« PreviousContinue »
COPY OF A CONFIDENTIAL DESPATCH
COUNT POZZO DI BORGO TO COUNT NESSELRODE,
DATED PARIS The 1st (13) APRIL, 1827.
Your Excellency has been apprized by the despatch which I had the honour to address to you, under No. 38, that the Spanish Cabinet appeared disposed to demand the withdrawal of the French and English troops from the Peninsula, offering, if this withdrawal should take place, to disband the troops it had thought itself obliged to assemble, in consequence of the state of Portugal, and during the commotions which have latterly agitated that country. It now becomes my duty to submit to the Imperial Cabinet the development which the Spanish Ministry has since given to its proposition.
When France, frightened at seeing Spain plunge into a war with Portugal and England, ordered the two Swiss regiments in its service to quit Madrid, the Catholic King, fearing lest the same measure would be adopted with regard to the other French troops who occupy different places in his states, presented the note, of which a copy is herewith inclosed (see letter A.), for the purpose of inquiring whether it was the intention of His Most Christian Majesty, equally to withdraw in the month of April the garrisons of the above-mentioned places.
The French Cabinet answered, by the communication (Letter C.), that in reality the charges on the treasury, in consequence of the military occupation of some Spanish fortresses, had determined them to fix on the month of April as the period for the retirement of their French troops, but that as events had introduced new complications into the relations between Spain and Portugal, they had decided on deferring this measure, which in
every case would never take place before the month of October next.
It is evident that the step of the Cabinet of Madrid towards that of the Thuilleries had for its object to sound the dispositions of the latter on the duration of the occupation which it desired to see prolonged. France, on her side, wishing neither to inspire Spain with too much confidence, by promising her the indefinite duration of the presence of her troops, nor to abandon her at the sight of the dangers' which the situation of Portugal gave reason still to apprehend, decided not to act precipitately, allowed Spain to infer the possibility of the evacuation in the month of October, and thought to have gained for herself the necessary time either to witness the arrival of events or to come to an understanding with Spain, on a measure which depended on an infinity of circumstances and incidents, which it was then impossible to define.
Having been myself invited by the Ambassador of Spain to support his measures, it is in the spirit above indicated, that is to say, the intention of obtaining the prolongation of the military occupation, that he begged me to act, and when I announced to him that France would accede to it, he regarded the answer of the latter as satisfactory and conformable to the desire of his Government.
This affair then seemed either terminated or adjourned with the consent of the parties interested, when the Catholic King determined, in an unexpected manner, to demand the entire evacuation of the Peninsula by the French and English troops. This determination has been simultaneous with that of the recall of his Ambassador from Paris, and yet it is to this same Ambassador, thus recalled, that His Catholic Majesty has given the order to present the note (Letter C.) in the interval which elapsed between the notice which announced to him the cessation of his functions and the presentation of his letters of re-credence. Count d'Alcudia has made the same demand to the English Government, and Count Ofalia is sent on an extraordinary mission to Paris and to London to support it and to negotiate its adoption.
The first impression which the Spanish note has produced on the French Cabinet is the conviction that it was suggested by Mr. Canning. This minister manifested extreme irritation on the occasion of the war waged in Spain against the revolution, and he has since seen with uneasiness the presence of the French troops in the most important fortresses of that country. As events determined him to send English troops to Portugal, and France had wounded the ruling faction at Madrid, in order to prevent the war which England herself dreaded more than any other
power, Mr. Canning has chosen this moment to propose to this same faction which rules the Spanish ministry, the entire evacua
tion of the Peninsula. Such is, at least, on this point, the persuasion of M. de Villèle and of his colleagues.
When the President of the Council imparted to me this view of the subject, I hesitated, or at least suspended my opinion ; he added, that I should soon see his opinion confirmed by the favourable reception that the English Ministry would give to the demand of Spain. This supposition has been verified, according to the information received from London.
Notwithstanding this apparent agreement, if it exists, between the Apostolicals and Mr. Canning, the project of both is that of mutually deceiving each other.* The former see in the departure of the foreign forces facilities for effecting by arms the counter revolution in Portugal. The latter expects to be able to boast of having by his dexterity obliged the French to quit Spain with the arrierè penseé that, if the apostolical faction were to renew their attempts, he would have the right to re-occupy Portugal without France having the right to send
* The malignity of this expression arises from the appreciation by Russia of the system of neutrality observed by Mr. Canning between contending principles and contending parties. — Ed.