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Sunday, one of his colleagues, Lord Grey, was writing him a long and earnest remonstrance on Lord Palmerston's conduct:—
Belgrave Square : May 28, 1848.
My dear Lord John, . . . It is clear that motions of direct censure upon the Government will be made in both Houses of Parliament. This censure will be directed, not against Sir H. Bulwer, but against the Administration ; and, from all I can hear, the result of the division will be very doubtful in both Houses. But, whatever may be the vote which either may come to, the debate will certainly be most damaging. We shall be blamed not merely for the recent correspondence, but for the general system of intermeddling of which that correspondence is only the climax. The last insult of the Spanish Government will probably be admitted to be indefensible, but we shall be told it is the natural result of our own previous misconduct, and that our past errors render it impossible for us to resent this insult, as for the honour of the country we ought, by insisting on Bulwer's being again received as our Minister by the Spanish Government.
Being convinced that an attack of this kind will immediately be made upon the Government, and that in the House of Lords it will be very powerfully supported, I think it only right that I should lose no time in warning you that it will be out of my power to take any part in repelling it ; and further that, if I am taxed with disapproving of what has been done, I shall be compelled by silence at least to admit it.
If the line of policy which has been adopted had been approved by the Cabinet, it would, of course, have been the duty of every member of the Cabinet, including those who might have differed from the majority but had acquiesced in their decision, to have now supported what has been done. But when the fact is that the subject never was brought before the Cabinet, when I and most of the members of it first saw the objectionable despatches in the newspapers, and when it is notorious that, if the question had been submitted to us, we should most of us (I believe including yourself) have entirely disapproved of the adoption of such a tone towards an independent Government, the case is entirely altered, and I can recognise no obligation to support a policy which none of our opponents can condemn more than I do. . . .-Yours very truly,
GREY. The Lord John Russell.
While Sir Charles Wood wrote more concisely :—
D[owning] S[treet]: May 28, 1848. Dear Lord John, –I hope that you have seen the letter to Isturitz, and that it is a proper one ; and that you have made it certain that you are to see all other future letters before they are sent.—Yours
ever, C. W.
So far as this particular question was concerned, Lord John had his own way in future. The Cabinet rejected the warlike counsels which Mr. Bulwer advocated and the prompt and decisive measures which Lord Palmerston himself suggested. And, after an interval of some months, harmony was restored between the Courts of Madrid and London ; while Mr. Bulwer was sent to Washington, where his peculiar habits of interference were expected to produce less mischief. But, if the storm which had agitated the air of Madrid blew over, before another month elapsed one of Lord Palmerston's characteristic despatches to Portugal excited the anxiety of his sovereign and of the Prime Minister: and Lord John had to pass his last Sunday afternoon in June in allaying the Queen's apprehensions instead of spending it in the quiet repose of Pembroke Lodge.
The affairs of Spain and Portugal were only of secondary importance in 1848. The attention of Court and Cabinet was mainly concentrated on Italy; and, in the memorandum which has just been quoted, Lord John had recommended that England should use her influence to induce Austria to abandon Lombardy and Venice. It seemed not impossible at the end of May to secure this result. Austria had sent Baron Hummelauer on a special mission to London to endeavour to arrange some reasonable compromise; and the Piedmontese had won victories, which for the moment seemed likely to be decisive, at Goito and Peschiera. Unfortunately the events of the succeeding month proved less favourable to the Italians. A new revolution breaking out at Naples restored the authority of the King, who forthwith withdrew the Neapolitan contingent from the Italian army in Northern Italy, and took steps to reduce Sicily to subjection. Shortly afterwards, Marshal Radetzky, moving from the position to which he had retreated, defeated the Piedmontese army at Novara, and recovered Milan. The Italians, in their difficulty, appealed to France, where a new revolution had placed supreme power in the hands of General Cavaignac. Revolutions in Paris and Naples, and strategy on the Lombard plains, had altered the whole conditions of the problem. These events brought new difficulties to the distracted Prime Minister. The Queen and Prince watched the success of Marshal Radetzky with more complacence than Lord John and Lord Palmerston ; and, though her Majesty shared the anxiety of her advisers to terminate bloodshed, she desired to pay a due regard to what she considered the just claims of Austria. She noticed with some apprehension that Lord Palmerston was again in close communication with France, and that he was animated by the desire, in concert with the French, to do as much as possible for Italy. General Cavaignac had just sent M. de Beaumont to represent France in London ; and M. de Beaumont rapidly succeeded in establishing the most amicable relations with the Foreign Minister. Lord Palmerston considered that the best results ensued from the understanding between M. de Beaumont and himself. The Queen, on the contrary, thought her Minister was committing her by his language to steps which she did not approve. She remonstrated ; and Lord Palmerston had to yield. But the Queen's remonstrance again drew Lord John's attention to the difficulties which were inseparable from Lord Palmerston's presence at the Foreign Office. As Lady John wrote in her private diary, on August 13– John's difficulties about Lord Palmerston increase, because the Queen's disapprobation of everything Lord Palmerston does increases.
Lord Palmerston on his part easily forgot the complaints of the Queen and the Prime Minister. Writing on the 25th of September, he referred to them as ancient history, and added that his own action had been beneficial. Lord John replied— Oban : October 1, 1848.
My dear Palmerston, I wrote to you yesterday upon the immediate point of the nomination of a Minister to represent this country in the conferences about Italy. There is, however, a sentence in your letter which I must notice, without at all intending to revive any controversy about your language to Beaumont, which I shall be glad to think had the good effect you mention. You say, ‘Unfortunately the Queen gives ear too readily to persons who are hostile to her Government, and who wish to poison her mind with distrust of her Ministers, and in this way she is constantly suffering undergroundless uneasiness.' That the Queen is constantly suffering under uneasiness is too true, but I own I cannot say it is always groundless. It is surely right that a person speaking in the name of her Majesty's Government should in important affairs submit his despatches to the Queen and obtain the opinion of her Prime Minister before he commits the Queen and her Government. This necessary preliminary you too often forget; and the Queen naturally, as I think, dreads that upon some occasion you may give her name to sanction proceedings which she may afterwards be compelled to disavow. I confess I feel some of the same uneasiness; but as I agree with you very constantly in opinion, my only wish is that in future you will save the Queen anxiety, and me some trouble, by giving your reasons before, and not after, an important despatch is sent. The Queen's absence and mine, the constant flow of French, Danes, Germans, &c., pressing for an immediate answer, may have made this difficult for the last month ; but the Queen is now, I trust, at Windsor, and I shall be at Minto in the course of this week.-I remain, yours very sincerely, J. RUSSELL.
When Lord John reached Minto, a few days afterwards, a new difficulty had arisen. The Queen desired that this country should be represented at the Conference, which it was proposed to hold on Italian affairs, by an Envoy in whom she had confidence. She objected to Lord Normanby, whom Lord Palmerston desired to send, because she thought that he shared the Italian sympathies of the Foreign Minister. Lord Palmerston, on the 6th of October, referred the matter to Lord John, who, apparently for the Queen's information, drew up the following memorandum on the policy which he thought this country ought to pursue.
For EIGN AFFAIRs. October 18, 1848.
In order to form a fair judgment of the present state of foreign affairs it is necessary to look back.
Forty years ago Spain gave the signal of resistance to the system which Napoleon had successfully enforced on Austria, Prussia, and Russia. The terrible power which he possessed did not frighten the people of Spain. They did not calculate ; they fought, fell, and rose
to fight again. In a few years the sovereigns of Europe, recovering from their panic, and paid by England, joined in the resistance. But, in order to do so with success, the King of Prussia promised a constitution ; England called upon Lombardy and Sicily in the name of liberty, and the people of Europe were promised, if they would resist Napoleon, freedom as well as independence. The sovereigns of Furope triumphed, and their earliest attention was given to the punishment of those who had aided them, and to the repression of all attempts to obtain freedom similar to that of England. Arguelles in Spain was sent to a dungeon ; Pellico and others in Lombardy and Piedmont were seized and imprisoned. In 1830, upon the French Revolution, one of the forced arrangements of 1815 broke to pieces. Belgium revolted ; the Prince of Orange marched with a well-appointed army to put down the rebellion. France under Louis Philippe sent an army to support the insurgents ; and England joined with France to deprive the King of Holland of the territory secured to him by treaty. The result has been most satisfactory. The people of Belgium have been governed with wisdom, with fairness,
with due regard to their national character, and they now reward such treatment by devoted loyalty to their King and firm attachment to their constitution.
In Russia and Austria the event has been different. Where the
press has been most enslaved, where representative institutions have been most carefully excluded, there we now see authority most helpless, anarchy most prevalent, and mob excesses most cruel. The part of England in these circumstances was pointed out by experience. Had she joined with Russia in declaring that no changes should take place in the territorial arrangements of 1815, she would have provoked a war like that of 1793, without the alliances she was then able to form. Her obvious policy then was to dissuade from all violent invasions of territory, and to hold out prospects of conciliatory arrangements to the powers brought into conflict by the great débâcle of February 1848. This course she has pursued. She did not, as advised by some, interfere to prevent the Prussian invasion of Schleswig, but she advised an armistice and terms of agreement to Denmark and to Germany. In the same manner she dissuaded Charles Albert from invading Lombardy, and France from sending an army to his assistance. By these means she has hitherto staved off, though not prevented, an European war. In order finally to secure peace, she must show fairness to all parties. Lombardy must have a civil Go
vernment virtually if not nominally independent of Vienna ; Sicily
must have a Legislature and Administration virtually independent of