First Published: New York Tribune, and People's Paper in England.
Publishers' Note (International Publishers edition, 1969)[edit source]
The Story of the Life of Lord Palmerston was originally published in 1853 in the New York Tribune and in England in the People's Paper. At the close of 1853 the third chapter was published under the title "Palmerston and Russia" in the Glargow Sentinel and as a political flysheet by E. Tucker in London. This flysheet was republished by Tucker in 1854 under the title "Palmerston and Poland". Tucker also published Chapters 4 and 5 in 1853 under the title "Palmerston, what has he done? or Palmerston and the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi". The whole work was republished in successive numbers of the London Free Press from November 1855 to February 1856.
In this edition the text of The Story of the Life of Lord Palmerston reproduces the text as edited by Eleanor Marx in 1899. As with the other pamphlet, she introduced some minor stylistic improvements. She also corrected some errors in the text as published in the Free Press (for example, some obvious misprints, such as "Turkish" for "Grecian" on page 17 of the pamphlet, and an incorrect date in one of the Parliamentary quotations).
In Chapter 7 of his polemical work Herr Vogt (Werke, Vol. 14, page 474, Dietzverlag, Berlin) Marx himself explained in a lengthy footnote how these two works came to be written:
"Vogt naturally ascribes the attacks made by the Marx clique against Lord Palmerston to my opposition to his own bumptious person and to his friends. It would therefore seem to be useful if I were to outline briefly my relations with D. Urquhart and his party.
"I was excited but not convinced by Urquhart's writings on Russia and against Palmerston. In order to arrive at a definite standpoint I made a very close and careful study of Hansard's Parliamentary Debates and the diplomatic Blue Books as of 1847-50. The first fruit of these studies was a series of leading articles in the New York Tribune at the end of 1853 in which I outlined Palmerston's connections with the Cabinet in Petersburg in relation to his dealings with Poland, Turkey, Circassia, etc. Shortly after this I agreed to the republication of these articles in the People's Paper, the organ of the Chartists, edited by Ernest Jones, which included new material about Palmerston's activities. In the meantime, the Glasgow Sentinel also printed one of these articles, which was drawn to the attention of Mr. Urquhart. Following a meeting between us, Mr. Urquhart asked Mr. Tucker of London to print parts of this article in pamphlet form. This Palmerston pamphlet was later issued in various editions and sold between 15,000 and 20,000 copies.
"As a result of my analysis of the Blue Book which dealt with 'The Fall of Kars' (this appeared in the London Chartist paper in April 1856), the Foreign Affairs Committee in Sheffield sent me a letter of appreciation. In digging at the British Museum into diplomatic manuscripts, I came upon a series of English documents going back from the end of the eighteenth century to the time of Peter the Great, which revealed the secret and permanent collaboration of the Cabinets at London and St. Petersburg, and that this collaboration dated from the time of Peter the Great. I want to devote to this subject a detailed study to which I have so far published only the introduction under the title 'Revelations of the Diplomatic History of the Eighteenth Century'. It first appeared in the Free Press of Sheffield, then in the Free Press of London, both Urquhartist journals. To the latter journal I have contributed various articles ever since its foundation.
"As can be seen, my preoccupation with Palmerston and with Anglo-Russian diplomacy in general proceeded without the slightest intimation that behind Lord Palmerston there stands--Herr Vogt."
RUGGIERO  is again and again fascinated by the false charms of Alcine, which, as he knows, disguise an old witch,—
“Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything,”
and the knight-errant cannot withstand falling in love anew with her whom he knows to have transmuted all her former adorers into asses and other beasts. The English public is another Ruggiero and Palmerston is another Alcine. Although a septuagenarian, and since 1807 occupying the public stage almost without interruption, he contrives to remain a novelty, and to evoke all the hopes that used to centre on an untried and promising youth. With one foot in the grave, he is supposed not yet to have begun his true career. If he were to die to-morrow, all England would be surprised to learn that he had been a Secretary of State half this century.
If not a good statesman of all work, he is at least a good actor of all work. He succeeds in the comic as in the heroic—in pathos as in familiarity—in tragedy as in farce; although the latter may be more congenial to his feelings. He is not a first-class orator, but an accomplished debater. Possessed of a wonderful memory, of great experience, of consummate tact, of never-failing presence of mind, of gentlemanlike versatility, of the most minute knowledge of Parliamentary tricks, intrigues, parties, and men, he handles difficult cases in an admirable manner and with a pleasant volatility, sticking to the prejudices and susceptibilities of his public, secured from any surprise by his cynical impudence, from any self-confession by his selfish dexterity, from running into a passion by his profound frivolity, his perfect indifference, and his aristocratic contempt. Being an exceedingly happy joker, he ingratiates himself with everybody. Never losing his temper, he imposes on an impassioned antagonist. When unable to master a subject, he knows how to play with it. If wanting in general views, he is always ready to weave a web of elegant generalities.
Endowed with a restless and indefatigable spirit, he abhors inactivity and pines for agitation, if not for action. A country like England allows him, of course, to busy himself in every corner of the earth. What he aims at is not the substance, but the mere appearance of success. If he can do nothing, he will devise anything. Where he dares not interfere, he intermeddles. When unable to vie with a strong enemy, he improvises a weak one. Being no man of deep designs, pondering on no combinations of long standing, pursuing no great object, he embarks on difficulties with a view to disentangle himself from them in a showy manner. He wants complications to feed his activity, and when he finds them not ready, he will create them. He exults in show conflicts, show battles, show enemies, diplomatical notes to be exchanged, ships to be ordered to sail, the whole ending in violent Parliamentary debates, which are sure to prepare him an ephemeral success, the constant and the only object of all his exertions. He manages international conflicts like an artist, driving matters to a certain point, retreating when they threaten to become serious, but having got, at all events, the dramatic excitement he wants. In his eyes, the movement of history itself is nothing but a pastime, expressly invented for the private satisfaction of the noble Viscount Palmerston of Palmerston.
Yielding to foreign influence in fact, he opposes it in words. Having inherited from Canning  England's mission to propagate Constitutionalism on the Continent, he is never in need of a theme to pique the national prejudices, to counteract revolution abroad, and, at the same time, to keep awake the suspicious jealousy of foreign powers. Having succeeded in this easy manner in becoming the bete noire of the continental courts, he could not fail to be set up as the truly English minister at home. Although a Tory by origin he has contrived to introduce into the management of foreign affairs all the shams and contradictions that form the essence of Whiggism. He knows how to conciliate a democratic phraseology with oligarchic views, how to cover the peace-mongering policy of the middle classes with the haughty language of England's aristocratic past—how to appear as the aggressor where he connives, and as the defender where he betrays—how to manage an apparent enemy, and how to exasperate a pretended ally—how to find himself, at the opportune moment of the dispute, on the side of the stronger against the weak, and how to utter brave words in the act of running away.
Accused by the one party of being in the pay of Russia, he is suspected by the other of Carbonarism. If, in 1848, he had to defend himself against the motion of impeachment for having acted as the minister of Nicholas, he had, in 1850, the satisfaction of being persecuted by a conspiracy of foreign ambassadors, which was successful in the House of Lords, but baffled in the House of Commons. If he betrayed foreign peoples, he did it with great politeness—politeness being the small coin of the devil, which he gives in change for the life-blood of his dupes. If the oppressors were always sure of his active support, the oppressed never wanted a great ostentation of rhetorical generosity. Poles, Italians, Hungarians, Germans, found him in office whenever they were crushed, but their despots always suspected him of secret conspiracy with the victims he had allowed them to make. Till now, in all instances, it was a probable chance of success to have him for one's adversary, and a sure chance of ruin to have him for one's friend. But, if his art of diplomacy does not shine in the actual results of his foreign negotiations, it shines the more brilliantly in the construction he has induced the English people to put upon them, by accepting phrases for facts, phantasies for realities, and high-sounding pretexts for shabby motives.
Henry John Temple, Viscount Palmerston, deriving his title from a peerage of Ireland, was nominated Lord of the Admiralty, in 1807, on the formation of the Duke of Portland's Administration. In 1809, he became Secretary for War, and continued to hold this office till May, 1828. In 1830, he went over, very skilfully too, to the Whigs, who made him their permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs. Excepting the intervals of Tory administration, from November, 1834, to April, 1835, and from 1841 to 1846, he is responsible for the whole foreign policy England has pursued from the revolution of 1830 to December, 1851.
Is it not a very curious thing to find, at first view, this Quixote of “free institutions,” and this Pindar of the “glories of the constitutional system,” a permanent and an eminent member of the Tory administrations of Mr. Percival, the Earl of Liverpool, Mr. Canning, Lord Goderich, and the Duke of Wellington, during the long epoch when the Anti-Jacobin war was carried on, the monster debt contracted, the corn laws promulgated, foreign mercenaries stationed on the English soil, the people—to borrow an expression from his colleague, Lord Sidmouth—"bled” from time to time, the press gagged, meetings suppressed, the mass of the nation disarmed, individual liberty suspended together with regular jurisdiction, the whole country placed as it were under a state of siege—in one word, during the most infamous and most reactionary epoch of English history?
His debut in Parliamentary life is a characteristic one. On February 3, 1808, he rose to defend—what?—secrecy in diplomatic negotiations, and the most disgraceful act ever committed by one nation against another nation, viz., the bombardment of Copenhagen, and the capture of the Danish fleet, at the time when England professed to be in profound peace with Denmark. As to the former point, he stated that, “in this particular case, his Majesty's ministers are pledged” by whom? “to secrecy” but he went further: “I also object generally to making public the working of diplomacy, because it is the tendency of disclosures in that department to shut up future sources of information.” Vidocq [French Criminal, turned ‘father of modern criminology’ and ‘first private detective’] would have defended the identical cause in the identical terms. As to the act of piracy, while admitting that Denmark had evinced no hostility whatever towards Great Britain, he contended that they were right in bombarding its capital and stealing its fleet, because they had to prevent Danish neutrality from being, perhaps, converted into open hostility by the compulsion of France. This was the new law of nations, proclaimed by my Lord Palmerston.
When again speechifying, we find this English minister par excellence engaged in the defence of foreign troops, called over from the Continent to England, with the express mission of maintaining forcibly the oligarchic rule, to establish which William had, in 1688, come over from Holland with his Dutch troops. Palmerston answered to the well-founded “apprehensions for the liberties of the country,” originating from the presence of the King's German Legion, in a very flippant manner. Why should we not have 16,000 of those foreigners at home, while you know that we employ “a far larger proportion of foreigners abroad” ?—(House of Commons, March 10, 1812.)
When similar apprehensions for the Constitution arose from the large standing army, maintained since 1815, he found “a sufficient protection of the Constitution in the very Constitution of our army", a large proportion of its officers being “men of property and connections."—(House of Commons, March 8, 1816.)
When a large standing army was attacked from a financial point of view, he made the curious discovery that “much of our financial embarrassments has been caused by our former low peace establishment.” —(House of Commons, March 8, 1816.)
When the “burdens of the country” and the “misery of the people” were contrasted with the lavish military expenditure, he reminded Parliament that those burdens and that misery “were the price which we (viz., the English oligarchy) agreed to pay for our freedom and independence.” —(House of Commons, May 16, 1821.)
In his eyes, military despotism was not to be apprehended except from the exertions of “those self-called, but misled reformers, who demand that sort of reform in the country, which, according to every first principle of government, must end, if it were acceded to, in a military despotism."—(House of Commons, June 14, 1820.)
While large standing armies were thus his panacea for maintaining the Constitution of the country, flogging was his panacea for maintaining the Constitution of the army. He defended flogging in the debates on the Mutiny Bill, on the 5th of March, 1824; he declared it to be “absolutely indispensable” on March 11, 1825; he recommended it again on March 10, 1828; he stood by it in the debates of April, 1833, and he has proved a fan of flogging on every subsequent occasion.
There existed no abuse in the army he did not find plausible reasons for, if it happened to foster the interests of aristocratic parasites. Thus, for instance, in the debates on the Sale of Commissions.—(House of Commons, March 12, 1828.)
Lord Palmerston likes to parade his constant exertions for the establishment of religious liberty. Now, he voted against Lord John Russell's motion for the Repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts. Why? Because he was “a warm and zealous friend to religious liberty,” and could, therefore, not allow the dissenters to be relieved from “imaginary grievances, while real afflictions pressed upon the Catholics."—(House of Commons, February 26, 1828.)
In proof of his zeal for religious liberty, he informs us of his “regret to see the increasing numbers of the dissenters. It is my wish that the established church should be the predominant church in this country,” and from pure love and zeal for religious liberty he wants “the established church to be fed at the expense of the misbelievers.” His jocose lordship accuses the rich dissenters of satisfying the ecclesiastical wants of the poorer ones, while, “with the Church of England, it is the poor alone who feel the want of church accommodation. ... It would be preposterous to say that the poor ought to subscribe for churches out of their small earnings."—(House of Commons, March 11, 1825.)
It would be, of course, more preposterous yet to say, that the rich members of the established church ought to subscribe for the church out of their large earnings.
Let us now look at his exertions for Catholic Emancipation, one of his great “claims” on the gratitude of the Irish people. I shall not dwell upon the circumstances, that, having declared himself for Catholic Emancipation when a member of the Canning Ministry, he entered, nevertheless, the Wellington Ministry, avowedly hostile to that emancipation. Did Lord Palmerston consider religious liberty as one of the rights of man, not to be intermeddled with by legislature? He may answer for himself:
“Although I wish the Catholic claims to be considered, I never will admit these claims to stand upon the ground of right.... If I thought the Catholics were asking for their right, I, for one, would not go into the committee."—(House of Commons, March 1, 1813)
And why is he opposed to their demanding their right?
“Because the legislature of a country has the right to impose such political disabilities upon any class of the community, as it may deem necessary for the safety and the welfare of the whole...This belongs to the fundamental principles on which civilised government is founded."—(House of Commons, March 1, 1813.)
There you have the most cynical confession ever made, that the mass of the people have no rights at all, but that they may be allowed that amount of immunities the legislature—or, in other words, the ruling class—may deem fit to grant them. Accordingly Lord Palmerston declared, in plain words, “Catholic Emancipation to be a measure of grace and favour.”—(House of Commons, February 10, 1829.)
It was then entirely upon the ground of expediency that he condescended to discontinue the Catholic disabilities. And what was lurking behind this expediency?
Being himself one of the great Irish landed proprietors, he wanted to entertain the delusion that “other remedies for Irish evils than Catholic Emancipation are impossible", that it would cure absenteeism, and prove a cheap substitute for Poor-laws.—(House of Commons, March 19, 1829.)
The great philanthropist, who afterwards cleared his Irish estates of their Irish natives, could not allow Irish misery to darken, even for a moment, with its inauspicious clouds, the bright sky of the landlords and moneylords.
“It is true,” he said, “that the peasantry of Ireland do not enjoy all the comforts which are enjoyed by all the peasantry of England [only think of all the comforts enjoyed by a family at the rate of 7s. a week]. Still,” he continues, “still, however, the Irish peasant has his comforts. He is well supplied with fuel, and is seldom [only four days out of six] at a loss for food. [What a comfort!] But this is not all the comfort he has—he has a greater cheerfulness of mind than his English fellow-sufferer!”—(House of Commons, May 7, 1829.)
As to the extortions of Irish landlords, he deals with them in as pleasant a way as with the comforts of the Irish peasantry.
“It is said that the Irish landlord insists on the highest possible rent that can be extorted. Why, sir, I believe that is not a singular circumstance; certainly in England the landlord does the same thing.”—(House of Commons, March 7, 1829.)
Are we then to be surprised that this man, so deeply initiated into the mysteries of the “glories of the English Constitution,” and the “comforts of her free institutions,” should aspire to spread them all over the Continent?
When the Reform Movement had grown irresistible, Lord Palmerston deserted the Tories, and slipped into the Whiggery camp. Although he had apprehended the danger of military despotism springing up, not from the presence of the King's German Legion on English soil, nor from keeping large standing armies, but only from the “self-called reformers”, he patronised, nevertheless, already in 1828, the extension of the franchise to such large industrial places as Birmingham, Leeds, and Manchester. But why? “Not because I am a friend to Reform, but because I am its decided enemy.”
He had persuaded himself that some timely concessions made to the overgrown manufacturing interest might be the surest means of escaping “the introduction of general Reform.”—(House of Commons, June 17, 1828.) Once allied with the Whigs, he did not even pretend that their Reform Bill aimed at breaking through the narrow trammels of the Venetian Constitution, but, on the contrary, at the increase of its strength and solidity, by severing the middle classes from the people's Opposition. “The feelings of the middle classes will be changed, and their dissatisfaction will be converted into that attachment to the Constitution which will give to it a vast increase of strength and solidity.” He consoled the peers by telling them that the Reform Bill would neither weaken the “influence of the House of Lords“, nor put a stop to its “interfering in elections.” He told the aristocracy that the Constitution was not to lose its feudal character, “the landed interest being the great foundation upon which rests the fabric of society and the institutions of the country.” He allayed their fears by throwing out ironical hints that “we have been charged with not being in earnest or sincere in our desire to give the people a real representation,” that “it was said we only proposed to give a different kind of influence to the aristocracy and the landed interest.” He went even so far as to own that, besides the inevitable concessions to be made to the middle classes, “disfranchisement,” viz., the disfranchisement of the old Tory rotten boroughs for the benefit of new Whig boroughs, “was the chief and leading principle of the Reform Bill.“—(House of Commons, March 24, 1831, and March 14, 1832.)
It is now time to return to the performances of the noble lord in the foreign branch of policy.
In 1823, when, in consequence of the resolutions of the Congress of Vienna, a French army was marched into Spain, in order to overturn the Constitution of that country, and to deliver it up to the merciless revenge of the Bourbon idiot and his suite of bigot monks, Lord Palmerston disclaimed any “Quixotic crusades for abstract principles,” any intervention in favour of the people, whose heroic resistance had saved England from the sway of Napoleon. The words he addressed on that occasion to his Whig adversaries are a true and lively picture of his own foreign policy, after he had become their permanent Minister for Foreign Affairs. He said:
"Some would have had us use threats in negotiation, without being prepared to go to war, if negotiation failed. To have talked of war, and to have meant neutrality; to have threatened an army, and to have retreated behind a state paper; to have brandished the sword of defiance in the hour of deliberation, and to have ended in a penful of protests on the day of battle, would have been the conduct of a cowardly bully, and would have made us the object of contempt, and the laughing stock of Europe."—(House of Commons, April 30, 1823)
At last we arrive at the Greco-Turkish debates, which afforded Lord Palmerston the first opportunity of displaying publicly his unrivalled talents, as the unflinching and persevering advocate of Russian interests, in the Cabinet and in the House of Commons. One by one, he re-echoed all the watch-words given by Russia of Turkish monstrosities, Greek civilisation, religious liberty, Christianity, and so forth. At first we meet him repudiating, as the Minister for War, any intention of passing “a censure upon the meritorious conduct of Admiral Codrington,” which has caused the destruction of the Turkish fleet at Navarino, although he admits that “this battle took place against a power with which we are not at war,” and that it was “an untoward event.”—(House of Commons, January 31, 1828.) Then, having retired from office, he opened the long series of his attacks upon Lord Aberdeen, by reproaching him with having been too slow in executing the orders of Russia.
“Has there been much more energy and promptitude in fulfilling our engagements to Greece? July, 1829, is coming fast upon us, and the treaty of July, 1827, is still unexecuted. ... The Morea, indeed, has been cleared of the Turks. ... But why were the arms of France checked at the Isthmus of Corinth? ... The narrow policy of England stepped in, and arrested her progress.... But why do not the allies deal with the country north of the Isthmus, as they have done with that to the south, and occupy at once all that which must he assigned to Greece? I should have thought that the allies had had enough of negotiating with Turkey about Greece.”—(House of Commons, June 1, 1829.)
Prince Metternich was, as is generally known, at that time opposing the encroachments of Russia, and accordingly her diplomatic agents—I remind you of the despatches of Pozzo di Borgo and Prince Lieven—had been advised to represent Austria as the great enemy of Grecian emancipation and of European civilisation, the furtherance of which was the exclusive object of Russian diplomacy. The noble lord follows, of course, in the beaten track.
“By the narrowness of her views, the unfortunate prejudices of her policy, Austria has almost reduced herself to the level of a second-rate power”; and in consequence of the temporising policy of Aberdeen, England is represented as “the keystone of that arch of which Miguel and Spain, Austria and Mahmoud are the component parts. ... People see in the delay in executing the treaty of July not so much fear of Turkish resistance, as invincible repugnance to Grecian freedom.”—(House of Commons, June 11, 1829.)
For half a century one phrase has stood between Russia and Constantinople—the phrase of the integrity of the Turkish Empire being necessary to the balance of power. “I object,” exclaims Palmerston on February 5, 1830, “to the policy of making the integrity of the Turkish dominion in Europe an object essentially necessary to the interests of Christian and civilised Europe.”
Again he assails Aberdeen because of his anti-Russian diplomacy :
“I, for one, shall not be satisfied with a number of despatches from the Government of England, which will no doubt read well and smooth enough; urging, in general terms, the propriety of conciliating Russia, but accompanied, perhaps, by strong expressions of the regard which England bears to Turkey, which, when read by an interested party, might easily appear to mean more than was really intended. ... I should like to see, that whilst England adopted a firm resolution—almost the only course she could adopt—upon no consideration and in no event to take part with Turkey in that war—that that decision was fairly and frankly communicated to Turkey.... There are three most merciless things,—time, fire, and the Sultan.”—(House of Commons, February 16, 1830)
Arrived at this point, I must recall to memory some few historical facts, in order to leave no doubt about the meaning of the noble lord's philo-Hellenic feelings.
Russia having seized upon Gokcha, a strip of land bordering on the Lake of Sevan (the undisputed possession of Persia), demanded as the price of its evacuation the abandonment of Persia's claims to another portion of her own territory, the lands of Kapan. Persia not yielding, was overrun, vanquished, and forced to subscribe to the treaty of Turcomanchai, in February, 1828. According to this treaty, Persia had to pay an indemnity of two millions sterling to Russia, to cede the provinces of Erivan and Nakhitchevan, including the fortresses of Erivan and Abbassabad, the exclusive purpose of this arrangement being, as Nicholas stated, to define the common frontier by the Araxes, the only means, he pretended, of preventing any future disputes between the two empires. But at the same time he refused to give back Talish and Mogan, which are situated on the Persian bank of the Araxes. Finally, Persia pledged herself to maintain no navy on the Caspian Sea. Such were the origin and the results of the Russo-Persian war.
As to the religion and the liberty of Greece, Russia cared at that epoch as much about them as the God of the Russians cares now about the keys of the Holy Sepulchre, and the famous Cupola. It was the traditional policy of Russia to excite the Greeks to revolt, and, then, to abandon them to the revenge of the Sultan. So deep was her sympathy for the regeneration of Hellas, that she treated them as rebels at the Congress of Verona, acknowledging the right of the Sultan to exclude all foreign intervention between himself and his Christian subjects. In fact, the Czar offered “to aid the Porte in suppressing the rebellion”; a proposition which was, of course, rejected. Having failed in that attempt, he turned round upon the Great Powers with the opposite proposition, “To march an army into Turkey, for the purpose of dictating peace under the walls of the Seraglio.” In order to hold his hands bound by a sort of common action, the other Great Powers concluded a treaty with him at London, July 6, 1827, by which they mutually engaged to enforce, if need be by arms, the adjustment of the differences between the Sultan and the Greeks. A few months after she had signed that treaty, Russia concluded another treaty with Turkey, the treaty of Akerman, by which she bound herself to renounce all interference with Grecian affairs. This treaty was brought about after Russia had induced the Crown Prince of Persia to invade the Ottoman dominions, and after she had inflicted the injuries on the Porte in order to drive it to a rupture. After all this had taken place, the resolutions of the London treaty of July 6, 1827, were presented to the Porte by the English Ambassador, or in the name of Russia and the other powers. By virtue of the complications resulting from these frauds and lies Russia found at last the pretext for beginning the war of 1828 and 1829. That war terminated with the treaty of Adrianople, whose contents are summed up in the following quotations from O’Neill’s [Sir John O’Neill, British diplomat] celebrated pamphlet on the “Progress of Russia in the East”:
“By the treaty of Adrianople the Czar acquired Anapa and Poti, with a considerable extent of coast on the Black Sea, a portion of the Pashalic of Akhilska, with the fortresses of Akhilska, and Akhalkaliki, the islands formed by the mouths of the Danube. The destruction of the Turkish fortress of Georgilvsk, and the abandonment by Turkey of the right bank of the Danube to the distance of several miles from the river, were stipulated.... Partly by force, and partly by the influence of the priesthood, many thousand families of the Armenians were removed from the Turkish provinces in Asia to the Czar's territories. He established for his own subjects in Turkey an exemption from all responsibility to the national authorities, and burdened the Porte with an immense debt, under the name of expenses for the war and for commercial losses—and, finally, retained Moldavia, Wallachia, and Silistria, in pledge for the payment.... Having by this treaty imposed upon Turkey the acceptance of the protocol of March 22, which secured to her the suzerainty of Greece, and a yearly tribute from the country, Russia used all her influence to procure the independence of Greece, which was erected into an independent state, of which Count Capo d'Istria, who had been a Russian Minister, was named President.”
These are the facts. Now look at the picture drawn of them by the master hand of Lord Palmerston:
"It is perfectly true that the war between Russia and Turkey arose out of aggressions made by Turkey on the commerce and rights of Russia, and violations of treaties.”—(House of Commons, February 16, 1830)
When he became the Whig-incarnation of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, he improved upon this statement:
“The honourable and gallant member (Colonel Evans) has represented the conduct of Russia as one of unvarying aggression upon other States, from 1815 to the present time. He adverted more particularly to the wars of Russia with Persia and Turkey. Russia was the aggressor in neither of them, and although the result of the Persian war was an aggrandisement of her power, it was not the result of her own seeking. ... Again, in the Turkish war, Russia was not the aggressor. It would be fatiguing to the House to detail all the provocations Turkey offered to Russia; but I believe there cannot be a doubt that she expelled Russian subjects from her territory, detained Russian ships, and violated all the provisions of the treaty of Akerman, and then, upon complaint being made, denied redress; so that, if there ever was a just ground for going to war, Russia had it for going to war with Turkey. She did not, however, on any occasion, acquire any increase of territory, at least in Europe. I know there was a continued occupation of certain points [Moldavia and Wallachia are only points, and the mouths of the Danube are mere zeros], and some additional acquisitions on the Euxine in Asia; but she had an agreement with the other European powers that success in that war should not lead to any aggrandisement in Europe.”—(House of Commons, August 7, 1832.)
My readers will now understand Sir Robert Peel's telling the noble lord, in a public session of the House, that “he did not know whose representative he was.”
At a recent meeting in London to protest against the action of the British Embassy in the present controversy between Russia and Turkey, a gentleman who presumed to find special fault with Lord Palmerston was saluted and silenced by a storm of indignant hisses. The meeting evidently thought that if Russia had a friend in the ministry, it was not the noble viscount, and would no doubt have rent the air with cheers had some one been able to announce that his lordship had become prime minister. This astonishing confidence in a man so false and hollow is another proof of the ease with which people are imposed on by brilliant abilities, and a new evidence of the necessity of taking off the mask from this wily enemy to the progress of human freedom.
Accordingly, with the history of the last 25 years and the debates of Parliament for guides, we proceed with the task of exposing the real part which this accomplished actor has performed in the drama of modern Europe.
The noble viscount is generally known as the chivalrous protector of the Poles, and never fails to give vent to his painful feelings with regard to Poland, before the deputations which are once every year presented to him by “dear, dull, deadly” Dudley Stuart, “a worthy who makes speeches, passes resolutions, votes addresses, goes up with deputations, has at all times the necessary quantity of confidence in the necessary individual, and can also, if necessary, give three cheers for the Queen.”
The Poles had been in arms for about a month, when Lord Palmerston came into office in November, 1830. As early as August 8, 1831, Mr. Hunt presented to the House a petition from the Westminster Union in favour of the Poles, and “for the dismissal of Lord Palmerston from his Majesty's Councils.” Mr. Hume stated on the same day he concluded from the silence of the noble lord that the Government “intended to do nothing for the Poles, but allow them to remain at the mercy of Russia.” To this Lord Palmerston replied, “that whatever obligations existing treaties imposed, would at all times receive the attention of the Government.” Now, what sort of obligations were, in his opinion, imposed on England by existing treaties? “The claims of Russia,” he tells us himself, “to the possession of Poland bear the date of the treaty of Vienna”—(House of Commons, July 9 1833), and that treaty makes this possession dependent upon the observance of the Polish Constitution by the Czar. But from a subsequent speech we learn that “the mere fact of this country being a party to the treaty of Vienna, was not synonymous with England’s guaranteeing that there would be no infraction of that treaty by Russia.”—(House of Commons, March 26, 1834)
That is to say, you may guarantee a treaty without guaranteeing that it should be observed. This is the principle on which the Milanese said to the Emperor Barbarossa: "You have had our oath, but remember we did not swear to keep it."
In one respect the treaty of Vienna was good enough. It gave to the British Government, as one of the contracting parties,
“a right to entertain and express an opinion on any act which tends to a violation of that treaty. ... The contracting parties to the treaty of Vienna had a right to require that the Constitution of Poland should not be touched, and this was an opinion which I have not concealed from the Russian Government. I communicated it by anticipation to that Government previous to the taking of Warsaw, and before the result of hostilities was known. I communicated it again when Warsaw fell. The Russian Government, however, took a different view of the question.”—(House of Commons, July 9, 1833)
He had quietly anticipated the downfall of Poland, and had availed himself of this opportunity to entertain and express an opinion on certain articles of the treaty of Vienna, persuaded as he was that the magnanimous Czar was merely waiting till he had crushed the Polish people by armed force to do homage to a Constitution he had trampled upon when they were yet possessed of unbounded means of resistance. At the same time the noble lord charged the Poles with having “taken the uncalled for, and in his opinion, unjustifiable, step of the dethronement of the Emperor.”—(House of Commons, July 9, 1832)
"He could also say that the Poles were the aggressors, for they commenced the contest."—(House of Commons, August 7, 1832.)
When the apprehensions that Poland would be extinguished became universal and troublesome, he declared that “to exterminate Poland, either morally or politically, is so perfectly impracticable that I think there need be no apprehension of its being attempted.”—(House of Commons, June 28, 1832.)
When reminded afterwards of the vague expectations thus held out, he averred that he had been misunderstood, that he had said so not in the political but the Pickwickian [i.e., naively idealistic, after the Dickens character] sense of the word, meaning that the Emperor of Russia was unable “to exterminate nominally or physically so many millions of men as the Polish kingdom in its divided state contained,”—(House of Commons, April 20, 1836.)
When the House threatened to interfere during the struggle of the Poles, he appealed to his ministerial responsibility. When the thing was done, he coolly told them that “no vote of this House would have the slightest effect in reversing the decision of Russia.”—(House of Commons, July 9, 1833)
When the atrocities committed by the Russians, after the fall of Warsaw, were denounced, he recommended to the House great tenderness towards the Emperor of Russia, declaring that “no person could regret more than he did the expressions which had been uttered”—(House of Commons, June 28, 1832—that “the present Emperor of Russia was a man of high and generous feelings”—that “where cases of undue severity on the part of the Russian Government to the Poles have occurred, we may set this down as a proof that the power of the Emperor of Russia is practically limited, and we may take it for granted that the Emperor has, in those instances, yielded to the influence of others, rather than followed the dictates of his spontaneous feelings.”—(House of Commons, July 9, 1833)
When the doom of Poland was sealed on the one hand, and on the other the dissolution of the Turkish Empire became imminent, from the rebellion of Mehemet Ali, he assured the House that “affairs in general were proceeding in a satisfactory train.”—(House of Commons, January 26, 1832.)
A motion for granting subsidies to the Polish refugees having been made, it was “exceedingly painful to him to oppose the grant of any money to those individuals, which the natural and spontaneous feelings of every generous man would lead him to acquiesce in; but it was not consistent with his duty to propose any grant of money to those unfortunate persons.”—(House of Commons, March 25, 1834) This same tender-hearted man had secretly defrayed, as we shall see by and by, the cost of Poland's fall, to a great extent, out of the pockets of the British people.
The noble lord took good care to withhold all State papers about the Polish catastrophe from Parliament. But statements made in the House of Commons which he never so much as attempted to controvert, leave no doubt as to the game he played at that fatal epoch.
After the Polish revolution had broken out, the Consul of Austria did not quit Warsaw, and the Austrian Government went so far as to send a Polish agent, M. Walewski, to Paris, with the mission of negotiating with the Governments of France and England about the re-establishment of a Polish kingdom. The Court of the Tuileries declared “it was ready to join England in case of her consenting to the project.” Lord Palmerston rejected the offer. In 1831, M. de Talleyrand, the Ambassador of France at the Court of St. James, proposed a plan of combined action on the part of France and England, but met with a distinct refusal and with a note from the noble lord, stating that “an amicable intermediation on the Polish question would be declined by Russia; that the Powers had just declined a similar offer on the part of France; that the intervention of the two Courts of France and England could only be by force in case of a refusal on the part of Russia; and the amicable and satisfactory relations between the Cabinet of St. James and the Cabinet of St. Petersburg, would not allow his British Majesty to undertake such an interference. The time was NOT YET come to undertake such a plan with success against the will of a sovereign whose rights were indisputable.”
This was not all. On February 23, 1848, Mr. Anstey made the following declaration in the House of Commons:
“Sweden was arming her fleet for the purpose of making a diversion in favour of Poland, and of regaining to herself the provinces in the Baltic, which have been so unjustly wrested from her in the last war. The noble lord instructed our ambassador at the Court of Stockholm in a contrary sense, and Sweden discontinued her armaments. The Persian Court had, with a similar purpose, despatched an army three days on its march towards the Russian frontier, under the command of the Persian Crown Prince. The Secretary of Legation at the court of Teheran, Sir John M’Neill, followed the prince, at a distance of three days' march from his headquarters, overtook him, and there, under instructions from the noble lord, and in the name of England, threatened Persia with war if the prince advanced another step towards the Russian frontier. Similar inducements were used by the noble lord to prevent Turkey from renewing war on her side.”
To Colonel Evans, asking for the production of papers with regard to Prussia's violation of her pretended neutrality in the Russo-Polish war, Lord Palmerston replied, “that the ministers of this country could not have witnessed that contest without the deepest regret, and it would be most satisfactory for them to see it terminated.”—(House of Commons, August 16, 1831.)
Certainly he wished to see it terminated as soon as possible, and Prussia shared in his feelings.
On a subsequent occasion, Mr. H. Gally Knight thus summed up the whole proceedings of the noble lord with regard to the Polish revolution:
"There is something curiously inconsistent in the proceedings of the noble lord when Russia is concerned. ... On the subject of Poland, the noble lord has disappointed us again and again; remember when the noble lord was pressed to exert himself in favour of Poland, then he admitted the justice of the cause—the justice of our complaints; but he said, ‘Only restrain yourselves at present, there is an ambassador fast setting out, of known liberal sentiments; you will only embarrass his negotiation, if you incense the Power with whom he has to deal. So, take my advice, be quiet at present, and be assured that a great deal will be effected.’ We trusted to those assurances; the liberal ambassador went; whether he ever approached the subject or not was never known, but all we got were the fine words of the noble lord, and no results.”—(House of Commons, July 13, 1840)
The so-called kingdom of Poland having disappeared from the map of Europe, there remained still, in the free town of Cracow, a fantastic remnant of Polish nationality. The Czar Alexander, during the general anarchy resulting from the fall of the French Empire, had not conquered the Duchy of Warsaw but simply seized it, and wished, of course, to keep it, together with Cracow, which had been incorporated with the Duchy by Bonaparte. Austria, once possessed of Cracow, wished to have it back. The Czar being unable to obtain it himself, and unwilling to cede it to Austria, proposed to constitute it a free town. Accordingly the Treaty of Vienna stipulated in Article VI, “the town of Cracow with its territory is to be for ever a free, independent and strictly neutral city, under the protection of Austria, Russia, and Prussia”; and in Article IX, “the courts of Russia, Austria, and Prussia, engage to respect, and to cause to be always respected, the neutrality of the free town of Cracow and its territory. No armed force shall be introduced on any pretence whatever.”
Immediately after the close of the Polish insurrection of 1830-31, the Russian troops suddenly entered Cracow, the occupation of which lasted two months. This, however, was considered as a transitory necessity of war, and in the turmoil of that time was soon forgotten.
In 1836, Cracow was again occupied by the troops of Austria, Russia, and Prussia, on the pretext of forcing the authorities of Cracow to deliver up the individuals concerned in the Polish revolution five years before.
On this occasion the noble lord refrained from all remonstrance, on the ground, as he stated in 1836 and 1840, “that it was difficult to give effect to our remonstrances.” As soon, however, as Cracow was definitely confiscated by Austria, a simple remonstrance appeared to him to be “the only effectual means.” When the three northern Powers occupied Cracow in 1836, its Constitution was abrogated, the three consular residences assumed the highest authority—the police was entrusted to Austrian spies—the senate overthrown—the tribunals suspended—the university put down by prohibiting the students of the neighbouring provinces from frequenting it—and the commerce of the free city, with the surrounding countries, destroyed.
In March, 1836, when interpellated on the occupation of Cracow, Lord Palmerston declared that occupation to be of a merely transitory character. Of so palliative and apologetic a kind was the construction he put on the doings of his three northern allies, that he felt himself obliged suddenly to stop and interrupt the even tenor of his speech by the solemn declaration, “I stand not up here to defend the measure, which on the contrary, I MUST censure and condemn. I have merely stated those circumstances which, though they do not excuse the forcible occupation of Cracow, might yet afford a justification, etc....” He admitted that the Treaty of Vienna bound the three Powers to abstain from any step without the previous consent of England, but “they may be justly said to have paid an involuntary homage to the justice and plain dealing of this country, by supposing that we would never give our assent to such a proceeding”.
Mr. Patrick Stewart having, however, found out that there existed better means for the preservation of Cracow than the “abstention from remonstrance,” moved on April 20, 1836, “that the Government should be ordered to send a representative to the free town of Cracow as consul, there being three consuls there from the three other powers, Austria, Russia, and Prussia”. The joint arrival of an English and French consul at Cracow would prove an event and must, in any case, have prevented the noble lord from afterwards declaring himself unaware of the intrigues pursued at Cracow by the Austrians, Russians, and Prussians. The noble viscount seeing that the majority of the House was favourable to the motion, induced Mr. Stewart to withdraw it, by solemnly promising that the Government “intended to send a consular agent to Cracow”. On March 22, 1837, being interpellated by Lord Dudley Stuart with regard to his promise, the noble lord answered that “he had altered his intention, and had not sent a consular agent to Cracow, and it was not at present his intention to do so.” Lord D. Stuart having given notice that he should move for papers to elucidate this singular transaction, the noble viscount succeeded in defeating the motion by the simple process of being absent, and causing the House to be counted out. He never stated why or wherefore he had not fulfilled his pledge, and withstood all attempts to squeeze out of him any papers on the subject.
In 1840, the “temporary” occupation still continued, and the people of Cracow addressed a memorandum to the Governments of France and England, which says, amongst other things:
“The misfortunes which overwhelm the free city of Cracow and its inhabitants are such that the undersigned see no further hope for themselves and their fellow-citizens but in the powerful and enlightened protection of the Governments of France and England. The situation in which they find themselves placed gives them a right to invoke the intervention of every Power subscribed to the Treaty of Vienna.”
Being interrogated on July 13, 1840, about this petition from Cracow, Palmerston declared “that between Austria and the British Government the question of the evacuation of Cracow remained only a question of time”. As to the violation of the Treaty of Vienna “there were no means of enforcing the opinions of England, supposing that this country was disposed to do so by arms, because Cracow was evidently a place where no English action could possibly take place.”
Be it remarked, that two days after this declaration, July 15, 1840, the noble lord concluded a treaty with Russia, Austria, and Prussia, for closing the Black Sea to the English navy, probably in order that no English action could take place in those quarters. It was at the very same time that the noble lord renewed the Holy Alliance with those Powers against France. As to the commercial loss sustained by England, consequent upon the occupation of Cracow, the noble lord demonstrated that “the amount of general exports to Germany had not fallen off”, which, as Sir Robert Peel  justly remarked, had nothing to do with Cracow, considerable quantities of English merchandise being sent thither by the Black Sea, Moldavia, and Galicia—and closely pressed to state his real intentions on the subject and as to the consular agent to be sent to Cracow, “he thought that his experience of the manner in which his unfortunate assertion [made by the noble lord in 1836, in order to escape from the censure of a hostile House] of an intention to appoint a British consul at Cracow, had been taken up by honourable gentlemen opposite, justified him in positively refusing to give any answer to such a question, which might expose him to similar unjustifiable attacks.”
On August 16, 1846, he stated that “whether the treaty of Vienna is or is not executed and fulfilled by the great Powers of Europe, depends not upon the presence of a consular agent at Cracow.” On January, 28, 1847, Cracow was doomed, and when the noble lord was again asked for the production of papers relative to the non-appointment of a British consul at Cracow, he declared that “the subject had no necessary connection with the discussion on the incorporation of Cracow, and he saw no advantage in reviving an angry discussion on a subject which had only a passing interest.” He proved true to his opinion on the production of State papers, as expressed on March 7, 1837: “If the papers are upon the questions now under consideration, their production would be dangerous; if they refer to questions that are gone by, they can obviously be of no use.”
The British Government was, however, very exactly informed of the importance of Cracow, not only from a political but also from a commercial point of view, their consul at Warsaw, Colonel Du Flat, having reported to them that
“Cracow, since its elevation into an independent State, has always been the depot of very considerable quantities of English merchandise sent thither by the Black Sea, Moldavia, and Galicia, and even via Trieste; and which afterwards find their way to the surrounding countries. In the course of years it came into railway communication with the great lines of Bohemia, Prussia, and Austria ... It is also the central point of the important line of railway communication between the Adriatic and the Baltic. It will come into direct communication of the same description with Warsaw. ... Looking, therefore, to the almost certainty of every great point of the Levant[i.e., the lands around the eastern end of the Mediterranean sea], and even of India and China, finding its way up the Adriatic, it cannot be denied that it must be of the greatest commercial importance, even to England, to have such a station as Cracow, in the centre of the great net of railways connecting the Western and Eastern Continents.”
Lord Palmerston himself was obliged to confess to the House that the Cracow insurrection of 1846 had been intentionally provoked by the three Powers. “I believe the original entrance of the Austrian troops into the territory of Cracow was in consequence of an application from the Government.” But, then, those Austrian troops retired. Why they retired has never yet been explained. With them retired the Government and the authorities of Cracow; the immediate, at least the early, consequence of that retirement, was the establishment of a Provisional Government at Cracow.—(House of Commons, August 17, 1846.) On the 22nd of February, 1846, the forces of Austria, and afterwards those of Russia and Prussia, took possession of Cracow. On the 26th of the same month, the Prefect of Tarnow issued his proclamation calling upon the peasants to murder their landlords, promising them “a sufficient recompense in money,” which proclamation was followed by the Galician atrocities, and the massacre of about 2,000 landed proprietors. On the 12th appeared the Austrian proclamation to the “faithful Galicians who have aroused themselves for the maintenance of order and law, and destroyed the enemies of order.” In the official Gazette of April 28th, Prince Frederick of Schwarzenberg stated officially that “the acts that had taken place had been authorised by the Austrian Government,” which, of course, acted on a common plan with Russia and with Prussia, the lackey of the Czar. Now, after all these abominations had passed, Lord Palmerston thought fit to declare in the House:
“I have too high an opinion of the sense of justice and of right that must animate the Governments of Austria, Russia, and Prussia, to believe that they can feel any disposition or intention to deal with Cracow otherwise than Cracow is entitled by treaty-engagements to be dealt with.”—(House of Commons, August 17, 1846.)
For the noble lord the only business then in hand was to get rid of Parliament, whose session was drawing to a close. He assured the Commons that “on the part of the British Government everything shall be done to ensure a due respect being paid to the provisions of the treaty of Vienna.“ Mr. Hume giving vent to his doubts about Lord Palmerston’s “intention to cause the Austro-Russian troops to retire from Cracow,” the noble lord begged of the House not to give credence to the statements made by Mr. Hume, as he was in possession of better information, and was convinced that the occupation of Cracow was only a “TEMPORARY” one. The Parliament of 1846 having been got rid of, in the same manner as that of 1843, out came the Austrian proclamation of November 11, 1846, incorporating Cracow with the Austrian dominions. When Parliament re-assembled on January 19, 1847, it was informed by the Queen's speech that Cracow was gone, but that there remained in its place a protest on the part of the brave Lord Palmerston. In order to deprive this protest of even the appearance of a meaning the noble lord contrived, at that very epoch, to engage England in a quarrel with France on the occasion of the Spanish marriages, very nearly setting the two countries by the ears; a performance which was sharply overhauled by Mr. Smith O’Brien in the House of Commons, on April 18, 1847. The French Government having applied to Palmerston for his co-operation in a joint protest against the incorporation of Cracow, Lord Normanby, under instructions from the noble viscount, answered that the outrage of which Austria had been guilty in annexing Cracow was not greater than that of France in effecting a marriage between the Duke of Montpensier and the Spanish Infanta—the one being a violation of the Treaty of Vienna, and the other of the Treaty of Utrecht. Now, the Treaty of Utrecht, renewed in 1782, was definitely abrogated by the Anti-Jacobin war; and had, therefore, ever since 1792, ceased to be operative. There was no man in the House better informed of this circumstance than the noble lord, as he had himself stated to the House on the occasion of the debates on the blockades of Mexico and Buenos Ayres, that
“the provisions of the Treaty of Utrecht had long since lapsed in the variations of war, with the exception of the single clause relating to the boundaries of Brazil and French Guiana, because that clause had been expressly incorporated in the Treaty of Vienna.”
We have not yet done with the exertions of the noble lord in resisting the encroachments of Russia upon Poland.
There once existed a curious convention between England, Holland, and Russia—the so-called Russian Dutch loan. During the Anti-Jacobin war the Czar, Alexander, contracted a loan with Messrs. Hope & Co., at Amsterdam; and after the fall of Bonaparte, the King of the Netherlands, “desirous to make a suitable return to the Allied Powers for having delivered his territory,” and for having annexed to it Belgium, to which he had no claim whatever, engaged himself—the other Powers waiving their common claims in favour of Russia, then in great need of money—to execute a convention with Russia agreeing to pay her by successive instalments the twenty-five million florins she owed to Messrs. Hope & Co. England, in order to cover the robbery she had committed on Holland, of her colonies at the Cape of Good Hope, Demerara, Essequibo, and Berbice, became a party to this convention, and bound herself to pay a certain proportion of the subsidies granted to Russia. This stipulation became part of the Treaty of Vienna, but upon the express condition “that the payment should cease if the union between Holland and Belgium were broken prior to the liquidation of the debt.” When Belgium separated herself from Holland by a revolution, the latter, of course, refused to pay her portion to Russia on the ground that the loan had been contracted to continue her in the undivided possession of the Belgian provinces, and that she no longer had the sovereignty of that country. On the other hand, there remained, as Mr. Herries stated in Parliament, “not the smallest iota of a claim on the part of Russia for the continuance of debt by England.”—(House of Commons, January 26, 1832.)
Lord Palmerston, however, found it quite natural that “at one time Russia is paid for supporting the union of Belgium with Holland, and that at another time she is paid for supporting the separation of these countries.”—(House of Commons, July 16, 1832.)
He appealed in a very tragic manner for the faithful observance of treaties—and above all, of the Treaty of Vienna; and he contrived to carry a new convention with Russia, dated November 16, 1831, the preamble of which expressly stated that it was contracted “in consideration of the general arrangements of the Congress of Vienna which remain in full force.” When the convention relating to the Russian Dutch loan had been inserted in the Treaty of Vienna, the Duke of Wellington exclaimed: “This is a master-stroke of diplomacy on the part of Lord Castlereagh; for Russia has been tied down to the observance of the Vienna treaty by a pecuniary obligation.”
When Russia, therefore, withdrew her observance of the Vienna treaty by the Cracow confiscation, Mr. Hume moved to stop any further annual payment to Russia from the British treasury. The noble viscount, however, thought that although Russia had a right to violate the treaty of Vienna, with regard to Poland, England must remain bound by that very treaty with regard to Russia.
But this is not the most extraordinary incident in the noble lord's proceedings. After the Belgian revolution had broken out, and before Parliament had sanctioned the new loan to Russia, the noble lord defrayed the costs of the Russian war against Poland, under the false pretext of paying off the old debt contracted by England in 1815, although we can state, on the authority of the greatest English lawyer, Sir E. Sugden, now Lord St. Leonards, that “there was not a single debatable point in that question and the Government had no power whatever to pay a shilling of the money”—(House of Commons, June 26, 1832); and, on the authority of Sir Robert Peel, “that Lord Palmerston was not warranted by law in advancing the money.” —(House of Commons, July 12, 1832.)
Now we understand why the noble lord reiterates on every occasion that “nothing can be more painful to a man of proper feeling, than discussions upon the subject of Poland.” We can also appreciate the degree of earnestness he is now likely to exhibit in resisting the encroachments of the Power he has so uniformly served.
The great and eternal themes of the noble viscount’s self-glorification are the services he has rendered to the cause of constitutional liberty all over the Continent. The world owes him, indeed, the inventions of the “constitutional” kingdoms of Portugal, Spain, and Greece,—three political phantoms, only to be compared with the homunculus of Wagner in "Faust". Portugal, under the yoke of that huge hill of flesh, Donna Maria da Gloria, backed by a Coburg, “must be looked upon as one of the substantive Powers of Europe.”—(House of Commons, March 10, 1835)
At the very time the noble viscount uttered these words, six British ships of the line anchored at Lisbon, in order to defend the “substantive” daughter of Don Pedro from the Portuguese people, and to help her to destroy the constitution she had sworn to defend. Spain, at the disposition of another Maria, who, although a notorious sinner, has never become a Magdalen, “holds out to us a fair, a flourishing, and even a formidable power among the European kingdoms.”—(Lord Palmerston, House of Commons, March 10, 1837)
Formidable, indeed, to the holders of Spanish Bonds. The noble lord has even his reasons ready for having delivered the native country of Pericles and Sophocles to the nominal sway of an idiot Bavarian boy.  King Otho belongs to a country where there exists a free constitution."—(House of Commons, August 8, 1832.)
A free constitution in Bavaria, the German Bastia! This passes the licentia poetica of rhetorical flourish, the “legitimate hopes” held out by Spain, and the “substantive” power of Portugal. As to Belgium, all Lord Palmerston did for her was burdening her with a part of the Dutch debt, reducing it by the Province of Luxemburg, and saddling her with a Coburg dynasty. As to the entente cordiale with France, waning from the moment he pretended to give it the finishing touch by the Quadruple alliance of 1834, we have already seen how well the noble lord understood how to manage it in the instance of Poland, and we shall hear, by and by, what became of it in his hands.
One of those facts, hardly adverted to by contemporaries, but broadly marking the boundaries of historical epochs, was the military occupation of Constantinopie by the Russians, in 1833.
The eternal dream of Russia was at last realized. The barbarian from the icy banks of the Neva held in his grasp luxurious Byzantium, and the sunlit shores of the Bosphorus. The self-styled heir to the Greek Emperors occupied however temporarily the Rome of the East.
“The occupation of Constantinople by Russian troops sealed the fate of Turkey as an independent power. The fact of Russia having occupied Constantinople even for the purpose (!) of saving it, was as decisive a blow to Turkish independence as if the flag of Russia now waved on the Seraglio.”—(Sir Robert Peel, House of Commons, March 17, 1834)
In consequence of the unfortunate war of 1828-29 and the Treaty of Adrianople, the Porte had lost its prestige in the eyes of its own subjects. As usual with Oriental empires, when the paramount power is weakened, successful revolts of Pashas broke out. As early as October, 1831, commenced the conflict between the Sultan and Mehemet Ali, the Pasha of Egypt, who had supported the Porte during the Greek insurrection. In the spring of 1832, Ibrahim Pasha, his son, marched his army into Syria, conquered that province by the battle of Homs, crossed the Taurus, annihilated the Turkish army at the battle of Konieh, and moved on the way to Stamboul. The Sultan was forced to apply to St. Petersburg on February 2, 1833. On February 17, the French Admiral Roussin arrived at Constantinople, remonstrated with the Porte two days afterwards, and engaged for the retreat of the Pasha on certain terms, including the refusal of Russian assistance; but, unassisted, he was, of course, unable to cope with Russia. “You have asked for me, and you shall have me.”
On February 20, a Russian squadron suddenly sailed from Sebastopol, disembarked a large force of Russian troops on the shores of the Bosphorus, and laid siege to the capital. So eager was Russia for the protection of Turkey, that a Russian officer was simultaneously despatched to the Pashas of Erzerum and Trebizond, to inform them that, in the event of Ibrahim's army marching towards Erzerum, both that place and Trebizond should be immediately protected by a Russian army. At the end of May, 1833, Count Orloff arrived from St. Petersburg, and intimated to the Sultan that he had brought with him a little bit of paper, which the Sultan was to subscribe to, without the concurrence of any minister, and without the knowledge of any diplomatic agent at the Porte. In this manner the famous treaty of Unkiar Skelessi was brought about; it was concluded for eight years to come. By virtue of it the Porte entered into an alliance, offensive and defensive, with Russia; resigned the right of entering into any new treaties with other powers, except with the concurrence of Russia, and confirmed the former Russo-Turkish treaties, especially that of Adrianople. By a secret article, appended to the treaty, the Porte obliged itself “in favour of the Imperial Court of Russia to close the Straits of the Dardanelles—viz., not to allow any foreign man-of-war to enter it under any pretext whatever.”
To whom was the Czar indebted for occupying Constantinople by his troops and for transferring, by virtue of the treaty of Unkiar Skelessi, the supreme seat of the Ottoman empire from Constantinople to St. Petersburg? To nobody else but to the Right Honourable Henry John Viscount Palmerston, Baron Temple, a Peer of Ireland, a Member of His Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, Knight of the Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, a Member of Parliament, and His Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
The treaty of Unkiar Skelessi was concluded on July 8, 1833 On July 11, 1833, Mr H. L. Bulwer moved for the production of papers with respect to the Turco-Syrian affairs. The noble lord opposed the motion
“because the transactions to which the papers called for referred were incomplete, and the character of the whole transaction would depend upon its termination. As the results were not yet known, the motion was premature.”—(House of Commons, July 11, 1833)
Accused by Mr. Bulwer of not having interfered for the defence of the Sultan against Mehemet Ali, and thus prevented the advance of the Russian army, he began that curious system of defence and of confession, developed on later occasions, the membra disjecta of which I shall now gather together.
”He was not prepared to deny that in the later part of last year an application was made on the part of the Sultan to this country for assistance.”—(House of Commons, July 11, 1833) “The Porte made formal application for assistance in the in the course of August.”—(House of Commons, August 24, 1833)
No, not in August. “The request of the Porte for naval assistance had been in the month of October, 1832.”—(House of Commons, August 28, 1833)
No, it was not in October. “Its assistance was asked by the Porte in November, 1832.”—(House of Commons, March 17, 1834)
The noble lord is as uncertain of the day when the Porte implored his aid, as Falstaff was of the number of rogues in buckram suits, who came at his back in Kendal green. He is not prepared, however, to deny that the armed assistance offered by Russia was rejected by the Porte, and that he, Lord Palmerston, was applied to. He refused to comply with its demands. The Porte again applied to the noble lord. First it sent M. Maurageni to London; then sent Namic Pasha, who entreated the assistance of a naval squadron on condition of the Sultan undertaking to defray all the expenses of that squadron, and promising in requital for such succour the grant of new commercial privileges and advantages to British subjects in Turkey. So sure was Russia of the noble lord's refusal, that she joined the Turkish envoy in praying his lordship to afford the succour demanded. He tells us himself:
“It was but justice that he should state, that so far from Russia having expressed any jealousy as to this Government granting this assistance, the Russian ambassador officially communicated to him, while the request was still under consideration, that he had learned that such an application had been made, and that, from the interest taken by Russia in the maintenance and preservation of the Turkish empire, it would afford satisfaction if ministers could find themselves able to comply with that request.”—(House of Commons, August 28, 1833)
The noble lord remained, however, inexorable to the demand of the Porte, although backed by disinterested Russia herself. Then, of course, the Porte knew what it was expected to do. It understood that it was doomed to make the wolf shepherd. Still it hesitated, and did not accept Russian assistance till three months later.
“Great Britain,” says the noble lord, “never complained of Russia granting that assistance, but, on the contrary, was glad that Turkey had been able to obtain effectual relief from any quarter.”—(House of Commons, March 17, 1834)
At whatever epoch the Porte may have implored the aid of Lord Palmerston, he cannot but own that
“no doubt if England had thought fit to interfere, the progress of the invading army would have been stopped, and the Russian troops would not have been called in.”—(House of Commons, July 11, 1833)
Why then did he not “think fit” to interfere and to keep the Russians out?
First he pleads want of time. According to his own statement the conflict between the Porte and Mehemet Ali arose as early as October, 1831, while the decisive battle of Konieh was not fought till December 21, 1832. Could be find no time during all this period? A great battle was won by Ibrahim Pasha, in July, 1832, and again he could find no time from July to December. But he was all that time waiting for a formal application on the part of the Porte which, according to his last version, was not made till the 3rd of November. “Was he then,” asks Sir Robert Peel, “so ignorant of what was passing in the Levant, that he must wait for a formal application?”—(House of Commons, March 17, 1834.) And from November, when the formal application was made, to the latter part of February, there elapsed again four long months, and Russia did not arrive until February 20, 1833. Why did not he?
But he has better reasons in reserve.
The Pasha of Egypt was but a rebellious subject, and the Sultan was the Suzerain.
“As it was a war against the sovereign by a subject, and that sovereign was in alliance with the King of England, it would have been inconsistent with good faith to have had any communication with the Pasha.”—(House of Commons, August 28, 1833)
Etiquette prevented the noble lord from stopping Ibrahim’s armies. Etiquette forbade his giving instructions to his consul at Alexandria to use his influence with Mehemet Ali. Like the Spanish grandee, the noble lord would rather let the Queen burn to ashes than infringe on etiquette, and interfere with her petticoats. As it happens the noble lord had already, in 1832, accredited consuls and diplomatic agents to the “subject” of the Sultan without the consent of the Sultan; he had entered into treaties with Mehemet, altering existing regulations and arrangements touching matters of trade and revenue, and establishing other ones in their stead; and he did so without having the consent of the Porte beforehand, or caring for its approbation afterwards—(House of Commons, February 23, 1848.)
Accordingly, we are told by Earl Grey, the then chief of the noble viscount, that “they had at the moment extensive commercial relations with Mehemet Ali which it would not have been their interest to disturb.”—(House of Commons, February 4, 1834) What, commercial relations with the “rebellious subject”?
But the noble viscount's fleets were occupied in the Douro, and the Tagus, and blockading the Scheldt, and doing the services of midwife at the birth of the constitutional empires of Portugal, Spain, and Belgium, and he was, therefore, not in a position to spare one single ship—(House of Commons, July 11, 1833, and March 17, 1834)
But what the Sultan insisted on was precisely naval assistance. For argument's sake, we will grant the noble lord to have been unable to dispose of one single vessel. But there are great authorities assuring us that what was wanted was not a single vessel, but only a single word on the part of the noble lord. There is Lord Mahon, who had just been employed at the Foreign Office under Sir Robert Peel, when he made this statement. There is Admiral Codrington, the destroyer of the Turkish fleet at Navarino.
“Mehemet Ali,” he states, “had of old felt the strength of our representations on the subject of the evacuation of the Morea. He had then received orders from the Porte to resist all applications to induce him to evacuate it, at the risk of his head, and he did resist accordingly, but at last prudently yielded, and evacuated the Morea.”—(House of Commons, April 20, 1836.)
There is the Duke of Wellington.
“If, in the session of 1832 or 1833, they had plainly told Mehemet Ali that he should not carry on his contest in Syria and Asia Minor, they would have put an end to the war without the risk of allowing the Emperor of Russia to send a fleet and an army to Constantinople.“—(House of Lords, February 4, 1834)
There is Lord Derby, then Mr. Stanley and a member of the Palmerston Cabinet, who
“Although,” he says, “his Majesty's Government did not comply with the demand of the Sultan for naval assistance, yet the moral assistance of England was afforded; and the communications made by the British Government to the Pasha of Egypt, and to Ibrahim Pasha commanding in Asia Minor, did materially contribute to bring about that arrangement (of Kiutayah) between the Sultan and the Pasha, by which that war was terminated.”—(House of Commons, March 17, 1834)
There is Lord Derby, then Mr. Stanley and a member of the Palmerston Cabinet, who
“boldly asserts that what stopped the progress of Mehemet Ali was the distinct declaration of France and England that they would not permit the occupation of Constantinople by his troops.”—(House of Commons, March 17, 1834)
Thus then, according to Lord Derby and to Lord Palmerston himself, it was not the Russian squadron and army at Constantinople, but it was a distinct declaration on the part of the British consular agent at Alexandria, that stopped Ibrahim's victorious march upon Constantinople, and brought about the arrangement of Kiutayah, by virtue of which Mehemet Ali obtained, besides Egypt, the Pashalic of Syria, of Adana and other places, added as an appendage. But the noble lord thought fit not to allow his consul at Alexandria to make this distinct declaration till after the Turkish army was annihilated, Constantinople overrun by the Cossack, the treaty of Unkiar Skelessi signed by the Sultan, and pocketed by the Czar. If want of time and want of fleets forbade the noble lord to assist the Sultan, and a superfluity of etiquette to check the Pasha, did he at least employ his ambassador at Constantinople to guard against excessive influence on the part of Russia, and to keep her insuence confined within narrow bounds? Quite the contrary. In order not to clog the movements of Russia, the lord took good care to have no ambassador at all at Constantinople during the most fatal period of the crisis.
“If ever there was a country in which the weight and station of an ambassador were useful—or a period in which that weight and station might be advantageously exerted—that country was Turkey, during the six months before the 8th of July.“—(Lord Mahon, House of Commons, April 26, 1836.)
Lord Palmerston tells us, that the British ambassador, Sir Stratford, left Constantinople in September, 1832—that Lord Ponsonby, then at Naples, was appointed in his place in November, and that “difficulties experienced in making the necessary arrangements for his conveyance,” although a man-of-war was in waiting for him, “and the unfavourable state of the weather prevented his getting to Constantinople until the end of May, 1833.”—(House of Commons, March 17, 1834.)
The Russian was not yet in, and Lord Ponsonby was accordingly ordered to require seven months for sailing from Naples to Constantinople.
But why should the noble lord prevent the Russians from occupying Constantinople? “He, for his part, had great doubts that any intention to partition the Ottoman empire at all entered into the policy of the Russian Government.”—(House of Commons, February 14 1839.)
Certainly not. Russia wants not to partition the empire, but to keep the whole of it. Besides the security Lord Palmerston possessed in this doubt, he had another security
“in the doubt whether it enters into the policy of Russia at present to accomplish the object, and a third ‘security’ in his third ‘doubt’ whether the Russian nation (just think of a Russian nation!) would be prepared for that transference of power, of residence, and authority to the southern provinces which would be the necessary consequence of the conquest by Russia of Constantinople.”—(House of Commons, July 11, 1833)
Besides these negative arguments, the noble lord had an affirmative one:
“If they had quietly beheld the temporary occupation of the Turkish capital by the forces of Russia, it was because they had full confidence in the honour and good faith of Russia. The Russian Government, in granting its aid to the Sultan, has pledged its honour, and in that pledge he reposed the most implicit confidence.”—(House of Commons, July 11, 1853)
So inaccessible, indestructible, integral, imperishable, inexpugnable, incalculable, incommensurable, and irremediable, so boundless, dauntless, and matchless was the noble lord's confidence, that still on March 17, 1834, when the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi had become a fait accompli, he went on declaring that, “in their confidence ministers were not deceived.” Not his is the fault if nature has developed his bump of confidence to altogether anomalous dimensions.
The contents of the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi were published in the Morning Herald of August 21, 1833 On August 24, Sir Robert Inglis asked Lord Palmerston, in the House of Commons,
“whether there really had been concluded a treaty, offensive and defensive, between Russia and Turkey? He hoped that the noble lord would be prepared before the prorogation of Parliament, to lay before the House, not only the treaties that had been made, but all communications connected with the formation of those treaties between Turkey and Russia.” Lord Palmerston answered that “ when they weresure that such a treaty as that alluded to really did exist, and when they were in possession of that treaty, it would then be for them to determine what was the course of policy they ought to pursue. ... It could be no blame to him if the newspapers were sometimes beforehand with the Government.” —(House of Commons, August 24, 1833)
Seven months afterwards, he assures the House that
“it was perfectly impossible that the treaty of Unkiar Skelessi, not to be ratified at Constantinople until the month of September, should have been officially known to him in August.” —(House of Commons, March 17, 1834.)
He did know of the treaty, in August, but not officially.
“The British Government was surprised to find that when the Russian troops quitted the Bosphorus, they carried that treaty with them.” —(Lord Palmerston, House of Commons, March 1, 1848.)
Yes, the noble lord was in possession of the treaty before it had been concluded.
“No sooner had the Porte received it (namely, the draft of the treaty of Unkiar Skelessi), than the treaty was communicated by them to the British Embassy at Constantinople, with the prayer for our protection against Ibrahim Pasha and against Nicholas. The application was rejected—but that was not all. With an atrocious perfidiousness, the fact was made known to the Russian Minister. Next day, the very copy of the treaty which the Porte had lodged with the British Embassy, was returned to the Porte by the Russian Ambassador, who ironically advised the Porte—‘ to choose better another time its confidants.’” —(Mr. Anstey, House of Commons, February 8, 1848.)
But the noble viscount had obtained all he cared for. He was interrogated with respect to the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi, of whose existence he was not sure, on August 24, 1833. On August 29, Parliament was prorogued, receiving from the throne the consolatory assurance “that the hostilities which had disturbed the peace of Turkey had been terminated, and they might be assured that the King's attention would be carefully directed to any events which might affect the present state or the future independence of that Empire. ”
Here, then, we have the key to the famous Russian Treaties of July. In July they are concluded; in August something about them is transpiring through the public press. Lord Palmerston is interrogated in the Commons. He, of course, is aware of nothing. Parliament is prorogued,—and, when it reassembles, the treaty has grown old, or, as in 1841, has already been executed, in spite of public opinion.
Parliament was prorogued on August 29, 1833, and it reassembled on February 5, 1834. The interval between the prorogation and its reassembling was marked by two incidents intimately interwoven with each other. On the one hand, the united French and English fleets proceeded to the Dardanelles, displayed there the tricolour and the Union Jack, sailed on their way to Smyrna, and returned from thence to Malta. On the other hand, a new treaty was concluded between the Porte and Russia on January 29, 1834,—the Treaty of St. Petersburg. This treaty was hardly signed when the united fleet was withdrawn.
This combined manoeuvre was intended to stultify the British people and Europe into the belief that the hostile demonstration on the Turkish seas and coasts, directed against the Porte, for having concluded the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi, had enforced upon Russia the new Treaty of St. Petersburg. This treaty, by promising the evacuation of the Principalities, and reducing the Turkish payments to one-third of the stipulated amount, apparently relieved the Porte from some engagements enforced on it by the Treaty of Adrianople. In all other instances it was a simple ratification of the Treaty of Adrianople, not at all relating to the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi, nor dropping a single word about the passage of the Dardanelles. On the contrary, the small alleviations it granted to Turkey were the purchase money for the exclusion of Europe, by the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi, from the Dardanelles.
“At the very time at which the demonstration (of the British fleet) was being made, an assurance was given by the noble lord to the Russian Ambassador at this court, that this combined movement of the squadrons was not intended in any sense hostile to Russia, nor to be taken as a hostile demonstration against her; but that, in fact, it meant nothing at all. I say this on the authority of Lord Ponsonby, the noble lord's own colleague, the Ambassador at Constantinople.”—(Mr. Anstey, House of Commons, February 23, 1848.)
After the Treaty of St. Petersburg had been ratified, the noble lord expressed his satisfaction with the moderation of the terms imposed by Russia. When Parliament had reassembled, there appeared in the Globe, the organ of the Foreign Office, a paragraph stating that
“the Treaty of St. Petersburg was a proof either of the moderation or good sense of Russia, or of the influence which the union of England and France, and the firm and concerted language of those two powers, had acquired in the councils of St. Petersburg.”—(Globe, February 24, 1835)
Thus, on the one hand, the Treaty of Adrianople, protested against by Lord Aberdeen and the Duke of Wellington, was surreptitiously to be recognised on the part of England by Lord Palmerston officially expressing his satisfaction with the Treaty of St. Petersburg, which was but a ratification of that treaty; on the other hand, public attention was to be diverted from the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi, and the animosity it had aroused in Europe against Russia was to be soothed down.
Artful as the dodging was, it would not do. On March 17, 1834, Mr. Sheil brought in a motion for “the copies of any treaties between Turkey and Russia, and of any correspondence between the English, Russian, and Turkish Governments, respecting those treaties, to be laid before the House.”
The noble lord resisted this resolution to his utmost, and succeeded in baffling it by assuring the House that “peace could be preserved only by the House reposing confidence in the Government,” and refusing to accede to the motion. So grossly contradictory were the reasons which he stated prevented him from producing the papers, that Sir Robert Peel called him, in his parliamentary language, “a very inconclusive reasoner”, and his own Colonel Evans could not help exclaiming:—“The speech of the noble lord appeared to him the most unsatisfactory he had ever heard from him.”
Lord Palmerston strove to convince the House that, according to the assurances of Russia, the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi was to be looked upon “as one of reciprocity,” that reciprocity being, that if the Dardanelles should be closed against England in the event of war, they should be closed against Russia also. The statement was altogether false, but if true, this certainly would have been Irish reciprocity, for it was all on one side. To cross the Dardanelles is for Russia not the means to get at the Black Sea, but, on the contrary, to leave it.
So far from refuting Mr. Sheil's statement that “the consequence [of the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi] was precisely the same as if the Porte surrendered to Russia the possession of the Dardanelles,” Lord Palmerston owned “that the treaty closed the Dardanelles to British men-of-war,... and that under its provision even merchant vessels might,... in effect, be practically excluded from the Black Sea,” in the case of a war between England and Russia. But if the Government acted “with temper,” if it “showed no unnecessary distrust,“ that is to say, if it quietly submitted to all further encroachments of Russia, he was “inclined to think that the case might not arise in which that treaty would be called into operation; and that, therefore, it would in practice remain a dead letter.“—(House of Commons, March 17, 1834.)
Besides, “the assurances and explanations” which the British Government had received from the contracting parties to that treaty greatly tended to remove its objections to it. Thus, then it was not the articles of the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi, but the assurances Russia gave with respect to them, not the acts of Russia, but her language, he had, in his opinion, to look upon. Yet, as on the same day his attention was called to the protest of the French Charge d'Affaires, M. Le Grenee, against the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi, and the offensive and contumelious language of Count Nesselrode, answering in the St. Petersburg Gazette, that “the Emperor of Russia would act as if the declaration contained in the note of Le Grenee had no existence”—the noble lord, eating his own words, propounded the opposite doctrine that “it was on all occasions the duty of the English Government to look to the acts of a foreign Power, rather than to the language which the Power might hold, on any particular subject or occasion.”
One moment he appealed from the acts of Russia to her language, and the other from her language to her acts.
In 1837 he still assured the House that the “Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi was a treaty between two independent Powers.” —(House of Commons, December 14, 1837)
Ten years later, the treaty having long since lapsed, and the noble lord being just about to act the play of the truly English minister, and the “civis Romanus sum,” he told the House plainly, “the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi was no doubt to a certain degree forced upon Turkey by Count Orloff the Russian envoy, under circumstances [created by the noble lord himself] which rendered it difficult for Turkey to refuse acceding to it.... It gave practically to the Russian Government a power of interference and dictation in Turkey, not consistent with the independence of that state.“—(House of Commons, March 1, 1848.)
During the whole course of the debates about the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi, the noble lord, like the clown in the comedy, had an answer of most monstrous size, that must fit all demands and serve all questions—the Anglo-French Alliance. When his connivance with Russia was pointed at in sneers, he gravely retorted:
“If the present relations established between this country and France were pointed at in these sneers, he would only say, that he should look with feelings of pride and satisfaction at the part he had acted in bringing about that good understanding.“—(House of Commons, July 11, 1833)
When the production of the papers relating to the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi was demanded, he answered that “England and France had now cemented a friendship which had only grown stronger.”—(House of Commons, March 17, 1834)
“He could but remark,” exclaimed Sir Robert Peel, “that whenever the noble lord was thrown into a difficulty as to any part of our European policy, he at once found a ready means of escape, by congratulating the House upon the close alliance between this country and France.”
Simultaneously the noble lord took good care not to quench the suspicions of his Tory opponents, that he had “been compelled to connive at the aggression upon Turkey by Mehemet Ali,” because France had directly encouraged it.
At that time, then, the ostensible entente with France was to cover the secret infeoffment to Russia, as in 1840 the clamorous rupture with France was to cover the official alliance with Russia.
While the noble lord fatigued the world with ponderous folios of printed negotiations on the affairs of the constitutional kingdom of Belgium and with ample explanations, verbal and documentary, with regard to the “substantive power” of Portugal, to this moment it has proved quite impossible to wrest out of him any document whatever relating to the first Syrio-Turkish War, and to the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi. When the production of the papers was first demanded, on July 11, 1833, “the motion was premature,... the transactions incomplete,...and the results not yet known.”
On August 24, 1833, “the treaty was not officially signed, and he was not in possession of it.” On March 17, 1834, “communications were still carrying on ... the discussions, if he might so call them, were not yet completed.“ Still in 1848, when Mr. Anstey told him that in asking for papers he did not ask for the proof of the noble lord’s collusion with the Czar, the chivalrous minister preferred killing time by a five hours’ speech, to killing suspicion by self-speaking documents. Notwithstanding all this, he had the cynical impudence to assure Mr. T. Attwood, on December 14, 1837, that t“he papers connected with that treaty [viz., the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi] were laid before the House three years ago,” that is to say in 1834, when “peace could be preserved only” by withholding them from the House. In 1834, he enjoined the House not to press him, as “peace could be preserved only by the House reposing confidence in the Government,” which, if left alone, would certainly protect the interests of England from encroachment. Now in 1837, in a thin House, composed almost entirely of his retainers, he told Mr. Attwood, that it had never been “the intention of the Government to have recourse to hostile measures to compel Russia and Turkey, two independent Powers, to cancel the treaty made between them.”
On the same day, he told Mr. Attwood that “this treaty was a matter which had gone by, it was entered into for a, limited period,... and that period having expired, its introduction by the honourable member....was wholly unnecessary and uncalled for.”
According to the original stipulation, the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi was to expire on July 8, 1841 Lord Palmerston tells Mr. Attwood that it had already expired on December 14, 1837.
“What trick, what device, what starting hole, canst thou now find to hide thee from this open and apparent shame? Come, let's hear, Jack—what trick hast thou now?”
There is no such word in the Russian vocabulary as "honour." As to the thing itself, it is considered to be a French delusion.
"Schto takoe honneur? Eto Fransusski chimere," is a Russian proverb. For the invention of Russian honour the world is exclusively indebted to my Lord Palmerston, who, during a quarter of a century, used at every critical moment to pledge himself in the most emphatic manner, for the “ honour” of the Czar. He did so at the close of the session of 1853, as at the close of the session of 1833.
Now, it happens that the noble lord, while he expressed “ his most implicit confidence in the honour and good faith” of the Czar, had just got into possession of documents, concealed from the rest of the world, and leaving no doubt, if any existed, about the nature of Russian honour and good faith. He had not even to scratch the Muscovite in order to find the Tartar. He had found the Tartar in his naked hideousness. He found himself possessed of the self-confessions of the leading Russian ministers and diplomatists, throwing off their cloaks, opening out their most secret thoughts, unfolding, without constraint, their plans of conquest and subjugation, scornfully railing at the imbecile credulity of European courts and ministers, mocking the Villeles, the Metternichs, the Aberdeens, the Cannings, and the Wellingtons; and devising in common, with the savage cynicism of the barbarian, mitigated by the cruel irony of the courtier, how to sow distrust against England at Paris, and against Austria at London, and against London at Vienna, how to set them all by the ears, and how to make all of them the mere tools of Russia.
At the time of the insurrection in Warsaw, the vice-royal archives kept in the palace of Prince Constantine, and containing the secret correspondence of Russian ministers and ambassadors from the beginning of this century down to 1830, fell into the hands of the victorious Poles. Polish refugees brought these papers over first to France, and, at a later period, Count Zamoyski, the nephew of Prince Czartoryski, placed them in the hands of Lord Palmerston, who buried them in Christian oblivion. With these papers in his pocket, the noble viscount was the more eager to proclaim in the British Senate and to the world, “ his most implicit confidence in the honour and good faith of the Emperor of Russia.”
It was not the fault of the noble viscount, that those startling papers were at length published at the end of 1835, through the famousPortfolio. King William IV, whatsoever he was in other respects, was a most decided enemy of Russia. His private secretary, Sir Herbert Taylor, was intimately connected with David Urquhart, introducing this gentleman to the King himself, and from that moment Royalty was conspiring with these two friends against the policy of the “truly English” minister.
“ William IV. ordered the above-mentioned papers to be given up by the noble lord. They were given up and examined at the time at Windsor Castle, and it was found desirable to print and publish them. In spite of the great opposition of the noble lord, the King compelled him to lend the authority of the Foreign Office to their publication, so that the editor who took the charge of revising them for the press, published not a single word which had not the signature or initials attached. I, myself, have seen the noble lord’s initial attached to one of these documents, although the noble lord has denied these facts. Lord Palmerston was compelled to place the documents in the hands of Mr. Urquhart for publication. Mr. Urquhart was the real editor of the Portfolio.” —(Mr, Anstey, House of Commons, February 23, 1848.)
After the death of the King, Lord Palmerston refused to pay the printer of the Portfolio, disclaimed publicly and solemnly all connection on the part of the Foreign Office with it, and induced, in what manner is not known, Mr. Backhouse, his under-secretary, to set his name to these denials. We read in The Times of January 30, 1839:
“ It is not for us to understand how Lord Palmerston may feel, but we are sure there is no misapprehending how any other person in the station of a gentleman, and in the position of a minister, would feel after the notoriety given to the correspondence between Mr. Urquhart, whom Lord Palmerston dismissed from office, and Mr. Backhouse, whom the noble viscount has retained in office, by The Times of yesterday. There never was a fact apparently better established through this correspondence than that the series of official documents contained in the well-known publication called the Portfolio, were printed and circulated by Lord Palmerston's authority, and that his lordship is responsible for the publication of them, both as a statesman to the political world here and abroad, and as an employer of the printers and publishers, for the pecuniary charge accompanying it.”
In consequence of her financial distress, resulting from the exhaustion of the treasury by the unfortunate war of 1828-29, and the debt to Russia stipulated by the Treaty of Adrianople, Turkey found herself compelled to extend that obnoxious system of monopolies, by which the sale of almost all articles was granted only to those who had paid Government licenses. Thus a few usurers were enabled to seize upon the entire commerce of the country. Mr. Urquhart proposed to King William IV a commercial treaty to be concluded with the Sultan, which treaty, while guaranteeing great advantages to British commerce, intended at the same time to develop the productive resources of Turkey, to restore her exchequer to health, and thus to emancipate her from the Russian yoke. The curious history of this treaty cannot be better related than in the words of Mr. Anstey:
“The whole of the contest between Lord Palmerston on the one hand, and Mr. Urquhart on the other, was directed to this treaty of commerce. On the 3rd of October, 1835, Mr Urquhart obtained his commission as Secretary of Legation at Constantinople, given him for the one purpose of securing the adoption there of the Turkish commercial treaty. He delayed his departure, however, till June or July, 1836. Lord Palmerston pressed him to go. The applications to him urging his departure were numerous, but his answer invariably was, ‘I will not go until I have this commercial treaty settled with the Board of Trade and the Foreign Office: and then I will accompany it and procure its acceptance at the Porte.’ ... Finally, Lord Palmerston gave his approbation to the treaty, and it was forwarded to Lord Ponsonby, the Ambassador at Constantinople. [In the meantime the latter had been instructed by Lord Palmerston to take the negotiations entirely out of the hands of Mr. Urquhart into his own, contrary to the engagement entered into with Mr. Urquhart.] As soon as the removal of Mr. Urquhart from Constantinople had been effected through the intrigues of the noble lord, the treaty was immediately thrown overboard. Two years later the noble lord resumed it, giving Mr. Urquhart, before Parliament, the compliment of being the author of it, and disclaiming for himself all merits in it. But the noble lord had destroyed the treaty, falsified it in every part, and converted it to the ruin of commerce. The original treaty of Mr. Urquhart placed the subjects of Great Britain in Turkey upon the footing of the most favoured nation, viz. the Russians. As altered by Lord Palmerston, it placed the subjects of Great Britain upon the footing of the taxed and oppressed subjects of the Porte. Mr. Urquhart’s treaty stipulated for the removal of all transit duties, monopolies, taxes, and duties of whatever character, other than those stipulated by the treaty itself. As falsified by Lord Falmerston, it contained a clause, declaring the perfect right of the Sublime Porte to impose whatever regulations and restrictions it pleased, with regard to commerce. Mr Urquhart’s treaty left exportation subject only to the old duty of three shillings; that of the noble lord raised the duty from three shillings to five shillings. Mr. Urquhart’s treaty stipulated for an ad valorem duty in this manner, that if any article of commerce was so exclusively the production of Turkey as to insure it a ready sale at the prices usually received under the monopoly in foreign ports, then the export duty, to be assessed by two commissioners appointed on the part of England and Turkey, might be a high one, so as to be remunerative and productive of revenue, but that, in the case of commodities produced elsewhere than in Turkey, and not being of sufficient value in foreign ports to bear a high duty, a lower duty should be assessed. Lord Palmerston’s treaty stipulated a fixed duty of twelve shillings ad valorem upon every article, whether it would bear the duty or not. The original treaty extended the benefit of free trade to Turkish ships and produce; the substituted treaty contained no stipulation whatever on the subject.... I charge these falsifications, I charge also the concealment of them, upon the noble lord, and further—I charge the noble lord with having falsely stated to the House that his treaty was that which had been arranged by Mr. Urquhart.“ —(Mr, Anstey, House of Commons, February 23, 1848.)With regard to the secret relations between the noble lord and William IV, Mr. Anstey stated to the House:
So favourable to Russia, and so obnoxious to Great Britain, was the treaty as altered by the noble lord, that some English merchants in the Levant resolved to trade henceforth under the protection of Russian firms, and others, as Mr. Urquhart states, were only prevented from doing so by a sort of national pride.
“The King forced the question of the process of Russian encroachment in Turkey upon the attention of the noble lord.... I can prove that the noble lord was obliged to take the direction in this matter from the late King’s private secretary, and that his existence in office depended upon his compliance with the wishes of the monarch. ... The noble lord did, on one or two occasions, as far as he dared, resist, but his resistance was invariably followed by abject expressions of contrition and compliance. I will not take upon myself to assert that on one occasion the noble lord was actually out of office for a day or two, but I am able to say that the noble lord was in danger of a most unceremonious expulsion from office on that occasion. I refer to the discovery which the late King had made, that the noble lord consulted the feelings of the Russian Government as to the choice of an English Ambassador at the Court of St. Petersburg, and that Sir Stratford Canning, originally destined for the embassy, was set aside to make room for the late Earl of Durham, an ambassador more agreeable to the Czar.”—(House of Commons, February 23, 1853)
It is one of the most astonishing facts that, while the King was vainly struggling against the Russian policy of the noble lord, the noble lord and his Whig allies succeeded in keeping alive the public suspicion that the King—who was known as a Tory—was paralysing the anti-Russian efforts of the “truly English” Minister. The pretended Tory predilection of the monarch for the despotic principles of the Russian Court, was, of course, made to explain the otherwise inexplicable policy of Lord Palmerston. The Whig oligarchs smiled mysteriously when Mr. H. L. Bulwer informed the House, that “no longer ago than last Christmas Count Apponyi, the Austrian Ambassador at Paris, stated, in speaking of the affairs of the East, that this Court had a greater apprehension of French principles than of Russian ambition.”—(House of Commons, July 11, 1833)
They smiled again, when Mr. T. Attwood interrogated the noble lord: “what reception Count Orloff, having been sent over to England, after the treaty of Unkiar Skelessi, had met with at his Majesty's Court?”—(House of Commons, August 28, 1833)
The papers entrusted by the dying King and his secretary, the late Sir Herbert Taylor, to Mr. Urquhart, “for the purpose of vindicating, upon the fitting opportunity, the memory of William IV,” will, when published, throw a new light upon the past career of the noble lord and the Whig oligarchy, of which the public generally know little more than the history of their pretensions, their phrases, and their so-called principles—in a word, the theatrical and fictitious part—the mask.
This is a fitting occasion to give his due to Mr. David Urquhart, the indefatigable antagonist for twenty years of Lord Palmerston, to whom he proved a real adversary—one not to be intimidated into silence, bribed into connivance, charmed into suitorship, while, what with cajoleries, what with seductions, Alcine Palmerston contrived to change all other foes into fools. We have just heard the fierce denunciation of his lordship by Mr. Anstey:
“A circumstance most significant is that the accused minister sought the member, viz. Mr. Anstey, and was content to accept his co-operation and private friendship without the forms of recantation or apology. Mr. Anstey's recent legal appointment by the present Government speaks for itself.”—(D. Urquhart’s Progress of Russia.)
On February 23, 1848, the same Mr. Anstey had compared the noble viscount to “the infamous Marquis of Carmarthen, Secretary of State to William III, whom, during his visit to his Court, the Czar, Peter I, found means to corrupt to his interests with the gold of British merchants.”—(House of Commons, February 23, 1848.)
Who defended Lord Palmerston on that occasion against the accusations of Mr. Anstey? Mr. Sheil; the same Mr. Sheil who had, on the conclusion of the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi, in 1833, acted the same part of accuser against his lordship as Mr. Anstey in 1848. Mr. Roebuck, once his strong anatagonist, procured him the vote of confidence in 1850. Sir Stratford Canning, having denounced during a decennium, the noble lord's connivance with the Czar, was content to be got rid of as ambassador to Constantinople. The noble lord's own dear Dudley Stuart was intrigued out of Parliament for some years, for having opposed the noble lord. When returned back to it, he had become the âme damnée [french: a willing tool] of the “truly English” Minister. Kossuth, who might have known from the Blue Books that Hungary had been betrayed by the noble viscount, called him “the dear friend of his bosom,” when landing at Southampton.
One glance at the map of Europe will show you on the western littoral of the Black Sea the outlets of the Danube, the only river which, springing up in the very heart of Europe, may be said to form a natural highway to Asia. Exactly opposite on the eastern side, to the south of the river Kuban, begins the mountain-range of the Caucasus, stretching from the Black Sea to the Caspian in a south-easterly direction for some seven hundred miles, and separating Europe from Asia.
If you hold the outlets of the Danube, you hold the Danube, and with it the highway to Asia, and a great part of the commerce of Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, Turkey, and above all, of Moldo-Wallachia. If you hold the Caucasus too, the Black Sea becomes your property, and to shut up its door, you only want Constantinople and the Dardanelles. The possession of the Caucasus mountains makes you at once master of Trebizond, and through their domination of the Caspian Sea, of the northern seaboard of Persia.
The greedy eyes of Russia embraced at once the outlets of the Danube and the mountain-range of the Caucasus. There, the business in hand was to conquer supremacy, here to maintain it. The chain of the Caucasus separates southern Russia from the luxurious provinces of Georgia, Mingrelia, Imertia, and Giuriel, wrested by the Muscovite from the Mussulman. Thus the foot of the monster empire is cut off from its main body. The only military road, deserving to be called such, winds from Mozdok to Tiflis, through the eyry-pass of Dariel, fortified by a continuous line of entrenched places, but exposed on both sides to the never-ceasing attacks from the Caucasian tribes. The union of these tribes under one military chief might even endanger the bordering country of the Cossacks. “The thought of the dreadful consequences which a union of the hostile Circassians under one head would produce in the south of Russia, fills one with terror,” exclaims Mr. Kapffer, a German who presided over the scientific commission which, in 1829, accompanied the expedition of General Etronnel to Elbruz.
At this very moment our attention is directed with equal anxiety to the banks of the Danube, where Russia has seized the two corn magazines of Europe, and to the Caucasus, where she is menaced in the possession of Georgia. It was the Treaty of Adrianople that prepared Russia’s usurpation of Moldo-Wallachia, and recognised her claims to the Caucasus.
Article IV of that treaty stipulates:
“All the countries situated north and east of the line of demarcation between the two Empires (Russia and Turkey), towards Georgia, Imertia, and the Giureil, as well as all the littoral of the Black Sea, from the mouth of the Kuban, as far as the port of St. Nicholas exclusively, shall remain under the domination of Russia.”
With regard to the Danube the same treaty stipulates:
“The frontier line will follow the course of the Danube to the mouth of St. George, leaving all the islands formed by the different branches in the possession of Russia. The right bank will remain, as formerly, in the possession of the Ottoman Porte. It is, however, agreed that the right bank, from the point where the arm of St. George departs from that of Sulina, shall remain uninhabited to a distance of two hours (six miles) from the river, and that no kind of structure shall be raised there, and, in like manner, on the islands which still remain in the possession of the Court of Russia. With the exception of quarantines, which will be there established, it will not be permitted to make any other establishment or fortification.”
Both these paragraphs, inasmuch as they secure to Russia an “extension of territory and exclusive commercial advantages,” openly infringed on the protocol of April 4, 1846, drawn up by the Duke of Wellington at St. Petersburg, and on the treaty of July 6, 1827, concluded between Russia and the other great Powers at London. The English Government, therefore, refused to recognise the Treaty of Adrianople. The Duke of Wellington protested against it.—(Lord Dudley Stuart, House of Commons, March 17, 1837.) Lord Aberdeen protested:
“In a despatch to Lord Heytesbury, dated October 21, 1829, he commented with no small dissatisfaction on many parts of the Treaty of Adrianople, and especially notices the stipulations respecting the islands of the Danube. He denies that peace (the Treaty of Adrianople) has respected the territorial rights of the sovereignty of the Porte, and the condition and the interests of all maritime states in the Mediterranean.”—(Lord Mahon, House of Commons, April 20, 1836.)
Earl Grey declared that “the independence of the Porte would be sacrificed, and the peace of Europe endangered, by this treaty being agreed to.”—(Earl Grey, House of Lords, February 4, 1834.) Lord Palmerston himself informs us:
“As far as the extension of the Russian frontier is concerned in the south of the Caucasus, and the shores of the Black Sea, it is certainly not consistent with the solemn declaration made by Russia in the face of Europe, previous to the commencement of the Turkish war.”—(House of Commons, March 17, 1837.)
The eastern littoral of the Black Sea, by blockading which and cutting off supplies of arms and gunpowder to the northwestern districts of the Caucasus, Russia could alone hope to realise her nominal claim to these countries—this littoral of the Black Sea and the outlets of the Danube are certainly no places “where an English action could possibly take place,” as was lamented by the noble lord in the case of Cracow. By what mysterious contrivance, then, has the Muscovite succeeded in blockading the Danube, in blocking up the littoral of the Euxine, and in forcing Great Britain to submit not only to the Treaty of Adrianople, but at the same time to the violation by Russia herself of that identical treaty? These questions were put to the noble viscount in the House of Commons on April 20, 1836, numerous petitions having poured in from the merchants of London, of Glasgow, and other commercial towns, against the fiscal regulations of Russia in the Black Sea, and her enactments and restrictions tending to intercert English commerce on the Danube. There had appeared on February 7, 1836, a Russian ukase, which, by virtue of the Treaty of Adrianople, established a quarantine on one of the islands formed by the mouths of the Danube. In order to execute that quarantine, Russia claimed a right of boarding and search, of levying fees and seizing and marching off to Odessa refractory ships proceeding on their voyage up the Danube. Before the quarantine was established, or rather before a custom-house and fort were erected, under the false pretence of a quarantine, the Russian authorities threw out their feelers, to ascertain the risk they might run with the British Government. Lord Durham acting upon instructions received from England, remonstrated with the Russian Cabinet for the hindrance which had been given to British trade.
“He was referred to Count Nesselrode, Count Nesselrode referred him to the Governor of South Russia, and the Governor of South Russia again referred him to the Consul at Galatz, who communicated with the British Consul at Ibraila, who was instructed to send down the captains from whom toll had been exacted, to the Danube, the scene of their injuries, in order that inquiry might be made on the subject, it being well known that the captains thus referred to were then in England.”—(House of Commons, April 20, 1836.)
The formal ukase of February 7, 1836, aroused, however, the general attention of British commerce.
“Many ships had sailed, and others were going out, to whose captains strict orders had been given not to submit to the right of boarding and search which Russia claimed. The fate of these ships must be inevitable, unless some expression of opinion was made on the part of that House. Unless that were done, British shipping, to the amount of not less than 5,000 tons, would be seized and marched off to Odessa, until the insolent commands of Russia were complied with.”—(Mr. Patrick Stewart, House of Commons, April 20, 1836.)
Russia required the marshy islands of the Danube, by virtue of the clause of the Treaty of Adrianople, which clause itself was a violation of the treaty she had previously contracted with England and the other Powers, in 1827. The bristling the gates of the Danube with fortifications, and these fortifications with guns, was a violation of the Treaty of Adrianople itself, which expressly prohibits any fortifications being erected within six miles of the river. The exaction of tolls, and the obstruction of the navigation, were a violation of the Treaty of Vienna, declaring that “the navigation of rivers along their whole course, from the point where each of them becomes navigable to its mouth, shall be entirely free,” that “ the duties shall in no case exceed those nowthe amount of the duties shall in no case exceed those now (1815) paid” and that “shall take place, except with the common consent of the states no increase shall take place, except with the common consent of the states bordering on the river.” Thus, then, all the argument on which Russia could plead not guilty was the Treaty of 1827, violated by the Treaty of Adrianople, the Treaty of Adrianople violated by herself, the whole backed up by a violation of the Treaty of Vienna. It proved quite impossible to wring out of the noble lord any declaration whether he did or did not recognise the Treaty of Adrianople. As to the violation of the Treaty of Vienna, he had
“received no official information that anything had occurred which is not warranted by the treaty. When such a statement is made by the parties concerned, it shall be dealt with in such manner as the law advisers of the Crown shall deem consistent with the rights of the subjects of this country.”—(Lord Palmerston, House of Commons, April 20, 1836.)
By the Treaty of Adrianople, Art. V, Russia guarantees the “prosperity” of the Danubian Principalities, and full “liberty of trade” for them. Now, Mr. Stewart proved that the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia were objects of deadly jealousy to Russia, as their trade had taken a sudden development since 1834 as they vied with Russia’s own staple production, as Galatz was becoming the great depot of all the grain of the Danube, and driving Odessa out of the market. If, answered the noble lord,
“my honourable friend had been able to show that whereas some years ago we had had a large and important commerce with Turkey, and that that commerce had, by the aggression of other countries, or by the neglect of the Government of this, dwindled down to an inconsiderable trade, then there might have been ground to call upon Parliament.”
In lieu of such an occurrence,
“my honourable friend has shown that during the last few years the trade with Turkey has risen from next to nothing to a very considerable amount.”
Russia obstructs the Danube navigation, because the trade of the Principalities is growing important, says Mr. Stewart. But she did not do so when the trade was next to nothing, retorts Lord Palmerston. You neglect to oppose the recent encroachments of Russia on the Danube, says Mr. Stewart. We did not do so at the epoch these encroachments were not yet ventured upon, replies the noble lord. What “circumstances” have therefore “occurred against which the Government are not likely to guard unless driven thereto by the direct interference of this House?” He prevented the Commons from passing a resolution by assuring them that “there is no disposition of His Majesty’s Government to submit to aggression on the part of any Power, be that Power what it may, and be it more or less strong,” and by warning them that “we should also cautiously abstain from anything which might be construed by other Powers, and reasonably so, as being a provocation on our part.” A week after these debates had taken place in the House of Commons, a British merchant addressed a letter to the Foreign Office with regard to the Russian ukase. “I am directed by Viscount Palmerston,” answered the Under Secretary at the Foreign Office, to
“acquaint you that his lordship has called upon the law adviser for the Crown for his opinions as to the regulations promulgated by the Russian ukase of February 7, 1836; but in the meantime Lord Palmerston directs me to acquaint you, with respect to the latter part of your letter, that it is the opinion of His Majesty’s Government that no toll is justly demanded by the Russian authorities, at the mouth of the Danube, and that you have acted properly in directing your agents to refuse to pay it.”
The merchant acted according to this letter. He is abandoned to Russia by the noble lord; a Russian toll is, as Mr. Urquhart states, now exacted in London and Liverpool by Russian Consuls, on every English ship sailing for the Turkish ports of the Danube; and “the quarantine still stands on the island of Leti”. Russia did not limit her invasion of the Danube to a quarantine established, to fortifications erected, and to tolls exacted. The only mouth of the Danube remaining still navigable, the Sulina mouth, was acquired by her through the Treaty of Adrianople. As long as it was possessed by the Turks, there was kept a depth of water in the channel of from fourteen to sixteen feet. Since in the possession of Russia, the water became reduced to eight feet, a depth wholly inadequate to the conveyance of the vessels employed in the corn trade. Now Russia is a party to the Treaty of Vienna, and that treaty stipulates, in Article CXIII, that “each State shall be at the expense of keeping in good repair the towing paths, and shall maintain the necessary work in order that no obstructions shall be experienced by the navigation”. For keeping the channel in a navigable state, Russia found no better means than gradually reducing the depth of the water, paving it with wrecks, and choking up its bar with an accumulation of sand and mud. To this systematic and protracted infraction of the Treaty of Vienna, she added another violation of the Treaty of Adrianople, which forbids any establishment at the mouth of the Sulina, except for quarantine and light-house purposes, while at her dictation, a small Russian fort has there sprung up, living by extortions upon the vessels, the occasion for which is afforded by the delays and expenses for lighterage, consequent upon the obstruction of the channel.
“Cum principia negante non est disputandum—of what use is it to dwell upon abstract principles with despotic Governments, who are accused of measuring might by power, and of ruling their conduct by expediency, and not by justice?”(Lord Palmerston, April 30, 1823)
According to his own maxim, the noble viscount was contented to dwell upon abstract principles with the despotic Government of Russia; but he went further. While he assured the House on July 6, 1840, that the freedom of the Danube navigation was “guaranteed by the Treaty of Vienna,” while he lamented on July 13, 1840, that the occupation of Cracow being a violation of the Treaty of Vienna, “there were no means of enforcing the opinions of England, because Cracow was evidently a place where no English action could possibly take place”; two days later he concluded a Russian treaty, closing the Dardanelles to England “during times of peace with Turkey,” and thus depriving England of the only means of “enforcing” the Treaty of Vienna, and transforming the Euxine into a place where no English action could possibly take place.
This point once obtained, he contrived to give a sham satisfaction to public opinion by firing off a whole battery of papers, reminding the “despotic Government, which measures right by power, and rules its conduct by expediency and not by justice,” in a sententious and sentimental manner, that “Russia, when she compelled Turkey to cede to her the outlet of a great European river, which forms the commercial highway for the mutual intercourse of many nations, undertook duties and responsibilities to other States which she should take a pride in making good.” To this dwelling upon abstract principles, Count Nesselrode kept giving the inevitable answer that “the subject should be carefully examined,” and expressing from time to time, “a feeling of soreness on the part of the Imperial Government at the mistrust manifested as to their intentions.”
Thus, through the management of the noble lord, in 1853, things arrived at the point where the navigation of the Danube was declared impossible, and corn was rotting at the mouth of the Sulina, while famine threatened to invade England, France, and the south of Europe. Thus, Russia was not only adding, as The Times says, “to her other important possessions that of an iron gate between the Danube and the Euxine,” she possessed herself of the key to the Danube, of a bread-screw which she can put on whenever the policy of Western Europe becomes obnoxious to punishment.
The petitions presented to the House of Commons on April 26, 1836, and the resolution moved by Mr. Patrick Stewart in reference to them, referred not only to the Danube, but to Circassia too, the rumour having spread through the commercial world that the Russian Government, on the plea of blockading the coast of Circassia, claimed to exclude English ships from landing goods and merchandise in certain ports of the eastern littoral of the Black Sea. On that occasion Lord Palmerston solemnly declared:
“If Parliament will place their confidence in us—if they will leave it to us to manage the foreign relations of the country—we shall be able to protect the interests and to uphold the honour of the country without being obliged to have recourse to war.”—(House of Commons April 26, 1836.)
Some months afterwards, on October 29, 1836, the Vixen a trading vessel belonging to Mr. George Bell and laden with a cargo of salt, set out from London on a direct voyage for Circassia. On November 25, she was seized in the Circassian Bay of Soudjouk-Kale by a Russian man-of-war, for “having been employed on a blockaded coast.”—(Letter of the Russian Admiral Lazareff to the English Consul, Mr. Childs, December 24, 1836.) The vessel, her cargo, and her crew were sent to the port of Sebastopol, where the condemnatory decision of the Russians was received on January 27, 1837. This time, however, no mention was made of a “blockade,” but the Vixen was simply declared a lawful prize, because “it was guilty of smuggling,” the importation of salt being prohibited, and the Bay of Soudjouk-Kale, a Russian port, not provided with a customhouse. The condemnation was executed in an exquisitely ignominious and insulting manner. The Russians who effected the seizure were publicly rewarded with decorations. The British flag was hoisted, then hauled down, and the Russian flag hoisted in its stead. The master and crew, put as captives on board the Ajax—the captor—were despatched from Sebastopol to Odessa, and from Odessa to Constantinople, whence they were allowed to return to England. As to the vessel itself, a German traveller, who visited Sebastopol a few years after this event, wrote in a letter addressed to the Augsburg Gazette: “After all the Russian ships of the line which I visited, no vessel excited my curiosity more than the Soudjouk-Kale, formerly the Vixen, under the Russian colours. She has now changed her appearance. This little vessel is now the best sailer in the Russian fleet, and is generally employed in transports between Sebastopol and the coast of Circassia.”
The capture of the Vixen certainly afforded Lord Palmerston a great occasion for fulfilling his promise “to protect the interests and to uphold the honour of the country.” Besides the honour of the British flag, and the interests of British commerce, there was another question at stake—the independence of Circassia. At first, Russia justified the seizure of the Vixen on the plea of an infraction of the blockade proclaimed by her, but the ship was condemned on the opposite plea of a contravention against her custom-house regulations. By proclaiming a blockade, Russia declared Circassia a hostile foreign country, and the question was whether the British Government had ever recognised that blockade? By the establishment of custom-house regulations, Circassia was, on the contrary, treated as a Russian dependency, and the question was whether the British Government had ever recognised the Russian claims to Circassia?
Before proceeding, let it be remembered that Russia was at that epoch far from having completed her fortification of Sebastopol.
Any Russian claim to the possession of Circassia could only be derived from the Treaty of Adrianople, as explained in a previous article. But the treaty of July 6, 1827, bound Russia to not attempting any territorial aggrandisement, nor securing any exclusive commercial advantage from her war with Turkey. Any extension, therefore, of the Russian frontier, attendant on the Treaty of Adrianople, openly infringed the treaty of 1827, and was, as shown by the protest of Wellington and Aberdeen, not to be recognised on the part of Great Britain. Russia, then, had no right to receive Circassia from Turkey. On the other hand, Turkey could not cede to Russia what she never possessed, and Circassia had always remained so independent of the Porte, that, at the time when a Turkish Pasha yet resided at Anapa, Russia herself had concluded several conventions with the Circassian chieftains as to the coast trade, the Turkish trade being exclusively and legally restricted to the port of Anapa. Circassia being an independent country, the municipal, sanitary or customs' regulations with which the Muscovite might think fit to provide her were as binding as his regulations for the port of Tampico.
On the other hand, if Circassia was a foreign country, hostile to Russia, the latter had only a right to blockade, if that blockade was no paper blockade—if Russia had the naval squadron present to enforce it, and really dominated the coast. Now, on a coast extending 200 miles, Russia possessed but three isolated forts, all the rest of Circassia remaining in the hands of the Circassian tribes. There existed no Russian fort in the Bay of Soudjouk-Kale. There was, in fact, no blockade, because no maritime force was employed. There was the offer of the distinct testimony of the crews of two British vessels who had visited the bay—the one in September, 1834, the other, that of the Vixen—confirmed subsequently by the public statements of two British travellers who visited the harbour in the years 1837 and 1838, that there was no Russian occupation whatever of the coast.—(Portfolio, VIII, March 1, 1844.)
When the Vixen entered the harbour of Soudjouk-Kale
“there were no Russian ships of war in sight nor in the offing. ... A Russian vessel of war came into the harbour thirty-six hours after the Vixen had cast anchor, and at the moment when the owner and some of the officers were on shore fixing the dues demanded by the Circassian authorities, and payable on the value of the goods. ... The man-of-war came not coast-wise, but from the open sea.”—(Mr. Anstey, House of Commons, February 23, 1848.)
But need we give further proofs of the St. Petersburg Cabinet itself seizing the Vixen under pretext of blockade and confiscating it under pretext of custom-house regulations? The Circassians thus appeared the more favoured by accident, as the question of their independence coincided with the question of the free navigation of the Black Sea, the protection of British commerce, and an insolent act of piracy committed by Russia on a British merchant ship. Their chance of obtaining protection from the mistress of the seas seemed less doubtful, as
“the Circassian declaration of independence had a short-time ago been published after mature deliberation and several weeks' correspondence with different branches of the Government, in a periodical (the Portfolio) connected with the foreign department, and as Circassia was marked out as an independent country in a map revised by Lord Palmerston himself.”—(Mr. Robinson, House of Commons, January 21, 1838.)
Will it then be believed that the noble and chivalrous viscount knew how to handle the case in so masterly a way, that the very act of piracy committed by Russia against British property afforded him the long-sought-for occasion of formally recognising the Treaty of Adrianople, and the extinction of Circassian independence?
On March 17, 1837, Mr Roebuck moved, with reference to the confiscation of the Vixen, for “a copy of all correspondence between the Government of this country and the Governments of Russia and Turkey, relating to the Treaty of Adrianople, as well as all transactions or negotiations connected with the port and territories on the shores of the Black Sea by Russia since the Treaty of Adrianople.”
Mr. Roebuck, from fear of being suspected of humanitarian tendencies and of defending Circassia, on the ground of abstract principles, plainly declared: “Russia may endeavour to obtain possession of all the world, and I regard her efforts with indifference; but the moment she interferes with our commerce, I call upon the Government of this country [which country exists in appearance somewhat beyond the limits of all the world] to punish the aggression.” Accordingly, he wanted to know “if the British Government had acknowledged the Treaty of Adrianople?”
The noble lord, although pressed very hard, had ingenuity enough to make a long speech, and
“to sit down without telling the House who was in actual possession of the Circassian coast at the present moment—whether it really belonged to Russia, and whether it was by right of a violation of fiscal regulations, or in consequence of an existing blockade, that the Vixen had been seized, and whether or not he recognised the Treaty of Adrianople.”—(Mr. Hume, House of Commons, March 17, 1837)
Mr. Roebuck states that, before allowing the Vixen to proceed to Circassia, Mr. Bell had applied to the noble lord, in order to ascertain whether there was any impropriety or danger to be apprehended in a vessel landing goods in any part of Circassia, and that the Foreign Office answered in the negative. Thus, Lord Palmerston found himself obliged to read to the House the correspondence exchanged between himself and Mr. Bell. Reading these letters one would fancy he was reading a Spanish comedy of the cloak and sword rather than an official correspondence between a minister and a merchant. When he heard the noble lord had read the letters respecting the seizure of the Vixen, Daniel O'Connell exclaimed, “He could not keep calling to his mind the expression of Talleyrand, that language had been invented to conceal thoughts.”
For instance, Mr Bell asks “whether there were any restrictions on trade recognised by His Majesty's Government? as, if not, he intended to send thither a vessel with a cargo of salt.” “You ask me,” answers Lord Palmerston, “whether it would be for your advantage to engage in a speculation in salt ” and inform him “or commercial firms to judge for themselves whether they shall enthat it is for commercial firms to judge for themselves whether they shall enter or decline a speculation.” “By no means,” replies Mr. Bell; “all I want to know is, whether or not His Majesty's Government recognises the Russian blockade on the Black Sea to the south of the river Kuban?” “You must look at the London Gazette,” retorts the noble lord, “in which all the notifications, such as those alluded to by you, are made.” The London Gazette was indeed the quarter to which a British merchant had to refer for such information, instead of the ukases of the Emperor of Russia. Mr. Bell, finding no indication whatever in the Gazette of the acknowledgement of the blockade, or of other restrictions, despatched his vessel. The result was, that some time after he was himself placed in the Gazette.
“I referred Mr. Bell,” says Lord Palmerston, “to theGazette, where he would find no blockade had been communicated or declared to this country by the Russian Government—consequently, none was acknowledged.” By referring Mr. Bell to the Gazette, Lord Palmerston did not only deny the acknowledgment on the part of Great Britain of the Russian blockade, but simultaneously affirmed that, in his opinion, the coast of Circassia formed no part of the Russian territory, because blockades of their own territories by foreign States—as, for instance, against revolted subjects—are not to be notified in the Gazette. Circassia, forming no part of the Russian territory, could not, of course, be included in Russian custom-house regulations. Thus, according to his own statement, Lord Palmerston denied, in his letters to Mr. Bell, Russia's right to blockade the Circassian coast, or to subject it to commercial restrictions. It is true that, throughout his speech, he showed a desire to induce the House to infer that Russia had possession of Circassia. But, on the other hand, he stated plainly, “As far as the extension of the Russian frontier is concerned, on the south of the Caucasus and the shores of the Black Sea, it is certainly not consistent with the solemn declaration made by Russia in the face of Europe, previous to the commencement of the Turkish war.” When he sat down, pledging himself ever “to protect the interests and uphold the honour of the country,” he seemed to labour beneath the accumulated miseries of his past policy, rather than to be hatching treacherous designs for the future. On that day he met with the following cruel apostrophe:
“The want of vigorous alacrity to defend the honour of the country which the noble lord had displayed was most culpable; the conduct of no former minister, had ever been so vacillating, so hesitating, so uncertain, so cowardly, when insult had been offered to British subjects. How much longer did the noble lord propose to allow Russia thus to insult Great Britain, and thus to injure British commerce? The noble lord was degrading England by holding her out in the character of a bully—haughty and tyrannical to the weak, humble and abject to the strong.”
Who was it that thus mercilessly branded the truly English Minister? Nobody else than Lord Dudley Stuart. On November 25, 1836, the Vixen was confiscated. The stormy debates of the House of Commons, just quoted, took place on March 17, 1837. It was not till April 19, 1837, that the noble lord requested “the Russian Government to state the reason on account of which it had thought itself warranted to seize in time of peace a merchant vessel belonging to British subjects.” On May 17, 1837, the noble lord received the following despatch from the Earl of Durham, the British Ambassador at St. Petersburg:
"MY LORD, “With respect to the military de facto occupation of Soudjouk-Kale, I have to state to your lordship that there is a fortress in the bay which bears the name of the Empress (Alexandrovsky), and that it has always been occupied by a a Russian garrison.
“I have, etc., “DURHAM.”
It need hardly be remarked that the fort Alexandrovsky had not even the reality of the pasteboard towns, exhibited by Potemkin before the Empress Catherine II on her visit to the Crimea. Five days after the receipt of this despatch, Lord Palmerston returns the following answer to St. Petersburg:
“His Majesty's Government, considering in the first place that Soudjouk-Kale, which was acknowledged by Russia in the Treaty of 1783 as a Turkish possession, now belongs to Russia, as stated by Count Nesselrode, by virtue of the Treaty of Adrianople, see no sufficient reason to question the right of Russia to seize and confiscate the Vixen.”
There are some very curious circumstances connected with the negotiation. Lord Palmerston requires six months of premeditation for opening, and hardly one to close it. His last despatch of May 23, 1837, suddenly and abruptly cuts off any further transactions. It quotes the date before the Treaty of Kutchuk-Kainardji, not after the Gregorian but after the Greek chronology. Besides, “between April 19 and May 23,” as Sir Robert Peel said, "a remarkable change from official declaration to satisfaction occurred—apparently induced by the assurance received from Count Nesselrode that Turkey had ceded the coast in question to Russia by the Treaty of Adrianople. Why did he not protest against this ukase?”—(House of Commons, June 21, 1838.)
Why all this? The reason is very simple. King William IV had secretly instigated Mr. Bell to despatch the Vixen to the coast of Circassia. When the noble lord delayed negotiations, the king was still in full health. When he suddenly closed the negotiations, William IV was in the agonies of death, and Lord Palmerston disposed as absolutely of the Foreign Office, as if he was himself the autocrat of Great Britain. Was it not a master-stroke on the part of his jocose lordship to formally acknowledge by one dash of the pen the Treaty of Adrianople, Russia's possession of Circassia, and the confiscation of the Vixen, in the name of the dying king, who had despatched that saucy Vixen with the express view to mortify the Czar, to disregard the Treaty of Adrianople, and to affirm the independence of Circassia?
Mr. Bell, as we stated, went into the Gazette, and Mr. Urquhart, then the first secretary of the Embassy at Constantinople, was recalled, for “having persuaded Mr. Bell to carry his Vixen expedition into execution.”
As long as King William IV was alive, Lord Palmerston dared not openly countermand the Vixen expedition, as is proved by the Circassian Declaration of Independence, published in the Portfolio; by the Circassian map revised by his lordship; by his uncertain correspondence with Mr. Bell; by his vague declarations in the House; by the supercargo of the Vixen; Mr. Bell's brother receiving, when setting out, despatches from the Foreign Office, for the Embassy at Constantinople, and direct encouragement from Lord Ponsonby, the British Ambassador to the Sublime Porte.
In the earlier times of Queen Victoria the Whig ascendency seemed to be safer than ever, and accordingly the language of the chivalrous viscount suddenly changed. From defence and cajolery, it became at once haughty and contemptuous. Interrogated by Mr. T. H. Attwood, on December 14, 1837, with regard to the Vixen and Circassia: “As to the Vixen Russia had given such explanations of her conduct as ought to satisfy the Government of this country. That ship was not taken during a blockade. It was captured because those who had the management of it contravened the municipal and customs’ regulations of Russia.” As to Mr. Attwood’s apprehension of Russia's encroachment—“I say that Russia gives to the world quite as much security for the preservation of peace as England.”—(Lord Palmerston, House of Commons, December 14, 1837)
At the close of the session the noble lord laid before the House the correspondence with the Russian Government, the two most important parts of which we have already quoted.
In 1838 party aspects had again changed, and the Tories recovered an influence. On June 21 they gave Lord Palmerston a round charge. Sir Stratford Canning, the present Ambassador at Constantinople, moved for a Select Committee to inquire into the allegations made by Mr. George Bell against the noble lord, and in his claims of indemnification. At first his lordship was highly astonished that Sir Stratford's motion should be of “so trifling a character.” “You,” exclaimed Sir Robert Peel, “are the first English minister who dares to call trifles the protection of the British property and commerce.” “No individual merchant,” said Lord Palmerston, “was entitled to ask Her Majesty's Government to give an opinion on questions of such sort as the right of Russia to the sovereignty of Circassia, or to establish those customs and sanitary regulations she was enforcing by the power of her arms.” “If that be not your duty, what is the use of the Foreign Office at all?” asked Mr. Hume. “It is said,” resumed the noble lord, “that Mr. Bell, this innocent Mr. Bell, was led into a trap by me, by the answers I gave him. The trap, if there was one, was laid, not for Mr. Bell, but by Mr. Bell,” namely, by the questions he put to innocent Lord Palmerston.
In the course of these debates (June 21, 1838), out came at length the great secret. Had he been willing to resist in 1836 the claims of Russia, the noble lord had been unable to do so for the very simple reason that already, in 1831, his first act on coming into office was to acknowledge the Russian usurpation of the Caucasus, and thus, in a surreptitious way, the Treaty of Adrianople. Lord Stanley (now Lord Derby) stated that, on August 8, 1831, the Russian Cabinet informed its representative at Constantinople of its intention “to subject to sanitary regulations the communications which freely exist between the inhabitants of the Caucasus and the neighbouring Turkish provinces,” and that he was “to communicate the above-mentioned regulations to the foreign missions at Constantinople, as well as to the Ottoman Government.” By allowing Russia the establishment of so-called sanitary and custom-house regulations on the coast of Circassia, although existing nowhere except in the above letter, Russian claims to the Caucasus were acknowledged and consequently the Treaty of Adrianople, on which they were grounded. “Those instructions,” said Lord Stanley, “had been communicated in the most formal manner to Mr. Mandeville (Secretary to the Embassy) at Constantinople, expressly for the information of the British merchants, and transmitted to the noble Lord Palmerston.” Neither did he, nor dared he, “according to the practice of former Governments, communicate to the committee at Lloyd’s the fact of such a notification having been received.” The noble lord made himself guilty of “a six years concealment,” exclaimed Sir Robert Peel.
On that day his jocose lordship escaped from condemnation by a majority of sixteen: 184 votes being against, and 200 for him. Those sixteen votes will neither out-voice history nor silence the mountaineers, the clashing of whose arms proves to the world that the Caucasus does not “now belong to Russia, as stated by Count Nesselrode,” and as echoed by Lord Palmerston.
- Ruggiero, a character in Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto, 1474-1533 Tempted by the witch Alcine.
- Canning, George, 1770-1827. Foreign Secretary 1807-9 and 1822-27. Prime Minister 1827
- Carbonarism. The Carbonari, the charcoal-burners, a middle-class secret insurrectionary society in the early nineteenth century. Active in revolts in Spain, Piedmont, Naples and France. Played an important part in the Italian Risorgimento.
- The German Legion. Hessian and Hanoverian troops maintained in Britain by the Hanoverian kings. They were often used for garrison duties abroad.
- The Test Act, 1673, was intended to keep Roman Catholics and other non-conformists out of public office. All crown officers had to accept the Anglican creed. Repealed 1828. The Corporation Act, 1661,was intended to weaken the power of non-conformists in towns. All members of a corporation had to be Anglicans. Repealed 1828.
- Catholic Emancipation Act passed in 1829 after a long and bitter struggle. Former penal legislation was repealed and Catholics permitted to hold office under the crown and to sit in Parliament.
- The Reform Bill finally passed in 1832 in spite of strong Tory opposition. Rotten and pocket boroughs abolished and the franchise given to the new industrial towns. The right to vote restricted by property qualifications.
- Aberdeen, George Hamilton Gordon, 4th Earl of, 1784-1860, Tory and Peelite minister. Foreign secretary 1828-30, 1841-46. Prime Minister 1852-55
- Metternich, Clemens Wenzel Lothar, Prince, 1773-1859б Austrian Foreign Minister and Chancellor, 1809-48. Extreme conservative, relying on censorship, espionage and armed force to repress nationalist and liberal movements.
- The Porte, more properly the Sublime Porte, was the name given to the Government of the Ottoman Empire in Constantinople. The name arose from a high gateway in the central government building.
- Stuart, Lord Dudley Coutts, 1803-54 M.P. for Arundel 1830-37, for Marylebone 1847-54.
- Hume, Joseph, 1777-1855, M.P. 1818-41, and 1842-55
- Mehemet Ali, 1769-1849, Pasha of Egypt. Former Albanian tobacco-seller, destroyed power of Mamelukes in 1811. Supported the Sultan in Greek War of Independence, when his fleet was destroyed by Admiral Codrington at Navarino. Rebelled twice (1833 and 1839) against Sultan. His pashalik made hereditary. Egyptian royal family descended from him.
- Talleyrand, Charles Maurice de, 1754-1838. Bishop of Autun, 1788. Excommunicated by pope, 1791. Foreign Minister under the Directory and under Napoleon. As Foreign Minister of Louis XVIII wielded great influence at the Congress of Vienna. Ambassador to London, 1830-34
- Anstey, Thomas Chisholm, 1816-73. Lawyer and politician. M.P. for Youghal. Severe critic of Palmerston's foreign policy which he declared encouraged the despots and destroyed the liberties of Europe.
- Peel, Sir Robert, 1788-1850. Leader of Tory Opposition in Commons, 1830-34. Prime Minister, 1834-35, 1841-46.
- The Spanish Marriages. King Louis-Philippe wished to marry his son, the Duc de Montpensier, to the young Queen of Spain, Isabella II. Foiled in this by British protests, he arranged for Isabella to marry her cousin, Don Francisco, believed to be impotent, while the Duc de Montpensier married her sister, the heir to the throne. In this way, Louis-Philippe hoped eventually to unite the crowns of France and Spain in violation of the Treaty of Utrecht.
- Normanby, Constantine Henry Phipps, 2nd Earl of Mulgrave, 1797-1863 British ambassador in Paris, 1846-52.
- Castlereagh, Robert Stewart, and Viscount, 1769-1822. Foreign Secretary, 1812-22. Committed suicide.
- Sugden, Edward Burtenshaw, Sir, afterwards Ist Baron St. Leonards, 1781-1875. Lord Chancellor.
- Donna Maria II da Gloria, 1819-53, Queen of Portugal. Daughter of Dom Pedro, 1798-1832. King of Portugal and Emperor of Brazil.
- Maria Cristina, 1806-78, Queen-Regent of Spain.
- Otho of Bavaria, 1815-67, first King of Greece. Deposed 1862.
- Saxe-Coburg, duchy of. The ducal dynasty produced Leopold I, King of the Belgians, and Prince Albert, consort of Queen Victoria. Duchy abolished in 1918.
- Treaty of Adrianople, 1829, ended Russo-Turkish War of 1828-29. Turkey ceded to Russia territory on the Black Sea, allowed Russian occupation of Moldavia and Wallachia, recognised the Czar as protector of all the Sultan's Christian subjects. Dardanelles opened to all merchant shipping. Autonomy given to Serbia and promised to Greece.
- Orloff (Orlov), Alexis Feodorovitch, Count, 1787-1862. Russian diplomat.
- Treaty of Unkiar-Skelessi, 1833. Russia undertook to protect the Sultan against Mehemet Ali of Egypt in return for the closing of the Dardanelles to all warships except Russian.
- Bulwer, Sir Henry Lytton Earle, 1801-72. British envoy successively to Madrid, Washington, Florence, the Porte. Created 1st Baron Dalling and Bulwer.
- Ibrahim Pasha, 1789-1848, son and heir of Mehemet Ali and commander of Egyptian forces in Syria and Asia Minor.
- Codrington, Sir Edward, admiral, 1770-1851. In command of the combined fleets of France, Russia and Britain at the battle of Navarino, 1827.
- Canning, Sir Stratford, Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe, 1786-1880. British diplomat. Nephew of George Canning.
- Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I, Act II, Scene IV.
- Urquhart, David, 1805-77 British diplomat. Secretary at the British Embassy at Constantinople, 1836. Dismissed by Palmerston while negotiating commercial treaty with Turkey. Founded in 1835 the diplomatic journal Portfolio. Attacked Palmerston as a Russian agent. M.P. for Stafford, 1847 Moved for the impeachment of Palmerston.
- Kossuth, Louis, 1802-94. Hungarian patriot. President of Hungarian Republic, 1849. After destruction of Republic by the Russians spent the rest of his life in exile.
- Circassia, region between Black Sea, the Kuban River and Greater Caucasus, now in Krasnadar and Stavropol Territories. Ceded by Turkey to Russia by the Treaty of Adrianople, 1829, Circassia resisted Russian conquest until 1864.
- Durham, John George Lambton, Earl of, 1792-1840. British ambassador to St. Petersburg.
- Nesselrode, Karl Robert, Count, 1780-1862. Russian minister. Controlled Russian foreign policy from 1816 to 1856.
- Treaty of Kutchuk-Kainardji, 1774. Crimea declared independent of Turkey, thus preparing annexation by Russia in 1783.