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situation, were Sir Richard to chance to ask him for further information, -- the noble Secretary thought he might as well send an express to Paris and enquire if any thing were really going on.
« Oh, yes ! ” answered the Ambassador; 6 it is all very true. I was left in the same ignorance as your Lordship, and really I think I am rather ill used by my old friend, Sebastiani; but you know that affairs do not go on here as regularly as in England. They are not such practised men of business here, as in Downing Street; and, in short, Sebastiani forgot to announce it to me. They speak of it here only as an expedition pour rire. I suspect that it is rather to get through the Budget.” · Lord Palmerston, however, and the other Gallomaniacs, on the whole, considered this despatch rather serious, whatever the expedition might be. But M. de Talleyrand, who had not even breathed a single word about this affair, and had been, all this time, foreseeing a storm, was in the most awkward predicament of any.
The storm surely burst, and the Gallomaniacs for a moment thinking themselves, to use our national phrase, “ humbugged,” attacked M. de Talleyrand with some anger. So his Highness, in that peculiarly soft voice which lends such a charm even to Truth,
boldly assured them that he had been equally kept in the dark, and really knew nothing about it himself; but, as he was going to send an express to Paris for a reticule (or ridicule) for a lady, he would take that opportunity of making enquiries at the same time. In the interim, he requested Messieurs the Gallomaniacs to remain quite quiet, as he had no doubt that every thing would be explained to their perfect satisfaction.”
I need not here repeat what occurred about the affair of Ancona in the House of Commons. Ministerial responses are always the same:
“Negotiations are pending” — “affairs are in a train”
“ explanations cannot conveniently be given.” No doubt; because they have none to give. It is remarkable we are only favoured with explanations after the events.
The Gallomaniacs are even yet not altogether recovered from their astonishment at the Ancona expedition. For a long time they sympathised very much with poor M. Casimir Perier for having been so badly served throughout the affair by all his agents. I, not being a Gallomaniac, cannot share in showering all this commiseration on M. Casimir Perier. I am credibly informed by one who was in the cabinet of the Prime Minister of France, when the first despatches arrived from
Ancona, that M. Casimir Perier, who is in general very irritable and bilious, indicated that morning in no degree whatever that profound mortification which it afterwards appears the capture of Ancona occasioned him. On the contrary, he was in remarkably good spirits, and never laughed so much in his life.
When we remember who were the chiefs of this famous expedition, it required no ghost to comprehend that the French Minister never intended that his orders should be obeyed. He apparently began his operations by appointing General Cubieres to the command. General Cubieres received his instructions, copies of which were also given to the Ambassadors at Paris. The diplomatic body knowing that the General had not sailed, of course concluded that the expedition was yet in port, but the truth is, the expedition had sailed, and without the General. The virtual commanders, therefore, were Captain Gallois, known as a furious Republican, and Col. Comb, a colonel since the three days, of which he was the most violent hero; in gratitude I suppose to the Dauphin who had pardoned him his life, when the gallant Colonel was convicted of a conspiracy to assassinate his Royal Highness in the forest of Fontainbleau. Conceive such men at the head of
an expedition acting without orders, and of all personages in the world against the Pope !
At the same time, it is but justice to observe, that M. Casimir Perier, — who is a shrewd man, and, as a speculator in the funds, knows the value of private intelligence, - did not neglect to send also, overland, two friends of his own, who were announced, in the Journals, as about to depart on a high diplomatic mission. One was M. de Vatry, styled in the Ministerial Journal ancien officier. It may be so; but, in describing our acquaintance, we really should be careful to give their present, or their last titles. We like to know what a man has been doing for the last five or ten, or even fifteen years, and thus I may describe the present plenipotentiary, as M. de Vatry, ex-clerk to Mr. Rothschild, and afterwards stock-broker, under the patronage of his former master. His brother envoy was quite a different character. I forget
He was a writer of Vaudevilles, and author of Les Soirées de Neuilly, a handsome youth, who commenced his mustachios in the glorious week, and has not shaved them since really, at last, he does look like a hero. A stockbroker, and a youthful hero of July; these were the envoys of the King of the French, and who arrived even before his General, to assure the
Holy Father of his Majesty's pacific intentions. They must have also afforded his Holiness some idea of the prudence and sagacity which doubtless equally pervaded all the appointments of the French Administration.
The Times newspaper, which occasionally corrects and whitewashes the blunders of our forlorn champion of Non-Intervention, the worthy descendant of Sir William Temple, whose shade, I trust, never disturbs the signer of the Anti-Dutch Protocols, — the Times newspaper was not quite content with this expedition, and did not take the affair, pour rire, like our Ambassador at Paris, who, I suppose, has a finer taste for humour, - the Times newspaper was rather annoyed at the panegyric lavished by the Mouvement party on this expedition, and immediately " the thunder " sounded; and the Minister, in his despatches, announced, that the Times newspaper did not permit the expedition to remain. M. de Talleyrand even assented, that after the infliction of that leading article “ satisfaction must be given.”
Satisfaction was given. Our candid ministers are so conciliatory and so firm! They always obtain their purpose, and so pleasantly! Satisfaction was given. The Captain and the Colonel were recalled, but the squadron and the division