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the movement of 1848 as Prussia and Austria had to assist the movement of 1813. Nor does she want a precedent. In 1831–32 the naval forces of England and the troops of France combined to make the King of Holland forego the rights he had acquired by the treaty of 1815. Thus the right of France to interfere when nations have driven out their Governments by their own means being such as it is not easy to dispute, it becomes us to consider what is to be our part in the new forms of European policy. It is obvious that it is not becoming or expedient for us to proclaim the invalidity of the treaties of 1815. On the contrary, we ought rather to promote in the interest of peace and order the maintenance of the territorial arrangements then made. But neither ought we to go on clinging to a wreck if a safe spar is within our reach. Austria can hardly restore her sway in Italy. If she gains a victory, France will aid the Lombards, and with the assistance of all Italy overpower her. If she attempts a protracted war, the state of her finances, and the discontent of Hungary and Bohemia, will soon distract her councils and paralyse her efforts. It is advisable, therefore, that we should use our efforts in communication, though not in direct concert, with France, to produce a frank abandonment of Lombardy and Venice on the part of Austria. France will probably require compensation either on the side of Savoy, or, if Charles Albert is not made King of Lombardy, by means of influence on the Lombard Republic. The Lombards on their side desire no influence, French or German, in their affairs, and it is obviously our interest to favour their feelings of independence. If, however, the war goes on, the influence and the arms of France are sure to be seen on the other side of the Alps. - - Our endeavour, therefore, should be to settle the matter quickly, —and to settle it by negotiation. If by transferring to Austria the protectorate of the Ionian Islands, we could give her security on the side of Trieste and increased power on the Adriatic, we ought willingly to do so. The Ionian Islands are only of use to us as a means of keeping Russia and France out of a strong position. They are neither colony nor independent; neither free nor subject; a source of perpetual irritation, expense, and annoyance.
In Germany the Schleswig-Holstein question threatens much disturbance. But the heir through the female line having offered to resign his pretensions, there is a favourable opening for negotlatlon. The condition of the Peninsula is, as usual, discouraging. In Portugal we may, indeed, from old habits and an inveterate tendency to alliance, maintain some shadow of influence, and in time of danger we shall always be appealed to. In Spain the case is different. Narvaez seems to be the only able Spanish statesman, and he cannot bear liberty. But it was for the sake of liberty in the Peninsula that we joined in the Quadruple Treaty of 1834. As matters stand at present I think Mr. Bulwer should be directed— 1. To consider the Montpensier question as suspended, and not to interfere at all in it, unless he receives positive directions to that effect. 2. Not to give any opinion whatever on the internal affairs of Spain. But for his own guidance he should be informed that we cannot be expected to support the Queen's title to the throne if that throne is endangered by the acts of her own Ministers acting in her name. Otherwise we should be doing that which, in the case of some Indian princes, has been so justly censured, viz., supporting kingly oppression against popular resistance by means of British forces. Without going further into the state of Europe, I would make one general observation. It is our interest to use our influence as speedily and as generally as possible to settle the pending questions, and to fix the boundaries of States. Otherwise, if war once becomes general, it will spread over Germany, reach Belgium, and finally sweep England into its vortex. Should our efforts for peace succeed, Europe may begin a new career with more or less of hope and of concord; should they fail, we must keep our sword in the scabbard as long as we can, but we cannot hope to be neutral in a great European war. England cannot be indifferent to the supremacy of France over Germany and Italy, or to the advance of Russian armies to Constantinople: still less to the incorporation of Belgium with a new French Empire."
1 This is apparently the memorandum to which Baron Stockmar refers in his Memoirs, ii. 370. But the Baron's account of it is very inaccurate.
This remarkable memorandum practically recommended three things: (1) abstinence from interference in the internal affairs of Spain; (2) concert with France in mediating between Austria and Piedmont; (3) negotiation on the SchleswigHolstein succession. It was probably inspired by a desire not merely to instruct the Cabinet, but to control the Foreign Minister. For the events of 1848 were both increasing the labours of the Foreign Office and encouraging Lord Palmerston to take of his own volition steps on which he ought to have obtained the approval of the Cabinet and the sanction of the Queen. He had received a proposal from the Russian Minister for the settlement of the Schleswig-Holstein question," which, to the grave annoyance of the Queen, he had not thought it requisite to communicate either to the Court or to his colleagues; and, without the knowledge either of Queen or colleagues, he had addressed a despatch to Sir H. Bulwer, recommending that the basis of the Spanish Government should be enlarged.
When Lord John became acquainted with Lord Palmerston's action, he addressed the note to Lord Lansdowne which has been already quoted, begging him to see Lord Palmerston, and adding—
It is difficult to go on in this way, but I must beg you to interfere before I say all I think.
Urged on by this letter, and stimulated by an attack in the Lords on Lord Palmerston's policy, Lord Lansdowne did interfere; and it was definitely arranged that in future all the Foreign Secretary's despatches should be submitted to the Prime Minister.” But, so far as Spain was concerned, the mischief was already done. The Spanish Government returned Sir H. Bulwer the offensive despatch which he communicated to it from Lord Palmerston; and, on Sir H. Bulwer's receiving two further despatches approving his conduct, and commenting severely on the Spanish Ministry, sent him his passports and
* For this matter see Greville, Memoirs, pt. ii., iii. 178
desired him to leave the country. The news of this unusual and awkward event reached England on May 24. It excited natural consternation both at the Court and in the Cabinet. On the following Sunday (the 28th) the Queen sent for Lord John to pour out to him her complaints and her anxiety. While the Queen was thus occupying the 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 Sir H. 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 Sir H. 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 suc