Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

was held at The Grove (Lord Clarendon's), and there was some difference of opinion whether any remonstrance should be drawn up or not. One member who was present understood that it was ultimately

decided to say no more, and to leave the Spaniards to marry as they pleased, taking credit to ourselves for non-interference. Instead of this a strong remonstrance is presented at Madrid. Now, don't suppose that I object to the remonstrance : I do not think that I should have done it myself, but I am not prepared to say that it is wrong. But the course adopted by the Foreign Office is more hostile than that which you concurred in at The Grove . . . There is the more or less hostile course : the less is one five of us preferred, the more comes from Palmerston]."

Under these circumstances, four days after the date of this remonstrance, Mr. Wood wrote a long letter to Lord John—

to impress upon you the necessity of taking more into your own hands the direction of the detailed steps of foreign matters with France. I am afraid, not only from what you said to me yourself, but from what I have heard from others, that, in our two months of office, a state of hostile feeling between the Ministers of the two countries has been created. They certainly have behaved very ill. But I confess that I have a misgiving that we are not free from blame ; and this not so much in overt acts done by us as a Government, as by the mode and manner of what has been done and not done. . . . Therefore and for these reasons I press upon you to look to these things yourself. I see no other remedy. The Cabinet cannot interfere, for the mischief is done before we hear of anything ; and a Cabinet is too cumbersome a machine for such work. Nobody can do it but yourself: and it is no easy matter, I am well aware, for you. . . . In our conversation on foreign matters I mentioned to you how much Lord Grey directed the course of the Foreign Office, and even then he had no little trouble in appeasing the irritation in the minds of the Foreign Ministers which Palmerston somehow or another had caused. I quite admit the truth of your observation that it is much more difficult for you than for him to do [so]. Nevertheless, nobody but you can do anything, and it seems to me to be essential to the Government that it should be done.

* Mr. Wood to Lord John Russell, September 18, 1846.

Lord John hardly needed this advice. From the first formation of his Government he exerted his direct control in every department;" and this control was so effectual that Lord Clarendon believed and declared that Lord “Palmerston's independent action in the Foreign Office has received a complete and final check.” But, while he endeavoured to maintain a sufficient control, and while he certainly disapproved some of his colleague's actions and regretted some of his phrases, he gave him the loyal support which all great men accord to those from whom they expect loyal service. With some indiscretion, the French Government carried to the Prime Minister their complaints against the Foreign Secretary. Here is Lord John's reply:—

Wimbledon : October 26, 1846. My dear Count Jarnac,+I received when I was at Hatfield the letters you were so good as to write to me, enclosing one from M. Guizot to yourself. I thought it right, especially as you had offered to send it through Lord Palmerston, to give him an opportunity of reading a letter in which he was mentioned in terms so unreserved. To commence, however, with the general discussion into which M. Guizot enters, I must, in the first place, declare that I can by no means agree to the statement that the French Government have done nothing but what they had announced beforehand. Those, who were conversant with the state of the negotiations before the present Ministers came into office, received the announcement of the marriage of the Duke of Montpensier with the heiress of the crown of Spain with surprise and indignation ; so little were they prepared for that event by the declaration of February.” The public of Europe will, as I believe, participate in those feelings, which are common to all English statesmen acquainted with those transactions. With respect to myself, allow me to say that I came into office convinced that a cordial understanding with France was beneficial to both nations, and conducive to the peace of the world. I was convinced that M. Guizot shared that sentiment ; but, while I am still convinced of the benefits to be derived from an intimate friendship between England and France, I can no longer believe that M. Guizot 'attaches any value to that friendship. I cannot believe it because, M. Guizot having received from you a confidential communication of a despatch to Mr. Bulwer—not intended for the perusal of the Spanish Ministers—that despatch was transmitted to Madrid, and employed, no doubt by M. Guizot's directions, to exasperate the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain against the English Government. How is it possible to act with frankness and confidence towards persons who thus take advantage of frankness, and misuse the confidence reposed in them 2 I cannot believe it because the resolution of the Queen's Government in London not to adopt or promote the marriage of Prince Leopold of Saxe Coburg with the Queen of Spain -a resolution. taken in deference to the declared policy of the King of the French— was used at Madrid for the purpose of hastening the marriage of the Duke of Montpensier with the presumptive heiress of the Spanish crown. How is it possible to act in friendly conformity to the views of France, at the risk of alienating other Governments, if such acts are to be the very weapons employed to do that which is most injurious to British interests, and most offensive to British feelings? So much as to the past. But M. Guizot seems to apprehend a revengeful conduct on the part of England for the future. Let him be reassured. Nothing that has occurred will induce us to forget what is due to the interests of Spain, to the just claims of France, to the peace of the world. I should be very sorry to see a civil war recommence in Spain, and I have already signified to those whose ardour might induce them to favour outbreaks, that England neither wished for, nor will encourage, insurrections. The Government of France has, however, likewise a duty to perform. When M. Guizot announced the marriage of the Duke of Montpensier, he told Lord Normanby that the Infanta would become a French princess, and that the Duke of Montpensier would not become a Spanish prince. In a memorandum, which you yourself showed me, it was stated that France would not interfere in the internal affairs of Spain. M. Guizot, in his despatch in answer to Lord Palmerston's despatch to Lord Normanby, states that France will respect the internal affairs of Spain. If these declarations are adhered to with good faith, and in the

X. said, ‘Lord John was well disposed to interfere in foreign affairs, and indeed as a Prime Minister ought in every department’ (Greville, 2nd series, ii. 410). Lord John's correspondence with his colleagues shows very clearly how close a supervision he exercised over all the offices.

* Greville, 2nd series, ii. 423.

* In February 1846 M. Guizot had directed the French Minister in London to read a memorandum to Lord Aberdeen, in which he had declared that, in the event of a Bourbon marriage being impracticable, France would consider herself free from her engagements and would demand the hand either of the Queen or of her sister for the Duc de Montpensier.

face of temporary difficulties, Spain may be free, prosperous, and independent. But, if the ordinances of Charles X. are taken as the model for Spanish administration, and if obedience is to be enforced by the threat that what France had done by the pen she will maintain by the sword, the people of Madrid may resist, as the people of Paris resisted, with less provocation, in the month of July 1830, the suppression of the constitution and the violation of the freedom of the press. In such a case it will not be possible for M. Guizot to throw upon others the responsibility of fearful consequences. Lord Palmerston was disposed (as well as his colleagues) to act in concert with France, and by our joint advice to help in restoring the broken liberties, and establishing the permanent tranquillity of Spain. M. Guizot has chosen to break the links of good faith and friendly correspondence by which these great objects might have been effected. He may endeavour to attain the same objects on his side; Lord Palmerston and I may attempt to promote them on ours. Cordial co-operation in Spain is no longer possible. I cannot but notice, though I will do so very shortly, M. Guizot's accusation against Lord Palmerston. In my opinion he has conducted himself with the greatest moderation and calm reflection throughout this painful transaction. I have the greatest reliance on his sagacious perception of the true interests of his country, and I have the truest satisfaction in constant co-operation with him upon all our foreign relations.—I remain, &c., J. RUSSELL. Lord John's vigorous language was the more generous, because Lord Palmerston had lately forwarded to Mr. Bulwer a protest, which he had directed him to present to the Spanish Government, containing a passage which Lord John had not merely not approved, but to which he had distinctly objected." In the following February Lord Palmerston took a still more unjustifiable step. He informed the French Ambassador in

' The passage in question is, “The undersigned is now instructed to declare, on behalf of the British Government, that the issue of such [the Montpensier] marriage would be held by Great Britain to be disabled by the stipulations of treaties and by the public law of Europe from succeeding in any case to the Spanish throne' (Correspondence relating to the Marriages of the Queen and Infanta of Spain, p. 29). For Lord John's objections, see Greville, pt. ii. vol. iii. p. 121. But Lord John himself said (writing to Lord Lansdowne, wide infra, p. 45), “The despatch to Bulwer concerning the Montpensier marriage was sent to Madrid two days before I saw it, and against the opinion I had expressed to Palmerston.’

London, that unless Lord Normanby, who had an unfortunate
quarrel with M. Guizot, received an immediate and satis-
factory reparation, the intercourse between the two countries
would cease. Lord John only accidentally heard of this com-
munication. He was fortunately in time to stop its trans-
mission to Paris, and to insist on Lord Normanby being
told to pursue a more moderate course in future."
In the meanwhile two other matters were occupying the
attention of the Foreign Office. Encouraged by the differ-
ence between France and England, the three Northern powers
ventured on an act of autocracy and suppressed the little
republic of Cracow, whose existence was guaranteed by the
Treaties of Vienna. The suppression, which elicited a warm
but ineffectual protest from this country, illustrated the
growing difficulties which Lord John had to encounter
from the presence of Lord Palmerston at the Foreign Office.
Prince Albert took a natural interest in the question, and
invited an eminent literary man who is still alive to write a
pamphlet upon it. This gentleman, before complying with
his request, asked permission to consult Lord Palmerston, and
the Prince replied that he did not see any necessity for his con-
sulting the Foreign Secretary, though he had no objection to
his consulting the Prime Minister.” This little incident shows
the distrust of Lord Palmerston which the Court had already
contracted. In the winter of 1846–7 a new difficulty arose
in Southern Europe, on which the Queen and Prince both
felt strongly. The young Queen of Portugal had passed
much of her childhood with the Queen of England; she
was by marriage nearly connected with Prince Albert ; her
husband was unfortunately unpopular ; and, at the end
of 1846, Oporto, the second city in the kingdom, and the
adjacent provinces, rebelled against her authority. The re-
volt created great alarm in Lisbon ; and the Duc de Saldanha,
the only capable military man in Portugal, by a forcible coup
d'état, dismissed the Ministry and placed himself at the head
of the Government. However much this arbitrary proceed-

' Greville, pt. ii. vol. iii. p. 62. * The story is partly told by Mr. Greville in A/emoirs, iii. 14. I have Mr. Reeve's authority for the version in the text.

[ocr errors]
« EdellinenJatka »