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and fostered the present fictitious friendship between France and England.
M, de Talleyrand was sent to this country to consolidate the throne of Louis-Philippe. I will not investigate the reasons by which the recognition of England was so readily conceded. That recognition could not, perhaps, have been ultimately denied if the new throne had become stable; but it need not, I incline to think, have been granted with a facility which tended to stabilitate that throne. Perhaps the Duke of Wellington, in conceding that early recognition, was influenced by the remembrance of the ill effects of the opposition of the great powers to the national will in the great revolution of 1793, or the Duke's policy may have been adopted with the view of immediately arresting the torrent; and His Grace, no doubt, had sufficient confidence in his own resources to feel that he might hereafter remedy any ill effects of this step, while at the present moment he availed himself of the immediate benefit. But the Duke of Wels lington quitted office; and his policy, however prudent it may have been, has been followed by the same result as an
His successors availed themselves of his act, without incurring the responsibility of commencing the French connection. For myself, I am inclined to believe that the Duke was misled by the source on which he had a right to depend for accurate information as to the real state of France; and that, if he had known the true circumstances of the case, he might have paused before he took the irrevocable step of recognition. I know that of late it has been urged by the great diplomatists to excuse their error, that the abdication of the King and the Dauphin, and the flight from France of the whole family (including the Duke of Bordeaux), left foreign countries little option as to their course in this matter. When the Duke of Bordeaux was out of the way, they observe, the Duke of Orleans stood in the position of being de jure the legitimate heir, as he was de facto the acknowledged head of the state. Are these great diplomatists ignorant that the whole family, including the Duke of Bourdeaux, quitted France, because the Commissioners of the Duke of Orleans assured them that an infuriated mob of eighty thousand persons were on the road to Rambouillet, and that their only chance of safety was instantly to repair to Cherbourg under the protection of the Commissioners ?
Lord Grey came into office on the full swell and tide of French principles, which he had in his early days adopted in opposition to the antiGallican system of the rival party, and which had kept him out of office all his life. M. de Talleyrand immediately pinned him “ nothing loth.” M. de Talleyrand is one of those personages to whom, perhaps, Posterity can alone do justice, and Posterity will do him justice. But I also, in good time, will try. M. de Talleyrand succeeded in placing England in a secondary position, and his employer, Louis-Philippe, in a commanding
So far, M. de Talleyrand, as usual, proved himself a good Frenchman. In the course of events, M. Casimir Perier placed himself at the head of the revolution; but while availing himself of the Revolution, he distrusts its power. In a national position, he maintains himself by antinational principles. England has agreed to be his tool, and he scarcely ventures to use her, lest it should be discovered that she has become his instrument. The French urge Casimir Perier to avail himself of his position; and Casimir Perier dare not, because he fears his position will be forfeited by the very act which they call for. He vacillates, therefore, on a tremulous balance of mezzi termini. One day the French occupy Belgium; the next day they retire. Then Portugal is invaded to gratify France; and then follows a retreat to conciliate England. An expedition is despatched to Italy, and the citadel of Ancona is seized to intimidate Austria, and insult the
Pope, but the officer who seized it is immediately disgraced to check, for the moment, the rising indignation of all Europe. Perier's policy is the real jeu de bascule.
Louis-Philippe would persuade the English that he will be to them the same as the elder Bourbons, and the French naturally enquire, If so, why did we get rid of the elders? In France there is no real middle party between the old Bourbons - the party of peace and order, and the Mouvement, the party of revolution and war ; whether that party delight in the name of Liberal, Napoleonist, or Republican. Is it probable that Louis-Philippe, who is of neither party, and who has both against him, can maintain himself? The old Bourbons, backed by the royalists, and by the indirect support of all the European governments, might balance and baffle the Mouvement ; and it is for this reason, that I should wish to see those Bourbons again upon the throne.
Lord Grey is for the French Alliance, because he has gained office by the influence of French principles, because he is forced to adopt a contrary policy to his predecessors, and because, in short, he is pledged by his whole life to the Gallic interest. But Lord Grey must know that an alliance between England and France is, in the long run, impracticable: their permanent interests are incompatible — from national passions and prejudices, if from no other reasons. The career of both nations is therefore at a stand-still. It is the part of Lord Grey to further the interests of France; and it is the part of Casimir Perier to take care that the efforts of the English minister are unavailing. In the present state of affairs, the alliance between the two countries is perfectly insignificant; a mere neutralisation of all action : an empty phrase, to keep in the respective ministers, and to maintain in power two parties, who have attained that power by accident and not by principle. But where England has suffered, and suffers deeply, is from the first vigorous and national efforts of the Mouvement in Belgium, before they were paralysed by the half measures of the successor of Necker; which an English minister should never have rested till he had repaired. And what have our ministry done to counteract this fatal effort ? Even for the withdrawal of the French troops we are indebted to the Times newspaper, without whose reiterated menace, there is little hope that Lord Grey would have insisted on this step. There is, in fact, no real object in the alliance, beyond the personal interests of the ministers; both talk of a commercial treaty, and both are well aware that even that subordinate object is a mere delusion.