Sivut kuvina

Russian power in Asia, and particularly in preventing their having possession of Poti and Anapa. They feel that this is the case, and therefore keep secret from us this intended departure on their part from the letter and spirit of their engagement to the world when they commenced the war.

'I quite agree with Lord Heytesbury respecting the nature of their power. But observe that they are harmless only when single-handed. If united with France or either of the great German Powers they are very formidable, and having the desire not only as a nation, but as individuals, to mix themselves up as principals in every concern, and having a real interest in none, I am not quite certain that they are not the most inconvenient for us to deal with on friendly terms of any Power of Europe. Whatever may be the course which the Greek question takes we have behind us a very difficult and important question, that is the guarantee.' And he returned to this point a fortnight later, well knowing the importance of the Asiatic side of this question :-

"It is believed that we object to any Russian aggrandisement in Asia, and particularly to the cession of these places; and that is true.

“But the cession of these places, however important in itself, and however increased in importance by the manner adopted of obtaining it, is a trifle in comparison with the risk attending the continuance of the Turkish war. We ought not, we cannot advise the Turks not to cede Anapa and Poti without promising and giving them assistance; and Anapa and Poti are not sufficiently well known, nor, indeed, are they so important to our interests, as to induce us to incur the risk of involving ourselves and all Europe in war, in order to prevent these places from falling into the hands of the Russians. But the Emperor of Russia ought to be told a little of our mind upon this subject when the Turks shall be out of the scrape.

There is one thing which delights me in all this, and that is the proof afforded every day of that which I told Mr. Canning in April 1826, viz., that the Emperor did not care one pin about the Greeks, and that all that he cared about was his affairs with the Turks, and these very points Anapa and Poti.' As the Russians approached Adrianople matters became more serious. Lord Aberdeen writes :

It strikes me that Lieven and Madame de Lieven both look to the arrival of the Russians at Constantinople as a probable event. They talked of the necessity of confidence; and when I asked if they expected us to confide while Constantinople was burning, they both said that it was precisely the time when it was most required and would do most good.' And the Duke replied :

. It is quite evident that everything in Greece, as well as in Turkey, is going on as badly as possible for the interests of this country. The affair of Greece was taken up in 1826 in order to prevent war between

Russia and the Porte, which our interference has since occasioned ; and to prevent the establishment in Greece of an exclusive Russian influence, which has been established there under French as well as Russian protection, in a form, under circumstances, and by agency likely to occasion discontent, revolutionary notions, and possibly insurrection against our authority in the Ionian Islands. Then the only chance of terminating this war in Turkey is by concessions on the part of the Porte of territory, the demand of which is inconsistent with the promises and engagements made by the Emperor to all Europe ; and the concession of the particular territory is, and is known by all Europe to be, injurious to the interests of Great Britain alone. Then if this or some such concession is not made, we must expect, in very few weeks possibly, to see a Russian army in Constantinople.

This is not a bright prospect, but it is not the less a true one. • There is very little use in making complaints upon any subject, unless one is prepared to strike a blow.'

This state of things was as opposite as possible to that which the Duke had desired; and it was aggravated by the undisguised attempt of the Lievens, who enjoyed considerable influence at the Court of George IV., to undermine and overthrow the Government of which he was the head. To this was added an internal danger. The King had never forgiven his Ministers for having wrung from him a reluctant assent to the Catholic Relief Bill; and the Duke of Cumberland, the head of the Orange party, had come over to settle in England for the purpose of working on the fears and prejudices of his brother. Wellington even saw reason to suspect that the Lievens had encouraged His Royal Highness to come over for the purpose of upsetting the Government; but this was strenuously denied. At any rate there is no doubt that a RussoCumberland cabal was using every means to poison the mind of the King; and if a man had not been at the head of affairs of whom George IV. stood in awe, the intrigue might have been successful. The Duke of Wellington continued to treat the Lievens with courtesy and respect, though he knew they were his mortal enemies; and he would not condescend to reprisals against them. But on the subject of the Duke of Cumberland's intrigues he expressed himself with the greatest energy

To the Attorney-General.

Walmer Castle, July 27, 1829. “My dear Sir,-I am very obliged to you for your note which I have received, and I will proceed accordingly. I believe that the political party to which you refer is very small indeed if it exists at all as yet. But there is a personage in England who has little to fear, and nothing to lose, who possesses the means of mischief, who is very


hostile to the Government; very bitter and very active, and who misleads the editors of these newspapers by the communication, as from authority, of falsehoods and calumnies. The extent of the mischief done in this way is inconceivable; and it is really necessary to incur some risk and inconvenience in order to deprive this personage of the instruments which he applies to such bad purposes. I always thought that we ought to have adopted this measure at an earlier period; but it is essential to adopt it now.

• Ever, &c.,

WELLINGTON.' Sir Robert Peel entertained the same views of the Duke of Cumberland's intrigues. He wrote to the Duke of Welling. ton:

• The Duke of Cumberland has no sort of influence over public opinion in this country, or over any party that is worth consideration. I do not believe that the most violent Brunswickers have the slightest respect for him, or slightest confidence in him. I think we should be particularly careful to exclude him from all interference, through private influence over the King, with the public measures of the Government. You may rely on my cordial concurrence in any measures, however decided, that are necessary for this purpose, whenever a case arises (as it has arisen in my opinion in the Greek case) of sufficient importance.

With regard to the Lievens, the Duke thought that the wiser and more dignified course was to take no notice of their hostility; but he desired to vindicate himself at the Court of Russia from the calumnious reports they were supposed to be sending home, and with this view the Duke wrote as follows to Lord Heytesbury :

• London, September 8, 1829. • My dear Lord,-Lord Aberdeen has shown me your several letters and despatches on the subject of the Emperor's displeasure with myself. I have known that since the year 1826 Prince and Princess Lieven have taken pains to represent my conduct, whether in or out of govern. ment, in the most unfavourable manner at St. Petersburg. I believe their displeasure commenced in a conversation which I had with Prince Lieven in the end of 1826, upon the intention then in contemplation of turning the Protocol of April, 1826, into the Treaty of July, 1827, to which I stated my objections so strongly as to declare that as a member of the then administration I never would agree to the plan. I was out of office from April, 1827, to the following January, during which time I know that the Prince and Princess wrote of me all the evil that they thought, and much more than they knew. From the time that I returned to office in January, 1828, the Prince and Princess Lieven have been what is called in regular opposition to the Government. They have misrepresented to their Court all that we have done, and particularly that I have done; they have been parties to all the party

intrigues against the administration; and really if I had not the very best authority for what I say, I could not have believed it possible that persons who have been so long employed in public office in this country would have committed the extraordinary indiscretions in this way of which they have been guilty.

“However, I have never hinted a suspicion of such conduct. I have treated them both, as I do all the other ambassadors, with the highest distinction. I have been always upon cordial terms with Madame de Lieven, but coldly with Monsieur de Lieven since the scene about the Treaty in 1826. This is very much caused by his own manner towards me.

'I thought it right to have with the Russian Ministers the explanation which Lord Aberdeen will send you, in order to put an end to the perpetual suspicions and complaints of which we have heard, and to show the Emperor that we were not aware we had ever given cause of complaint.

"I particularly request, however, to be understood as not making any complaint of Prince or Princess Lieven. I know that all I have stated to you in this letter is true; I know that their misrepresentations of things here, and particularly respecting me, have done all the mischief. But I can prove nothing, and I will not complain of any man so as to deprive him of his office without being able to prove that which I state against him. Besides that, to tell you the truth, I am perhaps vain enough to think that I am too strong for Prince and Princess Lieven, and that I prefer to suffer a little inconvenience to taking a step which might require from me some explanation.

* However, I have thought it as well to let you know how the matter really stands. • Believe me, &c.,

WELLINGTON. At this period the Duke stood in a very peculiar position. The old Tory party was divided by the more liberal principles of the Canningites, who had recently held office alone, and some of whom now rejoined the Duke in his Cabinet. But the Catholic question remained an impassable barrier of opinion; and though the Duke and Mr. Peel leapt the chasm, they shook the allegiance of their followers for ever. In his foreign relations the Duke was equally embarrassed. He himself had signed, and indeed proposed, the Protocol of April 1826, which had led us to co-operate with Russia on the Eastern Question. That Protocol had been expanded by Mr. Canning into the Treaty of London; and the cannon of Navarino had given deadly effect to it. The Morea, in pursuance of the same policy, had been occupied by French troops, whose presence the Duke viewed with great uneasiness. Although the Conference still continued to sit for the pacification of Greece, this deliberative body was strangely composed ; for one of the parties to it, Russia, was actually carrying on war against Turkey, not

for the general interests, but on her own account; another, France, occupied what was still Turkish territory, and was intriguing for Russian support; Prussia sent General Müffling to Constantinople to urge the Sultan to make peace by throwing himself into the arms or at the feet of Russia, insomuch that the Duke suspected Müffling of being a Russian agent; and Austria was only driven at the last extremity to mobilise a part of her army. England alone was perfectly neutral and sincerely desirous of peace. But England found herself entangled in protocols and engagements which bound her to act with the Powers which the Duke declared to be her worst enemies.' The following Memorandum contains his view of the position in which we stood; and it might be equally applicable to more recent events :

London, August 12, 1829. It is admitted that the Porte might reasonably entertain doubts of the sincerity of the wishes of the Emperor of Russia for peace, or even of the expediency of complying with his Imperial Majesty's terms. We are required to remove those doubts, and moreover to convince the Ottoman Porte that no assistance will be given by us to enable her to resist the invasion of her territories by the Emperor of Russia.

* Before I consider of these propositions, I must point out on what ground we have stood since we were first informed that the Emperor of Russia intended to make war upon the Porte. We declined to engage in or sanction hostilities which we declared that we did not think necessary; and we foresaw and foretold the risk incurred of overthrowing an empire, and of disturbing the peace of Europe. We never doubted the result of this unequal contest, more particularly as two of the Powers interested in the conservation of the Porte as a Power in Europe were engaged in a Treaty with the Emperor for the settlement of Greece; but we foresaw that his Imperial Majesty was about to destroy the work nearly accomplished by seven years of the joint care, anxiety, and negotiations of all the Powers of Europe, including his own august predecessor and brother, and particularly of that very measure which has laid the Porte at his mercy in this contest. We foretold in the following words the consequences of the invasion of the Ottoman empire :The Earl of Dudley to Prince Lieven.

*“London, March 7, 1828. “The Ottoman Empire is not a country like some of those whose example we could cite within our own times, which, after having been invaded, resume their domestic tranquillity and their political existence upon the retreat of the invaders; once broken up, its capital taken, and its provinces in rebellion, the recomposition of it as an independent State would be a work scarcely within the reach of human integrity or human skill. A new order of things must arise in those countries of

« EdellinenJatka »