« PreviousContinue »
After this conversation Lafayette could not help making the utmost efforts to stop the expedition; but the refugees were too confident in their own strength, in the weakness of the Spanish government, in the efficacious sympathy which thenceforward they expected to find in the population of the Peninsula. Torrijos set out-his fate is well known.
It was a thunder-stroke to Lafayette when he learned the fate of these unfortunate refugees. Though he had certainly nothing to reproach himself with, still he lamented that those hapless persons had not listened to the advice which he had received from M. Molé, and of which he had made himself the organ.
The writer of these lines has reason to believe that the diplomacy of the North, perfectly aware of the subscriptions raising at Paris, had lost no time in conveying the information to the cabinet of Ferdinand. Itself the author of the death of Torrijos, it could not seriously charge M. Molé with a catastrophe, which, on his part, he had done every thing to prevent.
MESSRS. THIERS AND MOLÉ.
M. Thiers was appointed president of the council for the pur pose of effecting an approximation with the powers of the East. He purposed to employ Austria as an agent for accomplishing this object, and it was he who first opened the negociations for the marriage of the Duke of Orleans with the archduchess Theresa. To this end he was ready to make any kind of concessions at home and abroad. It is even asserted, and official documents seem to prove, that for a moment he went so far as to contemplate arrangements with Don Carlos.
The overtures relative to the match just referred to completely failed. M. Thiers, with good reason, no doubt, placed this disappointment much more to the account of Russia and Prussia than of Austria. Resolving to be revenged, and knowing how deep an interest the northern powers took in Don Carlos, he determined to interfere in Spain. He intended to make war at
once upon Carlism and the Constitution of 1812, in order to prevent its re-action upon France.
M. Molé has been appointed president of the council, in order to renounce at once the concessions to the North and the struggle with the Constitution of 1812. To make in other respects a clear field, he was obliged to renounce also the intervention against Don Carlos.
Thenceforward the line of policy of the new cabinet was clearly
1. This cabinet does not interfere, with England, in Spain. It leaves in Spain the troops that are there; but it sends no more. Two thousand four hundred men will pass from Pau to Africa; but corps of observation will remain upon the southern boundary.
2. Notwithstanding the differences which might thence have arisen with England, the cabinet is sincerely desirous of British alliance. It faithfully executes the quadruple treaty, which has no secret article. The administration has been obliged to engage upon honour that it would prosecute the most rigorous measures against all smuggling and against the supply of any objects whatever which could assist Don Carlos; and these measures are in progress. In the great questions of European policy, France will be glad, as far as its interests permit, to go hand in hand with England; and the present ministry will cheerfully favour the commercial demands of England, as far as the interest of France and the consent of the chamber permit.
We have seen that M. Thiers had two lines of policy, and we have seen, too, that he was never to be relied upon. M. Molé will have but one single policy, and he is a statesman in whom confidence can be placed.
The composition of the ministry also offers guarantees. By the side of M. Molé we see Messrs. Guizot and Duchatel, who are favourable to the English alliance.
As for domestic policy, M. Thiers had trod in the steps of his predecessors. He had granted no amnesty; he had continued the trials begun in April. That which had been firmness under the
administration of his predecessors had become levity in his hand; without fixed principles, he attacked individual liberty; and among the refugees, for example, who were sent out of France, he selected those who were least dangerous, but denounced by the diplomacy of the North.
Under M. Molé, I know not if the king will decide upon an amnesty, but nobody seems to expect any trials before the peers. M. Molé was always hostile to these. M. Martin du Nord will think no more of his post of attorney-general to the Court of Peers, now that he is a minister.
Thiers' administration was divided. He was not unfrequently at variance with the Tiers-Parti and with M. de Montalivet. France has now a more united ministry, especially since the last appointments, which complete the balance and conciliate persons.
A point more difficult to judge of is the position of the new ministry with respect to the Chambers, that is to say, a multitude of persons whose opinions cannot be guaranteed from one day to another. However, on the one hand, M. Guizot has a strong party in the Chamber; on the other, M. Molé is on good terms with several leaders of the Tiers-Parti; the appointment of M. Bernard secures the support of other members of the Tiers-Parti; Messrs Persil and Martin du Nord possess great influence over the Chamber; M. Dupin, tied down by his work against all intervention, cannot openly attack the cabinet on this point. It is possible that the ministry will maintain its place.
Were I called upon here to express my private opinion, I should not fail to adduce such motives as would encourage an efficacious co-operation in Spain. But all I have to do is to record facts. That co-operation will not take place.
That England should persevere appears natural enough; but that she should make the whole alliance depend on that question is what I cannot imagine. The whole of enlightened Europe would deplore such a result.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE STATE OF OUR
The events which have recently taken place in Persia, to which we alluded in our last Number, are calculated to awaken the most painful reflections in the breast of every Englishman. We use a general expression, because we are convinced that there breathes not a man in the British dominions so destitute of public spirit, as to view with indifference the continued successes of a power, whose ambition, equally incompatible with the peace of the world and the well-being of mankind, is marked by the deadliest hostility to England, under the dangerous disguise of friendship, good-will, and alliance.
It was our painful duty during the last session of Parliament to expose the errors into which his Majesty's Government had been beguiled in the affairs of a country, hardly less important than Persia. We proved that during the last five years our funds, our marine, our diplomacy, and the whole of our moral influence, had been applied to the promotion of Russian ascendency in the Mediterranean, through our support of the Russian faction in Greece, and that the payment of the third series of the loan would only serve to arm that country against ourselves. We conjured the House of Commons to pause in this unfortunate affair, and our warning was re-echoed by almost all the leading organs of public opinion. His Majesty's Government thought it advisable, hereupon, to lay before Parliament additional information in support of its violation of all our international engagements with Greece, in order to uphold the usurpation of a foreigner, whose future prospects and pension in Bavaria
VOL. IV.NO. XXXII.
are wholly dependent upon his subserviency in Greece to the Russian predilections of his Sovereign King Louis. Yet, no sooner had England pledged herself to the payment of £250,000, professedly to appease a state of anarchy brought about by the Arch-Chancellor to impose on our humanity, than the announcement is made of the approaching nuptials of King Otho with a Princess closely connected with the house of Romanow; and scarcely have we time to recover from this humiliating defeat, when our attention is called to the loss of Persia.
The laurels which Russia has reaped on this important field were planted no less than three-and-twenty years ago. By the treaty of Goolistan she guaranteed the succession of the Persian crown to Abbas Meerza, the eldest son of the late monarch. The latter died at the close of 1834, having been preceded to the grave, a few months previously, by Abbas Meerza, who left a son Mohammed. Russia immediately recognized this Prince as the legitimate sovereign; but it was reserved for England to follow in her path, to furnish the Prince with a subsidy, soldiers, and her whole diplomatic support, and to seat him on his throne by force of arms, whilst British officers reduced under his subjection the southern provinces of his kingdom, the attachment of whose nobles to the interests of England had hitherto been inviolate. In all these transactions the Russian Embassy judiciously represented to the Persian monarch that England was only following the impulse given to its Cabinet by the Emperor's command. To such an extent was Russian duplicity applied, that, on the dismissal of Lord Melbourne's administration, her emissaries were instructed to represent, throughout the whole of the Eastern world, that the change was effected through the Russian Ambassador in London; that the Emperor, disgusted with the subversive doctrines of the Radicals, had managed to place at the head of the Coun