them as seldom as possible.

Negotiations, John Russell insisted, must be opened with France on the basis of the Pasha’s last proposals. If this course were not adopted, he announced his intention of retiring from office. His resolution was not to be shaken either by the remonstrances of Melbourne that his resignation must destroy the government, or by Palmerston’s representations that his present conduct was inconsistent with his former approval of the treaty.[626] The French party seemed to be on the point of triumphing. Palmerston appeared to be placed between two alternatives—he must either retire, or consent to suspend coercive measures against Mehemet Ali and make conciliatory advances to France. Nevertheless, contrary to expectations, a crisis was averted. Lord John agreed greatly to modify his demands and Palmerston consented to a slight compromise. “Russell,” records Greville, “has disappointed me. He is not the man I took him for.”[627] But in point of fact an influence, unsuspected by Greville, had been brought to bear upon him. Melbourne had conveyed to him a message from the Queen that she was not in a condition[628] to bear, without danger, the anxiety to which she must be subjected by the course he threatened to pursue. But Her Majesty placed her chief objection to anything in the nature of a Cabinet crisis, at this particular moment, on other grounds than those of her own state of health. She desired Lord John to reflect most seriously upon the injury, which the country must suffer in the eyes of foreign Powers, from so public an exhibition of ministerial weakness and vacillation at a time of national emergency.[629]

[Pg 300]

Metternich had been greatly alarmed by the threatening aspect of affairs, and had, some weeks before, submitted a paper to King Leopold, for transmission to Louis Philippe, defining the attitude which, in his opinion, the French government should adopt. Whilst signifying her dissent from the policy of coercing Mehemet Ali, she might, he suggested, declare her adherence to the main principle of the treaty—the necessity of preserving the integrity of Turkey. Should the event prove that the Pasha was not to be subdued by force, she might announce her readiness to discuss with the Powers the means by which, in the future, the security of the Ottoman Empire might be maintained.[630] Palmerston, who was in possession of a copy of this document, expressed himself as willing to make an overture to the French government on the basis of Metternich’s suggestions. At a Cabinet Council, on October 1, this solution of the difficulty was agreed to unanimously.[631] It was a small concession which Palmerston could well afford to make. Before the French government could be approached on the subject, the consent of the Powers, which were parties to the Quadrilateral Treaty, would have to be obtained. Brunnow, without doubt, would at once declare that he must refer the matter to his Court, and long before an answer could be received from St. Petersburg, the guns would have spoken in the East and the whole situation would be altered. Nor was this expectation falsified. The representatives of the Powers, following the lead of Brunnow, announced that they were without instructions and must submit the proposal to their Courts. But already the news had arrived of the success with which hostilities had been opened in Syria.[632]

[Pg 301]

At Constantinople Mehemet Ali’s reply to the demands made to him by Rifat Bey was held to be unsatisfactory, and, with the full approval of the ambassadors of the allied Powers, the Porte decided to treat his counter-proposals in the light of a rejection of the Sultan’s ultimatum. He was, accordingly, declared deposed from the governorship of Egypt and of the other territories which he ruled, and a blockade was proclaimed both of the Syrian and Egyptian coasts. The representatives of the Powers at the same time recalled the consuls from Alexandria, and every effort was made to carry out promptly the stipulations of the Treaty of July 15.[633] Sir Robert Stopford, leaving a portion of his command to watch the Egyptian fleet, sailed with the remainder of his force and the Austrian squadron to join Napier off Beyrout, where Captain Walker, who had been placed in command of the Turkish fleet, had already arrived. On September 11, the governor of Beyrout having been ineffectually summoned to surrender, fire was opened upon the forts. After sustaining a heavy bombardment, Soliman Pasha withdrew the garrison into the hills. Two days before, a Turkish division and detachments of British and Austrian marines had landed at Jounié Bay. Commodore Napier, under whose direction these operations were carried out, entrenched his force securely and proceeded to distribute arms and ammunition to the mountaineers, who flocked into his camp in large numbers. Meanwhile, Ibrahim, who with the main Egyptian army was not far distant, looked on helplessly, and appeared to be incapable of offering any serious resistance to the operations of the allies.[634]

[Pg 302]

The news from the East created a profound sensation in Paris. “The cannon of Beyrout,” wrote Heine,[635] “re-echoes painfully in the heart of every Frenchman.” Young men eagerly proffered their services at the recruiting offices. At the opera and at the theatres excited audiences insisted on singing the Marseillaise. On the question of peace or war the Cabinet was supposed to be nearly equally divided. M. Thiers was reported to have urged the necessity of energetic action, but it was notorious that General Cubières, the Minister of War, and Roussin, the Minister of Marine and the former ambassador at Constantinople, were in favour of pacific measures. Henry Reeve, the friend of Greville and the future editor of his famous journals, was at this time in Paris. Politically he was in complete accord with Lord Holland and the French party, and, during his stay in Paris, was in regular correspondence with Lord Lansdowne, a member of the Melbourne Cabinet, who, although not actively opposed to Palmerston, only gave him a half-hearted support. Reeve was well acquainted with most of the French ministers, and was on very friendly terms with Léon Faucher and several other prominent journalists and politicians. In fact, during these critical days, he may be said, in his own words, “to have had his board and lodging in the Cabinet.” He was in constant communication with M. Thiers, “who was everything that he could wish.”[636] Consequently, he would ingenuously convey to his patron[637] those opinions, which the crafty French minister considered might with advantage be disseminated in governmental circles in London.

Amidst all this excitement, whilst in Paris the bourse was panic stricken and in London the funds were falling, Palmerston remained perfectly calm. He [Pg 303]had never believed in the danger of a conflict with France, and, in his opinion, the progress of events in the East had rendered still more remote the chances of war.[638] He could not admit that the French people or the French King would ever allow any government to embark upon hostilities with the whole of Europe, in order to preserve Syria for Mehemet Ali. He wrote reassuringly to the Queen[639] to this effect, and strove to calm the apprehensions of his colleagues and to instil into them some of his robust common sense. But the edict of the Porte, by which Mehemet Ali had been deprived of the government of Egypt, had once more stirred his opponents to action. According to Lord John Russell, it was a measure which had never been contemplated by the treaty and had clearly been adopted in consequence of the violent counsels of Lord Ponsonby. Palmerston, although he personally approved of the deposition of the Pasha, had, nevertheless, immediately instructed Granville to inform M. Thiers that it was merely a measure of coercion, and was not intended to prejudge any arrangement which the Sultan might, hereafter, be disposed to make in favour of Mehemet Ali, should he, “at an early moment, accept the conditions of the treaty.”[640] Lord John, however, was not to be pacified. War, he asserted, appeared to be imminent, and he insisted upon the necessity of holding a meeting of the Cabinet.[641] Grave consequences, wrote Melbourne to the Queen, were to be apprehended from the Council which he had called for October 10.[642]

But once again a crisis was averted. On the [Pg 304]morning of the day on which the meeting of the Cabinet was to take place, Guizot presented himself at the Foreign Office with two despatches from M. Thiers. The first, dated October 3, purported to be an answer to Lord Palmerston’s despatch of August 31. It was a long and rambling statement of the French case. The chief argument consisted in an attempt to show that France, throughout the negotiations, had never departed from the principle embodied in the collective note of July 27, 1839. Then, as now, France considered that that instrument had been drawn up for the purpose of guaranteeing the independence and integrity of Turkey. She had always believed that the object which it had in view was to enable the Sultan to escape from the exclusive protection of a certain great Power. She had never understood that the policy of preserving the Ottoman Empire was bound up with any question of “territorial limitations, more or less advantageous, between the Sultan and the Viceroy.”[643] The second, and more important, despatch bore the date of October 8, and dealt with the firman of the Sultan deposing Mehemet Ali from the government of Egypt. France, declared M. Thiers, was prepared to leave the question of Syria to the chances of the war, which had actually begun. But the edict expelling the Pasha from Egypt was a different matter. It threatened to disturb the balance of power in the East, and France could, therefore, not consent to see it carried into execution.[644] Certain writers have pompously asserted that, on this occasion, M. Thiers “formulated the casus belli.” It must be borne in mind, however, that he had already been informed by Lord Granville of the light in which the British government regarded the Porte’s decree of deposition. Hence many of his contemporaries treat his [Pg 305]despatch of October 8 with derision. That famous document, they contend, merely “forced an open door.”[645]

The extreme moderation with which M. Thiers had expressed himself came as a great surprise to the British government. M. Guizot, sincerely as he desired to see peace maintained, was strongly of opinion that so mild an exposition of the French case was strangely inconsistent with the warlike attitude which his government had adopted, since the beginning of the crisis. He contented himself, in consequence, with placing M. Thiers’ despatches in Lord Palmerston’s hands, and made no attempt to discuss or to defend the opinions expressed in them.[646] Their contents, when communicated to the assembled British ministers, removed at once the danger that acute differences of opinion might lead to a disruption of the government. At the Cabinet Council of October 10, it was simply decided that Lord Ponsonby should be directed to urge the Porte to reinstate Mehemet Ali in the governorship of Egypt and to make the appointment hereditary in his family, provided he would consent to make an early submission to the Sultan. At the same time, it was agreed that a copy of these instructions should be sent to Lord Granville for communication to the French government.[647]

But, in spite of the pacific language used by M. Thiers in his despatches, the situation still gave cause for anxiety. The lower classes in Paris had been greatly stirred by the Jacobinical declamations of the Radical press. On October 15, as Louis Philippe was entering the Tuileries, he narrowly escaped the bullet of an assassin. The would-be regicide, an [Pg 306]individual named Darmès, when arrested and questioned, declared that he was by profession “a conspirator and an exterminator of tyrants.” This outrage and other anarchical symptoms were not without effect upon the bourgeoisie.[648] The signs of the times pointed clearly to the probability that war abroad would be followed by a revolution at home. Meanwhile, rumours were current that the government was preparing some sudden act of aggression—an “Anconade[649] as it was called. It was said that the military occupation of some position in Turkey was contemplated. The sudden recall, however, to Toulon of the French fleet, which had been cruising in Greek waters, seemed to prove, not only that the government could have no such intention, but that it was desirous of avoiding the danger of any chance collision with the British squadron operating off the Syrian coast. Nevertheless, after the return home of Admiral Hugon’s fleet, reports about the warlike plans of M. Thiers assumed a more concrete form. Lord Granville, on October 12, received information from a person, who stipulated for a special remuneration should his intelligence prove accurate, that the French government had decided to seize one of the Balearic Islands.[650]

The strategic importance of these Spanish islands had been enhanced by the French occupation of Algiers. Situated about midway between Toulon and the African coast, they would, in the hands of France, enable her to control the western Mediterranean. The British Foreign Office and the Admiralty had, in consequence, been always on the alert, lest she should by any means succeed in establishing herself at Port [Pg 307]Mahon. It had been ascertained that many of the inhabitants were not at all averse to the idea of a French annexation of Minorca.[651] But, in addition to the military advantages to be derived from the occupation of the Balearic Islands, there were political reasons which made both Palmerston and Bulwer suspect that M. Thiers might regard a coup d’éclat in Spain as a useful counterstroke to the Treaty of July 15.[652] The struggle between Christina[653] and the Progressistas had been raging for some weeks past, and now appeared certain to terminate in the complete defeat of the Queen Regent. Upon the subject of Spanish affairs the British government held views which were diametrically opposed to those entertained at the absolute Courts. Any stroke directed against Espartero and the Radicals could not fail to be applauded at Vienna, Berlin, and St. Petersburg. A French intervention in Spain might, therefore, be the means of sowing discord between Great Britain and her continental allies.

Lord Granville at once sent off a special messenger to Madrid to warn the British minister of the blow which was impending, and Palmerston also wrote to Mr. Aston to the same effect. Espartero,[654] when the news was communicated to him, undertook to strengthen the garrison of Port Mahon, and promised to resist manfully any French aggression. Melbourne, at the same time, took the opportunity of remonstrating strongly with Louis Philippe through the King of the Belgians.[655] England, he wrote, could not sit still whilst [Pg 308]France continued to arm and to threaten. She must, if the present situation were prolonged, take measures to safeguard her interests. This communication probably reached Louis Philippe on October 19. So long as he had believed that Mehemet Ali was capable of offering a serious resistance to the allied Powers, he had approved of the menacing attitude of his government. But, when the Pasha’s impotence was made manifest, he realized the expediency of adopting different tactics. He understood the difficulties of M. Thiers’ position. Already the more extreme of the various groups composing his parliamentary majority were beginning to testify their displeasure at the pacific tone of his despatch of October 8, which had been published in the English papers. At the approaching meeting of the Chambers heated and violent recriminations were to be apprehended. Louis Philippe, however, had also perceived that, notwithstanding the clamour of the newspapers, a healthy current of public opinion was running in the direction of peace. People were beginning to realize that, under existing conditions, war and revolution were synonymous terms. Some of M. Thiers’ colleagues had, moreover, it is said, privately intimated that, if peace were to be maintained, the King must take upon himself to dismiss his present ministers.[656] But the adoption of this disinterested advice was fraught with certain unpleasant consequences. For the past fortnight the Constitutionel, M. Thiers’ chief organ, had been insinuating that all his efforts to uphold the honour and dignity of France were frustrated by the Sovereign. The King was, therefore, under no illusions as to the manner in which his minister purposed to cover his retreat.

The Chambers were to assemble on October 28. [Pg 309]M. Thiers, about a week before, submitted to Louis Philippe a draft of the proposed Speech from the Throne. It contained a distinctly warlike paragraph, and announced that 150,000 more men would be called up for service with the colours. The King objected, and whilst the matter was under discussion, he received Lord Melbourne’s letter. It is very possible that a perusal of its contents may have served to overcome his last hesitations. He refused to employ the language which his minister proposed to place in his mouth. M. Thiers, thereupon, tendered his resignation, which was promptly accepted. Marshal Soult agreed to form a new government, of which the real head was to be M. Guizot, the French ambassador in London, into whose charge the King had confided the portfolio of Foreign Affairs.

M. Thiers was not wholly responsible for the position in which France found herself at the time of his downfall. When he took office, the mistakes of his predecessor had already carried the country a great distance upon the road to isolation. Nevertheless, the brief period of his second administration affords an instructive example of the many mistakes which a very able man may commit. The two principal objects which he set himself to achieve were utterly incompatible. He sincerely desired to retain the friendship of Great Britain and, at the same time, he proposed to establish Mehemet Ali as the ruler of an independent State, which was to owe its separate existence to French patronage. But, inasmuch as Lord Palmerston was resolved to drive the Pasha out of Syria and greatly to restrict his power, he was obliged to seek to attain his ends by tortuous methods. Thus, whilst he strove to prolong and to embarrass the negotiations in London, he endeavoured secretly, and in flagrant violation of the collective note of July 27, 1839, to cajole the Porte into conceding the demands [Pg 310]of the Pasha. He was able to persuade himself that the young Sultan and his ministers, rather than follow the congenial advice of the Powers which desired to curb the ambition of Mehemet Ali, would listen to the unpalatable counsels of France, the friend of their arch-enemy the Viceroy of Egypt. A policy founded upon so erroneous a conception of human nature was fore-doomed to failure. The intrigues of the French agents at Alexandria and Constantinople[657] were exposed, the correspondence of M. Coste found its way into Lord Palmerston’s drawer at the Foreign Office, and the treaty between the four Powers and the Porte was concluded on July 15.

But M. Thiers was guilty of another error. He, the student of war, the Napoleon civil, as Metternich named him, altogether failed to understand the strategic situation in the East. Unlike Lord Palmerston, who foresaw that the Pasha’s position in Syria would be untenable, from the moment that he was deprived of the command of the sea, Thiers conceived it possible that Ibrahim could assume the offensive in Asia Minor, and at the same time maintain, in the midst of a hostile population and through a most difficult country, his communications with Egypt. His plans were, accordingly, based upon the supposition that the Powers would experience serious difficulty in expelling the Egyptians from Syria. The Pasha’s resistance, he was confident, would not be overcome before the winter, and would, doubtless, necessitate the intervention of a Russian army. But, were the Tsar to despatch a large force to Asia Minor, national jealousies and suspicion would be aroused. Then France, having completed her military preparations, could enter upon the scene and impose her will upon a disunited and disheartened coalition. In pursuance of this plan, M. Thiers made divers attempts to draw the chief Italian States into [Pg 311]an alliance with France. But his proposals were unheeded both at Turin and at Naples.[658] In one direction only would his overtures appear to have met with any response. King Otho, the young Bavarian prince whom the protecting Powers had placed upon the throne of Greece, attracted by the prospect of obtaining Crete, seems to have promised to invade Thessaly, whenever France should give the signal for a general outbreak of hostilities.[659]

But all these schemes were rendered abortive by the state of impotence to which Ibrahim was reduced by the arrival of the British fleet in Syrian waters. After the success of Stopford’s operations at Beyrout, M. Thiers was forced either to resign or to plunge France, with King Otho for her only ally, into a war with the whole of Europe. It is impossible to believe that he can ever have thought seriously of adopting this last alternative. But Louis Philippe’s unalterable resolution to maintain the peace made it safe for him to advocate a bellicose policy, seeing that he would never be called upon to carry it out. By proposing certain warlike measures, such as the seizure of the Balearic Islands and a large increase of the army, he intended to compel the King to dismiss him. Thus he would be enabled to escape from the difficulties in which he was involved, whilst upon Louis Philippe would rest the reproach of having tamely submitted to the dictation of Lord Palmerston.

The injury done to the House of Orleans was not, however, the only consequence of M. Thiers’ proceedings in 1840. His warlike declamations and the frequent allusions in his newspapers to the left bank of the Rhine awoke recollections in Germany which had [Pg 312]slumbered for a generation. The amazing popularity of Becker’s Song of the Rhine[660] testifies to the strength of the national sentiment which the French threats had aroused. The significance of this, and other manifestations of German feeling, did not escape Prince Metternich. “M. Thiers,” he wrote bitterly, “likes to be compared to Napoleon. With respect to Germany he resembles him closely, indeed, he may justly be said to surpass him. In six weeks he has accomplished as much in that country as the Emperor during ten years of war and oppression.”[661]

The Soult-Guizot Cabinet had been formed upon the basis of the maintenance of peace. But innumerable difficulties confronted it. Whilst pursuing a strictly pacific policy, ministers could not afford to disregard the national susceptibilities which the events of the past few months had aroused. Guizot, accordingly, before leaving London, and after his return to France, declared constantly that the fate of the new ministry was in the hands of the British government. If only he could be enabled to state that the Powers were prepared to make concessions to M. Thiers’ successors, which they would not have made to M. Thiers himself, he was confident that he could defeat his opponents. But, if it were resolved rigorously to execute the treaty against Mehemet Ali, he and his colleagues would surely be overwhelmed and the King would be forced to call the war party into his counsels. Without doubt, his friends Reeve and Greville proved most useful in propagating this opinion.[662] Palmerston, however, was quite unmoved. He scouted the notion that France would resort to extreme measures in defence of the Pasha, and he was determined that the [Pg 313]British interests, involved in the expulsion of Mehemet Ali from Syria, should not be sacrificed in order to strengthen the parliamentary position of a foreign government.

At the time of M. Thiers’ resignation, his despatch of October 8 was still unanswered. But, before M. Guizot had been long installed at the Foreign Office, he received Lord Palmerston’s reply to it. The contents of this document caused him the greatest irritation. After exposing with remorseless logic the fallacies of M. Thiers’ arguments, Palmerston laid down the principle that the future government of Egypt concerned the Porte alone. He has generally been blamed for not employing a more conciliatory tone in this, his first important communication with M. Guizot, who was not responsible for the opinions of his predecessor in office. Palmerston, however, had two distinct objects in view, and it is open to question whether he would have attained his ends, had he employed less uncompromising language. His despatches, both of November 2 and November 20, were clearly written with the purpose of convincing M. Guizot of the necessity of regarding Syria as altogether lost to Mehemet Ali, and of thus putting an end to the efforts which were being made to preserve for him the southern portion of Palestine. Secondly, by intimating that the Pasha’s reinstatement in the government of Egypt would depend upon his prompt compliance with the Sultan’s demands, Palmerston evidently intended to force M. Guizot to exert all his influence over Mehemet Ali in favour of a complete surrender.[663]

Events, meanwhile, had been moving rapidly in Syria. Before the middle of October the Turkish flag waved once more over Beyrout and Saïda, the ancient Sidon, whilst Napier, at the head of a Turkish division [Pg 314]and some detachments of British and Austrian marines, completely defeated and put to flight the redoubtable Ibrahim. As early as October 5, Palmerston had desired the Lords of the Admiralty to advise Sir Robert Stopford of the importance of promptly restoring the fortress of Acre to the Sultan.[664] The allied commanders appear to have been somewhat undecided as to the propriety of attacking this famous stronghold, the key of Syria. In view of the lateness of the season, Stopford himself was very reluctant to embark upon operations against it.[665] But Palmerston’s despatch overcame his irresolution and induced him to listen to the bolder counsels of Napier, Walker, and Jochmus. Acre, which had successfully resisted Bonaparte and which had held Ibrahim in check for six months, surrendered, on November 3, to the British admiral after an engagement of a few hours’ duration. The moment the news reached London, Stopford was directed to send “a competent officer” to Mehemet Ali to signify to him that, provided he would restore the Turkish fleet and give an undertaking in writing to evacuate Syria, Adana, Arabia, the Holy Cities and Crete, the Powers would recommend the Porte to reappoint him to the governorship of Egypt.[666] But, before these instructions could take effect, Napier, who had arrived off Alexandria with his squadron, had seen fit to conclude, upon his own responsibility, an agreement with Mehemet Ali. In this unauthorized convention, which was signed on November 27, it was stipulated that the Pasha should surrender the Turkish fleet and evacuate Syria, on the understanding that the four Powers in return would [Pg 315]guarantee to him the hereditary tenure of the Pashalic of Egypt.[667]

Napier, who was a strong Radical, appears to have been privately urged by certain members of the Cabinet to seize the first opportunity of concluding a peace with Mehemet Ali.[668] But, whatever his reasons may have been for acting in so irregular a manner, the main provisions of his treaty, unquestionably, accorded with the instructions sent to Stopford on November 14. Palmerston, in consequence, decided to signify his approval of the arrangement, with one important reservation.[669] Under no circumstances “could Great Britain singly, or the four Powers jointly, guarantee to a subject a grant of administrative authority made to him by his Sovereign, within the dominions of that Sovereign.” But at Constantinople Napier’s proceedings aroused the greatest indignation, and the Sublime Porte, with the full concurrence of the ambassadors of the Powers, pronounced the convention null and void.[670] The same course was adopted by Stopford, who sent Captain Fanshawe, his flag captain, to Alexandria to declare that the convention of November 27 could not be ratified, and that Mehemet Ali must submit unconditionally to the terms which the Powers were prepared to offer to him.[671]

Mehemet Ali could not do otherwise than yield. The fall of Acre had decided the fate of Syria. Fanshawe’s task was thus easy of execution, and, on December 16, he arrived at Constantinople bringing [Pg 316]with him a letter from Mehemet Ali to the Grand Vizier, in which the Pasha conceded every demand and, with regard to Egypt, threw himself upon the generosity of the Sultan.[672] The Turkish ministers, however, were little disposed to show mercy to a fallen enemy who, in the days of his strength, had caused them so much anxiety. Nor were the British ambassador and the Austrian internuncio in favour of treating Mehemet Ali leniently. But Metternich had been terribly alarmed by the French armaments, and had sent strict instructions to his agent at Constantinople to terminate the eastern question with as little delay as possible. Baron Stürmer was, in consequence, reluctantly obliged to counsel the Porte to confer upon the Pasha the hereditary tenure of Egypt. Ponsonby, however, was more tenacious of his opinions, and, although Palmerston, after the Cabinet Council of October 10, had directed him to advise the Turkish government to grant the heredity to Mehemet Ali,[673] he declined to join with his colleagues in pressing the Porte to adopt this measure. He was doubtful, he declared, whether the Pasha’s letter to the Grand Vizier should be regarded as an act of complete submission. Before pronouncing a decided opinion upon that point, he must wait in order to see whether the Pasha by his actions intended to prove the sincerity of his promises.[674] But, on January 10, 1841, he received Palmerston’s despatch on the subject of Napier’s convention, wherein it was distinctly laid down that Great Britain approved of the principle of conferring the heredity upon Mehemet Ali.[675] This second intimation of the views of his government was too clear for even Ponsonby [Pg 317]to venture upon disregarding it. He was, in consequence, obliged to advise the Porte to make the required concession. The Turkish ministers no sooner perceived that the Powers were unanimously in favour of it, than they promised to take the necessary steps for investing Mehemet Ali with the hereditary government of Egypt.[676]

Two days before this concession was extorted from the Porte, Mehemet Ali surrendered the Ottoman fleet to the commissioners sent to receive it. Furthermore, he gave the necessary orders for the evacuation of Crete and the other territories which he had promised to restore to the Sultan. His son Ibrahim, with the remnants of the army of Syria, had by this time arrived at Gaza, on the Egyptian frontier. He had himself been attacked by jaundice, and his troops had suffered cruelly in their retreat.[677] But their losses would have been far heavier, had it not been for the Napier Convention. The British officers employed in Syria had considered themselves in honour bound to observe the armistice, which was one of the conditions of that irregular agreement.[678]

Mehemet Ali having thus made his submission, it remained only to determine the conditions under which the hereditary governorship of Egypt should be conferred upon him. The Porte was very naturally desirous to circumscribe in every possible way, the powers which it had reluctantly consented to delegate. Some weeks, accordingly, were spent in discussing the affair with the ambassadors. But, at last, on February 13, 1841, the Porte issued a firman of investiture, [Pg 318]and sent off a special envoy to Egypt to present it to Mehemet Ali.[679]

The French government, meanwhile, rigidly abstained from any kind of interference, M. Guizot from the tribune of the Chamber declared his intention of preserving the peace, whilst at the same time maintaining the armaments which, by reason of her isolation, France could not afford to reduce. The Opposition inveighed fiercely against the attitude which the government proposed to adopt. M. Thiers gave his version of the negotiations and protested that, had he been able to remain in office, he would have armed upon a gigantic scale, not only in order to prevent the execution of the Treaty of July, but in order to obtain a revision of the territorial settlement of 1815. To support their statements, he and his former colleagues recklessly divulged the contents of confidential documents, and disclosed military secrets.[680] Nevertheless, ministers obtained a majority in both Chambers on the question of their foreign policy. The attention of the assembly, during the remainder of the session, was chiefly directed to matters connected with the fortification of Paris. The enormous expenditure entailed by that measure, and by the other military preparations of M. Thiers had a very sobering effect upon the popular Chamber. The crisis, it was computed, would cost the country not less than one hundred and fifty millions of francs.[681]

No sooner had M. Guizot emerged successfully from the initial stages of the parliamentary struggle, than he applied himself diligently to the task of bringing back France into the Concert of the Powers. [Pg 319]The German Courts, he was well aware, were most anxious to terminate a situation pregnant with dangerous possibilities. In the eyes of Metternich and of Baron Werther, the Prussian minister, the isolation of France threatened the peace of Europe, and, in order to put an end to it, they were prepared to settle “tant bien que mal,”[682] the eastern question. Under ordinary circumstances the Tsar Nicholas might have been expected to oppose the resumption by France of her place in the Concert of the Powers. But he had now strong reasons of his own for desiring that her isolation should cease. He had instructed Brunnow to undertake that the Treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi should not be renewed, because experience had proved that it was of no practical value.[683] The Cabinet of St. Petersburg had arrived at the conclusion that, for the better protection of the southern provinces of Russia, the question of the Dardanelles should be regulated by some European agreement. But no compact of that nature would be likely to endure, unless France were to be made a party to it.[684]

Although it suited Nicholas that France should re-enter the European Concert, his dislike of Louis Philippe, and of the régime of July was as strong as ever. Whilst proposing to close the eastern question with some “final transaction to which France might be invited to adhere,”[685] he also suggested that the treaty for the pacification of the Levant should be converted into a quadruple alliance, “providing against the contingency of an attack by France upon the liberties of Europe.” His main reason, he informed Lord Clanricarde, for making this proposal, [Pg 320]was to establish a close understanding with Great Britain.[686] Metternich had not “the spirit of a gentleman,” and neither England nor Russia ought to place any confidence in him.[687] The British government, however, was unable to entertain the suggestion. “All formal engagements of the Crown,” Lord Clanricarde was instructed to explain, “must be submitted to Parliament, and Parliament might not approve of an engagement which should bind England prospectively.” Nor was there any way in which this difficulty could be overcome. It would not be removed by the verbal agreement into which the Imperial Cabinet had declared its readiness to enter, should the constitutional obstacles to the conclusion of a more formal compact prove insuperable. “A verbal engagement would bind the ministers who made it, but might be disavowed by their successors, and thus the Russian government might be led to count upon a system of policy which might not eventually be pursued. . . . Under these circumstances,”concluded Lord Palmerston, “it seems to Her Majesty’s government that the Cabinet of St. Petersburg should be satisfied to trust to the general tendency of the policy of Great Britain, which leads her to watch over the maintenance of the balance of power.”[688]

Whether or not M. Guizot obtained any inkling of the Tsar’s proposals, he appears to have ascertained quickly that the three absolute Courts wished to close the eastern question in order that France should resume her place in the Concert. But he was very far from certain whether Lord Palmerston’s views coincided with those of his continental allies. He was not without fear that it might be the secret intention of Great [Pg 321]Britain to drive Mehemet Ali out of Egypt. From the moment he had taken office, he had declared that the fate of Syria must be left to the chances of war, but that no French government could acquiesce in the expulsion of the Pasha from his Egyptian governorship. So long, however, as France maintained her armaments Metternich would be most unlikely to consent to any further measures of hostility against Mehemet Ali. Thus by playing upon the fears of the German Courts, he could bring considerable pressure to bear upon Palmerston. Nor was it only in this way that he proposed to counteract the schemes which he suspected the British minister of harbouring. Lord Holland was dead, and the French party was greatly discredited, but he could still depend upon the assistance of “Bear” Ellice,[689] Greville and his other English friends, whenever an opportunity of thwarting Palmerston should arise. For the purpose of organizing as much opposition as possible to the Foreign Secretary, he had, in the month of November, 1840, despatched Baron Mounier upon a special mission to London.[690] At the same time Baron Bourqueney, the French chargé d’affaires, was instructed confidentially to discuss the situation with his colleagues, but, under no circumstances, was he to make any direct proposals to Lord Palmerston. He was constantly to declare that the isolation of France must continue, so long as the treaty of July should be in existence.

M. Guizot had made no mistake in supposing that Palmerston would rather have seen Mehemet Ali deposed [Pg 322]than invested with the hereditary tenure of Egypt. But, as he pointed out to the Ottoman ambassador, it was his rule in all affairs “to be content with what was practical,”[691] and Lord Beauvale’s despatches from Vienna made it clear that Metternich would never consent to take part in expelling the Pasha from Egypt.[692] Palmerston, therefore, accepted the situation and was prepared to be satisfied with an arrangement which restricted the authority of Mehemet Ali to his Egyptian Pashalic. He was opposed to the plan, which had been proposed at one time, of inviting France to participate in the final settling between the Sultan and the Pasha. As the avowed protector of Mehemet Ali she could not, he contended, fail to bring a dangerous element of discord into the conference.[693] Nevertheless, at the beginning of January, 1841, Baron Bourqueney, after having been his guest for a few days at Broadlands, felt convinced that “he was really anxious to discover some way of bringing back France into the concert, although he was still undecided as to the manner in which it should be effected.”[694] The correctness of this surmise was before long confirmed by the event. After the decision of the four Powers to press the Porte to confer the heredity upon Mehemet Ali had been embodied in the collective note of January 30, 1841, Palmerston himself took the initiative and invited Baron Bourqueney to call upon him at the Foreign Office, in order to discuss future arrangements.

The conferences which were thus begun on February 18 continued until March 5, and resulted in the framing of two diplomatic instruments. The first, termed [Pg 323]the protocol, was only to be signed by the representatives of the Powers which were parties to the Treaty of July 15, 1840. The difficulties which had induced the Porte to invoke the assistance of the four Courts being now at an end, the wish was recorded “of expressing in the most formal manner the respect due to the ancient rule of the Ottoman Empire, in virtue of which it has, at all times, been prohibited for ships of war of foreign Powers to enter the straits of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus.” With this principle, which was of general and permanent application, France was to be formally invited to concur. The second document consisted of a treaty, known as The Convention of the Straits, according to which the Sultan undertook to close the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus to the warships of all foreign nations, and the Sovereigns of Great Britain, France, Prussia, Austria and Russia pledged themselves to uphold this ancient rule of the Ottoman Empire.[695]

M. Guizot, after the plenipotentiaries had agreed to certain small verbal alterations, pronounced himself satisfied with both documents. Nevertheless, the full powers to sign, which Baron Bourqueney was expecting to receive, were not transmitted. For the present, he was merely authorized to initial the convention.[696] The news had reached Paris that Mehemet Ali was greatly displeased with the conditions attached to his firman of investiture, and that he had, in consequence, refused to accept it. The decree in question had never been submitted to the approval of the ambassadors at Constantinople, and it now appeared that the heredity, which it professed to confer, was of an entirely fictitious nature. At the death of Mehemet Ali, it was provided that his successor was to be chosen by the Sultan from among any of his descendants. Furthermore, the [Pg 324]appointment of all officers of the Egyptian army, above the rank of captain, was to be regulated by the Porte. Lastly, the Pasha complained that the amount of the tribute imposed upon him was far too heavy. Rather than submit to conditions so humiliating he would once more appeal to arms.[697]

Three months elapsed before the points in dispute could be settled. Meanwhile, the French government resumed its attitude of complete aloofness, and M. Guizot declared that no powers to sign could be sent to London, so long as the possibility existed that coercion might once more be applied to the Pasha under the terms of the Treaty of July. To the great annoyance of the German Courts, Palmerston was resolutely opposed to any declaration that the objects of that treaty had been attained. A premature dissolution of the alliance, he maintained, would only encourage Mehemet Ali to adopt a more defiant attitude, and must increase the difficulties of adjusting his relations with the Sultan.[698] “A question,” he insisted, “could not be really finished merely by saying that it was so.”[699] Metternich was compelled reluctantly to admit the force of this argument.[700] But, whilst he acknowledged the necessity of maintaining the alliance, his agents insinuated freely that Palmerston desired to embarrass the negotiations, in order to drive Mehemet Ali to commit some act of violence.

The conduct of Lord Ponsonby, it must be admitted, suggested that his chief had no great wish to discover a peaceful solution of the Egyptian question. When the news arrived at Constantinople that Mehemet Ali had refused to accept the firman, he at [Pg 325]once advised the Porte to hold no further communication with him. The Sublime Porte, he declared, need no longer fear the military power of Mehemet Ali. “His destruction might be the consequence[701] of his again venturing to defy the Sultan.” The patience with which Lord Palmerston submitted to Ponsonby’s deviations from his instructions is undeniably suspicious. It is practically certain, however, that no secret understanding existed between them. Palmerston’s personal views with regard to Mehemet Ali accorded so completely with those of his agent, that he was induced to regard with a lenient eye his reluctance to carry out a distasteful task. But, whilst treating him with great forbearance, he never allowed Lord Ponsonby to impose his opinions upon him. On January 26, 1841, in a despatch endorsed by Queen Victoria with the significant words “highly approved,”[702] he told him plainly that his counsels to the Porte were not in harmony with his instructions. Again, on March 16, he prescribed the necessity of overcoming the obstacles to a settlement so emphatically, that Ponsonby wrote in reply, that he perceived that “the end which he was expected to attain was the arrangement of this affair with Mehemet Ali at any rate” (sic).[703] Nor can it reasonably be contended that his tone changed after the Pasha’s refusal to accept the conditions of the firman of investiture. On the contrary, in his instructions of April 10, he laid stress upon the necessity of adjusting the points in dispute with as little delay as possible, and absolutely dissented from Ponsonby’s view that the Sultan should hold no direct communication with Mehemet Ali.[704]

Ponsonby was, therefore, obliged to join with his [Pg 326]colleagues in advising the Porte to modify the firman of February 13. Their representations, combined with an intimation from Baron Stürmer that Austria[705] would withdraw from the alliance if her counsels were disregarded, soon produced the desired effect. On April 14, Ponsonby was able to report that the Divan had decided that the succession of Mehemet Ali should be regulated in accordance with the principle of primogeniture, that he should have the power of dealing with the promotion of all officers below the rank of brigadier-general, and that the amount of his tribute should be reduced.[706] Nevertheless, some weeks elapsed before the Porte could be induced to embody these concessions in a new firman. For this delay Ponsonby was in no way responsible. On the contrary, he appears to have entered a vigorous protest against the procrastinating policy of the Turkish ministers.[707] Greatly to Metternich’s annoyance, however, Palmerston persisted in refusing to declare that the objects of the Treaty of July had been fully achieved. The French government, therefore, continued to withhold from Baron Bourqueney the authority to sign the Convention of the Straits. But M. Guizot was consumed with anxiety to conclude the affair, and in consequence of Palmerston’s attitude he was now compelled to instruct his agents in Egypt to urge Mehemet Ali to accept the amended firman, which they were to declare was no longer open to any reasonable objections.[708]

Mehemet Ali was too astute to offer any further resistance. On July 8, 1841, Ponsonby’s singularly laconic despatch reached London, announcing “the satisfactory intelligence”[709] that the Pasha had accepted [Pg 327]the new firman, and had made a complete submission to the Sultan. The representatives of the Powers which were parties to the Treaty of July, thereupon, affixed their signatures to the protocol, which they had initialed four months before, announcing that the objects of their alliance had been fully attained. Three days later the isolation of France was formally terminated. On July 13, the plenipotentiaries of Great Britain, Austria, Russia, Prussia and France signed the Convention of the Straits by which their respective Sovereigns pledged themselves to uphold the principle of the closure of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus to the warships of the Powers.

The conclusion of the Convention of the Straits was the last important act of the Melbourne government. After sustaining a defeat on the sugar question, on May 18, ministers, in the subsequent motion of want of confidence brought forward by Sir Robert Peel, found themselves in a minority of one. At the general elections which followed, the Conservatives obtained a decisive victory. The Whigs, in consequence, retired from office, and Lord Palmerston was replaced at the Foreign Office by Lord Aberdeen.

Palmerston’s conduct of the Turco-Egyptian affair has been the subject of much adverse criticism. M. Thureau-Dangin and other French writers have asserted that his eastern policy, in 1840, was based upon the desire deliberately to injure France. The Treaty of July, they contend, was simply a retaliation upon Louis Philippe, because he had declined to interfere more actively in the civil war in Spain. Nor does Palmerston escape censure at the hands of the chief English historian of this period. Sir Spencer Walpole,[710] re-echoing the views of Lord Holland and the French party, charges him with having sacrificed the greater to the lesser object. The good understanding with [Pg 328]France, which Palmerston compromised so recklessly, was a matter, he argues, of far more importance to England than any question connected with the rule of the Sultan or of the Pasha over Syria and Arabia. Furthermore, he accuses him of inconsistency. His alliance with the absolute Courts, in 1840, was a complete negation of the policy which, in 1834, had led him to conclude the Quadruple Treaty with Liberal France for the maintenance of constitutionalism in Spain and Portugal.

To these different charges there are certain obvious answers. It has been shown that Palmerston, far from maliciously desiring to exclude France from the treaty for the pacification of the Levant, honestly endeavoured to persuade her to combine with Great Britain, and the other Powers in the affair. It was only when he perceived that M. Thiers was secretly working to establish conditions in the Mediterranean, which could not fail to have a prejudicial effect upon his country’s highest interests, that he decided to act without her. He by no means undervalued the importance of good relations with France, but, in order to preserve them, he was not prepared to shut his eyes to proceedings which might some day imperil the safety of British India. The public statements of M. Thiers and of certain of his colleagues are alone sufficient to justify Lord Palmerston’s policy in 1840. Under the question as to whether Syria and Arabia should be restored to the direct rule of the Sultan, which Sir Spencer Walpole dismisses as a secondary consideration, lay the question as to whether a great naval Power should gain a footing upon the shores of the Persian Gulf.

The reasoning by which the same writer seeks to justify his accusation of inconsistency is still more unconvincing. The Treaty of July was concluded for a definite purpose which involved no repudiation [Pg 329]of the principles underlying the Quadruple Treaty of 1834. Yet Sir Spencer Walpole, apparently, regards it as a betrayal of Liberalism that England, in a question of eastern policy, should have separated herself from a constitutional Power and have allied herself with the absolute Courts of Russia, Austria and Prussia. Under any circumstances such a contention would be difficult to uphold, but when applied to France, in 1840, it becomes altogether inadmissible. Neither Louis Philippe nor his principal ministers were Liberals in the proper sense of the word. Treaty engagements notwithstanding, their attitude towards the cause of liberty in Spain, although not so openly proclaimed, was almost as unsympathetic as that of the Cabinets of the autocratic monarchies. Louis Philippe, Molé, Guizot and even Thiers, when they did not actively oppose it, did nothing to assist the development of popular government in Europe.

But whatever verdict may be passed upon Palmerston’s Egyptian policy, his rare skill and determination in carrying it out must command universal admiration. Although ruin, disgrace and perhaps impeachment must have been the penalty of failure, he never wavered in his resolution to execute his treaty in all its details. His indomitable spirit stimulated the courage of his allies abroad and triumphed over the opposition of his fellow-ministers at home. When he quitted the Foreign Office British prestige stood at a height which it had not reached since the Battle of Waterloo. His most persistent detractors had been forced to admit the correctness of his military judgment and his prescience in treating as of no account the warlike threats of Louis Philippe and of M. Thiers.

“Palmerston,” wrote Reeve regretfully, “has bowled out every one.”[711] Charles Greville was [Pg 330]moved to enthusiasm. “The elder Pitt,” he records, “could not have manifested more decision and resource. Success is much more attributable to Palmerston than to our naval and military commanders, and, probably, solely to him.”[712]

[Pg 331]



Lord Aberdeen, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs in Sir Robert Peel’s Cabinet, had held the same office in the government of the Duke of Wellington. He had had to deal, as will be remembered, with the question of the recognition of Louis Philippe and with the attitude which England was to observe towards the revolution in Belgium. His first experience of diplomacy had been gained in the days of the great war. In 1813, as quite a young man, he had been sent upon a special mission to Vienna, and had been concerned in the negotiations which had resulted in the entry of Austria into the coalition. During the campaign in Germany he had accompanied the headquarters of the allied armies and had been profoundly impressed by the scenes of which he had been a witness. Whether justified or not, the belief prevailed widely that, should complications arise, the spectacle of Leipsic after “the battle of the nations” would be ever present before the eyes of England’s Foreign Secretary.[713]

With regard to the more important questions which the Foreign Office had in hand, or with which it had recently been called upon to deal, Aberdeen was in substantial agreement with Palmerston. He approved of his policy in the Egyptian affair and endorsed his views as to the necessity of encouraging Spain to shake off the influence of France. But he was at the same time intensely desirous of replacing [Pg 332]Franco-British relations upon their former intimate footing, and of allaying the irritation which the Treaty of July had aroused. To attain this end he was prepared to make far greater concessions than any to which Palmerston would have consented. No one was so convinced as he of the truth of the saying, ascribed to the Duke of Wellington, that the peace of Europe would remain unbroken, so long as France and England were united. It was not in their policies, but in their personal characters, that lay the real difference between Aberdeen and Palmerston. Aberdeen was by nature conciliatory. Palmerston was instinctively combative, and would rarely deny himself the pleasure of relentlessly exposing the fallacies of an opponent’s arguments. Aberdeen, although in some respects more of a Liberal than his predecessor, had a scholar’s abhorrence, which had been intensified by his former relations with Metternich and other continental statesmen, of all movements of a revolutionary character. Palmerston was a man of coarser fibre, but of wider sympathies, than his grave and studious successor.

Notwithstanding the earnest desire of both Lord Aberdeen and of M. Guizot to bring matters to a successful conclusion, the first important transaction between the new British government and the French Foreign Office led to no satisfactory result. In 1831, and again in 1833, France and England had contracted certain engagements towards each other for the purpose of suppressing the slave trade. They had agreed that their cruisers should stop and overhaul any suspected vessel, whether flying the French or the British flag. Palmerston, however, had not been content with an arrangement, which limited the right of search to ships purporting to be of French or English nationality. He, accordingly, in combination with France, made representations on the subject to [Pg 333]the other Powers and succeeded in inducing them to agree to the principle which the French and English governments had adopted. The new convention, to which all the chief European Powers were to be parties, was ready for signature at the time when it became evident that a change of government in England was about to take place. Palmerston, who had always been keenly interested in suppressing the slave trade, was particularly anxious that his name should be affixed to an international agreement which, he hoped, would prove the means of abolishing a traffic which he abhorred. M. Guizot, however, saw fit purposely to delay matters in order to deprive him of this satisfaction. Nor did he make any secret of his reasons for acting in this manner. Palmerston’s attitude towards him, he complained to Henry Bulwer, had been unfriendly. In his dispatch of November 2, 1840,[714] he had shown a total lack of consideration for the difficulties of his position, and in a recent speech to his constituents at Tiverton he had made some highly offensive remarks about the manner in which the French military authorities in Algeria were carrying on their war with the Arab tribes.[715]

But, once Lord Aberdeen was installed in Downing Street, M. Guizot’s objections to proceeding with the slave trade convention disappeared. The necessary powers were sent to Sainte-Aulaire, the French ambassador, and, on December 20, 1841, the treaty, regulating the right of search, was signed in London. It was soon clear, however, that M. Guizot had been [Pg 334]mistaken in supposing that the Chamber would agree to ratify the agreement into which he had entered. The opposition to slavery had never been so pronounced in France as in England, and the Treaty of July had greatly stimulated the old feeling of jealousy of British maritime supremacy. By reason of England’s naval preponderance, the duty of stopping suspected vessels must necessarily devolve chiefly upon her officers. Both in the French Chambers and in the press it was hotly contended that the new treaty was but a device, by means of which England purposed to arrogate to herself the right of policing the sea. So keen was this feeling that M. Guizot was forced to inform the British government that France would be unable to ratify. Popular opposition, it was thought, would diminish with time, and the protocol was accordingly kept open, in the hope that France might still become a party to the treaty. But this expectation was not fulfilled, and on November 9, 1842, the definite withdrawal of France was officially communicated to Lord Aberdeen. The affair caused no little resentment and disappointment in England. Three years later, however, M. Guizot was enabled to re-open the question. By that time the relations of the two countries were upon a more friendly footing, and the Duc de Broglie and Dr. Lushington, the commissioners of their respective governments, succeeded, in consequence, in arriving at an agreement. The new treaty, signed on May 29, 1845, fulfilled all the essential conditions of previous conventions, but provided that, in future, the right of search in African waters should be exercised by a joint Franco-British squadron.[716]

Spanish affairs, however, were destined to be the question which was to occupy the chief attention of the two governments. It has been related how, in the [Pg 335]autumn of 1840, Christina had been forced to quit Spain, and how, in the spring of the following year, the Cortes had elected Espartero sole Regent of the kingdom. This solution of the difficulty was by no means acquiesced in as satisfactory by all parties. The elevation of the popular general to the head of the government was necessarily regarded as a victory for the Progressistas and, consequently, as a triumph for English diplomacy. Indeed, since the abdication of the Queen-Mother, the Moderados, as a parliamentary party, had almost ceased to exist. But their leaders still continued to correspond with Christina, whose house in the Rue de Courcelles in Paris soon became the centre of a vast conspiracy against the new Regent.

Whilst it was thus a matter of common notoriety that the Moderado chiefs, together with General Narvaez and other military rivals of Espartero, were plotting in Paris[717] to overthrow the new order of affairs in Spain, the question of the young Queen’s marriage suddenly sprang into prominence. Isabella was not yet twelve years of age, but already the selection of her husband was the subject of grave deliberations in Paris and in London. Christina had always considered it to be vitally important that her daughter should marry a member of one of the great reigning families. As far back as the year 1838, at a most critical period of the civil war, when it was evident that no assistance was to be expected from Louis Philippe, she had suggested to the British minister that Isabella might be affianced to an English prince. If the difficulties arising from the difference of religion should prove insurmountable, she would be satisfied with the betrothal of her daughter to a member of the House of Coburg, “on account of the excellent education which the princes of that [Pg 336]family had received, and on account of their near connection with Her Britannic Majesty.”[718] Villiers was without instructions upon the point, but he took upon himself to declare unhesitatingly that the English match could never be effected. Christina, thereupon, announced her intention of marrying her daughter to a son of the Archduke Charles of Austria. It was a combination which, “she was now convinced, afforded the best means of pacifying the country.” The negotiations at Vienna, she informed him, would be entrusted to M. de Cea Bermúdez and their success would largely depend upon the amount of support given them by the British government.[719]

Palmerston, upon receiving Villiers’ despatch, immediately conveyed to him “Her Majesty’s gracious approbation of the course which he had pursued.”[720] At the same time, he informed him that the British government could not possibly take part in M. de Cea’s negotiations at Vienna, “without in the first instance communicating thereupon with the government of France and, as the King of the French would be extremely averse to such a marriage, it was not probable that such a communication would contribute much to the accomplishment of the object.” Nor was there any likelihood, he predicted, that the Austrian Cabinet would entertain the offer. This view of the case was soon borne out by the event. Metternich at once disclaimed any intention of listening to Christina’s proposals, whilst M. Molé, who, notwithstanding the secrecy which had been observed, was aware of the reasons of M. de Cea’s presence at Vienna, declared to Lord Granville that “the armed intervention of France would, undoubtedly, be the [Pg 337]consequence of any attempt to place an Austrian prince upon the throne of Spain.”[721]

The triumph of the constitutionalists and the termination of the civil war necessarily invested Isabella with an importance which she had not possessed, whilst the issue of the struggle was uncertain. Once the stability of her throne seemed assured, she appeared to Louis Philippe in the light of a most eligible daughter-in-law. In the month of November, 1839, Christina’s former minister, Count Toreno, was understood to be engaged in negotiating a marriage between a son of the King of the French and the young Queen of Spain. The scheme, reported the British chargé d’affaires, had numerous supporters. But the Queen Regent had informed him privately that “she was hostile to the match and had other views for her daughter.”[722] It is probable that Christina was perfectly sincere in thus declaring her intentions to Mr. Southern. Nor is there any reason to suppose that, after her abdication, her objections to the French marriage diminished. But, inasmuch as she was residing in Paris and hoped to obtain the assistance of Louis Philippe to her schemes for overturning Espartero, she was necessarily compelled to conceal her real sentiments. The re-establishment of French ascendancy at the Court of Madrid occupied a foremost place in the policy both of the King and of M. Guizot. So long, however, as Espartero and the Progressistas were in power there was little prospect that they would be enabled to bring their plans to a successful conclusion. Under the circumstances, therefore, they were disposed to regard with a friendly eye the proceedings of the military and Moderado malcontents in Paris. Bulwer strongly suspected that [Pg 338]some kind of a compact existed, whereby Louis Philippe promised indirectly to assist the conspirators, and Christina, in return, undertook to employ her parental influence over Isabella in favour of her marriage with the Prince de Joinville or the Duc d’Aumale.[723]

The insurrection against Espartero broke out early in October, 1841. The standard of rebellion was raised by O’Donnell at Pampeluna and by the generals commanding the garrisons of Vittoria and Saragossa. But their plans, which had been so carefully matured in Paris, miscarried, and the loyal troops experienced little difficulty in dispersing their followers and in restoring tranquillity. Madrid, in the meanwhile, had been the scene of one of the most dramatic episodes in recent history. On the night of October 7, Generals Concha and Diego Leon, at the head of a band of military conspirators, penetrated into the palace with the object of carrying off the young Queen. But when they attempted to ascend the grand staircase they encountered a determined party of halberdiers. A furious struggle then ensued. The crash of musketry reverberated through the palace, and bullets struck the walls of the room in which the terrified Isabella had sought refuge with her attendants. But help was soon forthcoming. The resistance of the halberdiers had enabled the national militia, which was animated by strong Liberal and Progressista sentiments, to assemble. At the appearance of the citizen soldiers the conspirators either fled or laid down their arms. Some of their leaders escaped to France, but Leon was captured and, a few days later, paid the penalty of his treason, his youth, his good looks and his former distinguished services earning for him a sympathy which the circumstances of his case in no way justified.

[Pg 339]

“With respect to the share of the French government in organizing and promoting this enterprise,”wrote Lord Aberdeen, “I do not think it necessary to enter into an enquiry at present. We have received the most positive assurances that they have been entirely strangers to the undertaking. Whatever may be the value of these assurances, the attempt having happily failed, there appears to be no advantage in testifying suspicion and distrust.”[724] He, accordingly, directed Bulwer to do all in his power to persuade Olozaga, the Spanish minister, to adopt as moderate a tone as possible in his communications with M. Guizot. The Spanish government was naturally deeply incensed at the encouragement which the conspirators had received in Paris, and their representations on the subject included a demand for the expulsion of Christina from France. This was peremptorily refused and the relations of the two countries began to assume a very disquieting appearance. In Bulwer’s opinion, were Louis Philippe to receive any encouragement from Austria or Prussia, he might not improbably embark upon a war with Spain. “Should hostilities break out,” he warned Lord Aberdeen, “Barcelona would be the French objective, on account of the effect which its capture would have on those Courts which are fearful of the democratic opinions prevailing there.”[725]

Aberdeen’s instructions to Mr. Aston, the British minister at Madrid, were of the same nature as those transmitted to Bulwer in Paris. He was to warn the Spanish ministers of the folly of provoking a rupture with France. But, at the same time, he was to assure Espartero that “the policy of Great Britain would continue to be directed towards the maintenance of the real independence of Spain and to her protection [Pg 340]from whatever quarter she might be threatened.”[726] Meanwhile, the British government would make every effort to induce the Northern Courts formally to acknowledge the sovereignty of Isabella.[727] Whether designedly or not, however, the endeavours of Lord Aberdeen in this direction were frustrated by France. Owing in a great measure to his good offices, the Spanish government withdrew its demand for Christina’s expulsion.[728] Louis Philippe, thereupon, directed M. de Salvandy, who some weeks earlier had been appointed ambassador at Madrid, to proceed to his post. But this measure, which seemed to foreshadow the establishment of more harmonious relations between the two countries, led to a most unfortunate complication. Salvandy, upon his arrival at Madrid, insisted upon being allowed to place his credentials in the hands of Isabella herself and absolutely declined to present them to Espartero, the Regent. Both sides invoked precedents in support of their attitude and pressed their arguments with the greatest warmth. Finally, Salvandy withdrew from Madrid taking with him all the members of his embassy, with the exception of his second secretary, the Duc de Glücksberg, a son of Louis XVIII.’s favourite minister, the Duc Décazes.

It is unnecessary to discuss the various questions of diplomatic etiquette raised in this controversy. Whilst, upon the whole, inclining to the French point of view, Lord Aberdeen was of opinion that the dispute could have been amicably adjusted without great difficulty. The attitude of Mr. Aston, he considered, had not been altogether satisfactory, and he was disposed to impute blame to him for not having discovered some basis for a compromise. Not content [Pg 341]with censuring him, he allowed M. Guizot to be furnished with a copy of the letter in which his disapproval was expressed.[729] When Salvandy was appointed to the Court of Madrid Bulwer had described him as “a man of letters, but pompous and ridiculous in manner and unlikely to acquire an influence over the young Queen of Spain.”[730] But, if it was the secret desire of Louis Philippe to provoke a quarrel with Espartero, he was perhaps the most suitable person he could have selected for the purpose. The dispute involving, as it was supposed to have done, the monarchical principle had effectually dispelled all hope that the absolute Powers would agree to renew diplomatic relations with the Court of Madrid—a circumstance which Louis Philippe, in conversation with the British ambassador, affected “to deplore most deeply.”[731] So far as France was concerned, however, the Duc de Glücksberg was left at Madrid without official title, in order merely to carry on the ordinary business between the two countries.

But in all matters relating to Spanish affairs the question of Isabella’s marriage occupied the foremost place. Louis Philippe now protested that he had never for a moment entertained the idea of putting forward one of his sons as a candidate for her hand. But, after making this assertion, he invariably added that he should object to her marrying any prince who did not belong to either the Spanish or Neapolitan branch of the House of Bourbon.[732] Accordingly, in February, 1842, he sent M. Pageot, who had been for several years first secretary of the French embassy at [Pg 342]Madrid, to London, for the purpose of obtaining the accession of the British government to the principle that the husband of the Queen of Spain must be a descendant of Philip V. After leaving London Pageot was to proceed to Vienna, where he was to hold the same language to Prince Metternich.

Neither in London nor at Vienna, however, was M. Pageot able to bring his mission to a successful conclusion. Lord Aberdeen declared emphatically that England could not recognize the right of France to dispose of the hand of Isabella. The British government looked upon the matter “as an exclusively Spanish affair, which ought to be regulated solely by considerations affecting the happiness of the Queen and the welfare of her people.” At these words M. Pageot, at once, interposed with the remark that he presumed that he was now at liberty to inform his government that England would not object to her marriage with a French prince. But Aberdeen, with equal promptitude, added an important amendment to his first statement. The marriage of the Queen of Spain with a son of Louis Philippe would, he asserted, upset the balance of power, and England would always oppose any combination calculated to produce political consequences of that nature.[733] Metternich was no less emphatic in protesting against the pretensions of the King of the French to dictate on such a subject to an independent State. Nor was he less decided in declaring that the general interests of Europe would be endangered by Isabella’s marriage with a son of Louis Philippe. In his opinion the whole Spanish question might be amicably settled by the betrothal of the Queen to a son of Don Carlos, without any sacrifice of their respective rights, as in the case of Ferdinand and Isabella in the fifteenth [Pg 343]century. This was a view of the case, however, with which the British government was unable to concur. “Prince Metternich,” wrote Aberdeen,[734] “has been misled by a fancied historical analogy. The solution, he suggests, might have been productive of good whilst the civil war was in progress and whilst Don Carlos was in possession of the northern provinces. But, now that he and his adherents have been driven from Spain as fugitives, it would be regarded with the utmost repugnance by the majority of Spaniards. A marriage of the Queen with a son of Don Carlos, although it might reconcile the personal claims of each, would inevitably bring into fierce and hostile contact the passions and opinions of their adherents.”

Pageot’s mission, therefore, had done little to advance the question of Isabella’s marriage. Meanwhile, Count Toreno, Christina’s confidential adviser in Paris, had, on several occasions, sought out Lord Cowley, the British ambassador, for the express purpose of informing him that the Queen-Mother would prefer to see her daughter married to a Coburg rather than to a Bourbon prince.[735] At the same time Espartero was known to be engaged in attempting to negotiate her marriage with the third son of the King of Bavaria. Louis Philippe, for his part, was more than ever determined to restrict her choice of a husband to the Bourbon candidates, and, in Lord Cowley’s opinion, had serious thoughts “of supporting his pretensions by an armament.”[736] It was, however, by more indirect methods that he proposed to attain his ends. All through the spring and summer of 1842 the Spanish malcontents, both in Paris and upon the frontiers, displayed renewed activity. The Carlists and [Pg 344]the Christinos, having concluded an alliance based upon the marriage of Isabella with a son of the Pretender, openly prepared for united action against their common enemy, the Regent Espartero.[737] This compact was, doubtless, the reason of the seeming approval, given by Louis Philippe, to Metternich’s utterly impracticable plan for settling the Spanish difficulty.[738] Neither the representations of the Spanish government nor a strong protest from Lord Aberdeen[739] had any effect in inducing the French authorities to place any check upon the proceedings of the conspirators.

In November, 1842, a formidable insurrection broke out at Barcelona. The rising assumed from the outset a republican character, and, in their first conflicts with the troops, the insurgents were uniformly successful. The arrival of reinforcements, however, soon altered the aspect of affairs and enabled General Van Halen to re-establish the authority of the Regent. Once more Louis Philippe and Christina were loudly accused of having promoted the outbreak. The Queen-Mother, reported Lord Cowley, undoubtedly supplied the revolutionists with money, and General Atthalin, a close personal friend of the King and an officer of his household, had been in secret communication with the organizers of the movement. “The Spanish government,” wrote Mr. Aston, “considers that the insurrection at Barcelona has been promoted by France with the twofold object of preventing the conclusion of a commercial treaty with Great Britain and of causing the downfall of the Regent.[740] The complaints, which the Spanish chargé [Pg 345]d’affaires was instructed to make in Paris, bore especially upon the proceedings of M. Ferdinand de Lesseps,[741] the French consul at Barcelona, who was accused of having actively assisted the insurgents. M. Guizot, however, who, according to Lord Cowley, had taken no part in these intrigues, defended the conduct of Lesseps and directed the Duc de Glücksberg to obtain a retractation of the charges brought against him from the Cabinet of Madrid.[742] The situation thus assumed a very dangerous appearance, and Lord Aberdeen intervened once more in the interests of peace. Let the Spanish government, he urged, institute a calm and dispassionate inquiry into all the facts alleged against the French consul and let no reparation be demanded of the French government, unless there be evidence of his culpability sufficient to satisfy all impartial persons.[743] This advice was accepted, and, after a thorough examination of all the circumstances of the case, a disavowal of certain of the more serious charges was inserted in the Gazette at Madrid. Nevertheless, as Lord Aberdeen pointed out, “few people could read with impartial attention the various documents without coming to the conclusion that M. de Lesseps did very considerably exceed the limits of his consular duties,” and he, therefore, ventured to express the hope that the French government “would no longer retain him in the place where his undue activity had been displayed.[744]

[Pg 346]

Under ordinary circumstances, Louis Philippe would not have hesitated to dispense with the services of a consul, who had shown sympathy with a republican insurrection. But it being his secret policy to create every kind of embarrassment for Espartero he declined to recall M. de Lesseps.[745] The refusal of the French government aroused great indignation in Spain and materially contributed to increase the difficulties which were threatening to overwhelm the Regent.[746] The popular general, the idol of the nation, was now an object of execration with all parties. His stern repression of anarchy had gained for him the hatred of the extreme democrats, whilst his ignorance of the principles of representative government had involved him in innumerable disputes with the Cortes. The only remedy which he could apply to the situation was to prorogue the Chambers and assume the powers of a military dictator. But the army was no longer his willing instrument. The senior officers, with few exceptions, held Moderado opinions, and, for the past two years, General Narvaez and other agents of Christina had been busily engaged in undermining their loyalty. In the month of June, 1843, Brigadier Prim raised the cry of “Down with Espartero,” to which his troops responded eagerly. The revolution spread rapidly. Whilst regiment after regiment deserted the cause of the Regent, Narvaez appeared before Madrid at the head of a division. After a feeble resistance on the part of the national militia the capital opened its gates. In the south meanwhile, on July 29, Espartero, having been abandoned by his troops, embarked at Cadiz on a British ship, and sought refuge in England, where he was feasted by the City of London and acclaimed by the populace.

For some weeks prior to these events the threatening [Pg 347]aspect of affairs had been a frequent subject of discussion between Louis Philippe, M. Guizot, and Lord Cowley. Both the King and his minister had but one remedy to suggest for the many ills from which Spain was suffering. Espartero, they declared, would speedily find that all his difficulties would disappear, were he to devote his whole attention to effecting the marriage of Isabella with a Bourbon. If England desired to see the dangers now threatening the Regent averted, let her join with France in urging him to adopt this policy.[747] Aberdeen, however, declined to entertain this request. The matter, he maintained, was one in which no Foreign Power had a right to interfere, whilst, “as to whether the proposed marriage would be likely to answer the expectations of those who counselled it, Her Majesty’s government did not feel called upon to express an opinion.”[748] But as the situation in Spain daily increased in gravity, Lord Cowley became persuaded that a fresh complication was to be apprehended. Should Espartero be overthrown, he warned his chief, it was greatly to be feared that the victorious party would demand the marriage of Isabella with a son of Louis Philippe. If such an alliance were to be proposed, the French nation would be flattered and might not improbably insist upon the offer being accepted, “even at the risk of war.”[749]

The downfall of Espartero and the new danger to which Cowley had drawn his attention caused Lord Aberdeen’s resolution to waver. He now proposed that France and England should unite their efforts for the purpose of restoring order in Spain. Under the circumstances this was practically an intimation that [Pg 348]he was prepared to reconsider his often-repeated declaration that the marriage of Isabella was an exclusively Spanish affair. It was certainly interpreted in this sense by Louis Philippe and M. Guizot, who accepted the offer with the utmost alacrity. It was their policy to affect the greatest confidence that, in their hour of triumph, Christina and her friends would defer to the advice of France in all matters. But in their hearts they had doubtless grave misgivings upon the subject, and they were, consequently, only too delighted to obtain the support of England to their schemes. Marshal Sébastiani was at once despatched to London to confer upon the situation.[750] He was to assure Lord Aberdeen that Louis Philippe would never allow one of his sons to marry the Queen of Spain. Personally the King would prefer that she should marry a son of Don Carlos, but he would not oppose her union with any member of either the Spanish or Neapolitan branch of the House of Bourbon. Scarcely, however, had the marshal arrived in England than it was announced that Queen Victoria purposed to pay the king of the French a visit at the Château d’Eu, near le Tréport. Her Majesty was to be accompanied by her Foreign Secretary, who would thus be enabled personally to discuss matters with M. Guizot.

The Queen duly arrived at Eu, on September 2, and prolonged her stay until the 7th, as the guest of the King. In every respect the visit proved an immense success.[751] Her Majesty’s affectionate regard for Louis Philippe was destined, before long, to diminish greatly, but she appears always to have looked back with pleasure upon the days spent in company with his family at Eu.[752] Although social [Pg 349]amenities were the feature of the visit, Lord Aberdeen and M. Guizot were enabled to discuss grave matters of State. Both appear to have been equally satisfied with the result of their informal conferences,[753] and their agreement upon Spanish affairs was afterwards confirmed by Aberdeen in an official despatch. “All that can at present be done,” he wrote, “is that both governments should act cordially and unreservedly together, taking for the principle of their conduct the real good of Spain, without reference to the supposed separate interests of either. . . . Her Majesty’s government are still of opinion that to the Queen and the nation should be left the selection of the Royal Consort. But they will not be found unwilling to offer such friendly counsel to the Spanish government as may aid them in coming to a sound decision. With this view, although Her Majesty’s government cannot admit that the preferable claims of any prince or family are such as to control the free choice of the Spanish government, they would be fully disposed to concur in the proposition of the Cabinet of the Tuileries and to recommend that the selection of the Queen’s Consort should be made from the descendants of Philip V. . . .”[754]

Shortly after the conclusion of the Queen’s visit to Eu, M. de Jarnac,[755] the French chargé d’affaires in London, was the guest of Lord Aberdeen at Haddo. On one occasion his host placed in his hands a letter in which he referred to the “cordial understanding,”which he now believed had been established between France and England.[756] This designation struck M. Guizot as singularly happy, and both he and Louis [Pg 350]Philippe henceforward constantly employed it to describe the complete accord existing between the French and British governments.

An occasion quickly arose which enabled England to show that “the cordial understanding” was, so far as she was concerned, no diplomatic fiction. The Duc de Bordeaux, more commonly known by the title of Comte de Chambord which he shortly afterwards assumed, arrived in London, towards the end of November. The prince was the posthumous son of the Duc de Berri and the sole surviving male representative of the elder branch of the Bourbons. No sooner was he installed in the house, which had been taken for him in Belgrave Square, than hundreds of French legitimists flocked to London. They were for the most part members of the old noble families, but among the pilgrims was M. Berryer, the distinguished advocate and parliamentary orator. Even old Chateaubriand, who since the Revolution of July had taken no part in politics, journeyed to London to testify his devotion to the prince, whom he and his party acclaimed as Henri V. King of France and Navarre.[757] These proceedings aroused considerable excitement in France and caused Louis Philippe and his ministers some uneasiness. The French ambassador had already been instructed to urge that Queen Victoria should refuse to receive the young prince, on the ground that it was the evident intention of his adherents to give to his visit the character of a political demonstration against the House of Orleans. The Queen[758] had promptly signified her readiness to comply with this demand. It was not possible, however, to accede to a further request, made after the arrival of the Duc de Bordeaux in London, that the proceedings in Belgrave Square [Pg 351]should be forcibly put a stop to, seeing that they in no way infringed the law of England. An intimation was, nevertheless, conveyed to His Royal Highness that Her Majesty greatly disliked these demonstrations and would, in consequence, be pleased to hear that he had decided to curtail his stay in London. This message produced the required effect. The Duc de Bordeaux, a few days later, departed from Belgrave Square, and, during the remainder of the time which he spent in England, his conduct was irreproachable.[759]

The promptitude with which the Queen and her government had responded to his wishes was very gratifying to Louis Philippe. In their Speeches from the Throne, both Sovereigns, at the opening of their respective Parliaments, alluded to “the cordial understanding” which had been established between their governments. Nevertheless, before the close of the session of 1844, the two countries were once more upon the brink of war. In the year 1839, a company had been formed at Nantes for the purpose of founding a French colony in New Zealand. The undertaking was supported by the government, which proposed annexing both islands. But, before the arrival of the French expedition, Captain Hobson proclaimed the sovereignty of Her Britannic Majesty over New Zealand, and its acquisition was duly notified in the London Gazette of October 2, 1840. The French government bowed before the accomplished fact, but prepared to seek another outlet in the Pacific. The following year, accordingly, a squadron, under the command of Admiral Dupetit-Thouars, was dispatched to take possession of the Marquesas Islands, where it was proposed to establish a penal colony. Not content, however, with carrying out his instructions [Pg 352]the admiral, upon his own responsibility, proceeded to declare a French protectorate over Tahiti, the most important of the islands of the Society group. More than fifty years before, Tahiti had been visited by the first English missionaries. Owing to their unremitting efforts, the islanders had gradually been converted to the Protestant religion and had acquired civilized habits. On two occasions the Sovereign, Queen Pomare, had offered to place herself under the protection of the British flag, but both Canning and Palmerston had declined to accede to her proposal. In August, 1842, Admiral Dupetit-Thouars anchored off the island. He came to exact reparation for the alleged ill-treatment of two French priests. He demanded a large indemnity and threatened a bombardment, unless payment were made within twenty-four hours. It was altogether out of the power of Queen Pomare to comply with these conditions. Resistance was, however, out of the question. By the advice of the French consul, M. Meerenhout, she begged to be allowed to place herself under the protection of France. It was M. Meerenhout who was supposed to have counselled the French admiral to make his descent upon the island.[760]

The admiral’s report of his proceedings at Tahiti afforded little satisfaction either to the King or to M. Guizot.[761] But to have disavowed him would have exposed them to the charge of truckling to England—an accusation which would probably have proved fatal to the existence of the government. The establishment of a French protectorate over the islands was, accordingly, published in the Moniteur of March 20, 1843. The announcement was much resented in England. It was not possible, however, for England to object to France assuming a responsibility which she herself had twice declined to undertake. Lord Aberdeen’s [Pg 353]communications with M. Guizot on the subject were, consequently, confined to the expression of a hope that the British missionaries would not be interfered with, and that the sovereign rights of Queen Pomare would be respected. With both these requests the French government readily promised to comply.[762] But, in the meantime, affairs at Tahiti had not been progressing smoothly.

When the Queen was induced to invoke the protection of France, Mr. Pritchard, the British consul, was absent from the island on a visit to Australia. Pritchard had, for a long time past, been engaged in missionary work and in trading in the South Seas. According to his own statement, however, upon his appointment to the post of consul at Tahiti, he had severed his connection with the Methodist missionary society of which he had been a member.[763] Meerenhout, the French consul, on the other hand, was an ardent Roman Catholic, but, like his British colleague, he too combined the business of trading with his official duties.[764] Racial prejudice, sectarian zeal and trade rivalry account sufficiently for the bitter enmity which existed between the two men. The news of Admiral Dupetit-Thouars’ proceedings reached Pritchard at Sidney, and his own correspondence shows that he started upon his return journey with the intention of doing everything in his power to induce the British government “to interfere” and with the expectation of finding “many difficulties to encounter.”[765] His first act upon his arrival at Tahiti was to instigate Queen Pomare, over whom he appears to have had great [Pg 354]influence, to write to Her Britannic Majesty. In this curious document Queen Pomare, after inviting her “sister friend” to commiserate with her in the difficulties in which she was involved with the French, begged her “to send a large ship of war” to her assistance. The circumstances under which the demand for French protection had been extorted from her were narrated, much space being devoted to the part played in the transaction by M. Meerenhout, “a very bad and troublesome man.”[766]

It was evident to Lord Aberdeen that the attitude adopted by Mr. Pritchard might at any moment produce some disagreeable incident, the danger of a chance collision being enhanced by the ill-feeling which prevailed between the French and British naval officers. He decided, therefore, to appoint Major-General Miller, upon whose prudence and judgment he could depend, consul-general of the Pacific Islands, and to place under his orders all the British consuls in the South Seas. At the same time, he sent off instructions to Mr. Pritchard enjoining him to recommend a prudent line of conduct to Queen Pomare and carefully “to avoid any expression calculated to encourage her or her chiefs to expect assistance from England.” Her Majesty’s government, whilst strongly disapproving the action of the French authorities at Tahiti and deploring the humiliations inflicted upon the Queen, “was precluded from interfering authoritatively on her behalf.”[767] But, before this despatch could reach its destination, Admiral Dupetit-Thouars reappeared at Tahiti. On this occasion he had returned to complain of some incident connected with the hoisting of a flag. After a few days spent in investigating the matter, he pronounced the islanders [Pg 355]to be animated by a thoroughly bad spirit. On November 6, 1843, Queen Pomare was declared deposed, and Tahiti a French possession. Having issued this proclamation the admiral proceeded to land troops and to occupy the island. In his despatch to his government, explaining the reasons which had induced him to take this step, he imputed the chief blame for the unrest of the natives to Mr. Pritchard.[768]

The news of these events reached Europe in the month of February, 1844, and evoked a great outburst of indignation in England. Louis Philippe and M. Guizot were again placed in a most embarrassing situation. Should they refuse to uphold the action of the admiral, their conduct would be assailed on all sides as a cowardly betrayal of French interests at the bidding of England. On the other hand, the ratification of his act, if it should not entail war, must certainly put an end to “the cordial understanding,” the maintenance of which, for the present, was essential to the successful execution of their Spanish policy. Of these two alternatives, the second unquestionably presented the greatest disadvantages. At a Cabinet Council, on February 25, it was decided to adhere to the protectorate, but to disavow the last proceedings of Admiral Thouars and to reinstate Queen Pomare in the sovereignty of which she had been deprived.[769] A few weeks later, on April 10, Lord Aberdeen informed Mr. Pritchard that he would be transferred to the Navigator Islands. In deciding to remove him from Tahiti, the government in no way desired to express disapprobation of his past conduct, but, for the sake both of his own comfort and of the maintenance of good relations with France, it was felt to be advisable to replace him by some person who had not been [Pg 356]connected with the transactions of the past two years.[770] This measure of precaution was, however, of no avail. A month before the despatch of these instructions Mr. Pritchard had departed from Tahiti, but under very different circumstances from those contemplated by Lord Aberdeen. The disavowal of Admiral Thouars was made the subject of a fierce attack in the Chamber upon the Soult-Guizot Cabinet. In the course of the debates, certain deputies displayed great hostility to England and indulged in much intemperate language. This ebullition of temper was not treated very seriously in England. But it was a different matter when the Prince de Joinville, who was a strong supporter of Admiral Thouars, saw fit to publish a pamphlet, in which the question of a war with Great Britain was discussed in all its bearings. Only the year before His Royal Highness had been the guest of Queen Victoria at Windsor, and the appearance of his work, entitled Note sur l’état des forces navales de la France, created a most disagreeable impression at Court, upon the government and upon all classes of the people. Louis Philippe, who had never authorized the publication of his son’s imprudent pamphlet, was genuinely distressed and did all in his power to suppress it.[771]

Public attention, however, was speedily diverted from the Prince de Joinville to the Tsar. Suddenly, on May 31, 1844, the Court was informed that Nicholas would arrive on a visit to England within the next twenty-four hours. At Ascot races and at the various festivities which were hastily arranged in his honour, his appearance excited universal curiosity. On every occasion it was plainly his intention to impress, not only the Court and high society, but all [Pg 357]classes of the people with the sincerity of his desire to establish the most friendly relations between his empire and Great Britain.[772] To Peel, Aberdeen and Wellington, with whom he had some confidential conversations, he was at pains to contrast his respect and affection for England with the dislike and the contempt with which he regarded Louis Philippe, M. Guizot, and the French nation generally. Sir Robert Peel, however, appears to have told him plainly that he and his colleagues were most desirous that, at the death of Louis Philippe, his crown should pass to his next heir in the Orleans line without disturbance or opposition. But having given emphatic expression to his hatred of the July Monarchy, Nicholas put forward a distinct proposal. Turkey was sick, very sick, upon the point of death. It would be a critical moment when the Ottoman empire should break up completely. Nevertheless, he apprehended danger only from the ambitious and aggressive spirit of the French. Let, therefore, England, Austria and Russia agree to act in concert, without reference to France, and all would be well.[773] The British ministers would not appear altogether to have rejected this proposition. But it is difficult to believe the story[774] that distinct pledges on the subject were given, and that Nicholas, in consequence, was tempted to embark upon those measures which were to result in the Crimean war. It is unnecessary, however, to discuss here whether the conferences of 1844 were in any degree responsible for the war ten years later. The Tsar’s visit had no immediate effect upon the European situation in general, or upon Franco-British relations in particular. Nothing that he had said or done during his nine days’ stay in England had in any [Pg 358]way impaired “the cordial understanding.” He had probably a shrewd idea, however, that complications in more than one direction would, before long, greatly endanger its existence. An instinctive perception of coming trouble may have been the secret of his sudden determination to visit England.

On June 6, three days before the departure of the Tsar, Aberdeen was informed officially that French troops might not improbably be ordered to enter the territory of the Emperor of Morocco.[775] The famous Arab chieftain, Abd-el-Kader, with whom the French had been at war for a long time past, had recently sought refuge within the frontiers of the Moorish empire. On former occasions, when hard pressed, he had eluded capture in this manner. Representations had frequently been made at Fez, on the subject of the facilities which were alleged to have been afforded him for renewing the struggle. These complaints, however, had hitherto produced little or no effect, and Marshal Bugeaud, the governor of Algiers, consequently urged the adoption of stronger measures. Neither Louis Philippe nor his ministers desired to begin hostilities, but, on May 30, 1844, a French force, under General de Lamoricière, was attacked by a body of Moroccan cavalry upon the Algerian side of the frontier. The situation at once assumed a very grave character. The French consul at Tangier was instructed to proceed to Fez to demand the punishment of the Moorish commander, the expulsion of Abd-el-Kader, and the withdrawal of the troops assembled close to the French frontier. At the same time, a squadron under the Prince de Joinville was despatched to Moroccan waters[776] and preparations were made for reinforcing Marshal Bugeaud.

[Pg 359]

The news that hostilities were impending caused great dissatisfaction in England. Ministers were questioned upon the subject in both Houses and the press commented upon the affair with much acrimony. Under pretext of obtaining redress for some more or less imaginary grievance, Morocco, it was predicted, would be invaded and, without doubt, permanently occupied. The fate which had befallen the Dey of Algiers was assuredly reserved for the Emperor of Morocco. This general feeling of uneasiness and suspicion was increased by the selection of the Prince de Joinville, the author of the recent pamphlet, for the command of the squadron sent to cruise off Tangier.[777] The two governments, nevertheless, maintained their friendly communications. M. Guizot gave the most positive assurances that every effort would be made to settle the affair peacefully, and undertook that, should hostilities break out, Tangier[778] would not be bombarded nor would any portion of Morocco be appropriated. Aberdeen was not prepared to deny that the French government had grave cause for complaint. Although it had been considered necessary for the protection of British interests that a squadron should be sent to the Moroccan coast, the British fleet in those waters, he promised the French ambassador, would be numerically inferior to that of the Prince de Joinville.[779] Had he regarded it as in the smallest degree probable that his proposal would be accepted, he would, doubtless, have suggested that England should act as mediator in the quarrel. But, in spite of the fact that “the cordial understanding” had been loudly proclaimed, the idea of allowing England [Pg 360]to interfere would have been so unpopular in France that no government could have ventured to entertain it. Under these circumstances Aberdeen could only direct Mr. Drummond Hay, the British consul at Tangier, to proceed to Fez and to endeavour to prevail upon the Emperor to acquiesce in the French demands. Notwithstanding that the Moors had a second time attacked the column of General de Lamoricière, strong hopes were entertained, at the end of July, that actual war might still be averted.

On July 30, 1844, The Times announced the startling news that Mr. Pritchard, the British consul at Tahiti, had arrived in England, after having been arrested, cast into a dungeon and finally expelled from the island by the French military authorities. In answer to a question put to him, the following night, by Sir Charles Napier in the House of Commons, Sir Robert Peel declared that, if the reports which the government had received were true, “a gross outrage” had undoubtedly been perpetrated. But, when the next day M. de Jarnac spoke to Lord Aberdeen on the subject, he was authorized to inform M. Guizot that the Prime Minister could not admit that his words had been correctly reported in the morning papers.[780] The first accounts of Mr. Pritchard’s case would seem to have been somewhat inaccurate. When all the circumstances were brought to light, it was evident that the British government had just cause to complain of the treatment which he had experienced, but it was, at the same time, no less clear that his own conduct had been most injudicious. Immediately upon the proclamation of French sovereignty over Tahiti, Mr. Pritchard struck his flag and sent a protest to Admiral Thouars. From this moment he assumed so anomalous a position that it is not surprising that the French governor, Admiral Bruat, should have refused [Pg 361]to recognize it. According to Pritchard’s own statement, he “continued to perform his functions as consul, except in corresponding with the French authorities, and continued to act as the accredited agent of Great Britain to Queen Pomare.” Furthermore, he appears to have invited the deposed Queen to take up her abode in his house, where she stayed until, “considering it not safe to remain on shore,” she decided to go on board H.M.S. Dublin, which was lying in the harbour of Papeete.[781]

The natives meanwhile were growing restless and evincing a determination to resist the imposition of foreign rule. Their hostility, in the opinion of the French officers, was to be ascribed mainly to the pernicious example set them by Mr. Pritchard. No event of importance, however, occurred until March 2, 1844, on which date, during the absence of the governor from Papeete, a French sentry was alleged to have been assaulted by a native. M. d’Aubigny, the senior officer on the spot, thereupon proclaimed martial law throughout the island and decreed the arrest of Mr. Pritchard, who was forthwith imprisoned in an underground chamber beneath the guard room of a block house. After he had been in captivity for four days and had endured much discomfort, Admiral Bruat returned to Papeete. The governor, perceiving at once that his subordinate had acted with undue precipitation, ordered the release of Mr. Pritchard and his removal to a British vessel, The Cormorant, which, on March 13, quitted the island and carried him to Valparaiso.[782]

“Never since I have been in this country,” wrote M. de Jarnac, “have I seen anything to equal the excitement which the news from Tahiti has aroused. The religious party took up the case at once. Meetings of the ‘Saints’ have been convened, violent [Pg 362]speeches have been delivered all over the country, and pictures representing certain of the events connected with the affair have been exhibited. The papers are very violent. Lord Aberdeen appears to be growing more apprehensive daily. He is convinced that some form of satisfaction must be given. He wishes, however, to leave the initiative of proposing it to Your Excellency: but I happen to know that the plan of sending Mr. Pritchard straight back to Tahiti has been under discussion by the Cabinet.”[783] In France the excitement was scarcely less intense. The newspapers, with one accord, called loudly upon the government to stand by its officers, and to deny Great Britain any kind of reparation, even at the risk of war. The production of Charles IV. at the Opera House evoked a furious manifestation of hostility to England. Fortunately, however, the session was brought to a close on August 5, and, in the meantime, M. Guizot resolutely refused to make any statement about the affair in the Chambers.[784]

But although the prorogation afforded him some relief, M. Guizot was, nevertheless, in a position of extreme difficulty. His friends unceasingly warned him that he must resist the demands of England, or be prepared to succumb to the outburst of popular indignation which any concessions would provoke.[785] Under these circumstances he decided that complete inaction was, for the present, the safest course to adopt. “The greater the excitement,” he instructed Jarnac, “the more necessary it becomes to allow it time to cool down. For the moment we must abstain from all discussion of the subject.” Nevertheless, when interviewing [Pg 363]Aberdeen, he would do well to bring forward those arguments which he himself was employing in his conversations with Lord Cowley. Stress should be laid upon the fact that Pritchard had ceased to act as consul. As a private individual whose presence was regarded as prejudicial to good order, the colonial authorities had a universally acknowledged right to expel him. At the same time, however, it could not be denied that “some of the proceedings which had attended his removal had been irregular. . . .”[786]

Hitherto Lord Aberdeen had studiously refrained from formulating any precise demand. But, on August 13, after a meeting of the Cabinet, he directed Cowley to give M. Guizot clearly to understand that, unless satisfaction in some shape were voluntarily offered, he must transmit “a formal and detailed statement of the grounds upon which Her Majesty’s government founded its expectations of redress.”[787] In England anger at the continued silence of the French government was rising to a dangerous pitch. On August 14, at a meeting at Exeter Hall, at which Mr. Pritchard himself was present, men, who in most international disputes would have advocated peace at any price, gave utterance to the most warlike sentiments. Two days later came the news that the answer of the Emperor of Morocco to the French ultimatum having been considered unsatisfactory, Tangier had been bombarded. “War,” wrote M. de Jarnac, “is now generally regarded as inevitable.”[788] Lord Cowley was instructed to represent that “the attack upon Tangier, after the repeated assurance of M. Guizot that it would be respected under all circumstances, had greatly surprised the British government [Pg 364]. . . any occupation of the coast of Morocco could not fail to be viewed in a very serious light by Great Britain, and must lead to evils of great magnitude.[789]

M. Guizot, however, adhered resolutely to his plan “of allowing time for the excitement to cool down” in England, and he still forbore to offer any satisfaction for the treatment to which Mr. Pritchard had been subjected. Both he and the King appear to have strangely underestimated the intensity of the resentment to which the Tahiti affair had given rise. “The two governments,” he informed Jarnac, “were not yet agreed in their appreciation of the facts imputed to Mr. Pritchard,” and it was, consequently, impossible for the present to discuss the nature of the reparation which might be due to him. Again, a few days later, he directed him to inform Lord Aberdeen that his despatch of the 13th would have to be deliberated upon by the Council, “many of the members of which were absent from Paris.”[790] Meanwhile, the press of both countries was busily engaged in embittering the quarrel. Some highly offensive attacks upon the private life of Mr. Pritchard appeared in the French papers, whilst The Times published letters, purporting to have been written by naval officers who had witnessed the bombardment of Tangier, in which the most insulting doubts were cast upon the seamanship of the Prince de Joinville and upon the fighting qualities of the French sailors.[791] M. Guizot, however, continued to display a lofty indifference to the popular excitement on both sides of the Channel. He was content to enjoin M. de Jarnac to impress upon Lord Aberdeen that it “would be a disgrace, were the peace of the world to be [Pg 365]disturbed on account of Pritchard, Pomare and d’Aubigny.”[792]

But the young diplomatist in charge of the French embassy in London was, fortunately, alive to the dangers of the situation. Ever since the first arrival of the news from Tahiti, M. de Jarnac had sought to convince his government that the affair was highly serious. Nor was it only to M. Guizot that he addressed his warnings. Having been charged to deliver a letter from the King to Prince Albert, he took the opportunity, thus afforded him, of communicating his fears to Louis Philippe himself. He begged him to believe that at a recent Cabinet Council Lord Aberdeen had been the only minister to oppose a large increase of the navy. “Were it not for the confidence reposed in the wisdom of Your Majesty, the situation would resemble in many unfortunate particulars that of 1840.”[793] He daily adjured M. Guizot to reflect most seriously upon the danger of deferring any longer his reply to the British government. “People in England are discussing alliances and talk of nothing but war. M. de Nesselrode is staying at Brighton. He affects to be unconcerned with politics. But it is said that he remains here in order that he may be upon the spot, should a serious disagreement arise between France and England. If that be his object, fortune may have favoured his designs in a remarkable manner.”[794]

The British Parliament was to be prorogued on September 5, and, unless an announcement could be made in the Queen’s Speech that a settlement had been arrived at, war, it was generally felt, could scarcely be avoided. Even M. Guizot began to realize [Pg 366]that, if the peace was to be preserved, he must propose some form of reparation. On several occasions Jarnac had hinted that the British government might very possibly be satisfied, were a pecuniary indemnity to be offered to Mr. Pritchard.[795] Unquestionably, the payment of a sum of money would be regarded in France as less objectionable than most other forms of reparation. But, having proposed to the King and the Cabinet that the affair should be settled on those lines, and having obtained their assent, M. Guizot still deferred transmitting an offer of pecuniary compensation to London. In a despatch, dated August 29, a copy of which was to be given to Lord Aberdeen, he stoutly maintained the right of the authorities at Tahiti to expel Mr. Pritchard from the island. His imprisonment, however, and certain other acts of which M. d’Aubigny had been guilty, could not be defended, and that officer would, in consequence, receive in due course a notification of the censure which the government had passed upon his conduct. He could concede no more, he told Lord Cowley, and he fully intended to retire from office, if further redress were to be demanded.[796] Nevertheless, he appears privately to have informed M. de Jarnac that he was transmitting a second despatch, containing an offer of a money payment to Mr. Pritchard, which he was to communicate to Lord Aberdeen, should the British government regard the reprimand, administered to M. d’Aubigny, as an inadequate reparation. This, as he doubtless expected, was the view taken of his first despatch by the Cabinet in London. Jarnac, in consequence, lost no time in assuring Lord Aberdeen that an offer of a pecuniary indemnity would be made. [Pg 367]Had he not taken this responsibility upon himself, he was convinced that the customary announcement that “friendly relations existed with other countries” would have been omitted from the Queen’s Speech, and “the whole of Europe would have been thrown into a state of perturbation.” On the following day, September 4, he placed in the hands of Lord Aberdeen the official offer of the French government to indemnify Mr. Pritchard by the payment of a sum of money, the amount of which was to be determined by the admirals commanding the French and British fleets in the Pacific. Aberdeen pronounced the proposed satisfaction “rather slender,” but assured him that he might now consider the matter as settled.[797] Twenty-four hours later Parliament was prorogued, and the happy termination of the Pritchard affair was announced in the Speech from the Throne. “The danger,” wrote Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians, had been “imminent.”[798]

The settlement of the Tahiti dispute was quickly followed by the welcome news that France had concluded peace with the Emperor of Morocco. Marshal Bugeaud, on August 14, had won a decisive victory over the Moors on the river Isly, whilst at sea the Prince de Joinville, after silencing the forts of Tangier, had, on August 15, destroyed the defences of Mogador. Neither the King nor M. Guizot desired to prosecute the campaign any further. They had obtained all the advantages which they could hope to derive from active hostilities. They had proved that they were not to be deterred, by the irritation which their action had called forth in England, from inflicting a severe punishment upon the Moors. The national thirst for [Pg 368]military glory had been sufficiently appeased by the successes which had already been achieved. Under these circumstances, they were not disposed to be exacting in their conditions. Provided the Emperor would submit to the terms set forth in their original ultimatum, they would not insist upon an indemnity, but would recall their troops and forthwith suspend hostilities. The Court of Fez promptly acceded to these moderate demands, and, on September 10, 1844, a treaty of peace was signed at Tangier.

The cessation of hostilities between France and Morocco removed much of the resentment which recent events in the Mediterranean and in the Pacific had aroused in England. Notwithstanding that, at the end of August, 1844, the two countries had been upon the brink of war, Louis Philippe, early in October, was enabled to return the visit which Queen Victoria, the year before, had paid him at the Château d’Eu. During his stay in England the King was installed with much magnificence as a Knight of the Garter at Windsor, and, on every occasion on which he was seen in public, was accorded a hearty welcome by the people. Isabella’s marriage still occupied the foremost place in his thoughts. That question, however, had made but little progress, in spite of the overthrow of Espartero and of the triumph of Christina and the Moderados.

After the flight of the Regent Spain had passed under the rule of Ramon Maria Narvaez, the Captain-General of Castile, an able and unscrupulous adventurer. The Liberals, who had joined with the Moderados in encompassing the downfall of Espartero, were quickly forced to realize the magnitude of their folly. Parliamentary government was practically abolished, and any attempts to resist the authority of the dictator were mercilessly repressed. Over two hundred executions for political offences, during the space of one [Pg 369]year, broke the spirit of the democratic party, and gave the country an outward appearance of tranquillity. The difficulty of selecting a Regent in the place of Espartero had, in the meantime, been overcome by the unconstitutional declaration of the Cortes, on November 8, 1843, that the Queen was of full age, although she had only entered upon her fourteenth year. The question having thus been settled, Christina, in the spring of 1844, left Paris and returned to Madrid, accompanied by her husband, Nuñoz, henceforward to be known as the Duke of Rianzarez.

In 1844 the eldest son of Don Carlos, the two sons of Don Francisco de Paula, and Count Trapani, the brother of the King of Naples, and of Christina herself, were, for all practical purposes, the only unmarried male descendants of Philip V. If, therefore, the principle proclaimed by Louis Philippe were to be adhered to, Isabella’s choice of a husband must be restricted to these four princes. To each one, however, there were serious objections. Although a suitable candidate in other respects, the son of Don Carlos was ineligible on political grounds.[799] The idea of her daughter’s marriage with either of the sons of Don Francisco de Paula was most distasteful to Christina. Notwithstanding that their mother, the Infanta Carlotta, was her sister, she had for a long time past looked upon her as her worst enemy. Nor had the death of this princess, early in 1844,[800] greatly diminished the animosity with which she regarded this branch of the family. But in addition to the feud which had existed for so many years between Christina and their mother, both young men for different reasons were objectionable in themselves. The appearance of the elder, Don [Pg 370]Francisco de Asis, Duke of Cadiz, was ridiculous and effeminate, and he, moreover, was generally believed to be impotent. Christina, however, appears to have regarded the loudly professed Liberalism of Don Enrique, Duke of Seville, as a more serious objection to his marriage with her daughter than the physical unfitness of his elder brother. The fourth candidate, Count Trapani, was an unattractive, backward youth of sixteen, whose life had hitherto been spent within the walls of a Jesuit College at Rome. The difficulties, however, in the way of his marriage with Isabella were mainly political. Metternich greatly disliked the notion of a closer connection between the absolute Court of Naples and the constitutional monarchy of Spain.[801] Furthermore, the Spanish people despised the Neapolitans, and could not fail to resent the idea of selecting the Royal Consort from the Neapolitan branch of the Bourbons.[802]

Count Trapani, nevertheless, was chosen by Louis Philippe and M. Guizot as the most suitable husband for Isabella. In the summer of 1844, the French agents, both at Naples and at Madrid, were instructed to further his candidature by all means in their power.[803] Christina’s feelings on the subject cannot be precisely determined. There can be little doubt, however, that she never gave the project her hearty support. Probably she realized that it was impracticable by reason of the dislike with which it was certain to be regarded by Spaniards of all classes. It is significant that one of her first acts, after her return to Madrid, was to assure Mr. Bulwer that she had no intention of submitting to the dictation of Louis Philippe, and that she still hoped to arrange [Pg 371]the marriage of Isabella with Leopold, the son of Prince Ferdinand of Coburg.[804] Henry Bulwer had been appointed British minister at Madrid, soon after the downfall of the Regent. Aberdeen appears to have been anxious that a man, less wedded than Aston to Palmerstonian traditions, should carry out the new policy of cordially co-operating with France for the general welfare of Spain. The French government, once Espartero had been expelled, had hastened to resume normal diplomatic relations with the Court of Isabella. Accordingly, almost at the same time as Bulwer was sent to Madrid, the Comte Bresson, whose proceedings at Brussels in 1831 have been related, was transferred from Berlin to the Spanish capital as French ambassador. Far from acting harmoniously together, however, they appear to have cordially disliked each other. Bresson is described by Bulwer,[805] in his Life of Palmerston, as a person sprung from the middle classes, and “consequently vulgarly pre-occupied with his position as ambassador.” Bresson,[806] for his part, considered his English colleague as “pas élevé,” and as a man against whom he must constantly be on his guard, lest he should take some liberty with him.

At the close of the year of 1844, a further complication was added to the many difficulties which surrounded the question of the Queen’s marriage. “I believe,” wrote Lord Cowley,[807] “that Louis Philippe is thinking of the marriage of Montpensier[808] with the sister of Isabella.” The supposition was perfectly correct. It is impossible, however, to say with [Pg 372]certainty when the King first decided to put forward his son as a candidate for the hand of the Infanta Fernanda. According to Guizot,[809] the suggestion was not made until the autumn of 1844, and it was then propounded, he alleges, for the purpose of reconciling Christina and the Spanish people to the insignificance of the Neapolitan alliance. But it was always, he asserts, made perfectly clear that the Montpensier marriage could not take place until the Queen had married and borne a child. Be that as it may, it was not considered advisable to inform Lord Aberdeen of this project. During the next few months, however, the new matrimonial scheme was the subject of many rumours, and, in the month of July, 1845, a visit of the Duke of Rianzarez to Paris was so generally believed to be connected with this affair, that it was felt that some explanation must be given to the British government.[810] M. Guizot, accordingly, informed Mr. Bulwer, who happened to be in Paris on his way to London, that he wished Lord Aberdeen to know that “King Louis Philippe and Queen Christina were desirous to settle the marriage for private and personal reasons into which the Infanta’s fortune entered.” It would not take place for some time, he assured him, and in any case not until Isabella had had children.[811]

On September 8, 1845, Queen Victoria paid a second visit to Louis Philippe at the Château d’Eu. Her Majesty, Prince Albert, Aberdeen and Peel had been considerably disturbed by the news brought by Bulwer from Paris. But on the very day of the arrival of the Royal party at Eu, both the King and M. Guizot declared to Lord Aberdeen, “in the [Pg 373]most positive and explicit manner, that until the Queen was married and had children, they should consider the Infanta precisely as her sister, and that any marriage with a French prince would be entirely out of the question. . . . I distinctly understood,”wrote Aberdeen to Peel a few hours after he had received these assurances, “that it was not only a marriage and a child, but children that were necessary to secure the succession. I thought this was as much as we could desire at present, and that the question of a marriage with a French prince might safely be left to be considered, whenever the contingency contemplated should arrive. Many things may happen in the course of a few years.”[812]

On the very day that Queen Victoria arrived at Eu, the Duc and the Duchesse de Nemours and the Duke d’Aumale left Pampeluna, where they had been the guests of the Spanish Royal family. The real object of their visit would never appear to have transpired.[813] Bulwer, for reasons which in due course he explained to Aberdeen, was not present at Pampeluna, and delayed returning to Spain until the French princes had recrossed the frontier. The interview, he understood, had been arranged for the purpose of “pushing on the marriage with Count Trapani, a marriage most unpopular in the country.” He had, therefore, decided to stay away. By absenting himself, his government would not incur “the odium which must stigmatize all those by whom the Neapolitan match may be conceived to have been brought about.” On the other hand, should the visit of the French princes not achieve the desired result, [Pg 374]they would be unable to impute its failure “to the intrigues of the British minister.” Upon his return to Madrid, Bulwer experienced great difficulty in obtaining any information about the state of affairs. Bresson assured him that Isabella’s health “was declared to be such as to render her marriage for the present inopportune.”[814] Christina gave him to understand that matters were still undecided. “But her language was not that of entire confidence, and she seemed divided between the wish to say nothing and the desire to say enough to prevent any subsequent charge of want of frankness.” Upon the whole, he was inclined to think that some plan was contemplated, “which it was not yet judged expedient to avow.”[815] From divers sources he learnt that the Queen-Mother, Bresson and Carini, the Neapolitan ambassador, were suspected of an intention “privately to betroth Isabella to Trapani, and to force his acceptance upon the Cortes.” Narvaez had been induced to support their unconstitutional designs, “in the belief that he would be more necessary with an unpopular, than with a popular prince.”[816]

Meanwhile, M. Bresson at Madrid and M. Guizot in Paris were greatly dissatisfied with the aspect of affairs. The King of Naples had always been reluctant to allow his brother to be put forward as a suitor for the hand of the Queen of Spain. He distrusted Louis Philippe exceedingly, he was fearful of offending the Court of Vienna, he was on bad terms with his sister Christina, and, in point of fact, had not officially acknowledged the sovereignty of Isabella. Nevertheless, under the vigorous pressure brought to bear upon him from Paris, he agreed to renew diplomatic relations with the Court of Madrid, and to empower [Pg 375]his ambassador to discuss his brother’s marriage. But, having surmounted the difficulties at Naples, Louis Philippe and M. Guizot were confronted by more serious obstacles at Madrid. As time went on, the unpopularity of the Neapolitan match tended rather to increase than to diminish. So universal was the dislike to this connection that Guizot judged it prudent to warn Bresson to maintain friendly relations with Don Francisco de Paula,[817] seeing that it might be necessary before long to insist upon Isabella’s marriage with one of his sons. As the prospects of the Bourbon candidates grew less favourable the Coburg marriage, greatly to the annoyance of Louis Philippe, began to be discussed as a necessary alternative. The impending visit of Prince Leopold to his brother the King of Portugal gave rise to many rumours. There was an intrigue on foot, reported Bresson, to promote the chances of that prince, and Bulwer, he was convinced, was more or less concerned in it.[818]

Under these circumstances M. Guizot decided to direct M. de Jarnac to confer upon the situation with Lord Aberdeen. He was to intimate to him that, in fulfilment of the compact at Eu, he should now bestir himself actively on behalf of the Bourbon candidates, and make it perfectly clear to the Coburgs that no member of their family could be allowed to marry Isabella. This was more than Aberdeen was prepared to undertake. He, however, assured M. de Jarnac upon his honour that the Coburgs should receive no encouragement either from the Court or from the government, and promised him that they would be advised to abandon their supposed intention of visiting Madrid.[819] Aberdeen was at this time in receipt of Bulwer’s despatch of October 30, 1845, informing him [Pg 376]of his suspicion that Christina and Narvaez were purposing to accomplish the Trapani marriage, in violation of the article of the constitution which prescribed that the sovereign must communicate his intention of contracting a matrimonial alliance to the Cortes. He at once replied by charging him to express to the general the sincere hope of the British government that no such plan was under consideration. “Say to him,”he wrote in conclusion, “that you are instructed to offer no opposition to the marriage of the Queen to Trapani, provided it be openly accomplished according to legal forms, still less are you authorized to espouse the cause of any other candidate.”[820]

Mere friendly neutrality, however, could be of little service to Louis Philippe and M. Guizot. A further disappointment, moreover, was in store for them. At the end of January, 1846, General Narvaez, who, as a supporter of the Neapolitan alliance, had been growing very unpopular, resigned office after a violent quarrel with his fellow-ministers.[821] When the news reached Paris that the one man who might have effected the Trapani marriage was no longer at the head of affairs, it was decided to make another, and a more direct, attempt to force the British government to take action on behalf of the Bourbon candidate. Jarnac was, accordingly, supplied with a document, which he was to read to Lord Aberdeen. This extraordinary paper, known as the Memorandum of February 27, 1846, set forth the following conclusions: “The Count Trapani is greatly compromised: 1. By the demonstration which has been made against him; 2. By the fall of General Narvaez. The sons of Don Francisco de Paula are greatly compromised: 1. By their mistaken conduct; 2. By their intimacy with the Radical [Pg 377]party; 3. By the dislike of the Queen-Mother and of the young Queen herself to them. The sons of Don Carlos are for the time out of the question. The actual situation of the descendants of Philip V. is consequently bad. Efforts are being made to marry Prince Leopold of Coburg either to the Queen Isabella or to the Infanta Fernanda. Lisbon is the chief seat of these machinations. It is said that Prince Leopold, who is to leave Lisbon on February 24, intends to visit Madrid. Many circumstances appear to confirm the truth of this rumour. If the present state of affairs be prolonged we may find ourselves compelled, in order that our policy in Spain may not receive a check which we are determined not to suffer, to declare ourselves liberated from all engagements with regard to either marriage. Such a situation would arise, were the marriage of the Queen or the Infanta with Prince Leopold of Coburg or with any other prince, not a descendant of Philip V., to appear probable or imminent. In that case we should take immediate steps to ward off the blow by demanding the hand of either the Queen or the Infanta for the Duc de Montpensier. We are sincerely desirous of averting the necessity of resorting to so extreme a measure. We see only one way in which the crisis can be avoided. The English Cabinet must co-operate actively with us in promoting the claims of one of the descendants of Philip V., no matter which, and in arranging his marriage with Queen Isabella, and in preventing, in the meanwhile, the marriage of the Infanta either with Prince Leopold or with any other prince, not a descendant of Philip V.”[822]

Aberdeen appears to have listened in silence and to have made no protest against the unwarrantable assumptions contained in this document. No copy of it was given to him, nor would he seem to have asked [Pg 378]for one.[823] Meanwhile, strange events were taking place in Spain. The Miraflores Cabinet was quickly overthrown and, on March 17, 1846, Narvaez was once more at the head of the government. His return to power was quickly followed by the promulgation of decrees restricting the liberty of the press and suspending the sittings of the Cortes.[824] Bulwer was convinced that it was decided forthwith to betroth Isabella to Trapani, regardless of public opinion and of legal forms.[825] But, if Narvaez ever contemplated a coup d’état of this nature, he soon relinquished the idea. His tenure of office was of very brief duration. On April 5 he was dismissed and ordered to quit Madrid immediately. The mystery which surrounds these sudden changes of government has never been satisfactorily unravelled. It is certain that they were connected, more or less directly, with Isabella’s marriage. At first sight it would seem as though Christina had resolved to discard Narvaez, because she perceived that he was powerless to effect the Trapani marriage. Nevertheless, this apparently obvious explanation is probably erroneous. The Queen-Mother was never really desirous that her daughter should marry her uncle, Trapani. But she wished to ruin Narvaez, whose secret aim it was to diminish the influence of the Court and of the Church.[826] It is possible, therefore, that she may have insisted upon his supporting the Neapolitan alliance in order simply to discredit him. In this crafty fashion she may have hoped to rid herself of the man who, she had once declared, “was more arrogant than Espartero.”[827]

[Pg 379]

On April 8, 1846, the following message[828] was received in Paris from M. Bresson, who, doubtless, had some person in his employ in close attendance upon Isabella. “La reine est nubile depuis deux heures.[829] Whether or not this news was communicated to Lord Cowley by M. Guizot, it was certainly known at once at the British embassy. Christina could no longer invoke physical reasons for delaying her daughter’s marriage. But, meanwhile, the number of Bourbon candidates was rapidly diminishing. Trapani was too unpopular, and Don Enrique, Duke of Seville, the younger son of Don Francisco de Paula, had recently been concerned in an insurrection in Gallicia, and had been ordered to leave Spain. The only available husband for Isabella among the descendants of Philip V. was, therefore, Don Enrique’s elder brother, Don Francisco, Duke of Cadiz, whom both she and her mother disliked and despised. Christina, under these circumstances, resolved to revert to the matrimonial combination which she had constantly regarded as the best. The moment was not unfavourable for openly defying Louis Philippe. Narvaez, the minister who had always been looked upon as the chief tool of the French Court, was in disgrace, and Isturiz, his successor, was her devoted servant. She accordingly determined to propose to the Duke of Saxe-Coburg that Isabella should marry his son, Prince Leopold. After informing him of its contents, she gave the letter containing this offer to Mr. Bulwer, asking that it might be conveyed to Lisbon by his messenger. The British minister complied with her request and reported the affair to his chief.

Lord Aberdeen was seriously annoyed, and at once [Pg 380]informed M. de Sainte-Aulaire of what had passed, assuring him that he should administer a severe rebuke to Mr. Bulwer. Bulwer, he considered, had violated his instructions, both in undertaking to transmit the offer to Lisbon and in concealing Christina’s proceedings from M. Bresson. In consequence of the strictures passed upon his conduct, Bulwer offered to resign. Aberdeen, however, in a friendly letter insisted upon his remaining at his post.[830] A few days later, on June 29, 1846, Sir Robert Peel announced that he and his colleagues had retired from office, and that Lord John Russell had undertaken to form a government. On June 25, on the very day on which their Corn Bill had been carried through the House of Lords, ministers had been defeated in the Commons by a Radical and Protectionist coalition. In the new administration the seals of the Foreign Office passed into the keeping of Lord Palmerston.

[Pg 381]



At the close of the year 1845, when Peel had resigned office on account of the dissensions in his Cabinet on the question of the Corn Laws, Lord John Russell had in vain attempted to form a government. His failure had been due to the objections urged by Lord Grey to Palmerston’s return to the Foreign Office.[832] Peel had, in consequence, agreed to withdraw his resignation and to carry on the government. But it was soon clear that the Protectionists, if they could not prevent the passage of his Corn Bill, would certainly encompass his downfall at the first opportunity. Palmerston, under these circumstances, judged it advisable to take steps to remove the impression that his nomination as Foreign Secretary would create alarm in France and imperil “the cordial understanding.” He, accordingly, decided to visit Paris with the object of dispelling this [Pg 382]idea. His intimate knowledge of the French language and his considerable powers of conversation, combined with the personal charm of Lady Palmerston, soon achieved the desired result. In the previous month of December, the prospect that “ce terrible Lord Palmerston” would be once again at the Foreign Office had spread dismay in ministerial circles. But, in the following spring, when he returned to England, after a few weeks’ stay in Paris, the amiable qualities and the friendly dispositions of “ce cher Lord Palmerston” were the chief topic of conversation in the political salons.[833]

Louis Philippe and his Foreign Minister had been most disagreeably surprised by the disclosure of the proposal made by Christina to the Duke of Saxe-Coburg. Lord Aberdeen’s straightforward conduct in the affair could not undo the fact that the Queen-Mother had deliberately, and without the knowledge of the French ambassador, opened a negotiation for the marriage of Isabella to a prince, who was not a descendant of Philip V. In pursuance of this policy the Duke of Sotomayor, the Spanish ambassador in London, had been instructed to inquire officially in what light the British government would regard the selection of a prince, who was not a Bourbon, as the future husband of the Queen. To this question Lord Aberdeen had replied that, “should it be found that no descendant of Philip V. could safely be chosen, consistently with the happiness of the Queen or with a due regard to the tranquillity of the country, it could be no cause of displeasure to Great Britain were a prince from some other family to be selected.” He could not believe that in such a case “the enlightened Court of the Tuileries” would interfere. “But, if contrary to all reason and probability, an attempt [Pg 383]were made to control the wishes and feelings of the Queen and the clearly understood will of her people, Spain would not only receive the warmest sympathy of Great Britain but of all Europe.”[834]

M. Guizot appears to have been even more annoyed than Louis Philippe at Christina’s proposal to the Coburgs. He is said, indeed, to have attempted to persuade the King to counteract it, by demanding the hand of Isabella for his son Montpensier. But neither Louis Philippe nor the young Duke himself were prepared to resort to so extreme a measure. The King, for the present, was content to address acrimonious complaints to Christina,[835] and to instruct M. Bresson to make a strong representation to the Spanish ministers.[836] At the same time, both he and M. Guizot decided to take steps to effect a reconciliation between the Queen-Mother and General Narvaez, whose return to power they regarded as essential to the success of their plans. Meanwhile, Jarnac spoke of Palmerston, with whom he had had his first interview on July 14, as “fairly well intentioned and rather timid.” This description of his attitude, M. Guizot admitted, was most satisfactory. “Nevertheless, between him and me,” he pointed out to his royal master, “there can be nothing more than a marriage of reason.” He purposed, therefore, so to arrange matters that he might be enabled to communicate his views directly to Lord John Russell. “It will require nice handling to speak to one about foreign affairs without offending the other. But, on occasions, we may have to do so.”[837]

Bresson appears to have expressed himself strongly [Pg 384]in favour of abandoning the Trapani marriage. In his opinion the matter resolved itself simply into choosing one of the sons of Don Francisco. Jarnac was, accordingly, instructed to propose to Lord Palmerston that these two princes should be the objects of the joint support of France and England. “London,” wrote M. Guizot to Louis Philippe, “will certainly favour Don Enrique, on account of his intimate connection with the Progressistas. . . . Evidently Cadiz would be the best selection for the Queen, Spain, and ourselves. Nevertheless, I do not think it advisable to propose him directly.”[838] Although Christina’s overture to the Duke of Saxe-Coburg at Lisbon had been made early in June, no answer had yet been returned to it. The prudent Coburgs would seem to have regarded it as inexpedient to incur the lasting enmity of Louis Philippe, for the sake of seeing a member of their family raised to the position of King-Consort of Spain. Upon his arrival in England, at the end of June, the Duke was strongly advised in this sense both by King Leopold and by Prince Albert. He, accordingly, resolved to reject Christina’s offer, on the ground of the injury which must result to Spain from a marriage contracted in opposition to the wishes of France.[839] This decision, however, would not appear to have been communicated directly to Louis Philippe. Nevertheless, the private letters, during the months of July and August, both of Bresson and Guizot, show plainly that they were aware that the Coburgs had no intention of entertaining the Queen-Mother’s proposal.[840]

[Pg 385]

Palmerston, whilst in opposition, appears to have known nothing of the details of the Spanish marriage question. Until informed of it by Aberdeen, with whom he had a long conversation in the first days of July, he was completely ignorant of Christina’s proposal to the Coburgs.[841] From 1834 to 1841, however, he had constantly been engaged in combating the Moderados, and, upon his return to office in 1846, he at once reverted to his former policy of favouring the Progressistas. Under these circumstances, the candidature of Don Enrique, whose connection with the extreme wing of the Liberal party had been the cause of his exile and disgrace, would naturally enlist his approval and support. Nevertheless, in his first communication to Mr. Bulwer, he expressed no preference for any particular candidate. Spanish affairs, he wrote in his famous despatch of July 19, appeared to be divided into two questions—the marriage of the Queen and the condition of the country. In respect to the first, he had nothing to add to those instructions with which Bulwer had been supplied by his predecessor in office. There were three candidates in the field—Prince Leopold of Coburg and the two sons of Don Francisco de Paula—and “Her Majesty’s government could only hope that the choice might fall upon the one most likely to secure the happiness of the Queen and promote the welfare of the Spanish nation.” The greater part of the despatch, however, was concerned with the second question—the political condition of the country. On that point, although Lord Palmerston had no particular instructions to give, he had some very severe criticisms to offer. “After a struggle of now thirty-four years’ duration for constitutional freedom, Spain,” he declared, “finds herself under a system of government almost as arbitrary in practice, whatever it may be in theory, as any which [Pg 386]has existed in any former period of her history. She has indeed a Parliament, but all freedom for discussion has been overborne by force. . . . There is, indeed, by law liberty of the press, but that liberty has, by the arbitrary acts of the government, been reduced to the liberty of publishing what may be agreeable to the executive. . . . This system of violence seems, in some degree, to have survived the fall of its author[842] and not to have been as yet entirely abandoned by the more moderate men who have succeeded him in the government. . . . It was certainly not for the purpose of subjecting the Spanish nation to a grinding tyranny that Great Britain entered into the Quadruple Alliance and gave that active assistance, which contributed so materially to the expulsion of Don Carlos from Spain. . . .”[843]

This despatch was not to be communicated to the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, but was intended to enable Mr. Bulwer to express, “to those persons who might have the power of remedying the existing evils,” the opinions of his government upon the state of the country. But, having sent it to Madrid, Palmerston, on July 20, confidentially informed M. de Jarnac of its contents and allowed him to be supplied with a copy of it. It is plain that he must have had some reason for thus communicating to the French chargé d’affaires a despatch, replete with sentiments which could not but be otherwise than very distasteful to his government. Without doubt, he must have known that Bulwer’s instructions would be at once passed on from Paris to Madrid, and it can only, therefore, be supposed that he wished the Spanish ministers to learn in this manner exactly what he thought about them. Perhaps, also, he was not sorry that M. Guizot [Pg 387]should have an opportunity of realizing the very low estimation in which he held his political friends, the Moderados. To the marriage question he obviously attached little importance, and his remarks upon that subject were, doubtless, drawn up far less carefully than those which had reference to the actual condition of Spain.

Louis Philippe, at this time, was somewhat disturbed by a letter from M. Bresson to M. Guizot, dated July 12, in which the ambassador gave a lengthy account of his recent proceedings at Madrid. The Queen-Mother, he reported, urged various objections to the Duke of Cadiz. “Isabella,” she declared, “had an insurmountable aversion to him and she herself had grave doubts about his virility. This last statement,” wrote M. Bresson, “took us upon very delicate ground. She adverted to his voice, his hips, and his general bodily conformation, and I replied by insisting that his rigid morality was to be ascribed solely to his consuming passion for the Queen, her daughter. Furthermore, I pointed out, that his desire to marry was inconsistent with the idea that he was incapable of fulfilling the conditions of matrimony.” Christina’s opinion upon that point was probably little influenced by arguments such as these. But, when M. Bresson took upon himself to assure her that, “in any Bourbon combination” the marriage of the Duc de Montpensier with the Infanta could be announced simultaneously with that of the Queen, she received the information with “every appearance of sincere pleasure.” Rianzarez also expressed to him his satisfaction with this arrangement, which would remove the great political objection to the Queen’s marriage with Cadiz or, even, with Trapani. Bresson, however, was of opinion that her union with the former could be effected more easily and expeditiously than with the latter, and he, accordingly, suggested that his regiment [Pg 388]should be brought to Madrid, in order that, “by constantly seeing him, Isabella might grow accustomed to his voice and hips.”[844]

The Queens, Louis Philippe declared at once, must be given to understand clearly that Bresson had no right to promise that the two marriages would be concluded simultaneously. He was not to be moved from this decision by Guizot’s insinuation that possibly the ambassador had not gone quite so far as His Majesty imagined. On the contrary, he replied, he had very little doubt that he had committed himself even more deeply than he admitted. It was while he was in this mood that Jarnac’s copy of Palmerston’s despatch of July 19 reached Paris. A perusal of its contents caused the King a considerable amount of annoyance,[845] yet it would not appear to have weakened his determination to insist upon the disavowal of M. Bresson.[846] But the question, as to how far the despatch of July 19 was responsible for the final decision of Louis Philippe, will be discussed later on.

Although in his official instructions he had expressed no preference for any particular candidate, Palmerston soon informed Bulwer, privately, that Don Enrique was the British candidate.[847] The selection of that prince called forth no objections from M. de Jarnac. On the contrary, as late as August 16, he gave Palmerston definitely to understand that, provided he would adhere to that arrangement, France would join with him in pressing it upon the Court of Madrid.[848] Bulwer, however, was filled with dismay on learning that he was expected to support the suit of [Pg 389]Don Enrique. He had little fault to find with him personally. He considered him manly, enterprising and ambitious, and described him as resembling in many respects Prince Louis Napoleon.[849] There was one objection to him, however, and that was an insuperable one—nothing short of a successful revolution would induce Christina to accept him. “Let me caution your Lordship again and again,” he wrote on August 4, “against appearing to listen to the counsels of the Progressistas and Don Enrique, if you wish to retain the confidence of the palace.”[850]

No sooner was Palmerston installed at the Foreign Office, than Bulwer, reverting to his former scheme, began to plead earnestly in favour of the Coburg marriage. France, he maintained, in order to carry out successfully her plans of aggrandisement in Algeria, Morocco, Tunis and Egypt must exercise a paramount influence at Madrid. It followed, therefore, that all her ambitious designs would be checkmated by the Queen’s marriage outside the Bourbon line. “The policy of maintaining good relations with France,” he was not disposed to dispute it, “was a great and wise policy. But what would happen,” he asked, “were Louis Philippe to die? In that event would not the power of a great military nation fall into the hands of three or four enterprising young men, burning for glory in their several careers? The policy of good relations with France depended,”he much feared, “upon the life of a man of seventy-four and upon the well or the ill-directed aim of an assassin.”[851] The Coburg marriage, Christina assured him, could still be arranged. Let the management of the affair be entrusted to him and he would undertake [Pg 390]to bring it to a successful conclusion. France would oppose it vigorously, and it must, therefore, be prepared in secrecy. Indeed, he acknowledged that his plan must needs “wear the aspect of an intrigue, in order to avoid the effects of an intrigue.”[852]

Palmerston, however, was not to be diverted from his intention by these arguments. The Court, the government, and the Coburgs themselves were alike agreed that Louis Philippe’s hostility to it had rendered the Spanish proposal unacceptable. On August 22, therefore, he addressed a lengthy despatch to Bulwer, in which he laid it down as the deliberate opinion of the British government that Don Enrique was the most suitable candidate.[853] But, before this communication could reach Madrid, the affair to which it referred had been definitely settled. The French government had not failed to turn its knowledge of Palmerston’s dispatch of July 19 to account. M. Bresson, in pursuance of M. Guizot’s[854] instructions, had been busily engaged in representing it as a declaration of hostility against the Moderado government in Madrid. Nuñoz, the brother of the Duke of Rianzarez, informed Mr. Bulwer that all hope of arranging the Coburg marriage had been abandoned, that Palmerston “would listen to no other alliance but that of Don Enrique, who is looked upon by the Court as an open adversary and a disguised rebel,” and that a Progressista insurrection was being prepared in London.[855] Only a week after he had transmitted this news, the British minister, on August 29, reported that the Queen, the night before at 12 o’clock, had made up [Pg 391]her mind in favour of Don Francisco de Asis, Duke of Cadiz. Furthermore, he had to inform Lord Palmerston that the marriage of the Duc de Montpensier would take place at the same time. “I learn,” he wrote in conclusion, “that directly the Queen had signified her intention of marrying her cousin, Count Bresson formally asked the hand of the Infanta for the Duke of Montpensier, stating that he had powers to enter upon and conclude that affair.”[856]

M. Guizot, on September 1, communicated this news to Lord Normanby, the new British ambassador in Paris.[857] Palmerston, who was yachting with Her Majesty on the south coast of England, received the information of the conclusion of the double marriage in a letter from the Comte de Jarnac. Louis Philippe eluded the disagreeable task of apprising Queen Victoria that he had broken his compact, by allowing his own Queen, Marie Amélie, to convey the intelligence to her. The reply which she received was short and cold. “You will remember,” wrote Queen Victoria, “what passed between the King and myself at Eu. . . . You will, doubtless, have heard that, in order to be agreeable to your King, we declined to arrange the marriage of our cousin, Prince Leopold, with the Queen of Spain. . . . You will, therefore, easily understand that the sudden announcement of this double marriage could only cause us surprise and the keenest regret. . .”[858]

M. Guizot explained his conduct by referring to the Memorandum of February 27, 1846, of the existence of which Palmerston was now for the first time [Pg 392]informed. In that document France had reserved to herself the right of departing from the agreement at Eu, should at any time a Coburg marriage appear “imminent or probable.” Palmerston’s inclusion of Prince Leopold among the available candidates in his despatch of July 19, combined with Christina’s overture at Lisbon, in the previous month of May, had created a situation, M. Guizot insisted, which released France from all her engagements. But, although he firmly maintained this contention and instructed M. de Jarnac to hold the same language in London, his conduct was not that of a man confident in the justice of his cause. Besides attempting to induce Lord Aberdeen to declare that, under the circumstances, a departure from the compact at Eu was permissible, he drew up a bitter attack upon Lord Palmerston and sent it to Jarnac with instructions to forward it to Lord John Russell. But in both cases he met with disappointment. Aberdeen told him frankly that he could not adopt his view of the case, and that he had no fault to find with the language or the conduct of his successor in office.[859] John Russell showed his letter to Palmerston, and informed M. de Jarnac that his colleague had his hearty approval and support.[860] Louis Philippe, meanwhile, had compiled a lengthy statement of his case and had sent it to his daughter, the Queen of the Belgians, in order that it might be placed before Queen Victoria. But neither his laboured attempts to extenuate his own conduct nor his insinuations about Lord Palmerston produced the desired effect. After a careful consideration of his letter, replied the Queen on September 27, she had failed to discover any reasons which could justify him in breaking his promise. She had arrived at this conclusion, she begged him to believe, “by the [Pg 393]help of her own eyes,” not, as he had suggested, by the aid of those of Lord Palmerston.[861]

The protests of the Queen, however, were as ineffectual as the official remonstrances of Bulwer at Madrid and of Normanby in Paris. On October 10, 1846, the double marriage was duly solemnized at the palace, in the hall called “de Embajadores.” The British minister was not present at the ceremony, which was witnessed by a great crowd of persons. “One viva only was heard, and that not very loud, when the Infante Don Francisco descended from his carriage.”[862] Louis Philippe and M. Guizot had attained their object, but they had sacrificed “the cordial understanding.” In England, the authors of the Spanish marriages stood condemned by the Court, by the Cabinet, and by public opinion. There was no thought of an appeal to arms, but it was felt that in the future the relations of the two governments could no longer be carried on in the same spirit of close and friendly intimacy. Palmerston, founding his case upon the renunciation made at the Peace of Utrecht[863] by the Duc d’Orléans of that day, sought to induce the Powers to declare that any children, which might be born to the Duc de Montpensier and the Infanta, would be excluded from succeeding to the Spanish throne. Throughout Europe, however, there were ominous signs of a recrudescence of the revolutionary spirit, and Metternich, in consequence, had strong reasons for desiring to propitiate Louis Philippe and M. Guizot. He, therefore, refused to pronounce himself and simply adopted an attitude of neutrality, taking care to point out that the trouble could never have arisen, had the legitimist principle been upheld [Pg 394]and had Don Carlos been enthroned. Russia and Prussia, which like Austria had never acknowledged the sovereignty of Isabella, followed the example of the Court of Vienna and declined to be drawn into the controversy.

Palmerston’s conduct was, unquestionably, ill-advised in thus attempting to apply to Spain, in the middle of the nineteenth century, the stipulations of diplomatic instruments framed when the conditions of Europe were very different. But, if his objections to the Infanta’s marriage, founded upon the Treaty of Utrecht, were unsuccessful, he was afforded the satisfaction of completely refuting the pleas set up by M. Guizot in justification of his actions. The argument which forms the main contention of his despatches, both of October 31, 1846 and of January 8, 1847, is unanswerable. The Memorandum of February 27, 1846, to which the French government attached so much importance was, he pointed out, unofficial and verbal. No record of it was to be found at the Foreign Office. M. de Jarnac had never mentioned it to him, “until after the event had happened for which it was now quoted as a justification.” But, “even admitting for the sake of argument that Her Majesty’s present government were to be held bound by it, how could it justify a departure from the engagement of Eu? The imminent danger, specified in that memorandum, was the likelihood that either the Queen or the Infanta should be about immediately to marry a foreign Prince, not being a descendant of Philip V. But if that likelihood had ever existed, it had at all events ceased to exist, when M. Bresson demanded the hand of the Infanta for the Duc de Montpensier. Not only had it then ceased to exist, but with respect to the Queen, whose marriage was then the immediate and only subject of discussion, it had been succeeded by an impossibility; because when [Pg 395]Count Bresson demanded the hand of the Infanta the marriage of the Queen to the Infant Don Francisco had actually been resolved upon and settled.”[864]

Both in the French Chambers and in the British Parliament the Spanish marriages were the subject of debate, at the opening of the session of 1847. The publication of the English blue-book created a profound sensation in France.[865] After reading the correspondence, no one could any longer maintain that England had encouraged the candidature of Prince Leopold of Coburg, or that Louis Philippe had been justified in breaking the agreement of Eu. Nevertheless, in spite of the light which was thus thrown upon the proceedings which led up to the marriages, the true history of the case was only imperfectly revealed. Even to-day, the real motives which actuated some of the principal actors in the affair are still largely a matter of conjecture. Palmerston[866] himself believed, and his opinion has been adopted by the majority of English writers, that a secret understanding existed between Christina and Louis Philippe. The Queen-Mother’s overture to the Duke of Saxe-Coburg has been represented as a trap craftily laid for the British government. England, it was calculated, would never resist the temptation of actively supporting the candidature of Prince Leopold, and Louis Philippe would, in consequence, be furnished with a pretext for repudiating his promises.[867] But, plausible as this explanation of Christina’s conduct may sound, it cannot stand the test of a close examination.

Had the Queen-Mother never manifested any [Pg 396]anxiety to marry her daughter to a Coburg, until she requested Bulwer to transmit her proposal to Lisbon, her proceedings, it must be admitted, would be open to grave suspicion. But the facts of the case are very different. On at least three previous occasions, when she cannot possibly have been acting in collusion with Louis Philippe, she had declared her predilection for the Coburg match. In 1838, during the civil war, she mentioned the matter to Lord Clarendon.[868] In 1841, after her abdication, when she was living in Paris, she sent Count Toreno to Lord Cowley to inform him that she regarded a Coburg Prince as the most suitable husband for Isabella.[869] No sooner was she back at Madrid, in 1844, than she expressed herself in the same spirit to Mr. Bulwer.[870] To the very last she appears to have struggled against the dictation of the King of the French. Finding that the Coburgs were fearful of incurring the wrath of the Court of the Tuileries, she did all in her power to persuade Louis Philippe not to insist upon her daughter’s marriage with a Bourbon, “who had none of the qualities calculated to make her happy.” As late as the middle of July, 1846, she sent the Marquis of Miraflores to Paris to plead her cause with him. But the “Citizen King” was inflexible. “Royal marriages,” he reminded her, “were not like of those of private individuals.”[871] Nevertheless, she still refused to yield, and when she at last gave way and compelled the unfortunate Isabella to marry the Duke of Cadiz, it was the ill-judged intervention of Lord Palmerston which was the cause of her surrender, not the expostulations and threats of Louis Philippe.

In Spain, in 1846, the victory of one party over [Pg 397]another meant something more than that a particular set of politicians had been temporarily replaced in office by their opponents. Disgrace, exile and even loss of liberty were the fate which generally awaited the leaders of a defeated party. Christina herself, after the triumph of the Progressistas in 1836, had had to submit to the insolent dictation of a band of mutinous sergeants and had seen her Moderado ministers forced to fly from the country. Four years later the same party, in its hour of victory, had humiliated her as a woman and as a Queen and had driven her to resign the regency. She was not by nature vindictive, but she, doubtless, regarded a Progressista with feelings very similar to those which her father or her brother entertained for a Carbonaro. It may be imagined, therefore, with what dismay she read Palmerston’s despatch of July 19. In every line of it the intention of befriending her enemies was apparent. Palmerston, it was clear to her, was declaring that Don Enrique was the only suitable husband for Isabella, simply in order to promote the fortunes of the Progressistas.

Once convinced that the Moderado régime was endangered by the hostility of Lord Palmerston, Christina determined to comply with Louis Philippe’s demands and thus obtain his protection. The Duke of Cadiz was hastily summoned to Madrid and Isabella was compelled to accept him for a husband. It is not absolutely certain whether the Queen-Mother insisted upon the simultaneous announcement of Montpensier’s marriage with her second daughter, or whether the proposal came from M. Bresson. It is highly probable, however, that she made it an indispensable condition to her acceptation of Cadiz. The fact that the Infanta was betrothed to a son of Louis Philippe would conciliate the French party and would be looked upon by people, generally, as some compensation for the [Pg 398]extreme insignificance of the King Consort. Moreover, from her point of view there was another, and a far stronger reason, in favour of the simultaneous conclusion of the two marriages. Once the elder brother was the husband of the Queen, it would be very difficult to prevent the marriage of the younger, Don Enrique, with the Infanta.[872] That danger could be averted only by the announcement that she was betrothed to, and was shortly to marry, Montpensier.

Notwithstanding that he owed his crown to a popular revolution, Louis Philippe attached the highest importance to the natural alliances of the Bourbons. The maintenance of relations with Spain on the footing of consanguinity was, in consequence, the constant aim of his policy. In the pursuit of this object he found a ready instrument in his Foreign Minister. By upholding the principle that Isabella’s husband must be a descendant of Philip V., M. Guizot purposed to disprove the reproach of his opponents that this foreign policy was weak and subservient to England.[873] His motives are perfectly comprehensible. But the reasons which induced the King to break the compact of Eu, by consenting to allow his son’s marriage to take place at the same time as that of the Queen, have never been satisfactorily explained. Louis Philippe was very angry upon learning, on July 20, 1846, that M. Bresson, in order to overcome Christina’s repugnance to the Duke of Cadiz, had held out to her the inducement that Montpensier’s marriage with the Infanta might be concluded simultaneously. Turning a deaf ear to the timid remonstrances of M. Guizot, he insisted upon the necessity of acquainting the Queen-Mother that his ambassador had greatly exceeded his instructions. His private correspondence, discovered [Pg 399]at the Tuileries after the Revolution of ’48, makes his sentiments upon that point absolutely clear.[874] Nevertheless, in the course of the next three weeks all his scruples vanished, and he allowed M. Bresson to be furnished with the powers necessary for the conclusion of the double marriage.

According to the official French version of the affair, it was the despatch of July 19 which caused the King to change his mind. Seeing that Palmerston had placed Coburg at the head of the list of candidates, he, rightly or wrongly, conceived that the danger, specified in the Memorandum of February 27, 1846, had become “probable and imminent,” and that he was, in consequence, released from all his engagements to England. But his secret correspondence with M. Guizot completely disproves this assertion. In forwarding, on July 24, the despatch to the King, Guizot himself made no suggestion of that nature. On the contrary, he expressed the extremely judicious opinion that Palmerston was very indifferent about Coburg and was rather trying to regain his influence over the Progressistas. Louis Philippe took the same view of the case. He was greatly annoyed at the strictures passed upon his friends, the Moderados, predicted that Palmerston’s proceedings would lead to the bouleversement of Spain, but “all that,” he wrote, “makes it the more necessary that our disavowal of the simultaneous marriage plan should reach Christina at once. The more we suspect bad faith in others the more must we be careful to keep our own hands clean.”[875] The letters published in the Revue retrospective show that he adhered to these admirable sentiments for some ten days longer. There is no document, however, or trustworthy evidence to explain why, probably about August 13 or 14, he suddenly decided to adopt a totally different view of the matter. Under [Pg 400]these circumstances it is only possible to suggest the following explanation.

Louis Philippe in the question of the Spanish marriages had a twofold object in view. To his Bourbon policy was subjoined the bourgeois policy of the père de famille, who was desirous of obtaining for his son the large fortune which was supposed to be the portion of the Infanta. Palmerston, however, was determined to prevent the accomplishment of this plan. To the well-known instructions transmitted to Bulwer, on August 22, was appended a despatch, marked separate and confidential, in which he laid down the principle that Montpensier’s marriage with the Infanta “would be as objectionable, and in some respects more so, than his marriage with the Queen.”[876] It is true that the contents of this despatch were unknown to Louis Philippe and his agents, and moreover, that before it reached Bulwer’s hands the affair had been concluded. But Guizot was, undoubtedly, aware of Palmerston’s opinions on the subject. Indeed, in a letter to the King, on August 8, he expressed the fear that, although Coburg might be abandoned so far as Isabella was concerned, Palmerston would probably attempt to marry him to the Infanta. “After our first battle,”he wrote, “we shall have to fight another, and a very sharp one.”[877] Louis Philippe himself, a few days later, appears to have been disturbed by a letter which his Queen had received from Christina. The tone of it he considered unpleasant, “and it contained no mention of Montpensier’s marriage.” . . . “Our situation,” he informed Guizot, “has, in consequence, much changed for the worse.”[878]

It is evident, therefore, that on August 12, Louis Philippe was aware that danger threatened his project [Pg 401]of marrying his son to the Infanta from two quarters. Palmerston was resolved to oppose it, and the Queen-Mother, if not actually hostile to it, was showing some reluctance to support it. But in the course of the next day or two, news would probably be received from Madrid of the effect which the despatch of July 19 had had upon Christina and her ministers. Under these circumstances, a great effort was, doubtless, made to persuade the King to give Bresson a free hand. Guizot, Madame Adelaïde,[879] and other members of his family assuredly represented to him that the present opportunity must not be allowed to escape. Christina was thoroughly frightened, and would be prepared to accept both Cadiz and Montpensier, provided only that the two marriages could take place simultaneously. Should there be either hesitation or delay, however, Palmerston would have time to mature his plans, and the Infanta and her fortune would be lost to them.

If the theory, here put forward, be correct, that it was Palmerston’s hostility to Montpensier’s projected marriage which caused Louis Philippe to break his promise to England, the question arises, whether, under the circumstances, he was not justified in regarding himself as released from his engagements. M. Thureau-Dangin[880] contends that the King, having undertaken at Eu to postpone his son’s marriage with the Infanta until the Queen should have children, had a right to expect that, in the interval, England should do nothing to facilitate her marriage with any other prince. Aberdeen, unquestionably, did not regard the matter in that light. He simply looked upon Montpensier’s marriage with the Infanta as delayed for several years, until, by the birth of heirs to Isabella, it should have lost its political significance. Even then, when it should be less objectionable, he did not consider that [Pg 402]England was bound to consent to it, and, in the meantime, as he pointed out to Peel, “many things might happen.”[881] Palmerston most certainly would have repudiated the notion that the compact of Eu debarred him from recommending the alliance of the Infanta with Leopold of Coburg. “We can admit of no parity of position,” he told Jarnac, “between a son of the King of the French and the third son of a German nobleman as closely related to the French, as to the British, Royal Family.”[882] M. Guizot, in the Memorandum of February 27, undoubtedly declared that the Bourbon principle applied equally to the Queen and the Infanta, but he clearly had not much faith in his ability to make good that contention. He was perfectly aware of Palmerston’s sentiments with respect to Montpensier’s marriage, but he never attempted to argue that, because of them, the King was released from his promise. Throughout the controversy he confined himself to asserting, what he knew to be untrue, that Palmerston’s proceedings had rendered “probable and imminent” the alliance of a Coburg prince with Queen Isabella.

In most English accounts it is taken for granted that Louis Philippe selected the Duke of Cadiz as a husband for Isabella, in order to make certain that the succession to the Spanish throne should pass to the descendants of Montpensier. But the circumstances do not warrant this assumption. Count Trapani, whose physical fitness was never called into question, was always his favourite candidate. It was only in the last resort, when, owing to the unpopularity of the Neapolitan connection, he was forced to bring forward another Bourbon, that he fell back upon [Pg 403]Cadiz. The suspicions which existed about the virility of this young prince did not deter the King from seeking to impose him upon Isabella. He cannot, however, be fairly charged with having expressly chosen him, because he believed him to be impotent. Don Enrique and the sons of Don Carlos being for different political reasons out of the question, he had no option but to renounce his Bourbon principle, or to insist upon the Queen’s marriage with the Duke of Cadiz.

The experience of England during the eighteenth century had taught her to look with dread upon the prospect of having to struggle single-handed against the two Bourbon Powers. The lesson of 1783 was never forgotten by her statesmen. Under the Restoration, when the absolute rule of Ferdinand VII. was re-established by French bayonets, Mr. Canning, to avert the dangers of a close alliance between the Courts of Madrid and of the Tuileries, acknowledged the revolted Spanish colonies and “called in the new world to redress the balance of the old.” Palmerston was confronted by a different situation. Spain was weaker, but France had acquired Algiers and was upon terms of suspicious friendliness with Mehemet Ali. In alliance with the Pasha of Egypt in the east and with Spain in the west, she might, it was to be feared, obtain a complete control of the Mediterranean. It was, therefore, Palmerston conceived, a matter of the first importance that her influence over the Cabinet of Madrid should be destroyed. This object, in his opinion, could never be successfully attained until Spain should be endowed with Liberal institutions, and should adopt a national, not a dynastic, policy. It was with this end in view that he entered into the Quadruple Treaty, by which England engaged to assist the Christinos to expel Don Carlos from the Peninsula. Without doubt, the idea upon which his [Pg 404]policy was based was statesmanlike; nevertheless, the methods by which he hoped to accomplish his purpose were deplorably unsound. The treaty of 1834 involved interference in the domestic affairs of Spain, and that in combination with the very Power the ascendancy of which over the Spanish government it was his secret object to diminish.

Any military advantages which the Christinos may have derived from the Quadruple Treaty were more than counterbalanced by the harm, which the jealous interference of France and Great Britain in her internal affairs, inflicted upon Spain. Long after the Pretender had fled and outward peace had been restored, the political settlement of the country was retarded by the rivalry and intrigues of the ambassadors and ministers of the two Powers. The marriages of 1846, and all the evils which they brought in their train, were an outcome of the policy which Palmerston had inaugurated twelve years before. But he had not been in power during the whole of this period, and, when he returned to the Foreign Office, the marriage question was already far advanced. Aberdeen was not responsible for the Quadruple Treaty, and he was sincerely desirous of putting an end to the practice of meddling with internal politics, which both the French and British agents at Madrid had adopted. Nevertheless, his weakness and irresolution in dealing with M. Guizot were the cause of much mischief. Had he adhered to his first pronouncement that England would object to any alliance which threatened to disturb the balance of power, but that, with that exception, she looked upon the Royal marriages as an exclusively Spanish affair, none of the subsequent complications could have arisen. Unfortunately, however, after the downfall of Espartero, he undertook to observe a kind of benevolent neutrality towards the principle of the [Pg 405]French government—that Isabella’s husband must be a Bourbon. The compact of Eu and the different interpretations which were placed upon it, the pretensions set up in the Memorandum of February 27, 1846, were the consequences of the modifications introduced into his original declaration.

[Pg 406]



Whilst France and England had been quarrelling over the Spanish marriages, events of greater importance had been taking place in Central Europe. The Polish nationalists had planned an insurrection which was to break out simultaneously in Prussian and Austrian Poland. At Posen, the authorities obtained early intelligence of the projected rising, and were enabled to suppress it without difficulty. But in Gallicia, in February, 1846, the Austrian military commander was suddenly called upon to deal with a formidable rebellion. Colonel Benedek,[883] however, by allowing the Polish peasants to wreak their hatred upon their landlords, succeeded in dividing the forces opposed to him and in subduing one revolution by another. The free town of Cracow was the scene of severe fighting, and, after the defeat of the insurgents, was occupied by Russian troops. The measure was to be merely temporary, and the town, it was announced, would be evacuated, directly order should be restored. But, when it was evident that the Spanish marriage question had hopelessly divided France and England, the Northern Courts adopted a different attitude. On November 15, 1846, the Austrian, the Prussian and the Russian ministers in London informed Palmerston [Pg 407]that the independent existence of Cracow was incompatible with the public tranquillity of Europe, and that, in consequence, it had been decided that the Republic should, in the future, form part of the Austrian Empire.[884] A similar communication was, at the same time, made to the French government. The Republic of Cracow having been constituted by a treaty between Austria, Russia, and Prussia, on May 3, 1815, these three Powers maintained that they had a right to undo what they had done, without consultation with the other Powers which were parties to the general settlement of 1815.[885] Both France and England at once entered a formal protest. M. Guizot, having attained his object in Spain, was now bent upon re-establishing “the cordial understanding,” and would gladly have made a joint representation to the three Powers with great Britain.[886] But his hope that the annexation of Cracow would prove the means of reuniting France and England was not realized. Palmerston contented himself with directing Normanby to furnish the French government with a copy of the remonstrance which he addressed to the Court of Vienna.[887]

Metternich was not disturbed by these representations. It was out of the power of England to enforce her views, and Louis Philippe and M. Guizot were careful at once to reassure him about their veritable intentions. Public indignation had been aroused in France by the extinction of the little republic and, under the circumstances, it had been necessary to protest officially. But let the Chancellor understand, Louis Philippe informed the Austrian ambassador, that the remonstrance which M. de Flahaut had been [Pg 408]instructed to make at Vienna was “merely talk which could hurt no one.”[888] Metternich, however, although he was thus speedily relieved from all anxiety as to the attitude which the western Powers purposed to adopt towards his proceedings in Gallicia, had much cause for uneasiness in other directions. Germany was seething with discontent, and the King of Prussia, by deciding to summon the combined Estates, was evincing a regrettable disposition to acquiesce in the popular demand for a greater measure of political rights. In Italy affairs presented a yet more alarming appearance. For the past fourteen years the Peninsula had been outwardly at peace. But Metternich’s vigilance had not been lulled to sleep by this seeming acquiescence in existing conditions. A movement, he was well aware, was in progress infinitely more dangerous than the local insurrections planned in the secrecy of the Carbonari lodges. Mazzini, by means of his society of Young Italy, and Gioberti, d’Azeglio and Balbo, by their writings, were teaching the people to dream of independence and of national unity. Hitherto Metternich, in his policy of repression, had always been able to count upon the whole-hearted support of the different Italian governments. But now the Sovereign of the most important State in the Peninsula was strongly suspected of encouraging the propagation of these new doctrines.

Charles Albert, King of Sardinia, had, as the Prince of Carignano, displayed Liberal tendencies. In the Piedmontese rebellion of 1821 his conduct had been equivocal, but, since his accession, in 1831, he had shown a firm determination to uphold the absolutist traditions of his House. Nevertheless, he now permitted both d’Azeglio and Balbo to reside unmolested within his dominions and, in spite of Metternich’s remonstrances, his police scarcely interfered with the [Pg 409]free circulation of their subversive writings. In the summer of 1846, it was already apparent that the relations between the Courts of Turin and of Vienna were no longer upon their former friendly footing. Ostensibly a question of tariff was the only cause of dispute. In reality, however, it was Charles Albert’s increasing sympathy with the Italian national movement which was the reason of the prohibitive duty, placed by Metternich, upon the wines of Piedmont.[889] Matters were in this state when, on June 1, 1846, the Pope, Gregory XVI., died. Fifteen days later, Cardinal Mastai-Ferretti, Archbishop of Imola, was elected to succeed him, and assumed the title of Pius IX.

The condition of the Papal States was deplorable. The finances were in disorder, and the government depended for its existence upon the protection of Austria and upon the presence of its Swiss auxiliary troops. The new Pope, it was hoped, would consent to the introduction of certain necessary measures of reform. The expectation that Pius IX. would not pursue the reactionary policy of his predecessor proved well founded.[890] On July 16, 1846, a month after his election, His Holiness proclaimed a general amnesty for political offences. The educated classes had eagerly absorbed the doctrines of Balbo, d’Azeglio, and Gioberti, and the Liberal tendencies manifested by the new Pope aroused an immense enthusiasm. Nor was his popularity confined to his own dominions. The quiet and unpretending priest suddenly found himself magnified into a national hero. Patriots, who had begun to look to Charles Albert as the future liberator of Italy, now placed all their hopes in Pius IX. It was not possible for him to withstand the enthusiasm which his [Pg 410]concessions had called forth. In the spring of 1847, a modified liberty was granted to the press, and the formation of a Council of State, to be chosen by the Pope from elected provincial delegates, was decreed. Lastly, on July 5, the establishment of a civic guard was announced. The Grand Duke of Tuscany, fearful that invidious comparisons would be drawn between his methods of government and those of His Holiness, made haste to initiate similar reforms at Florence.[891]

In the opinion of Louis Philippe, the death of Gregory XVI. amounted to a public misfortune. A Liberal Pope could not but add materially to the political unrest which had suddenly affected the whole of Europe.[892] Nevertheless, neither he nor M. Guizot were as yet prepared to join with Austria in counselling the Papal government to resist the popular demand for reforms. France was at the time represented at Rome by a man of considerable ability and learning, Count Rossi, an Italian political exile and a naturalized Frenchman. In the first instance he was instructed to counsel the adoption of a strictly juste milieu policy.[893] The new Papal government should be based upon the principles of an enlightened conservatism. His Holiness would be well advised promptly to introduce certain much-needed reforms into his system of administration. Let him beware, however, of listening to those who would propose violent and ill-considered changes. Above all, let him avoid giving unnecessary offence to Austria.[894] But, after his quarrel with England over the Spanish marriages, M. Guizot decided to revise his Italian policy.

In every part of the world France and England [Pg 411]were opposed to each other. M. Guizot’s own relations with Lord Normanby were very far from friendly. The public denial of the French minister that he had used certain words, imputed to him by the British ambassador, had been followed by a personal quarrel, which had only been arranged by the intervention of Count Apponyi, the Austrian ambassador.[895] At Madrid, the consequences of the distasteful marriage forced upon the young Queen were already apparent. Isabella was practically separated from her husband, and her relations with General Serrano were a cause of scandal. French and British rivalry was actively maintained by Bresson and by Bulwer, who, with the full knowledge of Palmerston, was deeply involved in all the intrigues of the palace.[896] At Athens, where King Otho had been compelled to grant a constitution, Lyons and Piscatory, the British and French ministers, were closely identified with different political parties. In South America, a dispute between Lord Howden and Comte Walewski threatened to put an end to the mediation of France and England in the war, which for some time past had been in progress between Buenos Ayres and Monte Video.[897]

M. Guizot, under these circumstances, resolved to make approaches to Austria. The British government alone was disposed to sympathize sincerely with the Liberal movement which was causing so much anxiety to the absolute Courts. If only he could arrive at an agreement with Metternich as to the policy to be adopted towards German, Swiss and Italian affairs, England would be isolated completely. But the negotiation of such an understanding was a delicate matter. An alliance between the government of the [Pg 412]“Citizen King” and the Cabinet of Vienna, for the maintenance of despotism and of the settlement of 1815, was an unnatural combination which might prove fatal to its promotor. Public opinion in France was on the side of the peoples struggling for political freedom. M. Thiers, the leader of the Opposition, had loudly declared that this was only the principle upon which French policy could be based. M. Guizot, therefore, considered it advisable, in his intercourse with Metternich, not to make use of the ordinary channels of communication, but to employ a secret agent. In the spring of 1847, accordingly, he sent to Vienna, a certain Klindworth,[898] who on several former occasions appears to have been entrusted with confidential missions by the French Foreign Office. He was to assure Prince Metternich that the French government was determined to uphold the territorial status quo, and was prepared to co-operate with Austria in opposing the introduction of any fundamental changes in the system of government of the different Italian States.[899]

M. Guizot, furthermore, entered into a direct correspondence with Prince Metternich. But no precise agreement as to their respective policies was concluded.[900] Guizot appears to have been mainly concerned to assure the Austrian Chancellor of the high esteem which he entertained for his perspicacity and judgment. Nor did he, on occasions, disdain to employ language which can only be described as that of fulsome adulation.[901] Metternich could not be [Pg 413]otherwise than pleased and flattered by the advances thus made to him. He was not, however, disposed to set an undue value upon the protestations of M. Guizot. He had little doubt that, were Austria to invade the Papal States, France would at once dispatch an army to Italy, proclaiming that she had taken His Holiness under her protection. But, although no formal compact resulted from M. Guizot’s overtures at Vienna, his desire to propitiate Prince Metternich was reflected in his instructions to his agents at the different Italian Courts. By the spring of 1847, it was evident that the Italian Liberal movement was regarded with nearly as much disapproval by the government of Louis Philippe as by the Cabinet of Vienna.

Metternich was under no illusions as to the true meaning of the events which were taking place in Italy. Above the popular expressions of joy at the reforms, conceded by the Pope or by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, rose the threatening cry for the expulsion of the foreigner. Unless the Liberal movement could be crushed, the Emperor, he perceived clearly, would have to fight to retain his Italian possessions. “Nationality,” he bade Buol warn Charles Albert, “was the new device which the revolutionists had inscribed upon their banners.”[902] Resolutely he prepared for the struggle which he saw was impending. Troops were poured into Lombardy and the Austrian garrison at Ferrara was strengthened. Moreover, he was strongly suspected of fomenting a counter-revolutionary plot at Rome, with the object of forcibly displacing the Liberal advisers of His Holiness, and of surrounding him with members of the reactionary party. The discovery of this conspiracy, in which the governor of Rome was involved, caused an immense [Pg 414]excitement. No certain evidence could be procured of the participation of Austrian agents in the affair. It was significant, however, that the garrison of Ferrara received a substantial accession of strength on the very day fixed upon by the conspirators for the execution of their plans.[903] But, if Metternich’s connection with the Roman plot of July 1847 may be held to be not proven, his intention to provoke the Liberal and national party into some ill-considered act of violence, which should furnish him with a pretext for armed intervention, admits of no doubt. Hitherto, as specified by the treaty, the garrison at Ferrara[904] had been confined to the citadel. But now the Austrians proceeded to occupy the whole town, the troops adopting a most insulting attitude towards the population, and especially towards the civic guard. But this clumsy device for bringing on a collision failed in its object. In the words of the British minister at Florence, the newly enrolled citizen soldiers “observed the most extraordinary moderation under the most contumelious treatment.”[905] The Austrian proceedings at Ferrara called forth a strong protest from His Holiness, who, at the same time requested Charles Albert to send a frigate to Civita Vecchia for his personal protection. His Sardinian Majesty promptly complied with this demand, whereupon, the French ambassador tendered an offer of assistance on the part of his government. This proposal, however, was declined, no doubt being entertained at Rome, that France and Austria were [Pg 415]acting together in Italian affairs.[906] Thus Metternich, by his aggressive attitude, had only succeeded in creating a bond of union between the Papal government and the Court of Turin.[907]

At the end of July, 1847, Metternich resolved to inquire of the different Powers, which were parties to the treaties of 1815, whether they, as “the principal guardians of the political peace,”[908] intended to maintain the territorial divisions of the Italian peninsula as settled by the Congress of Vienna. The revolution, he told Lord Ponsonby, must now be considered as complete in the Roman States and in Tuscany. A revolution, he explained, was accomplished, once a government had been deprived of all power. But the real object of the party which had triumphed at Rome was to create a united Italy. The Emperor, however, while studiously respecting the independence of the sovereign States of the Peninsula, was determined to preserve his own Italian kingdom.[909] The British government, wrote Palmerston in reply, holds that the stipulations of treaties must everywhere be observed, and that no changes in an agreement can properly be effected, except with the concurrence of all the Powers which are parties to it. But Her Majesty’s government, at the same time, is no less strongly of opinion that the right to carry out internal reforms is a right inherent to independent sovereignty.[910] A month later, on September 11, when the threatening communications made by Count Buol to the Court of Turin, and the proceedings of the military commander at Ferrara suggested that Austria might be contemplating some [Pg 416]act of aggression against the Kingdom of Sardinia and the Papal dominions, Palmerston reverted to this subject. “The crowns of Great Britain and of Sardinia,” he warned Metternich, “had long been bound together by the ties of an intimate and faithful alliance, and Great Britain could neither forget nor repudiate claims founded upon such honourable grounds.” The Papal States were an essential element in the political independence of the Italian Peninsula, and no invasion of them could take place “without leading to consequences of great gravity and importance.”[911]

At the time when Palmerston was holding this language, the British government had decided upon a measure, which was afterwards the subject of much criticism. In the month of April, the Papal nuncio in Paris had expressed to Lord Normanby a fear that His Holiness would experience great difficulty in carrying out his projected reforms. It was plain that no assistance would be forthcoming from the French government, and it was, in consequence, very necessary that the cause of social improvement in Italy should receive “a more active moral support from England.” If there were constitutional objections to the establishment of direct diplomatic relations with the Holy See,[912] might not some one, he suggested, in the confidence of Her Majesty’s government, be sent to Rome for the purpose of communicating with the Pope and his ministers?[913] The Russell Cabinet was strongly in favour of acceding to this request, but the manner in which the British government should extend its “moral support” was somewhat difficult to determine. [Pg 417]Palmerston advocated that Lord Minto, the Lord Privy Seal, should be sent upon a special mission to Turin, Florence and Borne. The Queen, however, raised certain objections to this plan. In an able memorandum Prince Albert pointed out that to despatch a member of the government to Italy, to encourage the rulers of the different States to adopt measures, which Austria regarded as highly dangerous to her existence as an Italian power, was “a most hostile step towards our old and natural ally.” It would be more friendly, he contended, and certainly more honest, to let it be clearly understood at Vienna that an attack upon any Italian Sovereign, who was desirous of effecting administrative reforms, would be looked upon as a violation of treaties to which England was a party. But His Royal Highness was ready to admit that, by adopting such a policy, England would be morally bound to uphold the independence of the Italian States, whereas the projected mission of Lord Minto would not commit her actively to interfere on their behalf.[914] After some further discussion and correspondence Palmerston carried his point. On September 11, his already quoted despatch was sent off to Vienna, and, a week later, Lord Minto was supplied with his instructions and started upon his journey.

Moderate as was the language which Lord Minto was directed to hold at the different Italian Courts, his mission was necessarily regarded with extreme disapproval at Vienna. Yet Minto had no mandate to encourage the movement in favour of Italian unity, nor was he instructed to counsel the adoption of any measures which could be regarded as even an indirect attempt to deprive the Emperor of his Italian possessions. On the contrary, he was to insist upon the necessity of maintaining the peace. At Turin, he was [Pg 418]to warn Charles Albert of the danger of allowing his natural irritation at the interference of Austria in his affairs to betray him into some act, which might furnish the Court of Vienna with a pretext for attacking him. But Metternich, being determined to place an absolute check upon the development of Liberal ideas, was naturally greatly annoyed that a British minister should visit Florence, Rome and Turin for the purpose of congratulating the Sovereigns upon the reforms which they had already carried out, and of urging them to persevere in the same course in the future.[915]

Another task, however, had been confided to Lord Minto, besides that of counselling the Italian rulers to advance with prudence and circumspection along the path of reform. On his way to Turin he was instructed to visit Switzerland, where a very grave condition of affairs had arisen. By the Federal Pact of 1815 Switzerland consisted of twenty-two sovereign and independent Cantons, each of which possessed one vote in the Federal Diet. The repercussion of the revolution of 1830, in France, was acutely felt in Switzerland, and, about that time, the cantonal constitutions were revised in a democratic spirit. Some nine years later, however, the Conservatives, by raising the cry that religion was in danger, succeeded in many of the Cantons in regaining their lost power. The victorious party made no attempt, even in those Cantons where their ascendency was the most complete, to repeal the Liberal legislation of the past few years. On the contrary, in the very Catholic cantons of Lucerne and of the Valais, the popular veto and the referendum were introduced. It was plainly the opinion of the clergy that their influence over the people would enable them to obtain, by means of these democratic institutions, [Pg 419]the rejection of any measure of which they disapproved. In the Canton of Aargau, however, of which the population was half Protestant and half Catholic, the clerical party failed to establish its ascendency by peaceful means. An attempt was, accordingly, made to overturn the existing government by force. But the insurrection proved unsuccessful and the eight monasteries, the inmates of which were proved to have been actively concerned in the plot, were suppressed. The existence of these establishments had been guaranteed by an article of the Federal Pact, and the action of the Grand Council of Aargau, in decreeing their abolition, was, in consequence, brought before the Federal Diet. The matter was not settled until the year 1843, when the Canton of Aargau agreed to restore four suppressed female convents; a compromise which was accepted as satisfactory by the majority of the Diet. But scarcely had this controversy, which had evoked intense bitterness of feeling, been settled, then disturbances broke out in the Valais. The clerical party in that Canton contrived, after severe fighting, to overturn the Radical government. The success of this revolution, it was clear, was largely due to the secret assistance which the reactionaries had received from the Grand Council of Lucerne. Such conduct was the more inexcusable seeing that, at the time, Lucerne was the directing Canton and, therefore, the more bound to observe an attitude of impartiality. The Jesuits were generally regarded as the chief instigators of the affair, and throughout the greater part of Switzerland a feeling of extreme hostility arose against them. But the men in power at Lucerne were indifferent to the dislike with which the Order was regarded by the majority of their countrymen, and they, forthwith, proceeded to call in the Jesuits and to give them the complete control of all the educational establishments in their Canton. Meanwhile, with the [Pg 420]admitted connivance of the Radical governments of Berne, Aargau and Soleure, volunteers were being enrolled and, at the end of the year 1844, and again in April, 1845, armed bands, known as the corps francs, deliberately attacked Lucerne. But, having concluded an alliance with Uri, Zug, and Unterwalden, Lucerne successfully repelled these invaders. In this same year the expulsion of the Jesuits from the whole of Switzerland was moved in the Federal Diet.

As far back as the year 1832, the Cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden, had entered into a combination, known as the League of Sarnen, with the object of resisting the democratic tendencies of the age. The association was, subsequently, strengthened by the accession of Fribourg, Zug, Lucerne, and, in 1844, of the Valais. Early in the year 1846, the character of the league was transformed completely. From a peaceful association it was converted into a military alliance, for the purpose of upholding the right of every independent Canton to live under such laws as its legislature might enact. The Sonderbund, as this alliance of the seven Catholic Cantons was called, was at once denounced as an infraction of Article VI. of the Federal Pact, prescribing that “no alliance, prejudicial either to the general confederacy or to the rights of other Cantons, could be formed by separate Cantons among themselves.” A motion to that effect was, accordingly, brought forward in the Federal Diet, but no decision in its favour was obtained. Before the next year, however, in some cases by constitutional means, in others, as at Geneva, by force and violence, the composition of the governments in several Cantons was changed and Radical Grand Councils were installed in power. Under these circumstances, a majority was easily obtained in favour both of the expulsion of the Jesuits and of declaring the illegality of the Sonderbund. The allied Catholic [Pg 421]Cantons, however, refused to submit to this decision of the Federal Diet and proclaimed their intention of resisting, by arms if necessary, any attempt to interfere with their independence. Thus, at the time when Lord Minto departed for the continent, all the signs pointed to the probability that Switzerland would, before long, be the scene of a bloody civil war.

The rapid advance of democracy in Switzerland had necessarily excited the alarm of the absolute Courts. Moreover, between the years 1830 and 1840, not only the Cabinet of Vienna but the French government had had, on several occasions, good cause to complain that, unchecked by the authorities, political refugees were allowed to concert their measures for disturbing the peace of neighbouring States. After 1840, the internal disputes and the increasing lawlessness of the country began to attract the serious attention of all the Powers responsible for the settlement of 1815. Both Lord Aberdeen and M. Guizot were agreed that, could the question of the Jesuits be arranged, the chief element of danger in the situation would be removed. The French minister consented readily to exert his influence to induce the Pope to recall them. Let it be well understood at Rome, he wrote to Rossi, on June 6, 1845, that, should a Radical government be established at Geneva, there would be a majority in favour of the expulsion of the Order in the Federal Diet. Make it perfectly clear to His Holiness that “the fate of the disciples of Loyola is in the hands of the followers of Calvin.”[916] Prince Metternich was at this time instructing the Austrian ambassador at Rome to employ similar arguments. But Gregory XVI. showed no disposition to interfere, and all hope had soon to be abandoned of obtaining his co-operation in the affair.[917] [Pg 422]In the following year, the overthrow of the Conservative governments at Geneva and in the Canton of Vaud, and the prospect that, in the ensuing session, the Radicals would be in a majority in the Federal Diet, increased Metternich’s uneasiness. Hitherto, France had set her face resolutely against intervention in any shape or form. But, in the autumn of 1846, Louis Philippe, being anxious to assure himself of the neutrality of the Northern Courts in the question of the Spanish marriages, the Austrian Chancellor took the opportunity of proposing that the Powers should seriously take in hand the affairs of Switzerland. M. Guizot was rather disposed to accede to this suggestion, but the King, being still hopeful of re-establishing “the cordial understanding,” refused to sanction any participation in measures which might lead eventually to armed intervention.[918] In the spring of 1847, however, when it was clear that England had no intention of forgetting the affront which she had received in the matter of the Spanish marriages, and when, in consequence, M. Guizot was desirous of effecting a close understanding with Austria, French policy towards Switzerland was altered to suit the exigencies of the situation.

The sympathies of Metternich and of all the absolute Courts were necessarily on the side of the Sonderbund.[919] The continental Cabinets were agreed that it would be highly dangerous, in the unsettled state of Europe, to allow the league of the Catholic and Conservative Cantons to be dissolved by their Radical neighbours. Federal unity, Metternich maintained, was clearly the object for which the democrats were striving, and it was on that account that they [Pg 423]desired to undermine cantonal independence. But any revision of the Federal Pact would, he argued, release from their engagements the Powers which had guaranteed the neutrality and independence of Switzerland, and would justify them in intervening. Louis Philippe and M. Guizot, although fully disposed to endorse his views, dared not venture to employ French troops to fight the battle of the Jesuits. They, accordingly, insinuated that, if Austria were to take the first step, public opinion in France might be reconciled to the notion of a French intervention. This ingenuous proposal was promptly declined. Metternich had no idea of incurring the odium of invading Switzerland and of allowing France to declare that similar action on her part had been rendered necessary by the aggressiveness of Austria.[920] Thus in Swiss, as in Italian affairs, M. Guizot and Prince Metternich, notwithstanding the harmony of their sentiments, found it impossible to devise any practical plan for concerted action.

England, as a party to the settlement of 1815, had an unquestionable right to be consulted in any arrangement tending to alter the political position of Switzerland in the European system. But, owing to her geographical situation, she was less directly concerned than France, Austria or Prussia in the internal condition of the Confederation. The British government was, consequently, in a position to regard the question from a more detached and impartial standpoint. Moreover, the letters of Mr. Grote,[921] the historian of Greece, to the Spectator, supplied the English public with far better information about Swiss politics than was to be obtained in the official press of continental States. [Pg 424]Palmerston had no intention of discussing the questions as to whether the alliance of the Catholic Cantons should be looked upon as an infraction of the Federal Pact, and as to whether the action of the Radical majority in the Diet, in decreeing the expulsion of the Jesuits, constituted a violation of cantonal sovereignty and independence. It is clear that, from an early date, he adopted the view, propounded by Mr. Grote, that, whereas the so-called Radical Cantons represented the wealth, the intelligence, the industry, the population and the progressive elements of Switzerland, the Cantons of the Sonderbund were, in every respect, the stationary and backward portions of the Republic. From these premises it followed logically that, although it might be possible for the allied Catholic Cantons to break up the Confederation, it was not in their power to guide it or to hold it together.[922] He, therefore, proposed both to Prince Metternich and M. Guizot, that they should endeavour to persuade the Catholic leaders to dissolve their alliance.[923] This solution of the difficulty, as may be supposed, was not adopted by either of the statesmen to whom it was made. On the contrary, Metternich at this time was arranging to furnish the Sonderbund with arms, and was seriously considering whether he should place the services of an Austrian general at its disposal, while M. Guizot was giving secret instructions for the despatch of warlike stores to Lucerne from the arsenal at Besançon.[924]

Lord Minto, in his conversations with M. Ochsenbein, the President of the Federal Diet, was charged to counsel forbearance and moderation. “Her Majesty’s [Pg 425]government,” wrote Palmerston, “as the sincere and disinterested friend of Switzerland, could not but exhort all parties to abate pretensions, however just they may be thought, and to yield somewhat of rights, however valid they may be considered, rather than begin an appeal to arms, the consequences of which it would be easier to lament than to foresee.” He was not prepared to deny that the Federal Pact might stand in need of revision. It was alleged, however, that the Diet proposed “to sweep away the separate sovereignty of the several Cantons in order to blend the whole of Switzerland into one single Republic.” He must, therefore, remind the Swiss government that “the fundamental principle upon which the arrangements of the Treaty of Vienna, in regard to Switzerland, repose, is the separate sovereignty of the several Cantons.” Any attempt to alter the basis of the political organization of the Republic would inevitably entail civil war and foreign intervention.[925]

Yet, notwithstanding the pacific spirit in which Lord Minto’s instructions were drawn up, Palmerston has been freely accused of inciting the Radical Cantons to begin hostilities. Animosity to Louis Philippe and his principal minister, assert his detractors, was at this period the mainspring of his policy. Thus, when the French government evinced a disposition to favour the cause of the Sonderbund, Palmerston, having satisfied himself of the military superiority of the Radical Cantons, secretly urged them to attack their weaker neighbours, in the hope that the forcible dissolution of the Catholic alliance would entail the downfall of M. Guizot. This charge has been reiterated in the recently published letters of Sir Robert Morier. Mr. David Morier, Sir Robert’s father, had been for many years British minister in Switzerland. In the summer [Pg 426]of 1847, however, being in England on leave, he was not allowed to return to his post, because, says his son, he was instinctively a peacemaker and, therefore, no longer a suitable instrument to execute the policy upon which Lord Palmerston had decided to embark.[926] But a perusal of Mr. Morier’s despatches suggests another, and an infinitely more probable, explanation of his recall. When affairs in Switzerland were beginning to assume a dangerous aspect, he is to be found expressing views with which Lord Palmerston would have heartily agreed. Writing to Lord Aberdeen, in June, 1844, on the subject of the Jesuits, Mr. Morier points out that this intrusion of a powerful foreign agency into all the concerns of the Confederation raises the question whether, “self-preservation being the first law of States, the claim of cantonal sovereignty should not be made to yield to the exigencies of the general welfare.” Again, some months later, speaking of the introduction of the Jesuits into Lucerne, he warns his chief that Lucerne “must be inscribed upon the list of Cantons with Fribourg, Schwyz and the Valais, subjected, henceforward, through their Jesuit institutions, to the influence of a foreign and anti-national power of the most dangerous tendency to the peace of the Confederation.”[927] But, during the winter of 1846, an unprovoked assault was committed upon one of his sons, Burnet Morier, by an excited Radical of Berne. The young man with commendable promptitude felled his assailant to the ground,[928] and, under these circumstances, Palmerston probably considered that the affair need not be made the subject of an official demand for reparation. Mr. Morier, however, thought [Pg 427]otherwise, and his indignation appears to have transformed him into a strong supporter of the Sonderbund. The contrast between the sentiments, contained in his memorandum on Swiss affairs, submitted to the Foreign Office in February, 1847,[929] and those expressed in his earlier despatches, must have given Lord Palmerston food for serious reflection. Without doubt, he must have come to the conclusion that a man burning with resentment against the Radical leaders was hardly as qualified, as his son seems to have supposed, to exercise a moderating influence upon the passions of contending parties.

Lord Minto, having arrived in Switzerland, lost no time in placing himself in communication with M. Ochsenbein. The election of this person, who two years before had commanded the corps francs in their raid upon Lucerne, to the post of President of the Federal Diet, had greatly exasperated the Catholics. Lord Minto, however, reported that he found him most reasonable, and, to all appearances, sincerely desirous of discovering some means of averting an outbreak of hostilities. The Jesuits, he assured the English minister, constituted the chief obstacle to a peaceful settlement, and, could they be removed, all danger of war would disappear. Palmerston, on receiving this information, at once instructed Minto, who by that time had passed on to Italy, to use every endeavour, while at Rome, to persuade His Holiness to intervene.[930] But, meanwhile, in Switzerland the chances of maintaining the peace were hourly diminishing. Both sides were now openly preparing for war, and, on October 29, the deputies of the Catholic Cantons formally quitted the Federal Diet. On that [Pg 428]same day Lord Palmerston made a last effort to avert a rupture. He enjoined the British chargé d’affaires at Berne to seek out M. Ochsenbein and to endeavour to prevail upon him to postpone the execution of any irrevocable measure, until the result of Lord Minto’s mission to Rome should be known. M. Ochsenbein’s only reply to this communication was hastily to convene the Diet, which forthwith decreed the dissolution of the Sonderbund by the armed forces of the Federal executive.[931]

Two days later, on November 6, the Duc de Broglie, who had recently succeeded Sainte-Aulaire, as ambassador in London, submitted a project of intervention to Lord Palmerston. Let the Powers, proposed M. Guizot, offer to mediate on the basis that the question of the Jesuits should be settled by the Pope, and that the other points in dispute should form the subject of a conference, at which each of the Cantons should be represented. In the meantime, the contending parties would be invited to suspend hostilities—a refusal to comply releasing the Powers from their engagements to the Confederation and entitling them to enforce their demands by whatever measures they might subsequently agree to adopt.[932] Palmerston’s official answer was not sent off to Paris until November 16. It was in the form of a counter-proposition. The British government, he declared, “could not go the length of thinking” that the outbreak of civil war could release the Powers from those pledges into which they had entered to maintain the neutrality of Switzerland. Furthermore, it considered that the presence of the Jesuits upon the territory of the Confederation, in opposition to the wishes of the majority of the Cantons, constituted a real grievance. Her Majesty’s government, [Pg 429]under the circumstances, before consenting to join with France and the other Power in offering to mediate, must make two conditions. In the first place, the removal of the Jesuits, whether by a decision to be obtained from the Pope, or by an act of sovereign authority on the part of the Cantons in which the Order was established, must be the basis of any arrangement proposed by the Powers to the contending parties. Secondly, it was to be distinctly understood that a refusal by either side to accept mediation must not be made the ground for armed interference in the internal affairs of Switzerland.[933]

In Paris, at Berlin, and at Vienna, it had been intended to hold very different language to M. Ochsenbein and his colleagues. Nevertheless, M. Guizot, although stipulating for certain trifling modifications, accepted the British proposal. The assent of Prussia and of Austria was obtained, but it was given with the utmost reluctance.[934] Palmerston was, in point of fact, completely master of the situation. The condition of Germany was so unsettled, the appearance of affairs in Italy was so alarming, that Metternich could not attack the Radicals of Berne except in combination with France and, in the Swiss question, Louis Philippe and M. Guizot dared not act with the absolute Courts in opposition to the constitutional government of England.[935] Nicholas, having no direct interest in the matter, was content to adopt whatever course might commend itself to the Cabinet of Vienna. The five [Pg 430]governments being thus agreed, an identic note was, on November 26, drawn up in London for presentation to the President of the Diet, and to the official organ of the Sonderbund by the representatives of the Powers in Switzerland. But, while ministers and diplomatists had been talking and writing, the Federal executive had acted. No sooner had the Diet, on November 4, decreed the forcible suppression of the Sonderbund than the Genevese general, Dufour, who had at his disposal an army of 100,000 men and 260 guns, was ordered to begin operations. The isolated canton of Fribourg having been easily overwhelmed, the Federal commander advanced with his whole force against Lucerne. Salis-Soglio, a Protestant of the Grisons, whose army amounted to some 80,000 troops with 74 guns, awaited him in a selected position between the Reuss and the Lake of Zug. The decisive battle was fought on November 23, Dufour’s victory was complete. On the following day, the Jesuits and the executive council having fled, Lucerne surrendered. The Valais, the last of the seven Cantons to abandon the struggle, capitulated on the 29th. Twenty-five days after the Diet had formally resolved upon its suppression, the Sonderbund ceased to exist.

In almost all accounts of these events Palmerston’s proceedings have been misrepresented. According to his detractors, he cunningly inveigled the Powers into an exchange of views with the pretended object of averting civil war in Switzerland, while in reality he was secretly urging the Federal executive to open the campaign against the Sonderbund.[936] Even Liberals, in sympathy with his policy, describe him as having deliberately protracted the negotiations in London, in order that the Radicals should be able to crush the Catholic Cantons without fear of foreign interference.[937] [Pg 431]Palmerston, it is perfectly clear, was strongly opposed to direct intervention and, moreover, was disposed to think that an unsolicited offer on the part of the Powers to assist the Swiss to settle their internal disputes would inflame their national pride, and rather tend to aggravate, than to diminish, the gravity of the situation. It is possible, therefore, that he may to some extent have delayed the negotiations. But the alleged waste of time cannot at the most have exceeded a very few days, seeing that the French note was only submitted to him on November 9, and that his counter-proposal had been agreed to by the Powers and was ready for transmission to Switzerland on the 26th. To contend that Palmerston supposed that, by delaying the negotiations for two or three days, he would enable the Radicals to achieve their purpose, is to credit him with a knowledge of the military weakness of the Sonderbund which he most certainly did not possess. If he in any way retarded the final drafting of the proposed offer of mediation, it is infinitely more probable that he so acted in the hope that Minto’s efforts at Rome to induce the Pope to recall the Jesuits from Lucerne might prove successful and that, in consequence, the two parties might be able to settle their quarrel without an appeal to arms and without foreign interference.

Sir Robert Morier, however, asserts most positively that Palmerston “instigated Peel to perform his celebrated feat of precipitating the war of the Sonderbund.”[938] In his Mémoires M. Guizot has reproduced a letter from M. de Bois-le-Comte, the French ambassador to the Confederation, in which it is stated that, upon receipt of the news from London that the Powers intended to propose mediation, Mr. Peel sent the chaplain of the British legation to the headquarters of [Pg 432]General Dufour to apprise him of the state of affairs and to urge him immediately to march upon Lucerne and try conclusions with the army of the Sonderbund.[939] It is evident that, if there be any foundation of truth in these stories, neither the instructions with which Lord Minto, a member of the government, was supplied, nor the official despatch of October 29, which was to be communicated to M. Ochsenbein, can have been the expression of Lord Palmerston’s real policy. His veritable intentions must have been conveyed in private letters[940] to the British chargé d’affaires at Berne, it never having been suggested that he employed any secret agent in the affair. The question as to who acted as British minister to the Confederation, at this period, is, therefore, of extreme importance. It is inconceivable that Palmerston, if he really were engaged in prosecuting the Machiavellian designs imputed to him, should not have replaced Mr. Morier by an Arthur Aston, a Henry Bulwer, or some other tried and trusted agent. But in point of fact the business of the legation, during the whole of this critical time, was left in charge of a young secretary, Mr. Peel. Now Peel was the eldest son of Sir Robert, who, to the day of his death, never forgave Palmerston for his desertion of the Tory party in 1828.[941] Is it credible that Palmerston can have entrusted the conduct of an affair of the kind, suggested by M. Guizot and Sir Robert Morier, to a comparative stranger, a young man [Pg 433]of twenty-five, the son of his political opponent and personal enemy?

Nevertheless, it is highly probable that Palmerston’s despatch of October 29, although written with a very different object, did, in effect, precipitate the conflict between the Radical Cantons and the Sonderbund. As Mr. Peel, without doubt, rightly divined, M. Ochsenbein, notwithstanding the pacific language which he had held to Lord Minto, had no real desire to see the dispute amicably settled.[942] Federal unity was the end which he and his friends had set themselves to attain, and they were convinced that nothing but physical force would induce the Catholic and Conservative Cantons to renounce their sovereign rights. By “blood and iron” alone could the success of their policy be achieved. Hence the prospect that England intended to exert herself at Rome, in favour of Papal intervention, may have driven the Radicals of Berne to immediate action. They may have argued that, should His Holiness consent to recall the Jesuits and should the Sonderbund, in consequence, be peacefully dissolved, an excellent opportunity would be lost of reducing the Conservative Cantons to submission.

The identic note of November 26, 1847, was to have been communicated to the contending parties, on behalf of Great Britain, by Sir Stratford Canning. His instructions, however, provided that he should not present it if, upon his arrival in Switzerland, he should find that the Sonderbund had capitulated and that the war was at an end.[943] Canning, in consequence, made no offer of mediation, but remained about three weeks in Switzerland for the purpose of impressing upon M. Ochsenbein and his colleagues the expediency of treating the defeated Cantons with consideration, [Pg 434]and of refraining from any measures which might furnish other Powers with a pretext for intervention. France, Austria, and Prussia, however, adopted a different procedure. M. de Bois-le-Comte received the identic note on November 29, and, forthwith, despatched a copy of it both to the Federal Diet and to the leaders of the Sonderbund, notwithstanding that Lucerne had already surrendered and that it was evident that the Valais could not hold out much longer.[944] His example was followed by the ministers of Austria and Prussia. To these communications the executive at Berne, the members of which had expressed to Sir Stratford Canning their gratification at the attitude adopted by Great Britain, sent an answer couched in very decided language. The offer of mediation was rejected, not only because hostilities had ceased, but because it was impossible to recognize the principle upon which the proposal was based. If the Confederation were at war with another State, it might, or might not, entertain an offer of mediation, but it could not admit, under any circumstances, the claim of the Powers to treat as belligerents the Cantons of the Sonderbund. The treaties by which the Confederation had been constituted provided only for one Diet and for one Federal executive. The alliance of the seven Cantons was simply an act of rebellion which the central government had been strong enough to deal with effectually.[945]

The overthrow of the Sonderbund and the haughty reply returned by the Diet to the French, the Austrian, and the Prussian notes caused a profound sensation. The inability of the absolute Courts and of the government of M. Guizot to render assistance to the Cantons, [Pg 435]which had sought to resist the decrees of the majority in the Swiss Diet, was made manifest to the world. Italian nationalists, German Liberals, French reformers, acclaimed the victory of the Radical executive as a triumph for their cause. In governmental circles, at Vienna and at Berlin, there was no disposition to under-rate the gravity of the situation. Largely owing to the restraining influence of Lord Minto, central Italy still presented a certain outward appearance of tranquillity.[946] But Sicily and Naples were in open revolution, and King “Bomba,” who had, hitherto, set his face sternly against all reforms, was, in January, 1848, compelled to concede a constitution. Meanwhile, throughout the Peninsula the feeling of hostility to Austria was growing in intensity. Encouraged by Lord Minto, Sardinia, Tuscany, and the Papal States agreed to abolish all internal lines of customs and to form a commercial league, after the manner of the German Zollverein.[947] The significance of this measure was clearly perceived by Metternich. On December 14, he directed Diedrichstein to acquaint Palmerston that the condition of Italy would necessitate a large increase of the Austrian army in Lombardy.[948] “You and I,” he confided to his old friend, Radetzky, “are not destined to end our days in peace. . . . It has been reserved for the present age to witness the spectacle of a Liberal Pope.”[949]

The forcible dissolution of the alliance of the Catholic Cantons made it the more necessary, the German Cabinets declared, for the Powers vigilantly to watch over the proceedings of the Federal Diet. The conference, which it had been proposed to hold upon Swiss affairs, must, they insisted, still take [Pg 436]place.[950] The British government, however, altogether dissented from this view. The Sonderbund no longer existed, the Jesuits had fled, and Palmerston, therefore, could see no occasion for any deliberations upon the domestic affairs of the Confederation. England, in any case, he announced, must now decline to take part in a conference. M. Guizot adopted a different attitude. If Palmerston were resolved to pose as the patron of Radicals and revolutionists, why should not he come forward as the champion of order and stability? The Austrian, Count Coloredo, and the Prussian, General von Radowitz, who had been despatched to Paris by their respective governments, found him most favourably disposed. It was very flattering to his vanity that at this crisis the Courts of Vienna and of Berlin should be prepared to defer to his opinions and should send their emissaries to Paris to consult him. But from London he received a word of warning which made a considerable impression upon him. It would evoke, wrote his friend the Duc de Broglie, recollections of the Holy Alliance and savour overmuch of the deliberations at Laybach and Verona,[951] were France to take part in a conference which England had declined to attend.[952]

In his conversations with Coloredo and Radowitz, M. Guizot, consequently, deprecated the notion of assembling a conference. Let them for the moment, he urged, be content with formally declaring to the Diet that the Powers were resolved not to suffer the violation of the principle of cantonal sovereignty and independence. Should their representations be [Pg 437]unheeded, the question of active intervention could be more conveniently discussed at a later date. He had, they must not forget, his parliamentary position to consider. In the coming session, M. Thiers was preparing to assail his foreign policy with the utmost virulence. Metternich consented readily to adopt these suggestions. Far from desiring to aggravate the difficulties of M. Guizot, he considered it of supreme importance that he should remain in office.[953] A joint note, dated January 18, 1848, was, accordingly, drawn up and presented to the Federal executive. Coloredo and Radowitz, thereupon, quitted Paris. It was clearly inexpedient that these agents of the absolute Courts should be present in the French capital, during the heated debates to which the reply to the Address was expected to give rise. But their deliberations were to be regarded as merely suspended, not as definitely concluded. In the spring they were to return and resume their discussions. But this plan was not destined to be realized. Before the time appointed for their second meeting with M. Guizot, the storm burst and swept away the Orleans Monarchy. The revolutionary contagion spread rapidly to Berlin and to Vienna. Metternich, compelled to fly, sought refuge in England, in company with Prince Wittgenstein, M. Guizot, and other ultra-conservative statesmen. At the news of the downfall of the redoubtable Chancellor the Milanese flew to arms. After a memorable conflict of five days’ duration, Radetzky retired upon the Quadrilateral, to prepare for the struggle with Charles Albert, who had thrown down the gauntlet to Austria and marched to the assistance of the Lombards.

A history of Franco-British relations, during the reign of Louis Philippe, is not concerned with the internal reasons which contributed to his downfall. It [Pg 438]is sufficient to point out that the existence of the Orleans Monarchy was necessarily precarious, seeing that it was in the nature of a compromise which had only been grudgingly acquiesced in by the nation. The revolution by which it was overwhelmed was, in the words of Lamartine, “une revolution de mépris.” All classes were thoroughly disgusted with the policy of M. Guizot and indignant at the numerous public and private scandals[954] brought to light, during the year 1847. In a constitutional State a change of government is the remedy provided for such a condition of affairs. Louis Philippe, however, was too attached to his system of personal government willingly to part with a minister, who never attempted to restrict him to the rôle of a constitutional sovereign.[955] His last Cabinet, he protested, to the day of his death, had the support of the majority of the Chamber. But the servile body of placemen, which formed the ministerial party, in no way represented the opinion of the nation. The people with one accord condemned the proceedings of the government and identified the King with the unpopular actions of his principal minister. On February 23, 1848, a demonstration in favour of parliamentary reform, followed by a tumult in the streets, sufficed to destroy the discredited régime.

The rupture of “the cordial understanding” with England was followed so closely by the downfall of the monarchy, as to suggest that there must have been a connection between the two events. That the quarrel with England was one of the contributory causes of the revolution is almost universally admitted. [Pg 439]English writers have generally referred to the events of ’48 with some complacency, as the just retribution which promptly overtook Louis Philippe. So shrewd an observer as Baron Stockmar appears to have been convinced that the revelations in connection with the Spanish marriages did the “Citizen King” an incalculable amount of harm in the eyes of the French people and precipitated his overthrow.[956] Now, it is clear that the Spanish marriages had one effect which took those who were responsible for them completely by surprise. M. Guizot had confidently anticipated that, whatever other consequences might flow from them, they would be acclaimed as a great diplomatic triumph achieved at the expense of England. But the event completely falsified his expectations. The men, who in the question of the right of search, in the Pritchard affair, and in many other matters, had constantly accused him of truckling to England, were the first to denounce him for having sacrificed “the cordial understanding” to a purely dynastic object. It is more than probable that the indignation professed by M. Thiers and his friends was not very sincere and was, to a large extent, assumed for purposes of party politics. But their words, none the less, made a deep impression upon the middle-classes which had hitherto steadfastly supported the régime of July. These people, says Lord Normanby, were convinced that their material interests had suffered owing to the rupture of the English alliance. The construction of railways in France had led, as in England, to a wild outburst of speculation. The undue inflation of prices was followed by the inevitable reaction. This unexpected depreciation in the value of the shares of the new companies was not, however, ascribed to its true causes. Disappointed speculators persuaded themselves that their losses were due to the disinclination of the British public to invest in [Pg 440]French railways, owing to the change which the Spanish marriages had wrought in the political relations of the two countries.[957]

But in so far as the revolution of ’48 is concerned, the true importance of the break-up of “the cordial understanding” consists in the policy which M. Guizot, in consequence, saw fit to adopt. It is undeniable that his attitude towards the Italian national movement and in the Swiss question was severely condemned by the majority of his countrymen, and proved most injurious to the monarchy. Men perceived clearly that the only result of his unnatural alliance with the Cabinet of Vienna had been enormously to diminish French influence at Rome and at Turin. In Switzerland his policy was seen to have been even more ineffectual.[958] All his efforts had been directed to the preservation of the Sonderbund. Nevertheless, the alliance of the reactionary cantons had been promptly and ignominiously dissolved, whilst his proffered mediation had been rejected with a haughty intimation that the victorious party intended to settle its affairs without his interference. It has been urged, however, in his defence that his difficulties were greatly aggravated by Lord Palmerston, whose deliberate purpose it was to thwart him on every occasion. A secret alliance, it has been said, existed between the British Foreign Minister and M. Thiers. Gossip on this subject had been rife ever since the close of the year 1844. It would seem that about that time some friendly messages from Palmerston were conveyed to M. Thiers by Sir John Easthope,[959] the proprietor of the Morning Chronicle, which was generally regarded as Palmerston’s especial organ. In [Pg 441]the following year, when M. Thiers visited London, Sir Anthony Panizzi, an Italian political exile, and the chief librarian of the British Museum, took great credit to himself for having cemented a good understanding between the two statesmen.[960] Palmerston afterwards denied absolutely that their interviews were in any way connected with a “conspiracy against M. Guizot.”[961] Greville, however, accuses him of having, during the controversy on the subject of the Spanish marriages, permitted Lord Normanby to supply M. Thiers with the diplomatic documents bearing upon the question. Greville was so ready to believe anything discreditable about Palmerston that he cannot, as a rule, be looked upon as an altogether trustworthy witness. But, at the time referred to, he was in a position to speak of his own knowledge of what was taking place, inasmuch as he was in Paris for the express purpose of trying to re-establish “the cordial understanding” and was, moreover, the guest of Lord Normanby at the British embassy.[962] His testimony, therefore, coupled with the corroborative evidence to be found in the published letters of Panizzi, does suggest that certain of Thiers’ very damaging criticisms of M. Guizot may have been inspired by Lord Palmerston.[963] But, had the policy of M. Guizot been supported by public opinion, the intrigues of a foreign minister with his chief political opponent would have tended to strengthen, rather than to weaken, his position. The whole affair, indeed, is not of much importance. Some of Thiers’ newspaper articles may have been based upon information improperly supplied to him by the agents of Lord Palmerston, but his great speech on the Spanish [Pg 442]marriages was not delivered until February 4, 1847,[964] when the British blue book was at the disposal of any one who might desire to purchase it.

But the more serious charge has been made that Palmerston’s whole policy, at this period, was subordinated to his desire to avenge the defeat he had sustained in the Spanish marriages.[965] His attitude in the Swiss and Italian questions has been fully explained. It is difficult to see how any British minister could have acted differently. Had Aberdeen been in office, it may safely be surmised that, out of consideration for Austria, he would not have advocated the despatch of one of his colleagues upon such a mission, as was confided to a member of Lord John Russell’s government. But, without doubt, he would have furnished his agents at the Italian Courts with instructions substantially the same as those drawn up for the guidance of Lord Minto. In the Swiss affair both Aberdeen and Palmerston sought to avert civil war and foreign intervention by inducing the Pope to recall the Jesuits from Lucerne. There is, in short, a continuity in the British policy, whether conducted by Aberdeen or by Palmerston, not to be found in that of M. Guizot. His rapprochement with the Cabinet of Vienna obliged him to adopt towards the Liberal and national movements in progress throughout Europe the views of Prince Metternich. The precise reasons which induced him to make overtures to Austria can only be conjectured. Having shattered “the cordial understanding,”he may have thought that he must be able to show that he had substituted for the English, the Austrian, alliance. Perhaps he may have had some idea of isolating England, by means of the close relations which he proposed to establish between the government of the “Citizen King” and the absolute [Pg 443]Courts. But, be his motives what they may, his dealings with Metternich, in 1847, were unquestionably one of the chief reasons of the revolution of ’48.[966]

For the first time, between the years 1830 and 1848, the attempt was seriously made by the French and English governments to establish, as a primary principle of policy, the necessity of maintaining close and intimate relations between the two countries. The result, on the whole, disappointed expectations. The great work of Talleyrand’s old age, the cementing of a good understanding between the Whigs and the Orleans’ Monarchy, without doubt, deterred the absolute Courts from intervening in French affairs after the Revolution of July. Unquestionably, also, it averted a great war in the question of the separation of Belgium from Holland. But, on subsequent occasions, it did not prevent grave differences of opinion from arising between the two governments. The time had not yet come when “the cordial understanding” could be placed upon a firm and durable basis. The maintenance of the settlement, agreed to after the great war, was still the foundation of British policy in Europe. France, on the other hand, chafed bitterly at the conditions imposed upon her by the Congress of Vienna. Even among the peace-loving middle-classes the hope was fondly entertained that the man would arise who, “à grands coups de sabre,” should destroy the treaties of 1815 and give back to France her “natural frontiers.” Bonapartism was a living force by reason of the existence of this feeling. Louis Philippe and his ministers sought to allay the restlessness which it engendered by an active policy in the Mediterranean and in more distant waters. Suspicions and jealousies, the consequences of more than a hundred years of war and rivalry, were thus kept alive. French and British officials, whether of high rank or of low degree, continued to regard each other [Pg 444]with instinctive hostility. Bulwer was no less anxious to outwit his colleague, Bresson, than was Pritchard to thwart his fellow-consul, Meerenhout. Nevertheless, the policy which finally broke up the alliance was not a policy which commended itself to the French people. Palmerston’s views upon European affairs, between 1846 and 1848, accorded far more with the sentiments of the majority of Frenchmen than did those of M. Guizot; and his quarrel was not with the French nation, but with the government of Louis Philippe.

[Pg 445]


Abd-el-Kader, Algerian chief, 358

Abdullah Pasha, 150

Abd-ul-Mejid, Sultan of Turkey, 242

Aberdeen, Earl of, 34, 37, 38, 116, 222, 281, 327, 331, 332, 333, 334, 339, 340, 342, 343, 344, 345, 347, 348, 349, 352, 354, 355, 356, 357, 358, 359, 360, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 371, 372, 373, 375, 376, 377, 379, 380, 382, 385, 392, 401, 404, 421, 426, 442

Adair, Sir Robert, 76, 79, 82, 83, 84, 100, 101, 127

Adelaïde, Madame, sister of Louis Philippe, 9, 401

Ahmed Pasha, 165

Akiff-Effendi, 246

Albani, Cardinal, 104

Albert, Prince Consort of Queen Victoria, 287, 365, 372, 384, 417

Alexander I., Tsar of Russia, 19, 44

Alexander, Tsarewitch, afterwards Alexander II., 236

Ali Pasha, 146

Alison, Secretary of Embassy at Constantinople, 289

Althorp, Viscount. See Spencer, Earl

Alvanley, Lord, 86

Ancillon, Johann Peter, 111, 112, 136, 141

Apponyi, Count, 66, 68, 273, 292, 295, 411

Argüelles, Agustín, 218

Aston, Arthur, 217, 226, 307, 339, 340, 344, 371, 432

Atthalin, General, Baron, 27, 36, 344

Aubigny, Captain de, 361, 365, 366

Auckland, Earl of, 235

Aumale, Duc d', son of Louis Philippe, 338, 373

Avedick, Armenian dragoman, 244

Azeglio, Marquis de, 408, 409

Bagot, Sir Charles, 76, 113

Balbo, Count Cesare, 408, 409

Balmaceda, Carlist chief, 215

Bandiera, Admiral, 290

Barante, Baron de, 130

Baudrand, General, 15, 81

Beauharnais, Eugène de, 48

Beauvale, Lord, 17, 107, 108, 111, 112, 114, 169, 247, 250, 322

Becker, Nikolaus, German poet, 312

Bedford, Duke of, 297

Belliard, General Augustin-Daniel, 21, 61, 83, 100, 101

Benedek, Colonel Ludwig von, 406

Berri, Duc de, 62, 350

Bern, Duchesse de, 51, 120, 134, 197

Bernetti, Cardinal, 104, 106, 107

Bernstorff, Count, 24

Berryer, Pierre-Antoine, 350

Beshir, Emir, 152

Bligh, British chargé d'affaires at St. Petersburg, 166, 168, 221

Boghos Bey, 227

Boigne, Comtesse de, 259

Bois-le-Comte, French Ambassador to the Swiss Confederation, 431, 434

Bordeaux, Duc de, 9, 62, 120, 350, 351

Bourqueney, Baron, 241, 286, 321, 322, 323, 326

Boutenieff, Russian Minister at Constantinople, 154, 155, 156, 157, 158, 161, 162, 223, 247

Bravo, Gonzalez, 217

Bresson, Comte, 49, 50, 51, 52, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 371, 374, 375, 379, 380, 383, 384, 387, 388, 390, 391, 394, 395, 397, 398, 399, 401, 411, 444

Broglie, Duc de, 35, 39, 130, 131, 132, 135, 137, 138, 156, 160, 165, 167, 169, 177, 178, 181, 184, 188, 193, 195, 196, 197, 198, 219, 221, 222, 225, 226, 334, 428, 436

Bruat, Admiral, 360, 361

Brunnow, Baron, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 257, 258, 261, 267, 300, 319

Bubna, Field-Marshal, 19

Bugeaud, Marshal, Duc d'Isly, 358, 367

Bülow, Baron, 114, 141, 263, 266, 274, 275, 276, 283

Bulwer, Henry, Lytton, afterwards Lord Dalling, 232, 249, 250, 257, 279, 280, 295, 296, 298, 307, 333, 337, 339, 341, 370, 371, 372, 373, 374, 375, 378, 379, 380, 385, 386, 388, 390, 393, 396, 400, 411, 432, 444

Buol, Count, 413, 415

Burnes, Sir Alexander, 235, 236

Cabrera, Ramon, 202, 210, 214, 215, 216

Caillier, Captain, 242

Calatrava, Josè Maria, 203, 205, 207

Calomarde, Spanish statesman, 173, 174

Campbell, Colonel, 156, 162, 226, 227, 230, 232, 233, 234, 251, 257

Canning, George, 20, 50, 63, 144, 146, 147, 352, 403

Canning, Sir Stratford, afterwards Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, 151, 153, 155, 174, 175, 177, 221, 433, 434

Carini, Neapolitan Ambassador at Madrid, 374

Carlos, Don, Pretender to the Spanish throne, 173, 174, 176, 178, 179, 182, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 191, 192, 193, 205, 206, 207, 209, 210, 211, 214, 342, 343, 344, 348, 369, 377, 386, 394, 403

Carlotta, Infanta, 369

Cartwright, Thomas, 49, 50

Castlereagh, Viscount, afterwards Second Marquis of Londonderry, 16, 20

Cea, Bermúdez, Spanish statesman, 174, 175, 177, 178, 336

Chad, British minister at Berlin, 110, 112

Charles X., King of France, 1, 4, 6, 8, 16, 20, 21, 30, 39, 43, 45

Charles Albert, King of Sardinia, 408, 409, 413, 414, 418, 437

Charles, Archduke of Austria, 49, 336

Charles Frederick, Archduke of Austria, 290

Charles, of Naples, Prince, 51, 55, 57, 59, 69

Charlotte, Princess, daughter of George IV., 69

Chassé, General, Baron, 76, 140, 142

Chateaubriand, Vicomte de, 26, 64, 350

Chekib-Effendi, 263, 267, 271

Chesney, Colonel Francis, 237

Chlopicki, General, 44

Chrzanowski, General Adalbert, 229, 251, 252

Clanricarde, Marquis of, 236, 252, 319, 320

Clarendon, Earl of, 177, 184, 186, 192, 193, 194, 195, 196, 203, 207, 208, 210, 216, 217, 265, 266, 275, 297, 336, 396

Cochelet, Adrien-Louis, 241, 242, 269, 272, 273

Codrington, Admiral, Sir Edward, 146

Coloredo, Count, 436, 437

Concha, General, 338

Constantine, Paulovitch, Grand Duke, 144

Cor, dragoman to French Embassy at Constantinople, 291, 292

Cordoba, General, 201

Cortazar, Modesto, 216

Coste, Jacques, 270, 310

Cousin, Victor, 41

Cowley, Earl, 185, 343, 345, 347, 363, 366, 371, 379, 396

Cubières, General de, 302

Cunningham, Marchioness of, 50

Daine, General, 76, 83

Darmès, regicide, 306

Décazes, Duc, 39, 340

Dedel, Dutch Envoy in London, 266

Deutz, Agent of Duchesse de Bern, 197

Diebitsch, Marshal, Count, 26, 42, 64

Diedrichstein, Baron von, 435

Dino, Duchesse de, 32, 199, 266

Dost Mohammad, Amir of Kabul, 235

Drummond-Hay, British Consul at Tangier, 360

Duckworth, Admiral, 164

Dufour, General, 430, 432

Duhamel, Colonel, 157

Dupetit-Thouars, Admiral, 351, 352, 353, 354, 355, 356, 360

Dupin, André Marie Jean Jacques, 31, 129

Dupont, Jacques, 31, 39

Durham, Earl of, 123, 124, 135, 224

Easthope, Sir John, 440

Eliot, Lord, afterwards Earl of St. Germans, 184, 185

Ellice, Edward, 265, 297, 321

Elphinstone, Miss Mercer, 53

Emin Bey, 148

Enrique, Don, Duke of Seville, 370, 379, 384, 385, 388, 389, 390, 397, 398, 403

Escalera, General, 207

España, Count of, 214

Espartero, General Baldomero, 206, 207, 210, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217, 307, 335, 338, 339, 340, 341, 343, 344, 346, 347, 368, 369, 371, 378, 404

Etterhazy, Prince, 43

Evans, Sir George de Lacy, 187, 202, 211

Excelmans, General, afterwards Marshal, 52

Fabvier, General, Baron, 52

Fanshawe, Captain, 315

Faucher, Léon, 302

Ferdinand VII., King of Spain, 20, 172, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 190, 191, 192, 403

Ferdinand I. (IV.), King of the Two Sicilies, 19

Ferdinand II. ("Bomba,") King of the Two Sicilies, 264, 374, 435

Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg, King Consort of Maria II., Queen of Portugal, 190

Ferdinand, Duke of Saxe-Coburg, 371, 379, 382, 384, 395

Fernanda, Infanta, 372, 377, 391, 394, 395, 397, 398, 400, 401

Fethi Ahmed Pasha, 270, 273

Fezensac, Duc de, 209

Flahaut, General, Comte de, 53, 54, 265, 407

Forbes, British chargé d'affaires at Vienna, 101

Francis II., Emperor of Austria, 17, 21, 26, 68, 166

Francis IV., Duke of Modena, 64

Francisco de Paula, Infante, 369, 375, 385, 393

Francisco de Asis, Don, Duke of Cadiz, afterwards king Consort of Isabella II., Queen of Spain, 370, 379, 384, 387, 391, 395, 396, 397, 398, 401, 402, 403

Frederick William III., King of Prussia, 17, 22, 23, 24, 26, 31, 32, 68, 167, 274

Frederick William IV., King of Prussia, 166, 408

Frederick William, Crown Prince of Prussia. See Frederick William IV.

Gallois, Captain, 105, 107

Gendebien, Alexandra, Joseph, 48, 52

George IV., King of Great Britain, 14, 50, 69

Gérard, Marshal, 76, 78, 79, 80, 82, 83, 84, 85, 139, 140, 141, 142

Gioberti, Vincenzo, 408, 409

Glücksberg, Duc de, 340, 341, 345

Goblet, General, 84, 100, 101, 128

Granville, Earl of, 53, 54, 58, 59, 60, 67, 69, 72, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 82, 85, 95, 99, 103, 129, 131, 132, 134, 137, 160, 181, 185, 188, 193, 194, 196, 202, 205, 208, 209, 228, 234, 244, 279, 280, 303, 304, 305, 306, 307, 336

Granville, Countess of, 63

Gregory XVI., Pope, 409, 410, 421

Greville, Charles, 64, 70, 265, 283, 297, 299, 302, 312, 321, 329, 441

Grey, 2nd Earl, 39, 40, 46, 49, 51, 57, 74, 79, 80, 81, 83, 89, 92, 96, 98, 102, 116, 118, 119, 123, 134, 137, 140, 172, 183, 199, 222, 265

Grey, 3rd Earl, 381

Grote, George, 423, 424

Guizot, François, 31, 35, 39, 47, 130, 132, 191, 259, 260, 261, 263, 264, 265, 266, 267, 273, 274, 275, 277, 278, 279, 282, 283, 284, 285, 286, 288, 292, 296, 297, 304, 305, 309, 312, 313, 318, 320, 321, 323, 324, 326, 329, 332, 333, 334, 337, 339, 341, 345, 347, 348, 349, 352, 353, 355, 356, 357, 359, 360, 362, 363, 364, 365, 366, 367, 370, 372, 374, 375, 376, 379, 383, 384, 386, 387, 388, 390, 391, 392, 393, 394, 398, 399, 400, 401, 402, 404, 407, 410, 411, 412, 413, 421, 422, 423, 424, 425, 428, 429, 431, 432, 434, 436, 437, 438, 439, 440, 441, 444

Haines, Captain, 232.

Hafiz Pasha, 228, 240, 242, 243, 251, 252

Halen, General Van, 344

Halil Pasha, 155, 158, 159, 243, 269

Hay, Admiral, Lord John, 201, 207, 213

Heine, Heinrich, 63, 120, 302

Heytesbury, Lord, 26, 27, 28, 42, 68, 87, 88, 89, 90, 110, 123, 125

Hinüber, General, 72

Hobson, Captain William, 351

Hodges, Colonel, 269, 272

Holland, Lord, 255, 266, 275, 298, 302, 321, 327

Holland, Lady, 298

Hosrew Pasha, 150, 243, 247, 268, 269, 272, 273

Howard de Walden, Lord, 189, 190

Howden, Lord, 411

Hugon, Admiral, 226, 306

Humann, Jean-Georges, 132

Hume, Joseph, 281

Hussein Pasha, 151

Ibell, Charles, 24

Ibrahim Pasha, 145, 146, 149, 150, 151, 152, 154, 155, 157, 158, 159, 160, 161, 219, 220, 232, 234, 240, 241, 242, 245, 247, 251, 252, 253, 268, 269, 271, 280, 283, 287, 291, 294, 295, 296, 301, 310, 311, 314, 317

Isabella II., Queen of Spain, 174, 176, 180, 186, 204, 206, 208, 211, 213, 216, 335, 337, 338,