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to send a deputation to Brussels: and, by their reiterated assurances that the cause of Poland entirely depended upon Belgic benevolence, induced, after prolonged negotiations, the swaggering ruffians to accede to the respectful solicitation of the Conference. The Deputation returned to London with their commission fulfilled, and with a conviction that they would now be supported by those who had invested them with this important mission. From that moment the Polish Commissioners were entirely abandoned by the Gallomaniac Cabinet ; and incurred the increased displeasure of the Emperor of Russia for having materially assisted in the overthrow of his brother-in-law. Thus, had not the Polish Deputation repaired to Brussels, Lord Grey would not have been enabled to place Prince Leopold upon the throne of Belgium ; and the nationality
; of his dupe, Poland, might have been maintained. *
Doubtless our course was to have secured our own interests by effecting the restoration of the Nassaus to Belgium, and to have made the price of the reestablishment of the Emperor of Russia's brotherin-law the due observance of the Polish articles in the Treaty of Vienna; and I well know that there was a time, when affairs looking blacker in Poland and in Belgium for the Emperor and for the King than they do at present, this offer would have been readily accepted. An English minister, who should have secured the nationality of Poland, and the accession, at the same time, of a Nassau to the throne of Belgium, would have been in as proud a situation as any statesman since the time of Lord Chatham. And in that situation Lord Grey might have been, had he not been thinking of something else.
* The only point, apparently, that Casimir Perier and Lord Grey obtained, by the intervention of M. Sebastiani and Lord Granville, from M. Pozzo di Borgo, was, that he should write to his Imperial Master to be gracious enough not to publish his Ukase until “after the Budget.” The decree was dated the 12th (24th) of February, and was published in Warsaw on the 25th of March. Everybody knows how long it requires for a despatch to go from Petersburg to Warsaw, and also from Paris to Warsaw.
And, in the mean time, have we gained the great object for which we have sacrificed so much ? Is the precious Treaty even ratified, which when ratified will do nothing? What a pleasing calendar for Lord Palmerston must the dates of the intended ratification form! There is the day of original ratification, the 15th of November. Then comes the day of the adjourned ratification the 30th of the same month. Then on the 15th of December all was surely to be right: but, after all, it seemed the 31st was to be the happy day. But the year died, and had it not been for the 15th of January we might have almost suspected they
were trifling with our all-accomplished secretary; and when the 31st of January also passed over without a result, had the most important department of our affairs been intrusted to any one but Lord Palmerston, I really should have been afraid that we had been taken in. But I was encouraged, when I heard, that on the 15th of February all would be settled "for certain ;” and if the deed were really postponed, I imagined it was that they might have the pleasure of achieving it “absolutely” on the 29th. But the 15th March was really “the last time," and the 31st March was, I suppose, the penultimate. Every thing then was to be settled, and every thing is now ready,
even the snuffboxes; and indeed, since the approaching event has been announced by the Minister of Foreign Affairs,- very Foreign Affairs,--at Brussels, who can doubt its occurrence ? For myself, I always considered that their object in delaying the ratification so long, was, that they might have the pleasure of exchanging the treaties on the 1st of April; pour un Poisson d'Avril. But even after swallowing this fish, I foresee that we are to be choked by another bone. A second edition of Protocols bas commenced !
I now approach the most pitiable and disgust. ing chapter in the history of our recent foreign policy — " THE BELGIUM BUSINESS," as LouisPhilippe would poetically style it.
I confess, that when I examine, with the atten-, tion it deserves, the conduct of the English Diplomatist employed in these negotiations, it is difficult for me, to use a mild phrase, - it is difficult for me to suppress my astonishment. I shall not accuse Lord Ponsonby, like General Vander Smissen, of what no one can prove; or, like Lord Londonderry, of what every one can deny. I shall confine myself to facts which no one can presume to question, and which I shall rejoice to hear that any one is enabled to explain.
It is a mistake to consider that Lord Ponsonby, in these negotiations, was the mere agent of England. Lord Ponsonby was the agent of the Conference, that is to say of the Five Powers, and such, indeed, is he styled in some of the documents to which this Conference gave rise. In
deed, on the 9th of January, 1831, I find that Lord Ponsonby received from the Conference a reproach, sufficiently severe, for having accepted a note from the provisional government of Brussels, containing principles subversive of the order which the Conference was desirous of establishing in the arrangement of the Belgic Question.
« Il est à regretter, Messieurs, (Lord Ponsonby and M. Bresson,) que vous ayez accepté cette note, dont la teneur ne saurait faciliter l'accord désiré par les Cinq Puissances, et nous vous invitons même à vouloir bien la restituer au comité diplomatique, afin d'éviter des discussions qui ne pourraient qu'être fâcheuses.
66 Cette note tend d'ailleurs à établir le droit d'agrandisement et de conquête en faveur de la Belgique. Or, les puissances ne sauraient reconnaître à aucun état un droit qu'elles se refusent à elles-mêmes, et c'est sur cette renonciation mutuelle à toute idée de conquête, que reposent aujourd'hui la paix générale et le système Européen.”*
Yet, notwithstanding this reprimand, I find Lord Ponsonby, at a later date, resisting the reiterated orders of the Five Powers, to deliver to
* Recueil de Pièces Diplomatiques relatives aux Affaires de la Hollande et de la Belgique en 1830 et 1831, publié à la Haye, p. 58.