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COPY OF A DESPATCH
COUNT NESSELRODE TO PRINCE LIEVEN.
ST. PETERSBURG ... JAN. 1827.
[In our first Numbers we thought it right, so long as there was a
question of the authenticity of the State Papers we published, to append the original in French and German ; but since the authenticity of the Despatches has been long since admitted, we think it unnecessary to continue the French version of them.]
In our despatches of the 9th (21st)of this month, we reserved to ourselves to answer separately your Excellency's reports, in which you communicated the opinions of the British Ministry on the affairs of the Peninsula, and the measures which they adopted on the news of the insurrection of the Marquis de Chaves, and of his entrance on the Portuguese territory.
The present despatch will treat of the questions which these deplorable events involve.
The Emperor has been profoundly afflicted by
them. They have come to surprise the Peninsula at a moment when positive promises seemed to offer a fortunate guarantee of union and tranquillity. In seeing these promises violated, civil war kindled in Portugal, blind passions presiding over the counsels of Spain, English forces transported to the theatre of this contest, France and England suddenly arrived at a position, delicate both for one and the other, it is impossible not to feel a sentiment of regret and uneasiness, which even the Cabinet of St. James has doubtless been unable to escape
from. Never, during the last twelve years, had the peace of Europe run greater risks. It is still maintained; but by the side of such grave complications, of such real evils, and of the wellfounded alarms which they inspire, the entire hopes of the Monarchs, whose first wish has never ceased to be the preservation of peace, repose on the moderation and the wisdom which have prevented the explosion of a general war. On this point the decisions of France leave us nothing to desire. The policy of the Cabinet of the Thuilleries has been loyal towards Spain as much as her language has been conciliatory towards England. It is not less just to say, that the message of his Britannic
Majesty to Parliament, announced that spirit of prudence and moderation which one is always happy to find in the declarations of a great state, and that the explanation of the existing conventions between England and Portugal, in establishing the necessity of sending troops, seemed also to determine, that the same respect for treaties which engaged the Cabinet of St. James to protect the Court of Lisbon, would lead it to observe the principles of its union with all the others. We shall not speak of the ulterior explanations of the English Ministry, and convinced that it will find, in its haste to soften them, and in our friendship, the sole motives of our silence, we shall proceed to the examination of the role of Russia, in the midst of a crisis which threatens the destinies of the Peninsula.
This rôle is entirely traced. The opinions of the Emperor on the conduct that Spain ought to hold towards Portugal, sufficiently make known its judgment on the conduct she has held, and the invariable maxims of his Majesty indicate beforehand the object of his efforts. Frankly to apprise the Court of Madrid that it forces the Allies to deplore its march and to abandon its cause, to sup
port the useful measures which we invite it to take, to recover its claim to the solicitude of which it has always been the object, to require Portugal, assisted by British troops, not to extend its success beyond the limits of its territory; to strengthen the pacific dispositions which the Cabinets of London and of Paris mutually manifest towards each other; to second and facilitate the accomplishment of the wishes they form, to maintain their relations of reciprocal good-will; such has been, and such will continue to be the task of the Cabinet of St. Petersburgh. In order to perform the duties which it imposes on us towards Spain and Portugal, we forward to M. M. d'Oubril and de Palença the subjoined instructions. In order to manifest our intentions with regard to the Courts of England and of France, we instruct you, as well as Count Pozzo di Borgo, to communicate the present Despatch, with its annexes, to the Ministry of his Britannic Majesty and to that of his Most Christian Majesty. But it is not enough to put a term to the discussions which have been raised between the two states of the Peninsula ; we must prevent the return of them : it is not enough to re-establish tranquillity in Portugal ; it is not less essential to consolidate it. The first of these results will, we believe, be the effect of the unanimous representations which the first Courts of Europe address to Spain, the effect of the experience which reveals to it the vanity of the attempts which inspired it with so unfortunate a hope, the effect of the critical position into which it has been thrown by its system, of the severe lessons it has received, of its adhesion to the demands which have been presented to it on the part of England; of the certainty, in fine, that if it again violated its promises, it would have to sustain both a struggle supported by Great Britain, and the weight of a European disapproval. On this point all the allied Cabinets could not but pursue a common end, for one common interest unites them. They all acknowledge that serious complications between Spain and Portugal may occasion more serious ones still between England and France.* They know what would be the consequences of them. They must therefore all seek to prevent them. They must all pronounce at Madrid the same wishes, evince there equal sincerity, display there equal energy. With